EnergySource

Much has been made of the recent OPEC decision to lift production limits and its impact on US shale producers, with some commentators arguing that OPEC reclaiming its role as a market manager has put US shale in its place. However, others have noted that shale producers in the Permian are potentially sighing in relief that OPEC will manage the price rally, as they struggle to bring product to market.

As Pioneer Chairman Scott Sheffield put it, shale companies share an interest in a more balanced market and “preventing overheated prices.” Unlike OPEC (at least Saudi Arabia), many shale producers are facing limits to their ability to ramp up production. Permian producers are finding themselves constrained, not necessarily by the vagaries of geopolitics and the maneuvering of OPEC, but by takeaway capacity and infrastructure constraints close to home.

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Global Energy Center Deputy Director Ellen Scholl sat down with Atlantic Council Board Director Dr. Helima Croft, managing director and global head of commodity strategy, global research at RBC Capital Markets, for her take on the OPEC meeting and the decision to move away from production cuts and toward increasing production to balance the market (you can read more from RBC on the meeting here). The following is an excerpt of thier interview.


Q: What are the major takeaways from the OPEC meeting that took place over the weekend in Vienna?

Croft: The biggest takeaway is that OPEC managed to hold it together.

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An Atlantic Council Global Energy Center delegation, including General James Jones (Ret), Vice Admiral Lee Gunn (Ret), Amb. Richard Morningstar (Ret), former mayor of Cleveland Jane Campbell, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy Joe Bryan, recently visited Cleveland, Ohio, to better understand the city’s clean energy economy and innovation ecosystem. 

During the trip, the delegation visited the Cleveland Foundation, a key contributor to the economic and civic vitality of the region, to learn more about Cleveland’s ongoing efforts to attract investment into new growth sector such as advanced energy.

The Global Energy Center’s David Livingston sat down to discuss the Cleveland Foundation’s history, mission, and current priorities in clean energy and grid resilience with Stephen Love, a program officer with the Cleveland Foundation. 

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This piece is the second in a series examining geothermal potential in Iceland and elsewhere and the contribution geothermal resources can make to energy security and diversification, as well as sustainability and emissions reductions. You can read the first piece in the series here.

The first piece in this series focused on the development and benefits of geothermal utilization in Iceland, where geothermal resources are abundant and serve as the main source for home heating and roughly 30 percent of power production. In an area with regular volcanic activity, many would assume that geothermal potential is only to be found in areas like Iceland, where such geographical conditions are present.

However, that is not necessarily the case.

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An Atlantic Council Global Energy Center delegation, including General James Jones (Ret), Vice Admiral Lee Gunn (Ret), Amb. Richard Morningstar (Ret), former mayor of Cleveland Jane Campbell, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy Joe Bryan, recently visited Cleveland, Ohio, to better understand the city’s clean energy economy and innovation ecosystem.

During the trip, the delegation visited Talan Products, a metal stamping company that produces parts for solar systems and LED bulbs, to learn how Cleveland’s manufacturing base makes it a natural location for building the infrastructure of the new energy economy.

The Global Energy Center’s David Livingston sat down to discuss Talan’s history, success, and advanced energy contributions with Steve Peplin, CEO and founder of Talan Products.

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The geopolitics and economics of oil appear set to collide at this Friday’s OPEC meeting and Saturday’s follow-on OPEC/Non-OPEC Ministerial, as members of the producing cartel and non-OPEC member countries debate the fate of the production curtailment agreement in place since 2016.

However, the biggest elephant in the room won’t even be there. The United States, while not a member of OPEC or the non-OPEC group that agreed to the cuts, has, and continues to play, an outsized role in the oil market because of both the continued strength of US shale and the actions of the Trump Administration.

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Resilience of the electric grid and the role of diversity of fuel sources within it have recently become hotly debated topics. In 2017, the US Department of Energy (DOE) attempted to shore up grid resilience by introducing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) that would compensate power generators for maintaining ninety-day supply of fuel on site. The response to this proposal was split. On the one hand, proponents argued that system reliability has been undermined by ignoring long-term risks of reduced dependence on baseload sources like coal and nuclear, which can ramp up quickly, provided sufficient fuels are accessible. On the other hand, a chorus of voices from states, grid operators, and industry panned the notion as aggressive regulatory intervention in search of a problem.

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The new Italian government’s declaration that it is reviewing the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project threatens to derail a $40 billion set of projects that will bring Caspian gas to Europe and hand Russia a major victory in the process.

What is at stake is the final leg of a complex set of projects referred to as the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), a project intended to carry an initial 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Azeri gas to Italy, with the potential to double in capacity and provide gas to customers beyond Italy. Almost all the required infrastructure has already been built.

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In honor of our nation’s birthday and with the 51st anniversary of the six-day war just behind us, in June 1967, it is imperative that we remember the crew of the USS Liberty, who gave their lives not to a foe, but to an unprovoked attack. A review of this tragic event is hopefully useful in helping the American people grapple with, and perhaps even acknowledge, that the mantra in Washington that Israel and the United States’ strategic interests are tied at the hip is no longer shared by many citizens.

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Following the lifting of international sanctions in January 2016, there was a great deal of optimism for Iran’s oil economy. Even though the global oil industry was a year into a price collapse, many companies were eager to explore investment opportunities in Iran’s neglected oil and gas assets. The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and Iran’s oil ministry were also enthusiastic about revitalizing Iran’s oil and gas fields and bringing new discoveries online with the help of foreign investment and expertise.

However, in the nearly two and half years between the end of international sanctions and President Trump’s May 2018 decision to reinstate US sanctions, Iran accomplished very little in terms of revitalizing its oil industry.

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