EnergySource

In a new working paper, Global Energy Center Senior Fellow Alan Riley highlights the risks that could stem from the construction of the contentious proposed Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which would bring gas from Russia to Germany. In the working paper, Dr. Riley emphasizes that the proposed pipeline would have negative implications for European energy security, including undermining transit security, reducing route diversity, creating a “Straits of Hormuz” risk for Europe, and undermining the single market.
March 8 is international women’s day. This year, the theme is to “press for progress” and one area women have been seeking—and making—progress is in representation in the workplace. Nowhere is this more in focus than in the Gulf countries, where the inclusion of women in the workforce is part of overall efforts to diversify economies away from hydrocarbon revenue.

 RBC Women in Energy Infographic

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Did Gazprom’s sudden move to cut off gas supplies to Ukraine in early March give Europe a chance to secure an almost instantaneous improvement to its energy security?

Gazprom’s response to what it saw as an adverse February 28 ruling by an arbitration court in Stockholm, effectively ordering the Russian gas giant to pay  $2.64 billion to Ukraine’s national gas company, Naftogaz, was unexpected. Not only did Gazprom cut off its limited direct supply of gas to Ukraine­­—gas that Ukraine already paid for—on March 1, but Gazprom Chairman Alexei Miller stated the following day that supplies transiting through Ukraine to customers in central Europe were also being terminated.  

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As the energy potential of the Eastern Mediterranean grows, so does the potential for conflict over resources. To reduce this potential, the United States and the European Union should play a more proactive role in defusing rising tensions in the region through two key channels of diplomacy. The United States and the European Union should reengage in Cyprus to facilitate a dedicated dialogue between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots over the development of energy resources and renew efforts to reach a settlement of the Israeli-Lebanese maritime delimitation dispute.

The need for such engagement is even more crucial given the level of activity over the last three months.

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The Global Energy Center report, Impact of Sanctions on Russia’s Energy Sector, assesses the impact of sanctions imposed on Russia’s energy sector, specifically targeting future oil development, in 2014.

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When it comes to electric vehicles, while there is no question sales will continue to rise, there are real questions about whether the electric power industry can keep up with new demand. However, past experience suggests it is a question that can be answered with a resounding yes for two reasons. First, the timing of the increase will allow the electric power industry to make the necessary capital investment. Second, the industry has experienced great growth in electric demand from new technologies in the past, and succeeded in meeting those challenges.

Timing of New Electric Investment

Some estimates suggest the number of electric vehicles on the road, currently around one million globally, could approach 24.4 million by 2030. To produce the high volume of electric vehicles that is projected, existing automobile manufacturing plants will have to be converted to produce electric vehicles or new production factories will need to be built.

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The transition to electric vehicles (EVs) is already underway, and its pace is expected to increase in the coming years. The number of EVs on the road worldwide is projected to grow from one million this year to 24.4 million by 2030.

Such growth in the EV fleet will require a significant expansion of battery production, specifically of Lithium-ion batteries. Although several types of Lithium-ion batteries can be used in EVs, they all contain lithium, cobalt, and nickel, metals which can carry significant supply and price risks.

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The Department of Energy’s proposed $96 million Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) signals a bold step in the Department’s efforts to improve its coordination and response to threats to critical energy infrastructure, including cyber-attacks, physical attacks, and natural disasters.  

While the 2017 hurricane season provided a stark example of US energy infrastructure’s vulnerability to extreme weather, CESER’s cyber security mandate is notable because it marks the Agency’s strongest ever foray into the cyber domain. This is a positive indicator that the Trump Administration will focus much-needed attention on cybersecurity risks to national energy infrastructure. However, without effective coordination between a growing chorus of federal agencies monitoring cyber risk—FBI, DHS, NSA, DOD, CIA, DOS, and DOT—DOE will merely be another voice in a worryingly discordant approach to US cyber security.

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The 2014 oil price collapse sent shockwaves across the oil industry and put economies from North Dakota to Nigeria on notice that $100 oil is not a sure thing. The economy of Texas, however, fared far better during the years of low prices than many experienced oil watchers predicted. Its relative resilience, explained in part by a recent paper from the Dallas Fed, provides a good lesson for countries, like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, working on ambitious diversification plans to better weather the regular downturns in commodities markets and prepare for a future in which oil demand is uncertain. Unfortunately, the paper also suggests just how challenging real diversification for these countries will be.

By 2014, the US shale boom was in full force and Texas was one of its epicenters, accounting for sixty percent of new US reserves and nearly forty percent of total US production. Oil’s percentage of the state economy was only slightly smaller in 2014 as compared to 1986, when an oil price drop sent the Texas economy into a tailspin. As the price collapse of the second half 2014 started to sink in, some economists predicted the worst. In December 2014, JPMorgan Chief Economist Michael Feroli argued, "We think Texas will, at the least, have a rough 2015 ahead, and is at risk of slipping into a regional recession." 

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Members of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) have a big decision to make.

SPD party members have until March 2 to vote on whether their party should participate in a coalition government with the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel. The vote puts SPD party members in a difficult position—endorse a coalition many of them oppose in the interest of stability or withhold support and face potential uncertainty—and this has caused disarray in the party, on the heels of its worst election results in the post-war period.

The choice will likely be the deciding factor in an almost six-month journey to form a new government following elections in September. The deal to form another so-called “Grand Coalition” between the CDU and SPD was reached after negotiations between the CDU, the Green Party, and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) to form a “Jamaica Coalition” collapsed in the fall, facing an impasse on several issues, including migration.

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