Publications

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On January 13, 2017, the Atlantic Council launched a major study on downstream oil theft at its inaugural Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Downstream Oil Theft: Implications and Next Steps draws on the launch event to examine the implications of the study's findings and to suggest tangible next steps in both further investigating this global scourge and beginning to confront it effectively. 

 
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Germany’s historical experience explains how the energy transition (Energiewende) came about, and largely explains the resilience of the policies to abandon nuclear power and to scale-up renewables in the face of the challenges they have posed to Germany’s consumers, utilities, and international competitiveness. Whereas the success of the Energiewende to date has come from the way it takes a unifying approach to energy, environment, and labor policies, its success will require expanding the scope from a German to an EU-wide scale. 

 
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Oil, gas, and renewable energy markets will face high levels of uncertainty and potentially extreme volatility under a Trump administration in 2017. Some of these uncertainties flow from questions about the new administration’s yet-undefined policies on energy production, trade, and climate policy. Others flow from the basket of national security risks that a new US President was destined to inherit. 

 
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Risk and uncertainty pervade decisions on petroleum investments and operations, raising the stakes for companies committing to multibillion dollar contracts often extending twenty or more years. The array of risk factors is diverse, requiring multidisciplinary analysis to decipher. New risks arise and others expand, raising the breadth and depth of challenges facing energy operators.

 
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Hydrocarbons crime, in all its forms, has become a significant threat not only to local and regional prosperity but also to global stability and security. Combating this pervasive criminal activity is made only more difficult by the reality that many of those in a position to curb hydrocarbons crime are the ones benefiting from it.

 
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Saudi Arabia’s leadership recently introduced an ambitious plan called Vision 2030 to move the country away from oil and toward a more diversified, modern economy. Fortunately, the economy is already much more diversified than is often reported, a fact obscured by the very high price of oil from 2000 to 2014. Since the mid-1970s, the Kingdom has developed chemical, metal, and fertilizer industries that are among the most advanced in the world. Most of these industries have been built on the natural advantages of Saudi Arabia: low-cost energy, large mineral resources, access to plentiful capital, and proximity to the huge markets of Asia.

 
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India’s economy is increasing at the fastest rate in the world, now making it the globe’s third largest user of crude oil. While India is benefitting from the low oil prices seen since mid-2014, it has precious few oil and gas resources of its own and will remain highly dependent on imports.

 
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Since the 1979 revolution, recurring rounds of sanctions and eight years of war with Iraq have hammered Iran’s oil production and export capacity. Despite boasting the fourth largest proven oil reserves in the world, Iran’s oil production and exports languished at 4 million barrels per day (mb/d) and 2.5 mb/d, respectively, in 2011.

The entrance of the European Union and United States into an even more stringent sanctions regime in 2012 further crippled an already hamstrung industry. Iran’s crude exports dropped 40 percent to 1.5 mb/d in 2012 and sunk to an average of just 1 mb/d by 2014 as foreign markets closed, international investment evaporated, and supply chains withered.

 
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As the Paris Agreement on Climate Change enters into force on November 4, 2016, signatories will face the challenges of transforming their energy sectors into more efficient, lower-carbon systems. Driven by economic growth, urbanization and population increases, most of future energy growth will be in the developing, non-OECD counties. The power sector will be especially critical to emissions mitigation and countries must establish the policy, regulatory and institutional frameworks for mobilizing the large investments needed to meet their NDCs in an affordable and sustainable manner. Transforming the Power Sector in Developing Countries: A Strategic Framework for Post-Paris Action, authored by Dr. Robert F. Ichord, Jr., offers a strategic framework to understand and address the challenges and hard choices developing countries face in moving to a cleaner energy mix while expanding access to those without electricity.  Dr. Ichord will apply this framework to other countries and regions in the non-OECD world in subsequent Atlantic Council publications in coming months. 

 
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China and Russia do not have an established history of prolonged cooperative engagement. However, beginning in 2014, the two countries began laying the foundation for an enduring energy partnership. A secure energy relationship between China and Russia could have profound geopolitical effects in Asia, as well as in Europe. The ramifications of this relationship could alter the role and influence of the United States in Asia.

In this issue brief, Dr. Miyeon Oh, nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center and Brent Scowcroft Center, provides critical analysis of the evolving relationship between China and Russia vis-à-vis energy trade. Examining the evolution of various energy agreements, Dr. Oh breaks her analysis into three stages: relations before the gas deals were signed, relations at the time of signing, and relations following signing. 

 


    

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