Phillip Cornell

  • Energy Governance and China’s Bid for Global Grid Integration

    Energy projects have always been a major part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure mega-plan for Eurasia. The enormity of that plan was on display at the BRI Forum last month, where an official report was released estimating that energy investments in BRI countries would add up to $27 trillion by 2050, with $7 trillion alone going to power grid construction, and over 200 million new jobs created in the process.

    That report was published by the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization, or GEIDCO, a young “international organization” set up by the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC, or “State Grid”) in 2016, under the leadership of its former chief executive, to advance “Global Energy Interconnection” or GEI.


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  • Saudi Aramco Bond Offering: What Does It Say About the Kingdom and Oil Markets?

    At the start of the month, in preparation for its first bond offering, Saudi Aramco released a 469-page prospectus that provided the first real public look into the oil company’s books. The media was astounded by the $111 billion profit figure for 2018, and a bond market hungry for returns oversubscribed to the offering by ten times, with $12 billion in bonds finally issued. The initial enthusiasm said more about the state of the bond market than the value of Aramco and is not a good proxy for equity interest in the company ahead of an IPO (now delayed until 2021).


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  • Cornell Quoted in The Financial Times on Saudi Arabia


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  • Cornell Quoted in Foreign Policy on MBS


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  • Phillip Cornell on Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund

    Phillip Cornell, nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center, discusses Saudi Vision 2030’s drive for investment through the Public Investment Fund, and the prospects for a public listing of Saudi Aramco.


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  • Cornell Joins S&P Global to Discuss Oil Stockpile in the U.S.


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  • The Saudi Public Investment Fund: The Emerging Financial Vehicle Behind Vision 2030

    The $230 billion Public Investment Fund (PIF) is emerging as the central financial vehicle to consolidate and then exercise Saudi Arabian economic power in the service of goals outlined by the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MbS). Its role in Saudi economic diversification makes the PIF the critical organ for realizing Vision 2030, and its newfound prominence at the expense of traditional economic power centers (like SAMA, the central bank) highlights the consolidation of authority under MbS.

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  • Strategic Oil Product Stockholding: International Experience & US Prospects

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    Since 2000, the United States has taken steps toward developing strategic stocks of emergency oil product reserves to safeguard supply from international crises and local events such as natural disasters. In recent decades, many International Energy Agency member states, including the United States, have emphasized product stockholding to facilitate rapid local emergency supply distribution. In his report, Strategic Oil Product Stockholding: International Experience and American Prospects, Global Energy Center Nonresident Senior Fellow Phillip Cornell provides in-depth analysis of the US case and...

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  • Hurricane Resilience and the Role of Oil Product Reserves

    Hurricane Harvey, which has devastated the city of Houston and the surrounding areas, has struck at the heart of the US energy sector. The consequences will outlive the rainfall, and raise questions about the utility and design of strategic product storage in a rapidly changing domestic energy landscape.

    Since making landfall on August 25, Harvey has knocked out nearly one quarter of national refining capacity at the time of writing, including the nation’s largest refinery at Port Arthur. A number of refineries could be out for as long as a month if their storm drainage pumps remain submerged. 

    While Harvey’s rainfall may be unprecedented and the situation quite serious, this is not entirely new territory for a Gulf Coast refining sector with experience of major storms. Hurricane Katrina left refinery complexes inoperative for months in 2005 due to flooding and power...

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  • Politics Narrow Eastern Mediterranean Gas Export Options

    Nicosia, Cyprus and Chania, Crete

    Over the past decade, major offshore natural gas finds in Egyptian, Israeli, and Cypriot waters have fueled an ongoing debate over how to get that gas to market. Fixed midstream assets and pipes will be key to getting the gas out of the region, and various export routes present their own challenges. Recent political developments in Cyprus and subsequent Turkish military deployments in the region following the collapse of the country’s unification talks are narrowing options.

    Competing export routes to move offshore natural gas north via Cyprus to Turkey, south to Egypt, and inland to Israel, have been considered. More expensive options such as capital-intensive floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facilities and longer subsea pipelines...

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