Crude Volatility: The History and the Future of Boom-Bust Oil Prices

October 4, 2018 - 12:00 pm

Atlantic Council headquarters, 1030 15th Street, NW, 12th Floor
Washington, DC
Book Launch and Discussion
Crude Volatility: The History and the Future of Boom-Bust Oil Prices

Introductory remarks by:

Randolph Bell
Director, Global Energy Center
Atlantic Council

Speaker's remarks by:
Robert McNally
Founder and President
Rapidan Energy Group

A conversation with:
David Goldwyn
Chairman, Energy Advisory Group
Atlantic Council

Leslie Hayward
Vice President, Content and Communications Strategy
Securing America's Future Energy

Robert McNally
Founder and President
Rapidan Energy Group

Moderated by:

Brian Scheid
Senior Editor, Oil News
S&P Global Platts

Please join the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center on Thursday, October 4, 2018 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. for an Atlantic Council launch of and discussion about Robert McNally's new book, Crude Volatility: The History and the Future of Boom-Bust Oil Prices.
As OPEC has loosened its grip over the past ten years, the oil market has been rocked by wild price swings, the likes of which haven't been seen for eight decades. Crafting an engrossing journey from the gushing Pennsylvania oil fields of the 1860s to today's fraught and fractious Middle East, Crude Volatility explains how past periods of stability and volatility in oil prices help us understand the new boom-bust era. Oil's notorious volatility has always been considered a scourge afflicting not only the oil industry but also the broader economy and geopolitical landscape; Robert McNally makes sense of how oil became so central to our world and why it is subject to such extreme price fluctuations. Crude Volatility received wide acclaim from leading energy experts and investors including Daniel Yergin, Scott Sheffield, Paul Tudor Jones, and Paul Horsnell and was reviewed favorably in the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and Petroleum Economist.  Robert McNally and Crude Volatility received the Honorable Mention in Economics in the 2018 PROSE Awards.  

A presentation of Crude Volatility, from author Robert McNally, will be followed by a panel discussion with other experts about the book's central themes. 

Lunch will be served.

On Twitter? Follow @ACGlobalEnergy and use #ACEnergy

Atlantic Council
1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor (West Tower Elevator) 
Washington, DC 

This event is open to press and on the record. 

VISITING THE COUNCIL: Metro and parking info 


Robert McNally is the founder and president of Rapidan Energy Group, an independent energy consulting and market advisory firm based in the Washington DC area. Mr. McNally's clients include leading global energy market investors, producers, and traders. Mr. McNally’s twenty-six-year professional career includes senior financial market and official posts spanning economic, security, and environmental aspects of energy market analysis, strategy, and policymaking.

Mr. McNally started his professional career in 1991 as an oil market analyst and consultant with Energy Security Analysis, Inc. In 1994, he joined Tudor Investment Corporation and for twelve subsequent years analyzed energy markets, macroeconomic policy, and geopolitics for Tudor portfolio managers, earning promotions to vice president and managing director. From 2001 to 2003, Mr. McNally served as the top international and domestic energy adviser on the White House staff, holding the posts of special assistant to the president on the National Economic Council and, in 2003, senior director for international energy on the National Security Council. Mr. McNally served in the Peace Corps in Senegal from 1988-1990.

Mr. McNally earned his double major BA/BS in International Relations and Political Science from American University and his MA in International Economics and American Foreign Policy from Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He was co-chair for energy policy on the 2008 Romney Campaign, served on the Policy Advisory Committee for Senator Marco Rubio's 2010 campaign, and regularly advises congressional and administration officials on energy policy and markets. Mr. McNally is a Member of the National Petroleum Council and is a non-resident fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy.

Mr. McNally has testified to the House and Senate on energy markets and national security and speaks to professional conferences on energy markets, policy, and geopolitics. He has been published in Foreign Affairs (co-authored essay with Michael Levi, July/August 2011) and has been interviewed by CNN, The Economist, Fox Business, The Financial Times, The Washington Post, National Journal, Platts Energy Week TV, PBS' Great Decisions in Foreign Policy series, Bloomberg News, Aviation Daily and other programs and journals.
He is the author of the acclaimed and award-winning book Crude Volatility: The History and the Future of Boom-Bust Oil Prices, from Columbia University Press, 2017.

Mr. McNally is married and has three children.

Randolph Bell is the director of the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center (GEC), where he has oversight of the budget and revenue of the Global Energy Center, including GEC research and programs in Washington and elsewhere and its affiliated conferences, the Atlantic Council Istanbul Summit, and the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum. From 2014–2016, Randy was director of business development and new ventures at the Atlantic Council, where he led the Council’s Global Energy Center launch campaign and oversaw the Council’s corporate and individual giving. From 2011–2014, Randy was managing director at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)–US, where he had overall responsibility for the operations of the IISS’s Washington, DC office, including coordination of finance, administration, programming, and fundraising. From 2010–2011, Randy was manager of national security at the Markle Foundation, where he worked on cyber security, intelligence community information sharing, and technology policy issues. He has published on African, South Asian, and cyber security issues. He has an MPP from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he was a Public Service and Belfer International and Global Affairs Fellow, and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College.

David L. Goldwyn is chairman of the Energy Advisory Group, a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council's Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, and president of Goldwyn Global Strategies, LLC, an international energy advisory consultancy.

He served as the US Department of State's special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs from 2009 to 2011, reporting directly to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In this position, Goldwyn conceived and developed the Global Shale Gas Initiative and the Energy Governance and Capacity Initiative, led ministerial-level energy dialogues with Angola, Canada, China, India, Iraq, Mexico, Nigeria, and Brazil, and co-chaired a regional biofuels initiative with Brazil.

Goldwyn served the US government as assistant secretary of energy for international affairs (1999-2001), counselor to the secretary of Energy (1998-99); national security deputy to US Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson (1997-98); chief of staff to the under secretary of state for political affairs (1993-97); and an attorney-adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the State Department (1991-92).

Goldwyn has authored a series of works on energy issues, including his report, "Mexico Rising: Comprehensive Energy Reform at Last?" He has also served as chairman of the Global Energy and Environment Initiative at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (2008-09) and as a senior associate in the Energy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (2001-09). Goldwyn was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations 2007 Independent Task Force on National Security Consequences of US Oil Dependency and the Council of Foreign Relations Center for Preventive Action task forces on Angola, Nigeria, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Russia.

Goldwyn has taught graduate seminars at Columbia and Georgetown Universities and been a frequent commentator on NPR, CNN, the BBC, and in energy trade newspapers. Goldwyn holds a BA in government from Georgetown University, an MA in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and a JD from New York University School of Law.

Leslie Hayward leads Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE)’s communications team in addition to serving as managing editor of The Fuse, SAFE’s independent news and analysis platform ( She has worked for SAFE since 2011 as a researcher, policy analyst, and manager of online content and strategy. Prior to joining SAFE, Leslie spent two years in Poland, where she worked as both a freelance language consultant and a teacher at the International American School of Warsaw. Her experience also includes internships in the Massachusetts Governor’s office, and an environmental non-profit organization. She graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Science from Tufts University, double majoring in international relations and environmental science.

Brian Scheid has worked for Platts for six years and has covered multiple beats, including futures and swaps trading, Dodd-Frank financial reform efforts, Congress, the White House and multiple federal agencies, including the Department of Interior, Department of Energy, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He currently covers US crude oil policy and is co-host of Platts Capitol Crude, a weekly podcast. Previously, he worked for daily newspapers in Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Mr. Scheid is a graduate of Boston College.