Energy Realpolitik
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Energy Realpolitik

Amy Myers Jaffe delves into the underlying forces shaping global energy.

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U.S. President Donald Trump appears before workers at Cameron LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) Export Facility in Hackberry, Louisiana, U.S., May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

U.S. Natural Gas: Once Full of Promise, Now in Retreat

Mirroring events that rocked the international oil industry earlier this year — catalyzed by the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic — a now sluggish global economy is hitting the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry. Like oil before it, prices of spot LNG around the world are collapsing, storage is rising, and LNG exporters are responding to mounting challenges. The situation spells bad news for the nascent U.S. LNG export business and the geopolitical benefits it bestowed on the United States. Dominant natural gas exporters Qatar and Russia are responding to the current LNG supply glut by accelerating their own mega-projects to lock in market share for the next ten years and beyond. Their moves could set back the U.S. LNG export industry for years to come, depending on the state of global economic growth in the coming years. Already, forty U.S. LNG cargoes have been cancelled for August pushing the total cargo cancellations for this summer over one hundred, bringing total U.S. LNG exports to half of capacity. Goldman Sachs estimates that 4 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of U.S. gas exports will be cancelled this summer.  Read More

Energy and Climate Policy
A Path to Progress: How Voluntary Climate Action Could Redefine the Texas Fossil Fuel Landscape
This is a guest post by Tessa Schreiber, intern for Energy and U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations and student at Rice University.  The state of Texas is known for its deferenc…
India
COVID-19 and Other Inflection Points: Fifth Annual Review of Solar Scale-Up in India
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, India was moving to the forefront of the global energy transition, with plans to reach 175-gigawatt (GW) of renewable energy by 2022. Prime Minister Modi’s decisive electoral win in May 2019 seemed to have secured continuation of India’s ambitious solar energy goals, but now the COVID-19 outbreak of early 2020 is slowing and delaying new solar energy construction on top of other challenges the sector faced. The fate of India’s push to clean energy has global implications, since India is a major economy and lowering its carbon emissions is important to global efforts to address climate change.
Russia
Russia's Complex Oil Reality
This is a guest post by Hunter Kornfeind, intern for Energy and Climate Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations and current student at Temple University. Russia is coping with a new reality fro…
  • Coronavirus
    The Elements Unfold: A Possible Bottom to Oil Prices
    The process of going into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic has been revealing, especially in regards to oil. There are many elements to the smooth operation of global oil logistics that are now facing potential problems due to the unprecedented lockdowns. Here are a few of these elements and the complications the lockdown process is exposing.
  • Iraq
    Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Iraq’s Pledge to Cut Oil Production
    Iraq faces an uphill battle in meeting its obligations to the historic production cut agreement reached by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other major producers such as Russia. The production cuts are due to begin today. Not only is Baghdad mired in deep economic and political crises that show little signs of abating but Iraq’s complex service agreements with international oil companies (IOCs) operating its southern fields means that the Gulf producer would actually have to pay more money to the foreign firms working in its oil sector in excess of existing service fees if it demands the IOCs rein in output to help Iraq meet its targeted quotas. The supplemental fees, which could be millions of dollars, are stipulated in the oil field service contracts that Iraq holds with foreign oil companies that have been assisting with its oil production capacity expansion program over the last several years. The payments structure for Iraq’s service contracts means that output cuts put an added financial strain on the ability of OPEC’s second largest oil producer to comply fully with its pledged one million b/d plus output reductions in the coming months.  
  • Financial Markets
    OPEC Plus’ Zero-Sum Oil Game
    Prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, international sanctions had severely curtailed Iraq’s oil industry. Oil production sat at 1.4 million barrels a day (b/d). Iraq’s beleaguered refining indu…
  • Oil and Petroleum Products
    FAQ: A Shale New Deal
    This is a guest post by Hunter Kornfeind, intern for Energy and Climate Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations and current student at Temple University. A breakthrough agreement between major …
  • Oil and Petroleum Products
    Oil Ground Zero: Running Out of Storage
    In recent days, the Donald J. Trump administration appears to have been sending mixed messages about oil. Typically, low oil prices can be a stimulus to the U.S. economy, but that is in situations wh…
  • Oil and Petroleum Products
    Oil Price War: Is U.S. Shale The First To Blink?
    As the oil price war continues, markets are hanging on every word coming from Washington, Moscow and Riyadh, amid signs that diplomacy could be afoot. A statement by the Kremlin’s presidential spokesperson, that Russia would like to see higher prices, signaled that Russia might be willing to blink in the Russia-Saudi oil price standoff. It appears that the fall in the ruble is larger than Moscow expected, prompting them to use up foreign currency reserves at a faster clip than anticipated. Russia could also be finding it more difficult to sell its oil in China and Europe.
  • Saudi Arabia
    Why Current Saudi-Russia Oil Price War Is Not Déjà Vu
    It’s happened several times before: geopolitical tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia have led to a dramatic drop in oil prices in years past. But the breakdown in Saudi-Russian cooperation in oil markets over the weekend is strikingly different this time.