On the Loss of John Lichtblau and Robert Greco


On a very sad note EPRINC recently lost two colleagues. Our former Chairman and current honorary Chairman, John Lichtblau, passed away on May 29, 2017. He was 94 years old.  On May 17, 2017 we lost Bob Greco, an EPRINC Distinguished Fellow. Bob was 57 years old.

We’ve known both of these good men for more years than we can recall and we will miss much more than their good counsel. We will miss their intellectual curiosity, optimism and close friendship.

John Lichtblau

Honorary Chairman, EPRINC

John had a distinguished career as an energy economist, beginning in 1953, when he joined the consulting firm Walter J. Levy.  For those of you who have been around for a while, you will recall that John along with Walter J. Levy and Paul Frankel knew each other well.  John was the last of this era and in many ways these three men provided the foundation for modern analysis of petroleum economics and geopolitics.

He joined Petroleum Industry Research Foundation, Inc. (PIRINC), — a not-for-profit organization that studies energy economics with special emphasis on oil — in 1955 as research director. In 1976, he co-founded PIRA with Dr. Gary N. Ross and Lawrence J. Goldstein. John remained at PIRA until he retired in 2006. PIRINC changed its name to the Energy Policy Research Foundation, Inc. (EPRINC) in 2007.  He was also one of the founders of the consulting firm, Petroleum Industry Research Associates (PIRA).

John wrote and lectured extensively about petroleum economics and politics and testified frequently about those subjects at Congressional hearings. He was an early advocate of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve — having participated in Senator Henry Jackson’s Senate Hearing on the SPR in 1975 — and the co-author of several reports on the subject published by PIRINC. He also addressed conferences and seminars internationally, including the World Petroleum Congress.

He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and from 1971 to 2003 he was a member of the National Petroleum Council, an advisory board appointed by the Secretary of Energy. In 1986, he received the International Association of Energy Economics’ annual award for “outstanding contributions to the profession of energy economics and to its literature.” In 1994 he received the U.S. Association of Energy Economics Annual Senior Fellow Award for “distinguished service in the field of energy economics.”

For those who may think all the interesting work on petroleum geopolitics has occurred only in the last few years, here is a link to a paper written by John in 1956

on the Suez Canal Crisis. A link to the report can be found here…




Robert “Bob” Greco

EPRINC Distinguished Fellow

Bob was a good friend of EPRINC for more than twenty years.  We had many long conversations on the complexities of refinery operations and transportation fuels policy when he worked at API and he continued his good counsel with us as a Distinguished Fellow when he retired from API.  Research and analysis on fuels policy brings a range of challenges, both analytical and political.  Bob could take these difficult topics and distill them into a framework for a broader community outside the petroleum industry.

Bob is survived by his wife Cathy and son Mathew. He was born in Penfield, New York to parents Virginia (Ginny) and Robert (Bob) Greco who preceded him in death. Bob and his sister Nancy grew up in Penfield until Bob went to college at Colgate University (class of 81), and Cornell University where he graduated with a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering in 1983.

One of Bob’s first jobs out of school was as an environmental engineer in the Office of Mobile Sources, US Environmental Protection Agency. In 1990, Bob left the EPA for the American Petroleum Institute where he worked for 25 years in various positions prior to retiring as an executive. Most recently, he headed to Colorado to work for the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association as a senior environmental policy analyst.