GET THE LATEST NEWS

ENERGY POLICY RESEARCH FOUNDATION

EPRINC studies energy economics and policy issue with special emphasis on oil, natural gas and petroleum product markets. We provide objective and technical analysis on a wide range of energy issues.

Browse by Category

Chart of the Week

Revisited: Progress in U.S. Motor Vehicle Pollution Reduction Since 1970

In 1970, there were a combined 111 million light- and heavy-duty motor vehicles in use in the U.S. By 2019, that number had risen to 276 million. Light-duty vehicles comprised 94% of the total in 1970. In 2019, they made up 90%.

 

The total amount of criteria pollutants emitted by all U.S. motor vehicles was 387 billion pounds (193 million short tons) in 1970. Despite the increase in vehicles, that number declined to 43 billion (21.5 million short tons) in 2019, or 11.1% of the 1970 total.

The leadership of the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee (E&C) under Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers are hosting a series of roundtables in order to help establish its agenda for the 118th Congress. Critically, some of these roundtables are focused on Energy. The first one was held on January 10th, 2023 with the theme of “Unaffordable Energy Costs” (the link is here). The second, with the broad theme of Energy Security, took place on Thursday, January 26th, 2023.

EPRINC’s President Lucian Pugliaresi presented at this E&C Roundtable. His remarks and associated charts can be found here. The Committee also invited David Gattie, Associate Professor of Engineering, University of Georgia, and Senior Fellow, Center for International Trade and Security, Pat O’Loughlin, President and CEO, Buckeye Power, Inc. and Ohio Rural Electric Cooperatives, and Dr. Edmund O. Schweitzer, III, Founder, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories. The recording of the Roundtable is accessible at this link.

EPRINC has been at the forefront of U.S. policy discussions relating to Energy Security. During the early 1970s and under the leadership of John Lichtblau and Larry Goldstein, EPRINC (then known as PIRINC) were critical in informing leadership of the U.S. Congress on the importance of the establishment of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a key component of America’s energy security apparatus/architecture (choose one).

Per its mission, EPRINC has continued to be involved in energy policy discussions, security and otherwise, providing its perspective on the need for efficiency and matching benefits to costs. More recently, beginning in November 2021, EPRINC has presented testimony four times on a broad range of energy matters (RFS, leasing on public lands, cost challenges of the Energy Transition) to the U.S. Senate’s EPW Committee as well as the U.S. House E&C and Natural Resources Committees.

Based on the expertise that EPRINC presented at these Hearings, EPRINC received further inquiries from commercial and governmental entities for comment, perspective, and data on the energy matters of the day.

The Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEEJ) in Tokyo and the Energy Policy Research Foundation, Inc. (EPRINC) in Washington DC have hosted an in-person workshop on December 15-16, 2022 in Washington, DC. The workshop, Global LNG, Energy Security, and the Transition, brought together a small group of policymakers, practitioners, and experts from the U.S., Asia, and Europe to chart a path forward to address fundamental challenges of meeting rising global requirements for LNG, new threats to energy security, and measures to cost-effectively address the challenges of the energy transition. The workshop supported the six-year joint effort of IEEJ and EPRINC on the role of LNG in sustaining global energy security and worldwide requirements for new energy supplies.

Background

Prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, world energy markets were experiencing sustained shortages and rising prices from years of underinvestment in oil and natural gas production. Today, pricing pressure on LNG continues to rise well above historic trends from rising demand in Europe as the continent searches for alternative sources to replace lost supplies from Russia. Of special concern in the current market environment for Asia is the severe cost constraints in using LNG. The rapidly rising cost of LNG is especially troublesome for the developing world in Asia as sustained high prices will incentivize continued reliance on coal and petroleum liquids. High prices for LNG will undermine initiatives throughout Asia to pursue Net-Zero aspirations.

Securing adequate new supplies of LNG for the world market requires overcoming a series of unique financial, policy, and regulatory challenges. LNG projects require large-scale financial commitments binding sellers and buyers for much as 20 years for projects to reach final investment decision. In many cases, aspirational goals seeking to abandon so-called legacy fuels and leap directly to the renewable fuels and low carbon technologies of the future can be counter-productive and undermine long-term progress to Net-Zero outcomes. The energy transition will be both long and difficult. LNG and natural gas offer numerous opportunities for both the developed and developing world to enhance energy security, accelerate the transition away from coal, and make substantial progress in achieving lower carbon emissions. International financial institutions, public financial institutions and private banks will have to work together to ensure that LNG development can proceed with adequate long-term commitments and sufficient investment to bring substantial volumes of new supplies to the market.

Venue and Discussion Topics

Our excellent venue, the Cosmos Club, permitted extensive opportunities to discuss the broad challenges of energy supply and geopolitical stress points. We identified five subject areas to focus the panel presentations and discussions. These were:

  1. LNG’s Role in World Energy Supply; Now and in the Future
  2. Addressing Policy Obstacles and ESG Challenges in Bringing New LNG Supplies to Market
  3. The Role of Public and Private Financial Institutions in LNG Production
  4. Asian Energy Security and the Energy Transition – How the Asian Economies Adjust to the New Price Environment and Security Threats
  5. What Advice Should We Give to the G7 for Next Year

Additionally, EPRINC and the Embassy of Japan in Washington DC cohosted a dinner to facilitate more discussion between participants the evening of December 15.

The presentations from the workshop can be downloaded from this link, the agenda from the workshop is here, and photos from the two day event are here.

On Wednesday, November 9 at noon, EPRINC President Lucian Pugliaresi and EPRINC Fellow Trisha Curtis participated in a Heritage Foundation panel called “What Will Happen to Energy in the Next Congress?” The panel, hosted by Heritage’s Diana Furchtgott-Roth, was described by Heritage as follows:

“The soaring price of energy concerns all Americans, from high costs at gasoline pumps to exorbitant electricity bills. The solution is under our own feet. The United States has energy reserves of oil and natural gas that would allow us to lower prices by increasing production of energy and pipelines, which are needed to move the resources across the country. So, what might the next Congress do to lower energy prices?”

The video of the event can be found on the Heritage Foundation website, here.

EPRINC Fellow Tristan Abbey has written this open letter titled “Did Biden Break the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?” The letter was sent on October 27, 2022 to Senators Joe Manchin and John Barrasso, chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

 

The letter calls for a bipartisan investigation into the operational impacts of the White House’s “historic 180-million-barrel drawdown” focusing on the following quetisons:

  1. Have maintenance requirements — well remediation, cavern closure, pipeline and pump replacements, etc. — increased as a result of the drawdown?
  2. Have any caverns collapsed or been closed temporarily or permanently as a result of the drawdown? Does the administration intend to close down any caverns or sites as a result of the SPR’s depletion? If so, which ones and over what time period?
  3. What is the current status of Life Extension II, the long-awaited $1.4 billion modernization program? Has it fallen further behind schedule?
  4. If the administration does refill the SPR, will the construction of new caverns and other infrastructure be required? Will an equal volume of oil be bought that was sold?

EPRINC President Lucian Pugliaresi has co-authored an article published on October 25, 2022 in RealClear Energy entitled “Bad Energy Policy Ideas Never Die“. In it, they discuss their concerns with recent public policies related to energy that have been proven to be major issues that will be difficult to recover from. A quote from the article with their proposed solution is below:

 

“To the fearful leaders in our country: step out on your turf and support the domestic oil and gas industries in ways that will build investor confidence and calm markets. There simply is no other way to meet the future without a strong domestic base for energy and materials. Others will take note, including troublemakers we face now and those we’ll face in the future.”

 

https://www.realclearenergy.org/articles/2022/10/25/bad_energy_policy_ideas_never_die_860905.html

10/18/2022

In a new video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrJeb7JfHxY), CPM Group’s Managing Partner Jeffrey Christian discusses some issues regarding European Natural Gas supply that will come as a surprise to many people, including the extent to which Europe’s natural gas supply comes primarily from non-Russian sources, so that Europe is far less dependent on Russia for its natural gas than seems commonly believed.
Supporting Jeffrey Christian’s presentation and views are charts taken from EPRINC’s Chart of the Week Series, specifically #2022-38: Europe – Daily Natural Gas Receipts During 2022 (found here: https://eprinc-2.n3w.site/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/EPRINC-ChartOfTheWeek2022-38-RecentEuropeanNaturalGasReceipts-TheDailyView-Version3.pdf).
CPM Group is an independent commodities research, consulting, commodities and asset management, and investment banking firm that provides comprehensive research, analysis, and advisory services. CPM Group was founded in 1986 through a management acquisition of the Commodities Research Group at Goldman Sachs. More information about CPM Group can be found here: https://www.cpmgroup.com/cpmgroup-about-us/company-overview/

Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have recently made the decision with other oil producers (OPEC+) to slash production by 2 million barrels a day. The move—seen as led by Saudi Arabia and Russia—immediately sent oil prices higher, defies entreaties by the Biden administration for production increases to ease inflation and stabilize the global economy, and could provide a vital cash lifeline to Vladimir Putin’s war efforts in Ukraine.

JINSA held a discussion of the factors that contributed to this move, what it signals about Saudi relations with the United States, Russia, and other world actors, why the Biden administration was unable to prevent the production cut, and what the United States should do next. EPRINC’s Larry Goldstein participated and provided his insight based on his years of experience and expertise on the matter.

A transcript of Larry’s comments can be found here. The video of the event is below

OPEC is scheduled to meet October 5th 2022 in Vienna Austria to consider strategic guidance to its members and allies on global crude oil production. NY Times journalist Clifford Krauss discusses the issues in play ahead of the meeting, calling on and quoting EPRINC’s Larry Goldstein for insight.
 
The article, entitled “Saudi Arabia and Russia May Find Their Oil Pricing Power Limited”, can be read here.
 
Established to provide a strong intellectual foundation for Ukraine’s economy, the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) was founded in Kyiv Ukraine in 1996 under the auspices of the Economics Education and Research Consortium and the Eurasia Foundation. Over the years, several hundred students have matriculated and graduated from the school, and it has established a joint degree affiliation with the University of Houston. The school’s current president is Tymofiy Mylovanov, a PhD graduate of the University of Wisconsin, as well as an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Pittsburgh.

On Saturday, September 17, 2022, KSE held its first conference and banquet fundraiser in the United States. The event took place at the Harvard Club in New York City and was attended by 250 people. Professor Mylovanov hosted the banquet’s activities; he alternated between calling on invited speakers for brief remarks, as well as coordinating an auction of donated Ukrainian art and memorabilia. Speakers included Economics Nobel Laureates Paul Krugman and Richard Myerson; Harvard History Professor Serhii Plokhii; NYC Mayor Eric Adams, and attending Ukrainian ministerial and consular representatives.

Preceding the fundraiser there was a conference of two sessions each having three break-out panels. Panel topics were all related to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, and included global security, the future of Ukraine’s economy, the energy crisis in Europe, as well as food security and other agricultural issues.

EPRINC’s Max Pyziur presented as well as moderated the energy panel titled “European Energy Crisis or Not.” His presentation focused on Europe’s reliance on Russian natural gas imports, the availability of alternative sources, especially from the U.S., closing with remarks on energy security and its relationship to national and economic security.

The Panel’s speakers and commentators included NaftoGaz COO Mavriky Kalugin, World Bank Director Charles Cormier, Jamestown Fellow Margarita Assenova, and David Martinon, CEO of Expert Petroleum, an E&P company focused on the remediation of depleted oil fields in Western Ukraine.

Details on the full event can be found here.

A copy of Max’s presentation can be found here.

A story in today’s Wall Street Journal (September 14, 2022) points out that the while U.S. consumers are getting a reprieve from high gasoline prices, a large jump in electricity and natural-gas costs are increasing their energy bills as winter approaches. The index for electricity in August climbed 15.8% over the same month a year ago, the biggest such 12-month increase since 1981. The story goes on to point out that electricity price increases have been driven by rising prices for natural gas, which powers about 37% of U.S. electricity production and that heating and cooking costs have increased 33% over the last 12 months.

A recent article published in Commonwealth Magazine by EPRINC Trustee Larry Goldstein and former Congressman Joe Kennedy highlight the dire circumstances faced by many low-income Americans as we head into winter. A main source of assistance for low-income families is the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. The program is now facing a 50 percent funding cut at a time skyrocketing energy cost. Rising energy costs also highlight’s the importance of sustaining adequate production of  legacy fuels until low-cost and  low-carbon alternatives are freely available to consumers.

 

…Lucian Pugliaresi

On Wednesday, June 22, 2022, the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing titled, “Legislative Hearing to Strengthen Energy Infrastructure, Efficiency, and Financing.” Under consideration were several pieces of legislation including the “Securing America’s Critical Minerals Supply Act” (H.R. 1599), the “Energy Accountability Act” (H.R. 5292), the “Guaranteeing Resilient Installations for Defense Act” or the “GRID Act” (H.R. 8053), and the “Tribal Energy Investment Act of 2022” (H.R. 8068). Along with the legislation, Subcommittee Members pursued broader themes focusing on the recent increases in transportation fuel prices. EPRINC President Lucian Pugliaresi was invited to testify along with five other experts from trade associations, universities, and think tanks.

A key highlight of the hearing was captured in a Twitter posting when Congressman David McKinley of West Virginia asked what would be the key things that could be done in the short-term to lower U.S. gasoline prices.
Lucian Pugliaresi’s reply included the following three points:
 – lower RVO/RFS
 – national RVP standard
 – temporarily suspend the Jones Act
The Tweet can be found here.
The video of the hearing can be found here.
Lucian Pugliaresi’s testimony can be found here.
On Thursday July 14, 2022, the Westchester County Association (WCA) held their first Sustainable Business Conference. Focusing on the implementation challenges of New York State’s 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and other related legislation, the WCA convened an afternoon of panels, plenary events, and a networking reception to discuss approaches and feasibility.
EPRINC’s Max Pyziur participated in the Conference’s panel discussion “Moving New York to a Low Carbon Future – How Can We Get There?” Max’s presentation underscored the scale of the challenge in the context of global and U.S. GHG emissions, as well as offering perspective on implementation risk by reviewing key power grid events in California and Texas.

EPRINC Trustee, OIES Research Associate, CEBRI International Board Member Ivan R. Sandrea Silva and EPRINC President Lucian Pugliaresi have authored a paper entitled “The Low Carbon Energy Transition: A window of opportunity for a new phase of economic development in Africa and Latin America?” This paper is directly related to a presentation given by Ivan at the CEBRI  online conference called “Sustainability and the New Energy Economy in a Multipolar World.” A pull quote from the paper is below:

“In the African and Latin American regions, climate change concerns and the energy transition have received a lot of negative and positive attention and is building significant support especially among the growing youth. But the energy transition is also causing recurring dislocations for both global and regional leaders, the industry, investors, and policymakers. The environment itself is also being affected, and ironically, the level of confidence for the net zero path is dropping as rising energy prices hit the region’s economies. This is because the energy transition “movement’ in the Western world is occurring in a very disorganized and uncoordinated manner, and that is where we see both a major problem unfolding and an opportunity for the leading economies and leaders.”

China has emerged as a key player in the global natural gas market in the past decade, surpassing Japan as the top natural gas importer and the largest LNG importer in 2018 and 2021, respectively. China’s role in determining Asian natural gas trends—especially, gas pricing and LNG trade—is increasingly important as the country looks to replace greater volumes of coal with natural gas to implement its programs to reduce local air pollution. As part of EPRINC’s China Series, this publication evaluates market and policy trends in China and projects the country’s natural gas and LNG demand through 2030.

As the Senate Judiciary Committee is taking up a vote on NOPEC, EPRINC is re-releasing this 2019 article published in Real Clear Energy on NOPEC legislation.

“The legislation would remove a long standing practice that grant nation-states freedom from legal jeopardy under established “Sovereign Immunity” provisions in U.S. and international laws. While undertaking measures to stop anti-competitive practices seems like a good idea, the legislation is bad law and unlikely to achieve any of its goals.”

Subscribe

Get the latest news and updates on energy economics and policy issues.

Follow

Follow us on Twitter to get the latest updates from us in real-time.