• “The Future of Venezuela’s Oil Industry” by Rafael Sandrea and Martin Essenfeld

    Throughout much of the developed world, there is a consensus that concern over climate change is leading to a rapid downturn in petroleum use and that petroleum will likely have a rapidly declining role in the world’s energy mix over the next 30 years. However, a rapid energy transition to a world no longer reliant on fossil fuels represents a formidable challenge and a high likelihood remains, especially in the developing world, that petroleum’s important and large contribution to the world energy mix will not be so easily displaced. Recent EIA forecasts show that world oil and gas demand has reverted to trend. Supply requirements for the end of 2022 are likely to exceed 100 million barrels/day, a remarkable recovery from a decline in liquids demands of over 15 million barrels a day in 2020 from the Covid-19 pandemic. Although Venezuelan oil production has been constrained by both technical mismanagement and sanctions, the size of its reserve base documents its potentially important role in meeting future world oil demand.

    The timing of Venezuela’s petroleum future depends on whether it can enter the world oil market under traditional commercial conditions. On June 25, 2021, the U.S., Canada, and the E.U. issued a joint communiqué that made clear that a decision regarding the timing and specifics of the sanctions on Venezuela remains the primary determining factor on when and if Venezuela can play a larger role in the world oil market.

    Even if Venezuela were somehow to find its way free of sanctions, the road back to higher production will require massive capital investment. Venezuela, which produced over 3 million barrels in day in the 1970s, is now at only 600,000 barrels per day. The authors estimate that the level of investment and amount of time required to rehabilitate the production potential of Venezuela would approach $30 billion USD in two stages:

    Stage 1 – Pre-sanctions recovery: An investment of $7-9 billion over 2-3 years to get back to production prevalent before sanctions started in 2017 (about 2 million barrels/day).

    Stage 2 – Post-recovery: An investment of an additional $20 billion/year for 2-3 years. These investments would take 4-5 years to yield additional production. This would require investment into offshore and underdeveloped onshore projects to bring them up to full production capacity. With proper investment, Venezuela can sustain a production output of approximately 2.5 million b/d over the next 20-30 years.

    The authors provide an overview of Venezuela’s production potential, and evaluate the technical obstacles that must be addressed to restore Venezuelan oil production. Their paper can be found here.

  • EPRINC Workshop on The Transport Climate Initiative (TCI): Challenges and Opportunities

    EPRINC held a virtual workshop on The Transport Climate Initiative (TCI): Challenges and Opportunities on June 16, 2021. 
    EPRINC staff, policymakers, and regional experts explored the effectiveness of the program to meet its goals of lowering greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions. Among the topics discussed were how the program fits in with U.S. and international efforts to accelerate the energy transition, an assessment of the program’s impact on consumers, implementation challenges, and opportunities for green investments.   
    The Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) is a regional collaboration of potentially 12 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia seeking to reduce consumption of petroleum-based fossil fuels in the transportation sector and introduce cleaner fuels and more effective transportation systems.  The list of potentially participating jurisdictions are: Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia.

    The agenda for the event can be found here, the presentations that were given are here, and the full video recording of the event is here.

    A report on the event was written by Ashutosh Shastri, Senior Advisor, Global Gas Centre & Distinguished Fellow, EPRINC, and can be accessed here.

  • Global Gas Centre and EPRINC Co-Host Virtual Workshop “Future of North American Natural Gas In A Carbon-Constrained World

    The Energy Policy Research Foundation and the Global Gas Centre have jointly hosted a webinar on the “Future of North American Natural Gas In A Carbon-Constrained World.” A group of about 60 industry leaders, researchers, and senior policymakers participated in the workshop on June 3, 2021.  
    GCC and EPRINC are collaborating on a joint effort to evaluate the role of North American natural gas as governments worldwide undertake efforts to accelerate the energy transition. Among the more important objectives of this joint effort are identifying recent trends and longer-term uncertainties in North American natural gas markets, government and industry initiatives to address GHG emissions and the role of natural gas both in energy markets in North America as well as in the world market as an important fuel source through LNG exports. EPRINC and GCC staff, experts, policymakers, and a cross-section of industry executives continued this discussion on the current state of the North American natural gas market and an assessment of the new regulatory environment.

    The agenda from the event is here, and the presentations that were given at the workshop can be found here. A full recording of the workshop can be accessed here.

  • “With Global Oil Demand on the Rebound, What About Supply?” By Rafael Sandrea

    EPRINC’s Rafael Sandrea has published another paper, this one entitled “With Global Oil Demand on the Rebound, What About Supply?” The piece analyzes the impact of COVID-19 and the Texas Freeze on global oil demand and supply. Rafael also examines future oil supplies moving forward into 2021 by discussing trends in exploration and providing fresh comparative economics regarding oil supply vs. renewables. 


    Rafael’s paper can be found here.

  • EPRINC Welcomes Yin Zu as New Distinguished Fellow

    Yin Zou has joined EPRINC as a Distinguished Fellow. She brings extensive knowledge and insights into U.S. and Chinese policies on energy, climate, and renewable energy. Educated in both the U.S. and China, Yin worked in Washington D.C. as a government affairs consultant for APCO Worldwide on clean energy, climate policy, trade, and investment issues. She later joined Tend, a California-based fintech company to successfully launch its mobile app in Asian emerging markets and became a serial entrepreneur passionate about bringing meaningful social change through technologies. Ms. Zou holds a dual M.A in International Relations from Johns Hopkins SAIS – Nanjing University and a Master in International Environmental Policy from American University’s School of International Service. She currently resides in New York City.


    The Pandemic and the End of Oil? The Pandemic, Peak Oil Demand, and the Oil Industry – By Michael Lynch and Ivan Sandrea

    Recent months have seen a growing crescendo of claims that a peak in oil demand may be near, or even be past. Pandemic-related changes in behavior such as working from home are predicted to persist after the emergency ends, and advances in technology are said to make oil-fueled vehicles increasingly obsolete. Michael Lynch and Ivan Sandrea have examined these arguments in a new study by the Energy Policy Research Foundation and found strong reasons for skepticism. People in post-pandemic China do not show major changes in their behavior and the increasing demand globally for SUVs implies consumers are not focused on reducing emissions. Further, battery electric vehicles perform significantly worse than internal combustion engines in key metrics, whereas the previous transition, from horses to cars, was due to major improvements in range, speed and carrying capacity, as well as convenience.

    The primary findings:

    • Many of the forecasts are aspirational rather than predictive, that is, describing what needs to happen to achieve climate goals not what is likely to happen;
    • Forecasters too often presume transient market events like the pandemic will have permanent effects;
    • Consumer behavior generally shows little desire for sustainable practices;
    • The capability of electric vehicles is being exaggerated and their shortcomings downplayed; and
    • Past transitions do not suggest a peak and a decline in oil demand is likely.

    The case for a near-term peak in oil demand is certainly more plausible than that of peak oil supply, but its popularity reflects a degree of exuberance that is not warranted by the data.

    Click here to access the paper on this topic written by primary author Michael Lynch, Distinguished Fellow with EPRINC and the author of The Peak Oil Scare and the Coming Oil Flood (Praeger 2016), and Ivan Sandrea, trustee of EPRINC and the former CEO and founder of Sierra Oil and Gas.

  • EPRINC Hosts Virtual Workshop “Keeping the Lights on in California”

    EPRINC has hosted another virtual workshop, this one entitled “Keeping the Lights on in California: Some Simple Lessons for Sustaining Reliable Power Generation.” 

    California has historically faced persistent challenges to the operation of its electric power complex. Commentators have long pointed out that a state with the fifth largest economy in the world, home to advanced technological breakthroughs and a well-educated population, should be able to figure out how to keep the lights on. The roots of the breakdown in California’s power system cannot be tied a single failure, but a perfect storm of operational setbacks, difficult environmental conditions, and technical constraints. Among the operational challenges have been an aggressive program of incorporating renewable and intermittent power generation into the utility system.
    The workshop included a discussion of EPRINC’s forthcoming assessment of California power by EPRINC’s Max Pyziur, with accompanying commentary by Erik Rakhou, the former Dutch Utility Energy regulator; KK Sharma, former Director of Operations at India’s largest utility, NTPC; Ash Shastri, EPRINC Fellow and adviser to the European Gas Center; Carmine Difiglio, Professor, Sabanci University (Istanbul); and Ed Randolph, Director, California Public Utility Commission’s Office of Energy Policy (invited). The agenda for the event can be found here and the presentations for the event are here. The workshop recording is available “on demand” here.


    EPRINC and IER Co-Host Virtual Workshop on “Understanding the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Rule for Automobiles”

    On July 27, 2020, the Energy Policy Research Foundation and the Institute for Energy Research jointly hosted a virtual workshop on the recently adopted regulation setting fuel efficiency standards for passenger cars and light trucks. 

    Current and former officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), representatives from the auto industry, EPRINC and IER staff, and a cross section of stakeholders discussed the new rule  and its broader implications for energy markets and the future of the U.S. auto industry. 

    The video recording of the workshop can be accessed here, and the presentation from Heidi King is here and the one from Max Pyziur is here.

  • EPRINC Holds Virtual Workshop: There Will Be Gas

    On Tuesday, June 16 2020, EPRINC hosted a Virtual Workshop, entitled There Will Be Gas. The discussion covered recent developments in U.S. natural gas supply and implications for the global LNG market as world economies emerge from COVID-19 lockdowns. Assistant Secretary of Energy Steve Winberg;  METI Director of Oil and Gas, Takeshi Soda; President and CEO of IEEJ, Masakazu Toyoda; EPRINC staff and fellows; and industry experts all weighed in to discuss developments in these important markets. This was an invitation-only event and space is limited to provide an opportunity for open discussion among all participants, however the workshop is now available on demand by clicking here and the presentations from the workshop can be accessed on DropBox here or by clicking the individual presentations below. 

  • EPRINC’s First Webinar, “Crisis in the Oil Market: Remembrances of the Past, Policy Responses for the Future”

    EPRINC has produced its first webinar, entitled “Crisis in the Oil Market: Remembrances of the Past, Policy Responses for the Future.” The webinar featured a roundtable discussion from EPRINC’s staff, distinguished fellows and trustees. They examined the major forces shaping the oil market since 1973-74 Arab Oil Embargo and what we’ve learned in the interim about opportunities and strategies for the industry and policy makers going forward. One of the takeaways was that yes, the crisis in the oil patch is in many ways unprecedented, but we’ve seen this movie before.

    The discussion was led by EPRINC’s president, Lucian Pugliaresi, and drew upon the knowledge base of Larry Goldstein, Michael Lynch and Ivan Sandrea. Lynch and Pugliaresi both presented some slides to facilitate the discussion, and the ones that Pugliaresi used were created by EPRINC’s Max Pyzuir. Both presentations can be found below.

    Larry Goldstein is the former president of EPRINC and a co-founder of Petroleum Industry Research Associates in New York City. Michael Lynch is a Distinguished Fellow at the Energy Policy Research Foundation and President of Strategic Energy and Economic Research. Ivan Sandrea is former CEO of Sierra Oil and Gas, a Mexican independent oil and gas company. Prior to becoming CEO of Sierra, Ivan held a number of leadership and technical positions, including senior partner at EY London, where he was responsible for global oil and gas in emerging markets, and president at Energy Intelligence.

    If you missed the webinar, it has been recorded and is available “on demand” by clicking here.

Emily Medina on the Future of the U.S.-Mexico Energy Relationship

EPRINC Fellow Emily Medina has published another piece on Mexican public policy and energy economics. This paper, entitled “The U.S.-Mexico Energy Relationship Going Forward,” examines the future of the relationship between the two countries focusing on bilateral energy integration, Mexico’s new nationalist policies, and the incoming Biden administration while keeping the geopolitics of the world in mind. The paper can be found here.

The piece has been published by Mexico Today, an English-language news service by the newspaper Reforma.

IEEJ and EPRINC Co-Host Virtual Workshop: The Role Of LNG In A Carbon-Constrained Market

The Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEEJ) and the Energy Policy Research Foundation, Inc. (EPRINC) jointly hosted a virtual workshop, “The Role of LNG in a Carbon-Constrained Market” on December 15, 2020, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm (Washington, D.C. – EST); December 16, 2020, 9:00 am – 11:00 am (Tokyo – JST).

This workshop was part of an ongoing cooperative program between IEEJ and EPRINC to explore the potential for LNG to meet rising energy demand and growing requirements for decarbonization in Asian markets. Japanese and U.S. energy research experts, senior representatives from U.S. and Japanese companies, officials from the Japanese Ministry of Economics, Trade, and Industry, and others came together for a discussion on policy and technology developments needed to address the challenges and opportunities for LNG as Asia’s growing energy consuming centers search for efforts to restrain carbon emissions and sustain economic growth.

The workshop agenda can be found here. The workshop was recorded and is accessible at this link using passcode: ?#?@s8cS

There were some excellent presentations given at the workshop, which can be downloaded here. In addition, EPRINC’s Max Pyziur provided all participants with a scene-setting presentation that is accessible here.

Rafael Sandrea and Peter Stark on Mexico’s Offshore Gulf of Mexico Production

Offshore oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico extends from the United States into Mexico. Resources from U.S. offshore lands (federal and state) have played an active role in contributing to U.S. oil and gas production and today contributes 17% of total U.S. production. Although we do not yet know the details on U.S. policy on future oil and gas development in the U.S. Gulf, the incoming administration of President-elect Biden has announced it plans to curtail or halt oil and gas development in the U.S. lands in the Gulf.

The resources in the Gulf of Mexico are shared with Mexico and credible estimates indicate that 90% of these offshore oil and gas prospects remain unexplored. Mexico has been slow to develop their offshore prospects due to capital limitations from state oil and gas company, PEMEX, which held a monopoly on development until the passing of the 2013 energy reform laws. Although private companies have had some access to oil and gas development opportunities since the energy reforms, the new Mexican administration has largely halted private sector access to offshore opportunities.

The first bid rounds for deepwater oil and gas fields in the Perdido Fold Belt and Cuenca Salina were held in 2015 and demonstrated substantial interest among private oil and gas companies. Exploratory drilling by private companies on the Mexican side of the Gulf of Mexico increased, which further demonstrated Mexico’s favorable resource development potential. In the next decade, Mexico’s initial deepwater projects awarded to private companies are expected to bring new production to Mexico in the coming years, but the pace of future development will be determined by decisions of the Mexican government on whether to permit additional bid rounds.

Authors Rafael Sandrea and Peter Stark bring a wealth of experience and expertise in evaluating the resource potential of geologic basins worldwide. Their paper on the isoOIP model demonstrates how simple and inexpensive decision support tools can continue to contribute to cost effective development of the oil and gas resources in the Gulf of Mexico.

Coal in the Asian Power Market IEEJ/EPRINC Virtual Workshop

The Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEEJ) and the Energy Policy Research Foundation, Inc. (EPRINC) have jointly hosted a virtual workshop, “Coal in the Asian Power Market: A Discussion on the Potential for LNG and Decarbonization Technologies to Address Rising Carbon Emissions” on November 5, 2020.

This workshop was part of an ongoing cooperative program between IEEJ and EPRINC to explore the potential for LNG to meet rising energy demand and growing requirements for decarbonization in Asian markets.
This virtual workshop included presentations on future prospects for coal use in China, India, Japan, and other Asian countries. The workshop examined the potential for lowering carbon emissions through greater use of LNG and carbon capture technologies. Researchers from IEEJ, EPRINC, China, and industry executives participated in a timely discussion on this critical issue. The workshop was recorded is accessible here, (use passcode: +xn7.678). The agenda from the workshop is available here, and the presentations can be found here.

EPRINC Welcomes Tristan Abbey as an EPRINC Distinguished Fellow

EPRINC is excited to announce the addition of Tristan Abbey to our team as a new EPRINC Distinguished Fellow. Tristan is President of Comarus Analytics LLC. Prior to its founding, he served for nearly a decade in senior policy roles at the Senate and the White House.

As a senior professional staff member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources from 2019 to 2020, Tristan developed and implemented Chairman Lisa Murkowski’s Strategic Energy Initiative. He also supported her efforts to address global energy market volatility at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the White House from 2017 to 2019, Tristan served as the National Security Council’s Director for Energy and Environment (also with the National Economic Council) and then as Director for Strategic Planning. His responsibilities included developing national energy strategies and overseeing policy development for critical minerals, advanced nuclear technology, and related trade and finance concerns, among other issues.

A more extensive bio for Tristan is available here.