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Showing posts for "politics"

The IEA on Sudan and South Sudan

by Blake Clayton

In today’s monthly Oil Market Report (OMR), the International Energy Agency (IEA) weighed in on how it sees the recent hostilities and pipeline tariff deal between Sudan and South Sudan affecting oil production there through 2013. This is hardly an academic question. The loss of South Sudan’s oil has been one force putting upward pressure on global prices this year, and oil is critical to the economy and stability of both countries.  The IEA’s bottom line? Don’t hold your breath for things to get much better, at least in terms of oil production, despite last weekend’s encouraging developments. And plenty can still go wrong. Read more »

Guest Post: Energy Reform in Mexico

by Michael Levi

Mexico’s recent elections made headlines around the world. In this guest post, my colleague Shannon O’Neil examines Mexico’s President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto’s promises to reform the oil industry, and the likelihood that Peña Nieto will be able to accomplish what his predecessor could not. Check out her blog, Latin America’s Moment, to read more about Mexico’s recent elections or its energy sector. Read more »

John Roberts, Environmental Economist

by Michael Levi

Commentary in the aftermath of Thursday’s Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act has focused on its immediate political and policy consequences and on the limits it articulates to the authority of Congress to regulate commerce. But there’s something else worth paying attention to: in upholding the ACA on the grounds that it is an exercise of congressional taxing authority, it appears to affirm the broader legal foundation for taxing private behavior that has damaging social consequences. That, of course, is a fundamental piece of environmental economics. Read more »

Is U.S. Energy Independence Possible?

by Blake Clayton

It depends on how you define it.

Take oil, for example. The recent, sustained downturn in U.S. oil imports is already the talk of the town, but to recap: The United States is importing far less foreign oil to satisfy its domestic needs than it was even a few years ago. This trend is very likely to continue in the coming years. Read more »

The Oil Company That Doesn’t Want to Create Too Many Jobs

by Michael Levi

It is nearly impossible to read a pitch for expanding U.S. oil and gas production without being confronted with impressive estimates of how many jobs it will create. Wood Mackenzie has estimated that expanded oil and gas production could support 1.4 million new jobs by 2030. Citigroup has claimed an upside potential of as many as 3.6 million jobs from new oil and gas production by 2020. Read more »

Is Oil Shale the Next Big Energy Battle?

by Michael Levi

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing last week titled “Tapping America’s Unconventional Oil Resources for Job Creation and Affordable Domestic Energy: Technology & Policy Pathways”. I had assumed that the hearing would highlight attacks on Obama administration policies toward shale gas, shale oil, and Keystone XL, all of which have been prominent in the news. Read more »

An Anti-Speculative Frenzy

by Blake Clayton

I was worried that my defense of speculation in the oil market, published this week on ForeignAffairs.com, was late to the game, but my timing turned out to be right on. Just yesterday, an op-ed appeared in the New York Times by Joseph P. Kennedy arguing that “pure” speculators should be “banned from the world’s commodity exchanges.” Read more »

In Defense of Speculators

by Blake Clayton

You’re not going to win any popularity contests being a speculator in the oil market these days. As if Occupy Wall Street weren’t bad enough, a significant percentage of the American public is convinced that speculation is the reason why it’s costing them so much to fill up the tank. Comments by President Obama, Attorney General Holder, and Congressional leaders suggesting that speculators may be to blame for pushing oil prices higher over the last few months have added heft to these claims. Read more »

Americans Don’t Seem to Want Lower Gas Prices

by Michael Levi

It’s difficult to open a newspaper or turn on the TV without hearing that Americans are apoplectic about skyrocketing gas prices. If ever there was a moment to channel public anger toward policy progress, this would seem to be it. So I was intrigued to see a new poll from Hart Research Associates, commissioned by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, which tests a series of messages about gas prices and policy responses to see which ones would work best. Read more »