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Energy, Security, and Climate

CFR experts examine the science and foreign policy surrounding climate change, energy, and nuclear security.

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Five Critical Questions About the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve

by Blake Clayton

Constant chatter about an impending oil release from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) was a prominent feature of the oil market last year. Much of the speculation was driven by the ongoing loss of crude from Iran, due to sanctions, and the possibility of a confrontation with Tehran over its nuclear program, which could have cut off traffic through the vital Strait of Hormuz. Read more »

Drilling into the American Energy Boom, in Four Charts

by Blake Clayton

One interesting feature of the U.S. hydrocarbon boom is the widening gap between the industry’s interest in drilling for oil and other liquids versus dry natural gas. It’s all about economics: the disparity in prevailing market prices and outlook between these commodities is dictating companies’ willingness to sink money into, and bear the risk of, trying to produce them. Read more »

An Update to the EIA’s 2006 Survey of Estimates of the Effect of Oil Prices on the U.S. Economy

by Blake Clayton

Various studies try to quantitatively relate real U.S. GDP growth, employment growth, and changes in consumer price levels to oil prices. For those of you who work on modeling these relationships, here’s an updated survey of studies in the public domain conducted over the last decade or so about how an oil price increase affects real U.S. GDP and the GDP price deflator. I’m putting these data together for some related work I’m doing here at CFR. Read more »

Three Takeaways From This Week’s OPEC meeting

by Blake Clayton

OPEC ministers met in Vienna on Wednesday to discuss the current oil market outlook and make a decision about future production levels, as well as to select a new secretary general. After deliberating, the group opted not to alter the current production ceiling of 30 million barrels per day (though they are currently pumping more than that). Nor could they agree on a replacement for the current secretary general, Abdalla Salem el-Badr, a Libyan national, choosing instead to extend his tenure an additional year starting next month. Read more »

New Study: Lessons Learned from the 2011 Strategic Petroleum Reserve Release

by Blake Clayton

As anyone who follows the oil market knows, speculation is rife that the White House may soon decide to tap the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Whether they will remains to be seen. But before officials in the United States and other International Energy Agency (IEA) member countries take any action, it’s crucial they weigh the lessons of last summer’s release of national oil stockpiles. Read more »

You’re Invited: DNC Energy Events

by Michael Levi

I’ll be in Charlotte for part of next week to speak at a couple events at the Democratic National Convention (DNC). Both are open to the public – come by if you’re in town.

On September 4, I’ll be part of a Washington Post / Bipartsan Policy Center panel on “The Next Energy Market”. We’ll be talking about the roles of different energy sources and the right way for government to shape the future of energy. The full event runs from 8-10am; my panel will be from 8:30-9:10.  Other speakers included Ed Markey, Brian Schweitzer, Mary Landrieu, and Mark Begich. Register here. Read more »

Why Allowing Natural Gas Exports Is Probably Good for Climate Change

by Michael Levi

I argued in a New York Times op-ed yesterday that the United States should allow LNG exports while guarding against downside risks to the local environment and low-income consumers. Joe Romm at the Center for American Progress has now published a 1,100-word attack on the piece. I’d normally not respond at length, but his critique hits on multiple fronts, and our two blogs have many readers in common. This post will go line-by-line through his critique and explain why it’s wrong. Read more »

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 »