Varun Sivaram

Energy, Security, and Climate

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

Is South Korea Undermining Sanctions Against Iran?

by Michael Levi Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Wall Street Journal delivered some disturbing news yesterday: South Korea “sharply boosted imports of Iranian crude” in April, buying 42 percent more than a year before, and 57 percent more than in March. Analysts have speculated as to whether Seoul was attempting to sneak in extra oil before European sanctions begin to bite. A more careful look at the data, though, suggests that the spike in Korean imports is less peculiar than meets the eye. Read more »

Safe Fracking Looks Cheap

by Michael Levi Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The public battle over fracking tends to emphasize extremes: some say that shale gas can’t be developed safely; others say that new regulation would kill the industry. But a third set of observers (myself included) has claimed that smart new rules would boost costs only marginally, while building public acceptance for drilling. A new study from the International Energy Agency (IEA) adds serious support to this middle way. Read more »

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

by Michael Levi Thursday, May 24, 2012

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 »

Energy and U.S. Manufacturing: Five Things to Think About

by Michael Levi Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The boom in U.S. oil and gas production has sparked talk of a manufacturing renaissance. I mentioned that somewhat skeptically last week in the context of a much broader piece on the excitement surrounding surging U.S. oil and gas output. I want to drill down on five important issues here. Some of this thinking is preliminary, so as always, feedback is most welcome. Read more »

Oil and Gas Euphoria Is Getting Out of Hand

by Michael Levi Monday, May 7, 2012

The boom in U.S. oil and gas production has spawned another gusher of increasingly hyperbolic claims about its revolutionary consequences. These are not just musings from the fringe; they’re increasingly becoming conventional wisdom, and not just among people who usually pay attention to oil and gas. An essay by David Ignatius in Saturday’s Washington Post, which relies heavily on analysis from Robin West, distills and enthusiastically endorses the emerging CW. I have a lot of respect for both men, but many of the claims that they and others are advancing have become detached from basic economic and geopolitical reality. I want to go through the Ignatius piece carefully and explain why. Read more »