Spring 2014 Energy Policy Conference

Spring 2014 Energy Policy Conference

Thursday, May 8, 2014
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Columbia University
Morningside Campus
Low Memorial Library

Contact: Ke Wei, 212-854-2745

In celebration of our one-year anniversary, the Center on Global Energy Policy hosted a Spring 2014 Energy Policy conference, which featured keynote remarks by Helge Lund, President and Chief Executive Officer, Statoil ASA, and John D. Podesta, Counselor to President Obama.

Other speakers included: Daniel B. Poneman, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy; James E. Rogers, Retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Duke Energy Corporation; Carlos Pascual, Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Dr. Daniel Yergin, Vice Chairman, IHS, and Co-Founder, Cambridge Energy Research Associates; Lord Mandelson, Chairman, Global Counsel and former European Trade Commissioner; and Dr. Edward L. Morse, Managing Director, Global Head of Commodities Research, Citigroup. Please find the full program below.

Selected press coverage

Financial Times: White House ‘taking an active look’ at crude oil export ban

ReutersStatoil head says no worry about European gas supply amid crisis

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Oil-Export Ban is Under Review

Capital New York: Podesta previews climate change initiatives

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Conference Program (PDF)

Center Overview Document (PDF)

Welcoming Remarks
John H. Coatsworth, Provost, Columbia University

John H. Coatsworth, Provost, Columbia University, welcomed guests to the Spring 2014 Energy Policy Conference on behalf of the Columbia University community, noting that the Center in its inaugural year has become a “major focus of intellectual life at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and Columbia University.” 


 

Introductory Remarks

Jason Bordoff, Professor of Professional Practice in International and Public Affairs, SIPA; Founding Director, Center on Global Energy Policy

In his introductory remarks, Jason Bordoff, Founding Director, Center on Global Energy Policy, highlighted some of the key achievements of the Center over the past year. The Center has hosted nearly 50 public events and 20 off-the record discussions, created new programs for students interested in energy, including the Center’s Women in Energy program, and initiated research projects on an array of timely issues from U.S. energy export policy to solar deployment and shale gas development in China. The Center has also created a Fellows program that includes key energy leaders from the public, private and NGO sectors. The Center is committed to building on this momentum and fulfilling its mission of improving the quality of energy policy and energy dialogue through objective, balanced and rigorous analysis.  


 

Keynote Remarks (PDF)
Helge Lund, President and Chief Executive Officer, Statoil ASA
Followed by a conversation with Dr. Daniel Yergin, Vice Chairman, IHS; Founder, Cambridge Energy Research Associates

Helge Lund, President and CEO of Statoil, discussed the role of energy policy in economic growth and competitiveness, the future of oil majors, and the importance of a global carbon price in addressing the climate challenge. Mr. Lund noted in his keynote presentation that escalating costs have made the current operating model of the oil and gas industry unsustainable. "Half of the companies in Statoil's peer group have less than 10% return on capital, which is not acceptable in a high-risk industry. We need to improve capital efficiency, build balance sheets and work with other companies along the supply chain to reduce our costs. Otherwise, the oil and gas industry will fail in the global competition for capital and it will not be able to fulfill its mission of producing the energy that the world will need in the future." In his conversation with Dr. Daniel Yergin, Vice Chairman of IHS, Mr. Lund commented on the natural gas supply situation in Europe in light of the Ukraine crisis. "There is no problem with natural gas supply in Europe in the short term, we had a mild winter and natural gas storage is almost full. In the long-term, however, Europe cannot replace Russia as a major supplier of natural gas."

 

Keynote Remarks
John D. Podesta, Counselor to President Obama
Followed by a conversation with Jason Bordoff

John D. Podesta, Counselor to President Obama, spoke about new climate initiatives and U.S. energy exports. He noted that the Obama Administration is currently investigating a number of ways to address possible imbalances between domestic oil production and refining capacity in light of the U.S. crude oil export ban. “We’re taking an active look at what the production looks like, particularly in Eagle Ford, in Texas, and whether the current refinery capacity in the U.S. can absorb the capacity increase to refine the product that’s being produced. We’re taking a look at that and deciding whether there’s the potential for effectively and economically utilizing that resource through a variety of different mechanisms.” 

 

Conference Conversation
James E. Rogers, Retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Duke Energy Corporation with David Sandalow, Inaugural Fellow, Center on Global Energy Policy

James E. Rogers, retired Chairman and CEO of Duke Energy, discussed the physical- and cyber-security of the power grid, the future of climate regulation, and possible ways to alleviate energy poverty in a conversation with David Sandalow, Inaugural Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy. Mr. Rogers noted that the threat of a cyber or terror attack on the electricity grid is very real. "If a targeted attack simultaneously knocks out four of five critical substations in the New York area, for example, then it can take six months to completely restore the power supply in parts of the city. The industry has taken certain precautions to maintain an inventory of critical spare parts, but each substation is designed differently, which can make it very difficult to replace equipment in a timely manner in the event of a deliberate attack."

 

Conference Address

Daniel B. Poneman, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy
Followed by a conversation with Dr. Daniel Yergin

Daniel B. Poneman, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy, emphasized the role of natural gas as a bridge fuel to a cleaner energy future, and underlined the importance of financial innovation in financing clean energy investments. "Capital markets move more money in a day than governments in a year. This is what we need to tap into to transform our energy future." Mr. Poneman called the introduction of so-called “Yield Cos” – pooled renewable generation assets offering a stable yield to investors – a very promising model for mobilizing private capital for clean energy investments on a significant scale. In his conversation with Dr. Yergin, Mr. Poneman highlighted the role of government-funded research and development as well as tax breaks in bringing about the U.S. shale revolution.

 

Plenary Conversation "New Trends in Energy Geopolitics and Markets"

Lord Mandelson, Chairman, Global Counsel; Former European Trade Commissioner
Dr. Edward L. Morse, Managing Director, Global Head of Commodities Research, Citigroup
Carlos Pascual, Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Dr. Daniel Yergin
Moderator: Jason Bordoff

The plenary conversation focused on the geopolitical significance of the U.S. energy revolution and the energy-related aspects of the current crisis in Ukraine. Carlos Pascual, Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, U.S. Department of State, emphasized that the domestic energy boom is not a panacea that will make the US immune to global market developments, but added it has enabled the U.S. to bring more competition and transparency to global energy markets. Dr. Edward L. Morse of Citigroup noted that the first signs of successfully applying unconventional production methods overseas are already visible in Argentina. Lord Mandelson, former European Trade Commissioner, discussed how many policymakers in the European Union were looking at North American energy developments with “colossal envy,” as climate and energy policies in Europe have failed to deliver on the promised results. The Ukrainian crisis offers a unique chance for Europe, as well as for Ukraine itself, to advance supply diversification policies and to establish more market-based contractual arrangements vis-à-vis Gazprom, according to Mr. Pascual. Lord Mandelson noted that Russia has a lot to lose by threatening European energy supplies. Dr. Yergin, Vice-Chairman of IHS, added that Gazprom has to be very conscious about its reputation as a reliable supplier, not only toward its existing customers in Europe, but also toward the company's future buyers in Asia. 

 

Concluding Remarks
Jason Bordoff