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By the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) reckoning, some 5.5 million barrels of oil — 6% of world demand — get burned daily as bunker fuel on the high seas. Those bunkers are the world’s last big sink for high sulfur residual fuel oil (HSFO), the "bottom of the barrel,” as air-emission rules for ships have to date remained relatively loose. Tighter sulfur regulations may soon change that, with far-reaching impacts for the shipping industry, energy markets and air emissions from ships.

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The removal of economic sanctions against a country is not merely a legal event, it is also an important strategic event, intended to facilitate policy and to ensure that the country that was sanctioned avoids doing the behavior in the past that led to sanctions. To help inform public debate on this complex topic the Center on Global Energy conducted research into the case of Myanmar. In this paper, former Treasury Department (OFAC) official Peter Kucik examines the case of Myanmar, its reintegration into the global economy and global financial sector, and lessons learned.

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Like the oil market itself, the oil producing countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are at a crossroads. These countries – which include both members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar, and non-members like Bahrain and Oman – collectively account for the lion’s share of world crude oil and LNG exports.

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In Fall 2015, the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University convened a group of experts from academia, government, industry, nongovernmental organizations and research institutions for a roundtable in London to discuss the implications

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In a new paper for the Center on Global Energy Policy, Dr. Johannes Urpelainen, Associate Professor of Political Science at Columbia University and a Faculty Affiliate at the Center, and his co-authors examine the impact of low oil prices on global fuel subsidies across a number of dimensions. First, the paper explains the benefits of fuel subsidy removal and how low oil prices can enable action. Second, it summarizes key lessons about political obstacles to reform based on original research and the existing literature. Finally, it offers action-oriented recommendations for national and international policymakers, as well as social scientists.

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In a new paper for the Center on Global Energy Policy, Fellow Adrian Lajous, who served as CEO of PEMEX from 1994 to 1999, explains why it is critical that Mexico’s government take time to examine the lessons that can be gleaned from the experience of its first two bidding rounds and move carefully in the bidding process for oil fields open to foreign participation. Critically, he argues the Mexican government must be highly selective in the acreage that it will bid out in the coming months, cautiously sequence and pace tenders, and carefully consider a number of deferrals.

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The dramatic fall in oil prices since mid-2014 has raised questions about whether the availability of cheap crude could derail the movement toward lower carbon energy sources, which has been gathering momentum in the last decade and is important to the stabilization of the world’s climate. In a new paper for the Center on Global Energy Policy, Dr. Geoffrey Heal, Donald C. Waite III Professor of Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School, and his co-author Karoline Hallmeyer explore the ways in which oil competes with renewable fuels and examine the impact a lower oil price environment may have on them.

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In this paper, Ambassador Carlos Pascual, non-resident Fellow and former Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs at the US Department of State, provides a new analytic foundation to assess how investment decisions and government policy will influence national security, economic growth, and environmental sustainability.

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In a new paper for the Center on Global Energy Policy, author Francisco Monaldi, Baker Institute Fellow in Latin American Energy Policy and Adjunct Professor of Energy Economics at Rice University, provides an examination of the difficulties facing Venezuela in light of its dependence on revenues from oil exports and the issues facing the energy sector, which have become more acute in the lower price environment seen over the past year.

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In this paper, author Keith Benes, non-resident Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy, provides background on how the existing global and regional trade regime applies to energy for policy-makers and US-EU negotiators working on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

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