Publications

The Center’s research agenda emphasizes an economic and geostrategic approach to key energy policy areas. Current research programs encompass a wide variety of specific studies and topics, focused both on U.S. policy and specific regions around the world. Below is a list of research reports and working papers authored by Center staff and Fellows, ordered by most recent publication date.

Report

Richard Nephew

In a new report by the Center on Global Energy Policy, authors Richard Nephew, program director for Economic Statecraft, Sanctions, and Energy Markets at the Center on Global Energy Policy, and David Mortlock, partner and Chair of the Government Relations Group at the law firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, outline implications of the UK's decision to withdraw from the European Union in relation to the view and execution of economic sanctions policies in both regions. The paper reviews the legal and political history of EU and UK sanctions policies since the Lisbon Treaty came into effect in 2009 as well as three cases of sanctions policymaking and enforcement – against Iran, Russia, and terrorists – to identify common interests and themes, as well as differences in how the UK and EU perceived sanctions enforcement. The report concludes by offering up three observations concerning how the UK and EU will move forward in their respective sanctions policies and two recommendations for how these two entities, along with the United States, should work together to preserve the benefits that existed prior to BREXIT.

Commentary

Center on Global Energy Policy

In his latest commentary piece, Fellow Luay Al Khatteeb writes about the state of the Iraq economic and energy situation. Khatteeb indicates that, on the face of it, the advances made in 2016 by Iraqi forces in central and western Iraq against ISIS are great news for the country's oil and gas production. The retreat of ISIS is also a chance for the deadlocked Iraqi Council of Representatives (CoR) to refocus on much needed economic reform.

Yet ISIS’s retreat raises new challenges. Low prices have kept hydrocarbon revenues at a fraction of their 2014 highs, leaving momentum of production growth in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the oil-rich south difficult. Reconstructing the economies of ISIS-devastated territories will come at enormous cost and the coalition of Kurdish, Shia and Sunni forces that had united in a common fight against ISIS will come under renewed pressure.

In order to unlock the billions of dollars in oil revenues necessary for dealing with 3 million of Internally Displaced People (IDP), both Baghdad and the KRG must work, more than ever before, towards a new constitutional framework and form new arrangements in Basra and Anbar Provinces, home to the northern and southern oil fields, allowing for national level strategic planning to maximize Iraq’s broken “energy value chain.” Without this, rebuilding the freed territories will be mired in political deadlock.

Commentary

Richard Nephew

Fellow Richard Nephew argues that far from only imposing sanctions or sanctions-like authorities when U.S. interests are directly impinged, sanctions are increasingly being used as a substitute for more effective action, to avoid taking more risky (but probably necessary) action, and to address domestic political needs in the United States. Sanctions are a powerful tool but, like all instruments of statecraft, should be handled carefully to preserve their utility for future generations of American policymakers and legislators. Richard Nephew uses the example of bill H.R. 5461, or the Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act, which is to be voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives, as one example of when the United States should choose not to act (i.e. not pass the bill). He argues that while the purpose of the bill is noble and reasonable, it has a number of logical flaws and inconsistencies that argue against its passage, including: A public U.S. government report on Iranian leadership assets will not facilitate anti-corruption efforts inside of Iran; A comprehensive report will endanger U.S. intelligence collection; a thin report will prompt allegations of misconduct; This report will be a nightmare to draft, absorbing real work hours from people who are stretched; The reporting requirement is duplicative of other authorities and mandates in some ways, while confusing those lines in others.

Commentary

Richard Nephew, Matthew Robinson

There is any number of reasons why Washington lawmakers could decide to seek a ramping up of pressure against Venezuela, particularly during an election year. But, argue Matt Robinson and Richard Nephew, an even more compelling case can be made that the appropriate strategic choice was not to act and to instead permit the situation in Venezuela unravel on its own. In this, the United States has demonstrated a considered approach to statecraft by avoiding the temptation to involve itself in the situation in Caracas.

Report

Luisa Palacios

Venezuela is facing profound social and political crises, creating the circumstance of a potential catastrophe to come. Beyond the humanitarian concerns that exist, Venezuela has become a supply risk for oil markets, not only because of the multiple operational challenges it has recently faced but also due to the spiraling impact of the steep oil production declines already suffered this year. An important supplier of oil to the United States and China, Venezuela’s oil production declined by almost 230,000 barrels per day during the first six months of 2016. In this new report, author Luisa Palacios, a senior managing director at Medley Global Advisors, head of Latin America Macro and Energy Research and a Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy, explores the increasing risks posed by the troubles in this OPEC nation’s oil patch and the unprecedented economic, social and political crisis. The report notes that while the decline in production has yet to translate into a significant fall in oil exports, the most severe threats to the oil market from Venezuela are likely yet to come.

Report

Dr. Tatiana Mitrova

This paper aims to contribute to the literature on the Russia-China energy relationship by providing detailed evidence of activity in the post-sanctions period which we believe demonstrates that China in particular views the relationship in largely commercial terms, with clear political overtones. It provides a most comprehensive and up-to-date review of recent negotiations and transactions, as well as an assessment of the current state of the balance of bargaining power and cooperation between the two countries.

Report

Robert M. Hallman

The large-scale disruption of fuel supplies caused by Superstorm Sandy brought the vulnerabilities of the New York Tri-state fuel supply system into sharp relief. In the three and one-half years since the storm, concerns about extreme weather and overall energy security have only grown, leading policymakers at all levels, fuel suppliers to the region and related power providers to examine how this system can be strengthened against future risks. This report puts forward a series of recommendations to improve communications and overall situational awareness between the private and public sectors to facilitate effective response to fuel emergencies. The report concludes that the current voluntary system of information sharing is inadequate to the needs of the public sector and recommends creating mandatory requirements at various levels to address fuel crises.

Report

Center on Global Energy Policy

Fuel economy standards lie at the center of US efforts to reduce oil consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions. A new report published today by the Center on Global Energy Policy examines the effect low gasoline prices are having on this policy lever. Co-authored by Benjamin Leard, Joshua Linn, and Virginia McConnell of Resources for the Future, the report finds that, during the study period from June 2014 to August 2015, low fuel prices had only a modest effect on meeting the federally required level of fuel economy. If that finding continues beyond the study period, the authors conclude, then low fuel prices will not have a substantial effect on the average fuel economy of new light duty vehicles sales. However, the report cautions that low fuel prices may cause consumers to choose more powerful cars than if fuel prices were higher. Automakers would have to make up the difference if so, which raises the cost of complying with the regulations.

Report

Richard Nephew

One year ago, the United States and its partners concluded their negotiations with Iran on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an agreement intended to reduce the threat from Iran's nuclear program in exchange for economic sanctions relief. Implementation of the agreement began in January 2016. Richard Nephew, program director for economic statecraft, sanctions and energy markets at the Center on Global Energy Policy, who was the lead sanctions negotiator for the United States from 2013-2014, has written a report on six months' implementation of the nuclear deal, particularly with respect to sanctions relief. He concludes that sanctions relief has been stalled as much by concerns over residual sanctions as domestic regulatory factors and low oil prices globally.

Commentary

Dr. Luay al-Khatteeb

Writing in the National Interest, Fellow Luay Al-Khatteeb writes about the folly of lobbying to carve up Iraq.

Pages