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A sustainable framework for biofuels in the European Union

October 4th, 2012 by Ignacio Perez-Arriaga, Comillas University

Biofuels are a key component of the EU strategy to improve the efficiency in transport, one of the sectors with a larger energy use and carbon emissions in Europe, and for which the European Commission has set very ambitious reduction objectives Continue reading »

Shale gas in Eastern Europe: gold for a new sheikdom or vain illusion?

June 3rd, 2012 by Cédric Jeancolas, Mines ParisTech and Elsa Merckel, Mines ParisTech

Except for the serious environmental problems brought up by their exploitation, of which we are utterly aware, what are the factors conditioning the success or the failure of shale gas exploitation in Eastern Europe?

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Are the EU’s Concerns about Gas Imports from Russia Rational?

May 22nd, 2012 by Yuri Yegorov, Faculty of Business, Economics and Statistics at the University of Vienna

Over the last few years we have been observing an irrational political confrontation between European and Russian energy strategies, something not even heard of at the times of the USSR. So let’s look at the irrationality of these confrontations from an economic perspective. Yes, Russia and Europe participate in a kind of monopolistic-monopsonistic relationship (where each side either has control of supply or control of demand) – these are naturally prone to debates about the division of the economic surplus, as both sides want to get the best possible deal out of it. But it should be possible even in these circumstances to come to some kind of rational equilibrium, where both sides benefit equally.
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Peak Oil Driving The Global Gas Shift

March 26th, 2012 by Andrew McKillop, Former Expert-Policy & Programming, DG XVII Energy, European Commission

In its February 15 report ‘Resurging North American oil production’, Citigroup’s analysts claimed that the shale gas boom was set to morph into a shale oil boom. The report said: “The concept of peak oil is being buried in North Dakota, which is now leading the US to be the fastest growing oil producer in the world. The belief that global oil production has peaked, or is on the cusp of doing so, has underpinned much of crude oil’s decade-long rally (setting aside the 2008 sell-off)”.

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A golden age for gas – but not in Europe

March 21st, 2012 by Pierre Noël, University of Cambridge

Forget the gloom about fossil fuels. True, oil is scarce; granted, coal is dirty – but natural gas is clean and plentiful. In terms of local air pollution, gas burns very cleanly indeed. In terms of greenhouse gases it emits half what coal does, per KWh generated. Unlike oil, or even coal, the world’s gas reserves are expanding dramatically. The coming decades could be a golden age for natural gas, as the International Energy Agency explored in a recent report by this title. However, it is doubtful that Europe will share in this new gas era.

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Identifying Benefits and Allocating Costs for European Cross-Border Infrastructure Projects

September 22nd, 2011 by Jean-Michel Glachant, European University Institute

The European Union is engaged in a process of market inte- gration over a long period. Cross-border energy infrastructure investments should play a key role in reaching this objective. However, cross-border investment projects having a European interest are currently undertaken only country by country with an insufficient cooperation between actors involved in such a project. Beside the lack of cooperation, the asymmetries of cost allocation and of benefit distribution of cross-border infrastructure plus the presence of economic externalities have lead to a suboptimal situation at the EU level. Continue reading »

A Vision for the EU Target Model: the MECO-S Model

August 23rd, 2011 by Jean-Michel Glachant, European University Institute

The discussion on a target model for European gas network access has been going on for a while now,officially starting with the conclusion of the 18th Madrid Forum in 2010 which invited ““the Commission and the regulators to explore, in close cooperation with system operators and other stakeholders, the interaction and interdependence of all relevant areas for network codes and to initiate a process establishing a gas market target model””.
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Shale gas price hedging: a cash machine at stake?

April 17th, 2011 by Pierre-Adrien Ludwig, Mines ParisTech

The fast development of shale gas has revolutionized the American natural gas market; shale gas production now represents more than 20% of the domestic consumption. Meanwhile, natural gas prices dropped: the NYMEX price now stagnates around $4/MMBtu from $12 in June 2008. How is it possible to ensure a fast-increasing and profitable production at such prices? Part of the answer is that producers were actually paid a much higher price, thanks to hedging strategies on commodity markets. But now, pessimistic market expectations make it harder and harder to benefit from this mechanism, putting an important share of this capital-intensive industry’s cash resources at risk.
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Natural Gas Supply Security: Is there a Rational for EU-Wide, Unique Supply Security Standards?

January 23rd, 2011 by Sophia Ruester, Florence School of Regulation (European University Institute, Florence)

Obviously, no country wants to depend on ‘insecure’ foreign supplies of an important economic input such as natural gas. However, security of supply has a cost. Therefore, we question whether there is a rational for EU-wide, unique supply security standards as have been implemented recently via the Commission’s new regulation concerning measures to safeguards security of gas supply.

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Game Changer: Plentiful Domestic Natural Gas Supplies

December 31st, 2010 by Fereidoon Sioshansi, EEnergy Informer

Sometimes events happen so fast that even the experts are baffled by the speed of developments. Barely a decade ago, when the economy was booming, many were concerned about the rapidly dwindling US domestic natural gas supplies. There was talk of the need to build multiple liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals to import the stuff from foreign sources, as far away as Qatar. For a while, the price of natural gas went as high as $12 per million BTUs. That picture has dramatically changed thanks to discoveries of non-conventional gas supplies – more plentiful than previously thought. And with stunning advancements in hydraulic fracturing technology, US Energy Information Administration has doubled its estimate of the country’s technically recoverable reserves of shale gas from 353,000 to 827,000 Billion cubic feet. How fast things change even in the slow moving energy business.
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