Stories by Amy Myers Jaffe

Expert Voices

Despite rise in U.S. oil production, OPEC still steers global prices

A general view shows oil pumping jacks and drilling pads at the Kern River Oil Field
The Kern River Oil Field in Bakersfield, Calif. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

Saudi Arabia announced an oil production cut of 500,000 barrels per day on Tuesday, just weeks after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said "U.S. friends in the Middle East" would compensate for the drastic decline in Venezuelan oil production driven by U.S. sanctions.

Why it matters: Although U.S. production continues to rise, it still accounts for only 11% of global consumption, compared to OPEC’s 32%. The recent supply cuts illustrate that sudden disruptions and U.S. sanctions that take oil out of the market can put OPEC, and Saudi Arabia specifically, back in charge of global oil prices.

Expert Voices

Green New Deal could support needed upgrades to energy infrastructure

A down transformer is photographed in Paradise, Calif., on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018.
A downed transformer in Paradise, Calif., on Nov. 10, 2018. Photo: Randy Vazquez/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images

The sweeping ambition of the Green New Deal (GND) has raised questions about how it will be paid for. But it’s important to consider how its potential outlays might intersect with investments that will need to be made anyway to replace aging U.S. energy infrastructure.

The big picture: The U.S. already needs to increase its infrastructure investment by more than $3.8 trillion by 2040 in clean water, energy and electricity, transportation networks and telecommunications. The GND could offer a way for policymakers to direct the infrastructure repair and upgrading that already needs to be done in service of fighting climate change.

Expert Voices

Qatar's OPEC exit signals intensifying energy competition beyond oil

Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, Qatari Minister of State for Energy Affairs, speaks during a press conference in the capital Doha on December 3, 2018.
Qatari Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi at a press conference in Doha, on December 3, 2018. Photo: Anne Levasseur/AFP via Getty Images

In announcing Monday that it would leave the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Qatar emphasized an intention to enhance its standing as the world’s leading natural-gas producer and as “a reliable and trustworthy energy supplier across the globe.” The tiny emirate, currently under a Saudi-led blockade, plans to increase its annual production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from 77 million tons to 110 million tons in the coming years.

Why it matters: Qatar’s withdrawal from OPEC is a slap in the face of Saudi Arabia, which plays a leadership role inside the organization. It also reflects changes in global energy markets, where the competition among different fuels — coal, oil, nuclear, renewables and natural gas — is intensifying as major economies seek to decarbonize.

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