The Norman Transcript

April 11, 2014

Leaders, industry experts discuss U.S. energy security and its impact around world

By Katherine Parker
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Intellectual dialogue was sparked Thursday between students, professors and industry experts about the impact of the U.S.’s increasing energy supply at the Price College of Business Energy Institute’s Energy Symposium.

The Symposium, titled “The Economic and Geopolitical Impact of North American Energy Security,” featured five leaders in the energy industry and focused on the dramatic growth of oil and natural gas reserves that are bringing North America closer to energy independence.

Joseph Stanislaw, founder of the advisory firm The JAStanislaw Group, served as the symposium’s keynote speaker. During his presentation, Stanislaw shared his experiences and insights on emerging energy realities.

“You’re (Oklahoma) the home of a revolution that’s shaking the world right now,” Stanislaw said.

Stanislaw then asked the audience what they would say about Russia, the United States and Saudi Arabia, before describing each in such a way that was reflective of a possible shift in geopolitics.

Russia is the only country in the world that celebrates the oil and gas industry in September, Stanislaw said. The United States may become self sufficient in energy resources in the next decade, and Saudi Arabia — a major oil exporting country — may become a zero net exporter in 15 years, Stanislaw said.

He asked the audience to think about how these statements suggest a tectonic shift in the gas and oil industry.

“Thank goodness for Oklahoma. Seriously, if we didn’t have the shale revolution taking place in gas and oil right now … Europeans don’t quite say it that way. They say, ‘You have low prices, and we can’t quite compete with you.’ But what they’re really saying is, ‘Thank goodness you’re producing it because if you didn’t produce it, the price would rise even higher.’ This is profound. Think about Saudi Arabia not exporting oil and the shape of the globe if that were the case.”

Stanislaw said energy security must go against conventional wisdom and considering the environment and energy security together would promote sustainable economic growth.

Additionally, North America’s new energy security raises many questions about the U.S.’s geopolitical influence, Stanislaw said.

“How do we influence the world and say our policy has a new strength to it?” Stanislaw said. “We have a lot of thought to do with our new strength. I don’t have the answers, but that’s where we’re going.

“This new fossil fuel abundance allows us to change the geopolitical landscape — it can, but will it? How will you (students and future energy leaders) use this new potential as a means into the future to reinvigorate the economy long term?”

Stanislaw received his Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College, an M.A. from the University of Cambridge and a doctoral degree in economics from the University of Edinburgh.

He is one of three founders of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and an adjunct professor in the Nicholas School at Duke University.

Stanislaw also co-authored two books, “The Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy” and “Energy in Flux: The 21st Century’s Greatest Challenge.”

Other symposium speakers included John Richels, president and CEO of Devon Energy. Richels discussed the sustainability of Norman American hydrocarbon resources.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from York University and his law degree from the University of Windsor. He also serves on the board of directors of both TransCanada and BOK Financial Corp.

Eric Lee, energy analyst for Citigroup, and Tom Choi, natural gas market leader for Deloitte MarketPoint LLC, both discussed the economic impact of North American Energy Security.

In their presentations, Lee and Choi said liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports will depend on a number of factors, but fears of massive volumes seem unfounded.

Choi said in his closing remarks that U.S. LNG exports are not expected to be linked to oil prices and are particularly attractive to Asian buyers who wish to decouple from oil-linked prices.

Lee received his master’s degree in international relations and international economics from John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He has contributed to major industry publications, including the Energy 2020 reports on the shale revolution.

Choi received his Master of Science from Stanford University. As an international energy economist, he has located suitable sites for chemical plants, analyzed changing European gas markets and studied the economic effects of exporting U.S. liquefied natural gas.

Robert Johnston, CEO and director of Eurasia Group’s GENR, discussed how energy security is reshaping global geopolitical dynamics.

Johnston said if the U.S. becomes a major exporter of oil and gas, the geopolitical dynamic in the U.S. will change from defensive to offensive. Russia’s gas leverage over Europe could be reduced and a new global geopolitical dynamic would emerge.

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Katherine Parker


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