• The price of oil

    3rd December 2014

    The recent falls in oil prices have come as a shock to many. Only a few months ago, the IEA and many other mainstream forecasters predicted the price would gradually go up. This fitted with the political assumptions that lay behind the dash for wind and current generation solar across Europe, and the Energiewende in Germany. Suddenly it is all change. Even the IEA has changed its tune. Europe’s dependency on Russia looks less worrying, whereas oil (and gas) producers like Russia are in real...


  • What future for vertically integrated energy companies?

    4th September 2014

    The Big 6 British energy companies are under sustained attack from politicians and the media, and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) inquiry is being urged to consider whether they should be broken up. Unsurprisingly the companies have been putting up a robust defense of their conduct, and have argued that the vertical structures are in the interests of customers. These arguments matter, but they are not the only ones – or indeed necessarily the most important. This short paper will...


  • The Return of the CEGB - Britain’s central buyer model

    26th June 2014

    Though no part of any grand plan, and certainly not by intention, the British energy market has morphed from a liberalized quasi-competitive market into one that is driven by the state. It has happened largely by accident rather than design, but it also has a remorseless political economy logic behind it. It is the unintended consequence of a long series of well-intended interventions. The result is closer to the old nationalized industry command-and-control structures, which had the Central...

    Energy Regulation

  • Ukraine, Europe and Energy

    1st June 2014

    After a short pause, the borders of east and southeast Europe are again in flux, as they have been on and off since the early Russian people established Kiev as their capital. Crimea was annexed by Catherine the Great. The British and others fought the Crimean War in the nineteenth century and Russia’s imperial expansion towards the Balkans helped to trigger the First World War. Stalin created the greatest Russian empire – the Soviet Union – which Gorbachev lost. Putin regards...

    Energy Europe Infrastructure

  • A Credible European Security Plan

    22nd May 2014

    Third in a series of Commentaries for the Energy Futures Network

    Carbon Climate Electricity Energy Europe Gas Infrastructure Nuclear Renewables

  • European energy and climate policy in the face of the Russian interventions in Crimea and Ukraine

    16th March 2014

    Second in a series of Commentaries for the Energy Futures Network

    Energy Europe Infrastructure

  • Electricity and Energy Prices

    11th February 2014

    First in a series of Commentaries for the Energy Futures Network

    Electricity Energy Europe

  • The current situation and mid-term prospects for European electricity markets

    28th January 2014

    It is fashionable to state that there are three objectives of European energy policy: security of supply, low carbon and affordability. Yet this “trilemma”—how to achieve all of these three simultaneously—is far from straightforward. None of the three objectives is well defined. What does security mean? Some suggest this means self-sufficiency, yet a moment’s reflection tells us that if in the last century Europe had pursued this, then not much economic development...

    Climate Electricity Energy Environment Europe Gas Nuclear Renewables

  • All change: the Unfolding Geopolitics of Oil and Gas in the US and the Middle East

    12th December 2013

      The geopolitics of oil has remained remarkably static for the last 40 years since the Iranian Revolution at the end of the 1970s. The stylized facts have been that the US would have to import ever more oil to meet its ever growing demand, and that the Middle East would increase its dominance. To meet this demand, the US remained committed to keeping the Gulf open, and to support Saudi Arabia as its key ally against the pariah state of Iran. The established order relied on three related...

    Energy Infrastructure

  • How long can interest rates remain low?

    22nd November 2013

    We live in extraordinary times. Real interests are negative, have been negative for several years and the forward guidance from central bankers suggests that they believe they are going to stay that way for several years to come. Yet this is a very unnatural state of affairs: the long run interest rate should roughly approximate the growth rate. Assuming that this is about two per cent then that too is roughly what the long run interest rate should be.