ENRGYENV 898 - Energy Focused Gate

Course Description

Energy GATE
U.S. Policy, Politics and Economics of Western Hemisphere Energy

This course will introduce students to the issues which attend the current efforts to achieve Western Hemisphere energy independence, implications of the new shale extraction technologies, the key Washington elements engaged in managing the U.S. energy sector and the politics that inform the policy making process.  Students will participate in classroom sessions during the term (1 meeting per week) and then travel to Washington, D. C. Houston, Texas and, time permitting, one of the new centers for the booming shale production.

This course will explore issues related to the discovery of new oil and gas deposits and how advances in technology have in recent years transformed expectations for Western Hemisphere energy production. In particular U.S. energy production has surged as hydraulic fracturing has made inaccessible shale deposits of gas and oil economically viable.  Canada has become the United States’ largest foreign supplier of petroleum.  Mexico and Venezuela remain important suppliers of oil and Venezuelan reserves have been acknowledged by OPEC as the world’s largest.  The successful development of Brazil’s deep-water deposits promises to turn that country into a significant exporter.  Brazil and the U.S. are also the world’s largest ethanol producers and both governments are interested in encouraging the further development of the renewables.  Foreign policy considerations, the realities of international energy markets and differing views of the exigencies of environmental stewardship all inform the debates that swirl around the increasingly dynamic U.S. energy sector.