Dangerous Curves Ahead: An Update on the Energy Sector

Sector Speaker: Detlef Hallerman-Director of the Reliant Energy Trade Center at Texas A & M University

Takeaway: As we transition from a fossil fuel-based economy to a ‘green’ economy, there will be many bumps in the road, and hard lessons to be learned. The transition involves moving from a free market energy world to an energy world created by government direction and consumer sentiment…and, the underlying truth of global warming. We are venturing into unknown territory.


• The ‘green movement’ is creating friction in crude oil exploration and refining markets
• One camp says ‘let the free market handle the transition’ and another camp says ‘it is too urgent to rely on markets and we must guide the process through government initiatives’
• In the meantime, coal is still the dominant fuel worldwide, and new coal burning plants are still being built in some countries
• The ‘green goal’ is to achieve an 80% energy change in a few short decades; the change is indeed underway, but it will be incremental and not brisk
• We are very slowly reducing reliance on the ‘Big 3’: coal, natural gas, & crude oil
• It takes only one year in the Permian Basin of Texas to bring a well to production status; offshore and internationally it takes much longer, hence sudden shortages in crude oil cannot be instantly be caught up
• There are a lot of government programs to accelerate battery and electricity storage development, and the solar energy to feed them, but progress is slow; solar energy cannot be created at night and wind energy cannot be created when the wind does not blow. During the Texas energy crisis during the big freeze, frozen infrastructure and no wind combined to reduce electricity generation right when we needed it the most

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