• Primary Program Policy and Decision Science
  • Research Interests Energy transition, climate change and oil markets

Biography

Paul is a research fellow in the Policy and Decision Sciences program. He is a former journalist and energy market analyst with over 25 years of experience in international energy markets. He opened the first Gulf Cooperation Council bureau for the oil price reporting agency S&P Global Platts in Dubai in 1989 and later launched the first regional office for Argus Media. Paul has attended numerous OPEC meetings and written extensively about the oil industry in publications such as Platts Oilgram News, Argus Global Markets, and the Petroleum Economist. He was also the senior advisor to the Secretary-General at the World Energy Council (WEC).

 

 

Publications

See all Paul’s publications
  • Discussion papers
Energy Governance in China: The Structures and Processes of Government Decision-Making

Energy Governance in China: The Structures and Processes of Government Decision-Making

This paper describes the current governance structure of China’s energy sector. The interplay between central government, the Communist Party, regional governments and key economic actors within the framework of China’s five-year planning processes are complex and constantly evolving. As such, the structure and processes for energy governance are similarly complex. The oversight and process for governing China’s energy sector will continue to change as the country transitions from an emerging to a mature economy. This paper provides an overview of how key decisions in the energy sector are currently made, implemented and monitored in China as the country is consolidating its policy and decision making processes. The paper’s aim is to provide insights for those outside China who wish to better understand Chinese energy governance, from policymakers, researchers and academics, to diplomats, or corporations wishing to invest in the country.

May 14, 2019
India’s Balancing Act to Address Climate Change Under the Paris Agreement

India’s Balancing Act to Address Climate Change Under the Paris Agreement

As an emerging economy, a major part of India’s nationally determined contribution (NDC) under the Paris  Agreement is an emissions intensity target. With its current policies, India is on track to achieve its climate targets under the Agreement. However, the Indian government is balancing a complicated set of domestic priorities and constraints against its wish to be seen as a global leader on climate change. This paper, based on field research in India, outlines the key findings from a set of interviews regarding the implementation and enhancement of India’s NDC: Coal is still the cheapest source of baseload electricity in India and will continue to be its main fuel source for electricity. India is constrained in its ability to prioritize climate change objectives by the need to expand energy access and for low-cost energy. India would like to be seen as a leader on climate change, particularly when compared to other emerging economies such as China, whose targets are treated as a benchmark. This wish is balanced against its need to continue its economic expansion. India tends to take a conservative approach to international commitments. The Prime Minister of India has the final say on climate policy matters, but consults with and is advised by a small number of actors in his Council on Climate Change. Think tanks play a major supporting role in climate policymaking.

December 12, 2018
OPEC Oil Production Data: The Role of Secondary Sources

OPEC Oil Production Data: The Role of Secondary Sources

OPEC oil production data is a key to understanding not just global energy balances but also the international oil market. Historically, most OPEC oil production figures are opaque as governments either consider them to be confidential and do not publish the data or publish numbers that many analysts consider to be unreliable. The OPEC Secretariat publishes production data on the basis of estimates produced by ‘secondary sources.’ These include S&P Global Platts, Argus Media, Energy Intelligence Group, IHS-Markit, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA). Even though the OPEC Secretariat makes it clear that its data comes from such secondary sources, its production figures are often mistaken as primary data. Key insights Secondary sources play a critical function in collating OPEC oil production data that is widely used by international oil markets and by the OPEC Secretariat itself. The methodology used by these data providers to collect oil production data varies little between organizations and includes a mix of confidential sources, government statistics, shipping and port data, and tanker tracking information. The robustness of data published by secondary sources varies by country and secondary source, with production from some OPEC countries such as Iran particularly opaque. Tanker tracking techniques using Automatic Identification System monitoring and satellite imagery are still in their infancy and do not provide sufficiently robust data to give an alternative to secondary sources. Although much of the data secondary sources collate is unverifiable, there are currently no alternative sources or methodologies that are more robust.

November 17, 2018
The Politics of European Union Climate Governance

The Politics of European Union Climate Governance

The European Union (EU) is facing a critical period as the European Commission draws up a 2050 climate strategy roadmap that is likely to form the basis for the EU’s next nationally determined contribution to the COP21 Paris Agreement. Until recently, the UK was the undisputed leader of the coalition of EU member states (the Green Growth Group) seeking more ambitious climate targets. Brexit, however, is likely to put an end to the UK-driven focus on market  instruments to achieve climate targets. Instead, the Commission is now likely to turn to policies prioritizing emissions and energy targets. Key insights: The United Kingdom (UK) exit (Brexit) from the European Union (EU) is likely to strengthen the resolve of the EU to maintain global leadership at the Conference of Parties (COP). Brexit is likely to contribute a changed approach toward climate policy from a focus on market instruments to policy targets. A struggle has emerged for leadership within the Green Growth Group, with many coalition members seeking more ambitious climate targets. Despite some changes in governments, the national climate position of EU member states remains stable. Poland, perhaps supported by other coal-dependent countries, is likely to remain an obstacle to more ambitious EU climate targets.

October 25, 2018
Assessment of the Political Feasibility of Developing a GCC Power Market

Assessment of the Political Feasibility of Developing a GCC Power Market

Countries in the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, commonly known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), established a regional power grid to support member countries’ high voltage networks in 2001 but, to date, the system has remained underutilized. The intended purpose of the grid was to provide backup electricity during emergencies caused by power system outages, especially during the summer, and to share spinning reserves, optimize capital investments in electricity and reduce fuel costs. The grid has been fully operational since 2011 and has satisfied its intended purpose. However, GCC member states have largely failed to take advantage of options associated with the grid to trade electricity. This paper uses the KAPSARC Toolkit for Behavioral Analysis platform, a model of collective decision-making processes developed at KAPSARC, to examine the political feasibility of expanding the utilization of the GCC grid to include trading electricity.

October 4, 2018
The Political Feasibility of Policy Options for the UAE’s Energy Transition

The Political Feasibility of Policy Options for the UAE’s Energy Transition

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has said it wishes to transition toward a less carbon-intensive energy system, both as part of its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and as one of a number of investments in ‘green’ research and development, technology and power generation. However, given the complexity of the UAE political system, which requires consensus among seven relatively sovereign and independent emirates, as well as commercial and financial interests, it is not immediately clear which policy instruments that might drive the UAE energy transition will prove acceptable and politically plausible. Here, we apply the KAPSARC Toolkit for Behavioral Analysis (KTAB) platform, a model of collective decision-making processes (CDMPs), to assess the political will to agree to and to implement an array of different policy alternatives within the current UAE context.

October 10, 2017

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