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Oil to lithium, the energy transition is shuffling the cards for global politics

6 episodes
  • 1
    How decisions around energy shape geopolitical power
  • 2
    Gas: intermediate energy source or energy of the future?
  • 3
    Oil in murky waters: pressure on prices and uncertain demand
  • 4
    Predicted scarcity of metals and rare elements are causing geopolitical tensions
  • 5
    “Carbon diplomacy is an issue of power and sovereignty”
  • 6
    Energy transition: a gold-mine for countries of the “Lithium Triangle”?
Épisode 1/6
Anna Creti, Professor at Université Paris-Dauphine-PSL, Director of Climate Economics Chair and Associate Director of Economics of Gas Chair
On May 13th, 2021
3 mins reading time
Anna creti
Anna Creti
Professor at Université Paris-Dauphine-PSL, Director of Climate Economics Chair and Associate Director of Economics of Gas Chair

Key takeaways

  • In coming years, the energy transition will alter demand for resources with a global geopolitical impact.
  • Historically, geopolitical tensions due to raw materials are most linked to oil with prices as fluctuating as much as $145 in 2008 to $50 in 2009.
  • In Europe, natural gas has also played a role, considered as one of the main geopolitical threats to Europe between 2006 and 2009.
  • As the world towards reduces its carbon emissions, demand for new raw materials like lithium will, in turn, could shift the focus of geopolitical power to other regions such as Latin America.
Épisode 2/6
Olivier Massol, Professor at the Centre for Energy Economics and Management at IFP School
On May 13th, 2021
4 mins reading time
Olivier Massol
Olivier Massol
Professor at the Centre for Energy Economics and Management at IFP School

Key takeaways

  • After 15 years of growth supported by the American shale gas boom, this energy source – which represents 25% of global consumption – is at a crossroads.
  • Proponents of gas consider that its “golden age” is far from over, given the abundance of resources at a reasonable price and its industrial infrastructure, which could be reused for “green gas” (bio-methane, hydrogen).
  • Those in favour of moving away from gas believe that demand could decrease with the momentum of public policies aimed at reducing emissions.
Épisode 3/6
Patrice Geoffron, Professor at the University of Paris-Dauphine and Director of Center of Energy and Climate Change Economics (CGEMP)
On May 13th, 2021
3 mins reading time
Patrice Geoffon
Patrice Geoffron
Professor at the University of Paris-Dauphine and Director of Center of Energy and Climate Change Economics (CGEMP)

Key takeaways

  • For the first time, due to the pandemic, investments from oil majors in low-carbon technologies are higher than budgets allocated to oil and gas exploration and production.
  • It looks like the downturn on the oil market is here to stay – the crisis appears to have altered demand in a lasting way, due to our lifestyle shifts (remote working, e-learning, telemedicine).
  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) believes that total energy demand will increase by only 4% over this decade (versus 12% predicted before the pandemic), the lowest level of growth since the 1930s.
Épisode 4/6
Emmanuel Hache, Economic analyst at IFP Énergies nouvelles
On May 13th, 2021
3 mins reading time
Emmanuel Hache
Emmanuel Hache
Economic analyst at IFP Énergies nouvelles

Key takeaways

  • Some metals that are required for low carbon technologies could be running short by 2050 – specifically, copper, cobalt and, to a lesser extent, lithium.
  • China is investing heavily in mining subsidies and companies in the lithium sector in order to secure their supply for battery production.
  • Several countries (Chile, Bolivia, Argentina, Democratic Republic of Congo) with abundant resources could benefit from increased demand.
Épisode 5/6
Clément Boulle, Executive director of Polytechnique Insights
On May 13th, 2021
4 mins reading time
Marc-Antoine Eyl Mazzegga
Marc-Antoine Eyl-Mazzega
Director of the Energy & Climate Centre at the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri)

Key takeaways

  • The European Union is planning to introduce a carbon border adjustment mechanism.
  • It aims to penalise foreign manufacturers (rather than European manufacturers) and avoid “carbon leakage” (e.g. production being transferred overseas).
  • Carbon is becoming a matter of diplomacy, as shown by Poland’s nuclear program that was adopted to reduce its carbon footprint and end its diplomatic isolation in the EU.
Épisode 6/6
María Eugenia Sanin, Lecturer in Economics at the Université d'Evry
On May 13th, 2021
4 mins reading time
Maria Eugenia Sanin
María Eugenia Sanin
Lecturer in Economics at the Université d'Evry

Key takeaways

  • Argentina, Chile and Bolivia constitute the “Lithium Triangle”, a region that holds about 60% of global lithium resources. Peru has also recently discovered lithium hard rock deposits.
  • With the increasing demand for batteries, lithium production is estimated to increase exponentially in coming years.
  • Also, as much as 55% of energy generated in the LAC region is renewable, making it an important future hub for the production of green hydrogen.
  • To fully exploit the potential of these resources, the Latin America-Carribean region will need to implement sufficient regulation, pursue strategic alliances and invest in R&D.

Contributors

Anna creti

Anna Creti

Professor at Université Paris-Dauphine-PSL, Director of Climate Economics Chair and Associate Director of Economics of Gas Chair

Anna Creti holds a PhD from the Toulouse School of Economics and a post-doc from the London School of Economics. She has previously worked at the Toulouse School of Economics, Bocconi University, the University of Nanterre and has visited the University of California Santa Barbara and Berkeley. She has also studied in depth competition and utility regulation in Europe, and the link between energy, climate and environmental regulation. She is now full professor at Université Paris-Dauphine-PSL, Director of the Climate Economics Chair (Un. Dauphine) and Associate Director of the Economics of Gas Chair (U Dauphine, Toulouse School of Economics, IFPEN, Ecole des Mines)

Olivier Massol

Olivier Massol

Professor at the Centre for Energy Economics and Management at IFP School

Olivier Massol is Professor at the Centre for Energy Economics and Management at IFP School and Executive Director of the Gas Economics Chair. His teaching and research focus on the economic analysis of energy markets and industries.

Patrice Geoffon

Patrice Geoffron

Professor at the University of Paris-Dauphine and Director of Center of Energy and Climate Change Economics (CGEMP)

Patrice Geoffron has been acting president and international vice-president of the University of Paris-Dauphine. He also directed the Economics laboratory and has been a visiting professor at Bocconi University in Milan for several years, as well as a member of the Cercle des Économistes. He heads the energy-climate team at LED which runs several research chairs (Climate Economics, Gas Economics, European Electricity Markets) and a Master's degree (Energy-Finance-Carbon). Previously, he was a member of the World Council of the International Association for Energy Economics and an expert for the Citizen’s Climate Convention.

Emmanuel Hache

Emmanuel Hache

Economic analyst at IFP Énergies nouvelles

Emmanuel Hache holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Paris I. He is research director at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations (IRIS) and an associate researcher at Economix (EconomiX-CNRS, University of Paris Nanterre). He is an economist-prospector at IFP Énergies nouvelles and leader of the GENERATE project (Geopolitics of Renewable Energies and Prospective Analysis of the Energy Transition).

Clément Boulle

Clément Boulle

Executive director of Polytechnique Insights

Clément Boulle is a journalist and entrepreneur. A graduate of École supérieure de journalisme (ESJ) in Lille, he holds an executive MBA from INSEAD. Before joining Polytechnique Insights, he spent six years developing digital marketing company Local Media, an online advertising agency for local advertisers, which he then sold. Early on in his career, he was a journalist and editor-in-chief in the La Dépêche du Midi media group. He also worked for the French Red Cross as a consultant, helping design and develop a social innovation incubator.

Maria Eugenia Sanin

María Eugenia Sanin

Lecturer in Economics at the Université d'Evry

María Eugenia Sanin leads international research projects and supervises numerous PhD students at the University of Paris Saclay. She has been a consultant in energy and environment for multilateral organisations as well as for the public and private sector in America, Europe and Africa. A post-doctoral fellow at Ecole Polytechnique, María Eugenia Sanin holds a PhD from the Catholic University of Leuven and a BA from the Uruguayan University UDELAR.