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Friday, September 22, 2023


Experts discuss economics, security of energy at Bauer panel

A panel of energy experts helped explain the relationship between economics and energy at “The Energy Management and Policy Group Panel Discussion,” hosted by CT. Bauer College of Business on Friday at the UH Hilton Hotel.

The participants had a panel discussion over the Keystone Pipeline and North American Energy Security.

Daniel Ownsby is the director of corporate development for Buckeye Partners LP, where he manages joint ventures that Buckeye operates or owns. He spoke about pipeline installation.

“You have four different sources of moving liquids. A truck has to be low volume, takes more time to start up, the costs are high and has lots of flexibility,” Ownsby said. “Whereas pipeline low volume doesn’t work; starting time takes several years. The cost is incredible. There is no flexibility in moving.”

Ed Hirs, a clinical professor of economics at UH and a partner at Hillhouse Resources, LLC, spoke about crude oil and its benefits.

“Embedded crude oil price increase will encourage other fuels’ developments without taxes and subsidies,” Hirs said. “There is more domestic employment, GDP and, of course, domestic tax collection.”

Barry Lefer, an associate professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and a specialist on air quality, spoke about climate change.

“I moved to Houston in 2004, and I was involved in a study here in 2000, and what was special here in 2000 was (that it was the) first time Houston had worse air quality than Los Angeles,” Lefer said.

“The downward trend between LA and Houston was basically the air quality was bad 30 days a year back in the ’80s, and now it’s 60 days a year the air quality was polluted, and it was hard to breathe. This downward trend is due to primarily cleaning up the oil tanks and burning the fluid.”

The final discussion featured Loren Steffy, a business columnist for the Houston Chronicle and author of “Drowning in Oil: BP and the Reckless Pursuit of Profit.” Steffy spoke about the significant shift in North American supply and public reaction in the oil business.

“The energy companies have constantly had the problem of not moving on when there is a problem,” Steffy said. “There is a very significant shift in our North American supply situation, and it really represents a dramatic opportunity to the industry.

“Price is going to go up no matter how you look at things. My plan is revolved around the idea that we want oil to be cheap.”

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