Karen Timmerman - The Strategic Picture of Oil and U.S. Energy Policy Recommendations for the Next Decade

In the next decade, the world will see great changes in the strategic picture of oil. World petroleum demand will increase with consumption as countries with emerging markets use oil to fuel their growing economies, though this demand will be slightly lessened as alternative energy options are explored and eciency improves. Supply will narrowly keep up with demand as new sources of oil are discovered or become available, while the potential for disruption of world oil ows, especially in the Middle East, may take millions of barrels a day o of the market. The shift in the past century from international oil companies to state-owned oil company dominance will either encourage greater transparency in the coming decade in an eort to promote ecient budgeting and good governance or cause economic damage and interfere with production as states succumb to the resource curse. Finally, the world will see an increase in environmental damage related to the exploitation and use of oil that if not checked, may have the potential to disrupt oil production and bring supply down. In light of what the future strategic picture of oil will resemble over the next decade, I propose an energy policy for the United States that focuses primarily on the innovation and implementation of alternative forms of energy in several sectors, especially transportation, to fulll our goal of reducing oil consumption by 10% over the next 10 years. Eorts must also be placed upon maximizing extraction capacity from the oil shale in the Western U.S. that could provide a buer against high oil prices. The next concern of the United States is the management of global risks that could interrupt supply and demand, especially in the Middle East. Finally, the United States must encourage global transparency for both international and state-owned oil companies through international organizations in an eort to promote budgeting and good governance, which may help to prevent domestic issues that have the potential to disrupt a countries’ oil production.
Karen Timmerman is a graduating senior from Brookfield, CT with a major in International Relations and a minor in Biology.  She is a member of the Delta Gamma Fraternity for Women and plays an active role in Lehigh University's Global Union.  She plans on attending graduate school for IR in the future, but for now is taking a couple of years off to work, travel, and learn languages.