Rice’s Baker Institute, Shell partner to study evolution of global energy

$2.5M Shell gift to fund research, inform public policy

The Center for Energy Studies at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy is launching a five-year research program to assess the evolution of the global energy system, including the policies, regulations, geopolitical forces, market developments and technologies that will impact the pace of the ongoing energy challenges. The research effort is being funded by a $2.5 million gift from Shell Oil Co.

Baker Institute's Center for Energy Studies“We are grateful for Shell’s commitment to advancing the study of critical energy issues affecting our region, the nation and the world,” said Baker Institute Director Edward Djerejian. “This partnership with Shell furthers our mission to provide unbiased, data-driven analysis of factors that will shape our energy future with the aim of engaging policymakers, corporate leaders and the general public with the results.”

“It’s important that we keep asking what role the United States will play in helping the world meet a growing demand for energy, while moving to a cleaner, lower-carbon system that tackles climate change and air pollution,” said Gretchen Watkins, president of Shell Oil Co. “It won’t be easy and there won’t be one solution, but many partnerships that result in collaborative research will get us closer to finding those solutions while providing society with information to plan for and realize a sustainable path forward.”

“Meeting future energy needs to facilitate economically and environmentally sustainable growth is paramount,” Ken Medlock, senior director of the Baker Institute’s Center for Energy Studies, said in discussing the importance of the research program. “The dynamic and geographically diverse nature of economic, population and energy-demand growth signals new challenges for global market participants, opens significant new opportunities and portends new geopolitical stresses.

“The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries will continue to play an important role in shaping the future of global energy markets, but the center of gravity is shifting toward non-OECD nations, where over 6.4 billion of the world’s 7.7 billion people currently reside. Understanding what this means for markets, trade, geopolitics, the diffusion of new technologies and the global energy mix is at the core of our research. Shell’s gift provides critical support for furthering this aim.” 

The Center for Energy Studies is the No. 1 energy- and resource-policy think tank in the world, according to the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program’s 2018 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report.

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.