Journal Article

Fossil fuel producers under threat

Frederick van der Ploeg

in Oxford Review of Economic Policy

Published on behalf of The Oxford Review of Economic Policy Ltd

Volume 32, issue 2, pages 206-222
Published in print January 2016 | ISSN: 0266-903X
Published online April 2016 | e-ISSN: 1460-2121 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxrep/grw004
Fossil fuel producers under threat

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  • Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
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Oil and gas producers face three threats: prolonged low oil and gas prices, tightening of climate policy and a tough budget on cumulative carbon emissions, and technological innovation producing cheap substitutes for oil and gas. These threats pose real risks of putting oil and gas producers out of business. They lead to the problem of stranded assets and a significant downward valuation of oil and gas producers. This calls for divesting from and shorting coal, oil, and gas. The economies of oil- and gas-rich countries are typically in a deplorable state, since they did not use their past windfalls to build up buffers and invest in a diversified economy. More rapacious depletion of their oil and gas reserves will not help. After the crash in oil and gas prices these countries are facing serious problems and it is difficult to see how they will cope with the outlined threats.

Keywords: fossil fuel producers; low oil and gas prices; climate policy; technological innovation; stranded assets; rapacious depletion; E62; F41; G11; O33; Q33; Q34; Q35; Q40; Q54

Journal Article.  9448 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook ; Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance ; Economics ; Technological Change; Research and Development ; Non-renewable Resources and Conservation ; Energy Economics ; Environmental Economics

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