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Earth Institute Research Projects

US Energy Diplomacy

Lead PI: Tim Boersma, Corey Johnson

Unit Affiliation: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP)

March 2018 - Ongoing
Active
South America ; North America ; United States
Project Type: Research Outreach

DESCRIPTION: The oil and gas boom has turned the US energy landscape upside down, with ripple effects around the world. This transformation has given rise to discussions of how Washington can leverage these newly found riches to its advantage internationally. The emerging literature in this field seems to agree that major benefits accrue to those nations that produce massive amounts of hydrocarbons but too often misses a clearly defined starting point for analysis, for instance regarding the division of labor between public and private actors.

The Obama administration was the first to have this “tool” in its diplomatic toolbox and made repetitive claims about how American resources were going to be used to help allies in, for instance, Europe. The transition to the Trump administration brought with it numerous policy changes, including on the diplomatic front, though the mantra to “unleash” US resources into the world has suggested continuity, rather than change, absent the tone of diplomacy.

This paper examines the history of US energy diplomacy and how it has been altered by the US oil and gas boom. It then explores the limitations of US energy diplomacy and provides a case study to illustrate areas where it has come up short and areas where it has found success.