Thijs Van De Graaf invited for lecture at Balsillie School of International Affairs (Canada)

Monday 26 February 2018

In this talk on 15 March 2018, Thijs Van de Graaf argues that two profound shifts in technology and markets are disrupting the oil industry and present a fundamental threat to oil rentier states. In the short term, traditional oil firms and exporters will feel ongoing pressure from the shale revolution, a disruptive technology that has unexpectedly and permanently driven down the cost of producing crude oil. In the medium term, the industry must confront a peak and eventual decline in demand as evolving consumer preferences and innovation will steadily push oil out of all but a few activities. Together, these shifts are reflective of a new ‘energy order’, in which oil is no longer an exhaustible resource, oil trade flows increasingly shift to the Asia-Pacific, and oil prices exhibit greater short-term volatility amid a long-term declining trend. These shifts have big implications for oil rentier states. The low oil prices of 2014-2017 are used as a natural experiment to assess the impacts of lower oil revenues on the two largest oil-exporting countries, Saudi Arabia and Russia. The analysis exposes the vulnerability of both countries to lower oil rents, and shows how the downturn has created pressures for short-term adaptation and long-term transformation.

About The Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA):

The Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA) is an institute for advanced research, education, and outreach in the fields of global governance and international public policy. As a hub in a global network of scholars, practitioners and students, our mission is to develop new solutions to humanity’s critical problems, to improve global governance now and in the future, and to contribute to enhancing the quality of people’s lives around the world.

Founded in 2007 by philanthropist Jim Balsillie, BSIA is an equal collaboration among the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), the University of Waterloo (UW), and Wilfrid Laurier University (Laurier). The collaborating institutions bring to BSIA different but complementary strengths, so they have different roles and responsibilities. The two universities employ BSIA faculty and offer BSIA’s academic programs, while CIGI, as a think tank, uses its in-house expertise and its worldwide network of practitioners to help inform and guide BSIA’s outreach and collaborative research. The BSIA is also the home to three research centres with an international profile – the Academic Council for the United Nations System (ACUNS), the International Migration Research Centre (IMRC) and the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems.

The unique integration of the collaborating institutions’ approaches and cultures gives BSIA an unmatched ability to promote vigorous engagement across boundaries of discipline and practice, to connect today’s experts with tomorrow’s leaders in critical debate and analysis, and to achieve—in all its work—the highest standards of excellence.