Two years ago Robert McNally, President of Rapidan Energy Group and non-resident fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy, published Crude Volatility: The History and the Future of Boom-Bust Oil Prices (Columbia University Press, 2017).

Crude Volatility, the first in CGEP’s book series and the recipient of Honorable Mention for Economics at the 2018 PROSE Awards, surveyed and evaluated the history of the oil market through the prism of price stability and volatility, studying the factors that contributed to periods of relatively stable and unstable prices. McNally concluded that only during periods in which there was an effective swing producer, willing and able to adjust output to keep prices stable, were oil markets able to avoid the extreme price volatility that harms the oil industry and broader economy. He also asserted that the global oil market had been without a swing producer since 2008, which explained the wide gyration in crude prices in the period.

In late 2016, just as Crude Volatility was heading to print, Saudi Arabia and Russia spearheaded a new attempt to manage crude supplies, bringing together 25 OPEC and non-OPEC producers in what is now called “OPEC-Plus.” OPEC-Plus successfully implemented production cuts over the last two years, which some analysts credit with stabilizing prices.

Is OPEC-Plus the swing producer the oil market has been looking for? Can we expect more stable prices going forward? And what role are US shale and Washington energy policy playing in global oil stability?

To address these and other questions, the Center on Global Energy Policy hosted an event with Robert McNally and a distinguished panel of oil experts who will took stock of the analysis in Crude Volatility in light of the events over the last two years. Following McNally's presentation, he joined Jamie Webster, fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy and senior director at Boston Consulting Group's Center for Energy Impact, and Marianne Kah, adjunct senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy and former chief economist at ConocoPhillips, on a panel moderated by Antoine Halff, senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy.