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Tom ODonnell

[This bio with hotlinks is at: http://www.umich.edu/~twod/bio/ ] Dr. Thomas Wilfred O’Donnell is an international academic, expert analyst and writer working on energy and international affairs, particularly the global oil and gas systems. Regions of interest include the USA, EU (especially Germany), Russia, China and the OPEC states of the Middle-East and Latin-American (especially Venezuela, Iran and Saudi Arabia). He teaches graduate seminars in Berlin at Hertie School of Governance and undergrads at Freie Universitӓt’s FU-BEST (European Studies Program). He previously taught at The University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and The New School University (NYC). O’Donnell blogs at GlobalBarrel.com and has recently written for Berlin Policy Journal (Berlin), King’s College European Centre for Energy and Resource Security (London), Americas Quarterly (NYC/DC),Petroguía (Caracas & Latin America), AICGS (DC); reprinted in Natural Gas World, and is often interviewed by the international press. In Spring of 2015, Dr. O’Donnell was a fellow of The American Institute of Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) & The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Washington, DC interviewing US energy experts on German and EU energy vulnerabilities. He spent two full years, 2008-09, as a US Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Professor in Caracas at the Center for the Study of Development of the Central University of Venezuela (CENDES/UCV), returning several times since. He consults on energy, geopolitical and market/tech matters and is Senior Energy Desk Analyst at Wikistrat, O'Donnell's award-winning PhD thesis is in experimental nuclear physics (U. Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2000), which included research in several national and university laboratories. He is author or co-author of about 40 peer-reviewed physics papers. While doing post-doctoral physics and complex-systems research at U. Michigan, he taught social-science-focused courses in Science Technology & Society (STS) on historical technological change drawing on his industrial/scientific experience and also taught on issues of oil and geopolitics in Middle East and North African (MENA) Studies, as well as courses on the “Information Era” and “Energy and Environment,” and spent several semesters teaching in the Physics Department’s “Advanced Physics Laboratories” encompassing several subtopics. After his university studies, he spent 10+ years during the mid-1970’s to mid-1980’s working in U.S. automobile manufacturing, railways, and energy engineering, while writing and gaining a reputation in the US Midwest as an analyst and organizer of labor and social-political movements, developing extensive ties with activists and others in minority and immigrant working-class communities. This followed his initial (undergraduate) university years focused on political science and China Studies, where he had been an activist and organizer within political protest movements of the day. O’Donnell speaks English (native), Spanish (fluent) and functional German; he is fluent in various programming languages and computing environments. He resides in Berlin, accompanied by family; and maintains close professional and other ties to the USA.
Tom ODonnell has written 5 posts for China Daily Mail

Venezuelan state’s economic response to protests: Rationing plus Chinese and Russian loans to float a liberal dollar market


As protests continue against Venezuela’s faltering “oil revolution,” the political strategy of the Chavista administration is striking for its intransigence. President Maduro has refused to recognise any grievances by students or other protesters. He calls protesters “fascists” and blames them for all the ills of the economy.  Protests are attacked by the national guard and often by … Continue reading

China ups Venezuelan oil investments, but refuses Chavista leaders’ plea for a cash bailout


Back in April, Brazil’s Folha de SaoPaulo ran an article entitled: “The Future of Venezuela Depends on China“ and highlighted this quote:  Translation: “If Maduzo wins, he’ll have to regain the confidence of the Chinese.” – TOM O’DONNELL, petroleum consultant Indeed, it is now clear that the short-term strategy of the post-Chavez Maduro-Cabello administration was to escape the country’s severe dollar crisis … Continue reading

Venezuela’s PDVSA Post-Chávez: Will partnerships with the private sector and Chinese experts boost oil production?


Throughout 2012, and especially after President Hugo Chávez’ death in early March 2013, Venezuela’s national oil firm, Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), has taken measures beyond anything done in the past decade to raise its lagging production. While the likely impact merits cautious analysis, the drivers of the Bolivarian Republic’s scramble for increased oil revenues … Continue reading

EU competing with China in Latin America


German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other EU leaders have become increasingly concerned that China’s continued rise in Latin America could squeeze out European business. China has not only increased the quantity of its exports to Latin America, but also used its economic resources to expand into the high-tech market, long considered German industry’s strong suit. … Continue reading

China: Iraq oil production booming, Venezuela lagging


The New York Times had an interesting article: ”China is reaping biggest benefits of Iraqi oil boom” on June 2, 2013.  The question that comes to mind is … Why is Chinese production in Iraq booming, and in Venezuela lagging? As late as 2007 and 2008, China clearly intended its investments in Venezuela to be its … Continue reading

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