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Tom ODonnell

My expertise is in the global petroleum sector, in particular OPEC and other oil-producing states of Latin America and the Middle East, and the policies of the US, China and EU. In OPEC, I’ve especially focused on Venezuela, Iran, Algeria, Iraq. (See articles on my professional/academic home page TomOD.com) This summer, I return to Venezuela (5 July – 12 Aug) to continue research on the country’s immense but lagging heavy-oil potential, and oil’s role in that troubled country’s domestic and foreign affairs. This study includes not only the policies of the Chavez government, but the various plans of opposition politicians as well. I teach in New York City, in Graduate International Affairs (GPIA) at The New School University, where my spring 2010 seminar was Geopolitics of Global Oil. I also commuted weekly to The Ohio State University to teach From Saudi Arabia to Venezuela (in Middle East Studies and International Studies and Diplomacy). I also taught a new undergrad course Environmental Economics at New School. In Fall 2011, at GPIA I’ll teach both a new seminar on the “Arab Spring” revolts effects on geopolitics and energy, and on Latin American Development. I recently spent two years (Jan 2008- Jan 2009) in Caracas as a US Fulbright Scholar (2008) and visiting professor at the Centro de Estudios del Desarrollo, (Center for Study of Development) at the Central University of Venezuela (CENDES-UCV) researching oil affairs and the Bolivarian state, making contacts and giving many talks. I’ll be back with my old friends and colleagues at CENDES this summer (my CENDES profile). Besides this new blog, I have a bit of a reputation for my public speaking and seminars aimed at energy professionals, the public and academics; and I also consult on energy geopolitics, the global oil sector, environmental and nuclear issues. In nuclear physics, I’m author or co-author of some 38 peer-reviewed papers on research at U.S. and overseas universities and national labs, listed in my CV.
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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