Major oil exporters may profit rather than lose, in a carbon-constrained world.
Journal article, 2007
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) claims compensation for losses in expected oil export revenues due to CO2 mitigation measures in developing countries. These losses are expected for two primary reasons: a reduction in the consumption of oil in importing countries and a reduction in the producer price of oil (taxation in an importing country implies a transfer of rents from producers to consumers). So far, most studies have focused on these two mechanisms and corroborated that revenue losses for OPEC are to be expected. However, there are also mechanisms that may be expected to raise the price of oil products. In a cost-effective regime for dealing with climate change, i.e., a regime in which all or most countries participate and in which the same carbon price is applied on all carbon-emitting activities, the cost of using unconventional oil, or synthetic diesel from coal, will increase even more than the cost of using conventional oil. Given that reserves of conventional oil are expected to dwindle over time, heavy oils and coal to liquids might set the long-run price for liquid fuels, which means that the price of oil would increase beyond the carbon fee; i.e., the rent on conventional oil would increase. We use an energy-economic optimization model to analyze these three mechanisms. We find that the net present value of OPEC revenue from conventional oil increases slightly (at most by 4 percent) with a global CO2 restriction regime. We also consider conditions under which this result does not hold.