News & Updates

Fall 2023

cover of report showing workers at industrial construction site

Center Releases Gulf Coast Energy Outlook for 2024

On November 15, 2023, the LSU Center for Energy Studies released the 2024 edition of the Gulf Coast Energy Outlook (GCEO) with a Zoom webinar presentation. As in previous years, this seventh edition of the GCEO provides a comprehensive overview of the Gulf Coast region’s energy industry outlook for the upcoming year. Center for Energy Studies Interim Executive Director Greg Upton, Professor Emeritus David E. Dismukes, and Research Fellow Gregory Albrecht author the report.

This year’s edition focuses on whether a recession is still on the horizon; the risks and opportunities of Gulf Coast industrial decarbonization efforts; impacts of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and resulting sanctions on global energy supply and demand; how federal supply-restrictive policies might impact companies and consumers; and the outlook for employment in oil and gas extraction and refining and chemicals in Louisiana and Texas.

Read more and watch the webinar.

We thank our Sustaining Members for their continued support.

Platinum: Baton Rouge Clean Air Coalition, Entergy, ExxonMobil, Oxy, Phillips 66, and Shell  Gold: Talos Silver: Cleco, Louisiana Oil & Gas Association (LOGA), Drax, Placid Bronze: American Electric Power / Southwestern Electric Power Company (AEP/SWEPCO), EisnerAmper, Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC, Louisiana Chemical Association, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Louisiana Economic Development, and The TJC Group Contributor: Kean Miller LLP, LLOG, and LLOX
energy infrastructure including windmills, oil rig, pump jacks, solar panels

Symposium Draws Researchers from throughout La.

Sponsored by the Louisiana Board of Regents and hosted by the LSU Center for Energy Studies, the inaugural Energy Transition Research Symposium, held Friday, October 6, brought together energy researchers, companies, policy makers, and regulators from across the state and across disciplines. Participating organizations included Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Louisiana Legislative Auditor, Louisiana State University, Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Southern University, Tulane University, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and University of New Orleans. The event attracted more than 180 attendees.

The goal of the symposium was to serve as an opportunity for collaboration across universities and academic disciplines, and industry and governmental stakeholders were encouraged to collaborate outside of academics. Topics included oil and gas extraction, power generation, the processing of hydrocarbons into liquid fuels, plastics, chemicals, fertilizers, recycling, and more.

audience at symposium

student presents poster at symposium poster session

women in audience at symposium

Photos courtesy of Chris Yandle, Louisiana Board of Regents

Welcome Aboard

Anurag Mandalika

Anurag Mandalika joined CES this summer as an assistant professor - research. His research interests include biomass and bioenergy, biofuels, waste reduction and valorization, emissions measurement, carbon capture, utilization, and storage, ethics, and environmental justice.

During his research career, Anurag has studied the production of the platform chemicals furfural and furfuryl alcohol in high yield from a variety of biomass sources using novel, green chemistry principles, evaluated the application of membranes for separations in biomass processing and conversion, and studied the removal of arsenic from water using adsorbents prepared from waste biomass sources.

Prior to starting his role at CES, Anurag was an assistant professor with the LSU AgCenter, working on challenges experienced by the sugarcane industry in Louisiana, and exploring digital agriculture and automation, and the ethics associated with their implementation in agriculture.

Anurag holds a B.S. in biosystems engineering from Clemson University with a minor in environmental engineering, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in biological systems engineering with a minor in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He is a member of the American Society for Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) and the LSU Digital Agriculture team.

Randy Dannenberg joined the Center this spring as business manager. He has more than 20 years of combined experience in accounting, higher education administration, finance, entertainment development, and production.

Leveraging a unique blend of creative, analytical, and team leadership skills, he has made significant contributions to the educational and entertainment industries. In addition, he is a Certified Public Accountant with an MFA from Florida State University in film and television production.

Derek Berning

Derek Berning joined the Center this summer as our newest research associate. Derek assists with data cleaning, maintenance, and the updating of CES energy-related databases and spreadsheets. He uses software to create, edit, and analyze shapefiles and geodatabases. He conducts literature reviews, collects and validates data. Derek has a B.A. in economics from the University of Portland.


U.S. Dept. of Energy Funds $4.9 Million LSU-led Direct Air Capture Hub Feasibility Study

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded an LSU-led consortium a $4.9 million project to support the first phase of the Pelican Gulf Coast Carbon Removal project. The Pelican Consortium, which includes Shell and the University of Houston, will evaluate the feasibility of building a direct air capture (DAC) hub in Louisiana. DAC technologies capture CO2 directly from the atmosphere. The captured CO2 can then be used to manufacture products or be permanently stored in deep geological formations. As envisioned, the hub would enable accelerated and replicable carbon removal and permanent storage in ways that protect and generate jobs in the state.

“Together with Shell, LSU is pioneering research and development pathways to protect and preserve Louisiana’s energy economy, while meeting the nation’s future energy needs,” said LSU President William F. Tate IV. “This joint platform has a direct industrial impact that can be felt nationwide in energy resilience and innovation, and LSU is proud of its role in connecting talent and research to protect our state’s energy economy.”

Read more.

Louisiana Department of Natural Resources Awards LSU $3.2-million Methane Emissions Project

A multi-year, $3.2 million multidisciplinary project funded by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources will estimate oil field site restoration costs and methane emissions from orphaned and idle oil and gas wells in Louisiana. Led by principal investigators Greg Upton and Kanchan Maiti, associate chair and professor, LSU Department of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences, the project aims to determine which wells in the state could potentially represent the best candidates for plugging and abandoning (P&Aing) based on their methane emission potential.

Read the progress reports.

graphic showing underground storage of carbon dioxide

Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage Report Responds to Inquiries

In response to numerous inquiries regarding the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and the 45Q tax credit, which incentivizes the use of carbon capture, utilization and storage, LSU faculty collaborated on a brief document that describes the nature of CO2, defines utilization and storage, identifies risks involved in the process, and explains why the Gulf Coast region is being considered for CCUS.

Authors of the report are Greg Upton, interim executive director and associate professor, LSU Center for Energy Studies, Brian Snyder, associate professor, LSU Department of Environmental Sciences, and John Flake, professor, LSU Cain Department of Chemical Engineering.

The CCUS informational document was submitted as part of a comment by the Center for Energy Studies in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to grant the State of Louisiana’s request for primary responsibility – or primacy – of Class VI wells under the Underground Injection Control Program, which regulates the injection of carbon dioxide into deep rock formation.

Read the report.

journal cover showing offshore oil rig

Financial Liabilities, Environmental Implications of Unplugged Wells Examined

A recent paper titled, “Financial liabilities and environmental implications of unplugged wells for the Gulf of Mexico and coastal waters,” published in the journal Nature Energy, estimates that the cost to plug and abandon the 14,000 unplugged, non-producing oil and gas wells in U.S. Gulf of Mexico offshore waters, inland waters, and wetlands is $30 billion. Wells closer to shore, in shallower waters, make up 90 percent of inactive wells but account for only 25 percent of the total cost to plug and abandon.

When a well is no longer economically producing oil or natural gas, regulations require operators to place cement plugs in the wellbore and the upper portion of the well, thus preventing hydrocarbons and other forms of environmental pollution from leaking from the well, and underground saltwater from polluting fresh groundwater reservoirs.

Prior owners of wells in federal waters (deeper and farther from shore) can be held liable for plugging and abandoning costs if the current owner does not plug and abandon them. The authors find that 88 percent of the outstanding liability for plugging and abandoning wells in federal waters is associated with wells currently or formerly owned by at least one of the large “supermajor” companies.

Authors are Mark Agerton, assistant professor, agricultural and resource economics, University of California, Davis; Brian Snyder, associate professor, LSU Department of Environmental Sciences; and Greg Upton, and Siddhartha Narra, research associate, LSU Center for Energy Studies.

Outreach & Service Roundup

Greg Upton testifying

Upton Represents CES

On Thursday, September 28, CES Interim Executive Director Greg Upton testified before the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources regarding two bills: HR 5616 by Rep. Garret Graves, “BRIDGE Production Act of 2023,” requiring BOEM to conduct offshore lease sales, and HR 1121 by Rep. Jeff Duncan, “Protecting American Energy Production Act,” that would ensure that the federal government could not declare a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing unless Congress were to authorize one. Because both bills were drafted in response to potential federal policies to restrict domestic oil and gas supply, in his testimony, requested by Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Pete Stauber, Upton described Louisiana’s decarbonization efforts and the ways in which federal policies to restrict the supply of fossil-based hydrocarbons, if pursued, might impact those strategies. Read more.

Upton has been appointed to serve on the Louisiana legislative Task Force on Local Impacts of Carbon Capture and Sequestration. The task force, established by State Sen. Heather Cloud, R-Turkey Creek, was formed to study the benefits and revenue streams of carbon capture and sequestration projects and related issues. The task force met November 29 to receive information and comments from landowners and citizens regarding the impacts of carbon capture and sequestration projects. At a second meeting, held December 18, state and local government officials provided input. The task force is required to submit a final report by February 15, 2024.

In July, Upton was invited to participate in the White House Methane Summit. Academic, governmental, technical, and civil society representatives discussed actions to detect, mitigate and respond to methane emissions domestically, as well as opportunities for international cooperation and leadership. At the summit, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a new Methane Task Force to convene Cabinet-level representatives from several agencies working to advance methane leak detection and data transparency, and to support state and local efforts to mitigate and enforce methane emissions regulations.

greg upton at podium

On August 22, Upton was the featured speaker at the American Petroleum Institute’s 24th Annual Greater New Orleans Joint Industry Luncheon, held at the World War II Museum. He presented the 2023 Gulf Coast Energy Outlook. And in October, the National Association of Royalty Owners invited him to discuss Gulf Coast infrastructure projects at their national convention in New Orleans.

Greg Upton speaks at Ascension Parish event

On December 18, Upton spoke at the Night of Fellowship for Ascension Parish and Industry Partners, where he presented GCEO findings. The event was co-hosted by Ascension Parish Council Chairman Chase Melancon, Sheriff Bobby Webre, School Board Superintendent Edith Walker, and Parish President Clint Cointment.


David E. Dismukes

Dismukes Named IER Distinguished Fellow, Senior Economist

The Institute for Energy Research (IER) has named David Dismukes, Center for Energy Studies professor emeritus and former executive director, Distinguished Fellow and Senior Economist.

“David has had a distinguished career in academia, having led the Center for Energy Studies at LSU,” said Thomas Pyle, IER president. “His expertise will contribute greatly to the policy discussion here in Washington on a more permanent basis.”

Dismukes is a noted expert the analysis of economic, statistical, and public policy issues in energy and regulated industries. He has worked in consulting, academia, and government service and given more than 200 energy-related presentations to civic, professional, and trade organizations. His opinions on energy industry trends and issues have been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today, as well as several other regional and local newspapers and trade newsletters.

“I am happy to be expanding my relationship with IER and excited to contribute to their important work explaining how competitive markets facilitate smart energy resource choices and consumer sovereignty,” Dismukes said.

Founded in 1989, the IER is a not-for-profit organization that conducts research and analysis on the functions, operations, and government regulation of global energy markets.

Louisiana state seal withpelican and union, justice, confidence

La. Legislature Commends Center for Energy Studies on 40 years of Service

In May, the Louisiana House of Representatives commended the Center for Energy Studies for its 40 years of service to the state. House Resolution 42, submitted by Representative Jean-Paul Coussan, notes the creation of the Center in 1982 by the Louisiana Legislature. Housed at LSU since its inception, the Center “has for 40 years fulfilled its mission of providing energy information and analysis that responds to the needs of the legislature, public agencies, and business and civic groups.”

The resolution, which calls for continued support of the Center and its mission, notes the Center’s prolific publication and service record—more than 700 publications, 150 public events, and 400 hundred media references and quotes on timely energy topics.

“Dr. Greg Upton and the Center for Energy Studies have been a tremendously helpful resource to the state of Louisiana, and I always appreciated their unbiased and thoughtful research and analysis,” said retired legislative fiscal officer Chris Keaton.

“We are very happy to commend the Center for Energy Studies for its decades of work on state energy issues,” said Rep. Ryan Bourriaque. “Louisiana is an energy-intensive state, so the Center is a valuable asset to not only the Legislature and state agencies, but to all of our constituents.”

Read the resolution.

wei-hsung wang

Wang Reappointed to U.S. EPA Science Advisory Board

LSU Center for Energy Studies Professor, Radiation Safety Office Director, and LSU System Radiation Safety Officer Wei-Hsung Wang was recently reappointed to serve on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Science Advisory Board (SAB) and the Radiation Advisory Committee (RAC) by EPA Administrator Dr. Michael S. Regan. According to the EPA’s news release on October 10, 2023, the SAB will ensure that EPA continues to receive sound, independent science-based advice. 

The SAB is a chartered Federal Advisory Committee, established in 1978, under the authority of the Environmental Research, Development and Demonstration Authorization Act, to provide independent scientific and technical peer review, consultation, advice and recommendations to the EPA Administrator. Members of the SAB constitute a distinguished body of non-EPA scientists, engineers, and economists who are nationally and internationally recognized experts in their respective fields. These well-qualified experts selected by Administrator Regan bring a cross-selection of scientific disciplines and the experience needed to provide sound scientific advice to EPA leadership to help advance the agency’s mission.

“It is an honor and privilege to continue serving on the SAB and RAC,” Wang said. “I look forward to representing LSU and having the opportunity to work alongside the other members of the Board.” Wang’s term will end on September 30, 2026.

visiting scholar marcos farag

Center Hosts Visiting Scholar

In the fall, the Center for Energy Studies welcomed visiting scholar Markos Farag. During his time at the Center, Marcos, who is currently pursuing his doctorate, specializing in energy economics at the University of Cologne, attended advanced lectures and seminars in energy economics, presented his own research to gain valuable insights from faculty, and connected with fellow researchers.

Marcos received a bachelor's degree in economics and statistics and has studied at both Cairo University and the University of Padova in Italy. While completing his master's thesis, Marcos examined the elasticity of sectoral natural gas demand in Egypt.

Mandalika with grade-school student performing lab experiment

Mandalika Teaches Energy Transfer at Super Science Saturday

On October 28, Assistant Professor Anurag Mandalika took part in Super Science Saturday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Super Science Saturday is a free public outreach and science education event for kindergarten to 12th-grade students, parents, and “anyone interested in seeing science in action.”

In his demonstration, Mandalika showed the calorific value in foodstuffs (examples used were cheese puff snack foods and peanuts) by combusting them to release energy that is used to raise the temperature of water. Using a homemade calorimeter made from an aluminum can and paper clips, Mandalika illustrated the principle of “bomb calorimetry,” a laboratory process that determines the energy content of foods and fuels. In his discussion, he extended the concept of energy transfer using food to that of fuels such as gasoline and coal, and alternative fuels such as wood, biodiesel, and hydrogen.

greg upton, reporter and camerman in hallway

In Quotes

CES faculty have been interviewed by and/or quoted in media outlets more than 60 times in 2023. Interview topics have included last year’s and this year’s Gulf Coast Energy Outlook, the cost of plugging and abandoning wells, hydrogen as a feedstock for the industrial sector, proposed wind energy lease sales in the Gulf, carbon capture, and energy-related legislative bills.

Media outlets have included The New York Times, The Guardian, Louisiana Radio Network, The Advocate, and the 10|12 Industry Report.

CES Scholarships Available for 2024-2025

The Center for Energy Studies continues to offer two scholarships annually. LSU students may apply for the LMOGA/Robert R. Brooksher and F. Malcolm Hood scholarships via the LSU Scholarship Opportunities homepage using their myLSU credentials.

Application deadline is March 1. Scholarships are awarded at the start of the fall and/or spring semester each year and are processed through student accounts. Final award amounts may vary and are subject to availability of funds.

Learn more.


In Memoriam

Max Scott

During 2023, we lost two valued members of the CES family. Former LSU Campus Radiation Safety Officer & System Radiation Safety Officer Louie "Max" Scott passed away March 11. Max began his career as a health physics specialist at the Atomic Energy commission Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Later, he was Corporate Director of Radiation Heath Physics for Gulf Oil Corporation, where he devised a mining plan that allowed for the recovery of highly concentrated uranium ore deposits with minimal radiation exposure. From 1985 to 2002 he was a faculty member at LSU as Associate Professor of Nuclear Science, Adjunct Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Campus Radiation Safety Officer, and LSU System Radiation Safety Officer. After retirement in 2020, he maintained an office within CES and came into the office regularly until the week before he passed away.

Ric Pincomb

On September 1, CES Research Associate Ric Pincomb passed after a brief illness. He worked for the Center from 1994 to 2023. During his tenure, Ric gathered and managed the Center's selection of energy data and provided public access to the data via the Center's website. He responded personally to public requests for data, assisted in managing sponsored research projects and budget issues for the Center, and edited and finalized drafts of completed reports. As the conference center administrator, he responded to reservation requests to use the Energy, Coast & Environment Building’s conference facilities. Ric earned a B.S. in psychology and a Master of Library and Information Science degree from LSU. He earned a Master of Petroleum Engineering degree from Tulane University.

Happy Trails

Diana Reynolds

In May, longtime Assistant to the CES Executive Director Diana Reynolds retired after a 33-year career at LSU. Diana supervised and was responsible for all aspects of budgeting and accounting on state, grant, contract, and Foundation funds for the Center and its reporting units. She collaborated with central administration and communicated policy and human resources information to faculty and staff--and performed too many other, invaluable duties to list.

During her time at the university, she worked for the Museum of Natural Science, the LSU Center for Coastal, Energy & Environmental Resources (CCEER) (precursor to the College of the Coast & Environment), and the Oil Spill Research & Development Program.

Diana received a Bachelor of Science Degree in renewable natural resources from the University of California, Davis.

We thank her for her long years of dedication and service and wish her many happy years of grandmothering, traveling, and enjoying nature.

holiday card with Christmas tree lights and happy holiday greeting
Facebook  Twitter