EBF 301
Global Finance for the Earth, Energy, and Materials Industries

Lesson 1 Introduction


Did you complete the Course Orientation?

Before you begin this course, make sure you have completed the Course Orientation

(see the Orientation menu).


As the saying goes, “the only constant is change.” This statement can be used to describe the energy industry over the past few decades. “Booms” and “Busts” have occurred numerous times as prices rose and then fell back again. Companies have come and gone. Enron shook the very foundation of energy trading. Investigations of supply and price manipulation have occurred, resulting in fines and imprisonment. The new exploration("3-D & 4-D"seismic), drilling (directional & horizontal), and completion techniques (so called “fracking”) have not only led to a substantial increase in the production of crude oil and natural gas, but have also led to great controversy and new regulation over the methods themselves. The abundance of natural gas is leading to the exportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG), making the US a major player in that global market.

The “how” and “why” these occurred will be presented throughout the course, and you will come to understand the ever-changing landscape that is the energy industry in the United States.

This course will be focused largely on the five fossil fuels that are traded both physically and financially in energy markets. These are natural gas, crude oil, unleaded gasoline, heating oil, and natural gas liquids (NGLs). These fuels, along with coal, comprise the “non-renewable” energy sources. They are so named since their supply is seen as finite over the long-term.

Each of these products has a profound affect on the United States and global economies. Billions and billions of dollars of infrastructure and hundreds of thousands of jobs are involved in the exploration, production, transportation and distribution of these forms of energy. And, price volatility for these commodities has increased dramatically over the past several years going back to the historic run to $147 per barrel (Bbl) for oil in 2008. Since that time, crude oil has been recognized as a truly global commodity with a host of new factors influencing price. And, once again, in 2014, prices fell from $100 in June to less than $50 by December, caused largely by Saudi Arabia flooding the market with cheap crude. It was said they feared a loss of market share to the new shale oil in the US.

However, before we proceed into the details of these fossil fuels, we need to understand how these fit into the overall profile of energy production and consumption in the United States. In order to do this, we must also include the various other forms of energy produced and consumed in the United States known as “alternative” and “renewable” energy. This is the only lesson regarding alternative and renewables.

Learning Outcomes

At the successful completion of this lesson, students should be able to:

  • Describe the major sources of energy in the United States
  • Understand the macro energy production/consumption environment
  • Understand what is meant by “renewable” vs. “non-renewable” energy
  • Be familiar with the top 5 renewable energy sources
  • List the main fossil fuels
  • Critically assess the pros and cons for each type

What is due for Lesson 1?

This lesson will take us one week to complete. There are a number of required activities in this module. The chart below provides an overview of the activities for Lesson 1. For assignment details, refer to the location noted.

All assignments will be due Sunday, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

Lesson One Requirements
Mini-lecture: Alternate and Renewables Course website - Mini-Lecture: Alternate and Renewables page No submission
Lesson 1 Activity Course website - Lesson 1 Activity page Canvas discussion forum
Discussion forum participation Canvas Canvas discussion forum


If you have any questions, please post them to our General Course Questions discussion forum (not e-mail), located under Modules in Canvas. The TA and I will check that discussion forum daily to respond. While you are there, feel free to post your own responses if you, too, are able to help out a classmate.