Energy Economics

Teaching hours and credit allocation: 30 hours, 6 credits
Course assessment: exams


The aim of the course is to provide understanding of the dynamics of the energy sources, markets and prices. In particular, the main objectives of the course can be summarized as follows: a) to understand the historical events that shaped the evolution of the energy sector at the world level; b) to offer a conceptual paradigm which allows the interpretation and economic analysis of the energy markets; c) to become familiar with the analytical tools for studying energy markets, both on the demand and supply side; d) to identify the main determinants of  energy prices; d) to stimulate the student’s critical reflection on the main current energy challenges, his ability to investigate specific topics and to communicate his knowledge. The course analyzes and deepens topics such as energy demand, energy supply, energy efficiency, energy balances, evolution of the oil and gas sector, strategies of the oil and gas companies, behavior of the oil and gas producing countries, OPEC strategies, energy markets, energy market liberalization, energy subsidies, countries’ energy policies, Dutch disease, energy security, peak oil hypothesis, rising of renewable energy, energy investments. Special attention is given to the oil price formation: by studying its evolution during the years and the energy crises, the course provides a clear understanding on the main features of the oil market, its dynamics and key variables. The current dynamics of the oil and gas prices at world level, as well as the role of the shale oil and shale gas revolution, is also deepened. Moreover, the influence of climate change and renewables on the energy markets and countries’ policies is investigated.

Learning outcomes

  • On completing the course, participants will be able to:
  • understand the key variables which have driven the evolution of the energy markets
  • analyze and understand countries’ energy balances
  • understand strong  and weak points of fossil fuels and renewables
  • understand the dynamics of the oil price formation and the main forces and interactions which shape the energy markets
  • carry out critical analyses of the oil and gas companies’ strategies
  • interpret the behaviour of the oil price by means of the main oil price models
  • critically evaluate Opec behaviour and strategies
  • critically evaluate the energy policies of the main world’s countries
  • understand the influence of the climate change issues on the energy markets and countries’ policies


  • energy demand and supply;
  • energy balances and energy efficiency;
  • oil and gas resources and reserves;
  • renewable energy vs fossil fuels;
  • evolution of the oil and gas sector;
  • strategies of the oil and gas companies;
  • behaviour of the oil and gas producing countries, and Dutch disease;
  • OPEC behaviour and strategies;
  • energy market liberalisation;
  • shale oil and shale gas;
  • energy security;
  • peak oil hypothesis;
  • energy investment trends;
  • energy policies and climate change.