The premier literary award for energy.
— Eric Vettel, President AES
A consummate energy economist, Phil watches oil and how it interacts with the energy sector and global economies. He publishes The Petroleum Economics Monthly and Notes at the Margin, and he writes for respected energy industry sources, such as The International Economy, The Petroleum Economist, Energy Intelligence, and Argus Media. A “renegade reporter,” his early works, especially those about energy evolving from a monopolized good into a real commodity, helped launch the oil futures market. Phil often uses narrow topics—Janet Yellen “breaking” OPEC, the majors’ flawed strategy of refinery “disintegration,” or catastrophic market distortions—to reveal weightier matters about energy markets. In his latest article, he argues that governments’ five-decade practice of using the petroleum and natural gas sector to strengthen energy security has been a “horrible mistake.” Had nations chosen a path to security that did not rely on oil and natural gas, he writes, “global economic growth would be at least ten and maybe twenty percent higher, and world poverty today would be less of a problem.”
Great writing is never an isolated enterprise, which inspired us to also honor Phil’s longtime editor, Kim Pederson, as co-winner of this year’s premier literary award for energy. Behind Phil’s writing is Kim’s rigorous editing—a skill we see less and less as AI chatbots churn out mediocre, shallow articles published on too many platforms. Kim is not only Phil’s editor, but also his coach, critic, career manager, and friend.
Kim and Phil have been working together since 1997. As for collaborating with Kim, Phil says: “All of my English teachers would agree that ‘Phil Verleger is the least likely to win a literary award for writing.’ It is only thanks to Kim Pederson’s work for over twenty years (and the efforts of others) that my voice has been heard.” “It’s been a tremendous honor and privilege to work with Phil for more than 25 years,” Kim says. “I also like to think that at least a modicum of his experience, knowledge, and brilliance has rubbed off on me. For that and his continuing friendship and support, I am deeply grateful.”
Phil and Kim both thank the American Energy Society for its recognition of their work and the honor of receiving the 2023 Energy Writer (and Editor) of the Year award: “We applaud what AES is doing to serve the global energy community and pursue a world of abundant, affordable, and safe energy. If more people and organizations were as dedicated as AES is to disseminating sound research relevant to addressing today’s energy concerns, one can only imagine how much more quickly we could resolve the challenges we face.”
According to Eric Vettel, president of American Energy Society, “Each year, a case could be made for many great writers who deserve the premier literary award for energy. But we selected Phil and Kim as co-winners of 2023 Energy Writer of the Year for their intellectual approach, balanced treatment of competing ideas, extraordinary grasp of an enormous subject, and in recognition of their decades of collaborative literary achievement.”
About the authors:
Philip K. Verleger was one of the first of the “new wave” energy economists. A cum laude graduate of Cornell University, he received his PhD in Economics from MIT in 1971. From 1976 to 1979, he held a number of positions: Senior Economist covering energy with the Council of Economic Advisers; Director of the Office of Domestic Energy at the US Treasury; and, Senior Research Scholar at the Yale School of Organization and Management. From 1985 to 2010, Verleger was a Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), and Professor of Strategy at University of Calgary. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Niskanen Center and the Assistant Editor for Energy for The International Economy. Phil has written two books and is at work on a third, Cutting the Hose: How and Why the World’s Addiction to Oil Will End. Phil has been married to Margaret Brown for 57 years and has one daughter, Kate.
Kim Alan Pederson has been a freelance writer and editor since 1996. Kim earned a B.A. in English (Honors) from the University of Montana and an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop. His plays have won awards and been produced in Seattle and other locations; his screenplays have won awards and been optioned, and he has done work-for-hire scripts for film production companies. Kim lives in Key West with his wife Kalo and two cats, Pazuzu and Gangster.
Previous “Energy Writer of the Year” winners:
2022: Amy Harder, Cipher
2021: Katharine Hayhoe, Saving Us
2020: Daniel Yergin, The New Map
2019: Vaclav Smil, Growth
2018: Nathaniel Rich, “Losing Earth,” The New York Times Magazine
2017: Meaghan O’Sullivan, Windfall
2016: Mark Mills: Shale 2.0
2015: Coral Davenport, New York Times
About American Energy Society:
American Energy Society (AES) is a non-partisan, independent association of nearly 135,000 professionals from every energy and sustainability sector. Through a variety of services and programs, the AES supports its Members with recognized publications like Energy Today and Energy Matters, updates on groundbreaking discoveries, and notifications about upcoming conferences, funding and awards, job openings, and more. To learn more about AES, visit www.energysociety.org. Or, credentialed media can contact AES for more information about this award or its previous winners.
American Energy Society introduction