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Coursera’s Online Course Fundamentals of Global Energy Business

University of Colorado in collaboration with Coursera is starting a free online course “Fundamentals of Global Energy Business” under Global Energy Management Program.

In this course an introduction to the business of primary energy production will be provided to the learner of this course. During the course student will learn about the nature of demand and supply in global energy markets and business considerations for participants in those markets. It also provides a broad perspective of the challenges for businesses and policy authorities engaged in diverse but integrated global energy markets.

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After taking this course students will be able to identify the distinctive challenges facing by the enterprises engaged in development of primary energy resources.

The course will be taught via weekly video lectures. For the self assessment students have to participate in quizzes and group discussions. Students will also submit and assess brief memoranda addressing specific energy business policy questions.

Duration of Course

The course will start from January 2014 for the duration of 5 weeks. The course will demand 4-6 hours/week for study.

Course Syllabus




What is energy and who wants it? Energy is the capacity to do work. In this most essential sense, energy is a basic human need. How technological innovations have increased the ability of mankind to do work, but only by increasing the demand for various sources of primary energy? Examine the determinants of demand for energy, and the distribution of demand around the globe.


Where is energy and how do we use it?  A broad range of primary sources are used to satisfy our needs for energy. Discussion on non-renewable and renewable sources of primary energy and how the distribution of those resources differs from the distribution of global demand.


Key Capabilities for Energy Business:  Development of primary energy resources requires a particular set of skills and technologies.  Examination of the inputs employed by various energy development enterprises.


Key Stakeholders in Energy Business: Energy enterprises engage in complex activities with far-reaching consequences. Consequently, these activities often motivate to action a diverse set of stakeholders. The essentially systemic nature of energy businesses and how that leads inevitably to engagement in political spheres.


Strategic Considerations in Energy Business: In the concluding week of the course, consider the strategic implications of the economic, commercial, and political environment of energy.


Candidates from any academic background are welcome for this course.

Suggested Readings

No specific book is required for this course. For the self study students can go through the variety of online resources for energy-related information and analysis.  For example:
· The U.S. Energy Information Administration
· The International Energy Agency
· The British Petroleum Statistical Review of World Energy

Statement of Accomplishment

Students who successfully complete the course will receive a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructor.

About the Instructor

Michael J. Orlando is Lecturer of Global Energy Management at the University of Colorado. He holds PhD and MA degrees in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and MBA from Tulane University. He is having experience in energy business, from commercial, governmental and academic perspectives.

He is also Principal and Owner of Economic Advisors, Inc., a consulting practice specializing in strategies for engaging through financial and political markets.