Albert Bressand

Expertise: Energy, international economic governance, European integration, transatlantic relations

Dr. Albert Bressand is the Professor of Energy & International Governance at the University College London (UCL). He was the Professor of International Strategic Management in Energy at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (NL) where he headed the multidisciplinary program ‘Energy Transition at a Turning Point’, and Senior Fellow at the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, Columbia Law School - Earth Institute, Columbia University in New York (USA). He was also a member of the faculty of the Columbia Business School’s Senior Executive Program (CSEP).  Previously, Dr. Bressand was the Executive Director of Columbia University's Center for Energy, Marine Transportation and Public Policy and Professor of Practice in International and Public Affairs at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).

Formerly, Dr. Bressand headed the Global Business Environment department in Royal Dutch Shell. Dr Bressand has also been appointed Special Adviser to the EU Commissioner in charge of energy in Brussels.  Previously, he was managing director and cofounder of the Promethee think tank on European integration and the networked economy, served as Economic Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France and also held key positions with the French Institute for International Relations and the World Bank.

Professor Bressand is a member of the faculty of the World Economic Forum, and has chaired a number of sessions at the Davos Annual Meetings. He serves on the Advisory Council of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy at Columbia and on the Board of the New York Energy Forum. He is a member of the Working Group on France 2025: Strategic Assessment convened by the French Prime Minister and of the Task Force on Energy Efficiency and Urban Energy of the China Council for International Cooperation for Environment and Development. Dr Bressand has published notably in Foreign Affairs , International Affairs , Futuribles , Politique Internationale , Revue d'Economie Financiere, Le Monde etc and has been Directeur de Collection at Editions du Seuil; he also publishedLe Prochain Monde (Le Seuil, 1985, with Catherine Distler)and La Planete Relationnelle (Flammarion, 1995, with Catherine Distler). He has contributed to major Cambridge Energy Research Associates studies on the world energy scene. He directed and edited The Shell Global Scenarios to 2025 (Royal Dutch Shell and the Peterson Institute of International Economics, 2005) .

Dr. Bressand earned advanced degrees in both mathematics and engineering at Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees and Universite Paris-Sorbonne, and an MPA and a PhD in Political Economy and Government at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Reserves must be seen as a co-production of nature and man-made technology. Except for wood and dung that pre-industrial populations could burn on the spot, there is no such thing as a ‘natural resource’. Our advanced energy system is fueled by a combination of stuff-in-place and human skills. Terms like ‘gas to Liquids’ (GTL) or ‘cracking’ capture the manufacturing element; the evolution underway will not stop there—to the point possibly of ‘oil’ being someday manufactured from CO2 and water. As John and Beth Mitchell and Valerie Marcel and put it in their report for Chatham House in London: “The foreseeable problem is not finite resources but the rate at which these very large resources can be converted into reserves for potential production. Reserves of oil and gas have each more than doubled since 1980–faster than the increase in production. Technologies are developing which are creating new reserves of ‘unconventional’ oil, as they already have for gas.”

Expert Information


Energy, international economic governance, European integration, transatlantic relations


Brussels & New York


Current Experience

Special Adviser to Commissioner Andris Piebalgs at European Commission

Past Experience

  • Professor and Executive director Energy & Marine Transportation Center, Columbia University
  • Vice President Global Business Environment, Royal Dutch Shell, London


  • PhD in Political Economy, Harvard University
  • Master of Engineering, École Polytechnique, Paris