About Me – Dr. Thomas W. O’Donnell, PhD

Brief Bio
1 October 2018
CV, Publication List & Syllabi: TomOD.com
E-Mail: twod@umich.edu | Blog: GlobalBarrel.com
Twitter: @twodtwod | Cell, Berlin: +49 (0)176 92 11 89 28 | Skype: Tom.OD

Dr. Thomas Wilfred O’Donnell is an international academic, expert analyst and writer working on energy and international affairs, particularly the global oil and gas systems.

Regions of interest include the USA, EU (especially Germany), Russia, China and the OPEC states of the Middle-East and Latin-American (especially Venezuela, Iran and Saudi Arabia).

He teaches graduate seminars in Berlin at Hertie School of Governance and undergrads at Freie Universität’s FU-BEST (European Studies Program). He previously taught at The University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and The New School University (NYC).

O’Donnell blogs at GlobalBarrel.com and has recently written for Berlin Policy Journal (Berlin), King’s College European Centre for Energy and Resource Security (London), Americas Quarterly (NYC/DC),Petroguía (Caracas & Latin America), AICGS (DC); reprinted in Natural Gas World, and is often interviewed by the international press.

In Spring of 2015, Dr. O’Donnell was a fellow of The American Institute of Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) & The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Washington, DC interviewing US energy experts on German and EU energy vulnerabilities.

He spent two full years, 2008-09, as a US Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Professor in Caracas at the Center for the Study of Development of the Central University of Venezuela (CENDES/UCV), returning several times since.

He consults on energy, geopolitical and market/tech matters and is Senior Energy Desk Analyst at Wikistrat,

O’Donnell’s award-winning PhD thesis is in experimental nuclear physics (U. Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2000), which included research in several national and university laboratories. He is author or co-author of about 40 peer-reviewed physics papers.

While doing post-doctoral physics and complex-systems research at U. Michigan, he taught social-science-focused courses in Science Technology & Society (STS) on historical technological change drawing on his industrial/scientific experience and also taught on issues of oil and geopolitics in Middle East and North African (MENA) Studies, as well as courses on the “Information Era” and “Energy and Environment,” and spent several semesters teaching in the Physics Department’s “Advanced Physics Laboratories” encompassing several subtopics.

After his university studies, he spent 10+ years during the mid-1970’s to mid-1980’s working in U.S. automobile manufacturing, railways, and energy engineering, while writing and gaining a reputation in the US Midwest as an analyst and organizer of labor and social-political movements, developing extensive ties with activists and others in minority and immigrant working-class communities. This followed his initial (undergraduate) university years focused on political science and China Studies, where he had been an activist and organizer within political protest movements of the day.

O’Donnell speaks English (native), Spanish (fluent) and functional German; he is fluent in various programming languages and computing environments. He resides in Berlin, accompanied by family; and maintains close professional and other ties to the USA.


7 responses to “About Me – Dr. Thomas W. O’Donnell, PhD

  1. Francisco Toro

    Is your email address still twod at umich dot edu? (no need to publish this, just making sure…I want to share something with you.)


  2. Francisco Toro

    So did you get my email? We should talk…


  3. Mr. O’Donnell,

    I have followed your blog with great interest the last year or so.

    I am currently finishing a bachelor’s degree in finance and I’m looking to get into the petroleum industry. I really enjoy geopolitics, and like you, have an extra interest for Middle East and Latin-America.

    Anyways, my question is, what kind of school/program/degree would you recommend for me as far graduate programs go? What would you consider more relevant for me in order to pursue a career in oil trading?



    • Hello Hvalbye
      Thanks for you interest in the blog. I’d be happy to give you what advice i can. It depends a bit on what type of work you are interested in. The schools that focus on geopolitics have different emphases. Perhaps you can send me an e-mail at “twod at umich.edu” and we can discuss your interests a bit more.


  4. Estimada Karina,

    Si. Por supuesto.

    Puedas llarme por Skype (nombre: tom.od) o mi celular. Por favor, enviame un correo a twod@umich.edu y te enviare mis numeros celulares.

    Saludos, Tom O’D.


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