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"I don't think in the last two or three hundred years we've faced such a concatenation
of  problems all at the same time.... If we are to solve the issues that are ahead of us,

we are going to need to think in completely different ways."

  Paddy Ashdown, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina 2002 - 2006



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Former Shell Scientist M. King Hubbert Speaks On Peak Oil in 1976
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What Happened To The $11 Oil?

"The chairman of Royal Dutch/Shell, Mark Moody-Stuart, three months ago unveiled a five-year plan that assumed a price of $14 a barrel. He has since publicly mused about oil at $11. Sir John Browne, chief executive of BP-Amoco, is now working on a similar assumption. Consumers everywhere will rejoice at the prospect of cheap, plentiful oil for the foreseeable future. Policymakers who remember the pain of responding to oil shocks in 1973 and in 1979-80 will also be pleased."
The next shock?
Economist, 4 March 1999

".... today's $11-a-barrel price [is].... [the] lowest inflation-adjusted oil prices of the past half-century ...   Even if consumption rises dramatically over time, most analysts believe prices should remain in check because of advanced technology and because OPEC nations need to sell as much as they can to maintain their incomes..... Low oil prices are excellent news, of course, for big energy consumers. A sustained $10-per-barrel drop in the price of oil cuts about 0.7 points from the annual U.S. inflation rate over five years and adds about 0.3 points to the U.S. economy's growth.... [I]f you're still operating under the assumption that the earth's petroleum--or at least the cheap stuff--is about to run out, you're not going to thrive in the new oil era. Technology is making it possible to find, produce, and refine oil so efficiently that its supply, at least for practical purposes, is basically unlimited."
Businessweek, 14 December 1999


"Oil and gas companies need to increase annual investment by 20 per cent or face a global supply crunch from 2025, a leading consultancy has warned. An analysis by Wood Mackenzie found that the current industry recovery has been more gradual than in previous cycles, with a dearth of funds being pumped into new production. This could lead to a supply gap from the middle of next decade, pushing prices upward. It could also put increased pressure on companies’ growth targets, triggering increased merger and acquisition activity in the coming years. “The recovery in investment has been slower and shallower than other upturns,” said Malcolm Dickson, head of European upstream research at Wood Mackenzie. “We need to see investment to meet demand for oil and gas, which we see being robust in the long term, and to meet company growth targets.” The warning comes as the industry cautiously emerges from a downturn that saw the price of crude collapse by 75 per cent between mid-2014 and early 2016, to below $30 a barrel at its lowest point. While prices have now seen a resurgence, reaching more than $80 a barrel in recent weeks, producers remain wary of investing capital into new projects. Development spending rose 2 per cent in 2017 and is expected to rise 5 per cent this year. Wood Mackenzie predicts this will increase from a low of $460bn in 2016 to around $500bn in the early-2020s — well below the peak of $750bn in 2014. But it would need to hit annual levels of around $600bn to meet demand for oil and gas over the coming decade, according to the consultancy."
Wood Mackenzie warns of oil and gas supply crunch
Financial Times, 24 October 2018


"We're running out of new oil. Explorers in 2017 discovered the least amount of oil since at least the 1940s, according to Rystad Energy, an oil and gas consultancy. It estimated that less than seven billion barrels of oil equivalent were found this year through Thursday. Some energy companies will announce more discoveries next year in their 2017 annual reports, but Rystad expects this to increase the 2017 total by 10% at most. New discoveries have fallen every year since 2014, when oversupply triggered an oil crash that cut its price by more than half. The plunge forced many upstream oil producers to reduce their spending, and helps explain why discoveries are also down. But that's not the only reason: explorers are finding less oil resources per field, according to Rystad. An average offshore discovery held about 100 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) in 2017, down from 150 million boe in 2012. The last time oil and gas companies added to their reserves by as much as they were producing was in 2006, when the so-called reserve replacement ratio reached 100%. It was down to 50% in 2012, and 11% in 2017. This doesn't mean we're about to run out of crude oil. Major producers including the US have emergency reserves. Moreover, the industry's headache for the past few years has been too much oil. The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, a cartel of big producers, has agreed to deal with the oversupply problem by cutting output until the end of 2018. Also, there are usually a few years in between when an oil firm makes a large discovery and when it's ready for production. That means we can count on recent discoveries to keep our engines running for some time. And there were some major discoveries this year, like the 1 billion barrels found off the coast of Mexico by Premier Oil, Talos Energy, and Sierra Oil & Gas. But if oil discoveries continue trending down, we could be talking seriously about oil shortages in about a decade from now, Rystad estimates.  "While there have been some notable successes this year, we have to face the fact that the low discovered volumes on global level represent a serious threat to the supply levels some ten years down the road," said Sonia Mladá Passos, a senior analyst at Rystad, in a press release."
Oil discoveries are at an all-time low — and the clock is ticking
Business Insider, 23 December 2017


"The Permian Basin in West Texas may be the second biggest field in the world after Ghawar in Saudi Arabia,” he said. Zhu Min, the deputy director of the International Monetary Fund, said US shale has entirely changed the balance of power in the global oil market and there is little Opec can do about it. “Shale has become the swing producer. Opec has clearly lost its monopoly power and can only set a bottom for prices. As soon as the price rises, shale will come back on and push it down again,” he said. The question is whether even US shale can ever be big enough to compensate for the coming shortage of oil as global investment collapses. “There has been a $1.8 trillion reduction in spending planned for 2015 to 2020 compared to what was expected in 2014,” said Mr Yergin. Yet oil demand is still growing briskly. The world economy will need 7m b/d more by 2020. Natural depletion on existing fields implies a loss of another 13m b/d by then. Adding to the witches’ brew, global spare capacity is at wafer-thin levels - perhaps as low 1.5m b/d - as the Saudis, Russians, and others, produce at full tilt. 'If there is any shock the market will turn on a dime,' he said. The oil market will certainly feel entirely different before the end of this decade. The warnings were widely echoed in Davos by luminaries of the energy industry. Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency, said the suspension of new projects is setting the stage for a powerful spike in prices. Investment fell 20pc last year worldwide, and is expected to fall a further 16pc this year. “This is unprecedented: we have never seen two years in a row of falling investment. Don’t be misled, anybody who thinks low oil prices are the ‘new normal’ is going to be surprised,” he said. Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria oil minister and the outgoing chief of Opec, said the ground is being set for wild volatility. “The bottom line is that production no longer makes any sense for many, and at this point we’re going to see a lot of barrels leave the market. Ultimately, prices will shoot back up in a topsy-turvey movement,” he said...Saudi Arabia has made it clear that there can be no Opec deal to cut output and stabilize prices until the Russians are on board, and that is very difficult since Russian companies are listed and supposedly answerable to shareholders."
Saudis ‘will not destroy the US shale industry’
Telegraph, 24 January 2016


"Ten years ago you couldn’t avoid it if you tried. Books by James Howard Kunstler, Richard Heinberg, Kenneth Deffeyes, and others were warning that worldwide oil production would inevitably peak soon, based on analysis similar to that of celebrated geologist M. King Hubbert, who predicted, in 1956, that U.S. oil production would peak between 1965 and 1970. Darn if he wasn’t right. With the presumed world peak in oil production, national economies hooked on injecting oil straight into their largest arteries then began to decline. Peak oil doesn’t mean oil would disappear – half of it would still be left – just that less of it would be produced each year going forward, and shell-shocked economies would fall into a permanent state of recession as consumers battled, Mad Max-like, for every last barrel. Except “events never play out the way one expects,” said James Murray, a speaker at a session entitled “Is Peak Oil Dead and What Does It Mean for Climate Change?” at the AGU Fall Meeting in the City by the Bay. Technology came to the rescue, in the forms of fracking and three-dimensional directional drilling. U.S. oil production soared upward 54 percent in just five years, from 3.3 billion barrels in 2009 to 5.1 billion barrels in 2014. Although world oil production increased by only 8.5 percent in that time, it was enough to keep it from peaking. So is peak oil now an outdated concept, or does it still lie in our future? The latter, most experts at the AGU meeting were saying, while admitting they hadn’t foreseen the technological revolution that has allowed U.S. oil and gas production to soar over the past decade. Those resources are finite, and the cost of extracting them increases once the low-hanging fruit are picked. Oil has dropped to about $35 per barrel because oil producers, hungry for unconventional oil from tar sands and gas from shale, overproduced. Yet they’re still not making money, said James Murray from the University of Washington. Shale oil – what the industry calls “tight shale” – “is profitable for drillers, hotels and restaurants, but not for investors,” he said. Cash flow in this sector was $10 billion in the red in 2014, even as yet more money is plowed into it from, Murray thinks, investors desperate for yields as the Federal Reserve keeps inerest rates extremely low. Murray said the break-even price for conventional oil is $20 per barrel, but $75 per barrel for tight oil. So oil companies are drawing back: U.S. oil production seems to have peaked in July 2015, and even the Eagle Ford shale basin in Texas and the Bakken field in North Dakota are cutting back. “The world may be close to peak oil production,” Murray concluded....David Hughes, president of Global Sustainability Research, Inc. in Calgary, pointed out that “the remaining reserves [of fossil fuels] are large, but of lower quality and require more energy to produce.” He estimated that more than 90 percent of what are known in the field as 'unconventional sources' – shale gas and oil and tar sands oil – 'are not recoverable.'"
Whatever became of 'peak oil'? Still to come?
Yale Climate Connections, 18 December 2015


"It is now generally accepted by those actually studying the issue that production of 'conventional oil,' which is what the early 'peakists' were talking about 10 or 15 years ago, really did stop growing back in about 2005-2008. Since then official 'oil' production numbers have continued to climb slowly, but included in the 'official' numbers as put out by the US and international agencies is not all your grandfather’s oil. Instead the compilers of our oil statistics have learned to lump all sorts of liquid hydrocarbons of varying utility together and tell us that oil in the form of 'all liquids' continues to grow. Now these hydrocarbons such as natural gas liquids, biofuels, tar sands, and shale oil have uses, but they either cost considerably more to produce than conventional oil, or do not have the same energy content as conventional oil. In at least one case, 'refinery gains' which are sort of like whipping up a pint of cream into gallons of whipped cream, have no additional energy in their expanded state at all. They simply fill more barrels and let us pretend we have more energy to use than we actually do. While the financial press continues to chatter endlessly about the technological breakthroughs that have brought us millions of barrels of new shale oil, sadly they have the basics of the story wrong. It is the high prices that 'oil' has been selling for in the last ten years, not the decades-old fracking technology that has allowed very expensive shale oil to be produced that is new. Even with the recent $40 per barrel price decline, oil is still selling for four times what it was going for 12 or 13 years ago. It is the surge in prices to circa $100 a barrel has allowed very expensive oil such as that from fracked shale wells, the Canadian tar sands, and deep offshore oil wells to be produced; now with oil selling for closer to $70 a barrel the question is how long oil that is no longer economic to produce will keep being extracted. The other question is just how much of our oil supply is in danger of being mothballed until prices climb again as they surely will. The reason for the current fall in prices is still in debate. The 'oil' supply has continued to creep up in recent years, but starting last June the demand for $100+ oil was no longer there. While demand in the 'rich' OECD countries has been down since the 2008 oil price spike, this year it seems to be the slowing Chinese economy and its reduced demand for raw materials that has been behind the sinking demand. Many of the developing economies have been growing and using more oil each year due to growing trade with the Chinese. Someday conventional wisdom will conclude that oil at circa $100+ a barrel was simply too much to sustain high rates of economic growth and so the growth fell taking oil demand along with it. "
The Peak Oil Crisis
Falls Church News-Press, 31 December 2014


"The critical measure here is EROEI (the Energy Return On Energy Invested). The days of 100:1 energy returns are long gone. The ratio for new oil projects has declined from 30:1 to barely 10:1 since the 1970s. For global energy overall, the EROEI has declined from about 37:1 in 1990 to less than 14:1 now. The flip-side of EROEI is the real cost of energy. The cost ratio at an EROEI of 37:1 in 1990 was 2.6 per cent, but this has risen to 6.8 per cent today. The global EROEI may fall to 10:1 by 2020, increasing the energy cost 'levy' on the economy to 9 per cent. In blithe ignorance of this increasing levy, we have continued to grow the claims value of the financial system on the assumption of perpetual growth. These 'excess claims' show up as unsustainable debt, undeliverable welfare commitments, and unrealisable expectations for returns on investment. My calculations suggest that the system now owes $90 trillion (£55 trillion) more than it can deliver. For individuals, this is being manifested in the escalating real costs of fuel, power, food, water and physical infrastructure. Globally, it is visible in 'energy sprawl', as the energy-delivering infrastructure expands (both in scale and in cost) in response to the weakening in efficiency resulting from a deteriorating EROEI. As well as crimping disposable incomes and destroying returns on investment, this process is curbing our ability to invest in other things. The essential point is that the economy is not a monetary system governed by the theoretical 'laws' of economics, but an energy dynamic determined by the all-too-real laws of thermodynamics. Once we understand this, the squeeze on household prosperity becomes far less of a mystery."
Tim Morgan - The global economy sinks under its debts as the real cost of energy rises
City.AM, 24 October 2013


"The most common misconception about peak oil is that it means the world is running out of oil. Many articles that seek to debunk the notion of peak oil start with that premise, and then they proceed to tear down that straw man. Peak oil is about flow rates, and the overall flow rate will begin to decline while there is still a lot of oil left in the ground. Another misconception is that peak oil beliefs are homogeneous. The beliefs among people who are concerned about the impacts of peak oil cover a wide span. There are those who believe that a peak is imminent, to be followed by a catastrophic decline....... A more mainstream peak oil position is that the real threat is much higher oil prices, leading to stagnant economies.... The points of contention are the timing, the steepness of the decline, the impact on the global economy and the ability of other energy sources to fill the supply gap. Some believe we will smoothly transition to alternatives, and some people believe peak oil will be catastrophic."
Peak Oil: Misconceptions and Realities
Investing Daily, 26 November 2012


"...we are entering an era of scarce resources. Apart from the atomic bomb, this is the most dangerous development in two centuries..... New powers such as China and India are rising, not yet risen, mixing emphasis on their 'developing' status with assertiveness."
David Miliband, British Foreign Secretary, 2007-10
'It was not bin Laden who defined this decade'
London Times, 7 September 2011, Print Edition, P28


"Bankers and the financial sector may have displaced energy from the front pages of the newspapers right now, but Energy Security remains at the top of the global political and economic agenda....The need to balance energy security, jobs and economic development while addressing the problem of climate change all contributed to the challenge politicians faced in Copenhagen. And that challenge means that energy security will dominate politics and policy for the next 12 months and considerably beyond.... Reliable and affordable supplies of hydrocarbon energy were taken for granted through much of the 20th century and laid the foundation for the world’s extraordinary economic progress. When concerns arose, it tended to be at times of war or turbulence, notably in the Middle East, or, closer to home, with industrial action. What’s different now is that energy security has become a defining issue for the 21st century, as one element in a complex energy challenge with strategic, economic and environmental dimensions.... Opening access to a range of potential operators encourages the most efficient solutions, and often involves partnerships that provide new combinations of skills. Iraq is a very good example. BP is teaming up there with CNPC of China and Iraq’s South Oil Company to drive a major investment programme that will nearly triple production from the super-giant Rumaila field. With this and the other agreements concluded with national and international oil companies in the last six months, Iraq has the potential to contribute 10mmb/d to global supplies in the next 10-15 years. That’s a big piece of the additional resource we need....The current debate about Copenhagen and sustainability add new urgency and importance to the broader discussion of energy security.  The challenge of creating a low-carbon economy is far from easy, requiring the wholesale re-engineering of the global economy over time."
Tony Hayard, Chief Executive of BP
The Challenge of Energy Security
Speech at London School of Economics, 4 February 2010


"The most important contributors to the world’s total oil production are the giant oil fields....The evolution of decline rates over past decades includes the impact of new technologies and production techniques and clearly shows that the average decline rate for individual giant fields is increasing with time. These factors have significant implications for the future, since the most important world oil production base – giantfields –will decline more rapidly in the future, according to our findings.... By 2030 the production from fields currently on stream could have decreased by over 50% in agreement with IEA (2008) . The struggle to maintain production and compensate for the decline in existing production will become harder and harder. Our conclusion is that the world will face an increasing oil supply challenge, as the decline in existing production is not only high but also increasing."
Giant oil field decline rates and their influence on world oil production
Energy Policy Volume 37, Issue 6, June 2009


"The global economy is tanking, U.S. forces remain tied up in Iraq, Afghanistan is on a downward spiral -- one might wonder why anyone would want to be U.S. president during these trying times. Recently, the nation's chief intelligence officer weighed in, painting an even more somber picture of a far more complicated world. National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell looked beyond the immediate future, focusing on what his analysts are telling him about the challenges the world community is likely to face by 2025. It isn't pretty. Speaking to an annual conference of intelligence officials and contractors, McConnell said demographics, competition for natural resources and climate change will increase the potential for conflict. President-elect Barack Obama may get a glimpse of some of those challenges on Thursday. McConnell is expected to lead Obama's first top-secret intelligence briefing, according to U.S. officials familiar with the process. According to McConnell's outlook, economic and population growth will strain resources. 'Demand is projected to outstrip the easily available supplies over the next decade,' he said at the annual conference. The intelligence community's forecast indicates oil and gas supplies will continue to dwindle and production will be concentrated in unstable areas, he said. And there appears to be no relief at hand. McConnell said studies have shown that new energy technologies -- such as biofuels, clean coal and hydrogen -- generally take 25 years to become commercially viable and widespread."
New president faces increased risk of conflict, intel chief says
CNN, 5 November 2008


"If you speak to people in the industry, they will conceed that whatever my company may say publicly, we understand that we are facing decline in our own production and worldwide, we are not going to be able to produce more fuel liquids or crude oil in the near future... I was recently at a conference in New Mexico, sitting next to one of the recent CEOs of a major oil company and he, in response to a question from the audience, said 'of course I am a peakist, it is just a question of when it is coming' and I think that that is illustrative of once one is retired as a CEO, one is freer than one was in position to say I am a peakist. And what you hear privately from almost all people is we are coming to it.... I think that many of these politicians will ultimately find that the public blames them for its failure to warn them. Of course in a sense the public is responsible because it is the present public attitude to which politicians play up, and tell them what they want to hear but when the view of the world changes, what the public wanted to hear some time ago is no longer what they want to hear in the future."
James Schlesinger, former US Energy Secretary
Interview with David Strahan, ASPO 6, September 2007


"The scarcity of energy supplies and the energy imbalance between nations is a threat to our prosperity and national security. As resources contract, oil-hungry economies will compete for dwindling supplies of hydrocarbons. Competition for fossil fuels will increase.... Energy resources have long been a major strategic concern: access to secure sources, control over supply lines: these are issues of national security.... The energy challenge is now more pressing than ever.... Global oil production is apparently nearing its peak.... current estimates seem to be converging on some point between 2010 and 2020.... [there] are five factors which are changing the energy landscape: rising demand; dwindling supply; greater concentration of resource in the hands of a few; limited spare capacity; and the environmental impacts of energy use.....This is not a problem that can wait ten years."
Sir David Manning, British Ambassador To The United States Of America
Speech at Stanford University, 13 March 2006


".... a series of crises in oil supply is likely over the coming decades. The first, related to the peak and decline of non-OPEC production, is practically upon us and underpins the currently high oil prices...... The imminent inability of non-OPEC production to meet incremental demand and its decline after 2010 precipitates the second crisis as OPEC’s diminishing spare capacity (even with Iraq’s production back to preinvasion levels) becomes less and less able to accommodate short-term fluctuations.....The third crisis, due to OPEC’s incremental supply being unable to meet incremental demand, follows in the first half of the next decade. This assumes that OPEC’s reserves are as published. .....These crises will have global economic and geopolitical significance: The oil price will be high and volatile, and demand growth will have to be curtailed..."
Oil Supply Challenges - 2: What Can OPEC Deliver?
Oil and Gas Journal, 7 March 2005

The Energy Challenge Of The Post 9/11 Period

"The U.S. needs energy — lots and lots of energy — and 37.1% of it is currently supplied by oil. As the population expands and the policy decisions and technological innovations needed to make the switch to green, renewable energy sources lag, thirst for the stuff is only going to grow. Critics have long lamented that when it comes to energy policy, 9/11 was an opportunity for the country to have an honest debate about the choices it needs to make if it's ever going to break its addiction to oil. 'We need to address the underlying issue,' says Lisa Margonelli, director of the New America Foundation's Energy Policy Initiative, 'and that's our dependence on oil.' Having a national conversation now — an adult one — is the only way forward."
The Far-Ranging Costs of the Mess in the Gulf
TIME, 6 May 2010



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"Qatari natural gas exports have recently grown in the global market, as the country has become one of the UK’s major gas exporters. In a report, Scientect website revealed that Qatar is among the leading exporters of natural gas to the UK, which is considered to be the world’s eighth-largest gas importer. Qatar supplied the UK with nearly 50 per cent of its annual needs last year, according to the website. In 2019, the UK received 65 Qatari shipments, delivering 6.7 million tonnes of liquified natural gas (LGN) to the UK, which had a total need of approximately 14 million tonnes. The report pointed out that last year, Qatar provided a value twice the amount required by the UK, compared with previous years, estimated at 6.1 million tonnes of natural gas. It explained that Doha was able to reach this high level of production to the UK via the South Hook LGN terminal, which is the main gateway for Qatari gas to the UK."
Qatar supplies UK with 50% of its annual gas needs
Middle East Monitor, 29 August 2020

"Guided by ocean plankton fossils and climate models, scientists have calculated just how cold it got on Earth during the depths of the last Ice Age, when immense ice sheets covered large parts of North America, South America, Europe and Asia. The average global temperature during the period known as the Last Glacial Maximum from roughly 23,000 to 19,000 years ago was about 46 degrees Fahrenheit (7.8 degrees Celsius), some 13 degrees Fahrenheit (7 Celsius) colder than 2019, the researchers said on Wednesday. Certain regions were much cooler than the global average, they found. The polar regions cooled far more than the tropics, with the Arctic region 25 degrees Fahrenheit (14 degree Celsius) colder than the global average. The researchers made their calculations with the aid of chemical measurements on tiny fossils of zooplankton and the preserved structures of fats from other types of plankton that change in response to water temperature – what they called a "temperature proxy."... "Past climates are the only information we have about what really happens when the Earth cools or warms to a large degree. So by studying them, we can better constrain what to expect in the future," said University of Arizona paleoclimatologist Jessica Tierney, lead author of the research published in the journal Nature. During the Ice Age, which lasted from about 115,000 to 11,000 years ago, large mammals well adapted to a cold climate such as the mammoths, mastodons, woolly rhinos and saber-toothed cats roamed the landscape. Humans entered North America for the first time during the Ice Age, crossing a land bridge that once connected Siberia to Alaska with sea levels much lower than they are today. Human hunting is believed to have contributed to mass extinctions globally of many species at the end of the Ice Age. "What is interesting is that Alaska was not entirely covered with ice," Tierney said. "There was an ice-free corridor that allowed humans to travel across the Bering Strait, into Alaska. Central Alaska was actually not that much colder than today, so for Ice Age humans it might have been a relatively nice place to settle.""
How low did it go? Scientists calculate Earth's Ice Age temperatures
CGTN, 27 August 2020

"Exxon Mobil’s been in the Dow in some form since 1928, but its tenure as the longest-serving component is coming to an end. On Monday, S&P Dow Jones Indices announced the largest changes to the 30-stock benchmark in seven years. Along with Exxon, which is being replaced by Salesforce, Pfizer and Raytheon Technologies are being removed in favor of Amgen and Honeywell International. The changes take effect Aug. 31. Exxon’s removal is a “sign of the times,” Raymond James said, as the company — and energy sector broadly — falters, a weakness made all the more apparent by strength in technology names. Energy now makes up just 2.5% of the S&P 500, compared with 6.84% five years ago, and 10.89% 10 years ago. Technology has jumped from 18.48% of the index in 2010 to 28.17% today. Edward Jones’ Jennifer Rowland noted that five tech stocks — Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook — are individually larger than the entire U.S. energy sector, which she called “pretty sobering” and “symbolic of just how far the energy sector has fallen over the past few years.” Chevron is also in the Dow, meaning the energy sector was overrepresented in the benchmark to begin with. And with Apple’s coming 4-for-1 stock split, the Dow’s exposure to tech was set to decrease. “In removing Exxon from the DJIA, the index provider is clearly being reactive, and indeed accentuating the extremely negative investor sentiment on just about anything tied to oil and gas,” Raymond James’ Pavel Molchanov wrote in a note to clients. Exxon shares fell 3% on Tuesday after news of the removal. “This represents a combination of the obviously rough COVID-impacted oil price backdrop but also concerns about the eventual peak in oil demand (which had emerged long before COVID) and ESG-related objections to fossil fuels generally,” he added. That said, Raymond James is upbeat on the sector and envisions recovery into 2021."
Exxon Mobil replaced by a software stock after 92 years in the Dow is a ‘sign of the times’
Peak Oil, 26 August 2020

"Global oil demand is expected to be 91.9 million b/d in 2020, down 8.1 million y-o-y. In its monthly report for August, the IEA reduces its 2020 demand forecast by 140,000 b/d, the first downgrade in several months, reflecting Covid-19 cases that continue to grow and substantial weakness in the aviation demand for fuel. China’s oil demand is recovering strongly, up 750,000 b/d y-o-y in June. The Agency revised down its 2021 global demand estimate by 240,000 b/d to 97.1 million, mainly due to a slower recovery in aviation."
Energy Bulletin, 24 August 2020

"The Covid-19 pandemic has added severe financial strain on a North American upstream industry that was already reeling under billions of dollars of debt. With WTI climbing past $40 a barrel, most exploration and production firms (E&Ps) have been able to keep their head above water, but unless prices strengthen further about 150 more E&Ps will need to seek Chapter 11 protection through 2022, a Rystad Energy analysis shows. So far this year, according to Haynes & Boone, 32 E&Ps have already filed for Chapter 11, recording a cumulative debt of about $40 billion. On the oilfield services (OFS) front, 25 companies have filed for Chapter 11. If WTI remains at $40, Rystad Energy estimates 29 more E&P Chapter 11 filings this year, adding another $26 billion of debt at risk. In a scenario with WTI continuing to hover around $40 over the next two years, we can expect another 68 Chapter 11 filings from E&Ps in 2021, and 57 more in 2022, adding $58 billion and $44 billion, respectively, of more debt at risk. That would bring the total amount of E&P debt at risk from now until the end of 2022 to $128 billion. If WTI price levels remain largely unchanged and our Chapter 11 forecasts materialize, this would bring the total number of North American E&P filings for 2020-2022 to nearly 190, compared to 207 during the five-year period of 2015-2019. That would also bring total Chapter 11 North American E&P debt for 2020-2022 to about $168 billion, 36% higher than the $122 billion recorded in 2015-2019."
$40 Oil Isn’t High Enough For Indebted U.S. Shale Drillers
Rystad Energy, 23 August 2020

"This may turn out to be the year that oil giants, especially in Europe, started looking more like electric companies. Late last month, Royal Dutch Shell won a deal to build a vast wind farm off the coast of the Netherlands. Earlier in the year, France’s Total, which owns a battery maker, agreed to make several large investments in solar power in Spain and a wind farm off Scotland. Total also bought an electric and natural gas utility in Spain and is joining Shell and BP in expanding its electric vehicle charging business. At the same time, the companies are ditching plans to drill more wells as they chop back capital budgets. Shell recently said it would delay new fields in the Gulf of Mexico and in the North Sea, while BP has promised not to hunt for oil in any new countries. Prodded by governments and investors to address climate change concerns about their products, Europe’s oil companies are accelerating their production of cleaner energy — usually electricity, sometimes hydrogen — and promoting natural gas, which they argue can be a cleaner transition fuel from coal and oil to renewables. For some executives, the sudden plunge in demand for oil caused by the pandemic — and the accompanying collapse in earnings — is another warning that unless they change the composition of their businesses, they risk being dinosaurs headed for extinction.This evolving vision is more striking because it is shared by many longtime veterans of the oil business."

Europe’s Big Oil Companies Are Turning Electric
New York Times, 17 August 2020

"Oil prices rose on Monday as China’s plans to ship in large volumes of U.S. crude in August and September outweighed concerns over a slowdown in demand recovery after the coronavirus pandemic and an uptick in supplies.Brent crude LCOc1 added 30 cents, or 0.7%, to $45.10 a barrel by 0410 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 was up 34 cents, or 0.8%, to $42.35 a barrel. Chinese state-owned oil firms have tentatively booked tankers to transport at least 20 million barrels of U.S. crude for August and September, Reuters reported on Friday, as China ramped up energy and farm purchases ahead of a review of the Sino-U.S. trade deal. Record crude imports from the world’s top importer and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions globally have supported oil prices, although new waves of coronavirus outbreaks in several countries are expected to cool consumption again. ... In the United States, meanwhile, the number of oil and natural gas rigs operating last week remained anchored at a record low for a 15th week, even as higher oil prices prompt some producers to start drilling again."
Oil prices advance as China ramps up U.S. crude imports
Reuters, 17 August 2020

"Australia’s conservative government appears to be pivoting away from backing coal for future energy needs, but hasn’t quite made it all the way to renewables, instead waylaying into natural gas. An advisory board set up by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to map out strategies for economic recovery from the novel coronavirus pandemic has confirmed it supports various subsidies to boost the natural gas sector. Nev Power, the board’s chairman and a former mining executive, told a Senate committee on Aug. 11 that the group was recommending government support for new pipeline and guaranteeing offtake agreements in order to support the expansion of the natural gas sector. In doing so, Australia becomes just one of a handful of countries proposing to stimulate fossil fuels over renewable energies."
Australia bucks the global trend, goes with natural gas over renewables
Reuters, 13 August 2020

"Britain’s National Grid said on Thursday that biomethane has been connected to the transmission system for the first time, as part of efforts to decarbonise the gas network. The renewable gas biomethane has been produced by Biocow Ltd’s Murrow anaerobic digestion plant in Cambridgeshire from cattle manure and straw. The pipeline will support flows of up to 15,000 cubic metres of biomethane per hour, enough for the annual gas consumption of 10 average households each hour."
Biomethane connected to UK gas network for first time - National Grid
Reuters, 13 August 2020

"Three US senators are threatening the operators of a small German port with "crushing legal and economic sanctions" for provisioning Russian vessels assisting with constructing the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline.  The US strongly opposes the pipeline, which is owned by Russian gas company Gazprom and will carry natural gas from Russia to Germany.  In their letter,,Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton and Ron Johnson accuse port operator Faehrhafen Sassnitz of "knowingly providing significant goods, services, and support" for the project." On Friday, German Minister of State Niels Annen said Germany "firmly rejected" the proposed sanctions, adding the tone and content of the letter were "completely outrageous." "Threatening a close friend and ally with sanctions, and using that kind of language, will not work," Annen told German public broadcaster ZDF. "European energy policy will be decided in Brussels, and not in Washington DC," he said. Murkan Port, located in the small seaside town Sassnitz on Baltic Sea island of Rugen, now finds itself at the center of a geopolitical showdown between Russia and the US. Along with storing sections of pipe, the port serves as a logistic and service center for ships constructing the German end of the pipeline.  These include the Russian-flagged vessels "Fortuna" and "Akademik Cherskiy," which have yet to begin their work, but will become sanctionable, " the instant that either vessel dips a pipe into the water to construct the Nord Stream 2 pipeline," according to the letter." The US argues that the pipeline will increase Europe's dependence on Russia, which both Berlin and Moscow dispute. The US proposes selling European's American natural gas shipped across the Atlantic as an alternative. "
Nord Stream 2: US senators threaten German port with 'crushing' sanctions
Deutsche Welle, 7 August 2020

"Replacing old, iron gas pipes with hydrogen and biomethane-ready plastic pipes in the UK will help cut carbon emissions and deliver the world’s first zero carbon gas grid. New figures published today by Energy Networks Association (ENA), as part of its Gas Goes Green programme, show that by 2032, investment in replacing old iron mains gas pipes with new hydrogen and biomethane-ready pipes will have taken the equivalent of 526,433 cars off the road since 2014, as a result of reduced methane natural gas emissions. The investment forms part of the Iron Mains Risk Replacement Programme, which replaces old iron gas pipelines in Britain’s low-pressure gas networks with hydrogen and biomethane-ready piping made from plastic. Bringing together all of Britain’s gas network companies, ENA’s Gas Goes Green programme will deliver the world’s first zero carbon gas grid by moving Britain’s gas network infrastructure from delivering methane-based natural gas to zero-carbon hydrogen and biomethane. The impact of methane on global warming is 21 times greater than that of CO2, with about quarter of manmade global warming attributed to it. The figures demonstrate the CO2-equivalent impact of reducing methane natural gas emissions from Britain’s world-leading network of gas pipelines, which supply heating, cooking and hot water to 23 million properties across the country. Over 85% of properties in Great Britain are connected to the network, which has 284,000km of pipelines."
UK gas networks to slash grid emissions by transitioning to hydrogen
H2View, 4 August 2020

"Turkey is increasingly turning to liquefied natural gas (LNG), diversifying its external energy links and boosting its leverage over Russia, an analyst said in an article published on the Middle East Institute’s (MEI) website on Friday. Russia’s dominance in the natural gas markets to its southwest no longer appears unassailable as dramatic changes are taking place in Turkey - Moscow’s top gas customer outside of Germany - Dimitar Bechev, a non-resident fellow with MEI's Frontier Europe Initiative, said. Bechev said Turkey’s Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA) recorded the import of 2.06 billion cubic metres (bcm) of LNG for last March - outstripping pipeline gas and reaching 52 percent of total volumes received by Turkey. The share of LNG in imports stood at 29 percent in 2019. Bechev said the rise of LNG is bad news for Moscow, as Russian energy giant Gazprom had traditionally supplied more than half of the gas entering Turkey. Yet its share plunged from 52 percent in 2017 to 47 percent in 2018 to just 33 percent in 2019. Turkish industries and households rely less and less on Russian gas, even as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are talking up ambitious energy ventures, such as the recently inaugurated TurkStream pipeline."
Liquefied natural gas could be a game changer for Turkey
Ahval, 1 August 2020

"The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published its latest annual energy statistics, revealing that a record 37.1% of the electricity generated in the UK in 2019 was renewable. Published today (30 July), the Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) serves as the Government’s energy “bible”, documenting figures on energy production, consumption, demand, imports and exports. The latest edition covers the 2019 calendar year. It reveals that 37.1% of the electricity generated in the UK in 2019 was renewable, up from 33.1% in 2018. BEIS attributes this growth in proportion to coal plants coming offline ahead of the 2024 deadline and to the rapid expansion of the nation’s offshore wind sector. Of the total electricity generated, a record 20% was attributable to wind – 10% to offshore and 10% to onshore. The combined output of domestic wind, solar and hydropower was up 11% year-on-year, while bioenergy output was also up by 1.6%. At the same time, the overall output of the UK’s fossil fuel sector decreased slightly (0.3%), with coal closures and natural gas scale-backs mainly being offset by a rise in primary oil production as the new Clair Ridge field. When other low-carbon generation methods including nuclear are added to the calculation, 54.4% of the UK’s generation in 2019 is accounted for. The majority of the remaining generation is attributable to natural gas (40.6%), while coal’s share fell to an all-time low of 2.1%, as several coal-free records were broken. RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive Melanie Onn said the figures prove “confirm just how far we’ve come in the revolution in power generation”, given that renewable generation accounted for just 7% of the UK total a decade ago.... The above DUKES figures only account for domestic energy generation, however, and the UK has been a net importer of energy since 2004. As such, the DUKES reveals that 78.3% of the energy consumed in the UK in 2019 did ultimately originate from fossil fuels. While 19.8% of the UK’s total primary energy consumption was accounted for by low-carbon energy – a record, up from the 2018 figure of 18.9% - it is clear that more must be done to decarbonise the energy which the UK imports. Aside from decarbonising the energy mix, decreasing energy demand is seen as a key piece of the net-zero puzzle. In its most recent Future Energy Scenarios report, National Grid ESO outlined how reducing the energy demand of the transport sector by 75% and the housing sector by 25% would fast-track the UK’s progress towards its long-term climate goals. According to the DUKES figures, primary energy consumption fell by 1.2% on a year-on-year, temperature adjusted basis. Final energy consumption was also down on the same bases, by 0.9%. BEIS attributes this mainly to a decreased use of heating. Going forward, RenewableUK is hoping for sectors like heat and transport to decarbonise at the pace seen to date in the UK’s electricity sector."

UK broke renewable energy generation record in 2019, latest BEIS figures show
Edie, 30 July 2020

"Schlumberger Ltd. posted its weakest sales in 14 years and is cutting one-fifth of its workforce while warning that new waves of Covid-19 could derail the nascent recovery in global energy demand.The second-quarter rout was so bad for Schlumberger that it’s spending $1 billion on job severance in a move that will shrink staffing to an 11-year low. Various restructuring and impairment charges cost it another $2.7 billion, the company said Friday in a statement."
Schlumberger cutting 21,000 jobs on weak Q2 sales, dismal outlook
Bloomberg, 24 July 2020

"It is the industry’s responsibility to roll-out the fifth generation (5G) of wireless communication networks without increasing energy consumption, Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson writes in a report outlining how this can be done. “Energy consumption is set to increase dramatically if 5G is deployed in the same way as 3G and 4G were,” Ericsson warns in a report published in March. “Some communications service providers have even estimated a doubling of their energy consumption to meet increasing traffic demands while improving their network and rolling out 5G,” writes Erik Ekudden, Senior VP, CTO and Head of Group Function Technology at Ericsson, in a foreword to the report. “This is not sustainable from a cost or environmental perspective,” he warns. At the same time, 5G  is “the most energy-aware standard,” he continues, citing technological improvements such as smarter sleep modes and more efficient data transmission, which could help reduce the energy consumption of connected devices. These features, combined with a new approach to network roll-out, make it possible to “quadruple data traffic without increasing energy consumption,” he believes.... Historically, the roll-out of telecom networks has always come with a growing energy consumption, explains Mats Pellbäck Scharp, head of sustainability at Ericsson, in a podcast on the report. “Every time we have launched a new standard — I mean 2G, 3G, 4G — the energy consumption has increased quite significantly,” he said. “This cannot happen when we launch 5G. We need to break the energy curve.” The European Commission has sought to accelerate the roll-out of fifth generation wireless communication networks, known as 5G. Last month (30 June), the EU executive adopted the “Implementing regulation for small cells,” allowing 5G antennas to be installed without individual permits — as long as they adhere to strict EU exposure limits as well as any national or local requirements. “This means 5G antennas can be installed more quickly, as normally permits can take several months to be issued,” an EU Commission spokesperson told EURACTIV. The accelerated roll-out of 5G networks is viewed as a “major enabler” to reach broader EU objectives, including those related to energy and climate change.... Regarding the energy implications of 5G networks however, the EU executive provided a rather optimistic figure. “When using 5G the power consumption per bit is 90% less than on 4G,” the Commission spokesperson told EURACTIV, adding: “This really constitutes an important improvement”. But, that is not the right way to approach the matter, says Ericsson’s Pellbäck Scharp. “Energy consumption on network level is not proportional or directly linked to how much data is going through the network,” he told EURACTIV in emailed comments. “Energy consumption grew when we built out the 4G networks around a decade ago — not when the data traffic grew,” he explained. “That happened later”. Moreover, increased volumes of data are of limited importance today with regard to the energy consumption of the network, Pellbäck Scharp explained. More important, he says, is where the data is used as well as the daily variations in traffic. “This has a lot of impact on dimensioning of sites and equipment as well as how much energy different sleep modes will save,” he points out."... According to Smolders, the energy performance of 5G will also depend on the stage of roll-out, which he says can be divided into three phases: 1. From 2020, 5G will be introduced at lower frequencies (700 MHz, 1400 and 2100 MHz) and have “comparable performance to 4G in terms of data speed and energy use.” 2. 2023, 5G will be introduced at 3.5 GHz. That will mean higher data speed, but “by now already some more antenna stations will be necessary (around 10% more or so)”. 3. From 2025, 5G will be introduced at 26 GHz. That will mean “a lot higher data speed (factor 100)” and “by now crowded regions will require a lot more antennas, but those will be smart.”
Ericsson: 5G could ‘dramatically increase’ network energy consumption
Euractiv, 24 July 2020

"The UK has dominated the offshore wind market, owning a quarter of all offshore wind projects around the world. That’s according to a new report by the trade association RenewableUK, which suggests the UK has retained its top spot in the industry in terms of projects in the pipeline or already in use, boasting a total capacity of 38.9GW. The research also shows the growth of global offshore wind energy projects which are operational, under construction, consented or being planned has soared by 30% in the last year from 122GW to 159GW. China has jumped from fourth to second place with 19.3GW, an increase of 7.3GW, up 60%. The US has kept its third place, achieving an increase of 13% from last year, while Germany has dropped from second to fourth place as its total of 16.5GW has remained almost the same over the previous 12 months, adding just 68MW. The findings of the report also note Taiwan has stayed in fifth position with its project pipeline growing by 28%."
UK dominates offshore wind market, ‘owning a quarter of total global portfolio’
Energy Live News, 24 July 2020

"One of the key sources of funding for American shale is evaporating, just as the the sector needs it more than ever. Banks lending against the oil and natural gas reserves of hundreds of independent U.S. drilling companies have pulled back from the sector at an unprecedented rate this year after energy prices slumped. There’s every indication they’re not done: Many in the industry expect further reductions to credit facilities in the fall, with higher costs and more stringent protections for lenders.All that comes at a time that could scarcely be more challenging for shale. Weakened by poor returns to shareholders, it was getting shut out of the bond and equity markets even before the Covid-19 pandemic decimated global demand. With crude prices staging a limited recovery in the last two months to around $40 a barrel, shale operators face an uncertain future, one where they must to drill to generate cash flow while facing a higher cost of capital. “As long as oil prices stay at $40 or less and gas stays at $2 or less, I think banks are going to continue to be very cautious and continue to pull back,” said Spencer Cutter, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “It’ll be the end of shale if oil stays below $40.” Shale lending doesn’t just involve banking behemoths like JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. but smaller regional entities such as BOK Financial Corp., Cadence BanCorp and Amegy Bank NA. Shale companies negotiate their credit lines in spring and again in fall. Any adjustments are typically modest, but banks slashed many loans this spring. According to S&P Global Ratings, borrowing bases, which are determined by the collateral value of oil and gas reserves, were reduced by an average of 23%. Credit commitments were lowered by 15% on average. Shale drillers Chaparral Energy Inc. and Oasis Petroleum Inc. saw some of the most severe cuts this spring on a percentage basis, with borrowing bases reduced by 46% and 53% respectively. Closely held Bruin E&P Partners LLC and Jonah Energy LLC saw their commitments cut below the actual amount drawn, requiring them to repay the deficit within six months. Bruin filed for bankruptcy last week.It’s not just the shrinking of loans that should concern drillers. They’ve become pricier, too, by about 50 basis points over Libor, and the leverage limit for credit lines has come down to around 3.5 times earnings, compared with the previous average multiple of four times earnings for the industry, according to people familiar with the recent loan reviews who asked not be identified since those discussions were private."
Funding for shale drillers dries up as lenders leave the sector
Bloomberg, 23 July 2020

" LeydenJar Technologies, a Dutch spin-out of the applied research institute TNO, has developed a new anode that will drastically change the battery industry. For the first time, anodes in lithium-ion batteries can be made from 100% silicon. This breakthrough offers two key benefits: batteries with a 70% higher energy density (1350 Wh/L) and 62% less CO2 emissions. The anode is ready for production and LeydenJar is preparing to massively scale-up its production capacity in the coming years. ...  Two important details are that the new technology does not push up production costs and is a 'plug-in' solution to existing battery gigafactory's. A 70% higher energy density will have an impact on various sectors: consumer electronics, electric vehicles and the storage of renewable energy."
Breakthrough in Battery Industry: LeydenJar Boosts Battery Energy by 70%
PR Newswire, 20 July 2020

"The Israeli government on Sunday approved an agreement with European countries for the construction of a subsea pipeline that would supply Europe with natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean. The Eastmed pipeline, which has been in planning for several years, is meant to transport gas from offshore Israel and Cyprus to Greece and on to Italy. A deal to build the project that was signed in January between Greek, Cypriot and Israeli ministers had still required final approval in Israel. The countries aim to reach a final investment decision by 2022 and have the 6 billion euro ($6.86 billion) pipeline completed by 2025 to help Europe diversify its energy resources. A land and sea survey is currently underway to determine the route of the 1,900-km (1,200-mile) pipeline. The European Union and the pipeline's owner IGI Poseidon, a joint venture between Greek gas firm DEPA and Italian energy group Edison <EDNn.MI>, have each invested 35 million euros in the planning. "The government approval of the framework agreement for laying the Israel-Europe natural gas pipeline is another historic milestone for making Israel an energy exporter," said Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz. The pipeline is planned to initially carry 10 billion cubic meters of gas a year with the possibility of eventually doubling the capacity."
Israel approves pipeline deal to sell gas to Europe
Reuters, 19 July 2020

"BP’s eagerness to sell its Alaskan business reflects a broader shift. Oil and gas firms, which report second-quarter earnings in the coming weeks, are cutting investment and trying to sell billions of dollars’ worth of resources. Even before covid-19 lockdowns hit energy demand and oil firms’ profits, investors were wary of big projects. Now the risk of costly stranded assets has grown more obvious. Last month BP and Royal Dutch Shell, an Anglo-Dutch rival, said they would take write-downs of up to $17.5bn and $22bn, respectively, on assets. The oil majors are ever keener to own only the cheapest, cleanest reserves. Getting there will be tough. The oil industry faces a basic problem. If the price of Brent crude, the global benchmark, surpassed $100 a barrel, about 90% of the world’s oil could be extracted with a return on capital of at least 10%, according to Rystad Energy, an energy-research firm. Today Brent fetches just over $40 a barrel, making about half the world’s oil reserves too costly to produce (see chart 1). Oil prices are expected to rebound as post-pandemic demand picks up, but by how much is fiercely debated.... Shell now expects a barrel to cost $40 in 2021 and $50 in 2022, down from the $60 it assumed in its most recent annual report. BP forecasts that Brent will average $55 from 2021 until 2050. Just a few months ago its central assumption for prices over the next 20 years was $70. BP’s outlook for gas prices at Henry Hub, a benchmark for that commodity, has darkened, too, from a long-term average of $4 to $2.90 per million British thermal units. For some petrostate-owned oil firms, current prices are high enough to keep drilling profitably but too low to balance national budgets (see article). Elsewhere high costs mean oil may simply remain below ground. In Canada only 42% of reserves can be produced with Brent at $60 a barrel, a share that falls to 16% at $40. The energy needed to extract and refine Canada’s thick bitumen makes its oil sands even less appealing. Angola in recent years passed tax incentives to promote offshore drilling, but Rystad now estimates that low prices and Angola’s relatively high costs will deter investment.The supermajors understandably desire resources that are resilient to price swings and to climate regulations being considered in many countries to discourage the use of the dirtiest fuels. They have worked to cut costs. Last year the average oil price needed to cover capital spending and dividends for the five biggest—ExxonMobil, Shell, Total, Chevron and BP—was less than half what it was in 2013, according to Goldman Sachs, a bank (see chart 2)."
Oil giants want to own only the cheapest, cleanest hydrocarbons
Economist, 18 July 2020

"The government’s new plans to upgrade the energy efficiency of homes will make only a fraction of the progress needed to help the UK meet its legally binding climate targets, according to a new study. A report by IPPR, a left-leaning thinktank, has found at least 12 million homes will need to be fitted with low-carbon heat pumps and energy efficiency measures, such as insulation, over the next 30 years for the UK to meet its net zero targets. However, Rishi Sunak’s pledge to fund a new energy efficiency plan with £3bn of spending is less than a third of the investment needed, and its plans to install heat pumps will deliver less than 2% of the number required, according to the report. Joshua Emden, a researcher at IPPR, said the government’s focus on energy efficiency in the recent summer statement should be paired with low carbon heating technologies, such as heat pumps, to “maximise the potential for savings on energy bills” and carbon emissions. By throwing its weight behind heat pumps now, the industry will be able to focus on the challenge of fitting the low-carbon tech to homes across the country, and begin creating new jobs and apprenticeships by training new workers, he said."
UK energy efficiency push offers just a third of the investment needed, says report
Guardian, 15 July 2020

"Renewable energy broke another record for the European electricity mix in the first quarter of 2020, reaching a 40% share, the highest quarterly figure on record. That’s according to the latest quarterly report on European Electricity Markets, which suggests renewables had a very successful quarter, expanding by 38TWh year-on-year and becoming the least affected energy source by the pandemic. At the same time, the electricity generated by fossil fuels fell from 38% in the first quarter of 2019 to 33% during the same period this year, with coal generation alone dropping to 30%. The European Commission’s report also estimates the shift away from fossil fuels caused the carbon footprint of electricity generation in the member states to decrease by 20%. It also notes demand for electric vehicles (EVs) continued to grow as new EV registrations doubled and almost 25,000 new public charging points were added in the first three months of 2020."

‘Renewables smash new record providing 40% of European electricity’
Energy Live News, 14 July 2020

"Investments in the offshore wind sector experienced ‘colossal’ growth in the first six months of the year, despite the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. That’s according to the latest report by research company Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), which suggests offshore wind financings in the first half of 2020 totalled $35 billion (£27.8bn), up 319% year-on-year and higher than 2019’s record full-year figure of almost $32 billion (£25.4bn). The data also shows the first six months of the year saw investment decisions made for 28 offshore wind farms, including the ‘largest ever’ 1.5GW Vattenfall Hollandse Zuid project off the coast of the Netherlands, costing $3.9 billion (£3.1bn). Findings of the report also estimate overall investment in new renewable energy capacity was $132.4 billion (£105.4bn) in the first semester, up 5% from the same period of 2019. Onshore wind investment slipped 21% to $37.5 billion (£29.8bn), while solar fell 12% to $54.7 billion (£43.5bn) – the report also shows investment in new biomass and waste-to-energy plants fell 34%, while geothermal jumped 594%."
Offshore wind investments grow ‘colossally’ in first half of 2020
Energy Live News, 14 July 2020

"The construction of what is claimed to be the ‘world’s longest electricity interconnector‘ has begun. The first phase of Viking Link’s construction will see Siemens Energy developing the UK and Denmark converter stations on both ends of the link – the new infrastructure will allow the UK and Denmark to share renewable energy through a 765 kilometre-long high-voltage cable, This will start with the creation of a 2.4 kilometre-long road for the Bicker Fen converter station site in Lincolnshire – the road is expected to take nine months to complete and will allow the operational vehicles to access the site once the converter station is completed in 2023. Once completed in 2023, the £1.7 billion cable will have the capacity to be able to supply renewable energy to power 1.5 million British homes."
National Grid launches work on the ‘world’s longest electricity interconnector’
Energy Live News, 14 July 2020

"The world’s most relied-upon renewable energy source isn’t wind or sunlight, but water. Last year, the world’s hydropower capacity reached a record 1,308 gigawatts (to put this number in perspective, just one gigawatt is equivalent to the power produced by 1.3 million race horses or 2,000 speeding Corvettes). Utilities throughout the globe rely upon hydropower to generate electricity because it is cheap, easily stored and dispatched, and produced with no fuel combustion, meaning it won’t release carbon dioxide or pollutants the way power plants burning fossil fuels such as coal or natural gas do. As with other energy sources, however, hydropower is not without an environmental cost. Beyond the profound ecosystem impact of damming and diverting huge waterways, hydropower can wreak havoc on native aquatic species and their ecosystems. The majority of watersheds around the world – some of which have operated on hydropower for more than a century – are highly degraded, with polluted waterways and outmoded technology. Traditional reservoirs are often stagnant bodies of water; because of this, they are frequently sites of harmful algal blooms, or HABs, which are toxic to people, fish, shellfish, marine mammals and birds. As well as profoundly altering the watercourse, large hydro dams can be a death-zone for fish. As well as obstructing their migratory routes, the fast-spinning turbine blades can cut them. If they make it past the blades, sudden changes in pressure can kill the fish, as can shear forces during passage through the turbine."
The most powerful renewable energy
BBC, 14 July 2020

"US crude production has already peaked, according to one of the country’s leading shale executives, as producers battered by the price crash shun new output growth and start trying to become profitable. Matt Gallagher, chief executive of Parsley Energy, one of Texas’s biggest independent oil producers, said the record output level struck earlier this year would be the high-water mark. “I don’t think I’ll see 13m [barrels a day] again in my lifetime,” the 37-year-old Mr Gallagher told the Financial Times. “It is really dejecting, because drilling our first well in 2009 we saw the wave of energy independence at our fingertips for the US, and it was very rewarding . . . to be a part of it.” American oil output plunged by as much as a quarter this spring, as crude prices crashed in the wake of a Saudi-Russia price war and the coronavirus outbreak, prompting several operators, including Parsley, to shut wells and slash planned spending. Soaring shale production helped the US become a net exporter of petroleum in November last year — a stunning reversal for a country that imported more than 10m b/d a decade earlier. Since May, however, that has reversed and net imports have trended upwards. US oil briefly traded below zero in April, but a recovery to around $40 a barrel since then still leaves it beneath the break-even price for many shale producers. It was “hands down” the worst oil-price crash in recent history, Mr Gallagher said, and would have a lasting impact on the sector. “Our industry is the industry of mobility and comfort,” he said — referring to fuel for car and air travel and for heating and air conditioning — “and mobility is being drastically rethought and there will be new innovations on comfort.” Capital markets have largely closed to shale producers in the past year as investors fled a sector that became famous for world-beating production growth but an inability to repay debt. The shale sector had “not been gifted with discipline”, Mr Gallagher acknowledged, and has often been led by management teams who “put up very little personal risk and had very lopsided upside reward based on growth”. But new capital restraint was now “trickling into the industry”. Parsley is among companies that have restarted the wells they shut during the worst phase of the price crash. But the company has no plans to increase production with new drilling this year or next. Only 223 horizontal rigs — a proxy for US shale drilling activity — were operating on July 9, according to data provider Enverus, compared with 853 a year ago. US oil production would eventually stabilise at around 11m b/d, Mr Gallagher said, as producers focused on maintaining output, not increasing it. That is in line with current production, according to consultancy Rystad Energy, but about 15 per cent below this year’s peak."
Shale boss says US has passed peak oil
Financial Times, 13 July 2020

"Oil markets began the 2020s by nosediving below $0 a barrel for the first time. Investors and analysts are now trying to work out what the rest of the decade holds in store. Some think the bust will set in motion a boom, predicting that investment in oil-and-gas production will dry up and propel crude prices back above $100 a barrel."

Oil Went Below $0. Some Think It Will Rebound to $150 One Day.
Wall St Journal, 9 July 2020

"Global oil demand will likely to recover to above pre-pandemic levels in the future despite some predictions that the crisis may have already triggered a structural decline in world oil consumption, the head of the International Energy Agency said July 6. Most market watchers see global oil demand recovering to pre-COVID levels of around 100 million b/d over the next two years after collapsing by an expected 8 million-9 million b/d in 2020. Last month, the IEA forecast that global demand for crude is not expected to recover until 2022. Last week, however, Norwegian energy consultants DNV GL said oil demand may have already peaked as the coronavirus pandemic accelerates the world's transition to low carbon, renewable energy sources. When asked whether he thought the world had already passed peak oil demand, Fatih Birol said: "If oil demand goes back to 100 million b/d I would not be surprised. And under a strong recovery, I would not be surprised if it went higher than that." As the global economy slowly restarts from lockdowns, political parties, business leaders and environmental groups have been calling for more climate-friendly policies to 'bake-in' behavior changes in order to speed the transition away from fossil fuels. But Birol was skeptical that hoped-for, long term behavior changes, such as more remote working and less commuting, would make a significant impact on future oil demand. "Some say demand for oil is falling because we are changing our lifestyles. I'm not so sure. Teleworking alone is not going to send oil demand lower. We will need the right policies," said Birol. In its June oil market report, the IEA said the estimated recovery in 2021 puts oil demand 2.4 million below 2019 levels at 97.4 million b/d. S&P Global Platts Analytics currently sees global oil demand about 3 million b/d lower than its pre-COVID forecasts out to 2040, with jet fuel and marine fuels suffering the biggest losses. Rather than accelerating peak oil demand, however, Platts Analytics believes it could be extended by about a year to 2041 due mostly to the expected resilience of long-term petrochemicals demand."

Global oil demand unlikely to have peaked due to pandemic: IEA's Birol
Platts, 6 July 2020

"The surge of natural gas production in the U.S. has also launched the U.S. into first place globally in natural gas liquids (NGL) production. The U.S. has a 40% global share of NGL production, with most of the NGLs destined for refineries or petrochemical production.However, because the U.S. consumes most of the natural gas it produces, it lags two other countries in the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG, which is different than NGL). Qatar is in first place globally with a 22.1% share of LNG exports, followed by Australia (21.6%), the U.S. (9.8%), Russia (8.1%), and Malaysia (7.2%). But the U.S. is the world’s fastest-growing LNG exporter, with a 40% average annual growth rate over the past decade (and a 66% increase from 2018 to 2019). For perspective, last year the U.S. was the 3rd largest LNG exporter, but just five years earlier the U.S. ranked 18th globally in LNG exports."
U.S. Dominance In The Natural Gas Sector Is Growing
Forbes, 5 July 2020 

"For a long time, it was assumed renewables would become ascendant one day but in the meantime, new gas-fired peaker plants would be needed because, you know, the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. For a while that was true, but once again a funny thing happened on the way to the renewable energy revolution. The costs of solar and wind farms plummeted along with the cost of battery storage. Now, according to PV Magazine, several US utilities are saying “no thank you” to new gas-fired generation....  The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis says, “Up until recently, the easy option for utilities would have been to propose using gas to replace coal. But not any longer. Rising concerns about climate change and continuing reductions in wind, solar and battery storage costs coupled with improved performance have altered the playing field.”"
Natural Gas As A Bridge Fuel To The Future? Not Anymore
CleanTechnica, 4 July 2020

"This necessity is a cornerstone of civilization. It’s more important than transport, electricity and even—shock horror—the internet. It accounts for half of the energy we use globally. So what is it? It’s heat. And if you didn’t guess correctly, that’s okay: in the global fight against climate change, our need for heat is often overlooked. But how do we produce enough of it without also warming the planet? Recognizing this conundrum, last week the U.K.’s Committee on Climate Change, which reports on Britain’s decarbonization progress, emphasized renewable heat as a top priority in preparing for the future. The authoritative body recommended that the Treasury should directly support renewable heat, singling out the installation of heat pumps and heat networks as an “infrastructure priority.”... progress on decarbonizing heat has been slow. It is likely that the U.K. has missed its target, set way back in 2009, of generating 12% of heat from renewable sources by 2020. The government’s own figures show that in 2018, just 7.2% of heating was renewable."
Guess What Uses 50% Of The World’s Energy, Creates 30% Of Emissions
Forbes, 3 July 2020

"OPEC slashed oil production to the lowest level since the Gulf War in 1991, as it escalated efforts to revive global markets just as a resurgence of the coronavirus is threatening demand again. Saudi Arabia faithfully delivered the extra curbs promised in June, and the laggards, though still trailing in implementing the cuts, stepped up their performance, according to a Bloomberg survey. OPEC and its partners’ record output cuts since May have helped revive the oil market, but a recent surge of Covid-19 infections in countries including the U.S. is highlighting the fragility of the revival. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries cut production by 1.93 million barrels a day to 22.69 million a day last month, according to the survey. That’s the lowest since May 1991, though membership changes since then affect the comparison. The survey is based on information from officials, ship-tracking data and estimates from consultants including Rystad Energy A/S, Rapidan Energy Group, JBC Energy GmbH and Kpler SAS. The intervention by OPEC+, the coalition that spans the cartel plus outsiders such as Russia, has helped more than double benchmark Brent crude from the lows of April, when the virus outbreak is estimated to have taken out about a third of global demand. Prices were above $41 a barrel on Wednesday. Yet the pullback in the group’s output to the lowest in almost three decades illustrates the scale of the sacrifice involved. OPEC+ pledged 9.7 million barrels a day of cuts at a meeting in April -- about 10% of global supplies -- and some of its Middle East members then promised to voluntarily cut even deeper in June. Saudi Arabia, the group’s biggest member, cut back by 1.13 million barrels a day to 7.53 million in June, fully implementing its additional voluntary reduction. Fellow Persian Gulf exporters Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates met their OPEC-mandated targets, but fulfilled only a small part of the extra curbs."
OPEC cuts production to 1991 levels in bid to revive oil demand
Bloomberg, 2 July 2020

"As Elon Musk's Tesla has been talking up new battery technology development as part of the lead-up to the company's first-ever Battery Day for investors, Wall Street is buzzing about the difference the next generation of batteries may make. Vehicles with lithium-ion batteries, also used in cellphones, are expected to give way over the next few years to cars and trucks made with lithium-iron phosphate and other chemistries. This will cut costs, extend vehicle ranges to 400 miles or more between charges and enable batteries to last as long as 1 million miles. Reducing Tesla's own costs and spurring mass adoption of EVs remain critical priorities for Tesla, as echoed in a message from Musk to employees on Monday saying it would be a challenge to break even right now. The new technology will change the experience of owning a car, whether a Tesla or one made by rivals like General Motors, which is also working on new battery technologies, analysts said. In particular, the extremely long life of batteries soon to hit the market are likely to mean the batteries hold their value well enough to be resold when owners trade in their cars, possibly for use storing solar electricity for homes. And the next-gen batteries' long lives may let them be used in ridesharing businesses that demand cars that can take the pounding of near-continuous use. "If you're talking about batteries that can last twice as long for the same price, it completely changes the math for the consumer," says Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives. "Iron phosphate batteries are safer, and they can have second or third lives as electricity storage.'' Musk recently said its Battery Day is tentatively scheduled for September, the month and day to which Tesla recently pushed back its annual shareholder meeting. Originally, both events had been planned for June. "We want to leave the exciting news for that day, but there will be a lot of exciting news to tell," Musk said on the company's first-quarter earnings call. "I think it would be one of the most exciting days in Tesla's history."... The key difference in the lithium-iron phosphate batteries is that they do not need to use cobalt, a rare and expensive element that is a big part of the high cost of electric vehicle batteries, CFRA Research analyst Garrett Nelson said. Cobalt prices have tanked during the global economic downturn, declining from as much as $95,000 per ton in 2018 to $30,000 this year, but it remains key to bringing down battery costs. "Cobalt is by far the most expensive element in a lithium-ion battery," Nelson said.  Canning cobalt is one of the biggest elements of cutting the cost of batteries below the $100/kWh threshold that is a rough proxy for making electric vehicles as cheap as those powered by internal combustion engines, said James Frith, head of energy storage at Bloomberg New Energy Finance in London. Today's batteries cost about $147/kWh, down from about $1,000 in 2010 and $381 in 2015, he said....The element has become a politically sensitive issue, too, with some of the largest supplies of cobalt coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where allegations of deadly child labor in mining have ensnared Apple, Tesla, Google and other tech firms in a recent international lawsuit.  Meng cautioned that there is a limit to the price improvements to come from reducing just cobalt, and that's because the pricing differential between cobalt and nickel has narrowed in recent years. Tesla's primary EV battery technology is NCA (based on nickel-cobalt-aluminum oxide chemistry). Most of the auto industry uses an NMC (nickel-manganese-cobalt) battery chemistry. But with nickel an important part of both approaches, reductions in cobalt alone can't drive continued step changes in pricing. "It is going to be hard to get below $100 per kilowatt," Meng said of current nickel-cobalt chemistry. "Tesla realized they can't just get rid of cobalt." She said current battery technology, including NMC, remain a contender to reach the million-mile threshold, but won't be able to do so on a cost-effective basis with today's nickel concentrations. Nickel currently ranges in price from roughly one third to as much as one half the price of cobalt. With lithium-iron phosphate, which does not require nickel or cobalt, lab research shows there is a possible pathway to drive pricing down to as low as $80/kWh. The new chemistries could push prices of EV batteries as low as $60–$80/kWh, said Ives. Bloomberg NEF expects prices to cross $100 by 2023 or 2024 and $60 by 2030, Frith said. "At that point, you have choices, either as an automaker or a consumer," Frith said. "You can go for a battery that's bigger that will take you farther (between charges). Or you can get a battery that's optimized for a longer lifetime cycle.''"
Tesla and the science behind the next-generation, lower-cost, 'million-mile' electric-car battery
CNBC, 30 June 2020

"Renewable energy made up almost half of Britain’s electricity generation in the first three months of the year, with a surge in wind power helping to set a new record for clean energy. The government’s official data has revealed that renewable energy made up 47% of the UK’s electric ity generation in the first three months of the year, smashing the previous quarterly record of 39% set last year. The government’s renewable energy data includes electricity from the UK’s windfarms, solar panels and hydro power plants as well as bioenergy generated by burning wood chips instead of coal The “substantial increase” in the UK’s total renewable energy output was chiefly driven by a growth in electricity generated by solar panels and windfarms which climbed by more than a third over the last year, according to the government’s energy analysts. The report added that the start up of new windfarms combined with the UK’s unusually wet and windy weather at the start of the year – particularly storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge – helped to generate record wind power generation. Offshore windfarms powered the largest increase in renewable energy in the first quarter of the year, climbing by 53% compared with the previous year, while onshore wind generation grew by a fifth. In total, wind power generated 30% of the UK’s electricity in the first quarter, beating the previous record of 22.3% set in the final months of 2019. Rebecca Williams, of Renewable UK, said the renewable energy industry’s records were bound to be broken again in the years ahead as the government worked on “a massive expansion of renewables as part of the UK’s green economic recovery”. Britain last week set a new coal-free record of more than two months for the first time since coal-fired power generation began during the Industrial Revolution, following a surge in renewable energy due to bright, breezy weather and low demand during the Covid-19 lockdown... The rise of renewable energy combined with a steady supply of nuclear power, which made up about 15% of the UK generation mix, drove fossil fuel power plants to a new record low in the first quarter. Gas-fired power plants made up less than a third of UK generation in the first quarter compared with over 40% in the first months of 2019, and coal-fired power made up 3.8% of electricity generated in the UK."
Renewable energy breaks UK record in first quarter of 2020
Guardian, 25 June 2020

"“Fracking is over” and the government has “moved on”, according to UK energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng. The confirmation that Boris Johnson’s administration will not pursue shale gas in the UK comes after operations in Lancashire ceased in September 2019 following a national outcry, huge local opposition and regular earthquakes. Mr Kwarteng made the comments while speaking to the BBC about a new 50-megawatt cryogenic battery facility outside Manchester that will store renewable energy. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has awarded the project a £10m grant. Asked yesterday by Roger Johnson, of the BBC’s North West Tonight, whether a shift to renewables marked the end of fracking, the minister said: “We had a moratorium on fracking last year and frankly the debate’s moved on. It is not something that we’re looking to do. “We’ve always said we’d be evidence-backed, so if there was a time when the science evidence changed our minds, we would be open to that. But for now, fracking is over."
Climate crisis: ‘Fracking is over’ in UK, energy minister says
Independent, 19 June 2020

"Poland’s efforts to diversify gas supply sources had already improved its negotiating leverage with Gazprom, but instead of using this advantage to obtain better commercial terms, the Polish government decided to physically eliminate Russian gas by building expensive alternative infrastructure. This included a large LNG import facility plus an economically questionable pipeline under the Baltic Sea that mirrors existing capacity for bringing Norwegian gas to northwest Europe via Germany. This apparent fixation on “ideological physicality” in Poland has translated into an excessive politicisation of gas in the Polish energy economy and a needless burning of bridges with Russia before new alternatives have been firmly established. As a result, Poland seems to have sacrificed commercial reality on the altar of political desire, as it has effectively cut off one of its cheaper and cleaner sources of supply while also reducing its bargaining position."
Poland counts the cost of turning down Russian gas taps
Financial Times, 17 June 2020
"The 2020 release of Rystad Energy’s annual global energy outlook reveals that the COVID-19 downturn will expedite peak oil demand, putting a lid on exploration efforts in remote offshore areas and as a result reducing the world’s recoverable oil by around 282 billion barrels. Global total expected remaining recoverable oil resources decrease to 1,903 billion barrels, 42% of which are in OPEC territory, with the remaining 58% located outside the alliance. “Non-OPEC countries account for the lion’s share of “lost” recoverable resources with more than 260 billion barrels of undiscovered oil now more likely to be left untouched, especially in remote exploratory areas,” says Rystad Energy’s Head of Analysis, Per Magnus Nysveen. OPEC countries are much more resilient to the current crisis and will only lose a fraction compared to their non-OPEC counterparts such as the US (-49 billion barrels) and Russia (-31 billion barrels).“OPEC countries are expected to lose 21 billion barrels of reserves potential as the negative developments in Venezuela and Iran outweigh the increased strength and reserves potential of core OPEC countries in the Arab Gulf region,” Nysveen adds."
Recoverable oil loses 282bn barrels as COVID-19 hastens peak oil
Saudi Gazette, 17 June 2020

"More than a century of oil and gas drilling has left behind millions of abandoned wells, many of which are leaching pollutants into the air and water. And drilling companies are likely to abandon many more wells due to bankruptcies, as oil prices struggle to recover from historic lows after the coronavirus pandemic crushed global fuel demand, according to bankruptcy lawyers, industry analysts and state regulators.... They also pose a serious threat to the climate that researchers and world governments are only starting to understand, according to a Reuters review of government data and interviews with scientists, regulators, and United Nations officials. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year recommended that U.N. member countries start tracking and publishing the amount of methane leaching from their abandoned oil and gas wells after scientists started flagging it as a global warming risk. So far, the United States and Canada are the only nations to do so. The U.S. figures are sobering: More than 3.2 million abandoned oil and gas wells together emitted 281 kilotons of methane in 2018, according to the data, which was included in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent report on April 14 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. That’s the climate-damage equivalent of burning 16.2 million barrels of crude oil, according to an EPA calculation. That’s more than the United States, the world’s biggest oil consumer, uses in two days."
Millions of abandoned oil wells are leaking methane, a climate menace
Reuters, 16 June 2020

"The coronavirus has crushed exports of liquefied natural gas from US shores, curtailing an important sales outlet for the world’s largest gas producer. Shipments will have dropped by 60 per cent in July from their peak in January, the Energy Information Administration forecast last week, with the US sending out the least liquid gas since before a string of new processing units opened between Texas and Georgia. Trade in LNG has tied together gas markets once segmented by continents, as gas is chilled and condensed for transport on ships. The US contributed more than half the liquefaction capacity added in the world last year, according to the International Gas Union. When Sempra Energy’s Cameron LNG produced its first volumes in May last year, President Donald Trump visited the plant to cheer on the US as “the energy superpower of the world”.  Some European countries have hoped these rising supplies would help break their dependence on Russian natural gas imports. Poland recently decided it would not renew a long-term supply deal with Russia’s Gazprom that expires in 2022, favouring imports of Norwegian and American gas instead....For now, though, natural gas prices on the Gulf of Mexico coast are above those in east Asia and Europe, putting US LNG out of the market, according to brokers, especially once shipping costs are factored in. The pandemic has caused the biggest fall on record in world gas demand, giving buyers the upper hand. Natural gas prices are so cheap in Europe that an LNG cargo redirected from France is scheduled to arrive in Mexico this month, undercutting exports of US gas delivered by pipeline, said Tudor, Pickering, Holt, an investment bank."
Gas exports plummet at US ports
Financial Times, 14 June 2020 

"Britain's electricity network is on track to run for hours at a time without burning any natural gas by the middle of the decade, according to National Grid. Energy bosses are eyeing the next step in cleaner energy after Britain last week went a record two months without burning any coal to generate electricity. National Grid Electricity Systems Operator, which runs the main networks, wants to be able to run a “carbon-free” network by 2025. A spokesman said: “Meeting this goal means operating the system without any gas generation running for short periods in 2025.” That is likely to be hours at a time rather than days. Natural gas, drilled from underground including the North Sea, generated almost 40pc of the UK’s electricity last year, although the fossil fuel’s role is falling as more wind and solar power stations are hooked up to the grid."
Britain's electricity 'to have first gas-free hours by 2025'
Telegraph, 13 June 2020

"Global investment in future supply has collapsed. The International Energy Agency (IEA), an intergovernmental forecaster, estimates that upstream investment this year will fall to its lowest since 2005 (see chart). Goldman Sachs, a bank, expects production outside OPEC to stagnate in the 2020s, due not to geology or even demand, but lack of investment. Bernstein, a research firm, thinks that non-OPEC supply, which accounts for about 60% of global output, may peak in 2025, and then only at around last year’s level. That would mark a dramatic shift. Because oil reserves are depleted continuously, producers have usually operated under the tenet of drill or die. An analyst once asked Lee Raymond, then the chief executive of Exxon, what kept him up at night. “Reserve replacement,” he responded. The obsession with booking reserves, not surprisingly, supported the growth of supply. In the mid-2000s, as some fretted that the world might run out of oil, both listed and state-backed firms scoured the world for projects. Over the past decade, fracking has unleashed supply across America’s heartland, transforming the country into the world’s largest oil producer (see chart). Big projects in Norway and off the coast of Brazil, where oil lies beneath a thick layer of salt below the sea floor, helped boost supply, too. Investment began falling, though, even before the pandemic. A crash in prices from 2014 to 2016 had sapped appetite for big, risky projects. Even after prices climbed in 2017 poor returns made investors less interested in reserve replacement than cash flow. Companies have squeezed suppliers and found ways to pump more oil from existing fields. ExxonMobil and Chevron are among the giants to invest in America’s shale basins, where output is relatively easy to ramp up and down. Oil producers can now credibly say they are able to wring more value from their capital budgets. Still, the decline in investment was steep enough to stir debate over future supply. Upstream spending on oil and gas last year was 43% below that in 2014, according to the IEA. Bernstein examined the 50 biggest listed energy companies outside OPEC and the former Soviet Union. In 2019 they reinvested an average of 64% of their operating cash flow. The long-term average was 87%. The pandemic has exacerbated matters. Producers have shut in wells, delayed projects and slashed investment further. Rystad Energy, a data firm, estimates that of the 3m barrels a day that were shut in last month, mainly in America and Canada, 10-15% will never restart. The IEA predicts that investment in supply will be 33% lower this year than in 2019 and 62% lower than the high in 2014. There is less fat to trim than there was five years ago, the IEA reckons. That means declining investment may have a greater impact on supply.... As for American shale, analysts are feverishly watching rig counts, pipeline data and shut-ins for signs of a surge in supply. Shin Kim of S&P Global Platts, a data firm, expects it to tick up briefly this summer, as prices recover. But there is consensus that growth in the 2020s will be muted compared with the boom. Shale output is vast and wells’ production declines are steep. Improvements to productivity have slowed. Investors can find better returns elsewhere. This bodes well for OPEC and its allies, which have been battered in the past decade. In 2014-16 it waged a failed price war to wipe out American frackers. Since then the cartel and its partners, led by Russia, have propped up oil prices enough to sustain shale, but not enough to support many members’ domestic budgets. In March Saudi Arabia urged Russia to slash output; Russia refused, loth to let Americans free-ride on OPEC-supported prices. The ensuing price war was spectacularly ill-timed, as it coincided with the biggest drop in oil demand on record."
Investment in oil supply has collapsed. It may not roar back
Economist, 11 June 2020

"Opec, Russia and allies have agreed to extend record oil production cuts until the end of July, prolonging a deal that has helped crude prices double in the past two months by withdrawing almost 10% of global supplies from the market. The group, known as Opec+, also demanded countries such as Nigeria and Iraq, which exceeded production quotas in May and June, compensate with extra cuts in July to September. Opec+ had agreed in April that it would cut supply by 9.7m barrels per day (bpd) during May-June to prop up prices that had collapsed due to the coronavirus crisis. Those cuts were due to taper to 7.7m bpd from July to December. “Demand is returning as big oil-consuming economies emerge from pandemic lockdown. But we are not out of the woods yet and challenges ahead remain,” the Saudi energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, told the video conference of Opec+ ministers on Saturday.... As global lockdowns ease, oil demand is expected to exceed supply sometime in July but Opec has yet to clear 1bn barrels of excess oil inventories accumulated since March."
Opec and allies extend oil production cuts to end of July
Guardian, 7 June 2020

"The global IoT in energy market size is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 11.8% during the forecast period. Major factors expected to drive the growth of the IoT in the energy market include IoT in energy to boost business productivity, the advantage of IoT-based agile systems, and rising instances of cyberattacks. However, the lack of a skilled workforce and lack of data and user privacy are factors that hinder the growth of the IoT in the energy market."
Global IoT in Energy Market by Solution, Service, Platform, Application and Region - Forecasts to 2025
PR Newswire, 29 May 2020

"Renewable energy investments are delivering massively better returns than fossil fuels in the U.S., the U.K. and Europe, but despite this the total volume of investment is still nowhere near that required to mitigate climate change.   Those are some of the findings of new research released today by Imperial College London and the International Energy Agency, which analyzed stock market data to determine the rate of return on energy investments over a five- and 10-year period. The study found renewables investments in Germany and France yielded returns of 178.2% over a five year period, compared with -20.7% for fossil fuel investments. In the U.K., also over five years, investments in green energy generated returns of 75.4% compared to just 8.8% for fossil fuels. In the U.S., renewables yielded 200.3% returns versus 97.2% for fossil fuels. ...Speaking to, Charles Donovan, director of the Centre for Climate Finance and Investment at Imperial College and the report’s lead author, said: “The conventional wisdom says that investing in fossil fuels is more profitable than investing in renewable power. The conventional wisdom is wrong.”"
Just How Good An Investment Is Renewable Energy? New Study Reveals All
Forbes, 28 May 2020

"The coronavirus crisis is causing the biggest fall in global energy investment in history. Before the pandemic, funding was set to rise 2%, but now it’s predicted to plunge 20%, says the International Energy Agency (IEA). Fossil fuels are hit hardest, with a 30% funding drop expected for oil and a 15% fall for coal. Renewables investment is down 10% - and it's only about half what’s needed to combat climate change. Due to coronavirus lockdown measures imposed by many countries, for the time being, the fall in investment is leading to a drop in planet-heating carbon emissions. But the IEA warns that that use of fossil fuels is likely to rebound when the crisis is over, leading to a spike in CO2. One reason is because China and other Asian nations are putting in orders now for a new generation of coal-fired power plants to supply energy in the future.... Approvals of new coal plants in the first quarter of 2020, mainly in China, were running at twice the rate observed over the whole of 2019... Overall energy investment has fallen almost $400bn (£324.3bn) short of what was expected in 2020, and the IEA says there are now serious doubts about secure energy supplies when the global economy picks up, because energy projects take so long to deliver. The report says the decline in investment is “staggering” in its scale and swiftness, mostly due to low demand and low prices for energy, especially oil."
Record drop in energy investment, warns IEA think-tank
BBC, 27 May 2020
"US oil production is falling more steeply than expected, forcing analysts to scale back output projections even before a deep plunge in planned upstream spending further cuts supply later this year. Genscape, a unit of consultancy Wood Mackenzie, said production by May 20 had dropped almost 20 per cent, or 2.3m barrels a day, from a peak of 13.24m in March. ... Shale’s defining characteristic is the need for constant spending to keep drilling new wells to replace fast-declining older ones. In recent weeks, operators have outlined capex cuts totalling 45 per cent of their previously announced plans, which will begin to affect supply in the coming months. The capex cuts would bite later in the year, with output dropping 300,000 b/d per month due to the lack of well completions, said Mr Horsnell. Genscape said US output could end the year at just 10.6m b/d. "
US oil production drop steeper than expected
Financial Times,  22 May 2020

"The UK government’s approval of a large new gas-fired power plant has been ruled legal by the high court. A legal challenge was brought after ministers overruled climate change objections from planning authorities. The plant, which is being developed by Drax in North Yorkshire, would be the biggest gas power station in Europe, and could account for 75% of the UK’s power sector emissions when fully operational, according to lawyers for ClientEarth, which brought the judicial review. The planning inspectorate recommended that ministers refuse permission for the 3.6GW gas plant because it “would undermine the government’s commitment, as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008, to cut greenhouse emissions” by having “significant adverse effects”. It was the first big project rejected by planners because of the climate crisis. However, Andrea Leadsom, who was secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy at the time of the planning application, rejected the advice and gave the go-ahead in October."
UK approval for biggest gas power station in Europe ruled legal
Guardian, 22 May 2020

"US oil production is falling more steeply than expected, forcing analysts to scale back output projections even before a deep plunge in planned upstream spending further cuts supply later this year.Genscape, a unit of consultancy Wood Mackenzie, said production by May 20 had dropped almost 20 per cent, or 2.3m barrels a day, from a peak of 13.24m in March. The volume lost already is almost as much as Russia and Saudi Arabia last month pledged to cut in a historic supply deal that begins in June. It will alarm US politicians, including President Donald Trump, who pressured Opec to shoulder production cuts in a bid to push up oil prices so that American producers could profitably keep pumping oil."
US oil production drop steeper than expected
Financial Times, 22 May 2020

"Renewables generated more than 40% of Britain’s power in the first three months of the year – overtaking fossil fuels for the first time, analysis shows. Wind farms were vying for top spot with gas in the electricity mix, generating 30.5% of power, just behind fossil fuels which contributed 30.6% between January and March. Severe winter storms in the wettest and windiest February since records began helped make it first month on record when more electricity was produced by wind farms than gas-fired power stations across the country. Analysis by academics from Imperial College London for Drax Electric Insights also shows that weekday power consumption fell by 13% as a result of the lockdown which began in late March. A lack of machinery, computers, lights and heaters being used in industry, offices and schools, and a reduction in electric rail, tram and Tube services led to weekday electricity demand falling to its lowest levels since 1982. Although domestic power use increased due to people being at home in the day, it is “like living through a month of Sundays” for weekday power demand, while weekends have seen even less electricity needed on the grid, the study said."
Renewable energy powers 40% of UK as it outstrips oil and gas for first time, analysis shows
Energy Voice, 21 May 2020

"A third of all available oil and gas in the North Sea could be left untouched if the price of Brent Crude remains at $25 a barrel, according to a new study. A global oversupply of oil pushed prices to the lowest level in 20 years. At its peak, a barrel of Brent Crude oil sold for about $120. But in recent weeks, that fell as low as $16. Economist Prof Alex Kemp, from the University of Aberdeen, has modelled the impact of $25, $35 and $45 oil prices, with corresponding gas rates. He also predicts long-term investment will fall. For the past few years the North Sea has been adapting to an oil price of about $60 a barrel. However, since the coronavirus crisis, it has plummeted. Prof Kemp said, at the lowest figure of $25, 35% of available oil and gas could be uneconomic to drill. And even at the higher price of $45, it was calculated that 28% could be left where it is."
Coronavirus: Third of North Sea oil and gas 'could be untouched'
BBC, 20 May 2020
"Oil supply is expected to fall to a nine-year low this month, the International Energy Agency said, as global producers make big cuts to offset a record collapse in demand. May production is expected to fall by 12m barrels a day, the Paris-based body said in its monthly report on Thursday, following supply reductions from oil-producer group Opec and Russia — together the so-called Opec+ group. “Massive cuts” from other countries including the US and Canada are also being made faster than initially anticipated, according to the report.... The IEA said the drop in oil demand this year, although the biggest fall ever, would not be as severe as initially thought, but it warned that a resurgence of outbreaks was a risk to a “gradual-but-fragile” recovery. Oil consumption will slide by 8.6m barrels a day, which is lower than last month’s forecast of 9.3m b/d. This will take total demand in 2020 to 91.2m b/d, from about 100m b/d last year."
Oil supply expected to hit 9-year low after demand collapses
Financial Times,  14 May 2020

"The global growth of renewable energy will slow for the first time in 20 years due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which will “hurt but not halt” the rise of clean energy. The world’s energy watchdog has warned that developers will build fewer wind farms and solar energy projects this year compared with a record roll out of renewables in 2019. But a rebound is possible in 2021, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), if critical government decisions made within the next few months support a green economic recovery from the pandemic. New figures from the IEA predict that the world will grow its capacity of renewable energy by 6% or 167 GW this year. The forecast growth is 13% less than the amount of new capacity which started up in 2019. The slowdown is likely to be more severe in Europe. The IEA expects the amount of new renewable energy rolling out this year to fall by a third to its lowest annual growth rate since 1996."
Coronavirus fallout to slow global growth in renewable energy
Guardian, 20 May 2020

"In the latest update to Bloomberg’s “Electric Vehicle Outlook,” forecasters say the world will never buy as many traditional gas-powered cars and trucks as we did in 2017. While gas cars will continue to make up more than half of global auto sales for years ahead, gas cars have already peaked – and EVs will now take over. Bloomberg’s long-term forecast does not predict the EV takeover to happen overnight. Moreover, it expects China and Europe to lead the way, and the US to lag behind. The shift in balance away from the US, according to Bloomberg, begins during the pandemic. The virus crises will spur China and Europe to increase their support of EVs and related infrastructure. But in the US, electric vehicle sales will “slow drastically” as policy support weakens. Here is the BloombergNEF global forecast as a percentage of sales and the number of purchases: 2020 – 2.7% / 1.7 million 2025 – 10% / 8.5 million 2030 – 28% / 26 million 2040 – 58% / 54 million ...Bloomberg’s stance on weak adoption in the US is evidenced by cars like the VW ID.3 and BMW iX3, as well as a host of smaller EVs, getting introduced in Europe but not the US."
Global sales of gas cars already peaked, but US will lag rest of world on EVs
Electrek, 19 May 2020

"With fuel for road transport accounting for about half of all oil demand, the possibility of a faster-than-expected switch to EVs in the wake of the pandemic is one of the main reasons some forecasts for a peak have been brought forward. Global oil demand hit a record of just over 100 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2019. Rystad now sees demand topping out at 106.5 million-107 million bpd in 2027-2028. The consultancy had previously forecast a marginally higher peak in 2030. Although the oil industry has defied numerous attempts to call “peak oil” in the past, the fact that the International Energy Agency projects that demand will plunge by a record 8.6 million bpd this year has reignited the debate.Though as yet a minority view, some believe the pandemic is reshaping patterns of work, aviation and commuting so profoundly that oil demand might never return to 2019 levels - a potential boost to hopes of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change."
Past its peak? Battered oil demand faces threat from electric vehicles
Reuters, 19 May 2020

"The world's first fully renewable hydrogen network for homes could be built in Scotland if permission is given by the energy regulator. SGN says it has asked Ofgem if it can build the H100 Fife facility to serve 300 homes at Levenmouth with the option to expand further. The hydrogen would replace natural gas as a green alternative for heating and cooking. The company hopes to have it operational within about three years. Offshore wind would be used to generate the electricity required to create the hydrogen from water through a process called electrolysis. New pipes will be laid alongside 1,000 properties, meaning home owners would have the choice of receiving their existing gas supply or the hydrogen alternative. SGN says it does not believe the Covid-19 pandemic will delay work, with construction expected to begin in early 2021. The first homes could be heated from hydrogen "within two to three years.""
Firm seeks world first with hydrogen gas for Levenmouth homes
BBC, 18 May 2020

"In April, U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette told world leaders that the U.S. will cut production by about 2 million barrels a day this year. Rystad Energy said that U.S. said that U.S. production shut-ins will reach at least 2 million barrels a day in June, including natural gas liquids, with Permian-focused producers in West Texas and New Mexico driving 42% of the curtailments expected. Some producers expect that currently projected June cuts may eventually increase depending on the prevailing oil price, but curtailed oil volumes should mostly return to pre-cut levels in the third quarter of 2020, Rystad said in a research note. Plains All American Pipeline LP said in its first quarter earnings call that shut-ins in the U.S. and Canada combined are somewhere between 3.5 million and 4.5 million barrels per day."
U.S. shale’s quick response to falling oil prices is paying off
Bloomberg, 17 May 2020

"Form Energy, the stealthy, Bill Gates-backed startup, has secured its first utility deal for a novel super-long-duration energy storage technology. And its stated capability blows away anything else on the market.A cadre of storage industry veterans and MIT scientists started Form Energy in late 2017 to tackle one of the hardest problems in clean energy: how to make renewable power available whenever it's needed. In the early days, founder and former Tesla storage leader Mateo Jaramillo described the deployment as a "decade-long project." But both renewable adoption and Form's lab work moved faster than expected. Minnesota utility Great River Energy confirmed Thursday that it will pilot Form's technology, identified for the first time as an "aqueous air" battery system. While it's common for lithium-ion batteries on the market today to discharge their full power capacity for up to four hours, Form's 1-megawatt project will do so for up to 150 hours, an unprecedented achievement for the storage industry... Form has been working quietly to develop technology for "baseload renewables" or "bidirectional power plants." It attracted more than $50 million from investors including Gates-affiliated Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Macquarie Capital, Italian oil giant Eni and Prelude Ventures. This is the first announced deal that will take the technology out of the lab and deploy it in a full-scale power plant context. It is due online in late 2023.... Form is not sharing many details on its technology but told GTM that the storage plant will sit inside the utility fence at an existing power plant, taking up about an acre. It will have enclosed, weatherized systems on a concrete pad, but not the containers typical of lithium-ion projects. The system is designed to operate for at least 20 years. The 1-megawatt format is the replicable block for Form's technology, Jaramillo said. That means scaling it up for future projects won't require redesigning the system.  The long-term future for Form depends in part on its unit economics versus mass-produced lithium-ion batteries. Several long-duration storage startups have succumbed to unexpectedly rapid price declines for their mainstream battery competitors."
Long Duration Breakthrough? Form Energy’s First Project Tries Pushing Storage to 150 Hours
GTM, 7 May 2020

"The oil price will hit $100 per barrel in around 18 months. That’s what Orascom Investment Holding Chairman and CEO Naguib Sawiris believes, a new CNBC television interview has revealed. “I actually believe that in, let’s say, 18 months from now the oil will hit $100,” Sawiris told CNBC via phone in the interview, which was published on CNBC’s website on May 6. “The shale industry will vanish for at least one year … and the start-up is going to be difficult because banks are going to be very reluctant to finance them back because they know that they’re very vulnerable … even [in] traditional oil many of the U.S. facilities have closed down,” Sawiris added. “The world is growing anyhow, even with this recession, so suddenly when the demand is still there and is coming … and they want oil, it will not be there because most of the people are shut down. So, the offering will be less than the need … and then the price will go back very high,” Sawiris continued."
Oil Will Hit $100 in Around 18 Months
Rigzone, 7 May 2020

"Gas stoves are making people sick, contributing pollution that makes indoor air up to two to five times dirtier than outdoor air, according to a new report. Despite the risks, regulators have failed to set standards for indoor air quality – a problem that is now likely to be exacerbated by large numbers of people spending time inside and cooking at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Fossil-fuel-burning stoves are likely exposing tens of millions of Americans to air pollution levels that would be illegal if they were outside, concludes the review of decades of science by the Rocky Mountain Institute and multiple environmental advocacy groups. Lead report author Brady Seals said little attention has been paid despite longstanding knowledge of the problem. “Somehow we’ve gotten accustomed to having a combustion device, often unvented, inside of the home,” Seals said. About a third of US households cook primarily with gas – which emits nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide, in addition to the particle pollution that all types of stoves produce. Older, poorly maintained stoves pollute even more including risks from carbon monoxide. Even small increases in short-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide can increase asthma risks for children. One analysis found that children in homes with gas stoves have a 42% higher chance of having asthma symptoms. Another in Australia attributed 12.3% of all childhood asthma burden to gas stoves. Nitrogen dioxide also makes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease worse and may be linked to heart problems, diabetes and cancer. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause a headache, nausea, a rapid heartbeat, cardiac arrest and death. The best solution, according to the report, is to change to electric stoves. But individuals with gas stoves can also open windows, cook on their back burners, use an exhaust hood, run an air purifier with a HEPA filter and install a carbon monoxide detector."
Gas stoves making indoor air up to five times dirtier than outdoor air, report finds
Guardian, 5 May 2020

"Rice University researchers have created an efficient, low-cost device that splits water to produce hydrogen fuel. The platform developed by the Brown School of Engineering lab of Rice materials scientist Jun Lou integrates catalytic electrodes and that, when triggered by sunlight, produce electricity. The current flows to the catalysts that turn water into hydrogen and oxygen, with a sunlight-to-hydrogen efficiency as high as 6.7%. This sort of catalysis isn't new, but the lab packaged a layer and the electrodes into a single module that, when dropped into water and placed in sunlight, produces hydrogen with no further input...Perovskites are crystals with cubelike lattices that are known to harvest light. The most efficient perovskite solar cells produced so far achieve an efficiency above 25%, but the materials are expensive and tend to be stressed by light, humidity and heat. "Jia has replaced the more expensive components, like platinum, in perovskite solar cells with alternatives like carbon," Lou said. "That lowers the entry barrier for commercial adoption. Integrated devices like this are promising because they create a system that is sustainable. This does not require any external power to keep the module running."."
Water-splitting module a source of perpetual energy, 4 May 2020

"The global imbalance between oil supply and demand, which has built to 26.4 million barrels per day (bpd) in April due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is set to halve to 13.6 million bpd in May and fall further to just 6.1 million bpd, according to a Rystad Energy analysis. However, despite the improvement, the stock build will still overwhelm remaining global storage, which will fill in weeks. Global supply is expected to fall in May to 92.8 million bpd, from 98.3 million bpd in April, and further decline to 91.1 million bpd in June. We expect June to see the lowest supply level this year unless further production cuts are announced, with output rebounding from July. Demand on the other hand, which Rystad Energy estimates will reach its lowest point at 71.8 million bpd in April, will rise to 79.2 million bpd in May and to 85.1 million bpd in June, as governments ease Covid-19-related restrictions and some industrial activity resumes. This supply figure already includes the cumulative 6.5 million bpd cuts we expect from OPEC+ countries, as well as more than 2 million bpd of production shut-ins from non-OPEC+ countries (such as Norway) suffering under the unprecedented market squeeze."
Oil glut to halve in May and shrink to 6mbpd in June: Rystad
Oil & Gas 360, 3 May 2020

"Researchers in the US have created a new energy-based benchmark for quantum advantage and have used it to show that noisy intermediate-scale quantum (NISQ) computers use several orders of magnitude less energy than the world’s most powerful supercomputer when doing a specific task....Quantum computers show enormous promise because they can – at least in principle – use the laws of quantum mechanics to perform some calculations much faster than even the most powerful conventional computers. Useful calculations could be done using a relatively small number of quantum bits (qubits) – hundreds or maybe thousands – but creating a quantum computer with more than a few dozen qubits is a difficult task because the quantum states used to create qubits are fragile, short-lived and difficult to control. Devices such as Google’s Sycamore are called NISQs because they have an intermediate number of qubits (Sycamore has 54) and are noisy in terms of imperfect qubit control."
Quantum computers vastly outperform supercomputers when it comes to energy efficiency
Physics World, 1 May 2020

".... temporarily closing or “shutting in” a well costs money—and potentially lots of money.... On land, most of America’s crude is produced from shale reservoirs, which trap the oil in rocks with low permeability. To set it free, companies use a technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that opens cracks in rocks deep in the Earth by blasting them with water or gas.Shut-ins are a normal part of oil production, but they are usually limited to a few wells at a time and mostly undertaken for repairs. Petroleum producers have known for decades that shale wells that have previously been shut in produce less oil when they’re reopened, says John McLennan, an expert in geomechanics at the University of Utah Energy and Geoscience Institute. But the exact cause of the damage is often unclear. McLennan says that one of the most well-supported explanations is water blockage.... The situation is a bit better for the roughly 1,000 offshore oil derricks in the Gulf of Mexico. These are typically conventional wells where a pipe is drilled into the ground and oil is pumped up—almost like sucking a milkshake through a straw. Offshore oil producers are accustomed to temporarily turning wells off during hurricanes, and shut-ins don’t have as big of a negative effect on their ability to produce oil. The reason for this, says McLennan, is because the offshore reservoirs are more permeable, which allows the oil to flow more freely."
The World Is Still Producing More Oil Than It Needs. Why?
Wired, 1 May 2020

"A 30-metre-high wooden wind power tower, which is claimed to be ‘Sweden‘s first’, has been erected in Björkö outside Gothenburg. The tower, which was developed by Modvion, features a structure ‘as strong as steel’. The firm says wind towers made from wood can be built at a ‘significantly’ lower cost than steel, which lowers the production cost of wind power-generated electricity. Carbon dioxide absorbed by trees as they grow is stored in the wood of the towers, which means that the wind turbines are climate-neutral from the beginning of their operation.... Otto Lundman, CEO of Modvion AB, said: “This is a major breakthrough that paves the way for the next generation of wind turbines. “Laminated wood is stronger than steel at the same weight and by building in modules, the wind turbines can be taller. “By building in wood, we also reduce carbon dioxide emissions in manufacturing and instead store carbon dioxide in the design.”"
Sweden launches its ‘first’ wooden wind power tower
Energy Live News, 1 May 2020

"The oil crash is blocking American frackers from accessing the cheap credit that fueled their prolific rise. That reversal of fortunes could prove fatal for overleveraged shale oil companies. The downturn in the oil industry has laid bare just how much America's rise to superpower status in the energy world was made possible by easy money. Virtually unlimited borrowing allowed shale companies to dramatically ramp up production, whether that oil was needed or not. Getting locked out of the junk bond market will tip the weakest players into bankruptcy, risking countless US jobs along the way. That's what happened during the last oil crash that began in 2015.
The looming oil patch bankruptcies underscore the fragile state of the boom-to-bust industry even before the coronavirus crisis. "These companies were in trouble before COVID-19 happened," John Kempf, senior director at Fitch Ratings, told CNN Business. "After 2015 and 2016, they never really got their balance sheets back together. When stress came, they weren't prepared for it."
The oil bankruptcies are just beginning. Here's who could be next

"BNEF estimates that the average onshore windfarm has doubled in capacity since 2016 to around 73MW today. Solar farms are now, on average, 33% more powerful compared to 2016 levels, at 27MWs. Onshore wind has experienced its most significant drop in cost in 2015, while some of the newly financed solar PV projects will be able to achieve an LCOE of $23-29 per MWh across Australia, China, Chile and the UAE. In China, the world’s largest PV market, the LCOE benchmark has reduced in cost by 9% since 2019 to $38 per MWh, because of the improved efficiency of monocrystalline modules. New-build solar in China is almost on par with the running costs of coal-fired power plants at $35 per MWh.... BNEF also analysed the LCOE of battery storage, revealing that it is now the cheapest new-build technology for peaking purposed in gas-importing regions, including Europe and China. The LCOE of battery storage has fallen to $150 per MWh for systems with a four-hour duration, almost half of its LCOE cost recorded in 2018. BNEF now estimates that the average capacity of storage projects is around 30MWh, a fourfold rise compared to four years ago. The increase in project size and an expanding manufacturing market has helped reduce costs. BNEF states in the report that battery costs have been dropping for several years, with average lithium-ion prices having fallen by 76% since 2012, based on recent project costs and historical battery pack prices."
Onshore wind and solar 'cheapest' form of energy for two-thirds of global population
Edie, 28 April 2020

" Mark Mills is the author of the book, “Digital Cathedrals: The Information Infrastructure Era,” and is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a Faculty Fellow at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering, and a partner in Cottonwood Venture Partners, an energy-tech venture fund. An epic number of citizens are video-conferencing to work in these lockdown times. But as they trade in a gas-burning commute for digital connectivity, their personal energy use for each two hours of video is greater than the share of fuel they would have consumed on a four-mile train ride. Add to this, millions of students ‘driving’ to class on the internet instead of walking. Meanwhile in other corners of the digital universe, scientists furiously deploy algorithms to accelerate research. Yet, the pattern-learning phase for a single artificial intelligence application can consume more compute energy than 10,000 cars do in a day. This grand ‘experiment’ in shifting societal energy use is visible, at least indirectly, in one high-level fact set. By the first week of April, U.S. gasoline use had collapsed by 30 percent, but overall electric demand was down less than seven percent. That dynamic is in fact indicative of an underlying trend for the future. While transportation fuel use will eventually rebound, real economic growth is tied to our electrically fueled digital future. The COVID-19 crisis highlights just how much more sophisticated and robust the 2020 internet is from what existed as recently as 2008 when the economy last collapsed, an internet ‘century’ ago. If a national lockdown had occurred back then, most of the tens of millions who now telecommute would have joined the nearly 20 million who got laid off. Nor would it have been nearly as practical for universities and schools to have tens of millions of students learning from home. Analysts have widely documented massive increases in internet traffic from all manner of stay-at-home activities. Digital traffic measures have spiked for everything from online groceries to video games and movie streaming. So far, the system has ably handled it all, and the cloud has been continuously available, minus the occasional hiccup....For all of the excitement that these new capabilities offer us though, the bedrock behind all of that cloud computing will remain consistent — and consistently increasing — demand for energy. Far from saving energy, our AI-enabled workplace future uses more energy than ever before, a challenge the tech industry rapidly needs to assess and consider in the years ahead. The cloud is vital infrastructure. That will and should reshape many priorities. Only a couple of months ago, tech titans were elbowing each other aside to issue pledges about reducing energy usage and promoting ‘green’ energy for their operations. Doubtlessly, such issues will remain important. But reliability and resilience — in short, availability — will now move to the top priority. As Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) last month reminded his constituency, in a diplomatic understatement, about the future of wind and solar: “Today, we’re witnessing a society that has an even greater reliance on digital technology” which “highlights the need for policy makers to carefully assess the potential availability of flexibility resources under extreme conditions.” In the economically stressed times that will follow the COVID-19 crisis, the price society must pay to ensure “availability” will matter far more. It is still prohibitively expensive to provide high reliability electricity with solar and wind technologies. ...  For the uninitiated, the voracious digital engines that power the cloud are located in the thousands of out-of-sight, nondescript warehouse-scale data centers where thousands of refrigerator-sized racks of silicon machines power our applications and where the exploding volumes of data are stored. Even many of the digital cognoscenti are surprised to learn that each such rack burns more electricity annually than 50 Teslas. On top of that, these data centers are connected to markets with even more power-burning hardware that propel bytes along roughly one billion miles of information highways comprised of glass cables and through 4 million cell towers forging an even vaster invisible virtual highway system. Thus the global information infrastructure — counting all its constituent features from networks and data centers to the astonishingly energy-intensive fabrication processes — has grown from a non-existent system several decades ago to one that now uses roughly 2,000 terawatt-hours of electricity a year. That’s over 100 times more electricity than all the world’s five million electric cars use each year. Put in individual terms: this means the pro rata, average electricity used by each smartphone is greater than the annual energy used by a typical home refrigerator. And all such estimates are based on the state of affairs of a few years ago.....  We don’t have to guess what’s propelling growth in cloud traffic. The big drivers at the top of the list are AI, more video and especially data-intense virtual reality, as well as the expansion of micro data centers on the “edge” of networks.... AI is the most data hungry and power intensive use of silicon yet created — and the world wants to use billions of such AI chips. In general, the compute power devoted to machine learning has been doubling every several months, a kind of hyper version of Moore’s Law. Last year, Facebook, for example, pointed to AI as a key reason for its data center power use doubling annually..... VR-based video. VR entails as much as a 1000x increase in image density and will drive data traffic up roughly 20-fold. Despite fits and starts, the technology is ready, and the coming wave of high-speed 5G networks have the capacity to handle all those extra pixels. It requires repeating though: since all bits are electrons, this means more virtual reality leads to more power demands than are in today’s forecasts. Add to all this the recent trend of building micro-data centers closer to customers on “the edge.” Light speed is too slow to deliver AI-driven intelligence from remote data centers to real-time applications such as VR for conferences and games, autonomous vehicles, automated manufacturing, or “smart” physical infrastructures, including smart hospitals and diagnostic systems. (The digital and energy intensity of healthcare is itself already high and rising: a square foot of a hospital already uses some five-fold more energy than a square foot in other commercial buildings.) Edge data centers are now forecast to add 100,000 MW of power demand before a decade is out. For perspective, that’s far more than the power capacity of the entire California electric grid. Again, none of this was on any energy forecaster’s roadmap in recent years.... As it stands today regarding the prospects for purchased indulgences, it’s useful to know that the global information infrastructure already consumes more electricity than is produced by all of the world’s solar and wind farms combined. Thus there isn’t enough wind/solar power on the planet for tech companies — much less anyone else — to buy as ‘credits’ to offset all digital energy use. The handful of researchers who are studying digital energy trends expect that cloud fuel use could rise at least 300 percent in the coming decade, and that was before our global pandemic.... Regardless of the issues and debates around the technologies used to make electricity, the priority for operators of the information infrastructure will increasingly, and necessarily, shift to its availability. That’s because the cloud is rapidly becoming even more inextricably linked to our economic health, as well as our mental and physical health."
Our love of the cloud is making a green energy future impossible
Techcrunch, 25 April 2020

"The US shale industry was forecast to deliver record high oil production this year. Only a few months ago the Permian basin was expected to increase its oil output to a new high of 4.8 million barrels per day, on the way to spurring the entire US market to a record daily output rate of 9 million bpd in 2020. The Permian, North America’s largest shale basin, has been one of the biggest drivers of a shale oil boom that helped make the United States the biggest oil producer in the world, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Russia. Instead, the region – which stretches from western Texas to eastern New Mexico – has endured its biggest one-month production decline in history. Now observers expect to see a string of oil-well closures, rising debts and bankruptcies as the coronavirus pandemic slashes demand for crude and threatens to wipe out hundreds of startup frackers. Suddenly, reaching 9 million bpd has become highly unlikely.... The industry cannot expect the same help from investors that was offered following the 2015 oil market crash either. Investors ploughed about $50bn into the industry in 2016, but rising debt and low returns have now sharpened investor expectations and eroded their appetite for risk. In February Moody’s, the credit rating agency, warned that a “staggering” $86bn worth of shale-industry debt was due to be repaid by 2024. “Even before the oil price crash, the business models began to change. Investors historically provided a lot of capital to the industry to finance the capital growth. Last year, they began asking these companies to come up with more disciplined and balanced capital programmes and focus more on profitability,” Abramov says. The companies that survive will be the leanest left standing, he adds. “It won’t be the same industry once prices recover.”
America’s fracking boom flounders as global prices and demand collapse
Guardian, 25 April 2020

"Domestic oil and gas production provided nearly two-thirds of UK demand in 2019. That’s according to industry body Oil & Gas UK, which suggests this highlights the “critical role” the UK’s fossil fuel resources continue to play in providing a secure and affordable supply of energy. It notes production from the UK Continental Shelf is enough to provide 63% of the UK’s oil and gas needs and 46% of the country’s total energy."

Domestic oil and gas production provided nearly two-thirds of UK demand in 2019
Energy Live News, 21 April 2020

"It’s hard to believe that the price of any commodity, let alone oil, can dip into negative territory. But that’s just what’s happened to oil prices. COVID-19 has prompted lockdowns, shuttered factories and stopped people from travelling. The global economy is contracting. The pandemic has also reduced global demand for oil by about 29 million barrels a day from about 100 million a year ago. OPEC and other producers agreed to cut production by 9.7 million barrels a day, far less than the decrease in demand, leaving a huge surplus of oil on the market and no buyers. Storage capacity on land has filled up quickly. Many oil-importing countries have stored large quantities of oil, taking advantage of cheap prices that may not last. Some oil producers, hoping to maintain their market share, have taken to storing their excess oil at sea, leasing tankers at high costs. Some are believed to be paying in excess of US$100,000 per day for each tanker.  So how have Alberta oil prices and even future prices for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) slipped into negative territory? It starts with the futures’ contracts for WTI — oil to be delivered in a few months at today’s price. It lost US$6 a barrel on Monday, fetching US$11.66, but ended the day at -US$37 as holders of future contracts tried to dump their contracts before oil is actually delivered with nowhere to store it. But Alberta oil, primarily derived from oilsands (referred to as Western Select), typically sells at US$10 to US$15 below the price of WTI, because it has to be extracted from deep rocky terrain. That makes it harder to refine, and it also has to be transported thousands of kilometres to American refineries. And so Alberta oil prices have become negative in the sense that the benchmark price is now lower than the cost of production, transport and storage. This state of affairs cannot be expected to last for long. Producers, in the short term, may accept prices below their variable cost as long as they are able to pay some of the costs they will incur even if oil production shuts down. As time passes, more and more rigs will stop operating (technically, a few will be kept operational in order to avoid being compromised) and a new balance between supply and demand will be established at prices that exceed total average cost. But this doesn’t bode well for either Alberta or the United States.... Russia needs a price of US$60 a barrel to balance its government budget and even a higher price to balance its current account, meaning exports of goods and services minus imports of goods and services, plus net short-term capital transfers.  Saudi Arabia, which remains the lowest-cost oil producer in the world, can make money when the price per barrel exceeds US$20, and Russia can at a price of US$40. But making a profit when prices are higher than cost is not sufficient. Saudi Arabia needs an US$80-per-barrel price to balance its budget, realize its plans to diversify its economy and sustain a heavily subsidized economy. In the balance is the stability of both the Russian and Saudi Arabian political systems and current regimes."
Oil crash explained: How are negative oil prices even possible?
World Economic Forum, 21 April 2020

"The price of US oil has turned negative for the first time in history. That means oil producers are paying buyers to take the commodity off their hands over fears that storage capacity could run out in May. Demand for oil has all but dried up as lockdowns across the world have kept people inside. As a result, oil firms have resorted to renting tankers to store the surplus supply and that has forced the price of US oil into negative territory."
US oil prices turn negative as demand dries up
BBC, 21 April 2020

"A new material developed by scientists could give a significant boost to a new generation of hydrogen-powered cars. Like a bath sponge, the product is able to hold and release large quantities of the gas at lower pressure and cost. Containing billions of tiny pores, a single gram of the new aluminium-based material has a surface area the size of a football pitch.The authors say it can store the large volume of gas needed for practical travel without needing expensive tanks....The gas is extremely light: in normal atmospheric pressure, to carry 1kg of hydrogen which might power your car for over 100km, you'd need a tank capable of holding around 11,000 litres. To get around this problem, the gas is stored at high pressure, around 700 bar, so cars can carry 4-5kg of the gas and travel up to 500km before refilling. That level of pressure is around 300 times greater than in a car's tyres, and necessitates specially made tanks, all of which add to the cost of the vehicles. Now, researchers believe they have developed an alternative method that would allow the storage of high volumes of hydrogen under much lower pressure. The team has designed a highly porous new material, described as a metal-organic framework. The product, with the glamorous name of NU-1501, has been built from organic molecules and metal ions which self-assemble to form highly crystalline, porous frameworks."
Climate change: 'Bath sponge' breakthrough could boost cleaner cars
BBC, 18 April 2020

"The dramatic slowdown across Europe due to Coronavirus lockdowns has caused electricity demand to plumet by one-tenth in the first three months of 2020 - the biggest drop in demand since the Second World War. This has caused power generation across the continent to fall. But in a potentially positive sign for Europe’s energy transition, fossil fuel generation is falling far more than renewable power. According to an analysis by the Wärtsilä Energy Transition Lab, coal-based power generation has fallen by over a quarter (25.5%) across the European Union and United Kingdom in the first three months of 2020 compared to 2019. Meanwhile the share of renewable energy in the EU and UK has risen to 43%. The impact has been even more stark in the last month, with coal generation collapsing by almost one third (29%) between 10 March and 10 April compared to the same period in 2019. At this moment it makes up only 12% of total EU and UK generation. By contrast, renewables delivered almost half (46%) of generation – an increase of 8% compared to 2019. The result has been an unprecedented fall in carbon emissions from the power sector, with emission intensity falling by almost 20% compared to the same 10 March to 10 April period last year. The analysis comes from the Wärtsilä Energy Transition Lab, a new data platform developed by the Wärtsilä Corporation, a Finnish company which manufactures and services power sources in energy markets."
Renewable Energy Way Up During COVID19 Shutdowns
Forbes, 17 April 2020

"UK gas network operators have outlined a high-level roadmap aiming to repurpose the existing methane network to carry hydrogen and biogas. Led by the Energy Networks Association, the operators’ ‘Gas Goes Green’ initiative sets out actions and research needed for delivery this year to enable net zero by mid-century. Decarbonising gas requires massive investment and unprecedented advances in technology and network operations, says the report. Carbon capture and storage must be proved to pay for itself at utility scale, and a “quantum leap” in energy efficiency is required before all else. With over 100 green gas plants already connected, operators have expanded supply of biomethane and are starting on hydrogen, the plan notes, thus gathering data on how network upgrades can cut emissions. Around 85 per cent of Britain’s homes are heated from the gas grid. The proposal’s first steps include making networks hydrogen-ready, in preparation to convert up to 23 million boilers. The networks also see transport as a major hydrogen consumer over the long term."
Gas networks outline plan to repurpose pipes for hydrogen and biogas
Energyst, 16 April 2020

"... what if some of the current demand destruction turns out to be permanent? Could 2019 even mark the all-time peak in global oil demand, with a plateau between 95m and 100m b/d for a few years before long-term decline kicks in?  If the question sounds deluded, consider the structural pressures on the oil market already in evidence before coronavirus hit and then add to these the behavioural changes prompted by the pandemic, some of which seem likely to stick.  First, take the structural pressure of efficiency improvements, clearly visible in US oil demand over the past decade and a half. According to the EIA, the highest level of US oil demand to date was registered all the way back in 2005 at 20.8m b/d. Despite the US population growing by 20m people over 2005-19, and vehicle miles travelled (VMT) increasing by nearly 10 per cent from 8.2bn miles a day in 2005 to 9bn miles a day in 2019, US oil consumption in 2019 was still below the 2005 level. The increases in population and VMT were outweighed by greater vehicle efficiency. Second, the petrol consumption lost to efficiency improvements in the US and elsewhere over the past 15 years will be dwarfed by the petrol demand destroyed globally over the next 15 years by the far superior efficiency of electric vehicles. "
Why we may have already seen the peak in oil demand
Financial Times, 17 April 2020

"The US shale industry is expected to shrink by more than 2m barrels a day following a collapse in global oil prices which has forced oil producers to shut down their fracking rigs. The US oil market slumped to fresh 18-year lows and below $18 a barrel on Friday following one of the biggest hikes in US oil stocks on record as demand for oil continues to fall and storage facilities near their limits. The international benchmark oil price fell to $28 a barrel. “The market knows that the US crude stocks will fill very rapidly,” said Bjørnar Tonhaugen, the head of oil markets at Rystad Energy. Tonhaugen said US crude oil stocks might reach an all time high by the end of the month and continue to build in May. Rystad Energy expects the US shale industry to shrink by 2.1m barrels a day, or 2% of global supplies, compared with forecasts for the industry before the coronavirus outbreak. US shale was expected to grow by 650,000 barrels a day this year before the coronavirus outbreak wiped out forecasts for global oil demand, triggering one of the steepest oil price declines on record. It is now forecast to shrink by 1.5m barrels a day compared to last year and that may accelerate even further."
US shale industry expected to shrink sharply as oil price falls
Guardian, 17 April 2020

"Intergovernmental group OPEC (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and its allies on Sunday agreed to a historic deal to cut oil output by 9.7 million barrels a day, or a tenth of global supply, during the coronavirus pandemic. The unprecedented reduction will take place from May to June this year, and then will continue to keep gradually decreasing curbs on production in place for two years until April 2022....Global oil demand is estimated to have fallen by a third as more than 3 billion people are locked down in their homes. This has subsequently destroyed demand for fuel and driven down oil prices, straining budgets of oil producers and hammering the US shale industry, which is more vulnerable to low prices due to its higher costs. "
OPEC agrees to cut oil barrel production after demand drops
Sky News, 13 April 2020

"Researchers at the University of Southern California looking to crack the renewable energy storage problem have developed a new version of a redox flow battery from inexpensive and readily-available materials. In tests, the iron sulfate solution and Anthraquinone disulfonic acid (AQDS) battery was found able to charge and discharge hundreds of times with "virtually no loss of power." The researchers say that the inexpensive nature of the materials used could also lead to significant electricity cost savings compared to redox flow batteries using venadium, if manufactured at scale."To date there has been no economically viable, eco-friendly solution to energy storage that can last for 25 years," said lead author on the study Sri Narayan. "Lithium-ion batteries do not have the long-life and vanadium-based batteries uses expensive, relatively toxic materials limiting large-scale use. Our system is the answer to this challenge. We foresee these batteries used in residential, commercial and industrial buildings to capture renewable energy." The study has been published in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society. ..."
Flow battery could make renewable energy storage economically viable
New Atlas, 10 April 2020

"Opec producers and allies have agreed to cut output by more than a fifth to counter the slump in demand caused by coronavirus lockdowns. The group said it would cut output in May and June by 10 million barrels to help prop up prices. The cuts will then be eased gradually until April 2022. Opec+, made up of Opec producers and allies including Russia, held talks on Thursday via video conference. Talks were complicated by disagreements between Russia and Saudi Arabia. The group and its allies agreed to cut 10 million barrels a day or 10% of global supplies. Another 5 million barrels is expected to be cut by other nations. It said the cuts would be eased to eight million barrels a day between July and December. Then they would be eased again to six million barrels between January 2021 and April 2022. Oil prices slumped in March after Opec+ failed to agree cuts. In the wake of the March meeting, Saudi Arabia and Russia moved to boost production in order to retain market share amid falling global demand. That, together with the collapse in demand for oil amid the coronavirus pandemic, help to push oil prices to 18-year lows by the end of March. Prices have recovered some ground since then. Last week, prices jumped 20% after US President Donald Trump said he expected Saudi Arabia and Russia to end their feud. Thursday's talks will be followed by a conference call on Friday between energy ministers from the G20 countries. It will be hosted by Saudi Arabia."
Oil producers agree to cut production by a fifth
BBC, 9 April 2020

"When the world economy begins to open up after the pandemic, it will find the oil industry looking different. In America less productive shale beds may be gone, finally “flushing out production that was never really warranted”, says Ed Morse of Citigroup. The number of shale bankruptcies jumped by 50% last year. In 2020 more inefficient companies will vanish. Some wells, once closed, are too costly to reopen. And with oil at $35 a barrel, the return on renewable projects—which most energy firms have largely ignored—can rival that of a new oilfield, notes Valentina Kretzschmar of Wood Mackenzie, a consultancy. A sudden loss of production could, if demand picks up quickly, create an opportunity for more drilling. But investors may now be warier of oil companies’ spending plans. Especially if they suspect covid-19 fundamentally alters oil demand: more people may work remotely, a lot of international travel could come to be seen as unnecessary and companies may bring supply chains closer to home to avert disruptions. “Are we about to see a structural change in oil consumption?” wonders Mr Courvalin. “It is a very valid question.” Oilmen used to take comfort that it was an abstract one. No longer.""
An unprecedented plunge in oil demand will turn the industry upside down
Economist, 8 April 2020

"Almost three-quarters of new electricity generation capacity built in 2019 uses renewable energy, representing an all-time record. New data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) shows solar, wind and other green technologies now provide more than one-third of the world’s power, marking another record. Fossil fuel power plants are in decline in Europe and the US, with more decommissioned than built in 2019. But the number of coal and gas plants grew in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. In the Middle East, which owns half the world’s oil reserves, just 26% of new electricity generation capacity built in 2019 was renewable. The world has invested about $3tn in renewables over the past decade, according to Irena, but annual investments must double by 2030 to tackle the climate emergency."
Almost 75% of new electricity capacity was renewable in 2019
Guardian, 6 April 2020

"US and Canadian officials are discussing the imposition of tariffs on Saudi Arabian and Russian oil imports if the two members of the Opec+ group do not quickly reach a deal to end their price war....Should the two sides fail to resolve their disagreement, Mr Trump warned that he was ready to impose tariffs. “If I have to do tariffs on oil coming from outside or if I have to do something to protect our . . . tens of thousands of energy workers and our great companies that produce all these jobs, I'll do whatever I have to do.”... Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that a cut to global oil production of 10m barrels a day was possible, but only if all major producers including the US joined in. But he jeopardised the potential for a deal when he accused Saudi Arabia of launching the price war to hurt US shale producers, in an apparent attempt to drive a wedge between Riyadh and Washington... The prospect of a deal drove oil prices up around 40 per cent over Thursday and Friday, recovering from an 18-year low below $25 a barrel to above $30 a barrel. They remain down by more than half since the beginning of the year. The price slump has threatened the future of US and Canadian oil producers who generally require higher prices to turn a profit.Global demand for oil has plunged almost 40 per cent, Mr Trump noted on Friday, the biggest drop in history as measures to slow the spread of coronavirus hit economic activity."
US and Canada discuss putting tariffs on Saudi and Russian oil
Financial Times, 4 April 2020

"Germany produced more than half of its electricity with renewable power in the first three months of 2020, the first full quarter in which renewables covered the majority of the country’s electricity needs. The numbers were driven by record wind and high solar production in February and March and a dip in overall energy use tied to the coronavirus pandemic. Combined with high renewable power generation in 2019, the numbers put Germany on track to meet its 2020 green energy targets, despite an overall slowdown in the renewable energy expansion.Germany produced nearly 52 percent of its domestic electricity consumption with renewable power in the first three months of 2020, marking the first full quarter in which renewables covered more than half the country’s power needs, utilities association BDEW and the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) reported. That’s up from about 44 percent in the first quarter of 2019. The numbers were driven by record wind power production in February, unusually high solar production in March, and a dip in overall energy use tied to the coronavirus crisis. Because of those unusual circumstances, BDEW warned it’s too soon to project whether the numbers might hold going forward."
Germany marks first ever quarter with more than 50 pct renewable electricity
Clean Energy Wire, 1 April 2020

"The U.S. is all but guaranteed to lose its hard-earned spot as the world's number one oil producer this year amid the recent price crash, vanishing demand and a plunge in capital investment, energy experts say.  That could mean potentially enormous implications for U.S. foreign policy, as administrations have for decades viewed energy security and national security as being inexorably tied.  "If we continue where we are with these low prices, we'll see a big decline in U.S. oil production. It will no longer be number one," Dan Yergin, energy expert and vice chairman of IHS Markit, told CNBC's "Capital Connection" on Monday. The U.S. became the top oil producer globally, surpassing the output of Saudi Arabia and Russia, in 2018 thanks to the shale oil boom.  A world increasingly in lockdown over the coronavirus crisis and the oil price war set off between Saudi Arabia and Russia in early March have brought crude prices down more than 65% year-to-date, with global benchmark Brent crude trading at just $22.78 per barrel and West Texas Intermediate at $20.39 per barrel on Monday morning London time, their lowest levels in nearly two decades."
The US is set to lose its spot as world's top oil producer — and it 'doesn't have a lot of tools' to do anything about it
CNBC, 30 March 2020

“THE coronavirus crisis could “hasten the decline” of Scotland’s oil industry, one of the country’s leading economic thinktanks has warned. Mairi Spowage, deputy director of the Fraser of Allander institute, said the global slump in oil prices caused by the epidemic was already making North Sea production uncompetitive. The GMB union also warned the sector was “in real danger of being wound up” in the coming years.”
Crisis could ‘hasten the decline’ of North Sea oil and gas sector
Herald, 30 March 2020

“An economic cyclone is ripping through Midland and the rest of Texas, a $1.8tn economy and the leading oil-producing state in the US. Texas’s oil output quadrupled in the past decade, with the Permian basin surrounding Midland at the heart of the shale boom. Now the Covid-19 outbreak has led to government stay-at-home orders and emptied normally busy roads. The collapse in fuel demand has halved the value of Texas crude amid an all-out price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, threatening tax revenue, oil output and investment.  “As much a tragedy as the coronavirus is, most states are dealing with one problem. Texas is dealing with two because we’re dealing with coronavirus and the dramatic drop in oil and gas prices,” said Dale Craymer, president of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association and a former state budget director... Analysts now expect Texas oil output will begin to decline by the second half of 2020 as exploration and production companies cancel drilling contracts. A WTI price of $49 a barrel is needed to profitably drill, according to a survey of industry executives by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Two in five said their businesses would become insolvent within two years if crude stayed at $40.
Oil bust and pandemic strike double blow for Texas
Financial Times, 28 March 2020

 "Renewable energy accounted for 90% of all electricity used in Scotland last year, new figures have revealed. The Scottish Government said more electricity was generated from renewable sources in 2019 than ever before – 30 terrawatt hours (TWh), up from 26.5 TWh in 2018. With one year to go until a target of 100% gross electricity consumption from renewables, 2019 estimates found 90% came from renewable sources as opposed to 76.2% during the previous year."
Renewable energy made up 90% of Scots electricity usage in 2019
The National, 26 March

"Interest in hydrogen as a way to heat homes began in 2016 with a report called H21. It was conducted by Northern Gas Networks, the gas distributor for the north of England, and looked at whether it was technically possible and economically viable to convert Leeds to 100% hydrogen instead of natural gas. “They went into a lot of detail, from the hydrogen production plants right the way down to people’s homes,” says Sansom. The report drew a parallel to the way the gas industry converted from town gas to natural gas in the 1960s and 70s. Town gas was a combination of hydrogen, carbon monoxide and methane. It was mostly produced from the distillation of coal and oil and had been used for the first 150 years of the UK’s gas industry. With the discovery of natural gas in the North Sea, which is predominantly methane, the UK undertook a nationwide programme to convert 40m appliances over a decade. Whole streets would be converted at a time. Engineers would inspect the gas appliances, and then convert them. Simultaneously, the town gas was disconnected and the pipelines were purged with an inert gas. Finally, the natural gas was pumped into the system and the engineers would make sure each appliance worked correctly before moving to the next street along. Some manufacturers are now so convinced that a similar thing can happen with hydrogen that they have already begun to develop new household appliances. In February, Worcester Bosch unveiled the prototype of its hydrogen-ready boiler. It would run first on natural gas and then, after a servicing visit, hydrogen. Also working in hydrogen’s favour is that for the past 20 years, the gas industry has been systematically replacing the metal pipes in its “iron mains” network with yellow polyethylene ones. Around 90% of the pipes will have been replaced by 2030. This is good news for hydrogen because the gas reacts with the old metal pipes, making them brittle. But the polyethylene is safe.... But not everyone is convinced by this sudden interest in hydrogen. Richard Lowes of the University of Exeter Energy Policy Group says that until recently the received wisdom had been that heating would have to be electrified in some way to meet our climate-crisis commitments. “That has basically come out of years and years of technical and economic modelling to look at how you get to fully decarbonised heating in the UK,” says Lowes. Switching heating from gas to electricity would mean relying on heat pumps. These use electricity to extract heat from either the air or the ground. In the case of an air source heat pump, it works like a fridge but instead of sucking heat out of a food compartment, it pulls it out of the air and channels it into the home, where it is used to heat water, which is piped to radiators for central heating, and stored in a tank for hot water. But because this technology works at a lower temperature than existing boilers, it requires many homes to be much better insulated, or to have larger radiators, capable of delivering more heating power. For those who have switched to heat-as-you-go combi boilers, it will necessitate the reinstallation of a hot water tank. It’s extensive work but worth it, according to Lowes, who has removed his own gas boiler and is now using an air source heat pump to heat his home. “It was a lot of work but my home and heating system are now a lot more efficient. It’s always warm, there’s always hot water and it’s basically the same cost to run as gas,” he says. The third approach is called district heating. It envisages water being heated at a central facility using waste heat from industry or green sources such as solar power. The hot water is then delivered to many homes simultaneously through a network of heavily insulated underground pipes. Both methods can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of home heating but the downside is that they require extensive work to roll them out on a national scale. District heating would require water pipes to be laid under homes, and the widespread use of heat pumps would necessitate the National Grid’s electricity circuits being upgraded. It is this kind of disruption that hydrogen’s advocates say could be avoided because much of the national infrastructure has already been upgraded. That argument cuts no ice with Lowes. “It seems a bit hypocritical for the gas industry to say we can’t dig up the roads when they’ve been doing it for the past 20 years,” he says. He points out that although the consumer may not experience so much disruption, significant challenges for the gas industry remain. For example, the National Transmission System, which is the network of pipes that supplies gas from the coastal terminals to the gas distribution companies and other major users, is made of metal. This would need to be protected from embrittlement in some way before any switch to hydrogen could take place. “Hydrogen is certainly not a silver bullet,” says Lowes. And if we get distracted by it, we could be getting ourselves into more trouble, missing the 2050 energy target altogether. But if there is so much uncertainty with hydrogen, why is the gas industry, which funds many of the studies, pushing it so hard? According to Chris Goodall, energy economist and author of What We Need to Do Now for a Zero Carbon Future, it is a matter of survival. “They do not wish for their industry to be eaten up by a switch to electricity for heating. So they are moving as fast as they can to persuade us about hydrogen,” he says. And it all comes down to how the gas is produced. Hydrogen is not found on Earth in a pure state. Instead, it has to be extracted from other substances, and the best one to extract it from is methane – in other words natural gas. Hence, the gas companies could effectively keep their current operations running. But the extra steps involved in extracting the hydrogen would push the price up. Additionally, the extraction creates carbon dioxide as a byproduct, so large scale carbon capture technology would need to be developed to prevent it escaping into the atmosphere. Although this is a technology that the UK will have to develop anyway in order to reach net zero by 2050, it will add to the cost. But natural gas is not the only substance that contains hydrogen. Water does too, and the hydrogen can be freed by a process called electrolysis, which doesn’t create any carbon dioxide. To make it totally green, which is the ultimate hope, electrolysis could be powered by wind farms. At the moment, however, the price of such electricity is expensive, and that would push the price of hydrogen up still further. Goodall hopes that the cost will decrease as technology improves, but warns: “You can be accused of mindless optimism just by saying this.”...Goodall also sees a role for hydrogen to “store” energy generated from renewable resources such as wind and solar power. The idea is that in windy months, any extra electricity generated from renewables will be used to make hydrogen, which would then be stored. When there is extra demand on the National Grid, or a seasonal drop in the power produced from renewables, the hydrogen can be burned to produce electricity. The truth is that all options for us to decarbonise our heating systems will require significant disruption and cost. And while government continues to deliberate, the clock ticks towards 2050."
Is hydrogen the solution to net-zero home heating?
Guardian, 21 March 2020

"Here’s a simple and important fact for the fight against climate change: Wealthy people consume more energy and, consequently, are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than less wealthy people. And as income and wealth inequality have risen across the world for the past 40 years, the wealthy have consumed more and more relative to their numbers. Energy inequality has increased alongside income inequality. But the precise nature of the relationship between income and energy inequality has remained somewhat fuzzy, with lots of studies being done within countries, or between countries, but few studies that draw on a comprehensive global dataset. Without that broad international overview, it has been difficult to get a clear picture of energy inequality, and thus, develop effective climate and energy policy in response. A new paper in Nature Energy, from researchers at the University of Leeds, has filled that gap, drawing on two large data sources: the global consumption database (GCD) of the World Bank and Eurostat household budget surveys. Feeding that data into a model, they derived several fascinating conclusions. The study began by calculating the total energy footprint — including indirect energy use, i.e., the energy “embodied” in materials — of a wide range goods and services. It examined who buys those services, and how that changes as income rises.... Basic goods are the things we can’t or won’t buy much less of, even if our income falls. Luxury goods are the things we buy more of as we get wealthier..... In a nutshell, as people get wealthier, they spend more on transport (cars, boats, planes, vacations), which is one of the most energy intensive consumer categories. Because wealthier people turn to more energy intensive goods, the energy gap rises even faster than the income gap. This suggests important policy lessons, including some on how the US ought to respond to Covid-19..... two things seem particularly relevant for policy. One is that heat and electricity comprise an unusual category, at once large, unusually energy intensive, and unusually income inelastic. Even poorer people can’t afford to buy much less of them; conversely, there’s only so much heat and electricity a person can use, even with a bigger house. The second is that, with the exception of appliances, the upper right-hand quadrant — energy intensive luxury goods — is filled with movement: vehicles, vehicle fuel, flying, and holidays. The most energy intensive thing that wealthier people do is move around more, in cars, ships, and planes. ... As people get wealthier, they do not simply buy more of what they bought when they had less. They start buying different kinds of things, luxury goods, and it turns out that the most common luxury good (traveling around more) is more energy intensive than most basic goods.... The top 10 percent of the global income spectrum consumes 20 times as much final energy as the bottom 10 percent. The numbers are particularly striking for transport, where the top 10 percent consumes 187 times as much in vehicle fuel and operation as the bottom 10 percent. “In land transport, the bottom 50% receive a bit more than 10% of the energy used,” says the report, “and in air transport they make use of less than 5%.” Conversely, the top 10 percent uses around 45 percent of land transport energy and 75 percent of air transport energy. As Boeing’s CEO noted in 2017, celebrating his company’s endless growth potential, somewhere around 80 percent of people in the world have never flown.... Electrification will reduce carbon emissions in the biggest category of energy intensive spending done by everyone (heat and electricity), and the biggest category of energy intensive spending done by the upper income (vehicle fuel). But because heat and electricity represent a basic good, it is not appropriate to address them with pricing mechanisms like taxes, which tend to be regressive and hit the poor the hardest. Performance standards and large-scale public investments are better suited. Vehicle fuel, because it is a luxury good, is a better target for pricing.... Even light-vehicle travel, for which decarbonization strategies are straightforward, will take time to decarbonize. And climate models show that we don’t have much time. This logic leads ineluctably to a third policy conclusion: The only way to decarbonize many of the most energy intensive goods and services fast enough is for wealthy people to change their behavior and consume less of them."
Why rich people use so much more energy
Vox, 20 March 2020

"After a dizzying drop in demand and an about-face in Saudi Arabian production policy, global oil markets face the possibility of the biggest crude surplus ever recorded, according to IHS Markit. Should the price war between the kingdom and Russia persist and the world tip into recession due to the coronavirus, the oil excess could swell to between 800 million and 1.3 billion barrels in the first six months of this year, the industry consultant said in a note. “The last time that there was a global surplus of this magnitude was never,” said Jim Burkhard, vice president and head of oil markets at IHS Markit. “Prior to this the largest six-month global surplus this century was 360 million barrels. What is coming will be twice that or more.” The sharp and sudden drop in world oil demand is the main reason for the surplus, while the weakness in price was exacerbated by the Saudi decision to increase its crude supply by 2.6 million barrels a day, according to IHS Markit. Russia has said that it can increase daily output by between 300,000 to 500,000 barrels a day. The largest previous six-month surplus -- the amount of global production that exceeds demand -- in data going back to 2000 was from late 2015 to early 2016, IHS said. On a monthly basis, the excess could range from 4 million to 10 million barrels a day from February to May, with demand in March and April down as much as 10 million barrels a day. The U.S. oil industry will likely bear the brunt of the record surplus over this year and next, the consultant said. American output could drop by 2 to 4 million barrels a day over the next 18 months."
World Is Heading for Biggest Ever Oil Surplus, Says IHS Markit
Bloomberg, 16 March 2020

"ON THE surface, the oil price war disrupting the global economy pits the world’s third-largest producer, Russia, against the second, Saudi Arabia. Make no mistake about it, however: The ultimate loser — and a probable intended target — is the world’s No. 1 crude producer, the United States. After years of stewing over his country’s loss of market share to the burgeoning U.S. shale industry, and the sanctions Washington has put on Russia’s oil industry in response to Moscow’s various abuses in international affairs, President Vladi­mir Putin has decided to fight back, in the form of unrestrained production that threatens to bankrupt many highly indebted U.S. companies. The back story to Mr. Putin’s move is a stagnation in global consumption that has turned into an outright downturn due to the novel coronavirus. As de facto chief of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Saudi Arabia tried to persuade Mr. Putin to cut its production in tandem with the cartel, so as to prop up prices for them all. When he refused, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman countered by declaring his country would run its industry at maximum output for the foreseeable future. So far, Russia has not bowed to the pressure, partly because Moscow can balance its budget at a much lower price of oil than Saudi Arabia can, and partly because Mr. Putin smells an opportunity to get even with the United States. "
The oil price war’s ultimate loser is America
Washington Post, 10 March 2020

"The $1trn Norwegian sovereign wealth fund that’s the world’s largest plans to invest about NKr100bn ($10.8bn) in wind and solar projects under new freedoms it was given last year, it was reported on Tuesday. The Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), based on the nation’s vast oil & gas wealth, will make the investments in unlisted renewable energy projects in the three years to 2022, said Reuters quoting its outgoing CEO Yngve Slyngstad."
Norway's oil & gas-fuelled wealth fund 'plans $11bn wind and solar spree'
Recharge, 3 March 2020

"The International Monetary Fund, in a new report, believes that global oil demand will peak around 2041, and then decline. If so, per-barrel prices will likely trend down too. It doesn’t take a genius to see that oil’s position as the energy source of choice is rapidly being challenged because of climate-change worries and the rapid improvement in alternative energy technology. The focus of the IMF’s view on peak oil is over its effect on major oil-producing countries like those to be found on the shores of the Persian Gulf. Peak oil could impose a major strain on these nations, the argument goes, given their heavy reliance on hydrocarbon sales. These countries, which built national savings schemes in the form of sovereign wealth funds out of those oil and gas sales, are at risk of spending down their rainy-day funds. There is, thus, an existential crisis just two decades down the road.The International Monetary Fund, in a new report, believes that global oil demand will peak around 2041, and then decline. If so, per-barrel prices will likely trend down too. It doesn’t take a genius to see that oil’s position as the energy source of choice is rapidly being challenged because of climate-change worries and the rapid improvement in alternative energy technology. The focus of the IMF’s view on peak oil is over its effect on major oil-producing countries like those to be found on the shores of the Persian Gulf. Peak oil could impose a major strain on these nations, the argument goes, given their heavy reliance on hydrocarbon sales. These countries, which built national savings schemes in the form of sovereign wealth funds out of those oil and gas sales, are at risk of spending down their rainy-day funds. There is, thus, an existential crisis just two decades down the road. Well, maybe not..... The argument that Arab Gulf countries are at risk as the world pivots away from oil – that they will spend down their national savings – ignores the work already in train to transition to a new and sustainable economic model. The transformation might be slow in some cases, but it is happening."
Gulf economies prepare for ‘peak oil’
Asia Times, 3 March 2020

"Not all gas turbine manufacturers currently offer options for Natural Gas/hydrogen fuel mixtures but most of the major ones have developed combustion systems to handle off-spec gases to service markets such as steelworks off-gases (BFG, COG), IGCC applications, and bio- and waste-derived syngases. These off-spec gases include those with a high hydrogen content, and this article reviews the development status towards 100% hydrogen for one Gas Turbine manufacturer, Siemens....In common with other manufacturers, Siemens has set a target of being able to offer Gas Turbines capable of burning 100% hydrogen across the range, and is developing DLE combustors to service the expected demand. The challenge is to do this without compromising efficiency, startup times, and emissions of NOx. This is being achieved by developing combustor designs with an increasing proportion of hydrogen in Natural Gas. The DLE burner design used on the SGT-700 (33 MW) has demonstrated up to 40 vol% H₂ capability. Recent testing has shown that 50 vol% is possible on the SGT-800 (50 MW), which translates to 60 vol% on the SGT-600 (25 MW) as this operates at a lower temperature. As the hydrogen economy unfolds over the next decade, there is a clear intention that Gas Turbines will be ready to meet the upcoming market without compromising today’s high performance expectations, in terms of emissions, response and efficiency."
Hydrogen as a Fuel for Gas Turbines
The Chemical Engineer, 2 March 2020

"Just one Bitcoin transaction uses the same amount of electricity as a British household for nearly two months, new figures have shown.  The amount of energy needed to run the cryptocurrency has soared to record annual highs of 77.78 terawatt hours the same as the entire electrical consumption of Chile. The carbon footprint of a single transaction is the same as 780,650 Visa transactions or spending 52,043 hours watching YouTube, according to calculations by Alex de Vries, a blockchain specialist, at PWC. “People react with disbelief, but the figures are true,” said Mr de Vries who founded the Digiconomist blog to highlight the impact. The huge energy footprint of the currency was noted several years ago, but when the Bitcoin bubble burst in 2018, sending prices tumbling  from a high of almost $20,000 (£15,600) at the end of 2017 to below $4,000 (£3,135), consumption also crashed and has only recently started soaring again. The problem lies in the practice of Bitcoin ‘mining’. Crypto-currencies work through blockchain, a technology that creates a communal ledger of transactions that is held by everyone, rather being kept in a centralised database, such as a bank server. A blockchain ledger cannot be altered without everyone knowing, so it prevents fraud, but to keep it accurate, and to make sure the virtual currency is only spent once, users can offer to verify the transactions, for which they are paid in Bitcoin, a process called ‘mining’.  Available revenue for verification currently stands around £4.6 billion a year making it a lucrative industry. But the ‘mining’ process is incredibly energy-intensive, involving huge rigs of custom-built computers which endlessly calculate numbers in the hope of finding a specific one that allows it to confirm the deals, and create a new ‘block’ in the blockchain.  There are around four million computer rigs worldwide constantly crunching numbers, yet astonishingly 98 per cent of them will never get the number first, and so will never verify the transactions, despite the huge electricity outlay. Mr de Vries added: “They are sort of participating in a massive lottery and every 10 minutes one gets lucky and gets to produce the next block. “The shocking thing is the average lifetime of a bitcoin mining machine is one and a half years, because we have a new generation of machines which are better at doing these calculations.  “That means it’s impossible for 98 per cent of the devices during their lifetime to make the calculation that actually results in a reward. So the rest are just running pointlessly for a few years, using up energy, and producing heat, and then they will just get trashed because they can’t be repurposed. It's insane." Each Bitcoin transaction uses around 657.39 kWh of electricity, the equivalent of 59 days of electricity for an average British household. The massive computer rigs are also creating a mountain of e-waste, most of which ends up in landfill because it is so tricky to recycle. Calculations show that annually the Bitcoin mining produces 10.71 kilotons of e-waste, the same amount as produced by the country of Luxembourg. Cryptocurrency and blockchain companies say that many people trading with Bitcoin are aware of the problem and are taking steps to offset the carbon footprint of their transactions."
Bitcoin using more electricity per transaction than a British household in two months
Telegraph, 1 March 2020

"The U.S. Energy Information Administration just announced some spectacular news: The price of natural gas has fallen to its lowest February level in 20 years. The data shows that natural gas prices fell to $1.77 per million British thermal units. In inflation-adjusted terms, the price of gas has plunged by some 80% since its high of $13.60 12 years ago. The price is down 90% since 2005, when prices hit nearly $20. The Energy Information Administration also reports that U.S. natural gas production has hit an all-time high this year."
Natural gas is crushing wind and solar power
Boston Herald, 25 February 2020

"Since Sadiq Khan has become the Mayor of London, the capital has seen a nearly 100% reduction in illegal peaks in air pollution. The Mayor’s Office notes since he was elected, he has planted more than 280,000 trees, pledged to make the capital carbon neutral by 2030, introduced the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone in 2019, delivered 12 Low Emission Bus Zones ahead of schedule, installed 1,500 electric vehicle (EV) charging points and set up a £48 million scrappage fund for polluting cars. Before the first of these measures began to be implemented in 2016, London’s air exceeded the hourly legal limit for nitrogen dioxide for more than 4,000 hours – last year, this fell to just above 100 hours, a reduction of 97%. Between 2004 to 2017, London breached its permitted number of nitrogen dioxide spikes within the first week of the year – last year, only one site breached its limit and this did not occur until July. The data also shows every monitoring site in London has recorded a reduction in annual average nitrogen dioxide levels since 2016, with an average drop of 21% over this period. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Toxic air is a national health crisis contributing to thousands of premature deaths every year. I have taken bold action in London with measures such as the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone and Low Emission Bus Zones and it’s undeniable that these are making a difference to the air we breathe."
London’s illegal air pollution peaks fall almost 100% since 2016
Energy Live News, 22 February 2020

"Has U.S. oil production growth hit the buffers? Supply has boomed over the last decade, disrupting the market, domestically and internationally. But weak commodity markets and corporate strategies are now taking their toll, undermining the expected growth path in the near term. I spoke with our North American market expert, John Coleman, principal analyst, crude supply and infrastructure, to get his perspective. The big question is: have we passed "peak growth" for U.S. tight oil? Our forecasts suggest we have. And pipeline developers (and their financiers) who’ve done so well out of the boom are increasingly concerned about it. Permian crude supply growth, the main driver of tight oil growth, has outpaced takeaway capacity frequently in the last few years. When production jumped by an astonishing 1.7 million barrels per day (b/d) in the two years from January 2018 to December 2019, infrastructure was stretched to the limit. Producers had to fight to get their crude to market. Those without access to pipe had to put crude onto rail or trucks or leave it in the ground. And they paid a high price – the U.S.$10 to U.S.$20/bbl discount at the Midland trading hub only a year ago reflected the cost of shipping the marginal barrel to Houston....Permian production growth is decelerating rapidly. Independent producers, constrained by capital discipline, have cut drilling rigs and are shifting focus from growth to generating free cash flow. That will progressively show through in production. We expect Permian tight oil production to increase by just 0.6 million b/d from January 2020 to December 2021 – a fraction of what we saw in the two prior years. One big question for them is when the 2.3 million b/d of spare Permian pipeline capacity will be filled. It will take some years. .... At WoodMac we think Permian supply growth starts picking up again in 2022, and that we could be back at high utilisation rates by 2025. There’s plenty of tight oil inventory. How quickly it’s developed depends on price and whether corporate strategies shift back to growth. But there’s a possibility the Permian may never need another new pipeline built."
Have We Passed ‘Peak Growth’ For Tight Oil?
Simon Flowers, Wood MacKenzie, Forbes, 21 February 2020

"A ransomware attack on a US natural gas facility meant a pipeline had to be shut down for two days, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has said. However, it did not name the facility or say when the attack happened. A malicious link sent to staff at the facility eventually caused the shutdown "of the entire pipeline asset". It was so severe in part because the organisation was not prepared for such an attack, the DHS statement said. The incident was detailed in a security alert., which revealed it to be a "spear-phishing" attack, in which individuals are sent fraudulent but believable scam messages. That let the attacker into the company's IT network. Often, the "operational network" which runs computers in the factory is separated from the office IT - but not in this case, meaning the ransomware infection was allowed to spread. "
Ransomware-hit US gas pipeline shut for two days
BBC News, 19 February 2020

"The oil and gas industry has had a far worse impact on the climate than previously believed, according to a study indicating that human emissions of fossil methane have been underestimated by up to 40%. Although the research will add to pressure on fossil fuel companies, scientists said there was cause for hope because it showed a big extra benefit could come from tighter regulation of the industry and a faster shift towards renewable energy. Methane has a greenhouse effect that is about 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period and is responsible for at least 25% of global heating, according to the UN Environment Programme.... The findings, published in Nature, suggest the share of naturally released fossil methane has been overestimated by “an order of magnitude”, which means that human activities are 25-40% more responsible for fossil methane in the atmosphere than thought. This strengthens suspicions that fossil fuel companies are not fully accounting for their impact on the climate, particularly with regard to methane – a colourless, odourless gas that many plants routinely vent into the atmosphere. An earlier study revealed methane emissions from US oil and gas plants were 60% higher than reported to the Environmental Protection Agency. Accidents are also underreported. A single blowout at a natural gas well in Ohio in 2018 discharged more methane over three weeks than the oil and gas industries of France, Norway and the Netherlands released in an entire year. At the time, the company said it was unsure of the size of the leak. The immense scale was only revealed a year later when scientists analysed satellite data provided by the European Space Agency. Fracking also appears to have worsened the problem. Atmospheric methane had started to flatten off at the turn of the century, but rose again after a surge in fracking activity in the US and elsewhere."
Oil and gas firms 'have had far worse climate impact than thought'
Guardian, 19 February 2020

"The UK’s move towards renewable energy sources has helped drive a faster rate of decarbonisation over the last decade than anywhere else in the world. That’s according to an independent analysis by academics from Imperial College London for Drax Electric Insights, which says the period saw the power sector’s emissions fall from 161 million tonnes in 2010 to 54 million metric tonnes in 2019, a fall of around two-thirds. The report notes this was largely driven by electricity generators shifting away from coal and natural gas to renewables, combined with a 13% reduction in power demand over the period – this delivered around a third of the sector’s emissions reductions, while wind energy delivered around a quarter. Despite the national population swelling by 7% and GDP growing by a quarter over the decade, measures such as more energy-efficient lighting and manufacturing helped keep down demand – however, the study warns this decline could be reversed as electrification of sectors such as heat and transport are set to soar. It suggests biomass, which it claims provided a bigger reduction in emissions than solar power relative to the size of its installed capacity over the period, could help avoid this by providing additional system support services and more flexibility."
UK’s renewable adoption rate ‘has driven fastest decarbonisation in world’
Energy Live News, 17 February 2020

"There’s gloom throughout the shale oil business. There was a boom in it a few years ago, big enough to be felt in Minnesota. But it might have been the first profitless boom in American business history. And the reckoning is underway. “As of the end of 2018, so this number is a little bit old, we’ve spent about $1 trillion in U.S. oil shale and we’ve returned about $700 billion to the companies in the form of cash flow for a whopping, negative 38% cash-on-cash return,” James C. West, partner and oil-services industry analyst for investment firm Evercore ISI, told me last week. “We have a shale business ... that’s been massively overcapitalized. That’s of course changing now, with limited access to capital,” he said. Way too much capital also went into the oil-services sector, West said. Nonexistent returns on dollars invested had a predictable effect on stock prices. Up until 2014, the value of oil producers in the stock market more or less tracked the price of oil. But that year was as good as it ever got for shale oil investors. Oil production has increased since then, with last year the biggest output so far for North Dakota, but the value of the companies doing that work has mostly gone sideways or down. The total return to shareholders in the sector in the last decade was effectively zero, Evercore ISI analysts pointed out in January, vs. about 300% for the S&P 500. Meanwhile, the 15 CEOs they tracked among oil-producer companies, as a group, collected about $2 billion in pay. Investors and industry analysts have been demanding the leaders of oil companies to take what they have come to call “the pledge.” That’s a promise that they are going to live within their means, pay back their loans and generate market-rate returns on the capital investors have given them.... Those familiar with the oil-production technique called hydraulic fracturing know that there’s not really such a thing as drilling into the ground and hoping to hit a gusher. Fracking means going after oil still in the rock, by injecting water, sand and chemicals under high pressure to basically crack it, releasing the oil. These wells can produce for years but still get much of their output relatively soon after going into production. To keep production levels up, companies need to keep drilling new wells. That presents a tough choice. Once they have collected the cash from selling the oil from wells that have been producing, do they give the money to shareholders or use it to pay back corporate debt? Or should they take that money and drill another oil well?... Two big oil-services companies, Halliburton Co. and Schlumberger Limited, both have said that the American shale industry is already past its peak. Halliburton’s CEO recently said 2019 marked the watershed, as the shale industry switched from growth to what he called “capital discipline.” That’s another way to say that the companies have gotten serious about trying to live within their means."
Shale oil passed its peak without making money
Minnesota Star Tribune, 15 February 2020

"The IEA slashed its demand forecast for the first quarter of 2020, predicting that global oil consumption will contract for the first time in over a decade. In its first publication on the oil market since the outbreak began, the International Energy Agency (IEA) dramatically revised its oil demand forecast, predicting consumption will actually contract by 435,000 bpd, the first outright decline year-on-year since the global financial crisis more than a decade ago. Previously, the agency expected consumption to increase by 800,000 bpd from a year earlier. For the full-year in 2020, the IEA cut demand growth by 365,000 bpd to just 825,000 bpd. That would be the lowest annual increase since 2011, and slightly below the growth figures for 2019, which itself was a down year. The coronavirus continues to ravage China. Beijing released revised data, and the new number of infected cases is vastly higher than previously reported, raising questions about the severity of the crisis. The number of cases jumped 45 percent after the data revision to nearly 50,000, which increased the global total by a third to 60,000. Those numbers could still be an undercount. Still, the number of new cases on a per-day basis seems to have peaked earlier this month, offering hope that the outbreak is slowing. Even still, the effects on the oil market are deep. China accounted for about three-quarters of oil demand growth last year, so the crisis has struck a blow to total global consumption.  The IEA’s numbers are based on an assumption that China’s economy “returns progressively to normal in 2Q20.” However, “[t]he crisis is ongoing and at this stage it is hard to be precise about the impact.”
IEA: Oil Demand To Fall For First Time In A Decade, 15 February 2020

"Another energy story was somewhat lost this week among turmoil from protests over the natural gas pipeline construction in Wet’suwet’en territory in British Columbia. On Wednesday, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, announced one of its fast-growing green-oriented funds would no longer put money into companies that get revenue from the oil sands in Alberta."
Digging Into Oil Sands Divestment
New York Times, 14 February 2020

"Homeowners could be forced to replace their gas boilers to ensure the UK meets its target to be carbon neutral by 2050, ministers are warning. The Government will publish a White Paper later this year which will set out the "bigger decisions" that the UK has to make to meet the target. Lord Duncan of Springbank, the Climate Change minister, said that the White Paper will consider whether the Government should ban gas central heating altogether from all homes. It is not clear if homeowners will have to pay for this new strategy - which is planned to be introduced incrementally over the next decade - and whether there are enough plumbers to carry out the work."
Gas boilers could be banned from all homes to ensure the UK meets carbon neutral target by 2050
Telegraph, 8 February 2020

"After decades of dominating its oil industry, the Venezuelan government is quietly surrendering control to foreign companies in a desperate bid to keep the economy afloat and hold on to power. The opening is a startling reversal for Venezuela, breaking decades of state command over its crude reserves, the world’s biggest. The government’s power and legitimacy has always rested on its ability to control its oil fields — the backbone of the country’s economy — and use their profits for the benefit of its people. But the nation’s authoritarian leader, Nicolás Maduro, in his struggle to retain his grip over a country in its seventh year of a crippling economic crisis, is giving up policies that once were central to its socialist-inspired revolution. Under Venezuelan law, the state-run oil company must be the principal stakeholder in all major oil projects. But as that company, Petróleos de Venezuela, or Pdvsa, unravels — under the weight of American sanctions, years of gross mismanagement and corruption — the work is unofficially being picked up by its foreign partners. Private companies are pumping crude, arranging exports, paying workers, buying equipment and even hiring security squads to protect their operations in a collapsing countryside, according to managers and oil consultants working on the country’s energy projects.In effect, a stealth privatization is taking place, said Rafael Ramírez, who ran Venezuela’s oil industry for more than a decade before breaking with Mr. Maduro in 2017, in a video address this week.... Mr. Maduro’s transformation of Venezuela’s oil industry has stemmed the collapse triggered by an American embargo. Sanctions imposed in January 2019 had wiped out about a third of Venezuela’s oil production, bringing it down at one point to the lowest level since the 1940s, according to data from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Oil production now is still less than a third of the total in 1998, when Mr. Chávez took power. By late 2019, Venezuela had stabilized exports at about a million barrels per day, according to Bloomberg’s tanker tracking data. The dribble of oil exports has provided Mr. Maduro with foreign revenue at the most critical moment of the country’s economic crisis, allowing him to adjust to sanctions and consolidate his rule."
To Survive, Venezuela’s Leader Gives Up Decades of Control Over Oil
New York Times, 8 February 2020

"The country as a whole [USA] installed 9.1 gigawatts of wind power in 2019, the most since the expiration of federal tax credits triggered a building boom almost a decade ago. That wind power is generated via massive fiberglass blades, each of which can be longer than a Boeing 747 wing. Built to withstand hurricane-force winds, the blades can’t easily be crushed—or recycled or repurposed for that matter. It’s a curious conundrum: Tens of thousands of blades must be replaced each year and most have nowhere to go but landfills like the one below. But the industry is working on a green solution to wind power’s dirty downside."
The Big Dirty Secret Behind Wind Power
Bloomberg, 7 February 2020

"New research from the Global Energy Monitor released Tuesday shows that European countries are planning to invest almost $130 billion of private and public funds into new gas-fired power plants, liquefied natural gas import terminals, and gas pipelines routed from Russia, Turkmenistan, and Israel. All that new infrastructure would give Europe the capacity to import 30 percent more natural gas that will in turn fuel the climate crisis. The European move to import gas at a time when fossil fuel has to be cut is due in part to falling demand in Japan and South Korea. Demand is also rising slower expected in China, and Europe is taking in more of the gas those other countries don’t want. Last year, the continent imported 85 million tons of gas, more gas than ever before. The new report shows the EU already has the capacity to bring in almost twice as much gas as it uses. So why expand gas infrastructure if they’re already oversupplied? The report says it’s because industry representatives with the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG)—a trade group of pipeline and gas companies—are leading gas infrastructure planning. ... Nearly $40 billion or a whopping third of the planned investments in new natural gas infrastructure is earmarked from gas expansion plans in the UK and Germany alone. So much for reaching net-zero emissions! Greece, Poland, Romania, and Italy are also all expanding their gas infrastructure substantially.... this gas infrastructure expansion is part of a global trend. More natural gas is being extracted, which is making it cheaper and more accessible. Last year, gas was the primary driver of global carbon emissions growth, according to the Global Carbon Project. “Natural gas usage has surged, with an attendant 2.6 percent increase in carbon dioxide emissions for 2019,” Rob Jackson, a Stanford University professor and Global Carbon Project researcher, said in a statement in December. “In fact, rising natural gas use accounts for 60 percent of fossil emissions growth in recent years.”... And carbon dioxide emissions aren’t the only problem. Natural gas processing and transportation also leaks methane, a greenhouse gas that’s about 120 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the short term. It’s not too late to stop most of this infrastructure from being built, though. Construction has started on less than 10 percent of the proposed liquified natural gas import terminals. Ditto for many of the proposed European pipelines."
European Plan to Invest $130 Billion in Gas Would Wreck Climate
Gizmodo, 4 February 2020

"Shares in some producers of hydrogen and manufacturers of fuel cells have soared to their highest levels in a decade, reflecting hopes that the colourless gas can replace fossil fuels in everything from trucks to homes. Shares in London-listed ITM Power, which makes electrolysers to produce hydrogen, are up by more than 45 per cent this year to their highest level since 2007. Meanwhile, shares in Sweden’s Powercell have risen 28 per cent over the same period and 342 per cent over the past 12 months.... Hydrogen was touted in the late 1990s as the solution to “greening” the planet, but then fell out of favour as carmakers abandoned the gas and costs for rival lithium-ion battery technology continued to fall. Today, hydrogen accounts for about 2 per cent of primary energy use globally. But investors have grown more bullish over the past year as big companies have made a number of investments in hydrogen fuel cell producers, while costs have started to drop. Last month car parts maker Bosch said it would increase its shareholding in UK-listed Ceres Power, a developer of solid oxide fuel cell technology. In addition, China has continued to subsidise hydrogen fuel cell technology while cutting subsidies for lithium-ion batteries. The Hydrogen Council, a global industry body, said last month that the cost of producing hydrogen could be halved by 2030, making it affordable for 22 different applications including trains and heavy-duty transport such as trucks and long-distance coaches."
Investors hit the gas on hydrogen producers
Financial Times, 4 February 2020

"The UK government is being sued for approving a large new gas-fired power plant, overruling the climate change objections of its own planning authority. The plant, being developed by Drax in north Yorkshire, would become the biggest gas power station in Europe and could produce 75% of the UK’s power sector emissions when fully operational, according to the environmental lawyers ClientEarth, who have brought the judicial review. The planning inspectorate recommended to ministers that the 3.6GW gas plant was to be refused permission because it “would undermine the government’s commitment, as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008, to cut greenhouse emissions” by having “significant adverse effects”. It was the first big project rejected because of the climate crisis. However, Andrea Leadsom, secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, rejected the advice and gave the go-ahead in October. Now ClientEarth has been given permission by the high court to sue ministers, with the case expected to be heard in about two months. The environmental lawyers have previously inflicted three defeats on ministers over their failure to tackle air pollution.... In its planning application, Drax said its proposal for four new gas turbines was warranted to replace its existing two coal-fired units ahead of the government’s proposed phase-out of coal in 2025. It said the new gas plant would be “capable” of having carbon capture technology fitted in the future. In overruling the planning inspectorate, Leadsom argued that the plant’s high carbon emissions were not a reason to block approval under the existing rules. “While the significant adverse impact of the proposed development on the amount of greenhouse gases emitted to atmosphere is acknowledged, the policy set out in the relevant National Policy Statements makes clear that this is not a matter that should displace the presumption in favour of granting consent.” ClientEarth says the government’s latest forecasts estimate the UK will need 6GW of new gas generation up to 2035. The UK has already approved more than 15GW of large-scale gas plants, it said, so approving Drax’s project would take this to three times the government’s estimates. The environmental lawyers argued the combination of the project’s large scale, level of carbon emissions and long operating life made it a significant threat to the UK’s carbon targets. The planning inspectorate also concluded that wind and solar power would cut payers’ bills, while the proposed gas plant would not."
UK sued for approving Europe’s biggest gas power station
Guardian, 30 January 2020

"After a record influx of liquefied natural gas (LNG) into Europe last year, the region is on track to raise imports close to 100 million tonnes this year, analysts said. With LNG demand falling in Japan and South Korea and rising more slowly than previously expected in China last year, Europe has become the major destination for cargoes unwanted in Asia. Analysts expect that from a record of around 85 million tonnes of LNG delivered to Europe last year, the region will increase its purchases by more than 10 million tonnes in 2020...."The main result of the increase will be a further decline in gas prices in Europe. This winter, the average price for the day-ahead price in the Netherlands in December and January, the most liquid market in Europe, was 12.10 euros per megawatt hour (MWh), price data on Refinitiv Eikon showed. That is equivalent to around $3.95 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), and is the lowest for this period since January 2004. The shift is taking place as new LNG export projects in the United States and Russia are directing most of their supplies to Europe. For example, the U.S. has been by far the largest LNG exporter to Europe in the first month of 2020, followed by Russia, and then Qatar. Russia’s Gazprom, the largest pipeline exporter into Europe, had cut deliveries by 1.3% to countries outside the former Soviet Union last year from the record high reached in 2018. It delivered 199.2 billion cubic metres, equivalent to 146 million tonnes of LNG."
Europe's LNG imports expected to soar to 100 mln tonnes in 2020
Reuters, 30 January 2020
"There will be more than enough batteries in electric vehicles by 2050 to support a grid that runs on solar and wind—if the two are connected by smart chargers, according to experts at the International Renewable Energy Agency. Electric vehicles are expected to carry 40 terawatt-hours of battery storage by that date, said Francisco Boshell, IRENA’s team lead for renewable energy technology standards and markets, compared to nine terawatts of stationary storage.... If those EV batteries are connected to the grid by smart chargers, they could not only provide sufficient power but also many of the system services needed by a grid that relies on intermittent renewables."
Electric Vehicle Batteries Will ‘Dwarf’ The Grid’s Energy-Storage Needs

Forbes, 29 January 2020

"Qatar and Australia are battling for the world leadership in LNG exports. Massive supply of gas out of Russia and the U.S. is doing its bit. These competing, energy-rich juggernauts are one of the main reasons prices have fallen.China has a deal to buy LNG from its own investment in the massive Yamal LNG project in Russia, and is supposed to buy more from the U.S. too. There is plenty of it to go around, and Chinese demand is set to quadruple over the next 15 years as it is fighting pollution caused by coal-fired power plants. U.S. natural gas supply is so large, that storage containers are basically overflowing.... Despite China’s demand for LNG expected to rise exponentially as it does away with coal as part of its energy matrix, LNG prices aren’t what they used to be.  LNG’s fortunes have completely collapsed from highs of $17 per million British thermal units at their peak in 2012 and again in the summer of 2015 in Asian markets, and are now down to around $5 and change. Blame Russia and the U.S. They’re swimming in this stuff. When China completely abandoned the U.S. LNG market starting in May last year thanks to the trade war, LNG export prices to Japan, one of the two largest markets for American liquefied gas, went up about a penny. It has been flat since."
Russia, China And The U.S. Are Forever Changing The Global Gas Market
Forbes, 29 January 2020

"The Permian, spread across west Texas and southeast New Mexico, yields more than a third of all U.S. oil production and it has contributed about two-thirds of the past three years’ worth of growth. Its boom has allowed America to export more than 3 million barrels a day of crude on a regular basis since May — more than every OPEC country except Saudi Arabia and Iraq. But the U.S. still imports twice that volume. A slowdown in the Permian would see that gap widen again. Output from the region, where oil was first discovered by W.H. Abrams a century ago with a well that produced just 10 barrels a day, is hitting new heights. Production has continued to grow in recent months despite a drop in the number of rigs drilling in the basin, which fell by 17% last year, according to data from the Energy Information Administration, as the chart above shows. But that cannot last forever. The latest edition of the EIA’s Drilling Productivity Report, published on Tuesday, shows that the Permian rig count fell to 402 in December, down from 485 a year earlier. Partly offsetting that decline, operators are getting more new oil per rig. But the chart below shows that the biggest increases in efficiency coincided with the steepest declines in the rig count — suggesting the improvement came through a renewed focus on the most productive parts of the play, rather than some technical breakthrough. Those strong gains have not been sustained. The report also breaks out production from new wells — those in their first full month of operation — and legacy production from all of the rest. This is particularly important in the shale deposits because of the rapid drop in output once a well is brought into use. Production from new wells has to more than offset the declines from a growing number of older wells for overall output to grow.... Legacy-well production decline: The EIA shows production from legacy wells falling by 277,000 barrels a day in January.... With the rig count flat at 400 units and the average new output per rig at 810 barrels a day — where we are now — Permian basin production will peak in just over a year’s time, in Feb. 2021. After that it will start to fall at an accelerating rate as the burden of legacy-well declines continues to grow. If the rig count falls by just 10 more units by this April, the peak will occur this year.... The dominant position of the Permian means that other shale basins will struggle to offset its decline. The peak may be delayed by the trove of drilled, but uncompleted wells — known as DUCs — which now stands at over 3,600 in the Permian. They can be brought into production without the need for rigs, but that stockpile is already being drawn down to support production growth. Even when the Permian does peak, the U.S. will remain a major oil producer and a significant exporter. But OPEC oil ministers will breathe a sigh of relief at the first sign that the shale gale may be starting to blow itself out."
Peak Permian Is Approaching Faster Than You Think
Bloomberg, 26 January 2020

"More and more, people rely on their electronic mailboxes as a life organizer. Old emails, photos, and files from years past sit undisturbed, awaiting your search for a name, lost address, or maybe a photo of an old boyfriend. The problem is that all those messages require energy to preserve them. And despite the tech industry’s focus on renewables, the advent of streaming and artificial intelligence is only accelerating the amount of fossil fuels burned to keep data servers up, running, and cool. Right now, data centers consume about 2% of the world’s electricity, but that’s expected to reach 8% by 2030. Moreover, only about 6% of all data ever created is in use today, according to research from Hewlett Packard Enterprise. That means that 94% is sitting in a vast “cyber landfill,” albeit one with a massive carbon footprint... Kirk Bresniker, chief architect of Hewlett Packard Labs, said these server farms use energy both to retain your data, and when you use it in some way. “If I want to actually do something with my data, I have to warm it up and move it through the data center,” he says. And for those who think you’re erasing email when you empty the trash, you probably aren’t. Multiple copies of even decade-old emails are stored on servers around the world. And energy is being used to keep them alive. The sum of all the world’s data in 2018 was 33 zettabytes (a zettabyte is 1 trillion gigabytes), but by 2025 it could increase fivefold, to 175 zettabytes, according to International Data Corp. Every day, the world produces about 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. This is a sector “where emissions are increasingly getting out of control,” says Philippe Zaouati, chief executive officer of Paris-based Mirova, a $15 billion sustainable asset manager. ... Choi says the problem is getting too big too fast: How many photos are sitting untouched in the cloud? Is there a net benefit from an internet-connected toothbrush? Is an AI model that enables slightly faster food delivery really worth the energy cost? (Training an AI model emits about as much carbon as the lifetime emissions associated with running five cars.)... Choi says real solutions may require more radical thoughts. “Data is possibly overstated as an advantage for business, and no one’s really asking the question,” he says. “If a small group of people are the only ones really benefiting from this data revolution, then what are we actually doing, using all of this power?” ... eventually there may not be enough renewable energy to satisfy the industry’s demand. Iron Mountain’s overall electricity use has been doubling from year to year, Hagen says. ... Microsoft Corp. this month unveiled a first-of-its-kind sustainability calculator for its cloud customers so they can see the emissions generated by their data use. ... BloombergNEF warns that energy efficiency upgrades or other technological improvements are unlikely to offset data’s greenhouse gas emissions, even if they are deployed quickly. Energy computing workloads are likely to more than double as more AI comes online, more devices are connected, and people do more work in the cloud. But no one seems to know how much fossil fuel energy is being used versus how much is being offset."
Cut Back on Email If You Want to Fight Global Warming
Bloomberg, 25 January 2050

"Multibillion dollar gas export projects that are central to the Trump administration’s push for “energy dominance” are locked in a battle for survival as prices fall and the market faces a supply glut. Liquefied natural gas is a critical outlet for the US’s surfeit of cheap natural gas and the country is on track to pull ahead of Australia and become the world’s biggest exporter by 2024, the International Energy Agency has said. Companies ranging from Royal Dutch Shell and Total to utilities and smaller independent groups are racing into the LNG export market, but planned capacity exceeds what is likely to be needed. The consultancy McKinsey predicts that only one in 10 proposed export terminals will ever be built. Last year, global importers received 346m tonnes of LNG — gas condensed to a liquid so it can be loaded on to tankers — according to S&P Global Platts. The volume will rise by 100m tonnes to 446m by 2025, it estimates. Yet in the US alone, 14 unbuilt export terminals with government approval would add 160m tonnes a year of capacity, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Another 90m tonnes’ worth of projects are still awaiting approval.... Last year, three US projects totalling 30m tonnes in annual capacity received final investment approval from their sponsors. Plunging natural gas prices are also complicating the outlook for companies developing LNG export terminals, as the US benchmark price fell to its lowest level in four years on Monday. Cheaper US gas helps in the intensifying battle for market share, but also makes developers’ projects look less financially viable. Companies are already cutting processing fees, burning cash and letting construction deadlines slip... China is set to overtake Japan as the world’s largest importer in 2024, the International Energy Agency predicts. But when the US trade war with China worsened last year, Beijing cut off purchases and added a 25 per cent tariff on US gas."
US gas exporters fight to survive supply glut
Financial Times, 21 January 2020

"The United Kingdom made history last year when it became the first major economy to commit to pumping no more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than it removes by 2050. Dozens of countries have since followed its lead to achieve "net zero" emissions, and with three decades to go before the deadline, Britain's progress provides a promising blueprint. Its carbon emissions were 44% below 1990 levels in 2018, with renewable energy now accounting for 33% of its energy mix and coal contributing just over 5%. That is thanks in large part to its success with offshore wind and focus on nuclear energy. But the Committee on Climate Change, an independent advisory body, warns the country must do more to meet its carbon reduction targets for 2023 to 2027. And climate activists say the government should aim for "net zero" much sooner than 2050. By far the biggest threat to the United Kingdom's 2050 ambition comes from the way it heats its homes, schools and hospitals. More than 80% of homes are connected to the gas grid, according to Ian Radley, head of gas operations at National Grid. While natural gas emits less carbon than coal, Britain's heavy dependence on the fossil fuel is deemed unsustainable. Heat is responsible for around half of all UK CO2 emissions, according to HyDeploy, a consortium that is currently piloting hydrogen as an alternative to gas. In other words, the UK government's £1.5 billion ($2 billion) investment into reducing emissions from road transport won't be enough to meet its 2050 target if it doesn't also tackle heating. "The heating story is the one that usually just gets neglected. It's in the box called 'too difficult,'" Dieter Helm, professor of energy policy at Oxford University, told CNN Business. "How are you going to heat your house and do your cooking without natural gas? The answer to that question is at considerable expense." A 2018 report commissioned by the National Infrastructure Commission, a government agency, found that decarbonizing Britain's heating infrastructure could cost as much as £450 billion ($586 billion). The total cost of decarbonization could exceed £1 trillion ($1.3 trillion), according to the Committee on Climate Change. Among the proposed solutions to the domestic heating challenge: stop connecting new homes to the gas grid, while encouraging existing homeowners to move to energy efficient alternatives such as hydrogen boilers. Repurposing existing infrastructure will be critical. HyDeploy is conducting experiments at the University of Keele to establish how much hydrogen can be blended into the national grid as a replacement to gas, without people needing to buy new heating or cooking appliances. Hydrogen offers many of the benefits of natural gas, without the carbon emissions. For Helm, even if the United Kingdom achieves its target in terms of power production, consumption is what ultimately matters. "If we reduce carbon emissions in Britain but simply close down our large industries and import the stuff from China instead, then global warming will be worse off," Helm said. "The thing about carbon is it doesn't matter where it's emitted," he added, arguing that a carbon border tax is the only way to encourage all countries to decarbonize and ensure that "the polluter pays wherever the polluter is."
Gas heating is the biggest threat to Britain's climate goal
CNN, 18 January 2019

"Israel has become a regional key player in Middle East gas market. Egypt and Jordan began to receive shipments of natural gas from neighbouring Israel this month, which once was considered an enemy before signing peace treaties in 1979 and 1994 respectively. Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz inaugurated the moment of pumping gas from his country's largest offshore, the Leviathan field, to the Egyptian side via subsea pipelines. The Leviathan gas field, which was discovered in 2010, is a large natural gas field located in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel about 130 kilometres West of Haifa city, and about 47 kilometres south-west of the the Tamar gas field – Israel's second largest field, which started production in 2013. Cairo is now receiving shipments from both fields mainly through an undersea East Mediterranean Gas Company pipeline connecting the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon with the northern Sinai Peninsula. When the experimental three-month period supply began on January 1 this year, many Jordanians took to the streets to protest what they dubbed "Black Day" opposing the deal, which Amman signed in secret under American pressure, according to demonstrators. They came out to voice their rejection of using energy "stolen from occupied Palestine", while others cited normalising ties with Israel. But this is now irrelevant as many Arab countries have had diplomatic relationships with Israel for many years. The gas supplies remain a politically sensitive subject in both Egypt and Jordan, but what is clear now is that the deals are merely signed for economic trades and profits. Security collaboration between the three countries and stability along the Sinai region made such projects see the light.... According to Delek Drilling – the leading Israeli energy partnership in the exploration, development, production and sale of natural gas and condensate – the Leviathan field is enough to satisfy 100 percent of Israel's domestic electricity needs for more than 40 years, leaving enough for exports."
Israel kicks off Middle East gas exports while continuing to deny Palestinians their drilling rights
The New Arab, 17 January 2020

"The German government has struck a deal with the country’s coal-producing regions to phase out the use of coal power by 2038 in return for compensation and benefits worth €40bn. Berlin will also set aside €4.35bn for utilities such as RWE, which will close some of their coal plants early. The deal removes one of the last obstacles to a historic energy transition in Europe’s largest economy. Angela Merkel’s coalition government pledged last year to switch off all coal-fired power stations but has since battled to secure political support from federal states such as North Rhine-Westphalia, Brandenburg and Saxony, where Germany’s mines and power plants are concentrated. The deal, presented by senior ministers on Thursday, means Germany will end the use of nuclear and coal power at the same time, sharply increasing the country’s dependence on renewable sources of power such as wind and solar. Berlin wants to meet at least 65 per cent of its electricity needs with renewable power by the end of this decade."
Germany strikes €44bn deal to phase out coal use in energy supply
Financial Times, 16 January 2020

"Such is the extent of the shakeout in the U.S. shale industry that Permian Basin oil production is closer to peaking than many forecasts suggest, according to one energy investor. Adam Waterous, who runs Waterous Energy Fund, regards the sector’s financial position as unsustainable after years of disappointing returns for investors and negative free cash flow. With capital markets now largely shunning shale producers, the impact will begin to show in oil and natural gas output from the largest U.S. oil patch, he said.“We think we are at or near peak Permian” production, Waterous said last week in an interview. “The North American oil market has been grossly overcapitalized, which is not sustainable.” Predicting peak Permian output for 2020 isn’t a mainstream view. There’s plenty of debate about how much production growth in the West Texas and New Mexico patch may slow this year as shale drillers slash capital spending, but the consensus is that supplies will rise, albeit at a slower pace. Tai Liu, an analyst at BloombergNEF, said in a report Tuesday that the pessimism may be overdone. Such considerations have global ramifications, as the U.S. is expected to account for a large portion of worldwide supply growth this year. As head of investment banking at Bank of Nova Scotia, Waterous had a direct hand in mergers and acquisitions that reshaped the energy sector. But he says the model those deals represented, one in which oil and gas companies prioritized production gains and M&A, is now a relic. “The capital gains model is broken,” he said. “The M&A market is gone and it’s not coming back.”.... Waterous likens the plight of U.S. shale in recent years to the five stages of grief. The first stage, denial, is characterized by a belief that the M&A market will return, he said. That’s followed by anger (“the market is wrong”), then bargaining, by trying to operate within cash flow, followed by depression -- moving to the free cash-flow model that many shale operators have been touting. The final stage, acceptance, is defined by Waterous as the industry finally resolving to provide investors with cash payouts via dividends so that they recover their initial investments. Over the past five years, the industry and its investors “mistook a massive structural change for a simple cyclical event,” he said. “It’s impossible to continue to have uneconomic production and capex.”
Peak Permian Oil Output Is Closer Than You Think, Investor Says
Bloomberg, 14 January 2020

"The main strands of current energy policy date back to 2013 and have not been seriously re-examined since. The conventional wisdom at that time was that energy supplies were scarce and likely to become ever more expensive. The result was an approach that supported the development of UK supplies, in many cases through direct subsidies, with little or no regard for cost and until recently with minimal competition. A shale gas revolution was proclaimed with scant reference to the realities of drilling in well-populated areas where public resistance was inevitable. Renewable projects were given 15-year contracts at guaranteed prices of up to £140 to £150 per megawatt hour, without being subject to any competition. Consumers are still paying for those deals. The most egregious excess was the agreement in 2013 to go ahead with the Hinkley Point C nuclear project at a cost of an index-linked £92.50 per MW hour for 35 years from the start of production. The project is years behind schedule, with further cost overruns of up £2.9bn reported last year. The result is that while energy prices have fallen (oil and natural gas are both down by almost 40 per cent since 2013; and wind and solar by 43 per cent and 57 per cent respectively) consumers are paying more than is necessary, with even bigger bills to come. There is a good case for the new government to renegotiate the whole Hinkley deal, as well as many of the early renewables contracts. The most important objective, though, should be to correct the approach before similar mistakes are made as the government tackles the priority of reducing emissions to limit the risks associated with climate change."
Britain is ripe for a radical shift in energy policy
Financial Times, 13 January 2020

"According to Rystad Energy, oil and gas firms discovered a four-year high 12.2 billion barrels of oil or the equivalent last year, with new discoveries in Guyana alone totaling some 1.8 billion barrels. Off the coast of the north African nation of Mauritania, BP discovered the Orca gas field, which holds about 1.3 billion barrels, Rystad estimated earlier this week. There are now enough gas resources in the region to justify plans for a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) hub in the Bir Allah area of Mauritania. Meanwhile a pair of discoveries in the Kara Sea totaling some 1.5 billion barrels by state-run firm Gazprom added to Russia’s haul. Other large discoveries of oil or gas around the world included French firm Total’s Brulpadda in South Africa, ExxonMobil’s Glaucus in Cyprus, and Chinese firm CNOOC’s Glengorm in the U.K., Rystad said. Firms will be looking even harder for new discoveries in 2020. After slumping from 2014 through 2016 as oil prices languished, global upstream capital expenditure rose modestly in 2019 and is projected to climb a further six percent per year through at least 2025, while exploration spending is expected to recover at a pace of 7 percent per year, according to forecasts from Rystad and accounting firm PricewaterhouseCooper. The recovery will be underpinned by exploration in North America thanks to the continent’s abundant supplies of shale oil and gas. But the oil and gas sector’s ample discoveries in 2019 don’t mean that firms will be similarly rewarded in the future. “It’s getting harder to find the large discoveries known as ‘elephants,’ and most prospective areas have already been explored,” PricewaterhouseCooper said in a briefing. Moreover, even as firms are projected to spend more, they still have a long way to go before they return to spending levels from before the 2014 price collapse. Capital spending fell more than 60% from 2014 to 2016. According to BP's annual statistical review, in 2018 the world had proven oil reserves of 1.73 trillion barrels, enough to fill up 263,000 Empire State Buildings. If society keeps drawing from those reserves at the current production rate of around 100 million barrels per day, it would be enough to last about 50 years, the better part of most people's lifetimes. But according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), humanity could easily still be consuming oil at rates similar to today even as far into the future as 2040. The Paris-based agency expects global consumption to plateau somewhere above 1 million barrels per day in the 2030s as electric vehicles begin overtaking gasoline- and diesel-powered cars, and to decline only slightly thereafter through at least 2040. (Gasoline and diesel are derived from crude oil in oil refineries.) Projections out to 2070 are tough to come by, but if the IEA's scenarios hint at what is to come, then by 2070, the year today's current proved reserves run out, oil demand could still be prodigious."
Oil And Gas Discoveries Reach Four-Year High In 2019, As Exploration Spending Set To Grow
Forbes, 11 January 2019

"Last year, the UK totted up 83 coal-free days, including a record-breaking 18-day stretch in May and June. For the year as a whole, 43 per cent of the UK's electricity came from fossil fuels, with coal making up just two per cent – both of them record-breaking stats in their own right. The decade overall yielded some encouraging stats, too – the amount of UK electricity coming from renewable sources jumped from seven per cent in 2010 to 37 per cent in 2019. Since 1990, the country has cut its emissions by around two-fifths. And in 2019, the UK became the first major economy to target net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.  But a spectre is haunting the UK’s emissions targets – the spectre of nuclear retirement. According to an analysis conducted by Simon Evans at Carbon Brief, annual low-carbon electricity output from wind, solar, nuclear, hydro and biomass increased by the smallest amount in a decade, adding only a single terawatt hour to the UK’s electricity capacity – less than one per cent of the total amount. Overall low-carbon capacity growth, by comparison, grew by an annual average of 9TWh in the last decade. Evans points out that low-carbon generation would need to increase by 15TWh each year until 2030, just to meet an overall carbon intensity of 100 grams of CO2 released for every kWh of electricity produced. This 100gC02/kWh benchmark was initially set by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) to reflect the UK’s earlier climate goals (the CCC later revised its target to 50gCO2/kWh), but with the country now committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, overall energy intensity will likely need to be below 100gCO2/kWh. These nuclear retirements are significant. By the early 2030s, just one of the UK’s seven nuclear power stations will be operational. Over the last few years, plans to construct three new power stations – Hitachi’s Wylfa Newydd nuclear plants on Anglesey in Wales and Oldbury in Gloucestershire, and Toshiba’s Moorside project in Cumbria – which together could have met 15 per cent of the UK’s future electricity demands, have been scrapped. “It's clearly not good – we’re taking away capacity, and nuclear is around 20 per cent of generation at the moment,” says Martin Freer, director of the Birmingham Energy Institute. “And the program for replacing the existing nuclear is not very significant – it's just the Hinkley Point C reactor at the moment, which is going to leave a very large gap in the in the present generation of nuclear.” (Hinkley C in Somerset, which is projected to come online around 2026, should provide seven per cent of the UK’s electricity needs.) Freer estimates that, in order to sufficiently decarbonise heat and transportation, we must find four to five times the amount of electrical generation that we have at present..... “There's reasons to be concerned and as usual it's a fabulous piece of research from Simon Evans, but on its own, it's not enough for us to say no, these targets are not possible to achieve,” says Chris Goodall, an energy expert and author of The Switch. The CCC, for instance, plotted a range of pathways to meeting the UK’s 2030 climate goals; only some of these involve further nuclear plants beyond Hinkley C. Success, Goodall claims, depends on the continued expansion of offshore wind. He estimates that Hinkley Point C will provide around 25TWh of the extra 162TWh of low-carbon electricity generation required by 2030. Add this to the government's target of 40GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030 and this should be enough to meet our low-carbon requirements, Goodall says. But this optimism towards wind power is not universal. “In the context of decarbonising everything, I think it’s very challenging to do that and anybody who says that that is possible is being highly optimistic,” says Freer. “We don't have the large scale storage capability in place [for wind] and indeed the technologies which would get us there are nascent technologies – they've not being demonstrated that scale.”"
The UK's nuclear slowdown could derail our shift to clean energy
Wired, 9 January 2020

"A pilot project injecting zero carbon hydrogen into an existing gas network in the UK is now fully operational. The HyDeploy demonstration is feeding up to 20% of hydrogen into Keele University’s existing natural gas network, which is connected to 100 homes and 30 faculty buildings. Backed by Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition, the £7 million project is led by Cadent in partnership with Northern Gas Networks, Keele University, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Science Division, ITM Power and Progressive Energy. Keele University was viewed as the perfect location, owning and operating its own private gas network, which could be safely isolated from the wider UK gas network. Heating homes and industry accounts for half of the UK’s energy consumption and one third of its carbon emissions, with 83% of homes using gas to keep warm. The project developers believe a 20% hydrogen blend rolled out across the country could save around six million tonnes of carbon emissions every year – the equivalent of taking 2.5 million cars off the road. Ed Syson, Chief Safety and Strategy Officer for Cadent said: “It is impossible to overstate the importance of this trial to the UK – this is the first ever practical demonstration of hydrogen in a modern gas network in this country. “Hydrogen can help us tackle one of the most difficult sources of carbon emissions – heat. This trial could pave the way for a wider rollout of hydrogen blending, enabling consumers to cut carbon emissions without changing anything that they do. “HyDeploy could also prove to be the launchpad for a wider hydrogen economy, fuelling industry and transport, bringing new jobs and making Britain a world leader in this technology. Urgent action is needed on carbon emissions and HyDeploy is an important staging post on that journey in the UK.”"
UK first: Hydrogen injected into gas grid as landmark trial gets underway
Energy Live, 6 January 2020

"Greece and Israel have agreed to build a new pipeline to bring natural gas to Europe, even though the EU is promising to reduce its use of damaging fossil fuels. The new €6bn (£5.1bn) underwater pipeline, which would be the world’s longest, is forecast to meet about 10 per cent of Europe’s gas needs by 2025. Italy will be the largest single purchaser of the Israeli gas, but several other European countries also stand to benefit. Last month the European Union launched a new Green Deal policy package committing the EU to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, with ambitious targets to cut emissions by 2030 from the current 40 per cent target to “at least” 50 per cent. Ursula Von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said the commission wanted to use €100bn worth of investment to help the bloc’s economies pay to switch away from fossil fuels." The EastMed line, which would run for 1,900km (1,180 miles) from Israeli and Cypriot gas fields via Greece to Italy, is expected to carry up to 20 billion cubic metres of gas a year. Under the Paris Agreement to tackle the climate crisis, Europe set a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2030. But Europe’s gas demands are rising, and the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies estimates that demand will outstrip liquefied natural gas supply within three years. Jonathan Stern, who heads the Institute, told Al Jazeera: “What the models mostly show is, if we’re going to meet the Paris targets (COP21), never mind any consideration of net-zero [emissions], then gas has to basically remain relatively flat in terms of demand … and then post-2030 it has to decline relatively rapidly.” Natural gas is sometimes praised as a clean energy alternative to coal but scientists say a significant amount of methane, which heats the atmosphere, escapes from natural gas wells and pipelines. Yuval Steinitz, the Israeli energy minister, has said the pipeline would take up to seven years to build and that its advantages include being less vulnerable to sabotage than if it passed through Turkey. The country’s Leviathan natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea began pumping gas just before the new year. The current longest undersea pipeline is the Nord Stream, which runs for 1,224km through the Baltic Sea from Vyborg, Russia, to the German coast, transporting Russian natural gas to Europe. This weekend hundreds of people in the Jordanian capital, Amman, protested against a government agreement to import natural gas from Israel, branding the deal “normalisation” with the Jewish state."
Greece and Israel agree deal to build world’s longest underwater gas pipeline despite pledge to cut fossil fuels
Independent, 6 January 2020

"More than half of adults in the UK say they have been ‘climate shamed’ for sharing posts of their holidays abroad online. That’s according to renewable energy company Pure Planet, which polled more than 2,000 people about how other people have reacted to them engaging in environmentally-unfriendly behaviours, such as taking long-haul flights, eating lots of meat and failing to properly recycle packaging. Shockingly, 5% said they are “regularly bullied” over the impact they have on the planet and 63% admitted they have climate shamed somebody else at least once before. Flight shaming was most common among young people – 67% of those aged between 18 and 34 said they have been climate shamed, with three-quarters admitting they have done it to somebody else."
More than half of adults say they have been ‘climate shamed’
Energy Live, 3 January 2020

"More of the UK‘s electricity came from clean sources than fossil fuels for the first time in 2019, the National Grid has said. It was the cleanest year on record because of an increase in the use of zero-carbon fuel such as wind, solar and nuclear, the UK’s power operators said. Gas and coal use has dropped over the last 12 months as the UK looks to burn less polluting fuels. The dramatic turnaround in the use of polluting fuels comes as the UK gets to the halfway point of a plan to use “net zero” greenhouse gases by 2050. The commitment is an attempt to help stem the effects of climate change, and mitigate extreme weather that has seen the hottest ever December day and a variety of other records broken throughout 2019. Fossil fuels accounted for only 43 per cent of the energy used by the National Grid over the last year, the newly released data showed. Most of the rest – 48.5 per cent – came from sources such as wind farms, hydro plants, solar and nuclear energy and clean power imported through subsea cables. The remaining 8.5 per cent came from biomass, which is renewable but is polluting when it is burnt for energy. Just 30 years ago, in 1990, coal accounted for the vast majority of Britain’s power supply – but it has dropped from about 75 per cent then to just 2.1 per cent now. The difference has been made up largely by zero-carbon renewables such as wind, solar and hydro, which represented only 2.3 per cent of the power supply in 1990 but now make up 26.5 per cent. The use of gas has also surged, going from hardly being used in 1990 to 38.4 per cent of the UK’s energy mix."
More UK energy is coming from clean sources than fossil fuels for the first time ever, National Grid announces
Independent, 1 January 2020
"Energy bills have risen by 40% in five years, taking average UK household costs up to a record of £2,707 a year, research has revealed. Comparethemarket’s study examined the costs of energy, home and motor insurance since 2015, and found that gas and electricity price increases were largely responsible for this year’s changes. The analysis says financial pressures have worsened despite the energy price cap introduced at the beginning of 2019. Dual fuel bills now cost an average of £1,813 a year, a 40% hike from £1,289 in 2015.... According to the Office for National Statistics’ composite price index, items that have risen in line with inflation are 11.59% pricier now than in 2015. The analysis draws attention to the regional disparities in utility costs, finding that London households were paying £3,129 a year – over £400 more than the national average. In contrast, those living in Scotland spend only £2,470 on bills, despite experiencing colder weather than the English capital. Lower bills are largely because of significantly cheaper Scottish car insurance. The West Midlands is the UK’s second most expensive region, with bills averaging £2,910 in 2019."
Britons paying 40% more for energy than in 2015, analysis reveals
Guardian, 30 December 2019

"Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries has unveiled the world’s first ship able to transport large volumes of liquid hydrogen fuel. The firm says the development of the 8,000-tonne SUISO Frontier will ‘vastly expand’ cargo capacity of the fuel and enable it to be shipped from Australia to Japan in significant quantities – the ship is able to carry 1,250 cubic metres of liquid hydrogen in a single tank. The gas will be produced in Australia using cheap coal, before being liquefied at -253°C. Japan hopes to build a commercial hydrogen supply chain by 2030 – it considers the coal-produced hydrogen a green option as no emissions are created at the point of use. Trial shipments are due to begin by March 2021."
Kawasaki Heavy Industries unveils liquid hydrogen tanker
Energy Live News, 29 December 2019

"America’s top shale field is becoming increasingly gassy as drilling slows down, undercutting profits for explorers at a time when investors are demanding better returns. Natural gas has long been a nuisance in the Permian, where a massive glut weighs on prices, with crude producers sometimes having to pay to get it hauled away or burn it off in a controversial practice known as flaring. Now the problem is intensifying as wells age and fewer new wells are drilled. Shale wells produce a spew of oil when they’re first fracked, but over time, production falls -- sometimes as much as 70% in the first year -- and gas becomes a bigger part of the mix. “Activity levels are no longer what they were,” said Artem Abramov, head of shale research at Rystad Energy. “The oil ratio is no longer sufficient to offset gas in older wells, so we’re seeing some increase in basin-wide” gas-to-oil ratios."
The Permian Gas Problem Is Just Getting Worse
Bloomberg, 24 December 2019

"Global oil markets notched up a number of milestones this year that echoed the story of the past decade: the world has shifted from an era of supply tightness to plenty. What distinguished the developments of 2019 was not just how big they were but often how little impact they had. From the world’s biggest-ever initial public offering to its worst-ever supply disruption, a barrage of sanctions on exporters to two OPEC interventions, never before had so many momentous events left investors so unmoved. At the heart of that indifference was the force that has transformed world energy balances over the past 10 years: the American revolution in shale oil and gas, which is cushioning global markets against shocks that would once have sent prices rocketing. This too achieved a landmark in 2019, turning the U.S. into an net exporter of crude and refined oil.And there was another turning point showing the years ahead may also be marked by supply abundance. For the first time, the world’s leading energy institution predicted that demand for oil -- once expected to keep growing almost indefinitely -- will stall at the turn of the next decade. “This year is probably the first in my recollection where oil prices so extremely decoupled from geopolitical risk,” said Amy Myers Jaffe, senior energy and environment fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. “It was also the year when analysts and car companies started to talk about the possibility of peak car and peak demand with increasing probability.” .... The main source of the [OPEC] cartel’s struggle remained the U.S. shale-oil industry, which has turned the country into the world’s biggest oil producer, and propelled nationwide production to a new record of almost 13 million barrels a day this year. The transformation though isn’t confined to the supply side of the market. The IEA, which for years projected that oil demand would increase for the foreseeable future, predicted last month that consumption will plateau at the turn of the next decade as efforts to avert catastrophic climate change spur the use of more efficient car engines and electric cars. Growth in world oil demand will dwindle from about 1 million barrels a day, or 1%, currently to roughly 100,000 a day in the 2030s, the IEA said. Sales of passenger vehicles with internal combustion engines are probably already in decline, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The change is increasingly occupying financial investors, who are shifting their portfolios from fossil fuels to more sustainable energy sources. Reflecting that anxiety, the organizers of the “Oil & Money” conference, held annually in London for the past four decades, announced a re-branding that will remove both words from the title."
Oil’s 2019 Milestones Tell Decade’s Story of Energy Abundance
Bloomberg, 22 December 2019

"Oil demand is still growing by ~1mbd every year, and no central scenarios that have been recently assessed see oil demand peaking before 2040. Of   existing   world   liquids   production,   81%   is   already   in   decline   (excluding   possible   future redevelopments).  By 2040, this means the world could need to replace over 4 times the current crude oil output of Saudi Arabia (>40mb/d), just to keep output consistently flat.  In  January  2005,  Saudi  Arabia  increased  its  number  of  operating  rig  count  by  144%,  to  increase  oil production by only 6.5%.  This suggests that the market swing producer (as Saudi Arabia was seen) was not able increase production enough to meet increasing demand. Global  conventional  crude  oil  plateaued  in  January  2005.   This  would  prove  to  be  a  decisive  turning point for the industrial ecosystem.  Since then, unconventional oil sources like tight oil (fracked oil shale) and oil sands have made up the demand shortfall, where U.S. shale (tight oil, fracking with horizontal drilling)  contributed  71.4%  of  new  global  oil  supply  since  2005.   Global  conventional  oil  production broke  out  of  its  plateau  in  late  2013  and  has  been  able  to  expand  in  capacity,  where  deep  off  shore plays become more important.  Since 2008, the Shale revolution (tight oil or fracked oil) has increased global oil supply which stabilized increased demand.  This was achieved with the application of precision horizontal drilling applied to the existing hydraulic fracking industry.  UStight oil produced in August 2019 was 7.73 million barrels per day,  approximately  8.37%  of  global  supply.  The  U.S.  tight  oil  sector  accounted  for  98%  of  global  oil production growth in 2018.  Future global demand growth is now dependent on the U.S. tightoil sector.  Fracked  well  average production  increased between  2010  and  2018  by  28%,  but  also  water  injection (and therefore chemical and proppant use) increased by 118%.  This is an average across the whole U.S. Tight  Oil  Sector.   Hydraulic  fracked  wells  (used  in  Tight  Oil)  go  through  four  basic  stages  in  their  life cycle.  The three biggest tight oil producer basins of Permian, Eagle Ford and Bakken are all still growing but are in the mature stage of their life cycles.  Mature is the third of four stages, where the fourth is decline.  The productivity (per rig as measured by EIA) of the U.S. Tight Oil sector in 2018 is less effective than in 2016.  This suggests that the U.S. Tight Oil sector is approaching its peak production reasonably soon.  Due to well  depletion  in  fracking,  5399  new  wells  are  needed to be drilled  to  keep  the  U.S.  tight  oil production consistent in 2019.  Each year a similar number of new wells are required. The environmental impacts of fracking tight oil and oil sands is being largely ignored.  Most of these are related to water way pollution and destruction of forestation habitat. Most oil producers in the U.S. tight oil fracked sector have a negative cash flow and struggle to raise capital to  develop  upstream infrastructure.   This  is  unfortunate  as  to  maintain  production  levels, continual new drilling is required (which requires capital).  As such Q1 2019 performance of fracking oil producers was far below projections, suggesting further difficulties in this sector. If  the  BRIC  economies  (Brazil,  Russia,  India  and  China)  was  to  become  as  developed  as  the  German economy in context of oil consumption, the BRIC economy 2018 oil consumption would have to expand by 254%.  If the whole World was to become as developed as the 2018 German economy in context of oil  consumption  in  2018,  the  global  oil  consumption  of  99.84  million  barrels  per  day  would  have  to expand by 117% and an extra 116.68 million barrels per day of oil would need to be brought to market.Starting  in  January  2005,  all  commodity  prices  that  the  World Bank  track  to  monitor  the  industrial ecosystem (base metals, precious metals, oil, gas and coal) blew out in an unprecedented bubble.  The second worst economic correction in history, The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008, was not enough to  resolve  the  underlying  fundamental  issues.  After  the  GFC,  the  volatility  in  commodity  price continued.  This report makes the case that the GFC was created as the entire industrial ecosystem was put under unprecedented stress, where the weakest link broke.  That weakest link was in the financial markets.  The strain that created this unprecedented stress, was triggered by the global oil production plateauing.  This made the oil market in elastic in form.  This is postulated to have happened because the Saudi Arabianoil production was unable to increase production in January 2005, in spite a significant increase of operating rig count.  If further analysis supports this hypothesis, then the GFC was created by a chain reaction that had its origins in the oil market. Due to our dependence on oil, it may be the primary, or master raw resource.  Oil has a more significant CRM  profile  (immanent  shortage  in  context  of  a  vital  resource)  than  almost  any  other  raw  material supplying industry. It is recommended that oil, gas, coal and uranium are all added to the European CRM list."
Oil from a Critical Raw Material Perspective
Geological Survey of Finland, 22 December 2019
"The group behind Nord Stream 2 said on Saturday it aimed to complete a pipeline to boost Russian gas supplies to Europe as soon as possible, after U.S. sanctions prompted a major contractor to suspend pipe-laying activities. U.S. President Donald Trump signed a bill on Friday that included legislation imposing sanctions on firms laying pipe for Nord Stream 2, which seeks to double gas capacity along the northern Nord Stream pipeline route to Germany. Washington, which has been seeking to sell more of its own liquefied natural gas (LNG) to European states, has said Nord Stream 2 will make Europe too reliant on Russian supplies. Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled gas giant and a major backer of Nord Stream 2, already supplies more than a third of Europe’s gas needs. The company declined to comment. Nord Stream 2 will help Russia bypass Ukraine, the main route for Russian gas. Moscow and Kiev, which have been at loggerheads over Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, agreed a new transit deal this week after long-running talks. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will run along the Baltic Sea floor, was expected to start up in the first half of 2020. “Completing the project is essential for European supply security. We together with the companies supporting the project will work on finishing the pipeline as soon as possible,” Nord Stream 2 said on Saturday. It did not provide details. German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said Berlin “firmly rejects” U.S. sanctions but would not retaliate. Nord Stream 2 contractor, Swiss-Dutch company Allseas, announced on Friday it had suspended pipe-laying activities. The company said it would “proceed, consistent with the legislation’s wind down provision” and said it expected guidance on the regulatory, technical and environmental issues from the U.S. authority."
Nord Stream 2 to press on with Europe gas pipe, despite U.S. sanctions
Reuters, 21 December 2019

"Electricity generated from renewables surpassed power from gas for the first time in the three months from July to September, official figures show. A record 38.9 per cent of power was generated by wind, solar, hydro and other renewables in the third quarter of 2019, marginally higher than the 38.8 per cent share of electricity coming from gas over the three-month period. The statistics from the Business and Energy Department also reveal that coal generated just 1 per cent of power over the period. Low-carbon electricity overall, which includes renewables and nuclear, reached new highs of 57.3 per cent of the mix, despite lower output from nuclear reactors, as a result of strong levels of generation from technology such as wind. The figures, which show the ongoing switch away from fossil fuels – particularly coal – to cleaner sources of power, came after the government’s climate advisers urged the prime minister to drive ambitious action on tackling emissions."
Electricity generated by renewables surpasses gas for first time
Press Association, 20 December 2020

"The more than decade-long boom in shale gas production is coming to an end. The Appalachian region is expected to see gas output decline by 74 million cubic feet per day between December and January. - Natural gas prices are wallowing at multi-year lows, and the financial squeeze in the shale sector is particularly acute for gas-focused companies. Gas output is also set to decline in the Anadarko basin by 132 mcf/d in January and in the Eagle Ford by 69 mcf/d. Gas production is still expected to rise by 213 mcf/d in the Permian, as drillers aiming for oil still have around 400 rigs in operation. Overall, though, the U.S. gas bonanza could be in for a down period, at least until prices rebound."
The End Of The Shale Gas Boom, 20 December 2019

"Brent crude oil jumped back above $65 a barrel on Friday for the first time since the attacks on Saudi Arabia in September, as production cuts by oil producers and progress on the US-China trade deal boosted buying ahead of the weekend. The international oil benchmark is on course to average around $64 a barrel this year, more than 10 per cent less than in 2018, with prices subdued by continued growth in US shale production and concerns over the strength of the global economy.... Some analysts are still cautious about the potential for further gains, however, as crude has consistently failed over the past two years to maintain rallies above $70 a barrel, given the growth in supplies from the US. More traders are now betting that American shale production could slow in 2020, after a period of lower prices and signs the industry is no longer prepared to spend so aggressively to fund growth. But they do not expect the market to tighten dramatically....  Opec’s own projections suggest the market will be relatively balanced in 2020, but the International Energy Agency this week warned it still saw a large surplus in the first half of the year, with output growth in Brazil and Norway as well as the US."
Crude oil breaks $65 mark after Opec tightens supplies
Financial Times, 13 December 2019

"Transport-related emissions from tourism are expected to account for 5.3% of all man-made carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. That’s the verdict from a new report published by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the International Transport Forum (ITF), which shows this is up from 5% in 2016 – it notes progress towards low carbon travel means despite tourist numbers increasing, emissions per passenger kilometre are expected to fall. It calls for enhanced cooperation between the transport and tourism sectors to help drive down emissions and tackle climate change but notes under current ambitions, transport-related carbon dioxide emissions from tourism are predicted to increase from 1,597 million tonnes to 1,998 million tonnes between 2016 and 2030 – this is an increase of around a quarter. Over the same timeframes, international and domestic arrivals are predicted to rise from 20 billion to 37 billion, mainly driven by domestic tourism. The report highlights tourism-related transport emissions represented more than a fifth of all transport emissions in 2016 and will continue to do so in 2030."
Tourism transport ‘to make up 5.3% of all emissions generated by 2030
Energy Live News, 16 December 2020

"Compare the Market has analysed the energy consumption of 21 countries to reveal which are using the most and least renewable energy sources in their total consumption. With renewable energy varying from wind, solar, hydropower and bioenergy, there are an increasing number of more environmentally-friendly options for producing the energy that we use each day.... Germany leads the world with a renewable energy consumption of 12.74% of their total energy use. This European nation is on an energy revolution aimed at replacing its fossil fuels with wind and solar technology, which scientists agree is pivotal for every country to adopt in order to avoid a climate disaster across the globe. In particular, Germany has been working to reduce its coal use, with the first half of 2019 seeing the country use more renewable sources of energy to produce electricity than coal and nuclear power combined, a first for the country. In addition, renewables accounted for 40% of Germany’s electricity consumption in 2018, and more work is being done to continue the rise in renewable energy use.  The UK ranks second in their renewable energy use at 11.05% in the country’s total consumption. Wind power has been particularly prevalent, with a new energy record set just a few days ago when wind provided over 40% of the nation’s power.  The USA ranks at 10th with a renewable energy proportion of less than half that of the UK and nearly three times less that of Germany at 4.32%. South Africa ranks at 15th with even lower renewable use levels at just 2.25%. Other countries with a particularly low consumption include Mexico at 1.65%, South Korea at 1.63% and Russia at 0.04%. And whilst the likes of Germany and the UK are leading the way, it is critical that these figures continue to rise over the next few years for all countries across the globe."
Revealed: the countries leading the way in renewable energy
Smart Energy International, 13 December 2019

"The UK has hit an all-time renewable energy record as wind generation shatters the 16GW threshold. The new energy record was set on Sunday, when wind provided more than 40% of the nation’s power. National Grid said onshore and offshore wind generated up to 16,162GW, making up a 43.7% share of electricity and reaching more than double the amount that nuclear produced, at 20.5%. This was followed by gas generation making up 12.8% of the mix, with biomass at 7.9%, imports at 7.4%, coal at 3.1%, hydro at 1.7%, solar at 1.3%, storage at 1.1% and other sources at 0.5%. The previous wind energy record of 15.32GW was set on the 8th February earlier this year...A new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit recently announced energy consumption from non-hydro renewables will rise considerably next year, though not by enough to meet international climate goals. "
UK hits renewable energy record as wind shatters 16GW threshold
Energy News Live, 10 December 2019

"Qatar and Saudi Arabia have several good reasons to finally settle their political differences. Agreeing what could be the gas deal of the century is perhaps the best. The kingdom burned almost 900,000 b/d of valuable liquid fuels for industrial use and power generation in 2017, according to the Riyadh-based energy think tank, King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center. Replacing this oil with natural gas could generate more than $10 billion of additional export revenue at current market prices, or add to its existing cushion of spare crude capacity that was recently tested by the attacks on Abqaiq. Buying gas from Qatar is one of the cheapest ways for the kingdom to remove oil entirely from power generation, but first must come peace after a near three-year total breakdown in diplomatic and economic relations. A partial thaw came this week when King Salman bin Abdulaziz invited Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, to attend a gathering of the Gulf Cooperation Council leaders in Riyadh later this month. Although the emir declined the invitation – sending his prime minister instead – the direction of travel is undeniable. “Gas supply has always been the Achilles heel to Saudi’s ambitious economic growth plans,” said Samer Mosis, senior analyst at S&P Global Platts Analytics. “While the kingdom has equally ambitious plans to expand non-associated gas production, Saudi Aramco’s track record in this arena is spotty at best. A gas deal with Qatar would be the rational solution to this conundrum, but Saudi would be loath to build a dependence on Qatari gas.” On paper, Saudi holds the world’s fourth-largest gas reserves and is the Middle East’s third-biggest producer after Iran and Qatar. But output of natural gas – most of its current output is associated with its oil – could have been much higher had Saudi fully developed its resources."
Qatar and Saudi Arabia eye peace, a mega gas deal could follow
S&P Global, 10 December 2019

"Moscow’s energy policy made a sharp transition with two developments last week. The new Power of Siberia pipeline taking gas from Russia to China was last Monday inaugurated by presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, and marks a turn by Moscow to the east. Then, at the end of the week, Russian ministers attended the Opec meeting in Vienna and accepted that Russian production would be cut further as part of the cartel’s attempt to stabilise prices. The continued engagement means that Russia — having for decades pursued a fiercely independent oil policy — is now effectively Opec’s 15th member state. Russia remains a major player in the international energy market — it was a net exporter in 2018 of more than 9m barrels a day of oil and almost 250bn cubic metres of natural gas. But it is finding itself in a buyer’s market that it cannot control.... The story of Nord Stream 2 — the new gas line under the Baltic Sea to Germany — is driven by Moscow’s desire to secure an even greater share of the European gas market. But that market has shrunk by more than 10 per cent in the past decade and is liable to decline further as climate policies accelerate the take up of renewables. That explains the pivot to the east. For Moscow, there was no alternative. The Power of Siberia line taking gas to the Chinese market will add to exports but it will make Russia vulnerable to fluctuations in its political relationship with Beijing. In terms of both price and volume of gas traded, China — with many alternative sources of supply available in Asia and the Middle East — holds the cards. In common with all the other petroeconomies, Russia is trapped by circumstances beyond its control and highly exposed to any further downward shift in global energy prices."
Moscow is being forced to change its energy strategy
Financial Times, 9 December 2019

"Only one in three households have reduced their energy use after having a smart meter installed, a damning survey has revealed. The gadgets, which are being pushed into every home in a shambolic £13.5billion campaign, promised to slash power bills by showing households how much they were spending in real time. But a survey of 1,000 households by researchers Consumer Intelligence for the Daily Mail found that 53 per cent of smart meter owners had not changed their energy usage after having one installed – and 16 per cent said they were using more energy. Only 31 per cent said they were using less power, including just 3 per cent who said they were now using considerably less. The programme to install smart meters in all homes is already behind schedule and massively over budget. Only half are now expected to have a smart meter by the original 2020 deadline and the cost has surged by £2.5billion to £13.5billion. The gadgets automatically send readings to suppliers and displays show households the cost of the energy as they use it."
Just one in three households with a smart meter have seen energy use reduced, new survey suggests
Mail, 9 December 2019

"North American shale supply will continue growing even in an environment with lower oil prices, Rystad Energy forecasts. The OPEC countries and Russia are meeting in Austria’s capital, Vienna this week to agree on oil production quotas for 2020. Without deeper cuts, Rystad Energy forecasts a substantial build of global crude stocks and a corresponding drop in oil prices. However, even with potentially lower prices, the production outlook for North American shale appears robust in the years ahead. Despite the continued decline in the number of horizontal rigs since the beginning of 2019, we have not observed a significant fall in the number of spudded wells. At the same time, shale investments have declined by 6% to around $129 billion in 2019, and are expected to fall another 11% in 2020 due to the industry’s focus on cash flow discipline and free cash flow generation.  This means the industry will lower its total investments for two subsequent years –a development we haven’t seen since the oil price crash in 2014. “In spite of the decline in spending and activity levels, the North American shale supply is not following the downward trend,” says Sonia Mladá Passos, a product manager of Rystad Energy’s Shale Upstream Analysis team.....The Light Tight Oil (LTO) supply from North American shale is set to reach 8.6 million bpd in 2019. Nearly 93% of this supply is driven by the US; only slightly more than 600,000 bpd of LTO is produced in Canada. In 2019, the industry remains on track to spud around 17,000 horizontal wells targeting shale formations in the US and Canada. Going forward, Rystad Energy expects drilling activity to remain relatively flat at around 17,000 spudded wells per year, on average, according to our base-case price scenario. However, in a low price scenario with the WTI price remaining flat at $45 per barrel, activity in North American shale may begin sharply decreasing, falling by 26% in 2020 y/y."
North American shale supply set to grow even if oil prices drop
Rystad, 5 December 2019

"State-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco has raised a record $25.6bn (£19.4bn) in its initial public offering in Riyadh. The share sale was the biggest ever, surpassing that of China's Alibaba which raised $25bn in 2014 in New York. Aramco relied on domestic and regional investors to sell a 1.5% stake after lukewarm interest from abroad. The IPO will value it at $1.7tn when trading begins - short of its $2tn target, but making it the most valuable listed company in the world. The share sale is at the heart of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's plans to modernise the Saudi economy and wean it off its dependence on oil.
Saudi Aramco raises $25.6bn in world's biggest share sale
BBC, 5 December 2019

"The Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) has made history by forming the first pipeline to deliver natural gas from Azerbaijan through Turkey and on to Greece, the first stop in its European leg Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). "Today, were are proud to top off 7 and a half-years of long and difficult process with ultimate success in the joint efforts of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia," President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Saturday in an address at the inauguration ceremony for the TANAP-Europe connection held at the border city of Edirne. Referring to TANAP, which began operating in June 2018, as the backbone of the multinational Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) project, Erdoğan praised the pipeline's completion and lauded the spirit of cooperation between partner countries, which remained strong despite many hurdles. Dubbed the "Silk Road" of energy, both TANAP and TAP are the parts of a multinational natural gas project worth $8.5 billion Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), supported by European Commission and financed by World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).... The 3,500 kilometers-long SGC consists of three sections; the South Caucasus Pipeline, TANAP and TAP. The Turkish leg of the project TANAP passes through around 600 villages before it reaches the border, where it will go on to pump energy to European markets. The 4.5 billion euros ($5.1 billion) TAP transverses Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea destined for Italy. Azerbaijani gas is expected to reach European markets by the second half of next year and currently more than 90% of the project has been completed. The 1,850 kilometers-long TANAP carries Azerbaijani gas from the Shah Deniz-2 field and other fields in the southern Caspian Sea to Turkish, Georgian and European markets. While Turkey receives 6 billion cubic meters of gas, an additional 10 billion cubic meters will be transferred to the European gas network."
Turkey connects Europe, Asia with major gas line TANAP
Daily Sabah, 30 November 2019

"Oil prices will remain subdued in 2020 as growth concerns weigh on demand and fuel a glut of crude, a Reuters poll showed on Friday ahead of production-policy talks among OPEC and its allies next week. The poll of 42 economists and analysts forecast Brent LCOc1 to average $62.50 a barrel next year, little changed from last month’s $62.38 outlook, which was the lowest prediction for 2020 in about two years. The benchmark has averaged about $64 per barrel so far this year.... Analysts pegged demand growth at 0.8-1.4 million bpd (mbpd) next year. While most respondents said OPEC and its allies were likely to maintain output cuts, they did not anticipate deeper curbs. “Saudi Arabia is likely to want to keep supporting oil prices to improve its fiscal position. However, the kingdom probably won’t push for deeper cuts to avoid losing more market share to the U.S.,” Capital Economics analyst Caroline Bain said..... While U.S. production will remain high, overall shale output could lose some momentum, analysts said. “U.S. shale growth will slow in 2020 and with expectations that OPEC+ will continue with their production cuts, prices should be fairly supported in the first half of the year,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA."
Oil to be stuck in a rut in 2020 as slowing demand fuels glut: Reuters poll
Reuters, 29 November 2019

"The US has cemented its status as a net exporter in world oil markets, a sharp reversal from past years that could affect its ties to foreign allies. The top oil producer and consumer exported 89,000 more barrels of crude oil and refined petroleum products a day than it imported in September, the first full month of a positive oil trade balance since the 1940s, the Energy Information Administration said Friday. Imports exceeded exports by 12m barrels a day a decade ago. A variety of factors contributed to the shift: surging production from shale oilfields, the end of a crude oil export ban in 2015 and fuel economy improvements for cars that limited petrol demand even as highway travel rebounded from a recession. Along with rises in natural gas output and renewable electricity generation, the oil shipments have pushed the US towards a long-invoked goal of energy independence, according to Rystad Energy, a consultancy. The small net export figure is the difference between massive flows of oil in each direction: imports of crude oil and petroleum products averaged 8.668m b/d in September, while exports were 8.757m b/d. A large portion of the imports consisted of crude oil, which refineries continued to buy even though domestic production reached a new record of 12.5m b/d, EIA data showed. Many US refineries are designed to process heavier foreign oils, while traders sell abroad the lighter oils pumped from shale fields. Some imported crude is refined onshore and exported to other countries in the form of petrol and diesel. .... The US’s status as a net oil exporter would change its obligations as a member of the International Energy Agency, a body of industrialised countries formed in response to the oil shocks of the 1970s. As an energy security measure, IEA member countries must maintain oil reserves on hand equal to 90 days of their net imports. The bulk of US emergency stocks are held in its massive Strategic Petroleum Reserve on the Gulf of Mexico coast. “We encourage the United States to maintain robust SPR volumes to uphold global energy security even as it transitions to a net exporter of oil,” Keisuke Sadamori, the IEA’s energy markets director, told a congressional hearing last month."
US is net exporter of oil for first time in decades
Financial Times, 29 November 2019

"Just about to send that ‘thank you’ email? Stop! You could contribute towards reducing the UK’s carbon footprint by sending one less of those “unnecessary” emails. That’s according to new research, which reveals Britons send more than 64 million unnecessary emails every day which result in nearly 23,500 tonnes of carbon a year.  Such unactionable one or two-word pleasantries include ‘thank you’ and ‘thanks’ which top the list, followed by ‘have a good weekend’, ‘received’ and ‘appreciated’. Other common offenders are ‘have a good evening’, ‘did you get/see this?’, ‘cheers’, ‘you too’ and ‘LOL’. The research commissioned by OVO Energy found each UK adult sending one less ‘thank you’ email a day would save more than 16,400 tonnes of carbon a year. That’s equivalent to more than 81,000 flights to Madrid or taking 2,224 diesel cars off the road. The supplier is, therefore, calling on people to “think before you thank”, as 71% of Brits wouldn’t mind not receiving a ‘thank you’ email if they knew it was for the benefit of the environment and helping tackle the climate crisis."
Brits’ ‘thank you’ emails have a massive carbon footprint
Energy Live News, 27 November 2019

"Coal, long the king of America's electric grid, will soon get toppled by renewable energy. Solar and wind power are growing so rapidly that for the first time ever, the United States will likely get more power in 2021 from renewable energy than from coal, according to projections from the Institute for Energy Economic and Financial Analysis. This milestone is being driven by the gangbusters growth for solar and wind as well as the stunning collapse of coal. And it comes as the United Nations warned on Tuesday that countries are not doing enough to keep the planet's temperature from rising to near-catastrophic levels."
Solar, wind and hydro power could soon surpass coal
CNN, 26 November 2019

"Strong oil supply growth from non-OPEC countries puts a lot of pressure on OPEC and its Russia-led partners to act, and they will hopefully make the right decision for themselves and for the still ‘very fragile’ global economy, Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday. OPEC and its non-OPEC allies are meeting in Vienna next week to discuss the state of the global oil market and the fate of their production cut deal. The meeting comes as global oil demand growth has slowed down this year amid weakening economic growth and the continued trade spat between the two biggest economies in the world, the United States and China. The meeting is expected to decide how the OPEC+ group of partners will proceed with the production cuts that are currently in place until March 2020.... The head of the international agency acknowledged that U.S. oil supply growth is set to slow down, but nevertheless, the United States will keep pumping more oil than in previous years. The IEA sees non-OPEC countries adding another 2.3 million bpd to their supply in 2020, while global oil demand growth is expected at 1.2 million bpd."
IEA Warns Of A Looming Oil Glut Ahead Of OPEC Meeting, 26 November 2019

"Five years after Russian gas giant Gazprom and Chinese state-owned CNPC signed a $400bn deal on the Power of Siberia gas pipeline (PoS), stretching from the Chayandinskoye and Kovytkinskoye gas fields near the Baikal Lake to the Chinese border, the first phase of the project is finally on the brink of production. While Moscow has tried to frame the project as a successful pivot to the east amid strained tensions with the West, PoS will inevitably increase Russia’s economic dependency on China. The pipeline will supply China’s north-eastern provinces with 4.6bn m³ in the first year and 19bn m³ in 2022—by 2025 it will ramp up to 38bn m³. It will also have a long-term impact on gas market dynamics in China and the wider Eurasian region. During Chinese president Xi Jinping’s 2013 visit to Moscow, Russian president Vladimir Putin agreed to deviate from a longstanding insistence on building a Western Siberian/Altai route from its existing gas fields to China’s north-western regions, ending a 10-year negotiations deadlock. The Western route would have provided Moscow with greater leverage over gas movements between Asian and European markets, and saved billions on the appraisal and development of new fields. Similar to a number of Gazprom’s new supply routes to Europe, PoS is not primarily a commercially-driven pipeline. Analysts from Russia’s Sberbank noted in 2018 that, under no circumstances, will the $55.4bn investment, including major contracts to companies owned by Putin associates, pay off. At an oil price of $65/bl, net present value (NPV) runs a loss of up to $11bn.Growing Chinese gas demand could be covered by a second branch of PoS to northwest China. But Russia would have to make further concessions on price or involve Mongolia, a longer and, due to a transit fee, more expensive option for Moscow. Beijing has recently signalled growing interest in the Mongolia stretch.... Despite higher construction and development costs for the eastern route, Beijing managed to exploit Moscow’s vulnerability and beat down the price to around $8-9/mn Btu, dependent, of course, on oil prices. While slightly above Turkmenistan-China gas prices, deliveries to China will be below Russia’s sale prices to Europe at the same oil price, and below the average price China pays for its oil-linked LNG contract imports. But, whereas PoS locks in Russia’s eastward gas exports for 30 years to come, China has not deviated from a pragmatic energy policy of diversified supply. China purchases pipeline gas from Central Asia (47bn m³ in 2018) and Myanmar (12bn m³). In 2018, China increased its LNG imports by 42pc to 74bn m³, with projected further expansion to 109bn m³ by 2025... The pipeline does, admittedly, helps Russian gas heavyweight Gazprom to expand its portfolio, hedge against US and European sanctions risks and against faltering demand in Europe, and potentially preserve its position as a low-cost buyer in the Central Asian region. But, owing to a lack of financial power and reciprocal leverage, the pipeline also appears to cement Moscow’s junior role in an economically asymmetric partnership."
Russian gas pivots east
Petroleum Economist, 26 November 2019

"The issue of "peak oil" has been talked about ever since the 1950s, when the late Royal Dutch Shell geologist M. King Hubbert predicted US oil production would top out in the 1970s, with the rest of the world running out of crude soon thereafter. Today we know this hasn't happened because of new discoveries and efficiency gains. But we've also come to realize that peak oil demand means something entirely different today, as the world is increasingly worried about climate change and the subsequent need for a lot of reserves to be left in the ground.... There's currently a range of about 20 years between the earliest and latest predictions about when peak oil will happen. The International Energy Agency's (IEA's) 2019 World Energy Outlook report says global oil rises by around 1 million barrels per day (mb/d) on average every year until 2025. But in the late 2020s and during the 2030s though, crude demand increases by only 0.1 mb/d on average each year. "There is no definitive peak in oil use overall, as there are continued increases in petrochemicals, trucks and the shipping and aviation sectors," the industry group nevertheless predicts.Other energy market observers, like consultancy firms Sanford C Bernstein, Equinor ASA and McKinsey, are more skeptical about oil's future. Mc Kinsey's Bram Smeets, for example, thinks that demand for crude will peak much earlier. "We believe that demand will peak in the early 2030s at 108 million barrels [per day] and then go back to 100 million by 2050," Smeets told DW.... Although such a "worst case scenario" is still seen as unrealistic by most industry analysts, some of them are sounding the alarm bell over dwindling investment that is beginning to hit the supply side of oil. Between 2010 and 2014, high oil prices of around $100 per barrel have spurred a flurry of expensive projects, which are "barely able to generate value" at an oil price of $50 today, acccording to a recent report by industry consultant Rystad Energy. And Bob Brackett, an analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein, warned in a Bloomberg News interview recently that the three crude sources that powered oil growth this century — deepwater, shale and oil sands — are declining, with growth in the first "peaking in 2020," the second "a few years later," and the future of oil sands "in question" due to CO2 concerns."
When will 'peak oil' hit global energy markets?
Deutsche Welle, 25 November 2019

"In September, according to the latest provisional figures produced by the US Energy Information Administration, the US exported more oil than it imported for the first time in the 70 years since records began. The technology of fracking has led to the development first of shale gas and then of oil from shale rocks, raising total American oil production to an estimated 12.8m barrels a day for November — up by more than 3m b/d in just three years. Now total US production exceeds that of both Saudi Arabia and Russia. The shale revolution has given new life to the US oil industry and brought a wave of new wealth and economic activity to the shale-producing regions — particularly in Texas and North Dakota. Shale gas has been widely substituted for coal — although 25 per cent of US electricity is still generated from domestic coal.The burden of oil has been removed from the trade balance. Fourteen years ago, the US was a net importer of 12.6m b/d of oil and some 3.5tn cubic feet of natural gas. Next year, according to the latest outlook note from the EIA, exports will average 750,000 b/d of oil and 6.4bn cf/d of natural gas. But the growth of shale production has had more impact outside the US than within. The fact that the country has been increasing its own production of oil by 1m b/d each year has led directly to the fall in world prices of the past five years. Who cares if the continuing political chaos in Caracas has reduced production and exports by more than 1m b/d in the last year? Who cares that Iran is exporting some 2m b/d less than it did two years ago? Oil supplies are plentiful, and on the recent forecast of even greater production from US shale will remain so. Gas prices, too, have fallen globally and will fall further as US exports, including now the associated gas produced as a byproduct of oil, increase year by year, adding to the glut. The energy independence sought by US presidents since the 1970s has been achieved. Opec is a shadow of its former self, but the key shift has been the end of US dependence on imports. Energy security is no longer an American concern. That removes one central argument for intervention in areas such as the Middle East, reinforcing the view that the US has nothing to gain from sending its troops to fight other people’s wars. The irony of the conflict in Iraq, seen by some as a classic war for oil, is that the bulk of Iraq’s postwar oil production now flows to Asia. China has become the world’s largest single net importer of oil — at 10.7m b/d. The baton of concern about energy security has passed to Beijing. ... The other cost concealed for the moment by domestic economic growth is the instability produced by the reduction in oil revenues being suffered by Opec and other oil exporters. Net oil revenues to the cartel countries have fallen by more than 40 per cent in the past seven years and more than halved in per capita terms because of strong population growth."
US energy independence has its costs
Financial Times, 25 November 2019

"The issue of 'peak oil' has been talked about ever since the 1950s, when the late Royal Dutch Shell geologist M. King Hubbert predicted US oil production would top out in the 1970s, with the rest of the world running out of crude soon thereafter. Today we know this hasn't happened because of new discoveries and efficiency gains. But we've also come to realize that peak oil demand means something entirely different today, as the world is increasingly worried about climate change and the subsequent need for a lot of reserves to be left in the ground.... There's currently a range of about 20 years between the earliest and latest predictions about when peak oil will happen. The International Energy Agency's (IEA's) 2019 World Energy Outlook report says global oil [demand] rises by around 1 million barrels per day (mb/d) on average every year until 2025. But in the late 2020s and during the 2030s though, crude demand increases by only 0.1 mb/d on average each year. 'There is no definitive peak in oil use overall, as there are continued increases in petrochemicals, trucks and the shipping and aviation sectors,' the industry group nevertheless predicts. Other energy market observers, like consultancy firms Sanford C Bernstein, Equinor ASA and McKinsey, are more skeptical about oil's future. Mc Kinsey's Bram Smeets, for example, thinks that demand for crude will peak much earlier. 'We believe that demand will peak in the early 2030s at 108 million barrels [per day] and then go back to 100 million by 2050,' Smeets told DW.... Although such a 'worst case scenario' is still seen as unrealistic by most industry analysts, some of them are sounding the alarm bell over dwindling investment that is beginning to hit the supply side of oil. Between 2010 and 2014, high oil prices of around $100 per barrel have spurred a flurry of expensive projects, which are 'barely able to generate value' at an oil price of $50 today, acccording to a recent report by industry consultant Rystad Energy. And Bob Brackett, an analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein, warned in a Bloomberg News interview recently that the three crude sources that powered oil growth this century — deepwater, shale and oil sands — are declining, with growth in the first 'peaking in 2020,' the second 'a few years later,' and the future of oil sands 'in question' due to CO2 concerns."
When will 'peak oil' hit global energy markets?
Deutsche Welle, 25 November 2019

"The premier of Alberta, Canada’s top oil-producing province, said Wednesday that the end of a government-imposed curtailment on oil production could come earlier than its December 2020 sunset date. .... Alberta introduced mandatory oil production curbs on Jan. 1, 2019, to reduce a crude glut that depressed regional prices. It has relaxed some limits to allow for more output and to try and stimulate more drilling and investment. ....Conventional crude accounts for 16% of the province’s oil production, with the vast majority coming from oil sands, according to the Alberta Energy Regulator. Oil sands involve an environmentally hazardous oil-extraction that can involve open-pit mining and require lots of energy."
Alberta oil curtailments to end 'no later' than this time next year: Premier
Reuters, 21 November 2019

"The sale of the century has ended in farce. The modest sums raised from the ‘privatisation’ of Saudi Aramco will barely cover the Kingdom’s fiscal deficit for six months. The $25bn haul will not make any impact on Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s Vision 2030, his theatrical plan to break oil addiction and diversify into everything from car plants to weapons production."
Saudi Aramco flop is a moment of grim truth for OPEC oil regimes on borrowed time
Telegraph, 20 November 2019

"The shale oil boom that catapulted the U.S. into being the world's largest oil producer may be going bust. Oil prices are dropping amid weakening demand, bankruptcies and layoffs are up, and drilling is down — signs of a crisis that's quietly roiling the industry. Some of the most successful companies in the oil business are household names — think Exxon Mobil or Chevron. But the boom in shale drilling has been driven by smaller, independent operators. These companies have pushed the limits of drilling technology and taken big risks on unproven oil fields. Today, shale accounts for about two-thirds of U.S. oil production and nearly all of the industry's growth, but many of the companies that made that growth possible are now struggling to stay afloat. That has a lot to do with the business model of U.S. shale, says David Deckelbaum, an analyst at investment bank Cowen. "This is an industry that for every dollar that they brought in, they would spend two," he says. For years operators focused on drilling lots of new wells very fast, prioritizing explosive growth over profitability. Until now they've been able to rely on deep-pocketed investors who were willing to pour fresh capital into the industry, despite years of lackluster returns. It's a story that may be familiar to anyone who's been following the tech industry in recent years. Deckelbaum compares it to a kind of a prospector mentality. "There's always this idea of this brand new play that's going to have billions of barrels of upside and if you can just get in early, then it'll pay off in the long run," he says.... Without access to new cash, many producers are pulling back on exploration. The number of rigs drilling for new oil is at its lowest point in two years.... Halliburton, one of the biggest players in U.S. shale drilling, has laid off nearly 3,000 workers. In the Permian Basin, the country's most prolific oil field, employment has almost completely stalled out — after growing more than 11% last year. Meanwhile, many of the smaller producers who piled up debt are struggling to pay it back. That has led to a wave of bankruptcies — nearly three dozen so far this year. All of this is adding up to slower oil output. Production was flat in the first half of 2019, after growing more than 20% last year, according to Department of Energy data. In theory, as production slows and supply shrinks, the price of oil should go back up, which could provide a much-needed boost. The question, Fountain says, is how many companies will be able to survive until then."
As Oil Prices Drop And Money Dries Up, Is The U.S. Shale Boom Going Bust?
NPR, 20 November 2019
"Fatih Birol, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), faced renewed pressure on Monday from investors and scientists concerned about climate change to overhaul the agency’s projections for fossil fuel demand. Pension funds, insurers and large companies were among 65 signatories of a joint letter to Birol, seen by Reuters, urging him to do more to support the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement to avert catastrophic global warming.... Since the start of this year, various networks of institutional investors, asset owners, scientists and climate advocacy groups have been urging Birol to change the way the report is produced and presented. These critics argue that a revised approach could unlock faster investment in renewables and better identify possible risks to the value of oil, gas and coal companies posed by the prospect of rapid action to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The IEA made several changes to the last edition of the outlook, including providing what officials describe as a more “stringent” scenario showing how the world could fully achieve the goals of the Paris agreement than in the previous edition.... That would include reliably limiting the rise in average global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times without banking on early stage technologies to suck carbon from the air, and reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The signatories want a revised scenario for achieving these targets to form the centrepiece of the next outlook."
Investors step up pressure on global energy watchdog over climate change
Reuters, 18 November 2019
"Although electricity is leading the shift to a low-carbon economy — 50 per cent of the new power generation capacity starting up this year will be supplied by wind and solar — the sector is likely to remain overwhelmingly reliant on coal for decades to come. This is particularly true in China, India and other emerging economies. But the transition to a new energy mix is only part of the story. A more immediate transformation is taking place in the electricity market, and that is in production and distribution... The IEA paper [World Energy Outlook] demolishes some popular myths. First, electricity is not about to become the dominant source of energy supply. Last year, it supplied just 19 per cent of final energy demand — coal, oil and natural gas all supplied more. On the IEA’s main projection, based on current policies and plans, by 2040 that contribution will only rise to 23 per cent. The much-promoted shift to electric vehicles will account for just 7 per cent of the increase. Growth is more likely to come from the use of electricity in industrial motors and the rapidly expanding market for air conditioning than transportation.  The second myth is that EVs will change the energy system and save us all from climate change. By the end of this year, EVs will account for some 7m of the global market of around 1.2bn light vehicles. On the IEA’s number, there could be 330m EVs on the roads by 2040. That will cause a dip in oil consumption but will not halt the growth of demand from other oil users such as freight lorries and aircraft. The IEA expects oil demand to be materially higher in 2040 than it is today. The third myth, that renewables are about to eliminate coal, is particularly pervasive. Electricity is produced from a variety of sources — coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, solar and wind. The renewable element is growing, led by solar; solar and wind together provided 7 per cent of power last year and are projected to supply much of the growth in demand over the next 20 years.  But coal remains pre-eminent. Although it will lose some market share, the absolute amount of coal used is set to remain broadly constant for at least the next two decades. Coal-fired generating capacity has grown by almost 70 per cent since the turn of the century, so much of the capital stock is relatively new. Plants could be cleaned up, for instance through retrofitting with carbon capture and storage. But the costs are very high and the industry is already suffering from low prices and minimal margins."
Energy transition is only part of the change in electricity
Financial Times, 17 November 2019

"Air pollution kills more than 20,500 people in the UK every year. That’s according to the 2019 Lancet Countdown report, which collates research and statistics from scientists and experts from all around the world – it’s latest edition forecasts climate change and air pollution will result in millions more premature deaths over the next decade. It notes air pollution is primarily driven by industry, transport, electricity generation, and agriculture, as well as by cooking in Africa – global deaths attributable to fine particulate matter totalled 2.9 million in 2016, with global air pollution deaths reaching seven million."
Air pollution ‘to blame for 20,500 people UK deaths every year’

Energy Live, 17 November 2019

"China is strengthening its energy ties with Central Asian countries through its Belt and Road regional development initiative, a Japanese Defense Ministry think tank has said. Beijing is expected to continue such moves in order to ensure its international status at a time of intensifying rivalry between China and the United States, the world’s two largest economies, the National Institute for Defense Studies said in an annual report released Friday. “China’s energy policy vis-a-vis Eurasia can be seen as being developed based on its own energy security demands, while also being seen as a pursuit of political influence, not just economic interest, through the use of bilateral and multilateral cooperative frameworks in the field of energy,” the report said. In April, China launched a multilateral energy cooperation framework with 28 countries including oil and gas producers and pipeline hosts in Europe and Central Asia."
Japanese defense report highlights China's growing energy ties with Central Asia
Japan Times, 9 November 2019
"Roughly 1.5 million households will likely find it difficult to pay their energy bills in 2030, a worrisome increase compared to today, when over 650 thousand Netherlands households have a tough time handling the price of electricity and gas. The research, from agency Ecorys and reported on by Trouw, defined households as being energy impoverished if they spend at least ten percent of household income on payments to energy providers. Many of the families earn less than 14 thousand euros per year, and often are unable to heat their home above 18 degrees or use a television with any regularity in an attempt to keep bills low.The possibility of a dramatic increase in energy-impoverished households over the next ten years is entirely dependent on the cost of energy transition in the country, researcher Alexander Oei told Trouw. Electricity demands are up, and demand for natural gas is the same even as gas production is slowing down dramatically due to safety issues. On top of that, the gas tax is rising to incentivize people to install insulation, and to find other ways to warm their homes and heat their water."
Some 1.5 million Dutch homes will be unable to afford energy costs by 2030: Report
NL Times, 8 November 2019

"... water use by the oil and gas industry in the Permian Basin, an area of West Texas and New Mexico that is at the center of the fracking boom, has shot up from only 1 billion gallons in 2011 to 84 billion gallons last year, according to data from University of Texas senior research scientist Bridget Scanlon. The growth of fracking has also caused a massive jump in population, putting a strain on water resources in the region. That has left the oil companies scrambling to find the water they need. The towns of Midland and neighboring Odessa, Texas, are now selling most of their municipal waste water to oil companies for use in their injection wells. Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD), one of the leaders in the field, agreed to spend $130 million to upgrade the waste water treatment facility of Midland, Texas, in return for the right to buy its waste water for up to 40 years. The company is using about 5 million gallons a day of municipal waste water to help it reach the up to 21 million gallons of water it uses every day."
Why frackers are using sewage to collect oil and gas
CNN, 8 November 2019

“Significantly” more electric and thermal storage will be needed for a low-cost 2050 energy system than previously thought. This is according to findings from a new energy system modelling tool launched by the Energy Systems Catapult, looking into the role of storage and flexibility in decarbonisation.  To meet an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 – a goal now out of date after net zero become legally binding – the UK will need nearly 1,400GWh of electric and thermal storage, a figure 55% higher than previous estimates made by the Energy Technology Institute's Energy System Modelling Environment (ESME). However, the base scenario tested suggested interconnectors and Micro CHP capacity in 2030 will replace the need for short term electricity storage provided by batteries in the 2020s. It also found electric vehicles with managed charging will reduce the need for additional flexibility in the electricity sector. In its second scenario, where carbon capture and storage is unavailable, electricity storage capacities double to 150GW and an additional 28GW of hot water storage capacity is required in the heat sector by 2050. In this scenario, although the total capacity of electricity storage technologies increase, proportionally the greatest increase is for shorter duration batteries. However, these are only initial findings requiring further investigation, with additional plans to run the model according to the net zero target. The Storage and Flexibility Model (SFM) is capable of representing future grid scenarios at a second-by-second level and works across multiple seasons, vectors, network levels and geographic regions. It was commissioned by the Energy Technologies Institute and developed by Baringa."
UK will need 1,400GWh of energy storage for future energy system, new modelling reveals
Solar Power Portal, 7 November 2019

"A new report by 11,258 scientists in 153 countries from a broad range of disciplines warns that the planet “clearly and unequivocally faces a climate emergency,” and provides six broad policy goals that must be met to address it. The analysis is a stark departure from recent scientific assessments of global warming, such as those of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in that it does not couch its conclusions in the language of uncertainties, and it does prescribe policies. The study, called the “World scientists’ warning of a climate emergency,” marks the first time a large group of scientists has formally come out in favor of labeling climate change an “emergency,” which the study notes is caused by many human trends that are together increasing greenhouse gas emissions. The report, published Tuesday in the journal Bioscience, was spearheaded by the ecologists Bill Ripple and Christopher Wolf of Oregon State University, along with William Moomaw, a Tufts University climate scientist, and researchers in Australia and South Africa.... The paper bases its conclusions on a set of easy-to-understand indicators that show the human influence on climate, such as 40 years of greenhouse gas emissions, economic trends, population growth rates, per capita meat production, and global tree cover loss, as well as consequences, such as global temperature trends and ocean heat content. The results are charts that are, at least compared with the climate graphics presented by the IPCC, surprisingly simple, and that help reveal the troubling direction the world is headed. The study also departs from other major climate assessments in that it directly addresses the politically sensitive subject of population growth. The study notes that the global decline in fertility rates has “substantially slowed” during the past 20 years, and calls for “bold and drastic” changes in economic growth and population policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions.  Such measures would include policies that strengthen human rights, especially for women and girls, and make family-planning services “available to all people,” the paper says. On energy, the report calls for the world to “implement massive energy efficiency and conservation practices” and cut out fossil fuels in favor of renewable sources of energy, a trend it notes is not happening fast enough. It also calls for remaining fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, to remain in the ground, never to be burned to generate energy, a key goal for many climate activists.... New York’s City Council has declared a climate emergency, as has San Francisco. European cities have also taken this step. Bills labeling global warming as an emergency are pending in both the House and the Senate, endorsed by prominent liberals including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). The youth climate movement, including Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, has been leading the charge to ratchet up the language used in describing global warming."
More than 11,000 scientists from around the world declare a ‘climate emergency’
Washington Post, 5 November 2019

"The government has called a halt to shale gas extraction - or fracking - in England amid fears about earthquakes. It comes after a report by the Oil and Gas Authority said it was not possible to predict the probability or size of tremors caused by the practice. Fracking has been suspended since a tremor in Lancashire in August.... The government says it will "take a presumption against issuing any further Hydraulic Fracturing Consents" and this will continue unless compelling new evidence is provided. However, it has stopped short of an outright ban."

Fracking halted after government pulls support
BBC, 2 November 2019

"China will soon surpass Japan as the world’s largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), quickly becoming the most vital way of trading the world’s go-to fuel. In 2018, China became the world’s largest gas importer (for total piped supply and LNG), and its ascent to the top LNG spot is happening much faster than previously predicted... Driven by a continued urbanization that is giving people more money and more access to gas, China's gas demand could almost double to 550 billion cubic meters (Bcm) by 2030.Most Westerners probably do not realize that China is still just 60% urbanized, compared to 85% and above for the world’s richest countries. Driven by environmental policies, demand from the industrial sector will be the key driver of China's gas demand, with electricity second. Industry accounts for some 40% of China’s gas consumption, compared to almost 20% for power generation. In 2018, China’s gas used for industry was up over 20% to 115 Bcm. In turn, LNG imports last year were up 40% to almost 75 Bcm. These gains are made all the more impressive: “China's GDP growth slows to 28-year low in 2018.” This year so far, LNG imports are up about 20%, and passing Japan sits clearly on the horizon."
China Soaring Past Japan In Liquefied Natural Gas Imports
Forbes, 1 November 2019

"Scientists believe they have found a renewable energy source that’s more efficient and cheaper than solar panels: saltwater flowing over rust. Researchers from California Institute of Technology and Northwestern University have discovered there’s more than one way to generate electricity from moving water. They’ve found that saltwater flowing over rust (iron oxide) results in a kinetic energy that can be converted into electricity. If developed and scaled, that could mean a cheap and efficient form of renewable energy.“Essentially, the concept of the experiment is like moving a magnet over a window during a rainstorm,” said Franz Geiger, a professor of chemistry at Northwestern in Evanston, Illinois. Moving a magnet on a rain-streaked windowpane displaces the raindrops. A similar science is at play with electrons being pushed and pulled, creating kinetic energy, when saltwater and rust interact. ... The process is much more efficient than the best solar panels in today’s solar industry, Geiger said. The most efficient solar panels have a kinetic energy efficiency rating of 22.8%, although most panels installed on an average home have an efficiency rating of 15% to 18%. Geiger and Miller’s process has a kinetic energy efficiency rate of about 30% when converting the motion energy into electricity."
More efficient than solar panels? Rust, saltwater show renewable-energy promise
Chronkite News, 25 October 2019

"Labour will unveil plans to create a carbon-neutral energy system by the 2030s including insulation upgrades for every home in the UK and enough new solar panels to cover 22,000 football pitches. The party will set out its fast-track climate strategy on Thursday after adopting plans to work towards a net-zero carbon economy two decades ahead of the government’s legally binding 2050 target. The plan includes 30 recommendations to tackle emissions from the energy system, including home energy efficiency upgrades such as insulation and double glazing that will focus first on damp homes and areas suffering fuel poverty. The party also plans to install 8m electric heat pumps to help wean Britain off its use of gas heating, and build another 7,000 offshore and 2,000 onshore wind turbines to help clean up the UK’s electricity supply.... Labour’s plan also has the backing of a panel of energy experts and academics who have signed up to a statement in support of the plan. The statement confirms that Labour’s energy plan is “feasible” and does not rely on “clearly implausible or inappropriate” measures to increase the UK’s low-carbon energy by 2030... Rebecca Newsom, head of politics at Greenpeace UK, said “the bold report” showed the scale of investment that will be required to deal with the climate emergency. “The report is right to say that we can’t hit net zero if we don’t immediately get on with delivering lots more renewable power, insulating homes and buildings and trialling at scale the potential solutions to heat decarbonisation. This all costs money, but investing more now will bring enormous benefits,” she said."
Labour unveils plans for carbon-neutral energy system by 2030s
Guardian, 23 October 2019

"Scientists have taken a leaf from nature’s book in an effort to make clean gas found in fuels, pharmaceuticals and plastics. An artificial leaf has been developed at the University of Cambridge which mimics photosynthesis, the process plants use to gather energy from sunlight, carbon dioxide and water. At present, a gas known as syngas is produced from fossil fuels, but the carbon-neutral solution made by scientists could eventually be used to develop a sustainable liquid fuel alternative to petrol. Professor Erwin Reisner and his team have managed to ensure the device does not release any additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere."
Scientists build artificial leaf that mimics photosynthesis

Scientists build artificial leaf that mimics photosynthesis

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Metro, 22 October 2019

"CLIMATE change activists are saying that we should stop using gas to heat our homes – in order to reduce our CO2 emissions. The goal is a good one, but the proposed remedy is absolutely not. If the alternative is to heat using electricity, then switching is exactly the wrong thing to do in current circumstances. That is because the efficiency of a typical gas boiler is much better than that of conventional fossil-fuelled electricity generation – 80 per cent as against 40 per cent. (We should also factor in the loss in transmission, which for electricity is five per cent and for gas is 0.05 per cent). On those figures, we would have to have 68 per cent of our electricity generated by non-carbon systems (nuclear + renewable), before the CO2 emissions would be equal for heating by gas and by electricity. The 2018 figure for non-carbon generation is 52.9 per cent for the UK. There are some factors that would alter those basic figures: there is quite a lot of gas-turbine/dual cycle generation, where the efficiency can be up to 50 per cent, and modern condensation boilers can give up to 90 per cent. Using those numbers, we would have to have in excess of 80 per cent non-carbon generation. It is clear that it will not, for many years to come, make any climate sense to switch from gas to electricity for heating. There are of course other low-carbon alternatives for domestic heat: solar PV, heat pumps, wood chip, possibly bio-gas. The first two are particularly expensive (solar for our electrical devices can make sense, but not for heating – for example my electricity consumption is 3000Kwhr. pa. and my heating consumption is 43,000Kwhrs; I would hardly have enough roof area). Also, heat pumps need about 30 per cent electricity. Wood-chip and bio-gas both produce CO2, and while the former is in principle a sustainable system – in that the trees are replaced by replanting, which absorbs CO2 – that is a long-term process while the new trees grow large enough; and we are told we should be trying to be carbon neutral by 2025.So, at present, the best thing we can do for the climate by way of heating our homes at reasonable installation cost, is to install a condensing gas boiler. (I have absolutely no financial interest in the boiler or gas industries.)"
Letter - Professor James McKelvie, Glasgow G76
Herald, 21 October 2019

"Britain’s cheapest “virtual battery” could be created by hoisting and dropping 12,000-tonne weights – half the weight of the Statue of Liberty – down disused mine shafts, according to Imperial College London. The surprising new source of “gravity energy” is being developed by Gravitricity, an Edinburgh-based startup, which hopes to use Britain’s old mines to make better use of clean electricity at half the cost of lithium-ion batteries. Gravitricity said its system effectively stores energy by using electric winches to hoist the weights to the top of the shaft when there is plenty of renewable energy available, then dropping the weights hundreds of metres down vertical shafts to generate electricity when needed. The scheme mimics hydropower projects which have played a key role in helping to balance the electricity grid, including the Dinorwig project in Wales.... A full-scale project would drop 24 weights totalling 12,000 tonnes to a depth of 800 metres to produce enough electricity to power 63,000 homes for more than an hour.... By carefully controlling the winches Gravitricity said it could extend this period by allowing the weights to fall at a slower rate and release electricity over a longer period. The company is currently in discussion with mine owners in the UK, Finland, Poland, the Czech Republic and South Africa, where mine shafts could be more than 2,000 metres deep. Oliver Schmidt, the lead author of Imperial’s report, said Gravitricity’s model is the most price competitive energy storage option because it has a relatively low upfront cost and a potential lifespan of more than 25 years."
How UK's disused mine shafts could be used to store renewable energy
Guardian, 21 October 2019

"British battery pioneers plan to build Europe’s largest energy storage project using a cryogenic battery that can store renewable energy for weeks rather than hours. The device will be built on the site of an old fossil fuel plant in the north of England to power up to 50,000 homes for up to five hours. Unlike traditional lithium-ion batteries, which typically store electricity for a few hours, the “cryobattery” will be able to store energy for months. The UK’s first full-scale cryobattery, developed by Highview Power, uses renewable electricity to chill air to -196C, transforming it into a liquid that will be stored in large metal tanks. When renewable electricity levels are low the liquid can be turned back into gas, which is used to turn a turbine and generate electricity – but without burning the gas and releasing emissions. Highview Power claims its cryobattery will be the largest project in Europe capable of long-term energy storage. The full-scale “liquid air” battery has a capacity of 50MW or 250MWh over a five-hour release time."
UK firm announces plans for first 'liquid to gas' cryogenic battery
Guardian, 21 October 2019

"The world’s largest oilfield services provider, Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB), reported on Friday a net loss of US$11.38 billion for the third quarter, compared to a US$644-million profit for Q3 2018, after a hefty pretax charge of US$12.7 billion weighed on the most recently reported results. The pretax charge, driven by market conditions, is almost entirely non-cash and primarily relates to goodwill, intangible assets, and fixed assets, said Schlumberger, which also flagged continued slowdown in North America’s drilling growth. The slowdown resulted in an 11-percent yearly decline in North American revenue for Schlumberger. North American revenue dropped to US$2.85 billion in the third quarter of 2019 from US$3.189 billion in the same period of 2018. Outside North America, the world’s top oilfield services firm reported an 8-percent annual increase in international revenues to US$5.629 billion. “Sustained international activity drove overall growth despite mixed results in North America,” Schlumberger’s chief executive Olivier Le Peuch said, commenting on the results. Schlumberger’s North America business saw strong offshore sales, but growth in land drilling was “minimal,” due to slowing activity and further pricing weakness, he added. “This quarter’s results reflected a macro environment of slowing production growth rate in North America land as operators maintained capital discipline, reducing drilling and frac activity,” Le Peuch said."
Drilling Giant Posts $11 Billion Loss, 18 October 2019

"A decade ago, gas and coal generated more than 70 per cent of the UK’s electricity. Now, for the first time since 1882 – when the world’s first commercial coal-fired power station opened in London – renewable energy sources have provided more electricity to UK homes and businesses than fossil fuels. The milestone, set in the last quarter of this year, comes after the UK smashed the record for generating electricity without coal, going cold turkey for 18 straight days in May. But while the switch to renewable electricity is going relatively smoothly, a much more formidable challenge is haunting the UK’s fossil fuel targets – the spectre of British boilers. Heating makes up 40 per cent of the UK’s energy consumption with 85 per cent of UK households being heated using fossil-fuel based natural gas. Fourteen per cent of UK greenhouse gases come from our homes, a similar level to emissions from cars."
The climate crisis issue that no one is talking about? Your gas boiler
Wired, 17 October 2019

"There are now 200 million SUVs on the roads globally, up from 35 million in 2010, according to data the International Energy Agency (IEA). In fact, 60 percent of the increase of the global vehicle fleet since 2010 came from SUVs. Because SUVs are significantly less fuel efficient than smaller more compact cars, the impact on oil demand and greenhouse gas emissions is substantial. SUVs accounted for “all of the 3.3 million barrels a day growth in oil demand from passenger cars between 2010 and 2018,” the IEA said.EVs have been making significant headway in vehicle sales, raising hopes that the energy transition may accelerate and lead to peak oil demand. But the IEA cautioned that SUVs are undercutting much of the progress. If sales of SUVs continue on their current trajectory, it would add another 2 million barrels per day (mb/d) by 2040, “offsetting the savings from nearly 150 million electric cars” the IEA warned."

Electric Vehicle Adoption Overshadowed By SUV Boom, 16 October 2019

"The UK will not meet its climate change targets without a revolution in home heating, a think tank says. A report from the cross-party Policy Connect says gas central heating boilers also threaten the UK’s clean air goals. But a poll conducted among MPs suggests that most do not consider pollution from home heating to be a priority. That is despite the fact 14% of UK greenhouse gases come from our homes, a similar level to emissions from cars. In major cities gas boilers are also a main source of nitrogen dioxide emissions. The government wants low-carbon heat systems to be standard for all new homes built after 2025. But that will still leave the vast majority of existing homes in the UK with polluting heat systems.... A spokesman for the Treasury said a plan to support the move to sustainable heating systems would go out to consultation later this year. The task is huge. Policy Connect says more than 20,000 homes a week must switch to low-carbon heating between 2025 and 2050 to meet UK climate goals. The think tank says many innovations need to be pursued. They include smart systems and controls; more use of the "internet of things"; hydrogen boilers; biogas; electric heat and direct infrared heat among others....  A government spokesperson said: "This report rightly highlights heat as one of the UK's biggest challenges in decarbonisation. "Heat accounts for more than a third of our current carbon emissions, which is why we're spending £2.8bn to encourage low-carbon heating in both homes and businesses as well as investing in innovation. "Getting the right mix of technologies to increase energy efficiency is vital. We will also require changes in consumer behaviour as we work towards net zero by 2050."
Central heating boilers 'put climate change goals at risk'
BBC, 15 October 2019

Scientists have taken a leaf from nature’s book in an effort to make clean gas found in fuels, pharmaceuticals and plastics. An artificial leaf has been developed at the University of Cambridge which mimics photosynthesis, the process plants use to gather energy from sunlight, carbon dioxide and water. At present, a gas known as syngas is produced from fossil fuels, but the carbon-neutral solution made by scientists could eventually be used to develop a sustainable liquid fuel alternative to petrol. Professor Erwin Reisner and his team have managed to ensure the device does not release any additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

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"Russian President Vladimir Putin has traveled to the oil-rich United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) as part of a tour aimed at strengthening Moscow's presence in the Middle East. Putin flew into Abu Dhabi on October 15 from Saudi Arabia, and was met at the airport by U.A.E. Crown Prince Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan. In remarks at the Qasr Al Watan palace, Sheikh Muhammad expressed hope that Putin’s visit would "have a deep effect to enhance the strategic relationship between our countries." Putin hailed the "friendly" relations between Moscow and Abu Dhabi, saying: "We have maintained close coordination on vital issues of global and regional agenda, namely Syria, Libya, Yemen, and the situation in the Persian Gulf." During the Russian leader's trip, the two sides signed a number of agreements in the areas of energy and investments, according to TASS. In the Saudi capital, Riyadh, Putin and King Salman presided over a signing ceremony on a string of billions of dollars of investment contracts between the two countries, targeting sectors such as aerospace, culture, health, and advanced technology."
Russia Consolidates Control Over The World’s Top Oil Region
Radio Free Europe, 15 October 2019

"The idea that the Permian has reached a peak due to geological limitations does not appear well-supported by the facts.  The claim that recent production gains have been driven by reliance on “sweet spots” or exploitation of the most attractive drilling sites, is interesting but the concept that a small portion of shale basins are “sweet” and the rest “sour” appears too simplistic, as opposed to a gradual reduction in well productivity. Unfortunately, most of the recent discussion about shale production has been dominated by poor performance of so-called “child wells” which are drilled near existing wells.  This phenomenon might be nothing more than an interim effort which could be improved with more experimentation, or in the worst case a failed experiment, which will be abandoned.  It does not mean that further productivity improvements are no longer possible, but it does suggest that shale production methods might have matured."
Slowing Permian Oil Supply Might Be Reversed Soon
Forbes, 15 October 2019

"Since the oil-price bust of 2014, unpredictability has been the theme music of U.S. shale. But through all the down moments -- a wave of bankruptcies and a drop in the number of drilling rigs among them -- production has proven durable. It grew by more than 2 million barrels per day last year, for example. But 2019 has played a different tune. Even with prices holding steady above $52 a barrel, oil output was virtually unchanged at 12 million barrels a day in the first seven months, according to the EIA. In weekly data available since July, production has hovered at about 12.4 million barrels per day.... investors have had enough. They’re demanding companies spend less and pay more dividends. Activists are forcing companies to put themselves up for sale. Bank funding is getting tighter, too, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas survey. Access to capital is especially vital to shale drillers because of the wells’ rapid decline rates. Fracking production falls as much as 70% in the first year, compared with as little as 5% from conventional vertical drilling, meaning new wells are constantly needed. Once the cash for drilling dries up, production quickly follows. A more existential issue is also at play. Frackers in the Permian, the largest U.S. shale patch, are packing oil wells closer together because they’re running out of space. That creates a loss of well pressure, a phenomenon known as the parent-child effect. It could lead to a loss of 15% to 20% of recoverable crude, according to Houston-based investment bank Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co., and an overall production decline of 1 million barrels per day, Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Bob Brackett said in a note. In July, Concho Resources Inc. revealed disastrous results of a Permian spacing test. The stock dropped 22% in one day. That was followed by indications from Apache Corp. and Whiting Petroleum Corp. that they were also experiencing delays that hurt production. At the moment, forecasters see different outcomes for 2020, but they’re united that growth will be sluggish. The EIA predicted that next year’s production will expand by nearly 1 million barrels a day -- half of 2018 growth. Pioneer said oil output will grow at about 600,000 to 700,000 barrels per day on average over the next few years. It’s all to do with “the change in investor mindset,” CEO Sheffield said at a recent conference. “That’s probably taken off about 300,000 barrels of oil a day off the marketplace going forward.” S&P Global Platts Analytics said that 2020 production is likely to expand at 1.1 million barrels, while Wood Mackenzie estimates growth at roughly half that level. Macquarie Group Ltd.’s number is about 1.3 million barrels per day, assuming the price holds near $55 a barrel, but cautioned the estimate could be drastically reduced if the rig count doesn’t increase after recently dropping to a two-year low."
Peak Shale: How U.S. Oil Output Went From Explosive to Sluggish
Bloomberg, 14 October 2019

"Renewable energy sources provided more electricity to UK homes and businesses than fossil fuels for the first time over the last quarter, according to new research. The renewables record was set in the third quarter of this year after its share of the electricity mix rose to 40%. It is the first time that electricity from British windfarms, solar panels and renewable biomass plants has surpassed fossil fuels since the UK’s first power plant fired up in 1882. The new milestone confirms predictions made by National Grid that 2019 will be the first year since the Industrial Revolution that zero-carbon electricity – renewables and nuclear – overtakes gas and coal-fired power. A string of new offshore windfarms built this year helped nudge renewables past fossil fuels, which made up 39% of UK electricity, in a crucial tipping point in Britain’s energy transition. Fossil fuels made up four-fifths of the country’s electricity fewer than 10 years ago, split between gas and coal, but the latest analysis by Carbon Brief shows that coal-fired power was less than 1% of all electricity generated. British coal plants are shutting down ahead of a 2025 ban. By next spring just four coal plants will remain in the UK: the West Burton A and Ratcliffe-on-Soar plants in Nottinghamshire, Kilroot in Northern Ireland and two generation units at the Drax site in North Yorkshire, which are earmarked for conversion to burn gas. Gas-fired power makes up the bulk of the dwindling share of fossil fuels in the energy system at 38%. Nuclear power provided slightly less than a fifth of the UK’s electricity in the last quarter, the report said. Wind power is the UK’s strongest source of renewable energy and made up 20% of the UK’s electricity following a series of major windfarm openings in recent years. Electricity from renewable biomass plants made up 12% of the energy system, while solar panels contributed 6%."
Renewable electricity overtakes fossil fuels in UK for first time
Guardian, 14 October 2019

"The world’s first ship able to travel the seas powered by hydrogen produced directly onboard has docked in London. Already 18,000 miles into its six-year-long journey around the globe, the zero-emission Energy Observer is being moored by Tower Bridge for 10 days to celebrate the end of the European leg of its voyage. The 30-metre-long catamaran uses electricity from solar panels to electrolyse seawater, in order to generate hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen is then released into the atmosphere, while the hydrogen is burned to generate power, emitting only water vapour as it does so. Along with direct power from the panels and with the help of modern sail structures, the clean gas allows the ship to travel at speeds of up to seven knots. Its creators hope it can demonstrate that the shipping sector can be decarbonised, in order to tackle the growing threat of climate change. Jon Hunt, Manager of Alternative Fuels at Toyota, said: “What we’re showing here is again, back to the fact that it [hydrogen] can be used in a real environment, a very harsh environment, safely and practically and durably.”
World’s first self-sufficient hydrogen ship gases into London
Energy Live News, 11 October 2019

"Avoiding dangerous global heating will require governments around the world to impose stringent taxes on fossil-fuel usage that will mean a 43% jump in household energy bills over the next decade, the International Monetary Fund has said. The Washington-based Fund said the battle against climate change could only be won if the average carbon tax levied by its member states increased from $2 (£1.63) a ton (907kg) to $75 a ton. The IMF said governments worried about a political backlash against big increases in the cost of heating homes and motoring, and should use the extra revenue raised from the tax to compensate consumers. “To limit global warming to 2C or less – the level deemed safe by science – large emitting countries need to take ambitious action,” IMF economists said. “For example, they should introduce a carbon tax set to rise quickly to $75 a ton in 2030. This would mean household electric bills would go up by 43% cumulatively over the next decade on average – more in countries that still rely heavily on coal in electricity generation, less elsewhere. Gasoline would cost 14% more on average.” Calculations by the IMF’s economists show that a $75-a-ton carbon tax would also lead – once inflation has been taken into account – to an average 214% increase in the cost of coal and a 68% increase in natural gas. For the UK, the increases would be 157% for coal, 51% for natural gas, 43% for electricity and 8% for petrol."
Energy bills will have to rise sharply to avoid climate crisis, says IMF
Guardian, 10 October 2019

"Britain will be able to keep its lights on and homes warm through the winter even if imports of European electricity and gas come to a halt, according to National Grid. The energy system operator said the UK’s first winter outside of the European Union would pose no extra challenges to securing the UK’s gas and power supply. Brexit is not expected to completely disrupt UK-Europe energy trading, but even if no imports are possible from continental Europe the UK will have more gas and electricity than it needs. But National Grid’s annual winter forecast revealed that weaning the UK off European imports would come at a price to energy bill payers. The system operator said it expects the wholesale price of electricity to be higher in the UK market than in Europe this winter, so importing less electricity via mega-cables to France, the Netherlands and Belgium would lead to higher prices overall. The UK will be more exposed to steep gas price hikes on global energy market costs if it needs to compete with energy-hungry Asian countries for regular shipments of liquified natural gas (LNG)."
Britain will have 'enough gas for first winter outside EU'
Guardian, 10 October 2019

"Avoiding dangerous global heating will require governments around the world to impose stringent taxes on fossil-fuel usage that will mean a 43% jump in household energy bills over the next decade, the International Monetary Fund has said. The Washington-based Fund said the battle against climate change could only be won if the average carbon tax levied by its member states increased from $2 (£1.63) a ton (907kg) to $75 a ton. The IMF said governments worried about a political backlash against big increases in the cost of heating homes and motoring, and should use the extra revenue raised from the tax to compensate consumers."
Energy bills will have to rise sharply to avoid climate crisis, says IMF
Guardian, 10 October 2019

"The world’s 50 biggest oil companies are poised to flood markets with an additional 7m barrels per day over the next decade, despite warnings from scientists that this will push global heating towards catastrophic levels. New research commissioned by the Guardian forecasts Shell and ExxonMobil will be among the leaders with a projected production increase of more than 35% between 2018 and 2030 – a sharper rise than over the previous 12 years. The acceleration is almost the opposite of the 45% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 that scientists say is necessary to have any chance of holding global heating at a relatively safe level of 1.5C. The projections are by Rystad Energy, a Norwegian consultancy regarded as the gold standard for data in the industry. ... The forecast shows an almost 8% rise in the projected output of the top 50 oil and gas companies between 2018 and 2030, which would account for almost two-fifths of the remaining 1.5C carbon budget and increase the risk of heatwaves, hurricanes, forest fires and floods. At least 14 of the 20 biggest historical carbon producers plan to pump out more hydrocarbons in 2030 than in 2018, according to the Rystad data. Its analysis shows the US is the centre of the latest global oil boom, with more than four times more new production than the next country, Canada, over the next 10 years. The expansion will primarily be in the Permian basin in Texas. BP, Chevron and ConocoPhillips will be involved, as well as smaller, faster-growing private firms that are together driving this single US state to produce more oil and gas than all of Saudi Arabia by 2030. Massive new drilling projects are also under way or planned in north-west Argentina, off the Caribbean shores of Guyana, in Kazakhstan’s Kashagan oilfield, in the Yamal peninsula in Siberia and in the Barents Sea."
Oil firms to pour extra 7m barrels per day into markets, data shows
Guardian, 10 October 2019

"Ever since the U.S. shale revolution took flight in 2008, it's been a consistent theme: not just rising natural gas production but also rising proven natural gas reserves. In fact, over the past decade, the U.S. Department of Energy reports that our proven gas reserves have ballooned nearly 85% to almost 450 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). It's all turned the previous pre-shale notion that reserves were dwindling and production was in permanent decline on its head. Not even the industry itself ever envisioned how fast our natural gas business would be transformed, thanks to shale. ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond infamously stated in 2005: "Gas production has peaked in North America." Not quite good sir: led by shale, North American output is up 50% since then to past 105 Bcf/d, or some 30% of the global total.... the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) last week announced that our primary production area of the Marcellus and Point Pleasant-Utica Shale plays in the Appalachian Basin contains an estimated 214 Tcf undiscovered, technically recoverable continuous resources of natural gas. What's amazing is that the latest USGS data on Appalachia is more than 75% higher than its most recent study in 2011, which concluded that the Marcellus held 84 Tcf and the Utica 38 Tcf.... nearly 25 years ago, the USGS estimated that the Bakken shale oil play in North Dakota had just 150 million barrels to total. Incredibly, however, as development has ensued, the mighty Bakken is now producing more than three times that amount...every year! ... The immense U.S. gas resource base will be the  key buffer to extending Russia and its Gas Exporting Countries Forum influence as the world increasingly turns to natural gas. Make no mistake, the GECF seeks to control the globalizing gas market via LNG like OPEC has for oil - only recently forced to loosen its grip thanks to the U.S. shale oil boom. Without our burgeoning gas export business via LNG, which only started in 2016 but will have us as the largest gas supplier by 2024, the U.S. and our allies will be forced to rely on riskier suppliers."
U.S. Natural Gas Reserves Continue To Soar
Forbes, 6 October 2019

"Russia’s Rosneft has set the euro as the default currency for all its new export contracts including for crude oil, oil products, petrochemicals and liquefied petroleum gas, tender documents showed. The switch from U.S. dollars, which happened in September according to the tender documents published on Rosneft’s website, is set to reduce the state-controlled firm’s vulnerability to potential fresh U.S. sanctions. Washington has threatened to impose sanctions on Rosneft over its operations in Venezuela, a move which Rosneft says would be illegal. Rosneft did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment. Rosneft is Russia’s top oil exporter, shipping abroad about 120 million tonnes of oil a year, or 2.4 million barrels per day. ... According to three traders, Rosneft has named the euro as the default currency in all new contracts for its export sales starting from September."
Russia's Rosneft seeks euros for all new export deals -documents
Reuters, 3 October 2019

"Conventional oil and gas discoveries during the past three years are at the lowest levels in seven decades and a significant rebound is not expected, according to a new report by global business information provider IHS Markit. The low levels in discoveries come as a result of a pullback during the past 10 years in the wildcat drilling that targets conventional oil and gas plays—most drastically after oil prices collapsed in 2014. The report, entitled IHS Markit Conventional Exploration Results in Early 2018 Through 2019: No Rebound in Activity or Results says that these trends have far-reaching implications that could limit future conventional reserves additions. The decline in conventional discoveries was not only driven by low oil prices, but by competition from short cycle-time unconventional projects, and by financial investors who question long-term, high-cost, frontier projects, the report said. These factors, in turn, shifted drilling away from areas where potential discoveries could be larger, and reduced upstream exploration investment due to concerns about long-term oil demand.   “One of the main drivers here is the shift of investment by U.S. independents from international exploration to shale opportunities in the United States—shorter cycle-time projects—with greater flexibility to respond to changing market conditions,” said Keith King, senior advisor at IHS Markit and a lead author of the IHS Markit E&P trends analysis. “These operators can quickly turn an unconventional project off and stop or postpone drilling next month if oil prices fall.” In addition to the overall reduction in conventional drilling, the IHS Markit report identified additional reasons for the modest exploration results in recent years. One of the most telling is that the average discovery size of conventional fields varies greatly with the maturity of the basins being explored. Basins that are early in their life cycle—the frontier and emerging phases—have average discovery sizes 10 times greater than average discovery sizes made in the later, more mature basins. The average discovery size of these early life-cycle basins is approximately 210 million barrels versus 25 million barrels from mature basins discovered during the last 10 years. The IHS Markit analysis also showed differences between average discovery sizes in deep- and ultra-deep-water areas compared to shallow water and onshore discoveries—the former being five or more times greater on average."
Conventional discoveries fall to lowest levels in 70 years, and a major rebound isn’t likely, says IHS Markit
World Oil, 1 October 2019

"The American shale boom is slowing as innovation plateaus—and just when shale’s importance in global markets has reached new highs following an attack on the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure. U.S. oil production increased by less than 1% during the first six months of the year, according to the Energy Department, down from nearly 7% growth over the same period last year."
Shale Boom Is Slowing Just When the World Needs Oil Most
Wall St Journal, 29 September 2019

"Energy suppliers that do not generate or directly source green energy risk misleading customers by claiming they are “100 per cent renewable”, according to a report. Suppliers can be seen as “greenwashing” by purchasing certificates from companies that generate renewable electricity, which allow them to claim they provide zero-carbon energy, even though much of the power they actually supply may comes from fossil fuels, Which? has argued. Green Star Energy, Ovo Energy, Pure Planet, Robin Hood Energy, So Energy, Tonik Energy and Yorkshire Energy all sell “100 per cent renewable” electricity tariffs but do not generate any renewable energy themselves or buy any directly. Instead they buy Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) certificates, whose purpose is to prove to the final customer that a given share of energy was produced from renewable sources. The average household uses a little over 3MWh of electricity per year, meaning suppliers can buy the certificates to match this usage for only around £1.55 per customer and claim a tariff is “100 per cent renewable”. The consumer group said it is concerned that many suppliers are claiming to be green while doing little to support additional renewable energy supply. However, some suppliers hit back at the criticism. Steven Day, co-founder of Pure Planet, said that any suggestion it misled customers is untrue and that Which?’s report demonstrates a “fundamental misunderstanding of the way electricity is generated, certified, traded, managed by the grid and supplied”. He added: “All green suppliers have to use REGOs to verify that the electricity used by their customers is matched by electricity generated from renewable sources."
Energy suppliers claim to sell '100% renewable' electricity without producing any green power
Independent, 27 September 2019

"A report published by the UN has discovered sea levels will rise faster than first projected by 2100. Cities across the world, including New York and Shanghai could see regular flooding as glaciers and ice sheets from the Himalayas to Antarctica rapidly melt. More than 100 scientists from 36 countries worked on the report, titled the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate.... The scientists say there may be some impacts to the global climate - like some amount of sea level rise - that can no longer be stopped. So how much of the UK will be under water as sea levels rise? Coastal communities should not rule out the possibility of higher sea level rise by the 21st century. When it comes to the UK, East Anglia would be most severely affected, because the area is low-lying and near the coast. According to the FireTree Flood app, even with a one-metre rise, areas of Norfolk would be underwater. Wales would also be hit hard, and reports show much of Cardiff could be underwater if there was a 4C rise in temperatures. According to the IPCC report, parts of London could be submerged if the sea levels rise by more than two metres. Coastal and low-lying areas will be the most several affected, meaning large areas of the North East could also disappear if ice caps melt. Professor of Physical Geography at Bristal University, Jonathan Bamber said: “The results were worse than we anticipated."
Sea level RISE: How much of the UK will be under water as sea levels rise?
Express, 26 September 2019

"Climate change is now irreversible, thanks to ocean warming crossing a “tipping point”, UN experts have warned. A new report predicts that, even with significant emission cuts, sea levels will rise by the end of the century, with serious coastal flooding becoming hundreds of times more frequent. The planet has warmed to 1C above pre-industrial temperatures, and around 90 per cent of that excess heat has been absorbed by the oceans, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said. It means rapidly melting ice in Antarctica and Greenland is now pushing up sea levels by 3.6mm a year, at twice the rate of the Twentieth Century. Despite commitments by the UK, French and other governments to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in coming decades, the analysis predicts that there is too much heat in the oceans to prevent disruption for hundreds of millions of people. Unveiling the latest report in Monaco on Wednesday, panel-member Valerie Masson-Delmotte, said: “Climate change is already irreversible due to the heat uptake in the ocean. “We can’t go back, whatever we do with our emissions.” According to the new forecasts, approximately 70 per cent of the world’s permafrost will thaw if emissions continue to rise. This in turn could free up “tens to hundreds of billions of tonnes” of CO2 and methane into the atmosphere, further heating the planet. Sea levels could rise by around 30cm to 60cm by 2100 even if greenhouse gases are rapidly cut and global warming is kept to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels, but around 60-110 cm if emissions continue to increase, the analysis found. Meanwhile annual coastal flood damages are projected to increase 100 to 1,000 times by 2100, and some island nations are "likely to become uninhabitable". Hans-Otto Portner, another IPCC expert, said: “There are large uncertainties about tipping points that may be ahead of us, but for some systems, especially biological evidence in the oceans, we have already evidence that the tipping point has been passed.”"
Climate change now irreversible due to warming oceans, UN body warns
Telegraph, 25 September 2019

".... many observers say the shale business is overheating, as frackers try to keep up the pace of production at high costs and low oil prices. They are warning that Wall Street money is drying up, and that the rate of bankruptcies could climb dramatically. "I talk to those guys, all the fracking companies, on a daily basis. I'm very engaged in what they are doing with their business, and I completely believe that the current model is unsustainable," said Scott Forbes, vice president of the Lower 48 for Wood Mackenzie.Some consulting firms forecast production will soon climax. Rystad Energy said in a recent report that a shale peak may be on the horizon in 2030, with most of the 14.5 million barrels per day by then coming out of West Texas' Permian Basin.... Fracking has transformed U.S. energy production, allowing operators to achieve what politicians and energy bulls could have only imagined when the Arab oil embargo of the early 1970s shook the United States: oil independence. In the process, operators drill down and then out for up to 2 miles — instead of drilling straight down into a puddle of hydrocarbons. They access oil and gas by performing massive fracturing operations that crack the tight rock, allowing tremendous amounts of crude and gas to flow back into the well. Alex Beeker, principal analyst for the Lower 48 at Wood Mackenzie, outlined what many say is a looming challenge facing the industry. A single well may be profitable, Beeker said. In the first years of production, there is a rush of oil and gas that declines rapidly. The return on investment is good, and it's quick. But these companies have to grow, and to grow, they need to punch more holes in the ground, and to punch holes, you have to spend more money, he said. For every dollar they make, frackers have to make a "tough decision," he said. "Do they return it to shareholders, or do they put it into the ground?" he said. There are a few companies that seem to be surviving the cash crunch better, but some investors are growing doubtful, and it's depressing share prices. "The market is assigning very little upside to these companies beyond what they have flowing — which is very reminiscent of the dark times," Beeker said, referring to the dramatic downturn of 2014 to 2015, when the price of crude fell by half. Worries about a "fracker's dilemma" are not new. Journalist Bethany McLean's book "Saudi America" questioned the financial viability of fracking in late 2018.  Speaking at the Sohn Investment Conference in 2015, Steve Schlotterbeck, former head of natural gas behemoth EQT, called the shale industry an "unmitigated disaster for the buy/hold investor." "The fact is that every time they put the drill bit to the ground, they erode the value of the billions of dollars of previous investments they have made," he said at a conference earlier this year. "It's like they can't help themselves," Clark Williams-Derry, a financial adviser at Sightline Institute in Seattle, said of producers. "You have to run pretty darn fast just to stay in place." Low prices have made things harder for companies, pressing them to maintain business with weaker returns. "They are really struggling right now," said Forbes of Wood Mackenzie, who said that the crisis for frackers is bleeding into the service industry. When the amount operators can pay falls too low, it puts service companies, like pressure pumpers, in a predicament. At worst, they are choosing between making a profit and keeping their workers employed, Forbes said."
Is U.S. shale facing an 'unmitigated disaster'?
E&E News, 19 September 2019

"Russia and Ukraine failed to reach a new gas transit deal on Thursday, but said talks were “constructive” and they would meet again to try to find an agreement before the current one ends. There are a number of obstacles to a deal, such as a political row between Kiev and Moscow, a pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine, and litigation between Russian gas supplier Gazprom and Ukraine energy company Naftogaz. Ukrainian Energy Minister Oleksiy Orzhel said there was still a risk Russian gas deliveries could be interrupted and Kiev would make the necessary preparations to ensure continued supply in such a scenario. The Russia-Ukraine gas transit agreement expires in January. Ukrainian energy authorities are worried Moscow could stop gas supplies through Ukraine, leaving some parts of the country without gas in winter. Moscow is building new pipelines to Europe, such as Nord Stream-2 and TurkStream, to bypass Ukraine, a main route of the Russian gas to Europe. Last year, Kremlin-controlled gas giant Gazprom (GAZP.MM) supplied Europe with more than 200 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas, of which 87 bcm went through Ukraine, providing Kiev with valuable transit income. Orzhel said Gazprom was seeking lower transit tariffs, which was possible if Moscow agreed to higher volumes."
Ukraine, Russia fail to reach gas deal for Europe but agree to meet again
Reuters, 19 September 2019

"Oil producers drilling so-called parent-child wells in the Permian Basin are risking the loss of 15% to 20% of the crude that can ultimately be recovered from those wells by spacing them too close together, according to a Houston-based investment bank. The analysis from Houston-based investment bank Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. -- contained in a 61-page presentation seen by Bloomberg -- is the latest salvo in the debate on the spacing of so-called parent-child wells in the Permian, the most prolific oil patch in the U.S."
Permian ‘Child’ Wells May Cut Oil Recovery By 20%, Bank Says
Bloomberg, 19 September 2019

"U.S. shale oil production should peak near 2030, growing by more than 81% from now until 2030, according to a new report from Norwegian research firm Rystad Energy, Kallanish Energy reports. The estimate sees U.S. shale oil production peaking at roughly 14.5 million barrels per day (Mmbpd), well up from about 8 Mmbpd today. Rystad estimates West Texas Intermediate oil prices staying near $55 per barrel over the next few years. In the past decade, crude oil coming from shale basins/plays such as the Permian in the U.S. has grown from a negligible contributor to an upstream behemoth, reshaping the industry and the oil market, according to Rystad. U.S. Light Tight Oil (LTO) represented less than 1% of global oil supply just nine years ago. Today, U.S. LTO represents nearly 10% of total global oil supply, a percentage expected to continue increasing going forward....The new report comes amid noticeable slowing growth in the U.S. energy sector, including spending cuts, modest layoffs and the working drilling rig count falling 11 consecutive weeks and 21 of the last 23 weeks. Still, Rystad sees the U.S. leading global production growth for years to come with gains in technology, efficiency and ample shale acreage yet to be drilled as new pipelines and export terminals come online. The still-booming Permian Basin in West Texas and New Mexico would lead the way with oil production growth spiking from about 4.4 million barrels a day  (Mmbpd) now, to roughly 7.5 Mmbpd. The U.S. is currently producing roughly 12.4 Mmbpd to lead the world, but that includes output from the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and other more mature, conventional oil production. Assuming a flat $45 per barrel (bbl) WTI scenario, Rystad estimates LTO supply would once again peak in 2030, but at a more modest 11.5 Mmbpd."
US shale oil to peak in 2030 after huge growth: Rystad
Kallanish Energy News, 16 September 2019

"A pair of reports released this week by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a nonprofit that promotes the transition away from fossil fuels, offered some very positive news for renewable energy in the U.S. The studies revealed that the industry will overtake natural-gas power plants within 16 years.... According to the institute, it will be more expensive to run 90% of natural-gas-fired power plants than to build wind and solar farms with storage systems by 2035."
Renewable Energy to Overtake Natural Gas in the U.S. by 2035, Say New Studies
Interesting Engineering, 15 September 2019

"Oil demand is expected to peak over the next few years, reaching only 57% of current demand by 2050, according to the Energy Transition Outlook 2019, published Wednesday by international advisor DNV GL. Gas, instead, will remain at plateau levels until 2050, Kallanish Energy learns. Researchers say oil reserves will need to be replaced long after peak demand is reached, but the sector will present many differences from today. Future developments will be smaller in size and will be more technically challenging than current ones, implying the industry will need to innovate and implement new technologies to be able to justify costs and reduce its carbon footprint. The largest growth markets will be in developing areas such as the Indian Subcontinent, Latin America, South East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, driven by the petrochemicals sectors. Beyond 2030, oil demand will see significant decline in Europe, North America and the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) Pacific due to a shift to emission-free transport, which will account for 46% globally in 2050, compared to 4% in 2017, and increased efficiency of combustion engines. Transport will be a major source of oil demand, although it will decrease from 56 million barrels per day (Mmbpd), to 28 Mmbpd. Refineries will need to rebalance their activities to reflect lower fuel demand. The power sector will also reduce oil demand to 2.4 Mmbpd from the 4.8 Mmbpd registered in 2017, as it shifts to renewables and gas. Gas, in contrast, is set to peak in 2033, to 194 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) and to slightly decrease to 182 Tcf in 2050.... The industry is set to decarbonize through the introduction of new forms of gas such as biogas, hydrogen and syngas. Hydrogen will account for only 2% of the global energy in 2050, due to lack of current policy to allow its use on a large scale. While gas demand peaked in OECD Pacific in 2013, in North East Eurasia in 2014, and will peak in Europe and North America in 2021, it’s set to increase continuously until 2050 in the Indian Subcontinent, China, South East Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Demand will be led by power generation globally, as well as manufacturing in China, India and Latin America. It’s set to increase for transport use in maritime and heavy-vehicles, reach demand in 2040 and account for 10% of all transport consumption in 2050."
Oil demand to peak in mid-2020s, gas to remain steady
Kallinish Energy News, 12 September 2019

"The first shale oil boom lasted from 2012 until the middle of 2014. The second boom began in late 2016 or early 2017 and lasted through 2018. Experience suggests it takes around 3-4 months for a fall in oil prices to translate into a lower rig count and around 9-12 months to turn into lower production. The downturn in oil prices since October 2018 should start to translate into much slower, or even negative, growth in oil production in the third or fourth quarter of 2019 and beyond into 2020. The Energy Information Administration’s latest forecast has year-on-year growth in oil output slowing to around 5% by the end of 2020 from more than 20% in October 2018 (“Short-Term Energy Outlook”, EIA, Sept. 10). First signs of this adjustment are already evident, with output flat between the end of 2018 and May 2019. Slower growth in U.S. shale output will be an essential part of the rebalancing in the global oil market."
Column: U.S. oil and gas jobs fall as shale boom cools
Reuters, 11 September 2019

"Demand for gas and variable renewables will continue to grow and be greater in 2050 than it is today, according to DNV GL. By this time gas is expected to account for nearly 30% of the global energy supply, providing the world with a base of secure and affordable energy. But the firm’s Outlook report says oil will reach its peak by the middle of the 2020s, with some predicting it to be as soon as 2022....According to DNV GL’s analysis, global oil demand will peak in the mid-2020s and gas demand will keep rising to 2033. Gas demand will then plateau, and the fuel will remain dominant until the end of the forecast period in 2050, when it will account for more than 29% of the world’s energy supply."
Outlook for energy has ‘peak oil’ in the 2020s – DNV GL
Energy Voice, 11 September 2009

"China's data centers produced 99 million metric tons of carbon dioxide last year, the equivalent of about 21 million cars on the road, according to a new report. Data centers store electronic information like emails, photos and videos, and worldwide they consume between 3% and 5% of total global electricity, and rival the airline industry in terms of carbon emissions. China's data center industry is among the world's largest and last year consumed just over 2% of the country's power, according to a report by Greenpeace and the North China Electric Power University. .... The report's authors predict that in five years' time, China's data centers will consume two-thirds more energy, putting its electricity consumption at 267 TWh in 2023, more than the total amount consumed by Australia in 2018. Carbon dioxide emissions are expected to climb from 99 million to 163 million metric tons, the same as 35 million vehicles. ....In the United States, data centers have significantly reduced their carbon footprint. All of Apple's data centers are powered by clean energy, according to the company, and its new center in China will also use some renewable energy. Microsoft and Amazon are also aiming to power their data centers by 100% renewable energy. In a blog post in April, Microsoft president Brad Smith said the company expected to pass the 70% mark by 2023. Amazon Web Services -- the company's data centers arm -- says it has exceeded 50% renewable energy usage for 2018."
China's data centers emit as much carbon as 21 million cars
CNN, 10 September 2019

"The British government is facing growing outrage from the European commission and five EU member states over its plans to leave some decommissioned oil rigs in the North Sea, with one senior German official describing the UK’s proposal as a “grotesque idea” that amounts to a “ticking timebomb”. Several hundred oil drilling platforms in the North Sea are due to be decommissioned over the next three decades as they approach the end of their operational lifetime.Disassembling the enormous pieces of infrastructure, each of which can be as tall as the Eiffel Tower, is a costly undertaking, and this year the UK government is intending to endorse plans by Shell to leave behind one steel jacket and the concrete bases beneath three of the platforms of its Brent oilfield installation. The plans have raised alarm in Germany over the estimated 11,000 tonnes of raw oil and toxins remaining in the base of the three Brent installations, Bravo, Charlie and Delta, all erected in the East Shetland basin in the 1970s. Germany issued a formal complaint, now backed by Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. On 18 August the European commission wrote to Theresa Villiers, expressing serious concerns and reminding the UK environment secretary that the content of the rigs’ storage cells qualifies as hazardous waste, according to EU law.Of the five European countries extracting oil from the North Sea – Britain, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway – only Norway has come out in support of relaxing the rules for Shell’s Brent structures."
UK facing EU outrage over ‘timebomb’ of North Sea oil rigs
BBC, 4 September 2019

"The UK’s reliance on electricity imports has climbed to a record high amid fears that homes and businesses could face higher energy bills if the UK crashes out of Europe. The latest government figures, released just weeks before Britain’s exit from the EU, show that the UK’s net electricity imports reached their highest ever level in the first quarter of this year.The four high-voltage power cables linking the UK to Europe’s energy markets imported a sixth more electricity than the year before, after a new interconnector opened in January. In total, European electricity imports made up almost 7% of the UK’s total demand, and the government hopes to increase imports to about 20% by 2025."
UK energy price fears as electricity imports climb to record high
Guardian, 1 September 2019

"Bankruptcies are rising in the U.S. oil patch as Wall Street’s disaffection with shale companies reverberates through the industry. Twenty-six U.S. oil-and-gas producers including Sanchez Energy Corp. and Halcón Resources Corp. have filed for bankruptcy this year, according to an August report by the law firm Haynes & Boone LLP. That nearly matches the 28 producer bankruptcies in all of 2018, and the number is expected to rise as companies face mounting debt maturities."
Oil and Gas Bankruptcies Grow as Investors Lose Appetite for Shale
Wall St Journal, 30 August 2019

"Chinese oil demand could peak around 2030 as demand in the transportation sector slows, although petrochemical use may help pick up some of the slack, according to a research report by China's state-owned oil firm CNPC. Oil demand may peak at 16.4mn b/d (705mn t) around 2030 and fall to 13.7mn b/d by 2050 along with slower GDP growth, CNPC's research arm ETRI said in its Energy Outlook 2050 report published this month. Its latest forecast implies only marginal growth over the next 11 years. China's apparent oil demand — domestic crude output plus net oil imports — averaged 13.8mn b/d during January-July this year, up by 5pc or 630,000 b/d from 13.2mn b/d a year earlier. ... The almost doubling of China's car population, estimated at 350 cars for every 1,000 people by 2050 from around 170:1,000 last year will help to boost oil demand. But oil will account for a smaller share as a fuel source in the transportation sector, forming about a 75pc share by 2035 and 61pc by 2050 compared with 88pc last year, ETRI said. The share of gas will rise to 10pc by 2035 and 13pc by 2050 from 7pc in 2018. Electricity will account for 10pc by 2035 and 18pc by 2050 from 4pc last year. EV sales could reach about the same level as gasoline-fuelled vehicle sales by 2040-45, contributing to the rise of electricity use in the transportation sector, ETRI said. New energy vehicles will account for 21.5pc and 44.2pc share of China's car population by 2035 and 2050 respectively from less than 2pc currently. ETRI also forecast growing gas import dependency to maintain at around 49-51pc amid the Chinese government's efforts to reduce pollution."

China's oil demand to peak by 2030: CNPC
Argus, 29 August 2019
  Conventional Crude Oil Plateau
"In the last 4 years, conventional crude production was just 1 mb/d higher than in 2005. This was mainly an increase from Iraq (which was 2.7 mb/d)."
2005-2018 Conventional crude production on a bumpy plateau – with a little help from Iraq
Crude Oil Peak, 26 August 2019

"Qatar will lose its title as the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) within the next year, as Australia ramps up production on a slew of multi-billion dollar export projects. “Australia and Qatar continued to jostle for the title of the world’s largest LNG exporter over the first five months of 2019,” the Australian government said in a recent report. Australia exported more LNG than Qatar in November 2018 and April 2019. But now, the U.S Energy Information Administration (EIA) says Australia is on track to consistently export more LNG than Qatar, as recently commissioned projects such as Wheatstone, Ichthys, and Prelude ramp up production....While Australia ramps up, Qatar is unlikely to stay idle. The country plans to boost its LNG capacity by early 2024 to 110 million tons a year, up from around 77 million tons a year, according to Reuters. “China can’t absorb all of this new LNG which is coming into the market,” Browne said, adding that while prices are down, they’re not out.... It is the second major study in recent years to cast doubt on economic claims made by the shale gas industry. Researchers at Heriot-Watt University said the UK’s most promising shale gas reservoirs had been warped by tectonic shifts that could thwart efforts to tap them."
Qatar may be losing the top spot as world’s biggest LNG exporter
CNBC, 23 August 2019

"The UK’s underground shale gas reserves may deliver only a fraction of the gas promised by fracking firms and government ministers, according to a study. Research by the University of Nottingham found that early estimates may have exaggerated the UK’s shale reserves up to sixfold. Last week government officials hinted that a review could be launched looking into loosening UK limits on fracking because shale “could be an important new domestic energy source”. The University of Nottingham said it had used a new technique to measure the shale gas trapped in the Bowland shale basin in central England and found significantly lower levels than was suggested by a widely quoted study six years ago. In 2013 the British Geological Survey (BGS) found there were likely to be 1,300tn cubic feet of gas. The latest study found there may be 200tn cubic feet, enough to meet the UK’s gas demand for around a decade. Prof Colin Snape, of the University of Nottingham, said the BGS’s study had involved desk-based research based on the findings of shale developers in the US rather than actual reserves. The new research was based on studies of actual UK shales, using gas absorption data and field data, he said."
UK shale gas reserves may be fraction of what is claimed – study
Guardian, 20 August 2019

"There are many sources of grid flexibility, but the one that seems to have the most potential and is laden with the highest hopes is energy storage. To a first approximation, the question of whether renewables will be able to get to 100 percent reduces to the question of whether storage will get cheap enough. With cheap-enough storage, we can add a ton of it to the grid and absorb just about any fluctuations. But how cheap is cheap enough?.... That question is the subject of a fascinating new bit of research out of an MIT lab run by researcher Jessika Trancik .... To spoil the ending: The answer is $20 per kilowatt hour in energy capacity costs. That’s how cheap storage would have to get for renewables to get to 100 percent. That’s around a 90 percent drop from today’s costs. While that is entirely within the realm of the possible, there is wide disagreement over when it might happen; few expect it by 2030.... Here are the gory details:     A cost-optimal wind-solar mix with storage reaches cost-competitiveness with a nuclear fission plant providing baseload electricity at a cost of $0.075/kWh at an energy storage capacity cost of $10-20/kWh. To reach cost- competitiveness with a peaker natural gas plant at $0.077/kWh, energy storage capacity costs must instead fall below $5/kWh (at a storage power capacity cost of $1,000/kW). To provide baseload, intermediate, bipeaker, and peaker electricity at $0.10/kWh with an optimal wind-solar mix, energy storage capacity costs must reach approximately $30–70/kWh, $30v90/kWh, $10–30/kWh, and $10–30/kWh respectively. These are extremely daunting cost targets — not outside the realm of possibility, but well beyond the edge of most mainstream projections. .... the headline $20/kWh cost target for energy storage is almost certainly more stringent than what will be required in the real world. Even the $150/kWh target required for an EAF of 95 percent is likely too stringent. In the real world, storage will be assisted by other forms of grid flexibility like long-distance transmission, load flexibility, and microgrids, along with regulatory and legislative reforms. And renewables will probably continue to get cheaper faster than anyone predicts. So let’s call the target $150-$200, or thereabouts. Can storage hit that?... A 2017 report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) contains some intriguing projections.... It expects, by 2030, “a drop in the total installed cost for Li-ion batteries for stationary applications to between USD 145 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) and USD 480/kWh, depending on battery chemistry.”... the materials involved in Li-ion batteries alone are costly enough that they will likely never hit $20/kWh. In the $150 range, though — that’s doable.... How about flow batteries? “The two main flow battery technologies — vanadium redox flow and zinc bromine flow — had total installation costs in 2016 of between USD 315 and USD 1,680/kWh,” IRENA reports. “By 2030, the cost is expected to come down to between USD 108 and USD 576/kWh.”... High-temperature sodium sulphur (NaS) and sodium nickel chloride batteries have been around for a while, but they are also expected to get much cheaper. “Cost reductions of up to 75% could be achieved by 2030, with NaS battery installation cost decreasing to between USD 120 and USD 330/kWh,” says IRENA. “In parallel, the energy installation cost of the sodium nickel chloride high-temperature battery could fall from the current USD 315 to USD 490/kWh to between USD 130 and USD 200/kWh by 2030.” .... Then there are thermal-storage options, like the increasingly popular option of storing electricity as heat in molten salt, with claims of energy capacity costs as low as $50/kWh.... And there is furious work going on around a number of promising new technologies. There is a lot of interest around flow batteries using sulfur, mainly because the materials costs are insanely low — this paper puts them at $1/kWh — which opens the possibility of high-volume storage, even though the energy density may be low and the power itself expensive. One of the authors of that paper, MIT professor Yet-Ming Chiang, co-founded a hot new startup called Form Energy that is explicitly going after long-duration storage. Another startup, Antora, has developed an extremely cheap thermal storage system — it stores energy as heat in inexpensive raw materials and converts it back to electricity with a thermophotovoltaic heat engine — that it claims will come in at under $10/kWh.... Providing all of US power, all day every day, will require oversizing renewables and installing an enormous amount of storage, but if they get cheap enough, that’s what we’ll do. To put that more plainly: A US energy grid run entirely on renewable energy (at least 95 percent of the time), leaning primarily on energy storage to provide grid flexibility, may be more realistic, and closer to hand, than conventional wisdom has it."
Getting to 100% renewables requires cheap energy storage. But how cheap?
Vox, 19 August 2019
"A quarter of all UK homes and businesses, some 9m buildings, and most of its largest cities outside London sit on former coalfields. Coal mining, which employed 1.25m people at its peak, powered the British economy for well over a century but the last deep mine closed in 2015. One of its underground legacies is the warrens of galleries through which run an estimated 2bn cubic metres of water, heated by surrounding rocks to 12-16 degrees Celsius. At present, minewater is a problem. Often high in iron and pollutants and potentially a threat to drinking water and rivers, its management by the publicly funded Coal Authority cost £18m last year. Yet Lisa Pinney, the authority’s chief executive, said minewater “could be a real contribution to zero carbon”. Opportunities she cited included horticulture, new housing and leisure schemes. According to Coal Authority data, heating currently accounts for 45 per cent of the country’s energy use and 32 per cent of its emissions. Meeting the government’s net zero carbon emissions target will require slashing fossil fuel use. While half of UK electricity supply has been decarbonised, the UK currently relies on natural gas for about 70 per cent of its heat demand, according to minewater heat expert Charlotte Adams, a geologist and assistant professor at Durham university’s energy institute. “Abandoned mines are a large scale opportunity to decarbonise heat,” she said. The Coal Authority, which estimates there is enough geothermal energy in coal mines to heat 180m homes, is preparing a minewater energy “heat map” of Britain."
Minewater touted as an alternative energy solution

Financial Times, 18 August 2019

"Public electric car charging locations now outnumber gas stations in the United Kingdom, according to Nissan. The Japanese automakers report that there are 9,199 EV charging locations in the country, while the number of open gas stations stands at 8,396. The UK's first gas station was opened in Aldermaston, Berkshire, nearly a hundred years ago and reached peak in 1970, with 37,539 open nationwide. The early 2000s saw a decrease as over 3,000 shut down between 2000 and 2005. Meanwhile, EV charging stations have been on the rise. There were 913 charging locations for electric vehicles in the country in 2012, per Autocar's records. And, as of 2018, that number has increased by 6,699. Over 2,000 more were installed this year, while more than 1,600 of the active chargers around the UK offer fast-charging options..... “In less than a century since Britain’s first fuel station opened – November 1919 at Aldermaston in Berkshire – the number of forecourts has peaked, declined and been overtaken by charging stations designed for battery, not combustion powered cars," a statement from Nissan reads (h/t “Almost 80% of UK petrol stations have closed since 1970, whilst the number of electric vehicle charging locations has increased from a few hundred in 2011 (when the Nissan Leaf went on sale) to more than 9,000 in August 2019.”... Many of the charging locations noted in Nissan's list can only charge one vehicle at a time whereas gas stations are usually equipped with several pumps and can fill multiple tanks at any given time."

There Are Now More EV Charging Locations Than Gas Stations In The UK
Hotcars, 17 August 2019

"Households on “100pc renewable” energy tariffs may be getting as little as 3.7pc of their energy from truly green sources. Renewable tariffs are cheaper than ever with the best energy deal on the market currently a green tariff from supplier Outfox the Market.But consumers trying to help the planet through their energy bills may not be getting what they bargained for, according to Tom Harrison of Good Energy, a supplier that buys all its power from renewable sources."
The renewable energy con: how the 'clean' power you buy comes from fossil fuels
Telegraph, 11 August 2019

"Iraqi Oil Ministry on Saturday said its negotiations with U.S. Exxon Mobil over a mega project in southern Iraq are still on track, denying reports that the ministry has ended or excluded the U.S. firm from the strategic oil project. "Not reaching an agreement or signing a contract between the two parties (oil ministry and U.S. firm) does not mean the end of negotiations or exclusion of Exxon Mobil from this project," the ministry said in a statement on its website. The project, also known as Southern Iraq Integrated Project, includes developing two oil fields of Nahr Bin Umar and Artawi, pumping sea water into the oil fields in Iraq, as well as expanding and developing the capacities of storage, transportation and oil export, the statement added. The project also includes building two processing units for associated gas, it said. The statement also denied the information by the reports which claimed that the ministry is concluding a contract with the British BP and Italian Eni to replace or be part of Exxon Mobil. "The ministry denies such news and refuses to manipulate information and facts by some journalists," the statement said. It clarified that the contracts with BP and Eni were signed only for the purpose of supplying materials for two offshore oil pipelines which aimed at ensuring the export of crude oil through the southern export system."

Iraq continues negotiations with U.S. oil firm over mega project
Xinhua, 10 August 2019

"There are many sources of grid flexibility, but the one that seems to have the most potential and is laden with the highest hopes is energy storage. To a first approximation, the question of whether renewables will be able to get to 100 percent reduces to the question of whether storage will get cheap enough. With cheap-enough storage, we can add a ton of it to the grid and absorb just about any fluctuations. But how cheap is cheap enough? That question is the subject of a fascinating new bit of research out of an MIT lab run by researcher Jessika Trancik (I’ve written about Trancik’s work before), just released in the journal Joule. To spoil the ending: The answer is $20 per kilowatt hour in energy capacity costs. That’s how cheap storage would have to get for renewables to get to 100 percent. That’s around a 90 percent drop from today’s costs. While that is entirely within the realm of the possible, there is wide disagreement over when it might happen; few expect it by 2030... Storage is rapidly evolving, diversifying, and falling in cost, to the point that wind and solar power plants coupled with storage are beginning to compete directly with fossil fuel power plants on cost. That’s only going to accelerate as both renewables and storage get cheaper. Providing all of US power, all day every day, will require oversizing renewables and installing an enormous amount of storage, but if they get cheap enough, that’s what we’ll do."
Getting to 100% renewables requires cheap energy storage. But how cheap?
Vox, 9 August 2019

"Using old North Sea platforms to store carbon emissions underground would be “10 times cheaper” than decommissioning them, according to a new study. Edinburgh University researchers made the findings by studying the Beatrice oilfield, 15 miles off the north-east coast in the outer Moray Firth. Using computer modelling, they found that, over a 30-year period, using the field and its infrastructure as a carbon capture and storage (CCS) site would be around 10 times cheaper than decommissioning, which is expected to cost more than £260m. CCS is the process of storing carbon emissions which are harmful to the environment underground – a developing technology which the North Sea has been identified as having high potential for. Platforms be used would store emissions generated by natural gas production, helping combat climate change. Researchers also found that large amounts of natural gas and heat can be extracted from saltwater in exhausted oil and gas fields, which can be used as a fuel on the platforms or used to produce electricity. This could then bring the costs down of storing the carbon emissions, and postpone expensive decommissioning.The university said this could help kick start a “world leading” CCS industry in the North Sea."
Carbon capture ‘10 times cheaper’ than decommissioning oil platforms
Energy Voice, 9 August 2019

"U.S. natural gas demand is at an all-time high and expected to keep rising - and yet, prices are falling. U.S. gas futures this week collapsed to a three-year low, while spot prices were on track to post their weakest summer in over 20 years. In other markets, such lackluster pricing would cause investment to retrench and supply to contract. But gas production is at a record high and expected to keep growing. Demand is rising as power generators shut coal plants and burn more gas for electricity and as rapidly expanding liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals turn more of the fuel into super-cooled liquid for export. Analysts believe the natural gas market is not trading on demand fundamentals because supply growth continues to far outpace rising consumption. Energy firms are pulling record amounts of oil from shale formations and with that oil comes associated gas that needs either to be shipped or burned off."
U.S. natural gas demand is at a record - and prices keep dropping
Reuters, 8 August 2019

"BNP Paribas Asset Management’s research into the economics of oil and renewables as competing energy sources hammers home the point. We posited that an investor has $100bn and must decide whether to invest it in oil or renewables, knowing that the energy is destined to power cars and other light vehicles. Our analysis found that for the same capital outlay, wind and solar projects will produce 3 to 4 times more useful energy at the wheels than oil will at $60 a barrel for diesel-powered vehicles. For petrol cars, the ratio is even less favourable — the renewable investment will produce 6 to 7 times more energy. It is therefore increasingly difficult to argue that oil is the superior fuel from an economic standpoint, let alone when environmental issues are considered. As electric vehicles proliferate, the long-term break-even oil price required for gasoline to remain competitive as a source of mobility could fall as low as $9 to $10 a barrel. With nearly 40 per cent of current demand for oil coming from sources susceptible to easy electrification, oil companies should think very carefully about investing in new long-term projects that have break-even costs much above $20 a barrel. This poses a major strategic problem for the oil industry, which has traditionally made its highest returns from finding and extracting crude. Indeed, the oil industry often points to the “profitability gap” between investing in renewables and investing in upstream oil projects, arguing that for as long as the returns are better in oil they have no incentive to invest in renewables. But this is to miss the key point: over time the returns in upstream oil projects will inevitably decline as oil is forced to compete with an energy source that produces energy at a much lower cost over the lifetime of a project. The oil industry today enjoys massive scale advantages over wind and solar. But this advantage is now one only of incumbency and time limited. The simple truth is that the oil industry has never before faced the kind of threat that renewable electricity and EVs pose to its business model. For the first time there is a competing energy source with a short-run marginal cost of zero, that is much cleaner environmentally and will be able to replace up to 40 per cent of global oil demand once it has the necessary scale. The economics of energy are now on the side of the angels. This should be a flashing red light on the oil industry’s dashboard."
Renewable energy is good money, not just good for the earth
Financial Times, 3 August 2019

"Unprecedented efforts to install renewable power capacity have only translated into meeting 2 per cent of global energy demand, meaning the world’s overwhelming reliance on fossil fuels shows no sign of abating. A new report forecasts that coal, oil and gas will still contribute about 85 per cent of primary energy supply by 2040, compared with 90 per cent today, jeopardising efforts to contain the worst impacts of climate change. Energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie said 1 terawatt of installed solar and wind capacity makes up around 8 per cent of total power generation as of 2019. This equates to just a fraction of total energy consumption. “The world risks relying on fossil fuels for decades to come,” the report said. It forecasts carbon emissions will continue to rise, with their growth only slowing in the 2030s. This will put the world far off course in meeting the Paris climate goals, to limit global warming to well below 2C, despite growing political momentum to prevent climate change. Energy demand, led by swelling populations in emerging economies in Asia and Africa, will increase by at least 25 per cent by 2040. Yet carbon emissions would need to halve over the same period to comply with the Paris accord, posing a huge challenge for energy systems.... The cost of renewable power is falling rapidly and it is the fastest growing source of energy supply globally. But reaching a fuel mix whereby 50 per cent or more of energy demand is derived from solar and wind would require huge changes to infrastructure — from power storage systems to modernised grids. Last year new installations of renewable power were flat, compared with the prior year, underscoring a slowdown in the sector because of subsidy cuts and policy changes. The report comes just after UN secretary-general António Guterres wrote to heads of state round the world, urging them to adopt plans to reach net zero emissions by 2050."
Renewable energy push barely dents fossil fuel dependence
Financial 'Times, 2 August

"Concerns about shale have roared in recently like a Texas tornado—sudden and violent. Permian Basin oil-and-gas driller Concho Resources CXO -4.11% posted a 25% drop in adjusted second-quarter earnings Wednesday night despite a year-over-year increase of more than 40% in oil and natural-gas volumes. The results sent Concho’s shares plunging by over one-fifth on Thursday. Concho wasn’t alone: Whiting Petroleum ’s shares were off by more than one-third after a surprise quarterly loss. The results dragged down shares of other regional drillers including Pioneer Natural Resources and Parsley Energy . Oil and gas prices were lower in the quarter, which didn’t help, but costs were the real culprit in Concho’s disappointing results. They underscore challenges shale drilling poses for energy producers. At Concho, higher volumes helped push up total operating revenue by more than 19%. But extracting the oil using water and sand at high pressure is increasingly expensive. Total operating costs and expenses more than doubled in the second quarter. Shareholders have become more sensitive to the cost side of the equation recently and have pressured drillers to rein in spending and to focus on returning cash. It isn’t working. In the first quarter of this year a basket of seven unconventional oil-focused drillers collectively reported free cash flow of negative $1.58 billion, according to Wood Mackenzie—more than twice their free-cash-flow burn in the fourth quarter of 2018 and more than four times worse than during the first quarter of 2018. Shale is uniquely problematic because of rapid production-decline rates and the constant need to reinvest. Other drilling, like deep-water, has high upfront costs but relatively modest ongoing investment...."
Oil Has a Shale Problem, Not an Oil Problem
Wall St Journal, 1 August 2019

"Bakken drillers could struggle to grow oil production as they may soon run into transportation bottlenecks. The latest snag comes from a new law in Washington State, set to take effect at the start of 2020, that would prevent refineries in the state from unloading oil from a rail car that has a Reid vapor pressure over 9 psi. That metric is a measurement of volatility in the oil. Importantly, a lot of oil from the Bakken has vapor pressure over that threshold."
The Bakken Oil Boom Is Facing A New Bottleneck, 31 July 2019

"China’s crude oil imports from Iran sank almost 60% in June from a year earlier, Chinese customs data showed on Saturday, following the end of a waiver on U.S. sanctions at the start of May.Crude shipment from Iran were 855,638 tonnes last month, or 208,205 barrels per day (bpd), data from the General Administration of Customs showed. That compared with 254,016 bpd in May. According to Refinitiv Oil Research assessments, a total of 670,000 tonnes, or about 163,000 bpd, of Iranian crude oil was discharged in June at Tianjin in north China and Jinzhou in the northeast. Refinitiv Oil Research also showed another 430,000 tonnes of Iranian crude oil was discharged in July at Jinzhou and Huizhou in south China."
China's Iran oil imports plunge as U.S. sanctions bite
Reuters, 27 July 2019

"The US generated more electricity from renewable sources than coal for the first time ever in April, new federal government data has shown. Clean energy such as solar and wind provided 23% of US electricity generation during the month, compared with coal’s 20%, according to the Energy Information Administration. This represents the first time coal has been surpassed by energy sources that do not release pollution such as planet-heating gases. April was a favorable month for renewables, with low energy demand and an uptick in wind generation. This means that coal may once again pull ahead of renewables again during 2019, although the long-term trends appear to be set."
US generates more electricity from renewables than coal for first time ever
Guardian, 26 July 2019

"The UK obtained 19% of its primary energy from low-carbon sources last year, with 39% of this from nuclear power, but this was 7% lower than in 2017 due to outages at Dungeness B and Hunterston B towards the end of 2018, official statistics published today show. Nuclear capacity was broadly the same as in 2017, at 9.3 GW. The second largest component of low-carbon energy sources was bioenergy, accounting for 37% of the total. Energy supply from biofuels increased by 11%; with more use of anaerobic digestion, wood pellets and energy from waste. Solar was up by 12% reflecting increased capacity. Energy supply from wind increased by 15% in 2018, with capacity up by 11% but with wind speeds 0.1 knots lower than in 2017. The data is contained in the latest statistics on energy production, consumption, prices and climate change in its 2019 edition of the Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES), published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Last year's edition of DUKES confirmed nuclear as the largest source of low-carbon electricity in the UK, contributing 20.8% of all electricity generated in 2017, which was broadly stable on 2016 when it accounted for 21.1%. That report showed low-carbon sources of electricity accounted for a record 50.1% of power generated in the UK in 2017, which is up from 45.6% the previous year. The figure consisted of 21.0% from nuclear, 14.8% wind (onshore and offshore), 3.4% solar and 2.3% hydro amongst low-carbon power sources. According to the latest edition, total electricity generated in the UK last year decreased by 1.6% between 2017 and 2018, with the share of electricity from coal falling a further 1.6 percentage points from 6.7% to 5.1%, continuing a long-term downwards trend. The share of electricity generation from gas also fell from 40.4% to 39.5%, whilst generation from nuclear decreased from 20.8% to 19.5% due to outages and ongoing maintenance. The decline in electricity supplied from fossil fuels was caused by increased generation from renewables, which increased its share of generation last year from 29.2% to a record 33.0%. Renewables' generation increased in 2018 due to a 10.0% increase in capacity and higher average daily sun hours.... Coal reached a new record low last year of 16.0 TWh, while supply from gas has dropped by 3.8% to 129.1 TWh. Renewables capacity has seen a significant increase, with installed capacity increasing by roughly 18.5 times the capacity in 1996 to 44.3 GW in 2018. This is as a result of an increase in installed renewable capacity. Electricity generated from renewable sources increased by 11% between 2017 and 2018 to a record 110.0 TWh. Renewable energy accounted for a record 33.0% of electricity generated in the UK during 2018, 3.8 percentage points higher than 2017. In 2018 11.0% of final energy consumption was from renewable sources; this is up from 9.9% in 2017. In 2018, UK emissions were provisionally estimated to be 448.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This is 2.5% lower than the 2017 figure of 460.2 million tonnes and 44% lower than the 1990 figure of 794.4 million tonnes. CO2 emissions were estimated to account for about 81% of total UK anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in 2018. Estimates based on energy production and consumption in 2018 indicate that carbon dioxide emissions were 2.4% lower than the previous year and 39% lower than in 1990. The decrease in emissions since 2017 can largely be attributed to a change in the fuel mix for electricity generation, with less use of coal and gas and increased use of renewables, the report says."
Nuclear remains UK’s main low-carbon energy source, despite outages
World Nuclear News, 25 July 2019

"Low-carbon energy was used to generate more than half of the electricity used in the UK for the first time last year, according to official data. A rapid rise in renewable energy, combined with low-carbon electricity from nuclear reactors, made up almost 53% of generation in 2018, the government’s annual review of energy statistics revealed. Renewable energy sources set a new record by meeting a third of the UK’s power generation last year after the UK’s capacity to generate power from the sun, wind, water and waste grew by 10%. The UK’s use of coal fell by a quarter to a record low of just 5%, according to the report.... National Grid said earlier this year that the UK had recorded its greenest ever winter due to windy weather and dwindling coal-fired power. This followed the second greenest summer, which fell narrowly short of the 2017 record for renewable energy due to a long heatwave. Very hot weather can have a negative impact on renewable energy generation because high pressure weather systems can suppress wind speeds, and solar panels produce less electricity if temperatures climb too high. The rise of renewables has edged out coal and gas plants which together made up less than 45% of the UK’s electricity last year. Gas generation fell to 39.5% of the generation mix last year, from 40.4% in 2017. Coal generation continued to decline, falling to 5.1% last year after the Eggborough coal plant shut and Drax converted one of its units to burn biomass instead. Only five coal plants will be left running by the end of the coming winter after SSE announced plans to shut its last coal plant at Fiddler’s Ferry near Warrington, Cheshire, in March 2020.... The government threw its weight behind the offshore wind sector earlier this year by promising developers the chance to compete for a share of £557m of state subsidies in exchange for industry investment of £250m over the next 11 years. The deal could help offshore wind grow to 30% of the UK’s electricity by 2030 as the UK works towards a 2050 target to cut emissions from the economy to net zero. But ministers have refused to lift a block on support for new onshore wind farms, which are unable to compete for subsidies despite being one of the cheapest forms of electricity."
Low-carbon energy makes majority of UK electricity for first time
Guardian, 25 July 2019

"Israel will begin exporting natural gas to Egypt in November, with volumes eventually set to reach seven billion cubic metres a year, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told reporters in Cairo on Thursday. The supplies will mark the start of a $15bn export agreement between Israel's Delek Drilling and US-based partner Noble Energy with an Egyptian counterpart in what Israeli officials called the most significant deal to emerge since the neighbours made peace in 1979. The deal signed early last year will bring natural gas from Israeli offshore fields Tamar and Leviathan into the Egyptian gas grid. Testing of the gas pipeline from Israel to Egypt has been completed, Steinitz told reporters on the sidelines of a regional gas forum in Cairo....There has been a flurry of successful exploration efforts in recent years that identified natural gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean, where gas output has begun to soar. Eastern Mediterranean countries including Cyprus, Israel, Egypt, and Italy have formed a partnership to deliver more natural gas to Europe and transform the region into a major energy hub."
Israel will start exporting natural gas to Egypt this year
Al Jazeera, 25 July 2019

"Renewable sources of energy produced more electricity than coal and nuclear power combined for the first time in Germany, according to new figures. Solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectric power generation accounted for 47.3 per cent of the country’s electricity production in the first six months of 2019, while 43.4 per cent came from coal-fired and nuclear power plants. Around 15 per cent less carbon dioxide was produced than in the same period last year, according to figures published by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in July. However, some scientists have attributed the high renewable power output to favourable weather patterns and “market-driven events”. Fabian Hein, from the think tank Agora Energiewende, told Deutsche Welle the 20 per cent increase in wind production was the result of particularly windy conditions in 2019. Meanwhile, electricity production from solar panels rose by six per cent, natural gas by 10 per cent, while the share of nuclear power in the country’s electricity production has remained virtually unchanged. Black coal use fell by 30 per cent compared to the first half of 2018, and lignite – a coal-like substance formed from peat – fell by 20 per cent. However, over the same period, electricity production by natural gas rose by 10 per cent. Professor Bruno Burger, of the Fraunhofer ISE, said the drop in coal use was the result of a market-driven “fuel switch” from coal to gas."
Renewable energy providing more electricity than coal and nuclear power combined in Germany
Independent, 24 July 2019
"Beijing vowed to resist US “bullying” after Washington said it would impose sanctions on one of China’s largest state-backed oil traders, punishing it for transporting Iranian crude in defiance of American restrictions. The Trump administration said late on Monday it was targeting the Chinese company Zhuhai Zhenrong as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran by sanctioning the business for a “significant transaction” in Iranian crude. Zhuhai Zhenrong — which was set up 25 years ago as the then-sole importer of Iranian crude to China — will be barred from engaging in foreign exchange, banking or property transactions under US jurisdiction, as will its chief executive, Youmin Li. China’s foreign ministry responded angrily on Tuesday, saying: “We oppose the bullying and sanctions by the US of China’s enterprises and individuals based on US’s domestic laws. We strongly condemn and firmly oppose sanctions on related Chinese companies by the US.” A ministry spokeswoman said the country would “take every necessary measures to firmly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of domestic enterprises and individuals”. Announced by Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, Washington’s move was the first time it has imposed sanctions on a Chinese entity since it eliminated a waiver in May that had allowed China, a big customer of Tehran, to keep buying Iranian oil. Mr Pompeo presented the move as a warning, saying “any entity considering evading our sanctions should take notice of this action”."
China condemns US sanctions over Iran crude oil
Financial Times, 23 July 2019

"Fossil fuel, it seems, is entering its twilight years. In 2009, 75 per cent of Great Britain's electricity was produced by burning coal or gas. In the first five five months of 2019, that portion fell to just 44 per cent. In the same time period, wind has soared from providing one per cent of total electricity to just under a fifth. But the decline of high-carbon energy might not be as imminent as the headline make things seem. In the UK, heating is still overwhelmingly reliant on fossil fuel. And on the electricity front, the UK is due to lose seven of its eight nuclear power plants in the next decade, leaving an energy production gap against the backdrop of increasing electricity demand from the rise of electric vehicles. So are fossil fuels really on the way out in the UK? Not quite yet. While electricity production has been shifting fairly speedily towards renewables, heating – which makes up 40 per cent of the UK’s energy consumption – has been lagging way behind, says Martin Freer, director of the Birmingham Energy Institute. Some 85 per cent of UK households are still heated using fossil-fuel based natural gas. Cleaning up in-home heating would require switching to heat pumps, which run on electricity and draw warmth from the environment to heat homes, or burning biowaste. But heat pumps are only useful if homes are so well insulated that they only require a small amount of heating. And the UK isn’t doing well on that front either. According to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the UK’s 29 million existing homes aren’t being insulated fast enough to save on needless carbon emissions. To push the government towards cleaner heating, the CCC – an independent body that advises the UK government on tackling climate change – has set a 2025 deadline, after which any new homes should not be connected to the gas grid at all. But homes aren’t being heated by gas, then they’ll need to be heated by electricity, and there’s no guarantee that electricity will come from renewable 2030, only one of the UK’s currently operational nuclear power stations will still be active: Sizewell B, which currently supplies around three per cent of the UK’s energy. Hinkley Point C, which is currently under construction and projected to come online in 2031, is expected to provide seven per cent of the UK’s electricity needs. For Freer, this signals a big problem. Even if wind power continues to grow in popularity – and there’s every sign that it will – the UK will always need backup power plants. “Wind power is intermittent,” he says. “Nuclear power is always generating electricity.”... Will things happen fast enough to meet the UK’s clean energy goals? In a swansong piece of legislation, Theresa May committed the UK to reaching net zero UK carbon emissions by 2050. Given our current trajectory, that might be a stretch. Of the 38.4 million licensed cars in the UK, only 226,000 of them are plug-in electric vehicles. The decarbonisation of heating, too, is far from resolved. For Mitchell, this suggests that leaving things to market forces alone isn’t enough to secure a zero-carbon future quickly enough to meet the demands of climate change."
The UK's shift to clean energy is about to get really, really tough
Wired, 22 July 2019

"Wind turbines in Scotland generated almost twice the entire country’s domestic power requirements In the first six months of the year.   Enough energy was created by the country’s renewables to power homes from all the way up in Harris in the Outer Hebrides down to Harrogate in Yorkshire, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Scotland said. The figures, from Weather Energy, show between January and June wind turbines provided enough electricity to power the equivalent of 4.47million homes for those six months.  That is nearly twice the number of homes in Scotland. “These are amazing figures, Scotland’s wind energy revolution is clearly continuing to power ahead. Up and down the country, we are all benefitting from cleaner energy and so is the climate,” said Robin Parker, climate and energy policy manager at the WWF."... Last year Scottish Power became the first major UK energy firm to completely drop fossil fuels in favour of wind power, after selling off its remaining gas and hydro stations to Drax for £702m."
Scotland generating enough wind energy to power two Scotlands
Independent, 19 July 2019

"Efforts to end fuel poverty and energy waste by making the UK’s draughty homes more efficient have collapsed by almost 85%, according to new government data. The report, published on Thursday, shows that the number of energy efficiency upgrades undertaken each month has fallen to 10,000 on average for the six months to the end of May. This compares with an average of 65,000 a month in 2014. The latest figures show that in May about 10,000 properties benefited from energy efficiency measures, such as loft insulation or boiler upgrades, down sharply from about 30,000 in the same month in 2015 and 2016. At this rate it would take 96 years for the government to reach its own targets to reduce fuel poverty, according to the charity National Energy Action."
UK energy-saving efforts collapse after government subsidy cuts
Guardian, 18 July 2019

"Cyberattacks on electricity networks in the UK could cost £111m daily according to new research. The research has been carried out by Dr Edward Oughton from the UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC) at the University of Oxford, and the Centre for Risk Studies at Cambridge Judge Business School.  He said: “Critical national infrastructure such as smart electricity networks are susceptible to malicious cyberattacks which could cause substantial power outages and cascading failure affecting multiple business, health and education organisations as well domestic supply.” And he warns that such attacks are likely to become more and more prevalent.... Professor Daniel Ralph of the Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies said that the research “will be of interest to governments, private infrastructure operators, commercial consumers of infrastructure services and other stakeholders who want to understand systemic risks from cyber-physical attacks on critical national infrastructure.” Dr Oughton explained: “Cyberattacks are on the increase and gathering data and modelling the effects of such cyber-physical attacks is essential to develop risk analytics for emerging threats on critical national infrastructure.”...The paper uses the UK as a case study and identifies the direct impact on household and business consumers of power; The indirect impact of a cyber-physical attack to infrastructure beyond electricity; and a greater understanding of systemic risk arising from cyber and smart energy systems. The research demonstrates that these types of attacks on electricity distribution substations could lead to further indirect infrastructure cascading failure across telecoms, fresh water supply, waste water and even railways."
How a UK energy cyberattack could cost £111m a day
Power Engineering International, 18 July 2019

  "Tens of thousands of ships sailing the world’s oceans burn more than 3 million barrels of sludge-like high-sulfur fuel every single day. But, starting next year, the shipping industry will have to comply with rules that should dramatically reduce sulfur emissions. “It is the biggest change in oil market history,” Steve Sawyer, senior analyst at energy consultant Facts Global Energy, told CNBC. “It is going to affect crude oil producers, traders, ship owners, refiners, equity investors, insurance companies, logistical businesses, banks… Who’s left? I’m struggling to think of anyone it might not affect. That’s why it is a huge transition,” Sawyer said. With less than six months to go before the new rules on marine fuels come into force, CNBC takes a look at the far-reaching consequences of the coming changes.... The forthcoming measures are widely expected to create an oversupply of high-sulfur fuel oil while sparking demand for IMO-compliant products — thus ratcheting up the pressure on the refining industry to produce substantially more of the latter. This is especially important, energy analysts say, because Middle Eastern oil producers — such as OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia — are likely to lose out given their over-reliance on crude with a high-sulfur content. The shipping industry is under intense pressure to slash its sulfur emissions, given the pollutant is a component of acid rain, which harms vegetation and wildlife, and contributes to the acidification of the oceans."
The ‘biggest change in oil market history’ is less than six months away
CNBC, 15 July 2019

"The promise of the Permian is shrinking. Producers in the nation’s oil-rich shale basins are dialing back growth plans in the face of a growing panoply of problems that’s killing returns and keeping skeptical investors at bay. The constraints are manifold: pipeline limits, reduced flow from wells drilled too close together, low natural gas prices and high land costs. But the most consequential is that shale-well production falls off at such a high rate -- as much as 70% in the first year -- that you need to keep spending cash on new wells just to maintain output. In the five years since oil fell below $30 a barrel from more than $100, a resilient shale industry has established the U.S. as the world’s top oil producer. Now, cracks are opening in that survival tale, with companies ranging from EOG Resources Inc. to tiny Laredo Petroleum Inc. dropping their 2019 growth rates by 3 percentage points to more than 40 below last year’s gains. “You’re having to spend more and more every year to grow at a faster rate,” said Noah Barrett, an energy analyst at Janus Henderson, in a telephone interview. “Companies routinely spent 120 to 130% of their cash flow never generating positive cash flow or earnings.”.... In the early years, Wall Street had been happy to fund shale growth, framing the budding sector as a young, technology-driven industry, ripe for future returns. But as the shale fields aged, the returns never came and shareholders are now pushing for payback at the expense of additional oil growth. The Permian has been the world’s fastest-growing major oil region over the past two years, growing 72 percent to 4.2 million barrels a day. But the pace of that growth is under threat as producers bow to investor demands to stop spending money. Most of the independent producers cut their capital budgets after oil prices slipped at the end of last year. ... it’s not just the minnows that are struggling. Bigger producers, including Parsley Energy Inc., QEP Resources Inc., Centennial Resource Development Inc., SM Energy Co. and Cimarex Energy Co. have all lost between 42% and 59% of their market value in the past year. Meanwhile, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, is only down 14%.... Once oil flows, the buyout firm receives the majority of the cash flow, but when costs are repaid and investors earn a pre-agreed profit, revenues revert to the producer. The strategies may be different but the goal’s the same: “It’s really just designed to accelerate this free cash flow generation, and get these companies to try to prove earlier to investors that they are good businesses,” said Rob Thummel, managing director at Tortoise, which handles energy-related assets. Such measures mean the U.S. will continue to see shale production, but the explosive surges of the past may be over, according to Janus’s Barrett. “U.S. production in absolute terms will continue to grow,” he said. “But the pace of production increases will slow.”"
The Shale Boom in the Permian Is Slowing Down
Bloomberg, 12 July 2019

"The main message of this Report is that in 1H19 oil supply has exceeded demand by 0.9 mb/d. Our latest data show a global surplus in 2Q19 of 0.5 mb/d versus previous expectations of a 0.5 mb/d deficit. ...The outlook for oil demand growth in 2019 is little changed from our last Report at 1.2 mb/d. On the basis that the economic outlook in 2020 is better, there will be a rebound to 1.4 mb/d. This is despite the fact that we have downgraded our estimate for global oil demand growth in 2Q19 by 0.45 mb/d. There are many reasons for this: European demand is sluggish; growth in India vanished in April and May due to a slowdown in LPG deliveries and weakness in the aviation sector; and in the US demand for both gasoline and diesel in the first half of 2019 is lower year-on-year. Unless the economic backdrop and the trade disputes worsen, global growth is nevertheless expected to be higher in 2H19. There will be support from oil prices, which, if they stay roughly where they are today, will be about 8% below the levels seen last year."
Oil Market Report: Re-balancing slows down
IEA, 12 July 2019

"The widespread use of electric cars in the UK and the end of gas boilers in homes will cause the country to reach its target of zero emissions of greenhouse gases, a new report says. The National Grid's Electricity System Operator said on Thursday that it would be possible to reach the goal by 2050 if there were no conventional or hybrid cars on British roads. A widespread switch to electric vehicles would cause a need for 35m cars to be charged, but the operator said that it could handle the unprecedented demand. It highlighted the practice of “smart charging,” where vehicles are charged at off-peak times, as a potential solution to the issue. The report also said that homes will have to use at least a third less energy by 2050. Up to 85pc of homes will need to be very efficient, the operator said, with an energy performance certificate rating of C or higher. It called for an end to natural gas boilers, with 23m homes having to switch to low-carbon heating solutions such as electric heat pumps which use electricity to provide hot water and heating. This could include more than 7m hybrid heat pumps which are part-powered by gas and will help the shift from natural gas to hydrogen heating."
Electric cars and the end of gas boilers will help the UK reach zero emissions target
Telegraph, 11 July 2019

"A fleet of 35m electric vehicles could help the UK reach its net-zero carbon target by forming large battery hubs to store renewable energy, according to the country’s energy system operator. National Grid predicts that by 2050 millions of electric cars will use wind and solar power to charge up within minutes to act as battery packs for when the grid needs more energy. The grid operator’s long-range energy forecasts predict that smart charging systems will use algorithms to help cars balance demand and supply on the grid, while making the most of renewable energy and saving customers money. It found that the plug-in car fleet could hold a fifth of the electricity produced by the UK’s solar panels, which it predicts will quadruple over the same period. This scenario would make the UK’s ambitious target to cut emissions to net zero by 2050 achievable because it helps cut carbon from the energy and transport sectors, according to the report. Kayte O’Neill, National Grid’s head of strategy, added that electric vehicles will make the energy system more flexible and help bring down costs for consumers too. The forecast is one of five future scenarios envisaged by National Grid to help policymakers and the energy industry shape the future energy mix. In all scenarios the operator predicts electric vehicles will become the most popular form of transport between 2030 and the early 2040s. It also predicts that many more homes and communities will generate their own electricity through solar panels or micro windpower projects. There are fewer than 200,000 electric vehicles on UK roads, meaning the ambitious plug-in car forecast would require a major acceleration of plans for car charging and a step change in customer behaviour.... By 2050 at least 7m hybrid heat pumps, which partly rely on renewable energy, should be installed. The UK’s gas system should also be run on hydrogen, rather than typical methane-rich gas to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
Electric cars could form battery hubs to store renewable energy
Guardian, 11 July 2019

"The computing power required to support the Bitcoin cryptocurrency consumes as much energy as the entire country of Switzerland, according to a new study. It uses around 0.25 per cent of global energy consumption, researchers from the University of Cambridge found after they developed an online tool to estimate the network's real-time consumption. The Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (CBECI) put the cryptocurrency's annual consumption at around 60.45 TWh at the time of publication. This would make it the 41st most energy-demanding country when ranked against other nations. The electricity demands of bitcoin come from the computing power required to mine the cryptocurrency – the process of generating new bitcoins by verifying transactions on the network by solving complex mathematical puzzles."
Bitcoin uses more energy than the whole of Switzerland – and it’s getting worse
Independent, 5 July 2019

"Oil has long been known as a dirty fuel. For investors, it is now a dirty word. The London Stock Exchange caught many by surprise this week when a little-known rule tweak relabelled a group of oil and gas producers as “non-renewable energy”. The change, made by index provider FTSE Russell, is designed to separate heavily polluting energy companies from greener alternatives, but analysts complained that it risked stigmatising a sector already struggling with its image. “The oil and gas industry is being painted in a corner with coal,” said Al Stanton, an energy analyst at RBC Capital Markets."
‘Oil’ and ‘gas’ become dirty words in FTSE rebranding
Financial Times, 3 July 2019

"The Kenkiyak-Atyrau pipeline reversal will link more oilfields in western Kazakhstan to the refineries and free up the same volumes from the south and the northwest to be shipped to China. Kazakhstan plans to increase oil exports to China to 6-7 million tonnes a year from just 1 million tonnes at the expense of shipments to Europe, starting from the second half of 2020, Deputy Energy Minister Aset Magauov told Reuters. In order to do this, the Central Asian nation will reverse the domestic Kenkiyak-Atyrau pipeline that is currently used to ship crude in a westerly direction. The move will reduce transit shipments through Russia’s Transneft (TRNF_p.MM). “The oil pumped in the other direction will be heavier, this will require upgrades in the form of building extra pumping stations,” Magauov said. Kazakh oil exports to China dropped to 1.3 million tonnes last year from their peak of 11.8 million tonnes in 2013 while Russia increased its own supplies to China at the same time. Magauov said that was largely due to the declining output of oilfields in northwestern and southern Kazakhstan - many of which operated by Chinese companies. The same companies supply a large share of oil used by Kazakhstan’s Shymkent and Pavlodar refineries, leaving little for exports."
Kazakhstan to divert some oil flows from Europe to China
Reuters, 3 July 2019

"For decades, elected leaders and corporate executives have chased a dream of independence from unstable or unfriendly foreign oil producers. Mission accomplished: Oil companies are producing record amounts of crude oil and natural gas in the United States and have become major exporters. Yet the companies themselves are finding little to love about this seeming bonanza. With a global glut driving down prices, many are losing money and are staying afloat by selling assets and taking on debt. The value of oil and gas stocks as a proportion of the S&P 500 over the last six years has dropped to about 4.6 percent, from 8.7 percent. “It’s really a psychological punch in the gut,” said Matt Gallagher, chief executive of Parsley Energy, which has productive shale fields in the Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico and has tripled output over the last three years. His company’s shares have tumbled to about $19 a share, from $38 in late 2016. “There’s a lot of risk in this industry, people are working very hard, and we feel we have made the right moves and it doesn’t show up in the share price.” Domestic oil production has increased by more than 60 percent since 2013, to over 12 million barrels a day, making the United States the biggest producer of oil and natural gas in the world and slashing imports. That growth has also reduced the clout and profits of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia, enabling President Trump to impose sanctions on Iran and Venezuela without risking higher gasoline prices or shortages.... Oil executives say the United States is set to become an even bigger factor because a further five million or so barrels of daily crude oil production are on the way in the next few years. Russia would have to drill deep into the Arctic to keep up, a prohibitively expensive proposition, and experts don’t think Saudi Arabia can increase production significantly. But the share price of Exxon Mobil, the largest American oil company, is barely above where it was a decade ago. ... In the last four years, roughly 175 oil and gas companies in the United States and Canada with debts totaling about $100 billion have filed for bankruptcy protection. Many borrowed heavily when oil and gas prices were far higher, only to collectively overproduce and undercut their commodity prices. At least six companies have gone bankrupt this year, and Weatherford International, the fourth-leading oil services company, which owes investors $7.7 billion, is expected to file for bankruptcy protection on Monday. In a February call with analysts, Weatherford’s chief executive, Mark A. McCollum, seemed exasperated. “I don’t waste a lot of time thinking or planning how to fail,” he said. “The elephant in the room for the entire sector is we’re not generating returns that our investors expect.” One concern is that the industry will be forced to leave oil and gas in the ground as climate change prompts environmental restrictions on drilling or a shift to alternative fuels. “The psychology has turned,” said David Katz, president of Matrix Asset Advisors, a New York investment firm that owns Occidental shares. “When you talk to investors they are concerned about oil companies spending money on something that will be in decline. There are more concerns that electric cars and hybrid cars are going to get more and more popular.”... Rystad Energy, a consulting firm, found that 36 of the 40 shale oil companies it looked at in the first quarter of this year could not generate enough revenue to sustain their businesses, reduce debt and reward their investors with dividends or share buybacks. Energy experts say oil companies could make a comeback in the next few years, even if it is only a temporary one. Advanced technologies could bring down costs of production while increasing output. Production in countries like Venezuela and Mexico could continue declining, allowing American companies to gain market share. But the industry faces a long-term challenge from climate change. Chevron and other large American oil companies are investing in carbon capture and sequestration to bury greenhouse gases or produce new fuels, though such technologies are expensive and unproven on a large scale."
U.S. Oil Companies Find Energy Independence Isn’t So Profitable
New York Times, 30 June 2019

"Earlier this month BP released its Statistical Review of World Energy 2019. ....For 2018, the Review reported that the world set a new oil consumption record of 99.8 million BPD, which is the ninth straight year global oil demand has increased. Oil demand in 2018 grew by 1.5%, ahead of the decade-long average of 1.2%. On the other hand, 2018 demand growth of 1.4 million BPD marked the third consecutive year oil demand growth has fallen. The United States remains the world’s top oil consumer, averaging 20.5 million BPD in 2018. China was second at 13.5 million BPD, although this would be far below the U.S. in per capita consumption. India was third at 5.2 million BPD. Both China and India have averaged oil consumption growth of at least 5% per year over the past decade. Asia Pacific has been the world’s fastest growing oil market over the past decade with 2.7% average annual growth. Africa and the Middle East aren’t far behind that pace, although neither region experienced oil production growth in 2018. The Review also reported a new global oil production record in 2018 of 94.7 million BPD,1 an increase of 2.22 million BPD over the previous year. The U.S. extended its lead as the world’s top oil producer to a record 15.3 million BPD. In addition, the U.S. led all countries in increasing production over the previous year, with a gain of 2.18 million BPD (equal to 98% of the total of global additions). Looking at a longer period, in 2008 global oil prices first exceeded $100/bbl. Since then, global oil production has increased by 11.6 million BPD. Over the same time span, U.S. oil production increased by 8.5 million BPD — equal to 73.2% of the global increase in production. It’s easy to imagine that without the U.S. shale oil boom, oil prices would have never dropped back below $100/bbl. Saudi Arabia was the second-leading producer at 12.3 million BPD, while Russia came in third at 11.4 million BPD. Canada added the second-most production in the world, with a 410,000 BPD gain over 2017. This was just ahead of Saudi Arabia’s 395,000 BPD increase. These gains helped offset declines from Venezuela (-582,000 BPD), Iran (-308,000 BPD), Mexico (-156,000 BPD), Angola (-143,000 BPD), and Norway (-119,000 BPD). This year, for the first time, the Review reported the contribution to overall oil production by natural gas liquids (NGLs). U.S. NGL production is by far the highest of any country at 4.3 million BPD (a byproduct of the shale gas boom). That’s more than the entire Middle East, and accounts for 37.6% of total global NGL production. When NGLs are subtracted from overall oil production, U.S. production declines to 11.0 million BPD. This places the U.S. just behind Russia (11.2 million BPD) and just ahead of Saudi Arabia (10.5 million BPD)."
U.S. Accounts For 98% Of All Global Oil Production Growth, 29 June 2019

"The UK would be vulnerable to gas supply shortages and price hikes after Brexit, an industry leader has warned. Marco Alvera, head of European industry body GasNaturally, told the BBC that EU nations could restrict gas exports to the UK during winter cold snaps in order to prioritise their own citizens. "We've spoken to several ministers and civil servants over the last two years. Energy has not been discussed enough." The UK imports almost half the gas it consumes via pipelines from Europe.Some 39% of the UK's electricity supply was generated from natural gas last year, according to official government statistics.... The UK has become overly dependent on imported natural gas to meet its winter fuel needs, Mr Alvera warned. He said this was because the UK's own North Sea gas supplies had wound down, while at the same time the country had shut down much of its gas storage infrastructural capacity... The UK could remedy the situation relatively easily, he said, by converting old exhausted North Sea gas fields into gas storage facilities.... Less that 1% of UK gas consumption last year came directly from Russia as liquefied natural gas imports. However the ultimate source is of the UK's piped gas imports is harder to determine, with one estimate finding that 36% of it ultimately came from Russia in 2017. "
Brexit 'could leave UK short of energy'
BBC, 28 June 2019

"As you might have heard, the planet is warming up, and in response, people are trying to switch to cleaner energy, to heat it up less, or at least more slowly. So how’s that going? A report released this month goes into that question in considerable detail. The Renewables Global Status Report (GSR), released annually by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21, a think tank), digs into the growth rates of various energy sources, the flows of clean energy investment, and the world’s progress on its sustainability goals.... a few background facts. First, we’re still moving in the wrong direction. Global carbon emissions aren’t falling fast enough. In fact, they aren’t falling at all; they were up 1.7 percent in 2018. Second, we’re still pushing in the wrong direction. Globally, subsidies to fossil fuels were up 11 percent between 2016 and 2017, reaching $300 billion a year. And third, the effort to clean up is flagging. This week brought some good news for the United States — more of America’s electricity came from clean energy than coal for the first time ever in April, as Bloomberg reported Tuesday. But the GSR report reveals that total investment in renewable energy (not including hydropower) was $288.9 billion in 2018 — less than fossil fuel subsidies and an 11 percent decrease from 2017. The public seems to have the impression that while things are bad, they are finally accelerating toward something better. It’s not true. Collectively, we haven’t even succeeded in reversing direction yet. Despite all the progress described below, we’re still struggling to get ahold of the emergency brake.... To start with some good news: The shift in the electricity sector has effectively become unstoppable. Globally, more renewable energy capacity has been installed than new fossil fuel and nuclear capacity combined, for four years running. Some 181 GW of new renewables capacity was installed in 2018; it now makes up more than one-third of global installed power capacity. These are mainstream power sources, here to stay.... All the growth and investments in renewable electricity are starting to add up. Renewables represent more than a third of the world’s installed capacity and, as the graphic below shows, more than 26 percent of global electricity produced. That said, hydropower, at almost 16 percent, makes up more than half the renewables total. What people tend to think of as renewables, wind and solar, make up only a combined 8 percent. Even in electricity, renewables have a long way to go.... Outside of electricity, good news is harder to come by. Where renewables are 26 percent of global electricity, they represent less than 10 percent (renewable electricity less than 2 percent) of heating and cooling and just 3.3 percent (renewable electricity only 0.3 percent) of transportation energy. Heating and cooling, at 51 percent of global energy use, mostly run on natural gas and oil. Transportation, at 32 percent of global energy use, mostly runs on gasoline and diesel. What’s worse, policy is still overbalanced toward power. There are 169 countries, at the national or state/provincial level, that have passed renewable energy targets. Meanwhile, the report says, “only 47 countries had targets for renewable heating and cooling, while the number of countries with regulatory policies in the sector fell from 21 to 20.” Fewer than a third of all countries worldwide have mandatory building codes, “while 60% of the total energy used in buildings in 2018 occurred in jurisdictions that lacked energy efficiency policies.” Only about a quarter of industrial energy use is covered by industrial energy-efficiency policies. It’s not much better in transportation, where “fuel economy policies for light-duty vehicles existed in only 40 countries by year’s end and have been largely offset by trends towards larger vehicles.” Carbon pricing isn’t helping much either. “Carbon pricing remains acutely under-utilised,” the report says. “By the end of 2018, only 44 national governments, 21 states/provinces and 7 cities had implemented carbon pricing policies, covering just 13% of global CO2 emissions.”.... Every climate model that involves humanity hitting its carbon targets involves rapid declines in “energy intensity,” i.e., the amount of energy used to produce a unit of GDP. In theory, if you can reduce energy intensity fast enough, you can offset the natural rise in energy consumption (from population and economic growth) and even cause total energy demand to decline. In theory, anyway. In reality, global energy intensity has declined just 2.2 percent in the past five years. That has not been enough to offset the rise in global energy demand, which crept up 1.2 percent. Energy intensity is declining at around 0.4 percent a year. To hit midcentury global decarbonization targets, global energy intensity would need to decline by between 4 and 10 percent a year. That means the world needs to accelerate efficiency and electrification rates by about 10 times.... As of 2017, fossil fuels were still providing about 80 percent of humanity’s energy, which is roughly what they’ve been providing for decades. Excluding traditional biomass, with all its problems around clearcutting, monocropping, and competing with food for land, you’re left with about 13 percent plausibly climate-friendly energy (different people may want to exclude other sources as well, but the larger point stands). That 13 percent needs to get to 100 percent, or close to it, by 2050 — which is, you will note, just 30 years away."
The global transition to clean energy, explained in 12 charts
Vox, 26 June 2019

"Global oil demand is likely to keep rising for at least another 15 years before Asia's fast growing economies catch up to the shift from hydrocarbons to electric power, a leading consultancy said on Monday. "At some point in the next 20 years, it's likely we're going to see oil demand peak. Our own view at Wood Mackenzie, is around 2035, 2036," Wood Mackenzie chairman Simon Flowers said in an interview with CNN Business. The International Energy Agency, which monitors energy supply for the world's richest countries, said earlier this year that there was "no peak demand on the horizon." A potential peak in oil demand is one of the central questions hanging over the energy industry. The timing could impact trillions of dollars of investment decisions and play a major role in the trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions. Flowers said that there is already very little demand growth in the European Union, and "in time" demand in America will also drop off. Almost all of the demand growth for oil is now concentrated in Asia. China, India, Japan, South Korea and Singapore are the top five oil importers in the region, according to Wood Mackenzie. Total demand for oil across those countries grew by 2.5% in 2018 to 25.9 million barrels per day, with China and India accounting for the vast majority of the growth. "Eventually that too will give in as electric vehicles become competitive and start to take market share from the internal combustion engine," Flowers said. Once that shift to electric cars happens, China should be in a strong position to benefit. The country has the world's biggest auto market, it has manufacturing capability and "it has access to some of the key battery raw materials, like lithium, that we need for electric vehicles," said Flowers. China has invested heavily in the electric vehicle industry. The government offered generous subsidies to electric and hybrid car buyers for years. Beijing is now weaning customers off those subsidies, and shifting some of the burden of growing the electric car market to manufacturers. This year, new rules kicked in mandating that at least 10% of car companies' sales be all-electric battery vehicles or plug-in hybrids. The rules apply to car manufacturers that produce or import more than 30,000 vehicles annually, and would rise to 12% in 2020."
These experts think oil demand won't peak until 2035
CNN, 24 June 2019

"More UK electricity is to come from zero-carbon sources than from fossil fuels this year – the first time since the industrial revolution, according to the National Grid. Wind, solar, nuclear and hydropower are on course to outstrip supply from coal and gas-fired power stations after the closure of a number of older plants in recent years and a rapid expansion in renewable capacity. Green energy sources have more than doubled their contribution to Britain’s energy mix from 22.3 per cent in 2009 to 47.9 per cent in the first half of 2019. The country has now reached a “tipping point” on renewable energy, National Grid said. John Pettigrew, chief executive of the utility firm, described this as a “key milestone” on the journey towards the net zero emissions target recently set out by the government."
Zero-carbon energy to power majority of UK's electricity generation for first time, says National Grid
Independent, 21 June 2019

"Petroleos Mexicanos will focus on shallow water projects and onshore plays, and avoid investing in its deepwater riches for now, as the ailing Mexican state-run oil company seeks to turn around a 14-year slide in crude production, a top official said on Thursday. Chief Financial Officer Alberto Velazquez outlined the approach the state-owned oil company known as Pemex will take at a conference in the colonial city of Leon on Thursday. He emphasized that Pemex has no plans to invest in costly and technologically complex deepwater projects in the Gulf of Mexico, but will instead focus its exploration and production budget on the country’s shallow water and onshore potential. “We are not going to invest in those types of developments,” said Velazquez, referring to deepwater projects. The vast majority of Pemex’s current production comes from shallow water areas clustered around the southern rim of the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of the states of Veracruz, Campeche and Tabasco. While the company has drilled wells and made discoveries in Mexican territorial waters in the deepwater Gulf, and has a joint venture partnership in one such project with Australia’s BHP Billiton, it has yet to produce any oil or gas there. Pemex’s current crude production averages just under 1.7 million barrels per day (bpd), down nearly a half from peak output of about 3.4 million bpd in 2004. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has pledged to raise Pemex output to 2.5 million bpd by the end of his term in 2024. ... Pemex, the world’s most indebted oil company, has faced mounting pressure to improve its finances and invest more in its profitable exploration and production business."
Mexico's Pemex to stick to areas it knows best, pass on deepwater: CFO
Reuters, 20 June 2019
"The UK biomass energy industry is facing criticism over its dependency on stripping US forests to seek out a supply of wood pellets. Biomass energy is classified as a renewable energy source, despite it producing 8 per cent more carbon dioxide than burning coal. The UK is becoming so dependent on it that millions of tonnes of wood pellets are being imported from forests in the south of the United States, research by environmental organisations the National Research Defense Council and Dogwood Alliance has claimed.The demand for energy from biomass has led UK supplier Drax Power to import millions of tonnes of wood pellets from the fraught forests of the US Southeast, through US provider Enviva, which campaigners say is damaging the UK’s carbon footprint. Drax Power Station supplies 12 per cent of the UK’s ‘renewable’ power from its stations based in Selby, North Yorkshire through the use of wood pellets to create biomass energy. And Drax are being subsidised by the government until 2027 to supply biomass energy to the UK – despite warnings of its destructive contribution to global warming. The pellets are then burned to fuel the UK’s homes....  “When the EU made a law obligating its member states to lower their carbon emissions by 2050, it ruled biomass energy is carbon neutral because trees can grow back and can reabsorb that carbon. Because of that, they said burning them to create electricity would be a zero carbon emitting source,” NRDC advocate Sasha Stashwick told i. But Rita Frost, the campaigns director of North Carolina-based forest preservation group Dogwood Alliance, told i the battle to beat climate change is not as simple as replacing older trees with new saplings. She said: “Wood pellets taken from the older carbon-absorbing trees will emit that carbon back into the atmosphere when they are burned for energy, and will release more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than coal. “The UK’s dependence on biomass puts some of the world’s most ecologically valuable forests at risk. “If the UK is going to live up to its promises to address our climate crisis, it must cut harmful carbon emissions, not forests. It’s long past time for the UK government to end its subsidies for this false climate solution.”"
The UK relies on biomass energy – but it’s not renewable and it’s been accused of causing deforestation in the US
iNews, 19 June 2019

"Gas extracted from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz-2 Caspian Sea field has reached the Turkish-Greek border on the newly-constructed $8.5bn Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), Azerbaijani media reports said on June 17. Head of the TANAP consortium Saltuk Duzyol has previously said that the pipeline would be ready for commercial gas deliveries by July 1. TANAP is to connect to the under-construction Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) which will traverse Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea before making landfall in Southern Italy. The inauguration of TANAP took place in Turkey last June. It is to is deliver 6bn cubic metres of gas to Turkey and 10bn cm to Europe annually. Shah Deniz-2 gas is fed into it from the Azerbaijan-to-Georgia-to-Turkey South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP). Overall, the pipelines are to fulfil the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) project, which rivals Russia’s TurkStream project which is to deliver gas to Turkey and Bulgaria (and eventually beyond) via Black Sea routes."
Azerbaijani gas reaches Turkish-Greek border via TANAP pipeline: reports

bne IntelliNews 18 June, 2019

"The natural gas from Yamal’s Bovanenkovo field is intended to reach Europe via the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline — a 1,230km project linking Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea that has split Europe and sparked threats of sanctions from the US. Critics of the project, due to enter service this year, contend that it will keep Europe hooked on Russian gas and deprive Ukraine of billions of dollars earned from allowing gas across its territory. While the pipeline is more than half-built — with European companies’ financing half of the €9.5bn cost — it still faces pressure with Denmark delaying a permit to build in its waters. The European Commission has tightened its oversight.... Oleg Andreev, deputy head of the production department at Gazprom, said the company would seek other routes for the gas if NS2 were not ready in December — perhaps even via Ukraine. “Turning off the tap is not an issue,” he said. “In principle, there is demand for gas in Europe, and the demand is high, and all corridors can take the gas.” Gazprom is building Nord Stream 2 with five European partners: Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall, Engie of France, Anglo-Dutch Shell and Austria’s OMV. Some 670 companies from 25 countries are involved in the construction. Gazprom and Germany, the project’s main EU supporter, maintain that Nord Stream 2 is needed to replace Europe’s declining gas supplies. European gas demand is expected to reach 564bn cubic metres in 2020 and 618bn cu m in 2030, according to the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. Russia, which supplies one-third of EU needs, has gas to spare. The Bovanenkovo field alone is expected to produce 95bn cubic metres this year, up 9 per cent on the year, before stabilising output at 115bn cu m per year as of 2020, according to Mr Melnikov.... if the new Baltic link does not open on time, Mr Kothe said Europe might need to import more LNG. That would cost between €8bn and €24bn more depending on the LNG price, he said. Annette Berkhahn Blyhammar, a Stockholm-based energy and utilities adviser at Arthur D Little, a consultancy, said: “Nord Stream 2 is significant from the market perspective in that it brings another opportunity to transport gas from Russia to Europe. If you take that away, costs will rise.” The abundance of gas in Yamal — which has fields with combined production prospects of 360bn cu m per year — and Europe’s growing demand, is already raising questions over potential need for a “Nord Stream 3”. "
Russia defies pipeline threats over gas for Europe
Financial Times, 18 June 2019

"The UK’s race to increase renewable energy sources has intensified with the announcement of plans to close another coal-fired power station. The news on Thursday came as last winter was revealed to be the greenest yet for the country’s energy system, after strong winds produced more renewable electricity and coal-fired power dwindled. SSE said Fiddler’s Ferry near Warrington, Cheshire, the energy company’s last remaining coal-fired power station, would close in March 2020, reducing the UK’s coal-fired energy fleet to five plants."National Grid, the operator of the UK’s electricity network, said mild temperatures combined with strong winds ensured the carbon intensity of Britain’s electricity – the amount of carbon produced for every kilowatt of electricity – fell to an average of 242.8 grams of carbon between October and March, from 280.2 grams a year earlier. National Grid said the UK relied less on coal power plants over winter, partly because it was the fifth-warmest recorded in the past 59 years. The milder temperatures dampened energy demand, making it easier to avoid using coal in favour of running gas power plants, which produce half the carbon emissions."
UK to be left with five coal power stations after latest closure
Julian Ambrose, 13 June 2019

"Britain’s gas network, hundreds of thousands of miles of pipes connecting 23 million homes, is filled with a fuel that, by 2050, will in effect be banned. The solution? Pipe hydrogen, a gas whose only by-product is water. Engineers say they have to work out only three things to meet the climate targets announced yesterday by Theresa May: how to make that hydrogen, how to install a boiler that runs on it in every home, then how to manage arguably the biggest infrastructure shift in British history. “It is the biggest challenge the UK faces,” Chris Stark, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change, said. “Each house needs to be fully or near-fully decarbonised — that’s a million homes a year if we started tomorrow.…""
Net zero: how our gas network can be adapted for hydrogen
Times, 13 June 2019

"Government ministers face rising calls to lift their block on onshore wind farms to help meet the UK’s ambitious climate targets while reducing home energy bills. Some of Europe’s largest energy investors have urged the government to overturn an effective ban on new onshore wind farms in England, warning that it may be stifling a flood of investment into the UK’s clean energy sector.... A boom in new onshore wind projects could also cut energy bills by £50 a year compared to a high-gas energy mix according to new research commissioned by RenewableUK, the trade body."
Onshore wind farms in UK could cut £50 a year off energy bills
Guardian, 12 June 2019

"Scottish Power is to undertake the most ambitious battery power project in Europe in an attempt to unlock the potential of the UK’s wind and solar farms. The company will connect an industrial-scale battery, the size of half a football pitch, to the Whitelee onshore windfarm early next year to capture more power from its 215 turbines. The first major onshore wind power storage project will lead the way for a string of similar projects across at least six of Scottish Power’s largest renewable energy sites over the following 18 months. It claims the 50MW battery systems promise a “significant step” on the road towards renewable energy, providing baseload, or continuous electricity supply, for the UK energy system. The battery has more than double the power capacity of any existing battery in the UK. It would take an hour to fully charge and could release enough electricity over an hour to fully charge 806 Nissan Leaf vehicles over a total of 182,000 miles, according to a spokesman for Scottish Power. Keith Anderson, Scottish Power’s chief executive, said: “Batteries will take renewable energy to the next level. It is a nice, neat solution to help use more and more renewable power in the UK, because that’s what we need to be doing to reach a net zero-carbon economy.” The lithium-ion battery will help Whitelee, already one of the largest onshore windfarms in Europe, to generate more renewable power by storing electricity when wind speeds are high, for use when the wind drops."
Scottish Power to build vast battery to improve wind energy supply
Guardian, 10 June 2019

 "China and Russia are poised to further deepen their energy cooperation as their top leaders both pledged on Friday to improve business environment for energy firms' cooperation.Attending a bilateral energy business forum together, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin vowed to provide policy support for such cooperation. As comprehensive strategic partners of coordination, China and Russia enjoy deepening cooperation in all spheres, which has forcefully promoted the two nations' common development and revitalization, Xi said. Describing energy cooperation as the "most significant, most fruitful and most wide-ranging" area of bilateral cooperation, Xi said the two sides' close coordination has played a positive role in safeguarding the fair, just, reasonable and orderly international energy order. To consolidate and deepen their energy cooperation, Xi made four proposals. Firstly, business entities should lead the cooperation and stick to the principles of mutual benefits, win-win results and being commercially viable. Financial insurance and energy cooperation should be enhanced for mutual support and mutual promotion."
China, Russia vow to further energy cooperation
Xinhua, 9 June 2019

"Angela Merkel’s government is facing growing calls from business leaders to postpone plans to phase out nuclear power in Germany in order to protect the environment. The chief executive of Volkswagen and the chairman Continental AG, a leading car parts manufacturer, are among those to speak out in recent weeks. They have seized on the climate movement of 2019 as an opportunity to argue in favour of nuclear energy, and warn shutting down Germany’s last reactors could leave the country reliant on highly pollutant brown coal. Mrs Merkel pledged to shut down all of Germany’s nuclear reactors by 2022 in the wake of a public outcry following the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan. But critics say it was too ambitious to switch to renewable energy and phase out nuclear power at the same time. With renewables unable to make up the shortfall, Germany has been forced to turn to coal."
Germany faces growing calls to delay phase-out of nuclear energy
Telegraph, 9 June 2019

"The executive director of the International Energy Agency said Europe saved $8bn on its natural gas bill last year because surging U.S. shale production and a shake-up in EU energy markets forced Russia to change its gas pricing mechanism. Fatih Birol, speaking as the IEA released its annual gas report Friday, said 2018 was a "golden year for natural gas, which accounted for 45% of total global energy growth, which in turn was the fastest in two decades," he said. Demand for natural gas grew 4.6% in 2018, led by the US and China. He said the shift in global gas markets stemmed from the US shale gas revolution, a rapid expansion of the liquefied natural gas industry and EU liberalisation of energy markets, had forced Russia to change its oil-indexed pricing of gas. The change began when rising US gas output led Qatar, the world’s largest LNG exporter, to divert LNG supplies to Europe, shaking up pricing on the continent and widening the influence of the Dutch TTF benchmark price."
Europe saved $8bn on gas bill in 2018 because of US and Russia: IEA
Oil and Gas Middle East, 9 June 2019

"Scientists have found a novel way to turn daily plastic waste products like water bottles and plastic bags into jet fuel. Researchers at Washington State University in the US melted plastic waste at high temperature with activated carbon, a processed carbon with increased surface area, to produce jet fuel. "Waste plastic is a huge problem worldwide. This is a very good, and relatively simple, way to recycle these plastics," said Hanwu Lei, an associate professor at WSU. The research, published in the journal Applied Energy, tested low-density polyethene and mixed a variety of waste plastic products, like water bottles, milk bottles, and plastic bags, and ground them down to around three millimetres, or about the size of a grain of rice. The plastic granules were then placed on top of activated carbon in a tube reactor at a high temperature, ranging from 430 degree Celsius to 571 degrees Celsius. The carbon is a catalyst or a substance that speeds up a chemical reaction without being consumed by the reaction. "Plastic is hard to break down. You have to add a catalyst to help break the chemical bond. There is a lot of hydrogen in plastics, which is a key component in fuel," Lei said. Once the carbon catalyst has done its work, it can be separated out and re-used on the next batch of waste plastic conversion. The catalyst can also be regenerated after losing its activity. After testing several different catalysts at different temperatures, the best result they had produced a mixture of 85 percent jet fuel and 15 percent diesel fuel. "We can recover almost 100 per cent of the energy from the plastic we tested," Lei said. "The fuel is very good quality, and the byproduct gasses produced are high quality and useful as well," he said."
Jet fuel and diesel can now be made from plastic bags, water bottles & daily waste
Press Trust of India, 7 June 2019

"Texas drillers may have found a solution to the stubborn natural gas glut that’s forced them to either burn it off into the air, or pay others to take it away. At least five producers, led by EOG Resources Inc., are experimenting with shooting highly-pressurized natural gas into past-their-prime wells that have seen their output slip. The wells are then capped to build up pressure inside with the aim of dislodging any oil still hiding in the rock.The methodology’s been used in conventional wells elsewhere with both natural gas and carbon dioxide for years, but it’s just now emerging in America’s fracked shale fields. The win-win goal: The trapped gas is put to work, and there’s a 30%-to-70% gain in oil output from older wells, according to EOG. As the shale boom ages, the potential could be extensive.... With pipeline capacity for gas limited, prices there have cratered, dropping as low as minus $9 per million British thermal units in early April.The result: In late 2018, Permian flaring -- the burning off of associated gas -- more than doubled from a year earlier to 500 million cubic feet a day, and that’s likely to rise, said Stephanie Kainz, senior associate at RS Energy Group Inc. in Calgary. It’s a problem from both an economic point of view, and environmentally.... Gas injection can potentially extend crude production volumes in older wells by 18 to 24 months, Krishnamoorti said. What’s still to be determined is how well EOR works in different types of rock formations.Not all rock is the same, and while it does appear to be an attractive option in many parts of the Permian, it’s “not particularly good” in at least one section, the Wolfcamp zone, according to Krishnamoorti..."
Texas's Gas Glut Is So Bad Drillers Are Pumping It Down Wells
Bloomberg, 7 June 2019

"Russia has criticized U.S. efforts to supply natural gas to Europe because it is “fearful” of free market competition, Washington’s top energy diplomat said this week, in comments that reflect growing tensions with Moscow over President Donald Trump’s “energy dominance” policy.The United States has become the world’s fastest growing exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and is set to become the world’s third largest shipper of the product this year, due to surging output from U.S. shale fields. Trump has said the supplies should provide European allies with an alternative to Russian energy and his Energy Secretary Rick Perry has called the exports “freedom gas,” postures that have drawn criticism from Russian officials.“They don’t like the idea of, even the concept of, competition because it forces a change in their behavior,” Frank Fannon, U.S. assistant secretary of state for energy resources, told Reuters in an interview late on Thursday, saying it had forced Russia’s state-controlled industry to adjust pricing. “They prefer to operate under opaque conditions in the dark of night, they’re fearful of the energy that the U.S. is producing and the exports,” he said. In the most recent example of Russian criticism over U.S. energy shipments, Igor Sechin, the CEO of Russian state energy giant Rosneft and one of President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies, accused the United States on Thursday of ushering in an “era of energy colonialism”, and accusing it of using energy as a political weapon. U.S. officials have often levied similar charges at Russia, which has at times shut off gas supplies to Ukraine in the dead of winter during pricing disputes. Sechin said Washington’s efforts to push American gas into Europe came alongside threats by U.S. lawmakers to impose sanctions on Russia, including on its Nord Stream 2 pipeline led by Gazprom. The Trump administration has opposed the pipeline, as did the Obama administration, saying it would increase Russia’s economic grip on Europe and deprive Ukraine of transit fees. “Oppression of competitors has become the dominant theme of U.S. economic and foreign policy,” Sechin said at a forum in St. Petersburg. Fannon rejected Sechin’s comments, saying the Trump administration is pushing for transparent, free markets. ... Trump has slashed regulations on drillers to help boost exports of oil and gas to allies and partners, a policy he calls energy dominance. Russia is also apprehensive about projects Washington has supported for 10 years to bring natural gas via pipelines from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field to markets in Europe via the Southern Gas Corridor, Fannon said. The last leg of the $40 billion corridor, the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), is on track to start next year. In addition, Fannon said Russia fears U.S. development of advanced nuclear power known as small modular reactors, a technology he said could be commercial in less than 10 years. The reactors are being developed by NuScale Power, a joint venture of Lightbridge Corp and Framatome, and other companies."
Russia “fearful” of America’s rising energy exports –U.S. envoy
Reuters, 7 June 2019

"The United States may now be the world’s biggest crude producer, but the oil being produced in its prolific Permian basin is increasingly too light in density for domestic refiners or for exports, eroding prices for these orphan barrels. Over the past year, production from the Permian in West Texas and New Mexico has changed, with more super-light oil being extracted, as producers focus drilling in the western part of the basin.As those volumes increase and heavy crude supplies shrink, refiners are grappling with the mismatch in the density of oil they require and what the country produces, traders said. U.S. refineries, geared to mostly process heavier and medium crudes that are imported from neighboring producers, are struggling to blend the lighter oil efficiently, market sources said. That problem has grown more acute this year with heavier crude in short supply after U.S. sanctions on Venezuela, production declines in Mexico and transportation bottlenecks in Canada."
As Permian oil production turns lighter, price outlook darkens
Reuters, 6 June 2019

"China is now fully part of the global energy trading system, regularly importing more than 9m barrels a day of oil and a rapidly growing amount of natural gas. But Beijing faces an American assertion of power that threatens to disrupt the current pattern of trade, not least in energy. The Chinese reaction could reshape markets we take for granted. The first American action is direct: a war of competing tariffs on trade between the US and China that affect everything from washing machines to rice and even baseballs. The second is indirect: the US sanctions against Iran that prohibit trade between third countries and Iran including trade in oil. Initially exemptions on such trade were granted to a number of countries including India and China, but in May the US began withdrawing those exemptions....Chinese oil imports have risen rapidly during the past decade. The country may have 2.5m electric vehicles but it also has more than 300m registered vehicles running on diesel and petrol, along with an expanding internal air travel sector. Oil has become inseparable from economic activity and is essential to satisfying the consumer needs of China’s growing middle class. Almost half — 44 per cent — of China’s oil imports come from the Middle East. As the US becomes ever more self-reliant in oil and gas thanks to the shale revolution, the natural destination for Middle East oil is Asia rather than America. If Iran’s oil trade is cut off — either by sanctions or by a physical conflict that closes the Strait of Hormuz — China will be among the first to feel the implications. Energy security is now a Chinese issue.... Longer term, the reminder of China’s vulnerability to US actions will focus attention on the challenge of its dependence on outside sources for commodities that have become essential for continued economic success. The result is likely to be a more mercantilist policy on energy trade. If an open trading system cannot be replied upon, Beijing will resort to bilateral deals — securing specific supplies of oil, and perhaps gas too, through direct state-to-state barter deals using all the tools it can offer, from cheap loans to political support and the supply of military and other equipment. Such an approach will go well beyond the limited steps taken so far. A serious bilateral oil-trade plan would include direct investment and ownership of resources and the accelerated development of Chinese companies into multinationals capable of finding and producing energy resources around the world. For Beijing, this step is logical and would be a completely understandable response to a US assertion of extraterritorial power over the world market. For the rest of us the move will be dangerous. If China ties up 9m or 10m b/d of oil — in April imports reached 10.6m b/d, up 11 per cent on April 2018 — under bilateral deals, the market that remains will be smaller and potentially much more volatile."
Is China about to change the global oil trade?
Financial Times, 3 June 2019

"As a $200bn wave of new global investment gets under way, the energy industry is warning that chaotic policymaking and overseas competition are threatening to cut short Australia’s tenure as the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas. The energy companies say the government has failed to deliver coherent climate and energy policies, appears willing to intervene for the benefit of local industry over LNG exporters and has been unable to approve more gas exploration....Australia overtook Qatar to become the world’s top exporter of LNG in November, but faces intense competition from the likes of the US, Russia and Mozambique for investment from companies who prioritise stable energy policies and clarity over the outlook for costs. Companies are chasing an expected boom in LNG demand as governments look to shift their electricity systems from heavily polluting coal generation to gas. Worries over Australia have emerged as the energy industry prepares to sanction a record 100m tonnes a year of global capacity in 2019 and 2020 to meet an expected surge in demand for LNG by the middle of the next decade. Australia has a $50bn pipeline of LNG projects seeking final investment decisions over the next three years, underlining how high the stakes are."
Australia risks status as a natural gas superpower
Financial Times, 3 June 2019

"Bulgaria has agreed to buy natural gas from the US for the first time, and signed a deal for deliveries of 140mn cubic metres of liquified natural gas (LNG) in the second and third quarters of 2019, the energy minister said on May 31. Although the amount is not too big, the deal is significant as traditionally Bulgaria completely depends on deliveries from Russia. The gas will be delivered by Dutch-registered company Kolmar NL. In the second quarter of the year the company should deliver 90mn cubic metres of LNG, and in the third quarter another 50mn cubic metres. "This is yet another step towards liberalisation of the gas market and a clear sign of diversification," Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said in the statement. The deliveries from the US cover around 10% of Bulgaria’s gas consumption. Bulgaria is trying to diversify its gas deliveris and earlier in May it started the construction of the €220mn Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (ICGB). Via the interconnector, Bulgaria plans to receive mainly gas from Azerbaijan."
Bulgaria buys first US gas as it breaks away from dependence on Russia
BNE Intelligence News, 2 June 2019

"Britain has not used coal to generate electricity for two weeks - the longest period since the 1880s. The body which manages the way electricity is generated said coal was last used at 15:12 on 17 May. Fintan Slye, director of the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO), said the British record for solar power had also been broken this month. Britain broke the record for a week of no coal earlier this month, which Mr Slye said would be a "new normal". The government plans to phase out the UK's last coal-fired plants by 2025 to reduce carbon emissions and Mr Slye said there was "still a lot of work to do". But he added: "As more and more renewables come onto the system, we're seeing things progress at an astonishing rate." The world's first centralised public coal-fired generator opened in 1882 at Holborn Viaduct in London."

Britain in two-week coal-free record
BBC, 31 May 2019

"The number of jobs in renewable energy in the UK has plunged by nearly a third in recent years, and the amount of new green generating capacity by a similar amount, causing havoc among companies in the sector, a new report has found. Prospect, the union which covers much of the sector, has found a 30% drop in renewable energy jobs between 2014 and 2017, as government cuts to incentives and support schemes started to bite. It also found investment in renewables in the UK more than halved between 2015 and 2017. The union compared the situation to the devastation caused to coalmining communities in the 1980s and demanded instead a “just transition” to clean energy. The Prospect report analysed and collated data taken from various sources, including the government, surveys and industry."
Renewable energy jobs in UK plunge by a third
Guardian, 30 May 2019

"Nine in ten US shale oil companies are burning cash, according to Rystad Energy. Rystad has studied the financial performance of 40 dedicated US shale oil companies, focusing on cash flow from operating activities (CFO). This is the cash that is available to expand the business (via capital expenditure, capex), reduce debt, or return to shareholders. Only four companies in our peer group reported a positive cash flow balance in the first quarter of 2019, bringing down the share of companies with a positive cash flow balance from the recent norm of around 20% to just 10%. Total CFO fell from $14 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018 to $9.9 billion in the first quarter of 2019. “That is the lowest CFO we have seen since the fourth quarter of 2017,” says Alisa Lukash, Senior Analyst on Rystad Energy’s North American Shale team. “The gap between capex and CFO has reached a staggering $4.7 billion. This implies tremendous overspend, the likes of which have not been seen since the third quarter of 2017.” With negative cash flows, shale companies have historically relied on bond markets to finance their operations. Without additional funding and any debt refinancing, capex would have to be cut. However, no US shale company has made a public offering since the sharp fall in oil prices – and subsequent share price slide – late last year, marking the longest gap in public capital issuance since 2014. March and April 2019 saw a few of the more indebted operators issue bonds, intended to partly cover outstanding obligations for the coming year. However, pricing for this type of issuance has risen substantially due to the increased Fed Rate and the overall increased risk associated with US oil companies from a market perspective."
Only 10% Of U.S. Shale Drillers Have A Positive Cash Flow
Rystad Energy, 29 May 2019

"In 2013 Gwynedd Council decided that it could not defend Fairbourne from the elements in the long-term. It currently does, along with Natural Resources Wales, who have spent more than £6m on a flood risk management scheme in the area in the past four years. However, a Shoreline Management Plan for the west of Wales, first commissioned by the Cardigan Bay Coastal Group in 2009, “raises significant concerns over the future sustainability of the defence of Fairbourne”.... The concerns are based on climate change and the speed at which it takes hold. Sea levels continue to rise. It’s estimated that current levels are more than 100 metres higher than during the last ice age, and that they could rise by a further two metres over the next century.In short, there will be no money spent on defending this community of around 400 homes and 850 people after 2054."

The Welsh village being abandoned to the sea because of climate change
Wales Online, 26 May 2019

"Last week, Xi Jinping decided to ditch subtlety. Beating the drum of Chinese nationalism in order to garner attention and support for facing down his country’s trade war with the US, the president sent a stark message: Beijing is ready for a long fight. In visits to a rare-earth metals production plant, and a memorial to the Long March, Xi’s actions were the Chinese equivalent of wrapping himself in a Union flag and drinking tea from a mug with Winston Churchill’s face on it. The Long March, actually a series of marches during the civil war in the Thirties, when the communist armies undertook a 6,000-mile slog from the south of the country to the north...."
Rare earths are Xi’s ace card in ‘Long March’ of trade war
Telegraph, 26 May 2019

"The world invested $1.8 trillion in energy last year, with spending on renewables stalling, while oil, gas and coal projects increased. The International Energy Agency's World Energy Investment 2019 report shows overall global investment in energy stabilised in 2018 after a recent decline, with the power sector continuing to make up the biggest proportion of this spending. Much of that investment has been fueled by the world's rapidly increasing demand for electricity. Investment in coal increased for the first time since 2012, despite reduced Chinese spending to focus on power generation. When it comes to cleaner fuels, there was little movement in the overall investment in renewables and no net addition to capacity, driven in part by the falling costs of some technologies. But production of biofuels, which has fallen behind the IEA's sustainable development targets, saw a rise in investment last year. The agency's report also showed minimal increases in energy efficiency investments, with spending on transport efficiency remaining constant even though sales of electric vehicles are motoring upwards."
The world invested almost $2 trillion in energy last year. These 3 charts show where it went
World Economic Forum, 22 May 2019

"Analysts expect Europe’s dependence on imported natural gas to increase even further due to the depletion of domestic gas fields. Until 2025 a ‘gap’ of approximately 100 bcm will arise which needs to be imported from abroad. There are two options to fulfil the extra demand based on existing or ‘under construction’ infrastructure: LNG or additional supplies from Russia. According to most analysts, Gazprom’s motivation to construct Nord Stream 2 and Turk Stream is more political than economic due to Moscow’s desire to circumvent Ukraine and punish her for its pro-European stance. However, the fact remains that Gazprom is still mostly dependent on Ukraine’s infrastructure for the majority of its gas sales to European customers. It is in Kiev’s interest to maintain its status as a transit country which provides her significant strategic value and generates $3 billion in annual transit fees for the state’s coffers. Gazprom has a gas transit contract with Ukraine’s Naftogaz until January 1st 2020. To put maximum pressure on Kiev, Moscow intends to complete both Nord Stream 2 and Turk Stream before the end of 2019. Depriving Ukraine of its strategic value and income from transit fees would seriously erode its bargaining position vis-à-vis Gazprom for the import of Russian gas and most likely plunge the country into a recession. However, Denmark delayed the approval to use its EEZ for Nord Stream 2, which is a setback that could postpone the pipeline’s completion. Interfax news agency quoted Nord Stream AG, the company responsible for construction activities, that the project is suffering delays and will go into production in 2020 instead of the end of 2019. Gazprom could be preparing for what some analysts call the ‘nuclear option’ which will seriously damage Russia’s position as Europe’s most important energy supplier. The intention, however, is to put maximum pressure on Ukraine and remove it permanently from the gas delivery business. To achieve its goal, Gazprom has been filling storages across Europe, including the leasing of additional locations. This way, the energy giant would be able to meet its minimum contractual deliveries to European customers while bypassing Ukraine’s pipeline system."
Moscow May Use ‘Nuclear Option’ In European Gas Race
Oil, 22 May 2019

"Saudi Arabia has placed a huge bet on American natural gas. In a sign of shifting energy fortunes, Saudi Aramco announced a mega preliminary agreement on Wednesday to buy 5 million tons of liquefied natural gas per year from a Port Arthur, Texas export project that's under development. If completed, the purchase from San Diego-based Sempra Energy (SRE) would be one of the largest LNG deals ever signed, according to consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. Aramco, Saudi Arabia's crown jewel, would also inject a cash infusion into the Port Arthur development in exchange for a 25% stake."This is a major statement about the Saudis entering the LNG market and about how price competitive the outlook is for US gas," said Ira Joseph, head of gas and power at S&P Global Platts. Although the agreement calls for Saudi Arabia to purchase LNG from the United States, Joseph said it's unlikely the fuel would end up being used to meet the kingdom's vast electricity needs. More likely, Aramco will try to sign up buyers in South America and Europe for the LNG. "We expect Saudi Aramco will use this volume to establish a global portfolio as it seeks to become a global gas player," Giles Farrer, Wood Mackenzie's research director, wrote in a report. "
Saudi Arabia wants to buy tons of American natural gas
CNN, 22 May 2019

"Vattenfall and Swedish start-up SaltX have been taking advantage of a simple chemical reaction that occurs when quicklime becomes wet: the salt-like grains soak up the water, becoming calcium hydroxide and releasing large amounts of heat in the process. By removing the water again — a process not dissimilar to baking — the substance turns back into calcium oxide. The process essentially mirrors how batteries work, except that instead of electricity, the system stores heat. SaltX says it has also patented a way of covering the quicklime with tiny particles — known as a nano-coating — to prevent it from lumping together after several heating and cooling cycles. Roeglin says the process can absorb ten times more energy than water, which is currently used for power-to-heat facilities. And unlike tanks of hot water, which slowly cool down over time, the system can retain the chemically-trapped energy for far longer. Need heat? Just add water."
Just add water: Salt battery could help renewable energy use
Japan Today,  12 May 2019

"Surging demand for online video means Britain’s use of the internet needs electricity equivalent to six nuclear power stations, scientists say. They established that watching one feature film online consumes the same power as making 60 cups of tea. As demand for services such as YouTube, Netflix and Twitch, a site for gamers, may double or treble by 2030, the problem will only get worse. “We found that streaming a two-hour high-definition film on Netflix [or another online provider] equates to boiling over 10 kettles of water,” said Mike Hazas, a researcher in sustainable computing at Lancaster University."
Energy used in streaming one film on Netflix makes 60 cuppas
Times, 12 May 2019

"Three of the largest ports in Europe – Rotterdam, Antwerp and Ghent – are to be used to capture and bury 10m tonnes of CO2 emissions under the North Sea in what will be the biggest project of its kind in the world. The ports, which account for one-third of the total greenhouse gas emissions from the Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg region, are to be used to pipe the gas into a porous reservoir of sandstone about two miles (3km) below the seabed. It is hoped the project could be completed by 2030 but the scale of the storage, in two empty gas fields, is unprecedented and raises questions about how the CO2 will affect the deep subsurface, according to the Dutch government."
Empty North Sea gas fields to be used to bury 10m tonnes of C02
Guardian, 9 May 2019

"U.S. shale oil—which just four years ago was the world’s second most expensive oil resource—is now the second cheapest source of new oil supply globally, just behind the giant onshore oil fields in the Middle East, Rystad Energy said on Thursday. North America’s tight oil has reduced costs over the past four-five years and has proven to be a competitive source of oil supply even when oil prices are not very high, according to the energy research firm. Rystad Energy estimates in its latest cost of supply curve update that the average Brent Crude breakeven price for tight oil is now US$46 a barrel, just four dollars above the average $42 per barrel breakeven oil price for the giant onshore fields in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries. To compare, in 2015, North America’s shale ranked as the second most expensive resource in Rystad Energy’s global liquids cost curve, with an average breakeven price at $68 per barrel. In 2019, onshore Middle East leads the cheapest source of supply, followed by North American shale, offshore shelf with average breakeven price of $49 a barrel, deepwater with a $58 breakeven price, and Russia onshore with $59 a barrel breakeven. The most expensive source of oil supply is the oil sands, where the average breakeven oil price is $83 a barrel, Rystad Energy’s cost curve analysis shows. “Tight oil is a short cycle investment with a relatively brief lead time from the sanctioning of new wells to the start of production. This gives E&P companies the flexibility to adapt to market conditions and easily change activity levels,” Espen Erlingsen, Head of Upstream Research at Rystad Energy, said, commenting on the analysis. “In the ever-changing oil price environment, this implies tight oil investment has less uncertainty compared to offshore,” Erlingsen added.   According to the Q1 Dallas Fed Energy Survey, with executives from 82 E&P firms chiming in, average breakeven prices to profitably drill a new well in the U.S. range from $48 to $54 per barrel, depending on the region. Drillers need $50 a barrel on average to profitably drill a new well, down from $52 per barrel when the same question was asked last year. Average breakeven prices in Midland in the Permian were $48, the lowest-cost in the U.S., and the lowest-cost region in the past three years. "
Rystad: U.S. Shale Is Now The World’s Second Cheapest Source Of Oil Supply, 9 May 2019

"A new record is to be set in Britain with the first ever week of coal-free operation of the electricity system. National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) confirmed the last coal generator came off the system at 1:24pm on 1st May, which means the UK reaches 168 hours without coal at 1.24pm today. The ESO, which is aiming for a zero carbon power grid by 2025, relies on a “mix of generation” to balance the system. Fintan Slye, Director of ESO said coal-free runs are going to be a “regular occurrence” as more renewables come onto the electricity grid. He added: “At 1.24pm today, we will reach over a week of no coal being used to operate the electricity system. While this is the first time this has happened, I predict it will become the ‘new normal’."
Britain sets new record as it goes coal-free for a week!
Energy Live News, 8 May 2019

"It’s the moment the global sustainable energy market has been waiting for. Battery technology, the essential element in ensuring continuity of supply from weather-dependent sources such as wind and solar, has suddenly become cost competitive. For lithium-ion batteries, the 'levelized cost of electricity' (LCOE) - the total cost of building and operating an electricity-generating plant - has fallen by 35% since the first half of 2018, analysis by research company BloombergNEF (BNEF) shows. At the same time, the LCOE for offshore wind has dropped by 24%. Onshore wind and solar's benchmark costs fell 10% and 18% respectively from last year. “Looking back over this decade, there have been staggering improvements in the cost-competitiveness of these low-carbon options, thanks to technology innovation, economies of scale, stiff price competition and manufacturing experience,” says Elena Giannakopoulou, head of energy economics at BNEF.  Since 2010, the benchmark price for solar has dropped 84%, offshore wind by more than half and onshore wind by 49%. The price of lithium-ion battery storage has dropped by more than three quarters since 2012. Batteries provide the opportunity to cover peaks in demand and to bridge periods when the wind is calm and the sun does not shine. Until now, gas and coal-fired power stations have filled the gaps. But battery storage is increasingly being added to solar and wind plants to help maintain supply. Earlier this year, Abu Dhabi switched on what it said was the world’s largest virtual battery plant, able to store 648 MWh to balance demand on the grid and keep the city supplied for up to six hours in the event of a generating outage. The World Economic Forum’s Global Battery Alliance says a low-carbon future is unthinkable without batteries, describing them as a core technological enabler for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Batteries could be harnessed to help 1 billion people globally who lack access to electricity, the Alliance says."
The cost of generating renewable energy has fallen - a lot
World Economic Forum, 7 May 2019
"After nearly two decades of strong annual growth, renewables around the world added as much net capacity in 2018 as they did in 2017, an unexpected flattening of growth trends that raises concerns about meeting long-term climate goals. Last year was the first time since 2001 that growth in renewable power capacity failed to increase year on year. New net capacity from solar PV, wind, hydro, bioenergy, and other renewable power sources increased by about 180 Gigawatts (GW) in 2018, the same as the previous year, according to the International Energy Agency’s latest data. That’s only around 60% of the net additions needed each year to meet long-term climate goals."
Renewable capacity growth worldwide stalled in 2018 after two decades of strong expansion
IEA, 6 May 2019

"Britain was powered by sources other than coal for over 100 hours at the weekend, the longest time since the start of the industrial revolution, new figures have revealed. The National Grid says the country is increasingly less dependant on coal as renewable energy sources are more reliable and the public is installing solar panels at home in ever greater numbers. Reliance on renewable energy sources is now “a more regular occurrence”. Coal now accounts for under 10 per cent of Britain’s power output and the government plans to phase out the country’s last coal-fired power plants by 2025 in a bid to cut carbon emissions. Of the 31.45 gigawatts (GW) powering the UK on May 5, none was accounted for by the use of coal-fired power stations (1 GW is enough to power 100 million LED lightbulbs). Renewable energy sources have contributed an increasing proportion of Britain’s power generation in recent years. In 2018 wind generation exceeded 15GW for the first time."
Britain goes coal-free for 100 hours, setting new record for energy use
Telegraph, 6 May 2019

"HEAT pumps are not an easy technology for people to get a grip of. The idea that you are taking something that is basically cold – be it air, the ground, or water from a lake or river – and making heat by taking a few degrees out of the heat source, is counter-intuitive. This is particularly true when the heat source is at, say, 8C and you are talking about delivering hot water at 40-60C. Yet heat pumps can be shown to do this very successfully, so arguing against them makes no sense. The technology is well proven and has been deployed successfully both in Scotland and for many decades in Scandinavia. Moreover, as Ross Skirton, sales and technical director at Incognito Heat Co, explains, there are plenty of residential premises in Scotland where a heat pump of one sort or another would work very well. ... Mr Skirton points out that over the seven-year period covered by an RHI agreement, the householder can expect to recoup either all, or a very large part, of the capital costs associated with installing a heat pump. These costs will generally work out at around £10,000 for a small house running an air-source heat pump driven system. There are three main types of heat pump – ground-sourced, air-sourced and water-sourced – and it takes a careful onsite appraisal to decide which will be the most efficient solution. “Where the house is located within easy reach of flowing water, we would generally prefer a water-sourced heat pump, since you can extract three or four degrees more heat from the source,” Mr Skirton says.  He points out that a water-source heat pump is a sealed unit. The fluid used in the heat pump never comes into contact with the water source or the surrounding ground. The key point is that where a household is using, say, 20,000kWh of electricity a year on space heating, with a properly rated heat pump that would come down to 6,000kWh – and the rest would be pure, free, renewable energy. "
Heat from the ground up is a better solution to gas heating
Herald, 3 May 2019

"It is oil companies which are usually labelled as the villains behind drastic climate change, with fossil fuel giants like Shell and ExxonMobil frequently blasted for their role in creating pollution. But big technology companies including Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft are also under mounting pressure to make a difference in the fight against climate change. Their powerful data centres – energy guzzling heat machines that store all of the information in the online world- already emit over 2pc of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. But the growth of video streaming and cloud services means this is on track to rise five-fold in the next seven years."

Amazon, Apple and Google are gobbling up the world's energy. What are they doing about it?
Telegraph, 3 May 2019

"Europe is making good on a promise to buy much more American natural gas as it seeks to ease transatlantic trade tension and reduce its reliance on Russian energy. The European Union has imported roughly 8 billion cubic meters of liquid natural gas from the United States since July 2018, more than three times the amount purchased in the preceding two years. The bloc committed at an energy summit in Brussels on Thursday to further purchases so long as the price is competitive. The pledge appears calibrated to appease President Donald Trump, who has applied tariffs to steel and aluminum from the European Union and has threatened new taxes on cars made in the bloc. Natural gas is one area where Europe and the United States have found common ground on trade."
Europe's imports of American natural gas are soaring
CNN, 2 May 2019

" Induction cooktops, running on electricity, are superior to gas stoves. These devices use magnetic waves to heat up pots, and cooks who have tried them quickly fall in love. The perceived advantage of gas stoves is pinpoint control of heat, but induction cooktops are more precise, and faster. For now, induction cooktops are generally more expensive than gas stoves. At retail, 30-inch gas cooktops generally run $500 to $1,000, while induction cooktops of that size run from $800 to $2,000. A change to induction cooking would make sense even if the climate were not a concern, because gas stoves are polluting our homes. Over the past decade, a growing body of scientific evidence has shown that gas stoves throw off pollutants like nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. When you are cooking, those invisible pollutants can easily reach levels that would be illegal outdoors, but the Clean Air Act does not reach inside the home. Scientists link gas stoves to asthma attacks and hospitalizations. In 2008, Johns Hopkins scientists urged doctors to advise parents of asthmatic children to get rid of their gas stoves or at least install powerful exhaust hoods. Asthma is a rampant, discriminatory disease, hitting children and communities of color the hardest. For health and climate reasons, we think people who can afford to switch now need not wait for prices to fall. Enlist a good contractor, replace gas appliances with heat pumps and cap off the gas line. "
Your Gas Stove Is Bad for You and the Planet
New York Times, 1 May 2019

"The results of a new fund manager survey on oil and gas producers show there is increasing momentum for more climate-friendly investment but uncertainty about how to bring slow starters up to speed. Influential players led by Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change and Climate Action 100+ have already started making changes to the resources sector, shown most recently by Equinor’spromise to link executive bonuses to emissions from 2030. Among the 39 managers to answer the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) questionnaire, 86 per cent wanted oil companies to align their businesses with the Paris climate goals, which aim to return global emissions to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Majors have already started spending big on clean energy and started cutting their own emissions, but this might not be enough to keep in line with the Paris goals. According to a Global Witness report, 40 per cent of oil and gas production would have to go by 2030 to keep warming below 1.5 degrees celsius, seeing companies stop expansion capital expenditure completely."
Funds uncertain on oil and gas path
Investors Chronicle,  30 April 2019

"There has been a surge in number of UK homes being supplied with gas from farm and food waste, according to latest data from the Green Gas Certification Schem. One million UK homes are now being at least partly supplied with 'green gas' energy produced from biodegradable farm and food waste, new estimates released today by the Green Gas Certification Scheme (GGCS) have shown. The latest data produced by the GGCS, which issues renewable gas Guarantees of Origin certificates for biomethane injected to the grid, shows there has been a 13-fold increase in the number of UK customers being supplied with biomethane since 2017, with the market hitting the one million mark for the first time at the start of 2019.... Most of these one million homes are being supplied with a mix of biomethane and natural gas, as few energy suppliers offer 100 per cent 'green gas' tariffs at present. Nevertheless, GGCS said there had been a four-fold increase in green gas production since 2015, estimating that current UK production of biomethane has reached around 2.5TWh. By 2050 green gas could supply as many as 10 million homes, equating to 149TWh of energy, the GGCS, predicting the sector could play a key role in helping to meet the UK's climate targets."
Green gas milestone: One million UK homes now supplied with biomethane
BusinessGreen, 25 April 2019

"Iraq will play a crucial part in meeting global oil demand over the next decade, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Iraq is expected to add 1.2 million barrels per day (mb/d) through 2030, the IEA projects, which is the third largest increase out of any other country in the world after the U.S. and Brazil. Already OPEC’s second largest producer, Iraq has succeeded in ramping up production to nearly 4.5 mb/d in 2018, a remarkable achievement given where the country has been in recent years. As a result, Iraq has played a pivotal role in global supply. “Iraq’s oil sector has navigated well a very turbulent period in the last decade, managing to nearly double its output despite the war against ISIL and large swings in the oil price,” the IEA wrote. “As a result, Iraq has accounted for around one-fifth of the net increase in global supply over this period, and is now the fifth largest producer in the world.” But there is no shortage of challenges facing Iraq, and the assumed increases “cannot be taken for granted,” the IEA cautioned. Obviously, volatile oil prices, and the prospect of a peak demand loom over the horizon. However, Iraq faces several unique hurdles that aren’t necessarily prominent issues elsewhere, including having sufficient water for injection, attracting foreign capital, and maintaining a stable political and security environment. On the first point, the IEA notes that having enough water to inject into its oil fields will be a critical element in Iraq growing its oil production. “Without it, production rates could struggle to climb much beyond their current levels,” the IEA warned. In order to reach the 6 mb/d of oil production by 2030, Iraq needs an additional 3 mb/d of water for injection. Meanwhile, Iraq may also struggle with having too much heavy oil and not enough refining capacity to handle it. The country’s largest oil refinery, the Baiji refinery, was damaged during the war against ISIS years ago and has not been fully repaired. The country’s crude slate is skewed towards heavy fuel oil, but it does not have the ability to process much of it. As a result, it imports refined fuels at a cost of around $2 to $2.5 billion per year, the IEA said. This could become a bigger problem heading into 2020 as rules on sulfur concentrations in marine fuels take effect. Global demand for heavy fuel oil is expected to plunge, which could force deeper discounts for Iraqi heavy high-sulfur oil. Meanwhile, Iraq has adequate supplies of natural gas but has been flaring gas at increasing rates as oil production climbs. Gas is needed for power generation and Iraq has resorted to importing larger volumes from Iran to feed its power plants even as it flares its own gas. ... These are serious challenges, but ones that the IEA feels are manageable. If they can be overcome, Iraq can produce as much as 6 mb/d of oil by 2030. However, this is not the first time that the IEA has been bullish on Iraq’s oil sector, and notably, the most recent outlook is decidedly more modest than previous iterations. In 2012, the IEA put out a special report on Iraq’s energy sector, in which it predicted that Iraq’s oil production would double from 3 mb/d in 2012 to more than 6 mb/d by 2020 and 8.3 mb/d by 2035. The IEA even laid out a more remote but optimistic scenario that held out the possibility that Iraq could hit 9 mb/d…by 2020. The IEA now thinks that Iraq can reach 6 mb/d by 2030, which is a decade later than it previously thought."
This Country Will Be Critical For The Oil Industry’s Future
OilPrice. com, 25 April 2019

"The industrial processes that underpin our global economy—manufacturing, fuel and chemical production, mining—are enormously complex and diverse. But they share one key input: they, as well as many others, require heat, and lots of it, which takes staggering amounts of fuel to produce. Heat and steam generation is critical to the global economy, but it’s also an overlooked and growing source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The good news is that innovative solar technologies can produce steam at industrial scale—reducing emissions and, increasingly, cutting costs. And given the current climate outlook, it’s urgent that industry adopt these new technologies.Despite enormous progress around the world to ramp up renewables and increase energy efficiency, global GHG emissions reached an all-time high in 2018. In a report released in January, the Rhodium Group found that even though renewable energy installations soared and coal plants shut down, carbon emissions in the U.S. rose sharply last year. Emissions from industry shot up 5.7 percent—more than in any other sector, including transportation and power generation. The authors of the Rhodium Group study concluded that despite increased efforts from policymakers and the business to tackle emissions, “the industrial sector is still almost entirely ignored.” This must change, at the global level. Worldwide industry is responsible for a quarter of total emissions. And while those from transportation and residential segments are trending down, the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that industrial emissions will grow some 24 percent by 2050.... This brings us back to heat. Industry is the largest consumer of energy, and a surprising 74 percent of industrial energy is in the form of heat, mostly process steam. Solar steam—making the sun’s heat work for industry—is a largely unexplored but promising avenue for reducing emissions. While photovoltaic (PV) panels that convert sunlight into electricity are more common, thermal solutions are what’s needed to meet industry’s growing demand for heat. In a solar thermal system, mirrors focus sunlight to intensify its heat and produce steam at the high temperatures needed for industry.... to meet the needs of extremely high-temperature (800-1,000 degrees C) industrial processes, the European Union is developing SOLPART, a research project to develop solar thermal energy that can be used to produce cement, lime and gypsum."
Solar Energy Isn’t Just for Electricity
Scientific American, 19 April 2019

"Saudi Arabia was built by oil, but natural gas is shaping its future. In fact, that trend applies to most countries’ economic growth plans. One of the cleanest, most cost-effective fuels for power generation, industry, transportation, and numerous other sectors worldwide, gas is the ultimate future fuel. Saudi Aramco, the world’s leading integrated energy and chemicals company, is making natural gas a strategic focus. Here’s why we see gas as the roadmap to a more prosperous, sustainable future – and how innovation is helping us tap its tremendous economic and environmental potential. To put our future aims in context, it’s important to see the central role that non-associated gas – found in natural gas reservoirs that do not contain crude oil – has historically played at Saudi Aramco. Our exploration of the Kingdom’s abundant natural gas began in 1956, with total production of 12bn ft³ by the late 1960s. The next milestone was 1977’s Master Gas System (MGS). With four natural gas liquids (NGL) processing plants, three major export terminals and a cross-country pipeline network, the megaproject provided a sturdy backbone for Saudi Arabia’s nascent industrial network, and drove the more economic practice of using or selling virtually all the gas associated with oil production, rather than burning it off. The MGS has achieved 100mn metric tons (mt) of CO2 avoidance over the past 40 years, thanks to that early decision to minimise flaring. These landmark developments laid the groundwork for the next phase: the strategic decision to substitute gas for oil in power generation. As Saudi Arabia enters a new phase of growth with Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s economic transformation program, energy demand is rising in the facilities and industrial sectors. Using cleaner-burning natural gas for electricity and freeing up liquid fuels for export and for value-added products like petrochemicals carries huge economic and environmental benefits, and diversifies the energy mix. Over the next decade, Saudi Arabia is taking clean gas to more than 70% of our utilities fuel mix – that’s among the highest rates in the world."
Nasir K. Al-Naimi | Vice-President, Petroleum Engineering & Development | Saudi Aramco
Natural Gas World, 18 April 2019

"One important piece of news on the global energy transformation went unnoticed [in 2018], despite the fact that it came from one of the most influential organizations, the International Energy Agency (IEA). The dramatic message was hidden in a graph on page 159 of the 2018 World Energy Outlook (WEO), the annual edition of the most significant report on global energy developments.It shows that with no new investment, global oil production — including all unconventional sources — will drop by 50% by 2025 (Figure 1). That means that the global oil supply crunch is likely to happen already in the next five to six years and not in decades, as many fossil fuel companies hope. The global annual oil production is set to decline by approximately six million barrels per day starting in 2020. That means in the coming years the provision of energy related to oil will reduce annually by an amount equal to the total energy demand of Germany in 2014.... New investments would be needed due to declining availability of oil at current price levels. But, the immense investments, undertaken since the early 2000s to find new [conventional] oilfields, have been unsuccessful (Figure 2). On the contrary, the number of oil discoveries have fallen to a historic low.... By 2014, the oil industry started to roll back investments and rebought their own shares on a large scale. Ever since, the industry has been unwilling to scale up investments again. The expected expansion of unconventional oil production in the USA will not be able to close the growing gap. Furthermore, within the last years, over six billion US dollars were divested from the fossil fuel energy industry. With an increasing number of investment funds, banks, countries, and companies divesting from fossil fuels, this number is expected to further grow within the next years."
The Largely Ignored Problem Of Global Peak Oil Will Seriously Hit In A Few Years
CleanTechnica, 18 April 2019

"A Swiss technology company says it can solve one of the biggest problems preventing the development of electric cars - range anxiety. The company, Innolith AG, is developing a vehicle battery that it says will provide an electric driving range of 1,000 kilometres. The company says the technology will be available commercially within three to five years. If successful, the project will enable car manufacturers to break the range anxiety barrier that has prevented many people from buying electric cars, because of fears that they may become stranded in the middle or near the end of a journey. It is perhaps the most significant factor in holding back the growth of electric car ownership in many countries, after a lack of an easily accessible charging infrastructure.  Many car industry figures regard a single-charge range of between 700 and 800 kilometres as the holy grail for electric motoring and believe consumers will not fully embrace EV’s until that goal has been achieved.  Innolith specialises in inorganic battery technology and it says its new battery will be the world’s first 1,000Wh/kg (watt-hour per kilogram) rechargeable battery. It also says the battery will be cheaper to manufacture because it does not involve the use of organic materials, which are expensive and a cause of controversy in many countries where they are mined. Amnesty International has already highlighted abuses of workers’ rights in some African countries. Another advantage is that, while traditional electric car batteries use a flammable organic electrolyte, the Innolith battery will utilise a non-flammable inorganic electrolyte, therefore reducing the risk of the vehicle catching fire. The battery is currently being developed at Innolith’s laboratory in Germany, with the development and commercialisation process expected to take between three and five years..... The company says the charging time required for a car fitted with its new batteries to reach a range of 400 kilometres will be the same as that of an electric car with a conventional battery, but the firm anticipates a full recharge to the higher range of 1,000 kilometres will require the vehicle to be left plugged in overnight."
Swiss company says it can offer 1,000-kilometre electric driving range within three to five years
RTE, 15 April 2019

"European oil major BP plans to exit from two production sharing contracts (PSC) for projects drilling for shale gas in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan, three sources with the knowledge of the matter said this week. BP is the last of the international oil majors, including Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips and ENI, to quit exploring for shale gas in China because of poor drilling results. Its departure leaves the sector firmly in the hands of domestic companies. In March 2016, BP agreed with China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) to explore and produce natural gas from shale rock formations in the Neijiang-Dazu block in Sichuan, its first such contract in China. It inked a second PSC on the Rongchangbei block later in 2016. CNPC was the operator in both deals. BP no longer wants to proceed with the Sichuan projects after drilling eight to 10 wells with disappointing results, two of the three sources said. One of the wells, the Wei 206-H1 that was drilled to a depth of 4,368 meters (14,300 feet) in the Neijiang-Dazu block, produced about 10,000 cubic meters a day of gas during test production, a fraction of the output from a typical CNPC shale gas well in the same geological zone, IHS Markit said in a research note. China is only just beginning to develop its vast shale gas resources with production last year making up only 6 percent of total natural gas output, because of geology that makes gas extraction difficult and a challenging operating environment. With BP and the other oil majors gone, PetroChina Co, CNPC’s listed arm, and Sinopec Corp are likely to dominate China’s shale gas sector using low-cost technology and services developed domestically. BP’s Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley said last week at a conference in Shanghai that the Sichuan projects faced “great challenges” because of its complex geology. To overcome those problems, BP used technology from its shale developments in the United States at the Sichuan site, Chinese business news portal The Paper reported."
BP latest oil major to exit China's shale gas after poor drilling results
Reuters, 11 April 2019

"Ghawar is the jewel in Saudi Aramco’s vast production portfolio. Located in the far east of Saudi Arabia, it is 200 kilometres long and 26 km across at its widest point, making it not much smaller than Puerto Rico. It was discovered in 1948, when Aramco was an American operation, and pumped its first oil three years later. Since then, the field has reliably produced five million barrels a day which, back in the 1970s, represented fully 10 per cent of global oil demand. Demand has almost doubled since then. Still, that one field supplies a hefty 5 per cent of global output. Or so we thought. In fact, Ghawar is not as resilient as we were led to believe. We just found out that its output has fallen substantially since Aramco previously came clean on its reserves and production. If Ghawar is losing momentum fast, peak oil – remember that theory? – might be closer than we had thought. And Ghawar is just one of dozens of enormous conventional-oil reservoirs scattered around the planet that are in various stages of decline. Aramco is state-owned and notoriously secretive, making its true size, pumping power and financial strength a guessing game that has obsessed oil traders and analysts forever. But Aramco lifted its veil somewhat this week, when it published a 470-page debt prospectus. The company is raising debt to help fund its US$69-billion purchase of Sabic, the Saudi chemicals giant. Other than confirming that Aramco is the world’s most profitable company by a long shot – net income last year was US$111.1-billion – there was a curious item on page 88: Ghawar’s maximum production capacity was 3.8 million barrels a day last year. As far as anyone can tell, the last official public document on Ghawar’s production was published in 2004, when two senior Aramco executives gave a presentation on global oil-supply scenarios at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Their slides showed that Ghawar produced about five million barrels a day between 1993 and 2003 – a quarter greater than last year’s figure. The slides also revealed that “peripheral water injection” began in 1965. Water injection is used to boost reservoir pressure as more and more oil is pumped out. As reservoirs get old, more water is pumped in. This appears to be the case with Ghawar. In 1993, its water “cut,” was about 25 per cent. A decade later, it was 33 per cent. The latter figure means that for every three barrels of fluid that were brought to the surface, two were oil and one was water. The Aramco prospectus does not say what Ghawar’s water cut is today, but it’s probably higher than it was in 2003. On paper, Ghawar looks like it can go for a good, long time – the prospectus lists its liquid reserves at 48.2 billion barrels. The figure suggests that, at current maximum production rates, Ghawar has three or four more decades of puff left in its aging body. But typically, conventional reservoirs go into steady, and often fairly sharp, decline after about 50 per cent is produced. Advances in recovery technology can slow that decline somewhat. But the Aramco prospectus doesn’t say either why Ghawar’s production has dropped so much since the last decade, or what percentage of its reserves are depleted. So we really have no idea how long it can keep pumping 3.8 million barrels a day. All Aramco will say is that more than 80 per cent of its reservoirs are less than 40 per cent depleted. But 20 per cent of them are half gone already. Is one of them Ghawar? Ghawar’s slowdown, coupled with the measured fall-off in many other huge finds – from the North Sea to Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay – are sending out powerful messages that the U.S. shale boom might not be enough to offset the relentless decline in conventional production. Take Mexico’s Cantarell reservoir. In 2004, it was spewing out 2.1 million barrels a day, making it enormous even by Saudi standards. Today, its daily output is only 135,000 barrels and Mexico has become a net oil importer for the first time in half a century. Ghawar’s slowdown inevitably brings back memories of the peak-oil theory, which said that we had reached the point of maximum oil production and that the economic consequences of running the world on ever less oil would be grave. One of the biggest proponents of the theory was the late Matthew Simmons, the U.S. investment banker whose 2005 book, Twilight in the Desert, argued that Saudi Arabia in general and Ghawar in particular were less robust that advertised. In his book launch speech, he said the crucial Saudi oil supplies “were coming from only a handful of overworked, aging fields that were all at risk of a sudden production collapse.” Mr. Simmons’s peak-oil warnings proved wrong. He failed to anticipate the U.S. shale oil revolution. The Permian shale basin in the U.S. Southwest alone produces 4.1 million barrels a day, turning the United States into a powerhouse of the unconventional-oil variety. But he might not have been wrong about Ghawar. Its production is far less than we had known and if it does collapse, peak oil will come a bit sooner."
Is peak oil closer than we think? Saudi Aramco reveals a troubling fact about the world’s biggest oil field
Globe and Mail, 5 April 2019

"... researchers at Stanford University are working on a biology-based battery alternative. Their idea is to use microbes to convert excess renewable energy into methane, which could be burned as needed.... In nature, the microorganism Methanococcus maripaludis consumes hydrogen and carbon dioxide and exudes methane. So, the researchers are using renewable energy-powered electrodes to split water and free its hydrogen atoms. Those hydrogen atoms are fed to the microbes, which then pull carbon dioxide from the air and release methane. The gas doesn't dissolve in water, so it can be captured and stored. Then, at times of peak demand or when renewables aren't producing, the methane can be burned much like fossil fuel sources. It might seem backwards to turn renewable energy into methane, which releases carbon dioxide when it burns. But, this methane is produced by pulling carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, so the process is carbon-neutral. One significant advantage over battery storage systems, like Tesla's Powerpacks.... "
Researchers want to store excess renewable energy as methane
Engaget, 5 April 2019

"Saudi Arabia is threatening to sell its oil in currencies other than the dollar if Washington passes a bill exposing OPEC members to U.S. antitrust lawsuits, three sources familiar with Saudi energy policy said.They said the option had been discussed internally by senior Saudi energy officials in recent months. Two of the sources said the plan had been discussed with OPEC members and one source briefed on Saudi oil policy said Riyadh had also communicated the threat to senior U.S. energy officials. The chances of the U.S. bill known as NOPEC coming into force are slim and Saudi Arabia would be unlikely to follow through, but the fact Riyadh is considering such a drastic step is a sign of the kingdom’s annoyance about potential U.S. legal challenges to OPEC. In the unlikely event Riyadh were to ditch the dollar, it would undermine the its status as the world’s main reserve currency, reduce Washington’s clout in global trade and weaken its ability to enforce sanctions on nation states. “The Saudis know they have the dollar as the nuclear option,” one of the sources familiar with the matter said. .... A move by Saudi Arabia to ditch the dollar would resonate well with big non-OPEC oil producers such as Russia as well as major consumers China and the European Union, which have been calling for moves to diversify global trade away from the dollar to dilute U.S. influence over the world economy. Russia, which is subject to U.S. sanctions, has tried to sell oil in euros and China’s yuan but the proportion of its sales in those currencies is not significant. Venezuela and Iran, which are also under U.S. sanctions, sell most of their oil in other currencies but they have done little to challenge the dollar’s hegemony in the oil market. However, if a long-standing U.S. ally such as Saudi Arabia joined the club of non-dollar oil sellers it would be a far more significant move likely to gain traction within the industry.Saudi Arabia controls a 10th of global oil production, roughly on par with its main rivals - the United States and Russia. Its oil firm Saudi Aramco holds the crown of the world’s biggest oil exporter with sales of $356 billion last year. Depending on prices, oil is estimated to represent 2 percent to 3 percent of global gross domestic product. At the current price of $70 per barrel, the annual value of global oil output is $2.5 trillion. Not all of those oil volumes are traded in the U.S. currency but at least 60 percent is traded via tankers and international pipelines with the majority of those deals done in dollars.... Other potential threats raised in Saudi discussions about retaliation against NOPEC included liquidating the kingdom’s holdings in the United States, the sources said. The kingdom has nearly $1 trillion invested in the United States and holds some $160 billion in U.S. Treasuries. If it did carry out its threat, Riyadh would also have to ditch the Saudi riyal’s peg to the dollar, which has been exchanged at a fixed rate since 1986, the sources said. The United States, the world’s largest oil consumer, relied heavily on Saudi and OPEC supplies for decades - while supporting Riyadh militarily against its arch-foe Iran. But soaring shale oil production at home has made Washington less dependant on OPEC, allowing it to be more forceful in the way it deals with Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern nations. Over the past year, Trump has regularly called on OPEC to pump more oil to lower global oil prices, and linked his demands to political support for Riyadh - something previous U.S. administrations have refrained from doing, at least publicly."
Exclusive: Saudi Arabia threatens to ditch dollar oil trades to stop 'NOPEC' - sources
Reuters, 5 April 2019

"Total subsidiary Saft signed an agreement with Tianneng Energy Technology to expand their production of lithium-ion batteries. They plan to use the Changxing Gigafactory which has a capacity of up to 5.5 gigawatt hours. Production will be focused on supplying the market for electric bikes, vehicles, and energy storage.....It follows a series of moves by big oil companies to move into the electricity sector as industry insiders predict that oil demand will peak within the next two decades. Last week Shell entered the UK domestic energy market in a public way for the first time, rebranding First Utility, which it bought last year, as Shell Energy. The firm said it has moved all customers to renewable energy and plans to become the largest electricity supplier in the world. Total, meanwhile, bought Direct Energie and its renewable energy and gas power plants last year. It hopes to reach 7m customers in France and Belgium in three years. However, the firms also face challenges. Margins in the power space are lower than big oil is used to, and the transition will require huge investment. Despite signs of a shift, low carbon investments still remain a tiny sliver of oil majors’ capital spending."
Total expands battery business as oil majors look beyond global peak oil
City AM, 4 April 2019

"A South Australian company has unveiled the world’s first operational thermal energy device (TED). The TED creators report the battery can store renewable energy, has higher storage capacity than traditional batteries, and is completely recyclable. The thermal battery has similar functionality to lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries; it can take any form of electrical input and create alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC). Unlike existing batteries, it can charge and discharge at the same time, according to Serge Bondarenko, chief executive officer from CCT Energy Storage. And rather than storing an electrical charge, it converts the electrical input to heat.... The thermal battery’s storage capability is 12 times greater than lead-acid batteries and has five to six times the capacity of lithium-ion. “So the storage capacity is significantly higher than what we see now with traditional battery storage devices in the market," says Bondarenko. Acknowledging that all technologies have their challenges, Bondarenko still believes they have a competitive advantage. Their thermal battery is considerably cheaper than lead-acid and lithium-ion."
New Thermal Battery Could Be A 'Game Changer' For Storing Renewable Energy
Forbes, 3 April 2019

"Not that long ago, California was the second most vital U.S. oil producing state. Since peaking in 1985, however, output has plunged almost 60 percent to 460,000 barrels per day (bpd).  This collapse is made even more discouraging by the fact that total U.S. crude oil production has been soaring to record heights, up 140 percent to 12.1 million bpd over the past decade. Indeed, the shale revolution that has transformed the U.S. oil and gas industry has completely passed California by. Since 2008, while U.S. crude oil reserves have more than doubled to 45 billion barrels, California’s reserves have declined 25 percent to 2.2 billion barrels in the shale-era. The most troubling part for California is that the state still uses a lot of oil. California each day devours around 40 million gallons of gasoline, uses 8 million gallons of diesel fuel, and accounts for 20 percent of all U.S. jet fuel consumption. Although the state is surely a global leader on renewables, wind and solar are strictly sources of electricity and do not really displace the need for petroleum, a designed transportation fuel. For every passenger vehicle in California today that runs on electricity there are about 70 that run on oil. Even reaching the ambitious goal of 5 million plug-ins by 2030 would mean less than 15 percent of the state’s cars running on electricity. The inevitable result of plummeting production amid high consumption is that California is forced to import 70 percent of the oil that it needs. ... For its own part, California does have the Monterey shale formation in the central and southern part of the state. The play could hold at least 20 billion barrels of recoverable oil and untold amounts of natural gas. Current Governor Gavin Newsom, however, is not supportive of development like his predecessor Jerry Brown was. Although there are geological issues in the Monterey that make it a difficult play to exploit, many of those differences could be overcome with capital and by deploying the constantly evolving technology that the U.S. shale industry enjoys. The real problem is that California’s regulatory and tax policies discourage new oil production in the state...... But overall, missing out on the shale revolution for California might be worse on the natural gas side. Gas is still the main source of power in the state, even accounting for over half of generation in recent years. California’s need to import 95 percent of its gas supply is a growing problem because other U.S. states, particularly Western neighbors, are increasingly moving toward more gas to meet rising demand while also lowering greenhouse gas emissions."
California's Oil Industry Collapses Despite Shale Boom
Rigzone, 3 April 2019

"Utilities across Europe are enjoying a windfall, as a gas glut caused by excess liquefied natural gas shipments from Asia drives prices to multi-year lows. A mild Asian winter coupled with nuclear-plant restarts in Japan and ample supplies from the US and Russia have cut down deliveries of LNG to large buyers in the region. As prices for the supercooled fuel have fallen, hitting a three-year low, cargoes have been directed instead to Europe. That is pushing down prices there, too: the UK wholesale day-ahead gas price, for example, is trading just above 31p per therm, the lowest seasonal level since 2016 and below a 5-year average of 46p per therm. The price moves show how gas markets around the world have become more connected thanks to increasing volumes of LNG cargoes moving the gas from one continent to another, freed from an old regime of rigid contracts with fixed destinations. “In the future, gas prices in Europe will be driven by LNG,” said Niall Trimble, managing director of oil and gas consultants The Energy Contract Company. LNG will also gain greater influence on European and UK gas markets as volumes from the region’s production areas in the North Sea, Netherlands and Norway decline. The UK became a net importer of natural gas in the mid-2000s as North Sea production fell. The UK is among the leading destinations for LNG cargoes thanks to plentiful terminal storage capacity. The amount of LNG used in the UK gas pipeline system quadrupled in the fourth quarter of 2018 from the previous year and jumped 4.5 times in the first quarter of this year. Asia and Europe are the two main LNG importing regions, and until recently, robust demand from China, South Korea and Japan have kept the Japan-Korea Marker (JKM), the Asian benchmark, higher than the European equivalent. Sam Laidlaw, a former chief executive of Centrica, the gas and electricity company, who now leads the private equity-backed Neptune Energy, said he expected the drop in gas prices to be a “short-term phenomenon” as demand picks back up in Asia. He said any resolution of the trade spat between Washington and Beijing would likely see more oil and LNG flow from the US to Asia, tightening supplies available to Europe. National Grid, which plays a role in ensuring UK energy supply matches demand, said in a recent report that it was expecting much higher deliveries of LNG this summer than in 2018. This was because LNG shipping costs had risen over the winter, making Europe, which is a closer destination, a more profitable market than Asia for cargoes from the US and Russia. However, some analysts said that the weakness in the Asian price was encouraging some producers to shut down their facilities for maintenance."
Gas supply glut in Europe drives prices to multiyear lows
Financial Times, 3 April 2019

"Royal Dutch Shell is leaving one of the largest US oil industry groups because of differences over climate policy, underlining the pressure big energy companies face from investors to ensure any lobbying matches their goals on carbon emissions. From next year Shell will not renew its membership of American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, a trade association that represents nearly 300 US oil refiners and chemicals producers, in part because of the group’s opposition to a carbon tax or other prices on greenhouse gas emissions. The company is for now staying in other influential US business organisations, including the American Petroleum Institute and the US Chamber of Commerce, but said it would work in those groups to shape their views. Ben van Beurden, Shell’s chief executive, said the company “must be prepared to openly voice our concerns” when it disagreed with industry groups on climate policy. “In cases of material misalignment, we should also be prepared to walk away,” he added."
Shell to quit US oil lobby group over climate change clash
Financial Times, 2 April 2019

"Saudi Aramco’s Ghawar field, the largest oilfield in the world, had 58 billion barrels of oil equivalent in combined reserves at the end of 2018, and 48.3 billion in liquid reserves, the company said in its bond prospectus on Monday."
Aramco's Ghawar field had 58 bln barrels of oil equivalent end-2018 - prospectus
Reuters, 1 April 2019

"Romania’s new energy regulations risk undermining plans by companies to develop big offshore gas projects in the Black Sea, putting billions of dollars of revenue at risk and squandering a chance to challenge Russia’s Gazprom in the region. Oil industry officials have warned the changes, which include a cap on some gas prices for local producers until 2022 and a 2 percent turnover tax on all energy firms bar state-owned coal-fired power plants, could slash investment plans. OMV Petrom, which is developing a Romanian gas field with ExxonMobil, said key conditions for the project were still not in place while Black Sea Oil & Gas, controlled by private equity firm The Carlyle Group, warned it could pull out of another project if the rules remain. The European Commission also told Romania in March that gas export restrictions and regulated prices probably contravene EU rules and could be challenged by Brussels. Most of the new measures, first announced in an emergency decree in December, were confirmed on Friday. .... Romania now risks delaying offshore gas projects and playing into the hands of Russia, which blocked Ukraine from exploring its Black Sea resources by occupying Crimea, analysts said..... Romania’s Black Sea gas has the potential to challenge Gazprom’s dominant role in central and eastern Europe, diversify gas supplies and bring the Romanian government revenue of $26 billion (19.85 billion pounds) by 2040, according to the consultancy. Romania’s offshore gas reserves are estimated at 200 billion cubic metres. Russia, meanwhile, has proven reserves of 35 trillion cubic metres, according to BP’s statistical review. But while German consumption alone would empty the Romanian gas fields in two years, they could cover the combined 2017 demand of Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Moldova for more than six years. .... While Romania is almost energy independent - it only gets 10 percent of its needs from Russia - gas imports in the first month of 2019 were roughly 60 percent higher than a year ago, data from gas pipeline operator Transgaz showed."
Romania's Black Sea gas projects hanging by a thread
Reuters, 1 April 2019

"In the Asia-Pacific region alone, nearly 2,600 platforms, 35,000 wells, 7.5 million tonnes of steel and 55,000 kilometres of pipelines will need to be decommissioned over the next decade across a region ranging from India to Papua New Guinea and China to Australia. The potential cost for this could rise above £78billion. Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia are collectively thought to have around 1,500 structures and 7,000 oil fields that will be either 30 years old or require decommissioning by 2038. In the Gulf of Thailand, Chevron is faced with 300 platforms and 6,000 wells that must be decommissioned over the next decade. India has a further 300 structures and up to 1,000 oil fields facing the same scenario. Australia expects 40 offshore fields to cease operations over the next decade. Closer to home, according to industry analysts Wood Mackenzie, up to half of the North Sea’s 600 installations – first installed 40 years ago – are scheduled for decommissioning by 2021. The UK government estimates the cost of removal at £20billion over the next 25 years in the North Sea. Globally, more than 4,000 such installations are scheduled for removal and 7,000 fields will cease production by 2022. In a report last year, Decommissioning – Will the Time Ever be Right?, Wood Mackenzie cautioned that ‘once thought of as a North Sea problem, decommissioning is quickly becoming one of the biggest issues in the global oil and gas industry’. It calculated that companies face a decommissioning bill of £24billion between 2018 and 2022. Decommissioning in Asia was ‘a mammoth task’ and Wood Mackenzie warned that governments and companies faced ‘cost blowouts’. "
The terrifying cost of scrapping the world’s ageing oil and gas rigs
Geographical Magazine, March 2019

"The European Union's use of renewable energy -- such as hydropower, wind and solar -- reached 17.5 percent in 2017, keeping it on track for a target of 20 percent by 2020. Each member state has its own renewable energy goal, based on its situation and potential, ranging from 10 to 49 percent. While 11 countries in the bloc have already surpassed their targets, others are lagging behind, according to EU statistics authority Eurostat. With the target for 2030 at 32 percent, Eurostat says: "While the EU as a whole is on course to meet its 2020 targets, some member states will need to make additional efforts to meet their obligations." Europe's renewable energy leaders are Nordic countries: Sweden, Finland and Denmark. Since 2012 more than half of the total energy consumed in Sweden has come from renewable sources, according to the International Energy Agency. This is due in large part to hydroelectric power, which provides more than 40 percent of the country's electricity output. Swedes heat themselves mainly with biofuels. Denmark -- a small, flat country long dependent on energy imports -- now gets 43 percent of its electricity from wind power after investment starting in the late 1970s when it began phasing out coal plants. Luxembourg and the Netherlands are the EU countries with the lowest consumption of renewables, reaching 6.4 percent and 6.6 percent respectively. Despite its investment in offshore wind farms, the Netherlands is the furthest from reaching its targets. Yet, with a part of the country lying below sea level, it is particularly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change."
How Europe is faring on renewable energy targets
AFP, 31 March 2019

"Production of the so-called shale, or tight oil, will continue to increase through 2030 and reach more than 10 million barrels per day in the early 2030s, the Energy Information Administration said. "EIA projects further U.S. tight oil production growth as the industry continues to improve drilling efficiencies and reduce costs, which makes developing tight oil resources less sensitive to oil prices than in the past," according to the EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2019.Tight oil, or shale oil, production refers to extraction of crude oil contained in low-permeability formations that, thanks to technological advances, started to be tapped resulting in soaring production in the United States and becoming in 2015 the more common form of oil production. Shale oil production reached 6.5 million barrels per day in the United States in 2018, accounting for 61% of total U.S. production.Most of the increase in recent years in crude oil production in the United States is related to the development of the Permian Basin in western Texas and eastern New Mexico. "Three major tight oil plays in the Permian Basin -- the Spraberry, Bone Spring, and Wolfcamp -- accounted for 41 percent of U.S. tight oil production in 2018," and they will remain very important in coming decades potentially representing half of the cumulative tight oil production in the next 30 years, the EIA said. Bakken and Eagle Ford also remain major contributors to U.S. tight oil, and accounted for 19 percent and 17 percent of crude oil production in 2018. Eagle Ford is in Texas, while the Bakken occupies parts of Montana, North Dakota and Canada....The EIA worked on two alternative cases in which technology and resource assumptions are modified. In one optimistic technology, lower-cost scenario, total U.S. oil production in 2050 is nearly 19 million barrels per day. In the less optimistic scenario total U.S. oil production in 2050 falls to about 8 million barrels per day, it said. The EIA also contemplated the impact that international oil prices could have, and evaluated scenarios contemplating a high as well as a low oil price. In the high oil price scenario, in which oil hits $100 per barrel in 2019 and rises to $208 (in 2018 dollars), that would lead to a peak of 18 million barrels per day by 2024 before declining to 13 million barrels per day in 2050. EIA reports that conventional oil production in the United States during the period covered appears relatively steady at 4 million barrels per day for nearly all of the period. In the low oil price case scenario, which contemplates an average price under $50 per barrel through 2050, total domestic production would increase to nearly 13 million barrels per day in 2022, before declining through the rest of the period. According to the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, hydraulic fracturing has been utilized for more than 60 years and has been "safely and effectively applied" to well over a million oil and gas wells in the United States alone.Hydraulic fracking, which injects water mixed with chemicals to penetrate shale formations, is controversial. There are more than 700 studies that have focused on potential risks, with a high number of them showing risks or actual harms, Forbes reported. New York, Vermont and Maryland, which has proven gas reserves, have laws banning fracking."
EIA: U.S. shale output to keep rising until peak after 2030
UPI, 29 March 2019

"Global energy demand grew at its fastest pace in the last decade in 2018, increasing CO2 emissions to a record high, according to a new report. Worldwide energy demand grew by 2.3 percent last year, according to the International Energy Agency’s latest Global Energy & CO2 Status Report. That high demand, “driven by a robust global economy and stronger heating and cooling needs in some regions,” also prompted a 1.7 percent increase in CO2 emissions to a new high of 33 Gigatonnes. Demand for all fuels increased across the board, but especially natural gas, which accounted for 45 percent of the rise in energy consumption and was especially strong in China and the U.S. “China, India, and the United States accounted for 85 percent of the net increase in emissions, while emissions declined for Germany, Japan, Mexico, France and the United Kingdom,” the report noted. Coal’s share in global energy continues to decline, and yet, overall demand increased again in 2018. Coal CO2 emissions surpassed 10 Gt in 2018 through power use alone. Asia — especially China — is the driving force behind that growth.... The IEA release calls electricity the “fuel” of the future, and notes global demand increased 4 percent in 2018, outpacing overall energy demand. Electricity is nearing a 20 percent share in total final consumption of energy. This rapid growth is pushing electricity towards a 20% share in total final consumption of energy. Despite the increase in fossil fuel use, renewables also played a large role in meeting energy demand. Renewables increased by 4 percent in 2018, making up nearly a quarter of demand growth. Renewable-based electricity generation also reached its fastest pace within the decade, covering nearly 45 percent of the world’s overall growth. Solar, wind, and hydropower ranked 1-2-3, with the sources making up nearly a third of that growth. Most of the rest was attributed to bioenergy.  The IEA says renewable use “needs to expand much more quickly” to meet the agency’s own scenario for sustainability, from one-quarter of power from renewables today to two-thirds by 2040. "
Global energy demand at highest growth in a decade, emissions reach record high in 2018
Electrek, 27 March 2019

"THE cost to the UK taxpayer of decommissioning oil and gas assets could be much higher than the £24 billion official estimate, MPs have warned in an assessment that could stoke concern about the outlook for the public finances. Public Accounts Committee (PAC) members have highlighted significant uncertainty over the cost to taxpayers of decommissioning offshore oil and gas assets in a report published today. Their report also sounds the alarm about the potential cost of decommissioning assets used in fracking for oil and gas. It complains about a “worrying lack of understanding” in Whitehall about the practicalities involved. The findings will make challenging reading for ministers amid concern the UK could fail to capitalise on opportunities that will be created as firms grapple with the challenges posed by decommissioning as fields run dry in coming decades."
North Sea oil and gas clean up cost concerns highlighted by MPs
The Herald, 27 March 2019

"Equinor, the Norwegian oil-and-gas giant formerly known as Statoil, will announce today that it plans to pour money into an approximately $180 million investment fund focused on battery and related technologies, Fortune has learned. That tech is intended to spread the use of renewables by allowing them to be stored in ways that make economic sense.... Equinor’s announcement comes less than three weeks after Norway’s government said the country’s sovereign-wealth fund, the world’s largest, would sell off holdings in oil-and-gas exploration and production companies. Norway’s finance minister, Siv Jensen, said the Government Pension Fund Global, which manages about $1 trillion in assets, would take the step to shield Norway’s treasury from risk from oil-price declines."
Norway's State-Run Oil and Gas Giant Is Backing a Battery-Research Fund
Fortune, 26 March 2019

"U.S. natural gas consumption increased by 10% in 2018, reaching a record high of 82.1 Bcfd, according to EIA’s recently released Natural Gas Monthly. Domestic consumption of natural gas increased across all sectors in 2018, led by a 3.8 Bcfd increase in the electric power sector caused by a combination of recent natural gas-fired electric capacity additions and weather-related factors. The electric power sector consumed 29.1 Bcfd in 2018, or 35% of total domestic U.S. natural gas consumption. Natural gas continued to make up the highest share of utility-scale electricity generation after first surpassing coal-fired generation on an annual basis in 2016. Specifically, natural gas accounted for one-third (35%) of utility-scale electricity generation in 2018, followed by coal (27%), nuclear (19%), and hydropower (7%). New natural gas generator capacity additions continued to displace coal-fired power plants and other less efficient sources of electricity. In 2018, about 14.5 gigawatts (GW) of net natural gas capacity were added, while almost 13 GW of coal-fired capacity were retired."
EIA: Power sector pushed domestic U.S. natural gas consumption to new record in 2018
World Oil, 25 March 2019

"Trade body Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) has estimated that £200bn is needed to improve ageing North Sea oil and gas infrastructure over the coming 16 years.  OGUK’s Business 2019 Outlook  warns that the UK North Sea oil and gas industry faces “fundamental challenges” and that a huge amount of private investment is needed between now and 2035. Challenges facing the industry include increasing pressure to cut carbon emissions, a factor currently acting as a catalyst for the renewables market. IN all £100bn is needed to support ongoing extraction and processing. A further £30bn is needed to support companies already at work extracting of 2.5bn barrels of oil from new sites. Of the £200bn total, £40bn, must be spent on fresh exploration of the North Sea and installation of new infrastructure to extract 2.4bn barrels of oil from sites not already under consideration. Another £25bn is needed for decommissioning ageing assets and there is a suggestion that retired gas and oil pipelines could be turned into carbon capture systems."
Calls for £200bn North Sea oil and gas upgrade
New Civil Engineer, 21 March 2019

"Oil trader and tanker charterer Vitol announced its 2018 results which reported 1.5M more barrels a day of crude oil were traded compared to five years ago.... In a stark warning to shareholders, the company anticipated that oil demand will continue to grow for the next 15 years, even with a marked increase in the sales of electric vehicles, but that demand growth will begin to be impacted thereafter. It is investing in alternate energy sources including low carbon, a joint venture with VLC Energy which constructed the UK’s largest battery pack and is also investing in renewable energy assets across Europe."
Tanker charterer Vitol warns oil peak is just 15 years away
Tanker Shipping & Trade, 20 March 2019

"The Trump administration’s pro-drilling policy took a blow when a federal judge ordered a halt to oil and gas exploration on more than 300,000 acres in Wyoming, saying the government must account for its cumulative effect on global climate change. The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by a pair of environmental conservation groups against the Obama administration in 2016, challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s decision to lease federal lands for energy development in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado. It stressed the difference between assessing environmental impacts in isolation and measuring their collective impact.... While the judge faulted the federal government for merely summarizing the potential impacts without elaborating on the degree to which its decisions might contribute to climate change, he stopped short of voiding the Wyoming leases at issue. Instead, he ordered the bureau to re-examine nine of its environmental assessments and its “no significant impact” findings and barred the BLM from authorizing new drilling in the state until it satisfies its environmental-law obligations."
U.S. Ordered to Halt Oil, Gas Drilling in Swath of Wyoming
Bloomberg, 20 March 2019

"By the end of the year, the governments of Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Israel are expected to sign a multilateral agreement to build the EastMed pipeline, which promises to bring a natural gas bonanza to Europe (, accessed on March 4). Russia is currently the largest single provider of gas to the EU, and supplies from the Eastern Mediterranean basin are seen as a viable alternative to state-owned Russian gas monopoly Gazprom. Currently, Russia accounts for around 40 percent of the European bloc’s natural gas imports (, November 19, 2018). The planned EastMed gas corridor is projected to cost $7 billion and is backed by the European Commission. It is designed to initially transport 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year from offshore reserves in Cyprus and Israel to Greece and, thanks to its connection with the planned Poseidon pipeline, onward to southern Italy. Yet, critics say the project is too expensive and faces serious technical challenges (Cyprus Mail, February 13, 2019;, May 10, 2017). Furthermore, EastMed is opposed by Turkey, which has territorial disputes with the internationally-recognized Cypriot government in Nicosia, including competing claims to waters around the island. For their part, the Egyptians emphasize that the EastMed initiative is still in the feasibility study stage—a process that will take a couple of years to be completed—and note that Egypt could re-export the region’s natural gas to Europe now by using underutilized Egyptian gas liquefaction plants, more quickly and at a lower cost (Cyprus Mail, February 11, 2019). Indeed, Egypt is already moving in that direction. A new conduit will deliver natural gas from Cyprus’ Aphrodite field to Egyptian territory. Some experts argue the Cyprus–Egypt pipeline puts the EastMed corridor at risk because the latter needs all Cypriot gas to be commercially feasible (Haaretz, February 27). Interestingly, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, the kingmaker in Italy’s fractured coalition government led by the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the nationalist League party, is a supporter of the EastMed gas pipeline (Startmag, December 13, 2018). Salvini’s Russia-friendly League is also endorsing the completion of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which the Five Star Movement has tried to block by raising environmental concerns (, February 27, 2019; see EDM, November 5, 2018). TAP is the westernmost section of the EU-supported Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), a planned system of conduits to carry natural gas from the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz gas field to Italy, via Georgia, Turkey, Greece and Albania. TAP is designed to pipe 10 bcm of Azerbaijani gas to Europe by 2020, with the target of doubling supplies in the following years. The EU aims to diversify gas imports away from Russia with the help of EastMed and TAP, in addition to other energy transit projects. In this respect, Italy’s support for the two gas pipelines could be a source of friction between Salvini and the Kremlin, whose relations are reportedly close."
Italy Turns Its Back On Russian Gas, 16 March 2019

"The International Energy Agency has warned that crude supplies from Venezuela are at risk of falling sharply and becoming a “challenge” for the global the oil market, indicating it hopes other Opec members will be prepared to help cover any shortfall should the situation deteriorate. In its monthly market report, the IEA — which advises major oil consuming countries — said a power crisis in Venezuela that disrupted crude exports this week could return or worsen, threatening 1.2m barrels a day of oil supplies or more than 1 per cent of global output. “Although there are signs that the situation is improving, the degradation of the power system is such that we cannot be sure if the fixes are durable,” the IEA said. “During the past week, industry operations were seriously disrupted and ongoing losses on a significant scale could present a challenge to the market.” The IEA said the market had a potential “supply cushion”, however, from the fact Saudi Arabia, other Opec members and their allies like Russia have been making production cuts. Oil prices hit a year-high above $68 a barrel on Thursday. “Much of this spare capacity is composed of crude oil similar in quality to Venezuela’s exports,” the IEA said. “Therefore, in the event of a major loss of supply from Venezuela, the potential means of avoiding serious disruption to the oil market is theoretically at hand.”
IEA warns Venezuela chaos may ‘challenge’ global oil market
 Financial Times, 15 March 2019

""The International Energy Agency sees no peak in oil demand and expects the United States will drive global oil supply growth over the next five years, according to its most recent annual oil market forecast, published Monday. “These are extraordinary times for the oil industry as geopolitics become a bigger factor in the markets and the global economy is slowing down,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director. “Everywhere we look, new actors are emerging and past certainties are fading. This is the case in both the upstream and the downstream sector. And it’s particularly true for the United States, by far the stand-out champion of global supply growth.”.... According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the United States now accounts for 70% of the total increase in global oil capacity out to 2024, adding a total of 4 million barrels per day (mb/d), following “spectacular” growth of 2.2 mb/d in 2018. “The second wave of the US shale revolution is coming,” said Dr Birol. “It will see the United States account for 70% of the rise in global oil production and some 75% of the expansion in LNG trade over the next five years.  This will shake up international oil and gas trade flows, with profound implications for the geopolitics of energy.” In addition to the United States, the IEA forecasts growth among other non-OPEC producers as well, including Brazil, Norway, and new producer Guyana. Iraq will reinforce itself as one of the world’s top oil producers as the world’s third-largest source of new supply, compensating for losses from Iran and Venezuela, as well as the still-fragile situation in Libya. The IEA also expects upstream investment to increase in 2019 for the third year in a row. Further, for the first time since the industry’s downturn in 2015, investment in conventional assets could increase faster than for the shale industry this year. It’s worth noting, however, that the IEA’s growth forecasts have been paired with pleas for further investment “to ensure adequate spare production capacity.” For the IEA, “it is therefore reassuring that 2019 upstream investment is set to rise for the third straight year, according to preliminary plans announced by key oil and gas companies.” Conversely, the IEA believes that the oil industry’s downstream sector is “on the eve of one of the biggest shakeups ever” in advance of the implementation of the International Maritime Organisation’s new rules governing bunker fuel quality in 2020. There have been concerns over the past few years that the shipping and refining industries, despite several years notice, might encounter shortfalls when the new rules come into effect, however, the IEA’s updated analysis predicts industry players will be in a strong position to comply across the medium term. Even more troubling, however, than the IEA’s predicted demand and investment growth is its contention that it “continues to see no peak in oil demand, as petrochemicals and jet fuel remain the key drivers of growth, particularly in the United States and Asia, more than offsetting a slowdown in gasoline due to efficiency gains and electric cars.” According to the IEA — and in the face of “Ongoing trade disputes between major powers and a disorderly Brexit” and acknowledging that “the economic mood is not encouraging” — oil demand is still expected to grow according to its most recent forecast, “although at a more measured pace. The IEA points to the fact that “leading developing economies will continue to expand” as the reason for its prediction oil demand will continue to grow. “China and India will account for 44% of the 7.1 mb/d growth in global demand expected to 2024,” wrote the authors of the Oil 2019 Analysis and forecasts to 2024 report. “Despite its recent slowdown, China’s GDP has more than doubled in real terms in the past decade and is still growing at a healthy clip. Income levels have grown sharply and the structure of oil demand is moving away from heavy industrial sectors towards consumer needs. As for India, while its GDP per capita is still only a fifth of China’s, it is growing more strongly: By 2024, India’s oil demand growth will match China.” However, the IEA’s fossil fuel and energy forecasts have repeatedly underappreciated and underrepresented on-the-ground events and policies which have been shaping energy demand over the past decade....  global quality assurance and risk management company DNV GL, which in September of 2018 published its Energy Transition Outlook 2018 and which predicted oil will peak in 2023. “Like the IEA, DNV GL also sees continued growth in oil use through to the early 2020s,” said Bent Erik Bakken, Deputy Programme Director of the Energy Transition Outlook of DNV GL, who spoke to me via email. “The IEA annual oil forecast stops in 2024. But other IEA publications go further, and its NPS projection to 2040 sees continued growth in oil demand.” “Unlike the IEA, we forecast that demand will level off in the early 2020s, and, from 2028, oil use will start a steady decline,” Bakken continued. “This is related to slowing global growth, but also to the inexorable electrification of the world’s fleet of road vehicles. That really starts to take off once light EVs reach strict cost parity with their internal combustion counterparts in 2024. Other factors to consider are the rise of biofuels and, longer term, the use of hydrogen fuel cell technology for long distance heavy goods transport. Moreover, we do not see petrochemicals as a life raft for the oil industry once demand for oil in transport starts to wane. The world’s war on plastic will see the markets for plastic will grow more slowly than GDP.”"
International Energy Agency Sees No Peak Oil In Sight, US To Lead Oil Supply Growth
Clean Technica, 14 March 2019

"The U.S. government cut its oil production forecast for the first time in six months as drillers scale back in smaller shale plays and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.While crude output is still expected to reach record levels, the Energy Information Administration trimmed its 2019 forecast to 12.3 million barrels a day -- 110,000 barrels-a-day lower than it had forecast previously. In 2020, production is expected to reach 13.03 million barrels a day -- 170,000 barrels a day lower than last month’s estimate.“This is just the beginning,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group Inc. in Chicago. “The reality of the situation is that a lot of these guys are not making money and are having a hard time keeping these production levels up. Any pullback is going to make it harder to keep that upward trajectory of oil production moving higher.”"
US Slashes Oil Production Forecast
Bloomberg, 12 March 2019

"Forecasts of how much oil and gas could be produced by the UK offshore industry have been revised upwards. The industry regulator now believes 11.9 billion barrels will be extracted by 2050, up from an estimate of 8 billion four years ago. So far 43 billion barrels of oil or its gas equivalent have been extracted from UK waters. The new prediction is driven by lower production costs, technical advances and 30 new fields coming on stream. Estimates of oil and gas potential have been part of the debate about the financial situation facing Scotland should it become independent. The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) forecast in 2015 that a further eight billion barrels could be pumped by 2050, but that has now been raised by 3.9 million barrels. Head of performance, planning and reporting at the OGA, Loraine Pace, said: "The 3.9 billion barrels identified is great news with 2018 being a productive year. "New discoveries such as Glendronach and Glengorm highlight the future potential of the basin which could be boosted further with new investment, exploration successes and resource progression." The regulator, reporting to the Treasury ahead of the chancellor's spring statement, said oil output last year was up 8.9 % last year, the highest UK oil production rate since 2011. Gas production, however, fell by 3%. The total is expected to fall from this year onwards, but at a slower rate than previously forecast."
UK oil and gas production forecast raised
BBC, 11 March 2019

"Russia was the leading importer of Turkmen gas, until it was displaced by China in 2009. In 2015, Gazprom cut imports of Turkmen gas to 4bn m 3/y, down from the 10bn m3 it had been importing since 2010. In 2016, imports were halted."
Turkmenistan looks to gas expansion
Petrolleum Economist. 20 February 2019

"Far from getting heavier, new global supply is now predominantly very light and very sweet. Almost 86 percent of the incremental production between 2015 and 2018 was light, according to recent data from Rystad Energy AS, and nearly three quarters of the additions expected by 2023 are also expected to fall into that category. Meanwhile the supply of heavier oils is falling. "
Want to Understand the Shale Boom? Try a Microscope
Bloomberg, 10 March 2019

"The United States will surpass Saudi Arabia later this year in exports of oil, natural gas liquids and petroleum products, like gasoline, according to energy research firm Rystad Energy. That milestone, driven by the transformative shale boom, would make the United States the world's leading exporter of oil and liquids. That has never happened since Saudi Arabia began selling oil overseas in the 1950s, Rystad said in a report Thursday. "It's nothing short of remarkable," said Ryan Fitzmaurice, energy strategist at Rabobank. "Ten years ago, no one thought it could happen.".... With ample supply at home, Congress in 2015 lifted the 40-year oil export ban. Overseas oil sales have exploded since then. And the US Gulf Coast is racing to build facilities that can handle surging foreign demand for US crude. "Excess fossil fuels from America will find plenty of eager buyers in fast-growing Asia," Per Magnus Nysveen, senior partner at Rystad Energy, wrote in the report. ....
Saudi Arabia currently exports each day about 7 million barrels of crude oil, along with 2 million barrels of natural gas liquids and petroleum products, according to Rystad. By comparison, the US exports about 3 million barrels per day of crude oil and another 5 million barrels per day of natural gas liquids and petroleum products. Rystad expects that gap to vanish this year, although Saudi Arabia would keep a comfortable lead as the world's largest exporter of crude oil alone."
America is set to surpass Saudi Arabia in a 'remarkable' oil milestone
CNN, 8 March 2019

"As if stuck in a partially clogged drain, oil from the hottest U.S. shale play has been caught in a bottleneck due to a lack of pipeline capacity. But the transportation tie-up at the Permian Basin is about to ease up, and a new network of pipelines will help U.S. producers unleash more crude into the Gulf Coast and then onto the world market. "There's a lot of shale capacity being prepared. There's a lot of pipeline capacity. We're going to triple pipelines going into the market from 3 to 9 million in three years, from last year to late 2021," said Francisco Blanch, head of commodities and derivatives at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Much needed pipeline capacity is being added to take Permian crude from the heart of Texas down to the Gulf Coast, to oil refineries but also to Texas ports that are making plans for more and larger ships to carry oil exports from the U.S. to customers in Asia and elsewhere. The Permian Basin covers an area of more than 75,000 square miles in western Texas and southeastern New Mexico.Citigroup energy analyst Eric Lee said Permian output at just under 4 million barrels a day is up about 1 million barrels from a year ago and should be a million more, or 5 million a day, a year from now, in early 2020. The Permian has benefited from consistent improvements in technology, which increasingly have been capable of extracting more oil from the shale formation.  "We're happy to look out to 2023, when it gets to 8 million. ... They figured out how to access it at very low break-evens, like $30/$40. ... There are more layers below it. It's hard to know what those are going to mean, break-even-wise," said Lee. His estimates depend on the price of crude and world oil demand. Breakeven is the price a producer of a barrel of oil needs to recover expenses, or where a producer breaks even. As Permian and other production has grown, so have U.S. exports of crude, allowed by a change in law in late 2015. In one week in the past month, exports reached a record 3.6 million barrels a day, according to U.S. government data. Last week, 2.8 million barrels a day were exported, and the four-week average was about 3 million barrels. The U.S. is now the largest oil producer in the world, pumping 12.1 million barrels a day, according to Energy Information Administration data. "Every incremental barrel that the United States produces will be exported. We're in a situation, of course, where the quality of what we produce is actually higher than what we need," said Raoul LeBlanc, vice president, North American Unconventional at IHS Markit. "U.S. refineries, which turn crude oil into the products we use, were designed to turn cheap crude oil into high quality and upgrade it into the fuels we use."The Permian and other U.S. shale basins produce light sweet crude, while the Gulf Coast refineries were built for heavy crudes, like those from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Mexico. With Venezuela under sanctions, there is less available heavy crude, but analysts say so far the refineries are able to find enough but at a higher price differential. "We like to say we're exporting champagne and importing beer," said LeBlanc. The U.S., in the past week, imported 7 million barrels a day. Twice in the past several months, weekly data showed the U.S. to be a net exporter of crude and refined products. "The growth estimates [for the Permian] just kept getting bigger and bigger. They didn't' know what they didn't know," said CFRA energy equity analyst Stewart Glickman. "You do have to be cognizant of the fact that these wells decline very quickly. Between year one and year two there's a pretty big dropoff. You have to drill more well in order to expand. It really depends on whether technological innovations can keep pace with that. For everyone to double in five years might be a stretch. I'm not saying it can't be done," Glickman said. U.S. crude in the Permian is increasingly being drilled by the oil majors....This past week, both Chevron and Exxon announced plans to bump up production significantly in the Permian. Occidental Petroleum and British Petroleum are also active there.... Lee said the expansion of pipelines to the point where they will now provide surplus capacity is typical of the industry. "Once you get to the first quarter of 2020, almost certainly the Permian will be fully de-bottlenecked for now," he said."
This Texas area is expected to double oil output to 8 million barrels in just four years, boosting US exports
CNBC, 8 March 2019

"A new government deal with industry could see nearly a third of British electricity generated by offshore wind farms by 2030.  If successful, officials say the plan would see more electricity being generated by renewables than fossil fuels for the first time in UK history, with 70 per cent coming from low-carbon sources. Currently offshore wind provides just 7 per cent of British power, but this would be boosted to 30 per cent by the end of the next decade. Not everyone is convinced by the announcement, with some environmentalists warning renewables would have to be scaled up even further as the nation’s nuclear ambitions floundered. According to the government, its promised green power “revolution” would bring 27,000 jobs to the energy sector." ... The deal will increase the involvement of UK companies in offshore wind projects to 60 per cent, ensuring the £557m the government has pledged in state subsidies benefits local communities. This will be accompanied by a £250m investment from industry, which will help ensure British companies are world-leaders in new areas such as robotics, floating wind farms and larger turbines.Alongside the deal, the government will provide more than £4m for British businesses to help countries such as Indonesia and Pakistan move from coal power to offshore wind projects. There will also be more efforts to reduce the cost of offshore wind projects - which have already been halved in the past two years - to help move to a subsidy-free system. The Crown Estate will be releasing new seabed land from 2019 for future offshore wind projects."
Renewable energy to replace fossil fuels as UK's main power source for first time in history, government says
Independent, 7 March 2019

"The country that’s driven global oil demand since the turn of the century may hit the brakes sooner than expected as travelers shift toward electric cars or even forgo the open road in favor of trains. China’s oil consumption will peak in 2025, five to eight years earlier than market consensus, according to Morgan Stanley analysts including Andy Meng. The reversal will be driven by a transportation model unique to China: While most countries moving up the economic ladder show continued growth in oil demand from increased driving, mass-adoption of electric vehicles and high-speed rail in China will drastically reduce gasoline use, the bank said. If the theory plays out, it could signal a huge shift for the oil market, which has relied on China for more than a third of global demand growth since 1999. An expanding body of research is painting a bleak future for oil, as rapid adoption of electric vehicles could mean global demand peaks by the 2030s, according to Bank of America Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, a prospect that’s likely to worry energy executives and investors. “China will no longer be the growth driver of global crude demand,” Meng said in a March 5 report. “We believe the refiners and petroleum stations are the largest potential losers, while the battery companies are likely to become the key winners.” To be sure, some of the industry’s top prognosticators expect the country’s oil demand to keep growing for years, albeit at a slower pace. The International Energy Agency sees China crude consumption expanding through 2040, while the nation’s largest energy producer China National Petroleum Corp. has forecast that gasoline use will peak five years before oil demand does in 2030. China’s electric vehicle penetration will reach 6.4 percent by the end of the decade and keep rising to 80 percent by 2040, according to Morgan Stanley, adding that an aggressive push by local battery companies into technology innovation may speed up that timeline. Meanwhile the country is seeing solid growth in high-speed rail ridership, driven by a well-developed network and severe traffic congestion. Highways’ share of passenger turnover fell to 27 percent last year from 55 percent in 2012. In the U.S., the figure was 87 percent last year, according to Morgan Stanley."
China Oil Use Seen Peaking in 2025
Bloomberg, 7 March 2019

"The Swedish company Climeon claims it can make geothermal power as accessible as wind and solar. Its technology can make use of low-temperature heat, which opens up economically viable geothermal power to much more of the world. And Climeon now seems poised to scale up beyond the five countries it operates in today, after the Bill Gates-backed fund Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) said on March 6 that it will provide $12.5 million in funding.The price of electricity produced using Climeon’s technology varies based on factors like the size of the project and access to the heat source. In some cases, Climeon’s electricity-generating units have provided electricity for €40 ($45) per MWh, according to Joachim Karthäuser, the company’s chief technology officer. For context, that’s about the low end of costs for wind or solar power in Europe. Climeon can offer such low prices because it provides its solution in a modular form. Each unit is approximately 8 cubic meters (about 280 cubic ft) and can provide about 150 kW of power, enough to power 150 European homes continuously. Depending on the customer’s use, Climeon simply installs more or less units. Each unit contains heat exchangers, which transfer heat from underneath the earth, and convert that energy to turn a custom-designed turbine that generates electricity. The term “geothermal” refers to drawing heat from underneath the Earth. But Climeon’s units can use heat from other sources, too. For example, the units have been deployed in steel factories, where water used for cooling hot metal is otherwise cooled and discarded. At about 90°C (194°F), however, it is hot enough to power Climeon’s technology. That’s a big deal, because Climeon’s technology creates a revenue source for these industries that didn’t previously exist, cuts the total energy consumed, and also reduces total emissions."
Swedish technology could make geothermal as mainstream as wind and solar
Quartz, 6 March 2019

"There’s enough as-yet-unassigned oil under the Atlantic Ocean off Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro to keep the entire world running for almost six months. So why is the crude just sitting there? A contract dispute between oil giant Petrobras and the government has been dragging on since 2013, and until it’s resolved, drillers can’t start targeting those deep-water deposits.... Petrobras’ initial exploration at what’s known as the pre-salt fields uncovered a lot more oil than expected -- an estimated 6 billion to 15 billion “surplus” barrels on top of the 5 billion that Petrobras has the rights to produce. (For comparison’s sake, the world consumes about 36 billion barrels of oil in a year.) The government plans to hold an auction for these areas to raise tens of billions of dollars -- but it needs to conclude the contract review with Petrobras first. Bidding rounds for pre-salt fields outside of the Transfer of Rights area haven’t been affected and have drawn interest from international oil majors including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc.... Production from the pre-salt is already making Brazil one of the fastest-growing oil producers that’s not a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. That means Brazil will become an ever-larger headache for OPEC as it tries to balance the global market. Brazil has already surpassed Mexico and Venezuela to become the largest Latin American oil producer, pumping almost as much as OPEC members Kuwait and United Arab Emirates. Growth is expected to accelerate in the coming years as Petrobras and other producers install additional production vessels at pre-salt fields.... Brazil’s pre-salt is the biggest group of conventional oil discoveries this century. The biggest field, Mero (formerly Libra), holds an estimated 8 to 12 billion barrels of recoverable reserves. The entire region probably holds more than 100 billion barrels of recoverable oil, according to an academic study. The Transfer of Rights area is just one 3,865-square-kilometer section of the pre-salt, and Petrobras is already producing oil there from the Buzios field. Production from the pre-salt has surged from nothing 10 years ago to more than half of Brazil’s total output, at 1.5 million barrels a day. While it is expensive to explore and develop these remote fields deep in the Atlantic, production per well is higher than at other deep-water regions such as the Gulf of Mexico or the North Sea, making them extremely profitable. The break-even oil price for the Mero field is $35 a barrel, according to Petrobras."
Why Billions of Barrels of Oil Go Untapped in Brazil
Bloomberg, 3 March 2019

"Chevron maintains that it will be cash flow positive in the Permian by 2020 and that the company would allocate much of additional cash flow to shareholder distributions. The company appears confident about the path that it is on in West Texas. But the health of the industry is in the eye of the beholder, in many ways. In response to Chevron’s financial results, some market analysts were not as impressed. “THE REAL STORY IS THAT THE FRACKING SECTOR HAS BEEN, AND CONTINUES TO BE, A FINANCIAL BUST,” Kathy Hipple, Tom Sanzillo and Clark Williams-Derry wrote in a joint commentary for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) and the Sightline Institute. The analysts said that the industry continues to utter the same refrain that it has been for a long time: “Wait ‘til next year.” They are referring to Chevron’s promise to be cash flow positive in the Permian by 2020. “The oil and gas giant is now admitting that its enormous bets on the Permian Basin will continue to bleed red ink for the rest of 2019. Investors will have to wait for yet another year — at least — until Chevron’s Permian assets start to pay off,” they wrote. In a previous study, the trio of analysts found that a selection of 32 mid-sized U.S. E&Ps spent nearly $1 billion more on drilling and related capital expenditures during the third quarter of 2018 than they generated in sales, which was notable because market conditions were much more auspicious than at any point in previous years. “These results may come as a surprise to investors who incorrectly equate rising output with financial success,” they wrote. At the time, U.S. oil production was breaking records, oil prices were at their highest point in years and “[e]ven with those advantages, our sample of mid-size oil and gas producers continued to hemorrhage cash due to the high cost of drilling and the industry’s seemingly insatiable thirst for capital.” Chevron is a late-comer to the Permian, so presumably they are in the early growth stages, spending on drilling so that they can scale up and eventually turn a profit. But, as the IEEFA and Sightline Institute analysts note, that has been the mantra from most shale companies for more than a decade. If Chevron manages to become cash flow positive, investors will likely forgive and forget. But that remains to be seen. In the meantime, Wall Street is beginning to lose some patience with shale drillers."
The Permian Is A Double-Edged Sword For Oil Majors, 28 February 2019

"Israel's gas boom began in 2009 with the discovery of the offshore Tamar gas field, with 10.8tn ft³ of gas in place. A year later, a bigger field, Leviathan, was found, with reserves of 22tn ft3. A year after that, Cyprus discovered the Aphrodite field, with an estimated 4.5tn ft³. The discoveries left Israel with enough gas to meet its needs for more than 50 years, Cyprus 100. Or, more practically, with more gas than either knew what to do with. Exporting the gas to Europe was the obvious answer, but the most obvious route, through Turkey, was a non-starter for Cyprus. Turkey is demanding a share of Cyprus' gas wealth for North Cyprus, a state recognised only by the Turkish government. Meanwhile, Turkey's relations with Israel, which had improved after the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident off Gaza — mainly because of the hope of an inter-state gas deal-deteriorated again in May 2018 after renewed violence in Gaza. Cyprus and Israel joined forces to consider other export options. But a pipeline to Europe via Italy would cost an estimated $7bn, and even building an LNG terminal, at $2-3bn, could be too expensive to make their gas competitive. The only LNG plants in the region were in Egypt, and so negotiations began in November 2015 to reverse the flow in the EMG, with the aim of selling some gas to the Egyptian domestic market and shipping the rest through its ports. For Egypt, the attraction of the deal was cheap gas. The cost of importing it could be partly offset by fees set for Cyprus and Israeli gas to transit its pipelines and LNG plants — if commercial terms can be agreed. Even Eni's discovery of Zohr gas field in May 2015, with its 30tn ft³ gas in place did not dent the equation: much of its production, set to reach 2.7bn ft³/d by the end of 2019, will serve an ever growing domestic market, the balance possibly sharing space with Cypriot and Israeli gas at the two LNG plants. But the logic of the arrangement may be starting to fray, following fresh Egyptian gas discoveries. Eni and Cairo are refusing to comment on rumours that a new offshore field, Nour, is larger still than Zohr. Other fields are, though, coming online, raising expectations that in a few years, Egypt will have enough gas for both domestic demand and to fill the capacity of its LNG plants. What happens then is unclear, although Egypt's liberalisation of its gas market means the government will not have the final say. ... But when, as seems likely, Egypt has more gas available for export than its LNG terminals can handle, options for stranded Mediterranean gas are unclear. Conceivably, changes in Mid-East politics will see Turkey relent, tempted by the big fees it could gain by allowing Israeli, Cypriot and even Egyptian volumes to transit its territory. Potentially economics of scale mean a third Egyptian LNG plant is affordable, but the liquefaction cost would be considerably higher than for the amortised trains. That said, the issue of what to do with all their extra gas is one that many states would like to have."
Egypt's gas paradox
Petroleum Economist, 28 February 2019

"While Israeli leaders have turned their attention to campaigning for the April 9 election, Cyprus and Egypt have been working behind the country’s back to advance plans for an undersea gas pipeline. Cyprus and Egypt in September signed an agreement for a subsea pipeline to carry natural gas from Cyprus’ Aphrodite field to Egypt. Two weeks ago, the Cypriot cabinet took another step forward by approving the September deal. In doing so, Cyprus ignored Israeli claims to a portion of Aphrodite, which lies in Israeli economic waters. The Cyprus-Egypt pipeline also weakens the economic justification for the projected East Mediterranean pipeline, a $7 billion undertaking that would deliver Israeli and Cypriot natural gas directly to Europe via Greece. Egypt has done little to hide its ambitions of getting the Cypriot pipeline on track before the East Med pipeline is built, turning Egypt into an energy hub that would distribute the region’s natural gas, including Israel’s, to customers in Europe and the Middle East. In an interview with the Cypriot news agency CNA on February 11, Egyptian energy and mineral resources minister Tarek el-Molla said the two countries were working to accelerate approvals and that a host of multinational energy companies and banks were ready to finance it. .... The leaders of Cyprus, Greece and Israel agreed at a summit in Be’er Sheva in December to proceed with the East Med pipeline. The EU has designated it a Project of Common Interest and has tasked the European Commission to evaluate it. Israeli sources say a feasibility study should take a year to complete. Already a long shot because of the expense and the engineering challenges involved, East Med is becoming something of an Israeli pipe dream. Without it, Israel will not be able to export large quantities of natural gas and attract additional exploration and drilling. Even as Cyprus moves ahead on a pipeline plan with Egypt, it has yet to settle a claim of Israel’s regarding Aphrodite, which lies at the edge of Cyprus’ economic waters. One tip of the field stretches across the border into Israel’s maritime zone and its Yishai field. At stake is as much as 10 billion cubic meters of gas, which is less than 10% of Aphrodite’s total reserves and a fraction of the gas already discovered in Israel. But the gas is worth close to $1.5 billion, according to one recent Israeli estimate. During a visit to Cyprus in May, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz expressed hope that the dispute could be settled within six months and if not, that it would go to international arbitration. Nine months later, the Energy Ministry says it remains unresolved. According to the minutes of a meeting of Energy Ministry officials obtained by TheMarker, Cyprus’ view is that the Yishai share of the reservoir is so small as to be not economically viable and is therefore under no obligation to share rights. "
Israel’s East Mediterranean Pipeline Dreams Fading as Egypt, Cyprus Go It Alone
Haaretz, 27 February 2019

"Calls for cleaner air and cuts in carbon emissions should boost global demand for natural gas over the next few decades, says Royal Dutch Shell. The Anglo-Dutch energy company expects gas to account for more than 40 per cent of total energy growth until 2035, according to the company’s annual outlook for liquefied natural gas. This makes gas the largest source of growth in global energy usage over that period.The predictions from the world’s largest buyer and seller of gas come as global trade in LNG, the super-cooled fuel, rose 10 per cent in 2018 to 319m tonnes, thanks to strong demand from Asia, particularly China."
Shell sketches bright future for liquefied natural gas
Financial Times, 26 February 2019

"The recent sharp decline in the cost of renewable energy suggests that the production of hydrogen from renewable power through a power-to-gas process might become more economical. Here we examine this alternative from the perspective of an investor who considers a hybrid energy system that combines renewable power with an efficiently sized power-to-gas facility. The available capacity can be optimized in real time to take advantage of fluctuations in electricity prices and intermittent renewable power generation. We apply our model to the current environment in both Germany and Texas and find that renewable hydrogen is already cost competitive in niche applications (€3.23 kg−1), although not yet for industrial-scale supply. This conclusion, however, is projected to change within a decade (€2.50 kg−1) provided recent market trends continue in the coming years."
Economics of converting renewable power to hydrogen
Nature Energy, 25 February 2019

"Turkmenistan holds the world's fourth-largest natural gas reserves, but most of them remain undeveloped. The authorities now want to upgrade domestic and export infrastructure to make the country a major gas supplier. But a reluctance to open Turkmenistan up to foreign investment could restrain expansion plans. The Turkmen leadership has so far declined to follow the example of countries like Azerbaijan in signing major production-sharing agreements (PSA), allowing the energy majors to invest in the upstream. The country produces around 70bn m3/yr of gas and 260,000 bl/d of oil. Turkmenistan's most important gasfields include Galkynysh, with over 24tr m 3 of gas in place, along with Yashlar-Minara and Bagtyarlik, holding 1.45-5tr m3 and 1.3tr m3, respectively. The government has signed concessions and service contracts, rather than PSAs, to develop these giant fields with Petrofac, LG International, CNPC and Hyundai for a specific timeframe. The Turkmen authorities show no sign of opting for PSAs to attract more international firms. But the upstream is only one part of Turkmenistan's energy sector. The midstream is also being marked out for special attention. President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, addressing an energy conference in 2018, outlined his strategy. "Our aim," he said, "is to form routes for exporting energy resources through diversification and the creation of multi-vector pipeline systems." Turkmenistan, he continued, would seek to implement "large-scale projects" to build "major energy bridges" to both the east and west. The aim of the Ashgabat authorities is to increase gas production rates and expand volumes of refined hydrocarbons, thus boosting exports of oil and gas.... China is the main customer for Turkmen gas, receiving 30-40bn m3 /yr through the Central Asia-China pipeline. A large part of the revenue from sales to China is used to pay off the debt for the construction of the pipeline, which passes through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, and was financed by China. Aside from this export route, the Turkmen leadership is hoping for the swift realisation of the planned 1,100-mile (1,800km) Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline. Proponents of this $10bn project say it would carry significant benefits for all the partners involved. Turkmenistan, which has already completed most of the work on its own section (127 miles) would find eager markets in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, with the gas delivered via newly-built infrastructure. For Afghanistan, TAPI gas would contribute to the economic restoration and the general stabilisation the country. Apart from gas, Afghanistan would also receive significant transit fees. The same goes for Pakistan, the longest section of the pipeline, where major investment would be needed. The main sponsor of TAPI is the Asian Development Bank. Given the security difficulties in Afghanistan, along with financing and logistical challenges, it is not clear when a final investment decision might be taken. Another major development has been the resumption of Turkmen gas sales to Russia. Alexey Miller , chairman of Gazprom, visited Turkmenistan in October 2018 and held talks with Berdymukhamedov. The two men agreed that Gazprom would resume imports of gas from Turkmenistan as of January 2019."
Turkmenistan looks to gas expansion
Petroleum Economist, 20 February 2019

"In some cases (like silicon for solar panels), higher demand is unlikely to be an issue. Silicon is plentiful and we already have the infrastructure to make the material, according to Marco Raugei, an expert in the sustainability of new technology at Oxford Brookes University. But our supply chains for other materials — like neodymium for wind turbines, lithium and cobalt for batteries, and copper for basically everything — may need to shift. Though ore demand for materials usually means more mining (and with it, increased environmental impacts), experts agree that the benefits of renewable energy far outweigh the costs. “There is no such thing as a free lunch,” says Charles Barnhart, a professor of energy studies at Western Washington University. “But I want to be clear that when we talk about environmental impacts, we’re not trying to decide between ‘lesser evils.’” For Barnhart, deciding between more mining for renewables and continuing to rely on fossil fuels is deciding between “completely different sides of the spectrum” because the cost of a business-as-usual future with fossil fuels will cause so much harm. Even though the trade-off will be beneficial, it’s worth thinking about where the materials for the anticipated renewables revolution will come from and how the world will change when demand goes up."
Where will the materials for our clean energy future come from?
Inverse, 15 February 2019

"Policy-driven gas demand is growing so fast in China that production and imports are struggling to keep up. The squeeze will ease when Russia's almost-complete Power of Siberia pipeline starts up, but bullish forecasts have reignited interest in a second Russia-China pipeline. Towards the end of this year, on 20 December, Russian and Chinese dignitaries will gather to celebrate the start-up of the Power of Siberia pipeline—the centrepiece of a $55bn natural gas development programme that will eventually deliver 38bn cm/yr of Russian gas to the world's fastest-growing market. The date was agreed back in July 2017 by Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), signalling their determination to implement in timely fashion a project of major importance to both countries. Russia has long depended on pipeline exports westwards to Europe for its gas revenues and craved the creation of new pipeline gas markets in Asia. As long ago as the mid-1990s, the then head of Gazprom, Rem Vyakhirev, was proclaiming the newly-formed company's eastwards ambitions. A quarter of a century later, it will be on Alexey Miller's watch that these ambitions are fulfilled. The Power of Siberia project, the backbone of Gazprom's Eastern Gas Programme, is an immense undertaking-Russia's largest energy project since the fall of the Soviet Union. Along with the 3,000km pipeline that runs from gasfields in eastern Siberia to the city of Blagoveshchensk on the border with north-eastern China—the so-called "eastern route"—the scope involves the development of two huge gas resources: the 1.4tr-cm Chayandinskoye field in Yakutia and the 2.7tr-cm Kovyktinskoye field in Irkutsk. Close to the border with China , Gazprom is constructing what will be the largest gas-processing plant in Russia, the Amur plant, which will have processing capacity of 42bn cm/yr. Gas will be delivered under the terms of Russia's largest-ever sales and purchase agreement, signed by Gazprom and CNPC in May 2014. Specifying the supply of 38bn cm/yr over a period of 30 years, it was considered at the time to be worth $400bn. For China, the start-up of the Power of Siberia pipeline cannot happen too soon. Since President Xi Jinping assumed office in 2013, the nation has been vigorously implementing policies to ease the appalling air pollution in its cities and, more recently, to keep to its climate change action pledges under the 2015 Paris Agreement. At the heart of these policies is a switch from coal to natural gas, in heating and electricity generation.... The impact on the nation's demand for natural gas has been astonishing—and unprecedented. Consumption in 2017 was 240bn cm, up from 195bn cm in 2015, a rise of 23%. Imports have skyrocketed. According to customs data, LNG imports doubled between 2015 and 2017, to 38mn t. Moreover, imports during the first 11 months of 2018 were 44% up on the same period in 2017. If that growth rate continues into December, imports in 2018 will reach 55mn t (75bn cm). Pipeline gas imports more than doubled between 2015 and 2017, to 42bn cm. Imports during the first 11 months of 2018 were up 22% on the same period in 2017. If that growth rate continues into December, imports in 2018 will reach 51bn cm. With combined imports set to reach 126bn cm, it is no surprise that the International Energy Agency (IEA) is forecasting China will become the world's largest importer of natural gas in 2019. China imports pipeline gas from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan through the three strands (A, B and C) of the Central Asia-China Gas Pipeline. However, these three lines are approaching capacity and construction of a fourth strand, Line D, has been postponed indefinitely. Smaller volumes are imported via a pipeline from Myanmar. So, start-up of the Power Siberia pipeline will bring welcome relief, though ramp-up will be gradual, partly because China is still working on the construction of the pipeline network that will distribute Russian gas to markets within the country.... During the years of protracted negotiations that led to the 2014 agreement for Power of Siberia gas, Russia and China were discussing two possible routes: the eastern route now under construction; and a "western route" that would bring gas from fields in western Siberia into China via the short stretch of border that exists between Kazakhstan and Mongolia. China argued strongly for the eastern route, because the entry point is close to large demand centres, notably around the cities of Beijing and Tianjin, and eventually got its way. However, discussions continued for deliveries via the western route-also known as Power of Siberia 2, or the Altai pipeline-and a heads of agreement for 30bn cm/yr of gas was signed in 2015. For a while after that, the Power of Siberia 2 concept seemed to be making little headway and stopped appearing on some of Gazprom's maps. Last year was something of a turning point. With completion of the first Power of Siberia pipeline in sight, and the scale of China's gas demand growth becoming ever more apparent, the concept seems to be enjoying a revival. "Intensification of negotiations on the western route" was an agenda item at a meeting between Alexey Miller and Han Zheng, vice-premier of China's State Council, that took place in Moscow in September last year. In the same month, Power of Siberia 2 was a topic for discussion at the Vladivostok Eastern Economic Forum, an annual conference established by President Vladimir Putin, and attended for the first time by Xi Jinping. At best, a fully-fledged agreement on Power of Siberia 2 remains years away, given the various obstacles that would first have to be cleared away. For example, the proposed pipeline route goes through mountainous territory, some of which consists of UNESCO world heritage sites. There have been suggestions that the pipeline might be routed instead through Mongolia, but this would require negotiations on issues such as transit fees. From China's viewpoint, gas would be entering the country through the eastern province of Xinjiang, a long way from major demand centres, and would require an increase in the capacity of the West East Pipeline system that already carries pipeline gas from Central Asia. None of these challenges are insuperable. So, it is conceivable that at some point in the 2020s, Russia could become China's largest gas supplier, exporting up to 68bn cm/yr."
Russia’s hunger for second eastern gas outlet grows
Petroleum Economist, 15 February 2019

""We are going to need very high-energy density batteries to power new advanced technologies that are incorporated into phones, laptops and especially electric vehicles," said Amin Salehi-Khojin, associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering in UIC's College of Engineering. Salehi-Khojin and his colleagues synthesized several 2D materials that can serve as catalysts. A number of their 2D materials, when incorporated into experimental lithium-air batteries as the catalyst, enabled the battery to hold up to 10 times more energy than lithium-air batteries containing traditional catalysts. Their findings are published in the journal Advanced Materials. "Currently, electric vehicles average about 100 miles per charge, but with the incorporation of 2D catalysts into lithium-air batteries, we could provide closer to 400 to 500 miles per charge, which would be a real game-changer," said Salehi-Khojin, who is also the corresponding author of the paper. "This would be a huge breakthrough in energy storage." Salehi-Khojin and his colleagues synthesized 15 different types of 2D transition metal dichalcogenides or TMDCs. TMDCs are unique compounds because they have high electronic conductivity and fast electron transfer that can be used to participate in reactions with other materials, such as the reactions that take place inside batteries during charging and discharging."
2D materials may enable electric vehicles to get 500 miles on a single charge
ScienceDaily, 10 January 2019

"The number of greenfield oil and gas projects to get their final investment decision could rise threefold on 2018, Norwegian energy consultancy Rystad Energy has forecast. Most of these will be offshore projects, the author of the study, upstream analyst Readul Islam said. The number, which only covers conventional oil and gas deposits, could open up production reserves to the tune of 46 billion barrels of oil and gas, including around 14 billion barrels of oil equivalent in deepwater blocks, some 20 billion barrels in shallower waters, and the rest in onshore deposits, Islam said. The analyst noted “The only supply segment likely to shrink this year is the oil sands, whereas deepwater, offshore shelf and other conventional onshore developments are all poised to show substantial growth. From a geographical perspective, all regions are headed for robust growth except Europe and North America, still bearing in mind that shale plays are not included in these numbers.” The forecast includes a lot of projects whose final investment decision was delayed because of the 2014 oil price crash, indicating that oil and gas companies have now managed to bring their costs down enough to make these large-scale projects commercially viable. About a quarter of the projects expected to receive a FID this year are ones that have been delayed because of the 2014 slump in oil prices. Yet there is no certainty that all of these projects will receive their final go-ahead this year. A sharp fall in oil prices could once again put the brakes on many greenfield projects. However, others will go ahead, including a number of liquefied natural gas projects in Africa, Russia, and Australia. In oil, Saudi Arabia will account for about one-fifth of the total new reserves to be tapped this year with the expansion of three offshore projects: Marjan, Zuluf, and Berri."
New Oil, Gas Project Approvals To Triple This Year: Rystad, 22 February 2019

"The fall in UK electricity generation to its lowest level since 1994, as reported on the Carbon Brief website earlier this month, reflects a trend in the energy market that is too often ignored. The supply side of the energy business — what Opec produces each month and how much gas Russia exports to Europe — is only half the story. The changing pattern of demand is at least as important and poses a real challenge to companies and investors in a sector where returns are already constrained by competition and regulation. The decline in consumption is not limited to the UK or to electricity. Over the past decade, both total energy demand and electricity use have fallen across the developed world. Since 2010 demand has declined in 18 of the 30 countries that are members of the International Energy Agency. There are several different reasons for the decline in consumption. Technical advances have improved the efficiency of products ranging from washing machines and fridges to computer servers have been underpinned by regulatory changes such as the introduction of LED lighting. Economies have deindustrialised to differing degrees, while in some countries a proportion of the fall has been caused by low economic growth. Although analysts and policymakers frequently assert that electricity will lead the shift to a low-carbon economy, there is so far only limited evidence of a real change. Electricity has only marginally expanded its share of final energy consumption since 2000 despite the growth of computers, telecommunications and the proliferation of domestic appliances. A small number of electric cars and the rising use of electricity in other parts of the transport sector starting with the railways have not yet made a material difference. By 2017, electricity contributed less than 1 per cent of final energy consumption in the transport sector, according to the IEA. For the moment, and for the foreseeable future, there are two distinct markets — one consisting of appliances and light industry where electricity is the natural source of energy and a larger market made up of the transport sector, heavier industry and the provision of heat. In the overall market, electricity provides only 19 per cent of the energy consumed — the rest comes from the burning of hydrocarbons — coal, oil and natural gas. In the emerging markets, electricity demand continues to grow to meet basic energy needs. In the developed world, the fall in electricity demand may be more than temporary.As consumers upgrade equipment to ever more efficient models and as regulations force standards to rise, electricity consumption is likely to drop. A revolution in battery technology would in theory stimulate demand for electricity. But any growth in the use of batteries (and other forms of energy storage) will also serve to eliminate waste and the loss of electric power, which as of now can only be used as soon as it is produced. Smart meters and grids will also improve efficiency rather than increasing demand.The sector’s growth hopes continue to rest on converting sectors of the economy such as transport and industry from the use of hydrocarbons to reliance on electricity. The pace of change in those areas, however, is limited and complicated by the existence of entrenched capital stock, which would be costly to convert or write off."
Falling demand is the energy sector’s next challenge
Financial Times, 21 February 2019

"The war on single-use plastics could cut demand for oil faster than previously expected over the next two decades, BP has warned. The oil major predicted a peak in global oil demand for the first time last year, and in its latest outlook report warned that a crackdown on plastic waste, which is made from fossil fuels, could play a role in slowing oil demand. BP expects demand for oil to rise 0.3pc a year before plateauing in the 2030s. The “much slower” growth forecast is well below what BP predicted even two years ago. Last year, its central forecast scenario predicted the world’s appetite for crude would grow by 0.5pc a year through the next decades before peaking in the late 2030s. "
BP warns war on plastic will help cut global oil demand
Telegraph, 14 February 2019

"Renewable energy sources will be the world’s main source of power within two decades and are establishing a foothold in the global energy system faster than any fuel in history, according to BP. The UK-based oil company said wind, solar and other renewables will account for about 30% of the world’s electricity supplies by 2040, up from 25% in BP’s 2040 estimates last year, and about 10% today. In regions such as Europe, the figure will be as high as 50% by 2040. The speed of growth was without parallel, the company said in its annual energy outlook. While oil took almost 45 years to go from 1% of global energy to 10%, and gas took more than 50 years, renewables are expected to do so within 25 years in the report’s central scenario. In the event of a faster switch to a low carbon economy, that period comes down to just 15 years, which BP said would be “literally off the charts” relative to historical shifts. But the company, as in previous editions of its report, does not see oil going away any time soon. The outlook’s core scenario envisages that oil demand does not peak until the 2030s, though under its greener scenario that milestone could be reached between now and the early 2020s. Regardless, BP sees a “major role” for hydrocarbons until 2040, which it says will require substantial investment. It expects global demand for oil and gas to be 80-130 million barrels per day by then, up from around 100mb/d today. The company has ambitious plans to grow its oil and gas production 16% by 2025, according to figures compiled by the Norway-based consultants Rystad Energy. The report is gloomy on prospects for avoiding dangerous levels of global warming. The central scenario expects carbon emissions to grow 10% by 2040, as world energy demand grows by a third and fossil fuels continue to play a key role."
Renewable energy will be world's main power source by 2040, says BP
Guardian, 14 February 2019

"A wave energy technology is being developed that could help generate low-cost electricity for thousands of houses. The device costs less than conventional designs, has fewer moving parts, and is made of durable materials. It is designed to be incorporated into existing ocean energy systems and can convert wave power into electricity. Small scale experiments in an ocean simulator show that one full-size device could generate the equivalent of 500kW, enough electricity for about 100 homes. Engineers say that their design could be used in fleets of low-cost, easily maintained structures at sea within decades, to take advantage of powerful waves in Scottish waters. Engineers from the University of Edinburgh and from Italy developed their device – known as a Dielectric Elastomer Generator (DEG) – using flexible rubber membranes. It is designed to fit on top of a vertical tube which, when placed in the sea, partially fills with water that rises and falls with wave motion. As waves pass the tube, the water inside pushes trapped air above to inflate and deflate the generator on top of the device. As the membrane inflates, a voltage is generated. This increases as the membrane deflates, and electricity is produced. In a commercial device, this electricity would be transported to shore via underwater cables. A scaled-down version of the system was tested in the FloWave facility at the University of Edinburgh, a 25m diameter circular tank that can reproduce any combination of ocean waves and currents. The system could replace conventional designs, involving complex air turbines and expensive moving parts. The study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A, was carried out in collaboration with the Universities of Trento, Bologna and Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna Pisa in Italy."
Device could deliver wave energy to thousands
University of Edinburgh, 13 February 2019

"The EU appears to have left the door open for Gazprom’s controversial gas pipeline project to pour more Russian gas into Europe. The European Commission on Wednesday struck a provisional deal with the European Parliament and the EU’s 28 member states to tighten the rules on gas imports into the bloc. The new rules will govern all import pipelines, including Gazprom’s planned Nord Stream 2 project, to guard member states against unfair tariffs or anti-competitive practices. One of the key points rules out gas suppliers from owning the pipeline infrastructure transporting their gas into the EU."
EU leaves door open to Russian gas pipeline to Germany
Telegraph, 13 February 2019

"The oil crash came and went but the debt pile it left across the Gulf is still growing, leaving the region’s energy-dependent economies more vulnerable next time a crisis strikes. All but debt-free before crude prices nosedived in 2014, many Gulf governments tried to borrow their way through while making only cautious and halting efforts to cut spending and diversify their economies. Meanwhile, a Saudi-led blockade of Qatar has split the six-state Gulf Cooperation Council and complex regional dynamics mean it’s no longer a foregone conclusion that the strong will bail out the weak with no strings attached. If oil prices crash again, the pain could be greater than five years ago, raising the risk of a regional recession because governments would have to slash spending while markets would be more reluctant to lend, according to Bloomberg economist Ziad Daoud."
The Oil Crash Is Over, But Debt Is Still Piling Up in the Gulf
Bloomberg, 13 February 2019

"As of December 2018, Australia has been the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, relegating Qatar to second place, ahead of Malaysia in third position. But the United States is aiming to be among the top three by the end of this year. It has been massively adding liquefaction capacity to profit from enhanced global natural gas demand. The country is expected to add over 6 billion cubic feet of daily liquefaction capacity by 2021. That would come on top of the over 3 billion cubic feet per day stemming from the country's Sabine Pass and Cove Point facilities.... Norway's resources are depleting, and the Netherlands has already announced it will reduce gas supplies by two-thirds as of 2022 and halt them completely by 2030 because of unsafe extraction conditions. Should the Russia-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project go ahead as scheduled, Europe's dependence on Russia will no doubt increase, but relatively cheap gas supplies make the deal so enticing. The US administration, just like Eastern European nations, have vociferously advised against the Nord Stream project, and Washington has pushed its very own solution to the conflict — making more EU nations, and above all Germany, buy LNG from the US.... According to the US Energy Information Administration, imports of LNG to the EU28 averaged 5.1 billion cubic feet per day in 2017, but remained below their peak in 2011. It states that "utilization of import facilities in the bloc has declined from about 50 percent to between 20-25 percent in recent years as expansions in regasification capacity far exceeded demand for LNG imports." Those importing LNG in the EU have seen it as a useful diversification of their energy sources. That certainly makes sense, given that the countries in question have the necessary infrastructure in place to receive LNG from tankers. In the case of Germany, including direct LNG deliveries in its energy mix may also be seen by policymakers as a move toward more diversification, but it wouldn't really need it despite the country phasing out both nuclear and coal power, and it wouldn't need need LNG from the United States. Unlike EU nations such as Belgium and the Netherlands, Germany doesn't have its own terminal to import liquefied natural gas directly. But at a German-US conference on energy security in Berlin on Tuesday, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier strongly supported the construction of at least two such terminals in northern Germany. Brunsbüttel, Stade or Wilhelmshaven were mentioned as likely locations."
Liquefied natural gas: US hype and German obedience?
Deutsche Welle, 12 February 2019

"The US has welcomed an announcement by Germany that it will build at least two liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, a move that could pave the way for American exports to one of Europe’s largest energy markets. The announcement could also help to address US concerns over Nord Stream 2, a gas pipeline being built to link Russia to Germany, which Washington worries will increase Europe’s dependence on Russian energy imports. In an interview with the Financial Times, Dan Brouillette, the US deputy energy secretary, said he was “very excited” at the German move on terminals, describing it as “potentially a great opportunity for US LNG”. “We remain concerned by Germany’s increasing reliance on Russia for its gas, so anything it does to improve diversity is a good step,” he told the FT. But he insisted that the US was still “not going to drop [its] objections” to Nord Stream 2.... However, experts have said that even if the German terminals are constructed, demand for US LNG will be low because it is considerably more expensive than Russian pipeline gas. LNG is cooled to approximately minus 160 degrees Celsius and then shipped to market on tankers. In the interview, Mr Brouillette said the price of US LNG would fall as more and more export terminals are built and domestic gas production continues to increase. He said four new terminals are “under active consideration by the regulator” and, if approved and built, would bring the total number of US export facilities to 10. As new terminals come on line, “you’ll begin to see US LNG prices go down — because of competition between players who own those facilities”, he said. Mr Brouillette also welcomed a decision by EU countries last Friday to toughen their rules on Nord Stream 2. Ambassadors to the bloc agreed that the project must meet the four EU energy rules, including on “ownership unbundling” — that is, ensuring that the pipeline is not owned directly by the gas supplier. The rules also dictate that at least 10 per cent of the line’s capacity must be offered to third parties. But under a Franco-German compromise, EU ambassadors also agreed that the member state where the import pipeline lands — in this case Germany — will decide how to apply those rules."
US welcomes Germany’s announcement of new gas terminals
Financial Times, 12 February 2019

"The US has become the biggest exporter of oil to the UK for the first time since the Suez crisis, as the growing bounty of shale production starts to supplant North Sea supplies. In January the US supplied the equivalent of almost one in every four barrels of crude processed by UK oil refineries, or 264,000 barrels a day, illustrating the outsized role American oil now has in Britain’s energy mix. That level was more than Norway, Russia, Nigeria or Algeria, according to data from the cargo-tracking company Kpler, which have all been major suppliers to the UK in recent years. Meanwhile, operators in the UK portion of the North Sea have battled to stem production declines. While monthly export volumes can be volatile, the rising volume of US crude heading to the UK is part of a trend since Washington lifted widespread restrictions on exports in 2015. In 2018 the average volume of US crude exported to the UK doubled to 160,000 b/d, second only to Norway over the course of the year and up from less than 20,000 b/d in 2016. .... The surge in US crude supplies comes as the country’s production has risen close to 12m b/d, up from just 5m b/d a decade ago, thanks largely to oil supplies from shale formations that have been exploited through advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. ... That has allowed Washington to pursue a policy that the Trump administration has dubbed “American energy dominance”, with the country overtaking Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer, as well as becoming a major gas supplier. Shipments overseas have leapt since the US lifted restrictions on exports that had been in place since the Arab oil embargoes of the 1970s, with Washington keen to reap the economic benefits and wield its energy clout as a tool of foreign policy.  While oil analysts say the jump in exports to Britain has primarily been driven by economics, the country’s growing reliance on one supplier may still raise questions at a time when UK trade policy is already in flux due to Brexit. US exports to the UK peaked in 1957, after President Dwight Eisenhower authorised 300,000 b/d of shipments to relieve shortages caused by the shutdown of the Suez Canal, partly in return for the UK and France agreeing to withdraw troops, according to the book Risk-Taking in International Politics by Rose McDermott. Tight regulations on the UK’s own nascent shale industry have also been attacked by energy executives including Ineos’s Jim Ratcliffe, the UK’s richest man, who have warned the government they are harming British competitiveness. The UK has a diverse range of oil suppliers, with more than 50 countries having exported crude to the country in the past three years, but others closer to home such as Norway may feel they are losing out. Norway’s crude exports to the UK, which alongside domestic production have made up the bulk of the feedstock for the country’s 1.1m b/d of daily refining activity, fell 13 per cent last year.  The rise in US exports to the UK has been driven primarily by two US-based companies, ExxonMobil and Valero, which own two of the six oil refineries still operating in the UK. Exxon’s Fawley plant near Southampton, the UK’s largest oil refinery, in January imported more than 4.3m barrels of US crude primarily sourced from the Permian shale field in Texas, according to Kpler. Last year Exxon said it planned to spend £500m on the 270,000 b/d facility to expand its lifespan. Fawley is set to take the first US-to-UK supertanker shipment later this month, carrying more than 2m barrels. Valero, the world’s largest independent refiner, imported 2.6m barrels of US crude in January to its plant in Pembroke, Wales, while a further 2m barrels went into the Tranmere oil terminal that feeds the Stanlow refinery on the south side of the river Mersey, which is owned by the Indian company Essar."

US becomes UK’s top oil supplier for first time since Suez
Financial Times, 6 February 2019

"McKinsey counts more than 350 new electric vehicle (EV) models debuting by 2025, one of the conditions for mass-market adoption. Global demand for gasoline is set to peak around 2021 thanks to electric vehicles (EVs) and fuel efficiency gains. The energy research and consultancy Wood Mackenzie predicts  charging infrastructure investment in the US will exceed $18 billion annually by 2030 for equipment, installation, operations, and services. China is expected to have three times more energy demand from EVs by then."
Oil companies and utilities are buying up all the electric car charging startups
Quartz, 5 February 2019

"The crisis, years in the making, has left many of Venezuela’s roughly 31 million people destitute and hungry, sent more than two million people into neighboring countries as refugees and created a new source of instability in Latin America. The outcome of the struggle will determine not only who controls Venezuela’s government but also its proven oil reserves, which by someestimates are the world’s largest.... in the next few days and weeks, the impact of the United States’ sanctions will begin to ripple through the country. Fuel shortages are expected to start in the countryside and eventually reach the capital, Caracas, further constricting the country’s economy by interfering with people’s ability to work and making food and medicine even harder to obtain."
Who Supports Which Leader in Venezuela? Why Is This Important?
New York Times, 4 February 2019

"Surging production from the Permian - the largest shale basin in the US - requires an “optimal” price band of $60 to $70 per barrel to maintain its momentum, according to the chief executive of the biggest player in the area. "WTI [West Texas Intermediate] to remain in the $60 to $70 range and Brent a bit higher than that depending on how that differential works out, I think for US shale that’s an optimal range even though development can continue at lower levels because of the lower breakevens,” Occidental Petroleum’s Vicki Hollub told The National in an interview in Abu Dhabi. WTI is the widely used benchmark for North American crude. The US became the world’s largest crude producer last year with output hitting 11.9 million barrels per day in November, outpacing sovereign producer Saudi Arabia, and Russia. The US Energy Information Administration has forecast rising output with US production likely to surge past 12.1 million bpd in 2019."
WTI oil at $60 to $70 "optimal" to support US shale growth, says Occidental chief
The National, 4 February 2019

"The highly anticipated EIA-914 report came out on Jan. 31, showing US oil production surging to 11.9 mb/d for the month of November. Oil markets initially sold-off on that, but close followers of the fundamentals know that the adjustment + weekly actually showed the production figure to be over ~12.1 mb/d for the month of November, so the 11.9 mb/d was actually a "disappointment" versus what the data showed.... This chart illustrates that the growth we saw from US shale over the summer is starting to stall. This is in line with our global oil supply & demand model indicating that Q1 will show stalled US production growth over Q4.... the growth this year may just be ~800k b/d to 900k b/d exit-to-exit, which is a big slowdown from the +2 mb/d we saw last year.... Based on our shale basin analysis, it appears that basins outside of the Permian are now starting to see well productivity growth stall/moving lower. You can see our report here which detailed some of the findings. If US shale well completions are flat this year versus last year, a higher percent of new well production will go towards replacing declines last year. So in order to keep the same momentum going forward, US shale needs to complete more wells with either the same productivity or higher productivity. It's akin to a runner running a treadmill, but that treadmill is getting faster and faster. US shale needs to complete more and more wells each year just to stay flat, which will be a tall order considering 2018 broke the record by a mile."
U.S. Oil Production Hits New Record High, But The Data Shows The Growth Has Flatlined Since
HFI Research, 3 February 2019

"Britain’s nuclear power stations recorded a 12% decline in their contributions to the country’s energy system over the past month, as outages raised concerns over how long the ageing plants will be able to keep operating. A temporary closure of two of the country’s eight nuclear plants resulted in a double-digit drop in nuclear generation in January, compared to the same period last year. Prospects for new nuclear projects have commanded headlines and government attention in recent weeks, with Hitachi and Toshiba scrapping their plans for major new plants. But the fate of the existing plants, which usually provide about a fifth of the UK’s electricity supplies, has been pulled into focus by outages due to safety checks and engineering works running over schedule. Nuclear outages also push up carbon emissions because any capacity shortfall will typically be replaced by fossil fuel power stations. Seven of the power stations use an advanced gas reactor (AGR) design, the oldest of which is 43 years old and the youngest 30 years. Most were built with a lifetime of about 35 years in mind. All are due to be closed in the 2020s after owner EDF Energy extended their lives, but there are now fears that ageing infrastructure may reduce their output or even lead them to shut early. Iain Staffell, lecturer in sustainable energy at Imperial College, which compiled the nuclear output data, said: “Just as Toshiba and Hitachi have pulled out of building new reactors, we have one third of the existing nuclear capacity unavailable either for maintenance or because their maximum power has been reduced as they get older. “Many of our reactors were built in the late 70s, and like your typical 40-year-old they aren’t in peak physical condition any more.”"
Fate of UK’s nuclear plants in doubt over ageing infrastructure
Guardian, 3 February 2019

"A Chinese-led consortium has discovered the UK’s biggest gasfield in more than a decade, leading experts to say there is life yet in the country’s offshore sector. Drilling found the equivalent of about 250m barrels of oil could be recovered from the Glengorm reservoir in the central North Sea, about 5% of the UK’s annual gas demand. The find was hailed as significant by industry and the regulator of the region’s last oil and gas reserves, where production has been declining since the turn of the century.... Andy Samuel, the chief executive of the regulator, said the UK continental shelf still held an estimated 10bn-20bn barrels of oil and gas, “so there is every chance of yet more significant finds”. The number of new wells being drilled has fallen in recent years; in 2018 it fell to a level last seen in 1965. However, the amount of oil and gas found has increased from 83m barrel of oil equivalent in 2014 to 175m in 2017."
Discovery of biggest UK gasfield in a decade raises industry hopes
Guardian, 29 January 2019
"A Chinese-led consortium has discovered the UK’s biggest gasfield in more than a decade, leading experts to say there is life yet in the country’s offshore sector. Drilling found the equivalent of about 250m barrels of oil could be recovered from the Glengorm reservoir in the central North Sea, about 5% of the UK’s annual gas demand.... Andy Samuel, the chief executive of the regulator, said the UK continental shelf still held an estimated 10bn-20bn barrels of oil and gas, “so there is every chance of yet more significant finds”. The number of new wells being drilled has fallen in recent years; in 2018 it fell to a level last seen in 1965. However, the amount of oil and gas found has increased from 83m barrel of oil equivalent in 2014 to 175m in 2017

Discovery of biggest UK gasfield in a decade raises industry hopes
Guardian, 29 January 2019

"A year ago, the U.S. government saw American crude production averaging 11.95 million barrels a day .... Shale drillers are set to exceed that this year. The Energy Information Administration now estimates output will top out at 14.53 million barrels a day in 2031, according to its Annual Energy Outlook released Thursday. Why such a big difference? Near-term prices are higher than what the agency assumed last year, boosting the baseline production, according to the EIA. The U.S. will be a net exporter of petroleum -- and energy in general -- next year, years sooner than previous annual estimates, something the EIA flagged in its short-term outlook earlier this month. That’s due to the faster increases in crude and natural gas liquids production, combined with slower demand growth, according to EIA Administrator Linda Capuano. “America’s move to net exports was supposed to be five or six years off,” said Kevin Book, managing director of the Washington-based consultancy ClearView Energy Partners LLC. “Now it’s next year. That’s big news.”"
US Oil Production 23 Years Ahead of Schedule
Bloomberg, 25 January 2019

"Rocks at the bottom of the North Sea may provide the perfect storage location for renewable energy, according to a new study. Excess power could be stored in the form of compressed air inside porous formations on the seabed, providing a reservoir that can provide energy on demand. This pressurised air can be released to drive a turbine, generating a large amount of electricity. This would allow green energy to be stored in summer and released in winter, when demand is highest. Along with battery storage and connections linking Britain’s power supply to other European nations, experts hope compressed air energy storage will provide the UK with a constant supply of green energy.... In their new analysis, scientists from the universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde suggested drilling deep wells into North Sea rocks would create sites at which large quantities of air could be injected into sandstone pores. In their study they used mathematical models to assess the potential of this technique in British waters.... One way to save money and make the entire process more efficient would be to place the underwater wells close to large-scale offshore wind projects so energy could be funnelled straight down into the rock. A similar process in which compressed air is stored in deep salt caverns is already being used at sites in the US and Germany. These results were published in the journal Nature Energy."

North Sea rocks could act as large-scale underwater renewable energy stores, study finds
Independent, 21 January 2019

"Australia’s wind and solar boom looks set to power through 2019 following a record year, despite grid constraints and extra scrutiny from network operators to make sure new projects don’t spark blackouts like ones that hit two years ago....Australia generates nearly 20 percent of its electricity from renewables. This is forecast to jump to 75 percent over the next 20 years. A total of 14.7 gigawatts (GW) of large-scale solar and wind projects worth A$20 billion ($14 billion) were under construction or reached financial close last year, more than double 2017’s record, according to the Clean Energy Council..... Renewable projects added to the grid have grown from 22 with 1.2 GW of capacity in 2013 to a record 45 projects with 2.9 GW added in 2018, AEMO said. There are 114 more applications representing 15.9 GW pending, indicating plenty of potential congestion ahead. The biggest challenge is that developers are all vying to connect to a grid running 5,000 km (3,100 miles) from Queensland in the north to South Australia and Tasmania."
Australia's solar, wind boom to power past grid woes in 2019
Reuters, 20 January 2019

"The Alberta government is spending $23.4 million to convince Canadians why a major oil pipeline project is needed. The marketing campaign, Keep Canada Working, is aimed at getting people to support the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The project would triple the amount of oil that flows from Alberta to the B.C. coast for export and increase its value. The message is that Trans Mountain would boost Canada’s economy and support jobs across the country. The money is for television, radio, newspaper, internet and billboard ads."
Alberta spending millions to promote Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion
Windsor Star, 19 January 2019

"America’s journey to preeminence in the global oil trade is about to hit another milestone. Propelled by the shale-oil boom, the U.S. is already producing more crude than either Russia or Saudi Arabia, who until recently vied for the top spot. By mid-year America will go one better. At the moment, Saudi Arabia could raise production all the way up to its maximum capacity of 12 million barrels a day, surpassing the 11.8 million daily barrels produced by the U.S. in December, according to the International Energy Agency. Soon even that won’t be enough. American crude output is poised to expand by 1.1 million barrels a day this year, according to the IEA, which sees the U.S. exceeding the Saudis’ maximum level within the next six months. “By the middle of the year, U.S. crude output will probably be more than the capacity of either Saudi Arabia or Russia,” the Paris-based agency said in a report on Friday."
U.S. Could Soon Pump More Crude Than Saudis Can at Their Peak
Bloomberg, 18 January 2019

"The UK’s nuclear power capabilities are slowly disappearing. Right now, the country gets about 20 per cent of its power from nuclear – it’s second only to gas as a source of electricity. But by the early 2030s, only one of the seven existing nuclear power stations in the UK is still planned to be in operation, and attempts to build replacements continue to falter. On Thursday, Japanese giant Hitachi pulled the plug on the £16 billion Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant on Anglesey in Wales, as well as another planned project at Oldbury in Gloucestershire. It is the latest in a string of blows to the UK’s nuclear new build programme. In November last year, Toshiba pulled out of the Moorside project in Cumbria – between them, the three scrapped power stations would have met 15 per cent of the UK’s future electricity demands."
Only renewables can fix the UK's nuclear energy crisis
The Week, 18 January 2019

"After closing out 2018 in free-fall amid fears of a global supply glut and economic slowdown, U.S. crude prices have rebounded more than 18 percent to start this year. That’s the biggest climb over the first 13 trading days since January 2001, according to New York Mercantile Exchange data compiled by Bloomberg. The swift climb higher has coincided with a steep drop in volatility. After reaching its highest level in more than two years, an index tracking West Texas Intermediate crude options prices has sunk to the lowest since November. Why all the optimism? Analysts and traders credit progress in U.S.-China trade talks, a more dovish stance on interest-rate hikes from the Federal Reserve and signs that OPEC-led production cuts are starting to take a bite out of supplies."
Oil Hasn't Started a Year This Hot Since the Turn of the Century
Bloomberg, 18 January 2019

"U.S. shale production is poised to slow down this year as drillers reduce their budgets in response to lower oil prices, the head of the world’s largest oil-field services company said Friday. Schlumberger Ltd. Chief Executive Paal Kibsgaard said on a call with investors that the recent decline in oil prices had prompted a more conservative approach among the world’s oil producers, a dynamic he said was particularly pronounced in the U.S. Mr. Kibsgaard said the budgets of U.S. shale drillers, who are customers of Schlumberger, could be slightly down in 2019, especially in the early part of the year. That means the rapid production growth seen in the U.S. in 2018 will slow, he said. “We could be facing a more moderate growth in U.S. shale production in coming years,” Mr. Kibsgaard said during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call. Some frackers have already begun scaling back next year’s drilling plans amid weak crude prices. U.S. oil prices had fallen more than 30% in recent months. They topped $53 per barrel Friday, which would be their highest close since early December, but are still low enough to force many shale companies to pull back on spending. Producers Chesapeake Energy Corp., Diamondback Energy Inc., Parsley Energy Inc. and Centennial Resource Development Inc. either plan to operate fewer drilling rigs in 2019 or recently lowered production plans, the companies have said in public statements and filings. The cuts so far have been modest, and shale drillers remain on track to push U.S. crude production to new highs this year, though not at the same rate of growth seen in 2018. The Energy Information Administration said Tuesday it expects oil production to reach an average of 12.1 million barrels daily in 2019 from an average of 10.9 million barrels last year."
Shale Boom is Slowing, Oil-field Bellwether Warns
Wall St Journal, 18 January 2019

"While low oil prices are beginning to slow the growth of U.S. shale, in the years ahead oil and gas drilling could be curtailed by a different problem: a shortage of water. Water is a crucial ingredient in the fracking process, and drillers use copious volumes of it. The problem for the U.S. oil industry is that so much of the output growth expected over the next half-decade or so depends very heavily on the Permian basin, where water is increasingly scarce. Water already accounts for about 15 percent of the cost of a shale well, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley. “In the Permian, total spending on water is expected to double over the next 5 years, to $22B, with E&Ps on avg using 50 barrels (bbls) of water for each lateral foot completed,” the investment bank wrote in a new report. “Assuming 10k lateral feet per well, this implies that the ~5,500 existing Permian well permits will require ~2.75 billion bbls of water to complete.” That’s a lot of water in an area that doesn’t have a lot of it. “Given the sizeable water need, we believe drought and water scarcity present long-term risks to shale economics, particularly in the Permian, a core area of growth in a drought-prone region,” Morgan Stanley warned. Morgan Stanley goes on to provide further detail into the scale of the problem. Morgan Stanley overlaid water scarcity data from the World Resources Institute with Permian well locations, finding that “53% of Permian wells being drilled today are located in areas with high water risk,” the investment bank concluded. “While operators are comfortable with water availability at the moment, there are precedents (most recently in 2011/2012 in Oklahoma) where severe drought conditions materially affected completion performance.” There is also another separate water problem facing shale drillers. “Produced water” – water that comes out of a well when drilled – must be handled somehow. The volume of produced water that comes out of a shale well can exceed that of oil by a ratio of 10 to 1. The ratio also increases over time as the oil from individual wells begins to deplete, so the cost-per-barrel for water disposal also rises. Water can be injected underground into disposal wells, which carries environmental and seismic risk. Or it is trucked away for recycling or some other form of disposal, often done by third parties, at huge expense. Last year, Wood Mackenzie said that the rising cost of water disposal alone would increase the breakeven price in the Permian by between $3 and $6 per barrel, potentially shaving off future Permian oil production by around 400,000 bpd by 2025.Morgan Stanley notes that shale drillers are increasingly recycling the water they use to drill wells, injecting it back underground to be used again in the next well. That saves on water use, of course, but it also cuts down on the cost of water disposal. The investment bank says simply recycling water could save around $1 per barrel."
Low Oil Prices Are Not The Only Problem For The Permian, 17 January 2019

"Hitachi has said it will suspend work on a multi-billion-pound UK nuclear project because of rising costs. The decision puts thousands of jobs at risk if the £13bn plant at Wylfa Newydd in Anglesey, north Wales, is scrapped. The Japanese firm had been in talks with the UK government since June about funding for the project, which was being built by its Horizon subsidiary. The government said it had failed to agree terms with Hitachi. The nuclear industry said it was "disappointing". Hitachi said it would also suspend work on another site, in Oldbury in Gloucestershire, "until a solution can be found". About 9,000 workers had been expected to be involved in building the two nuclear reactors, which were due to be operational by the mid-2020s.... Hinkley, Moorside, Wylfa, Oldbury, Bradwell and Sizewell were identified as the sites for the most significant national wave of new nuclear power construction anywhere in the world. Of those six - only one is under construction, three have been abandoned and two face an uphill battle to get the green light. Under those circumstances you might think the government would be embarrassed that its energy policy was in disarray. But it's not. The collapse of the Wylfa and Oldbury projects today (following the abandonment of Moorside) is evidence of some new economic realities that have seen government enthusiasm for new nuclear fade. The first and most obvious is the cost .... The Nuclear Industry Association says the UK has six sites that are licensed to build new nuclear power stations and eight sites that are currently generating power. However, it said that only one of the eight currently operating are due to be in use by 2030. The GMB union warned of an energy crisis."
Nuclear plant in Anglesey suspended by Hitachi
January, 17 January 2019

"U.S. crude oil production will average 12.1 million barrels per day (MMbpd) in 2019 and 12.9 MMbpd in 2020, with most of the growth coming from the Permian region of Texas and New Mexico. That’s according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest short-term energy outlook, which estimates that U.S. crude oil production averaged 10.9 MMbpd in 2018."
2019 US Oil Output to Average 12MM Barrels Per Day
Rigzone, 16 January 2019

"Oil demand will grow steadily in the 2020s and peak in the late 2030s, according to Rystad Energy’s current long-term outlook. “In our long-term outlook we currently see oil demand growing steadily in the 2020s and peaking in the late-2030s, as we incorporate moderate technological shifts and accelerated efficiency gains that will flatten on-road transportation demand and petrochemical feedstock demand growth towards 2040,” Rystad Energy’s Chief Oil Analyst Bjornar Tonhaugen said in a statement sent to Rigzone recently. Tonhaugen warned however that in the company’s “low case”, oil demand could potentially peak ten years earlier, in 2027, “given additional demand displacement by a more rapid transportation electrification, oil-to-gas and oil-to-renewables power switching, and the integration of biofuels and bioplastics”. The Rystad Energy representative added that “even in a scenario with more rapid transportation electrification, the E&P industry still needs to make new discoveries and/or find ways to extract more oil out of existing fields to satisfy oil demand to 2040”."
Oil Demand to Grow Steadily in 2020s
Rigzone, 15 January 2018

"The US will become a consistent net petroleum exporter late next year, the government has forecast, an astonishing shift that reflects surging domestic crude oil production. The country will ship out more crude oil and liquid fuels than it imports by September 2020 and the net export total will surpass 1m barrels a day by December 2020, the Energy Information Administration said in a monthly energy outlook issued Tuesday. The prospect raises the stakes for members of the Opec cartel and allied producers struggling to stabilise oil markets in the face of US shale supplies, which can accelerate quickly when prices rise. West Texas Intermediate crude was trading at $51.73 a barrel in New York on Tuesday, down more than 30 per cent from its peak last year but still a profitable level for leading producers in shale basins. The EIA forecast, its first short-term projections for 2020, said US crude oil production would rise to average 12m b/d in 2019 and 12.9m b/d in 2020 after breaking historical output records last year, the independent analysis agency said. By December 2020 production would reach 13.4m b/d. The US will continue to import nearly 5m b/d more crude oil than it exports, EIA said. But growth in simultaneous crude oil exports — helped by the abolition of federal export restrictions in 2015 — and in outbound shipments of refined fuels such as petrol and diesel would cement its status as a net exporter. The US in late November reported one week in which it was fleetingly a net petroleum exporter for the first time in decades. The EIA’s new forecast sees that anomaly becoming the norm. The EIA said US gross exports of natural gas will increase by more than half between 2018 and 2020, as exports of liquefied natural gas climb in that period from about 3bn cubic feet per day to 6.8bn cu ft/d thanks to new liquefaction terminals opening along the Gulf of Mexico coast."
US set to become consistent net oil exporter by late 2020 — EIA
Financial Times, 15 January 2019

"The US will become a consistent net petroleum exporter late next year, the government has forecast, an astonishing shift that reflects surging domestic crude oil production. The country will ship out more crude oil and liquid fuels than it imports by September 2020 and the net export total will surpass 1m barrels a day by December 2020, the Energy Information Administration said in a monthly energy outlook issued Tuesday. The prospect raises the stakes for members of the Opec cartel and allied producers struggling to stabilise oil markets in the face of US shale supplies, which can accelerate quickly when prices rise. West Texas Intermediate crude was trading at $51.73 a barrel in New York on Tuesday, down more than 30 per cent from its peak last year but still a profitable level for leading producers in shale basins. The EIA forecast, its first short-term projections for 2020, said US crude oil production would rise to average 12m b/d in 2019 and 12.9m b/d in 2020 after breaking historical output records last year, the independent analysis agency said. By December 2020 production would reach 13.4m b/d. The US will continue to import nearly 5m b/d more crude oil than it exports, EIA said. But growth in simultaneous crude oil exports — helped by the abolition of federal export restrictions in 2015 — and in outbound shipments of refined fuels such as petrol and diesel would cement its status as a net exporter. The US in late November reported one week in which it was fleetingly a net petroleum exporter for the first time in decades. The EIA’s new forecast sees that anomaly becoming the norm. The EIA said US gross exports of natural gas will increase by more than half between 2018 and 2020, as exports of liquefied natural gas climb in that period from about 3bn cubic feet per day to 6.8bn cu ft/d thanks to new liquefaction terminals opening along the Gulf of Mexico coast."
US set to become consistent net oil exporter by late 2020 — EIA
Financial Times, 15 January 2019

"Oil prices are expected to oscillate close to current levels well into the next decade, averaging around $65-70 per barrel through 2023, according to an annual survey of energy professionals conducted by Reuters. Despite the recent slump in oil prices, forecasts have edged down by less than $5 per barrel compared with the last annual survey conducted at the start of 2018 and have changed little over the last three years. Long-term expectations for the average price of Brent crude remain anchored around $70 per barrel, close to the $72 average realised in 2018 ( The results are based on the responses from just over 1,000 energy market professionals to a poll conducted between Jan. 8 and Jan. 11. Brent prices in 2019 are expected to average $65 per barrel, unchanged from surveys in 2016, 2017 and 2018."

Oil prices expected to stay anchored around $65-70 through 2023: Kemp
Reuters, 15 January 2019

"TAE Technologies will bring a fusion-reactor technology to commercialization in the next five years, its CEO announced recently at the University of California, Irvine. "The notion that you hear fusion is another 20 years away, 30 years away, 50 years away—it's not true," said Michl Binderbauer, CEO of  the company formerly known as Tri Alpha Energy. "We're talking commercialization coming in the next five years for this technology."... "What we're really going to see in the next couple years is actually the ability to actually make net energy, and that's going to happen in the machine we call Copernicus," he said in a "fireside chat" at UC Irvine."
Energy From Fusion In 'A Couple Years,' CEO Says, Commercialization In Five
Forbes, 14 January 2019

"Who could blame the board of the Japanese company Hitachi if its members decide at their meeting this week to scrap plans for a new nuclear power station at Wylfa on the North Wales island of Anglesey? Hitachi has invested more than £840m in the project over the past six years. The technology has passed all the tests set by the UK’s nuclear regulator. But the company has been unable to get the government to put in place the clear and credible financial structure necessary to underpin the investment. That failure has already led other investors to abandon the new plant planned at Moorside in Cumbria....Hitachi’s withdrawal would mark the collapse of the energy policy adopted in 2013 by the UK’s coalition government. Facing what were believed to be ever-rising energy prices and the need to reduce carbon emissions, the policy plumped for new nuclear, promising that 35 gigawatts of new capacity would be on stream by the mid 2030s — more than replacing the first generation of nuclear plants, which would by then have reached the end of their useful lives. Because the price of gas seemed doomed to keep rising, new nuclear would come to look highly competitive over time as well as reducing dependence on imports.  Since then much has changed, and the assumptions which underpinned the old policy now look laughably wrong. The costs of all forms of energy (apart from nuclear) have fallen dramatically and there is no shortage of supply. Electricity demand is down thanks to efficiency gains and new technology. The contract for the first new nuclear station being built at Hinkley Point in Somerset, which enjoys a guaranteed index-linked price for 35 years from the moment the plant is commissioned, looks exorbitant. The indexation dates from 2013. If the plant comes on stream in 2027 as promised, power from Hinkley will cost well over £100 per megawatt-hour. At the same time the cost of renewables has fallen radically, to the point where subsidies are largely unnecessary. As the latest capacity auctions demonstrate, it is beginning to be possible to rely on some measure of storage to manage the peaks and troughs of demand.  The demise of Wylfa forces the need for a comprehensive review of energy policy. Since the UK government is too busy preparing for Brexit to focus seriously on any other issue, the review should be conducted independently. The questions are simple: how much energy is likely to be needed? What are the most cost effective ways of reducing emissions? What alternative competitive sources of supply are now available, and what research priorities can improve efficiency and advance the next generation of supplies? Then, crucially, what incentives or guarantees are necessary to secure the required investment? "
After Wylfa — the case for an independent review of UK energy policy
Financial Times, 13 January 2019

"Huge salt caverns hundreds of metres underground are being converted into vast gas stores to ensure the UK has enough energy to heat homes if another Beast from the East hits. A little-known firm employing just 50 people has risen to become the UK’s biggest player in gas storage. Storengy, a subsidiary of French energy giant Engie, said it will complete the final five of 20 salt caverns at Stublach in Cheshire this year. That will take its market share from around a quarter now to nearly 30%, far larger than other big players in gas storage, such as SSE. The £500m project started in 2007 and has prompted drilling into salt layers 500m deep, adding water to turn it into brine and then painstakingly extracting that over several years to create caverns to hold gas. The region has a long history of salt mining, with the voids used for other purposes including records from the National Archive. The first 10 of Storengy’s caverns were finished and operational from 2016, and it has since added five more, with a final five due for completion by December.... MPs are also investigating whether the UK has enough storage after the country’s biggest facility, accounting for about three-quarters of gas stores, closed due to ageing infrastructure. Centrica’s Rough gas store off the coast of Yorkshire closed in 2017. The government has rebuffed previous calls to support new gas storage, saying the fact supplies did not run out last winter showed the market was working.... The government said: “Over the past 10 years, analysis undertaken by the government and others has delivered a consistent message: that our gas system is secure, with GB supplies able to meet gas demand even under severe weather conditions for an extended period of time.”"
Salt caverns double as UK gas stores to beat cold snaps
Guardian, 13 January 2019
"Saudi Arabia has finally silenced its peak-oil critics and simultaneously revived interest in its stalled $2 trillion (£1.6 trillion) plan for a stock market float of state-owned producer Aramco. The kingdom revealed this week it has enough crude to pump at current rates for at least another 70 years. At the end of 2017, Saudi oil reserves stood at an eye-watering 268bn barrels, up from previous estimates of 266bn. By comparison, the UK’s remaining cache of retrievable oil under the seabed of the North Sea will be almost completely drained, probably after another couple of decades."
Saudi Arabia has more oil than we may ever need
Telegraph, 12 January 2019

"Three-quarters of energy industry stakeholders are likely to avoid greater connectivity due to concerns around security vulnerabilities. That’s according to new research from international legal practice Osborne Clarke, which suggests concerns surrounding security, data protection and privacy risks are slowing the adoption of technologies such as the Internet of Things and 5G networks. Two-thirds of all businesses from across 11 countries said security concerns are very or extremely likely to lead their business to avoid greater connectivity, with 64% citing data and privacy concerns as another potential barrier – these worries were especially prevalent in businesses in the energy sector, at 74%. Despite this, the report also found the energy sector is the most likely (88%) to recognise the strategic importance of 5G over the next five years. Ashley Hurst, Partner at Osborne Clarke, said: “There is understandable hesitancy around privacy and security issues given the potential consequences of cyber-attack for energy companies but there is a real danger in falling behind the curve for those that don’t take advantage of greater connectivity."
Energy firms ‘avoiding greater connectivity due to cyber threats’

Energy Live News, 11 January 2019

"As a big storm was sweeping over the northern parts of the country, paralyzing transportation and economic activity, Bente Nyland took the floor in the Oslo premises of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate. The directorate director made clear that she had good news to tell. The Norwegian oil and gas production is now about to significantly increase, Nyland said. After 15 years of falling production, the output is bouncing back and a new peak oil is expected in 2023. The volumes of oil and gas will that year be almost on the level of 2004, the Directorate’s new shelf report shows.... According to the new shelf report, oil production will by year 2023 increase to 115 million standard cubic meters, a 40 percent increase from 2019. The increase is much due to the major Johan Sverdrup project which comes into production in 2020. In 2018, national oil production amounted to 86.2 million Sm³, a reduction of 6.3 percent from 2017. Additional decrease is expected in 2019, before the output picks pace in 2020. Natural gas production in 2018 amounted to 121.7 billion Sm³, a slight reduction from the previous year. The natural gas production will remain on the same level until at least year 2030, the new report says. At the same time, investments in shelf developments are reaching new heights and an unprecedented number of new licenses are issued. In 2018, a total of 87 production and exploration licenses were awarded to oil companies. The main focus of Nyland and the oil industry is now on the Norwegian Arctic waters. According to the Directorate, nearly two-thirds of the gas resources that have not yet been discovered are located in the Barents Sea."
As climate crisis sets in, Norway taps into new oil
Barents Observer, 10 January 2019

"Saudi Arabia is expected to announce a slight rise in its crude oil and gas reserves on Wednesday after being independently audited, according to a source familiar with the matter. Saudi Arabia’s reserves of easily recoverable oil have long been the world’s largest. For almost 30 years - despite rising production, large swings in oil prices and improved technology - Riyadh has annually reported the same number for reserves at around 261 billion barrels, according to a statistical review by BP (BP.L). An independent external audit of Saudi Aramco’s oil reserves - an essential part of the preparatory work for its planned initial public offering - found the state oil giant to have higher oil and gas reserves than it previously reported, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters in April."
Saudi Arabia to announce slight rise in oil, gas reserves after audit - source
Reuters, 9 January 2019

"Global transportation demand for crude oil is expected to peak in the late 2020s, due to the rise of electric vehicles (EVs), improved efficiency standards for internal combustion engine (ICE) cars, and consumer preferences, Wood Mackenzie said in a recent note. Most major oil companies and analysts also believe that by the late 2020s crude oil demand for transportation fuels will stop growing. As a result, major refiners are preparing for a petrochemical future of their crude oil refining processes to replace part of their gasoline, diesel, and other distillates production after 2030..... Major oil firms, including ExxonMobil, Saudi Aramco, and Sabic, are developing crude-oil-to-chemicals technologies, while many traditional oil refineries will consider retrofitting to maximize production of chemical feedstocks rather than transportation fuels, the energy consultancy said. According to recent estimates by the International Energy Agency (IEA), petrochemicals are expected to account for more than a third of global oil demand growth to 2030, and nearly half the growth to 2050, adding nearly 7 million bpd by then. Petrochemicals “will have a greater influence on the future of oil demand than cars, trucks and aviation,” the IEA’s Executive Director Fatih Birol said in October 2018. According to a WoodMac analysis from a few months ago, the EV share of the global car fleet is still miniscule, considering that the world’s stock of cars is 1.2 billion units. But battery costs and range are less and less the stumbling blocks in EV adoption. Battery is one third of the cost of an EV today. Yet, costs have already declined by 80 percent this decade and will fall further. Battery pack prices will drop below US$200/kWh this year and then fall by around 10 percent each year, WoodMac said in July. “The critical threshold is US$100/kWh – that’s when EVs will compete on commercial terms with ICE vehicles. We think we’ll get there by 2027,” WoodMac says. EVs will displace around 5 million bpd to 6 million bpd of oil demand by 2040—some 5 percent of total oil demand, the consultancy has estimated."
WoodMac: Demand For Oil In Transportation Sector To Peak In A Decade, 8 January 2019

"Renewables overtook coal as Germany’s main source of energy for the first time last year, accounting for just over 40 percent of electricity production, research showed on Thursday. The shift marks progress as Europe’s biggest economy aims for renewables to provide 65 percent of its energy by 2030 in a costly transition as it abandons nuclear power by 2022 and is devising plans for an orderly long-term exit from coal. The research from the Fraunhofer organization of applied science showed that output of solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectric generation units rose 4.3 percent last year to produce 219 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity. That was out of a total national power production of 542 TWh derived from both green and fossil fuels, of which coal burning accounted for 38 percent. Green energy’s share of Germany’s power production has risen from 38.2 percent in 2017 and just 19.1 percent in 2010.... Solar power increased by 16 percent to 45.7 TWh due to a prolonged hot summer, while installed capacity expanded by 3.2 gigawatts (GW) to 45.5 GW last year, according to the Fraunhofer data. The wind power industry produced 111 TWh from combined onshore and offshore capacity of just under 60 GW, constituting 20.4 percent of total German power output.Wind power was the biggest source of energy after domestically mined brown coal power which accounted for 24.1 percent..... Coal plants run on imported hard coal contributed 75.7 TWh, or 13.9 percent of the total. Hydropower only accounted for 3.2 percent of power production at 17 TWh, as extreme summer heat dried out rivers and was accompanied by low rainfall. Biomass output contributed 8.3 percent. Gas-to-power plants accounted for 7.4 percent of the total; nuclear energy for 13.3 percent; with the remainder coming from oil and waste burning. Germany was a net exporter of 45.6 TWh of power in 2018, mostly to the Netherlands, while importing big volumes from France."
Renewables overtake coal as Germany's main energy source
Reuters, 3 January 2019

"The Wall Street Journal compared the well-productivity estimates that top shale-oil companies gave investors to projections from third parties about how much oil and gas the wells are now on track to pump over their lives, based on public data of how they have performed to date. Two-thirds of projections made by the fracking companies between 2014 and 2017 in America’s four hottest drilling regions appear to have been overly optimistic, according to the analysis of some 16,000 wells operated by 29 of the biggest producers in oil basins in Texas and North Dakota. Collectively, the companies that made projections are on track to pump nearly 10% less oil and gas than they forecast for those areas, according to the analysis of data from Rystad Energy AS, an energy consulting firm. That is the equivalent of almost one billion barrels of oil and gas over 30 years, worth more than $30 billion at current prices. Some companies are off track by more than 50% in certain regions. The shale boom has lifted U.S. output to an all-time high of 11.5 million barrels a day, shaking up the geopolitical balance by putting U.S. production on par with Saudi Arabia and Russia. The Journal’s findings suggest current production levels may be hard to sustain without greater spending because operators will have to drill more wells to meet growth targets. Yet shale drillers, most of whom have yet to consistently make money, are under pressure to cut spending in the face of a 40% crude-oil price decline since October. Companies whose wells appear to lag behind forecasts, according to the analysis, include Pioneer Natural Resources Co. and Parsley Energy Inc., two of the biggest oil and gas producers in the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico. The Journal’s review didn’t include some leading producers, such as Exxon Mobil Corp. , because they didn’t make shale-well projections. Pioneer, Parsley and several other companies disputed the findings, saying the third-party estimates used by the Journal differ from their forecasts on key points such as the likely lifespan of shale wells. Some companies, including major North Dakota producer Whiting Petroleum Corp. , acknowledged the forecasts can be unreliable and said they were moving away from providing such estimates. Another North Dakota driller, Oasis Petroleum Inc., said the projections it provided in investor presentations were estimates made as it tested drilling in vast tracts, including areas it has since abandoned. “It’s not a science,” said Richard Robuck, the company’s treasurer. “It’s more of an art.”....  Schlumberger Ltd. , the oil-field-services giant, reported in a research paper that secondary shale wells completed near older, initial wells in West Texas have been as much as 30% less productive than the initial ones. The problem threatens to upend growth projections for America’s hottest oil field, the company said in October....Flawed forecasting doesn’t mean U.S. oil output is about to drop. Shale wells reach peak production quickly and rapidly decline, so companies are constantly drilling new wells. But if thousands of shale wells produce less over their lifetimes, companies will reap less of a long tail than anticipated, requiring them to spend more to sustain output and making it harder for them to reach profitability....Shale companies have attracted huge amounts of capital from Wall Street over the past decade. So far, investors have largely lost money. Since 2008, an index of U.S. oil-and-gas companies has fallen 43%, while the S&P 500 index has more than doubled in that time, including dividends. The 29 companies in the Journal’s analysis have spent $112 billion more in cash than they generated from operations in the last 10 years, according to data from FactSet, a financial-information firm.... Shale companies began touting a metric known as estimated ultimate recovery, or EUR, in investor presentations. The estimates, often represented graphically by what is known as a type curve, project how much oil and gas wells are likely to produce over several decades, including the rate of decline. The practice of promoting EURs became widespread after oil prices crashed in 2014 and producers, many in need of capital infusions from Wall Street, talked up their prospects. Wall Street’s valuation of many shale companies, which had been closely tied to the value of their proven oil and gas reserves, began diverging..... EUR estimates from many companies were grounded on two assumptions: that they could pack wells closer together, squeezing more value from the land they leased, and that they could replicate their best early wells. The results to date suggest those assumptions were often wrong..... When oil prices plummeted around 75% between 2014 and 2016, to below $30 a barrel, many shale companies used EUR estimates to try to persuade investors that the sector remained a strong place to put their money. The production forecasts made by many companies were “dangerous” because they were based on a small population of wells, and the performance of individual wells varies significantly, said Norman MacDonald, a natural-resource specialist at asset manager Invesco Ltd..... In September 2015, Pioneer Natural Resources, based in Irving, Texas, told investors that it expected wells in the Eagle Ford shale of South Texas to produce 1.3 million barrels of oil and gas apiece. Those wells now appear to be on a pace to produce about 482,000 barrels, 63% less than forecast, according to the Journal’s analysis. An average of Pioneer’s 2015 forecasts for wells it had recently fracked in the Midland portion of the Permian Basin suggested they would produce about 960,000 barrels of oil and gas each. Those wells are now on track to produce about 720,000 barrels, according to the Journal’s review, 25% below Pioneer’s projections. Pioneer disputed the conclusions, noting that it assumes its wells will produce for at least 50 years, while Rystad Energy uses 30 years in its forecasts. Pioneer also assumes its well productivity will fall off at a slower rate than the 7% final decline rate Rystad assumes.... While it is difficult to know how long shale wells will remain productive, assuming tens of thousands of them will pump for 50 years without costly interventions to keep them flowing is extremely optimistic, according to specialists on reserves. The oldest case study to date is in the Barnett shale in and around Fort Worth, Texas, where modern fracking began about 20 years ago. Researchers at the University of Texas and Rice University predicted that many wells in the region, which primarily contains natural gas, won’t even produce for 25 years. About 73% or more of the total output of wells will come in the first decade, with little value coming after 20 years, the researchers said. The decline rates of as low as 5% that some shale companies have adopted for their wells are optimistic, some academics and industry leaders say. Recent studies by Rystad and analytics firm Wood Mackenzie Ltd. found that a range of 12% to 16% was the most common decline rate after about five years..... Some companies said they were aware of flaws with the forecasting method and how it has been used, but that they provided the numbers to meet demands from analysts and short-term investors such as hedge funds. Some said that if they didn’t, their stock would underperform peers that made optimistic claims.... Denver-based Whiting Petroleum is de-emphasizing its production estimates at the direction of its chief executive, Bradley Holly. Mr. Holly, who became CEO in November 2017, said the company is now more focused on generating cash, lowering debt and maximizing a well’s returns early in its life. “Your return will really be made in the first two to three years,” he said. One reason thousands of early shale wells aren’t meeting expectations is that many companies extrapolated how much they would produce from small clusters of prolific initial wells, according to reserves specialists. Some also excluded their worst-performing wells from the calculations, which is akin to eliminating strikeouts when projecting a baseball player’s batting average."
Fracking’s Secret Problem—Oil Wells Aren’t Producing as Much as Forecast
Wall St Journal, 2 January 2019


".... if you look around and see what the world is now facing I don't think  in the last two or three hundred years we've faced such a concatenation of  problems all at the same time.....[including] the inevitability, it seems to me, of resource wars....  if we are to solve the issues that are ahead of us, we are going to need to think in completely different ways. And the probability, it seems to me, is that the next 20 or 30 years are going to see a period of great instability... I fear the [current] era of small wars is merely the precursor, the pre-shock, for something rather larger to come... we need to find new ways to be able to live together on an overcrowded earth."

Paddy Ashdown, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina 2002 -2006
BBC Radio 4, 'Start The Week', 30 April 2007

"Individual peace is the unit of world peace. By offering Consciousness-Based Education to the coming generation, we can promote a strong foundation for a healthy, harmonious, and peaceful world.... Consciousness-Based education is not a luxury. For our children who are growing up in a stressful, often frightening, crisis-ridden world, it is a necessity."
Academy Award Winning Film Producer David Lynch (Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, etc)
David Lynch Foundation

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