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Cal on April 30th, 2015

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In the past 35 years, China has added more than 500 million rural people to its cities.

Fossil fuels (coal, crude oil and natural gas) comprise 85% of total energy resources in the world. This figures is expected to decrease to 75% over the next 25 years, according to data from the International Energy Agency.

Oil company CEO’s meeting in the US last week generally expressed the opinion that the global industry was in for a lengthy period of relatively low prices for crude oil as there is enough new production on the horizon mostly from the Middle East to offset the sluggish global demand growth that is forecast. This could continue the 2 million barrel per day surplus of crude oil that has substantially driven prices lower in the last year.

Gulf oil state Abu Dhabi plans to invest over $25 billion in the next five years on boosting its crude oil production capacity from offshore fields. The plan is part of the United Arab Emirates’ strategy of increasing its crude oil output potential to 3.5 million barrels per day by 2018.

Last week state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp. reported that the drop in crude oil prices has led to nearly a 40% drop in company revenues and that it was cutting back its investments this year by about one third.

The number of active US oil rigs has fallen 56% since October 2014 as a result of falling world oil prices.

It appears Uganda’s large crude oil discoveries in recent years may stay in the ground.  Plans were to have oil production begin in the West African country by 2018.  However, the collapse in world oil prices will likely push this date out further given that the profitability of oil investments could remain depressed in the foreseeable future.

In order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, the US is expected to shutdown between 108 gigawatts (GW) and 134 GW of electricity production from coal by 2020. (A gigawatt = 1 billion watts)  This capacity is rapidly being replaced by natural gas.

Last week the European Union brought an anti-trust suit against Russia’s Gazprom, accusing the company of overcharging customers in Eastern and Central Europe for its natural gas by as much as 40%. Europe gets about 20% of its natural gas requirements from Russia.

The share of electricity generated from renewable resources in New Zealand during 2014 was 80%, a 5% increase from 2013. The South Pacific nation now is the 5th largest producer of geothermal energy in the world.

Due to a surge in electricity demand because of extremely hot weather, Venezuela has ordered the working day for public sector workers be reduced from 9 hours to 5 1/2 to conserve energy. The initiative is part of a nationwide electricity rationing plan as air conditioners are causing blackouts across the country.

Thirty four nations representing more than half the world’s population have joined forces to build the world’s first nuclear fusion reactor in the south of France. Over the next decade ITER (The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) hopes to demonstrate the production of vast amounts of energy from nuclear fusion, the power source of the Sun. If successful, it is expected that commercial fusion reactors will be operating by mid-century.

China is cutting subsidies on alternative-energy vehicles by more than it previously planned.  Yesterday the finance ministry announced it will reduce subsidies on electric and other vehicles by 40% in 2019. Sales of these vehicles have been sluggish in China and the various governments have been attempting to spur their growth through financial incentives and exemptions from registration restrictions.

Industry-wide cost estimates for battery packs for electric vehicles have declined almost 14% annually between 2007 and 2014, from above $1,000 per kilowatt hour (kWh) to around $410/kWh, according to a review of more than 80 different estimates by a team from the Stockholm Environment Institute. The cost of battery packs used by market-leading manufacturers is even lower at $300/kWh. The results suggest that it is possible that economies of scale will continue to push cost towards $200/kWh in the near future even without further cell chemistry improvements.




with h/t Tom Whipple

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Cal on April 27th, 2015

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Cal on April 23rd, 2015

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