Cal on July 22nd, 2014

Cal is on vacation for the next few weeks so there will be only occasional postings.  Earth’s Energy will be back to normal postings by early August.  In the meantime, take some time to look at older postings and check out the links to many other excellent energy-related sites.





Cal on July 22nd, 2014

The Australian Senate voted 39 to 32 last week to repeal the nation’s carbon tax. Prior to the repeal, the law required large companies to pay for their carbon dioxide emissions.

China’s once insatiable appetite for coal is cooling, raising questions about mining companies’ big bets on new coal projects. Analysis shows sharply weaker demand, which experts say stems from slowing domestic growth. Longer term, factors including new policies to curb air pollution by limiting coal use are likely to keep growth in coal consumption far below the double-digit increases of the past decade.

India’s biggest power company said coal shortages at six of its power stations are threatening to disrupt electricity generation in 22 of the country’s states and territories.  The shortages –mainly due to failures by the state-run coal monopoly to deliver adequate coal supplies– are a major cause of power outages in India, where more than half of electricity-generation capacity depends on coal.

OPEC, in its annual statistical report, said its collective crude production was down 2.5 percent during 2013 and its share of total global production in 2013 averaged 43.4%, down from 44.6% in 2012. The group said in early July demand for its oil will continue to decline next year when it is likely to fall by 300,000 barrels a day.

OPEC said Asia-Pacific economies imported an average 14.3 million barrels of its crude per day in 2013, or 59.3% of the oil exported by member states.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, shipped 6.99 million barrels per day in May, the least crude shipped in almost three years and down from 7.45 million b/d  a month earlier as domestic refineries processed record amounts and domestic power plants also increased consumption. Crude production rose to 9.71 million b/d from 9.66 million in April.

In Egypt it was a surprise when President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, as one of his first major policy initiatives, sharply raised fuel prices two weeks ago, cutting deeply into energy subsidies. Even more surprising, perhaps, has been the absence of widespread civil unrest. The relative quiet appeared to signal an acknowledgment among many Egyptians that the fuel prices, which were among the lowest in the world, could not stay that way forever in a battered economy.

In Cuba, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the conclusion of a visit to Brazil his government would help Cuba’s state oil company develop offshore reserves.

The impact of the US shale revolution in being felt in the Caribbean. Trinidad and Tobago’s state-owned Petrotrin is blaming the shale oil revolution and lower US crude oil prices for its decision to significantly reduce its refinery throughput to 120,000 b/d from 180,000. The decision was an attempt to limit the company’s losses at its Point a Pierre refinery and to avoid going out of business like two other Caribbean refineries.

The US. Energy Department said it was spending $6.3 million on research aimed at generating a biofuel that could be cost competitive by 2017. The Energy Department said it wants to produce a drop-in biofuel that would cost about $3 per US gallon by 2017.

a Dutch consulting company put the reserve estimate of Israel’s giant Leviathan natural gas field in the Mediterranean at 21.9 trillion cubic feet, up from the previous estimate of around 18.9 trillion cubic feet. Leviathan should go on-stream in 2016, with much of the offshore gas field’s reserves already designated for exports to regional customers.

French energy company EDF has agreed to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) from an export facility being developed in the US  by Corpus Christi Liquefaction. The agreement lasts for 20 years and gas exports are expected to begin in 2019.

Japanese car maker Toyota said the appeal of driverless cars carries the risk of adding to urban sprawl and pollution as these vehicles may encourage commuters to travel farther to work.



with h/t Tom Whipple

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Cal on July 15th, 2014

The US continues to be the world’s biggest oil producer this year after overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia due to extraction of energy from shale rock formations. Daily output exceeding 11 million barrels in the first quarter of this year. The country became the world’s largest natural gas producer in 2010.

Nigeria is listed as the country with the highest incidents of crude oil theft in the world.  According to Oilprice, with as much as 400,000 barrels of crude oil stolen daily, Nigeria is ranked worse than Mexico, Iraq, Russia and Indonesia among the top five countries most plagued by oil theft. The report put Nigeria’s losses to crude theft at $1.7 billion, representing 7.7 percent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, or more than the country spends on education and healthcare.

Among European Union nations, shale could eventually meet about 10 percent of energy demand, European Energy Commissioner Gunther Gettinger said. He noted companies with reservations about hydraulic fracturing should keep all options available.

A report by the British Geological Survey says Scotland may have 6 billion of barrels of shale oil beneath its territory. As well as oil, Scotland’s central belt has shale gas in place of 80.3 trillion cubic feet.

Turkey is interested in exploring its shale gas potential through a possible joint venture with Exxon Mobil. The Turkish national oil and gas company TPAO, is in talks to form a joint venture with Exxon to extend to potential reserves in far western and southeast Turkey. The country has an estimated 162 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The US Energy Information Administration has revised most of its 2014 projections for the US coal sector, basing its decisions on weak electricity demand at home and oversupply in global seaborne markets. The July projection of 951 million tons for 2014 is still up 2.8% compared with 2013 consumption of 925 million. In 2015, the EIA projects US coal consumption will dip to 924.4 million tons due to retirements of coal-fired power plants, slow electricity sales growth and lower natural gas prices.

The top five solar PV markets are forecast to account for almost 80% of the world market this year. The countries include China, the US, Japan, Germany and the UK.

Germany produced a record 50% of its electricity needs through solar panel at the start of June. On Monday June 9th solar power production peaked at 23.1 GW, which equalled 50.6% of total electricity demand

There are now 150 GW (gigawatts) of solar PV installed across the world. The industry has steadily grown over the past several years, increasing from an installed base of only 5 GW in 2005 to almost 200 GW forecast by the end of this year. This year  the major Asian countries (China, India, Australia, Thailand, and Japan) are projected to account for over half of worldwide solar installations.

China’s renewable energy capacity increased from 27.8 GW in 2001 to 183 GW in 2013, and alternative sources are expected to account for more than 20 percent of the country’s total electricity generation by 2020, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData. China’s goal is to add 15 GW of solar photovoltaic (PV), 5 GW of wind, .53 GW of geothermal and 3.3 GW of biomass power by 2015.

In the UK the annual bill for consumers to subsidize renewable energy technologies has soared to more than £2.5bn. The subsidies are required to build expensive offshore wind farms and household solar panels. The average cost for each unit of green electricity has also increased, hitting a record high of £66.97 per MWh in 2012-13, the most recent period for which figures are available. This figure is up from £54.26 the year before.

Sales of electric cars are not going well in China.  In 2012 the government set a target of 500,000 electric vehicles on the road by the end of 2015 and five-million electric vehicles on the roads by the end of 2020. Yet in 2013, Chinese automobile manufacturers sold just 6,900 highway-speed electric passenger automobiles and 1,247 plug-in hybrid automobiles.




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Cal on July 12th, 2014

Something Different

Cal on July 11th, 2014

Earth's Energy

Cal on July 9th, 2014

Something Different

Cal on July 8th, 2014

Earth's Energy


Cal on July 7th, 2014

Biomass Magazine reports US wood pellet exports doubled last year due to increased demand from Europe. European countries, particularly the UK, are using wood pellets to replace coal for electricity generation and space heating. Exports nearly doubled last year, from 1.6 million short tons (approximately 22 trillion Btu) in 2012 to 3.2 million short tons in 2013. More than 98% of these exports were delivered to Europe, and 99% originated from ports in the southeastern and lower Mid-Atlantic regions of the US. The southeastern states has export advantages over other parts of the world due to abundant supplies of inputs and relatively low shipping costs to Europe. See also Fuel Fix, US wood pellet exports double on British demand surge.

A firm on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia is using Giant King Grass to produce wood pellets we learn from StabroekNews. Emunite Energy Solutions Inc. will use the fast growing perennial grass for its planned 100,000 ton per year pellet mill on the island. The company plans to export its Giant King Grass pellets to the US and Europe to replace coal in electric power plants.

watershed post explains how a biomass fuel plant works.

Bioenergy Insight tells us E.ON UK is now producing renewable electricity at its Blackburn Meadows biomass plant in Sheffield, England.  The 30 MW plant can provide enough energy to power around 40,000 homes by recycling waste wood into electricity. The facility will also supply hot water to a new £20 million low-carbon district heating network, which is due to be completed in early 2015, and will supply heat directly to homes and businesses in the area.

From biofuels international we learn of Sweden’s first commercial biofuels flight. British Midland International flew the route between Karlstad and Frankfurt and Nextjet flew between Karlstad and Stockholm. Karlstad Airport has become the first airport in Europe to install a fixed storage tank facility for aviation biofuel. From early 2015, all aircraft departing from Karlstad Airport can be filled with this fuel.

British Midland International (BMI) between Karlstad and Frankfurt and by Nextjet between Karlstad and Stockholm, – See more at:
30MW renewable energy plant will convert locally sourced recycled waste wood into electricity, – See more at:
E.ON UK has produced renewable energy for the first time at its Blackburn Meadows biomass plant in Sheffield. – See more at:
E.ON UK has produced renewable energy for the first time at its Blackburn Meadows biomass plant in Sheffield. – See more at:



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