China announced it has been burning 17% more coal than has previously be reported. It turns out the country’s coal consumption has been underestimated for the past 15 years.  The higher numbers come from information supplied by small coal companies and small factories. The 17% discrepancy is highly significant adding about 600 million tons to China’s coal consumption in 2012 – an amount which is about 70% of all of the coal consumed in the US.

Crude oil production from global “megaprojects” — Arctic, deep ocean, oil sands, and even Gulf of Mexico production — is in trouble because of the low price of crude and the mounting cost of these expensive projects.

The cancellation of oil projects is not confined to the hard to get places on Earth.  The Middle East is also cutting back on exploration and production.  Saudi Arabia recently postponed a $3 billion expansion project; the United Arab Eremites another $3 billion project; and in Oman a critical $1.4 billion pump installation was delayed until better times.

Last week the head of Russia’s Central Bank commented that there may be a sustained slump in global crude oil prices and that his country may be facing a prolonged economic downturn.

Nigeria’s National Petroleum Corporation will sell crude oil directly to refiners and purchase refined oil products from them, a measure intended to cut out roughly 44 middleman companies and curb graft from the oil sector in this West African nation.

While US President Barack Obama’s rejection of TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline is a loss for Canada, it could give Venezuela’s ailing economy a lifeline. The South American country produces heavy crude oil that’s similar in consistency to that coming from Canada’s oil sands, and its economy relies largely on shipping it to the same US Gulf Coast refineries that Keystone XL was meant to supply.

The Keystone XL Pipeline announcements last week by President Obama, won’t have much effect on the US energy industry, experts say, largely because American petroleum refiners have found other ways to get crude oil from Canada. Oil imports from Canada set a new record in August, averaging 3.4 million barrels per day.

International oil company BP says that new technologies will double global crude oil and natural gas reserves to 4.8 billion barrels by 2050. Company officials said: ““Energy resources are plentiful. Concerns over running out of oil and gas have disappeared.”

The plunge in Asian natural gas prices means an expected US export bonanza of liquified natural gas (LNG) has fizzled out before it even started.

Israel announced it intends to develop two offshore gas fields—Leviathan and Tamar — despite the fact their development had been ruled anticompetitive by the country’s competition regulator last year.

Sweden announced the nation plans to be fossil fuel free by 2050. The Nordic country plans to heavily invest in wind-energy, smart grids and green transportion. The funding to reach its goals will come primarily from heavy taxation of petroleum and diesel fuels. The remaining portion will come from the sales of local coal mines.


with h/t Tom Whipple

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