A report issued by the World Energy Council says fossil fuels will continue to dominate the energy sector for the foreseeable future. The report made it clear that fears expressed in respect of so-called “peak oil” were unlikely to be realized within the next forty years at least.

In July, US oil refiners exported a record 3.8 million barrels of oil products a day — an increase of nearly two thirds from 2010 exports.

Operators of some of the largest US truck fleets, including Lowe’s., Procter & Gamble Co. and United Inc. are shifting to natural gas fueled trucks, betting on new engine technology that promises to substantially lower fuel costs.

Since July, plans have been announced for three large railroad loading terminals in western Canada with the combined capacity of 350,000 barrels a day — equivalent to roughly 40% of the capacity of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Over all, Canada is poised to quadruple its rail-loading capacity over the next few years to as much as 900,000 b/d, up from 180,000 today. The oil industry may simply bypass the pipeline opposition by using rail to export to the US.

The Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia have agreed on a framework for the construction of an oil pipeline to carry crude oil from Alberta’s oil sands to the Pacific Ocean for transhipment to Asian markets. The agreement does not appear to endorse any particular pipeline or energy export project. Instead, it lays out the terms under which a future project would be negotiated.

The Canadian province of New Brunswick announced it is proceeding with hydraulic fracturing for shale gas while the neighbouring province of Newfoundland said it is introducing a moratorium on this technology.

Canada’s National Energy Board approved an application by ConocoPhillips to begin drilling two exploratory wells for oil above the Arctic Circle in the Northwest Territories, the first such permission granted for hydraulic fracturing of horizontally drilled wells in the Canadian Arctic.

Suncor Energy will proceed with the $12.9 billion Fort Hills oil sands project as it seeks to increase production. The venture with Total and Teck Resources will begin producing crude in 2017, adding 180,000 b/d of output in northern Alberta, Canada.

Shell announced last week it was moving ahead with an oil sands project in Alberta, Canada, expected to produce 80,000 barrels of oil per day. Shell will use steam injection to heat the oil and plans to eliminate the need for freshwater used for steam generation through recycling of water produced with the oil.

Shell will make another attempt to drill for oil off Alaska’s arctic coast. Shell has devoted nearly $5 billion and eight years of work for its arctic oil exploration in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.

Alaskan oil output has declined every year since 2002 as the yield from existing wells shrinks. Alaska North Slope crude production averaged 534,306 barrels a day in October, down from 572,589 a year earlier.

Phillips 66 plans to build a terminal in the US state of Texas aimed at exporting propane and butane to meet growing demand for those fuels, which are being produced in the US alongside crude oil and natural gas.

The US state of California has approved new legislation allowing hydraulic fracturing and acid treatments to rejuvenate its ageing natural gas wells in exchange for strict controls and tougher enforcement.

The Gulf of Mexico is on the verge of its biggest supply surge ever. Over the next three years, the Gulf is poised to deliver more than 700,000 b/d of new crude, reversing a decline in production and potentially rivaling shale oil hot spots like Texas’s Eagle Ford formation in terms of growth.

Petroleo Brasileiro’s claimed the company’s oil and gas production will increase from an average 2.2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2012 to 5.7 million boepd by 2020. To reach that mark, the company will invest $237 billion.

Brazil is taking steps to stem huge losses on sales of diesel and gasoline that have raised questions about its ability to run a huge investment program. Strong growth in sales of cars and trucks has led to record fuel demand in Brazil. Petrobras currently imports expensive gasoline and diesel from abroad and sells them at a loss.

China’s biggest state-owned oil firms, sitting on ageing fields, are scrambling to ramp up crude oil and natural gas production to meet increasing domestic demand through a slew of investments that also risk pushing up their costs. They have also invested heavily in risky projects such as deepwater drilling at home and abroad. These investments, which mirror a trend in the global oil industry, will increase costs.

Russian energy company Gazprom said it wasn’t ready to examine the shale natural gas potential in the country because of abundant conventional reserves.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two of the world’s leading crude oil producers, are leading a Middle Eastern effort to develop solar energy, with plans for projects requiring $1.5 billion in investment by the end of 2014. The program is designed to free up for export increasing amounts of crude oil and natural gas currently being used domestically for power generation.

So far some 170,000 electric vehicles have been sold worldwide since 2011. Nissan leads the list with over 100,000 sales of its Leaf and is followed by Renault with 40,000 sales. Renault owns 43% of Nissan.  Other sellers include Tesla, GM, Ford and Volvo.  To put these numbers in perspective, global passenger car sales exceeded 80 million in 2012.

Bicycle sales outpaced new-car sales last year in every one of the 27 countries in the European Union except Belgium and Luxembourg.


with h/t Tom Whipple

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