China’s transportation sector accounted for only 4% of total natural gas use in 2000. This figure grew to 11% by 2012. Between 2000 and 2012, China’s natural gas use grew from 900 million cubic meters to 16.6 billion cubic meters.

Car and truck sales in China exceeded 22 million vehicles in 2013. This included 18 million passenger cars. At this pace the country will have the largest vehicle fleet in the world and the biggest demand for gasoline by the end of this decade.

China became the world’s largest crude oil importer in 2013 which is raising concerns in Beijing about its vulnerability to foreign oil exports drying up due to political turmoil or increased domestic consumption by producing countries. To counter this possibility, last week the government announced a program to double oil and natural gas production by 2030.

In Brazil, when fields said to hold billions of barrels of crude oil were discovered off the Atlantic Coast, exuberant government officials said discovery would turn Brazil into a major energy player. More than six years later, the outlook for Brazil’s oil industry is more sobering. Oil production is stagnant, the state-controlled oil company, Petrobras, is hobbled by debt, and foreign oil companies are wary of investing here. Brazil’s pre-salt oil fields, which are complex and require expensive investments, are producing 300,000 barrels of oil a day, far less than had been forecast.

The US Congress is reviewing plans for seismic exploration that would provide a better understanding of the crude oil and natural gas potential in the Atlantic Ocean off the east coast of the country.

The US will become a net exporter of natural gas by the first half of 2016, largely due to the expected rapid growth of the US liquefied natural gas (LNG) export industry along with a boost in Mexican pipeline capacity and a drop in US demand for Canadian gas, report analysts with Barclays Commodities Research. Barclays says six US LNG export facilities will begin shipping to foreign markets by the end of this decade

Canada plans tougher standards for new tank cars used to ship dangerous goods by rail, as concerns mount about the increased use of trains to ship crude oil across the North American continent in the wake of several fiery derailments.

Liquid natural gas (LNG) prices in Asia are higher than those in Europe and North America because the cost in Asia is linked to crude oil prices under long-term contracts. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is urging Asian buyers of imported liquefied natural gas to unite to demand fair pricing.

A Palestinian electric utility company is the first to secure a supply contract for natural gas from the 18 trillion cubic feet Leviathan natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea off the Israeli/Lebanon coast.

In the UK, Total of France is to become the first major oil company to explore for shale gas as the government hopes to create a US-style shale gas boom. The deal will be seen as a major vote of confidence in the UK’s fledgling shale industry.

In Poland, construction will begin next month on 1.8 GW of new coal-fired electric generating capacity. The first unit will be completed within 4.5 years with the second unit one year later

German coal use to generate electric power reached its highest level in more than 20 years in 2013. Researchers view the cause as two-fold: (1) the low price of CO2 emissions permits in the European Union trading scheme and (2) a significant increase in the number of brown (lignite) coal plants that came on stream in 2013 which added 2.7 GW of new generating capacity.

The US Department of Energy said 23% of the world’s electrical power was generated from renewable sources in 2012. (4, 892 TWh) Hydropower continues to dominate renewables, accounting for 70% of all renewable energy in 2012.  Since 2000, wind and solar have been the fastest growing renewables. In 2012, wind’s global share of renewables was 5.2% while solar was 1.8%. You can access the statistical data for both the world and the US here.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports that wind electricity is cheaper to produce in Australia than conventional fossil fuel sources, and that is without the subsidies. The study shows that electricity can be supplied from a new wind farm 14% cheaper than a new coal and plant and 18% cheaper than a new gas plant. Since 2011, in Australia the cost of wind generation has fallen by 10% and the cost of solar photovoltaics by 29%.

In Spain, solar PV, concentrated solar and wind now account for 49% of installed electric generation power capacity.

German wind generation increased 2.8% to 47.14 TWh in 2013 (compared with 45.86 TWh in 2012). This represented 8% of German electricity consumption in 2013.

German parties have agreed to limit the growth of renewables and reform controversial incentives for the sector by next summer in a move to slow the rise in electricity costs for households and give big utilities more time to adapt their business models. – See more at:

Germany’s political parties have agreed to limit the growth of renewable energy sources and reform controversial incentives for the sector by next summer in an attempt to slow rising electricity costs for households and give the large electric utilities more time to adapt their business models. The country’s energy law has sent costs for consumers soaring because of generous incentives for solar and wind power. The subsidies are largely paid for by households, whose electric bills have almost doubled to an average of 300 euros ($410) per megawatt-hour (MWh) over the past decade and are now the second-highest in Europe behind bills in Denmark.

Germany’s Federal Administrative Court has ruled that a decision to close a nuclear power plant after the Fukushima disaster was unlawful, opening the way for a substantial compensation claim by operator RWE. RWE said it would pursue a civil claim for damages but has not yet decided on the extent of its claim.


German parties have agreed to limit the growth of renewables and reform controversial incentives for the sector by next summer in a move to slow the rise in electricity costs for households and give big utilities more time to adapt their business models. – See more at:

with h/t Tom Whipple

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