In the event of a complete stoppage in Russian natural gas to Europe via Ukraine, Europe will experience a natural gas deficit of as much as 56 billion cubic meters during 2014, said Moody’s Investors Service. Such a gas shortfall would predominantly affect Italy, Turkey, France, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Austria. By 2019, Europe is expected to diversify its energy market by importing  substantially more natural gas from Azerbaijan.

Analysts say it could take years for surplus natural gas from the US shale gas boom to loosen Russia’s grip on European energy supplies. The primary obstacles would be lengthy environmental and other regulatory reviews as well as developer reluctance to proceed with multibillion-dollar projects. Currently only one US facility, Cheniere’s $10 billion Sabine Pass terminal on the US Gulf Coast, has the required regulatory approvals to export natural gas. Shipments are scheduled to start in late 2015, according to the company.

Global energy companies gathered in Houston, Texas for an annual US conference expressed concern over the soaring costs of their crude oil and natural gas projects. To pay for the rising price of extracting fossil fuels, the industry needs triple-digit oil prices, Chevron’s CEO, John Watson, warned. “All of us are facing new realities and pressures. Labor and capital costs have doubled over the last decade. The $100 barrel [for global oil] is the new $20.”

Crude oil prices are likely to fall to around $90 a barrel as global supply rises and demand falls back thanks to a shift to more natural gas usage and increased fuel efficiency, the CEO of Italian oil and gas major Eni SpA Paolo Scaroni said last week.

The Jordanian government said it expected an oil pipeline from Iraq would be able to deliver about 1 million barrels of oil to the Jordanian coastal city of Aqaba by 2018.

In Nigeria, the current fuel scarcity in the oil rich African country may worsen this week as more petrol stations ran out of supply.

US crude oil refiners have not built a major new refinery since 1976, in part because of environmental regulations. Now a flood of oil from Texas, Oklahoma and North Dakota has companies rushing to expand existing facilities and build small new processors around the country. Refiners also are engineering ways to expand fuel-making capacity at their aging plants without the cost of building entirely new refineries to take advantage of the increase in light sweet crude flowing from US oil wells.

US exports of petroleum products exceeded 4 million barrels per day in December, 2013, a monthly record reported the Energy Information Administration. Since 2008, exports of petroleum products from this country have increased 1.7 million bpd, supplying about 25% of the growth in petroleum product demand outside of the United States.  Since mid-2011, the US has been a net petroleum product exporter. Crude oil exports, on the other hand, are restricted by legislation passed in the 1970s during the Arab Oil Crisis.

TransCanada’s Energy East oil pipeline proposal has been submitted to the country’s National Energy Board for approval. It involves the construction of a new 930-mile segment and converting 1,800 miles of natural gas line for crude oil service by the end of 2018.  The pipeline is designed to carry 1.1 million b/d from Alberta and Saskatchewan to eastern Canadian refineries. This would offset the estimated 700,000 b/d imported for eastern Canadian refineries from overseas markets.

Canada’s National Energy Board has approved a crude oil pipeline from Southern Ontario to Quebec that will bring oil from Alberta’s oil sands and the US state of North Dakota to refineries in Montreal and Quebec City. Once operational, the pipeline will back out costly imported oil and increasing volumes of North American supplies that his shipped by rail.

With the public comment period now closed, US Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama will decide whether to approve or disapprove the long-delayed $5.4 billion plan to build the Keystone Pipeline from the Canadian border to the southern US. the pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels of heavy crude oil from Canada’s oil sands every day.

The Panama Canal Authority now expects the expanded canal to be in operation by January 2016. The improvements, which will significantly widen and deepen the 50-mile waterway, will allow many more very large crude oil tankers to use the 100-year old canal which joins the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Recent progress at China’s shale gas projects suggest the country will meet the 2015 production target set by the central government. China is targeting shale gas output of 6.5 billion cubic meters/year by 2015 and 60 billion-100 billion cu m/year by 2020 under its official plans.

n 2012, 70% of Estonia’s total primary energy supply came from oil shale, with 80% of that going towards electricity production. In total the Baltic country is home to 17% of Europe’s total shale reserve.

Natural gas production from UK waters of the North Sea has declined substantially during the last three years. By 2020 the UK will be reliant on imports to meet 70% of the country’s gas demand.

Brazil’s worst drought in decades is decimating crops and leading to parched sugar cane fields. This indicates there will be less ethanol production from Brazil this year. Ethanol is used in the country as an important substitute for gasoline and diesel. In addition, the hydropower-dependent country has just recorded the second-driest January in 80 years, and the prospect of electricity rationing looms. As reservoir levels run low, costly liquid natural gas (LNG) imports appear to be the country’s last resort for the second consecutive year.

A recently published paper by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) suggests electricity prices are rising more than four times the national average in nine of the 11 US states with the most wind power consumption. In Texas, the only one of the 11 states with significantly declining electricity prices, deregulation rather than wind power is causing the decline in electricity prices. The 11 states that AWEA identifies as deriving more than 7 percent of their electricity from wind power are Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming.

 

with h/t Tom Whipple

 

 

 

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