Much of China’s boom has been supported by a phenomenal growth in coal consumption which rose from 300 million tons annually in 1970 to 4.3 billion tons last year. Until recently, annual growth in coal consumption in has mostly ranged in the vicinity of 10 to 20% a year. Since 2013, when pollution reached near-lethal levels in several major cities, there have been major changes in government policies. Last fall the Chinese government released a new plan recognizing that significant reductions in coal consumption will have to take place if the country is to avoid an environmental disaster.  The government is now committed to reducing coal consumption within the next four years by 50%. To offset the loss of growing coal consumption, the Asian country is making major strides in developing solar, wind, hydro, and building more nuclear power stations to meet the demand for electricity. It also plans major increases in natural gas consumption.  Thus the key issue for the remainder of the decade is whether China can maintain economic growth rates on the order of 7.5% a year while cutting back on coal.

Russia‘s Gazprom has shipped the first cargo with crude oil produced at the Prirazlomnoye offshore field — the country’s only Arctic offshore hydrocarbon project — to the international market.

Nigeria’s total crude oil exports declined by 13% between December 2012 and December 2013, leading to a loss of $1.1 billion, due largely to a 90% drop in crude oil exports to the US.

US crude oil imports from Canada doubled from 16% of total oil imports in 2005 to 32% in 2013.

Most of the growth in petroleum and other liquid fuel supplies comes from countries outside of OPEC, the US Energy Information Administration said. The EIA projects petroleum and other liquids supply to increase by 1.4 million barrels per day in 2014 and 1.3 million bpd in 2015, with most of the growth coming from North America.

Combined production of crude oil, natural gas and condensates in the US is on course to a hit a record this year, passing the previous peak set in 1972 (7.34 billion barrels). The combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has enabled oil and gas extraction from previously impermeable rock formations in that country and has reversed the Peak Oil scenario by geologist M King Hubbert in 1956 who predicted that US oil and gas production would peak in the 1970s and then decline thereafter. Hubbert doubted improvements in technology and recovery rates could occur fast enough to have “any significant effect” on his Peak Oil model.

As a result of the Great Recession, energy use in the European Union has dropped to 1990 levels. From 2006 to 2012 EU energy consumption has fallen 8%.  Greece, Portugal and Lithuania have seen decreases as much as 17%.

From 2006 to 2012, energy consumption in the EU decreased by 8 per cent, – See more at:
From 2006 to 2012, energy consumption in the EU decreased by 8 per cent, – See more at:

The US Energy Department has approved exports from a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in the state of Alaska..  ConocoPhillips is allowed to send as much as 40 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year from the facility to Asian countries that do not have a free-trade agreement with the US (eg. China).

US light duty vehicle energy use is projected to decline from roughly 8.3 million barrels per day last year to as low as 5.3 million b/day by 2040, for a variety of economic, demographic, technological, social, and environmental reasons.

Utility Southern is building the first large-scale electric power plant in the US designed to transform coal into natural gas, capture the carbon dioxide (CO2) and pump it undergroundThe 582-megawatt Kemper project, scheduled to start operation later this year will cost $5.2 billion, making it one of the most expensive power generating plants ever built. The plant will end up costing more than $6,800 per kilowatt. By comparison, a modern natural-gas plant costs about $1,000 a kilowatt and a nuclear plant costs about $5,500.

The US is actively closing down coal power plants that produce electricity. In 2011 and 2012, coal units capable of generating 14 gigawatts of electricity were shut down. Another 63 gigawatts — more than a fifth of US coal powered capacity — may disappear by 2017 because of new rules placing limits on the emission of mercury and other pollutants.

The use of coal in Finland for heat and electricity production in 2013 increased by over 30% from the previous year to a total of 4.5 million tonnes reports Statistics Finland. The increase was due to the government’s policy of increasing the price of peat and wood chips and thus causing a shift in demand to cheaper coal.

Energy will cost European businesses an extra €17 billion (£14 billion) by 2015, with the closure of old electric power stations, tighter environmental legislation and fluctuation in feedstock costs. Rising non-energy costs such as taxes, transmission and distribution charges will push bills up and it is anticipated these elements could make up 50% of final bills. Spain and Portugal are expected to face the most significant rises, of up to 12%, due to an increase in natural gas and coal power generation feedstock and higher carbon prices. Across the rest of Europe price are expected to rise between 5 and 8%.

Japan has approved a new energy policy that will promote coal as a cheap, stable and long-term energy source, along with nuclear power, while failing to set renewable energy targets.



with h/t Tom Whipple

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