The German city of Hamburg has announced plans to become “car free” within 20 years. Hamburg City Council disclosed ambitious plans to divert most cars away from its main thoroughfares in twenty years. In order to do so, local authorities are to connect pedestrian and cycle lanes that will link the entire urban centre with its outskirts.

Japan spent 57% more on fossil fuels in the year ended March 31 compared with the year ended March 2011, when the Fukushima nuclear accident occurred. Traditional fossil fuels now account for about 88% of Japan’s power output, up from 60% before Fukushima. However, the first two nuclear power plants have been cleared to restart operations by late fall, and a total of four nuclear facilities could be operating by the end of this year.

Mexico has passed laws to open its crude oil, natural gas and electric industries to private and foreign investors after 76 years of state control.  The country has been pinning its hopes on becoming a low-wage manufacturing centre, but growth has been limited by unusually high electricity rates and the need to import massive quantities of natural gas at high prices. Mexico’s oil and gas production peaked in 2004 at 3.4 million barrels a day. It has fallen steadily since to the current 2.5 million barrels. With the reform, the government hopes to increase that to three million barrels by 2018 and 3.5 million by 2025, by attracting private companies with the expertise and technology to exploit the country’s vast shale and deep-water reserves.

Nearly half the UK is now open to fracking for shale gas. The latest onshore oil and gas licensing round opened up most of England and the Midland Valley of Scotland for applications to drill, including National Parks – though these will only be drilled in ‘exceptional circumstances and in the public interest’

Nearly 4% of the world’s crude oil supply is offline due to geopolitical conflict  Wars, unrest, and sabotage have increasingly plagued oil producers like Iraq, Libya, Nigeria and Syria since 2011. The US and European Union sanctions on Iran’s oil industry have also removed a lot of oil from global markets.All told, some 3.3 million barrels of oil per day — equivalent to nearly 4 percent of global supply — are currently offline due to “unplanned outages”:

Algeria’s role as an important supplier of natural gas to Europe should be reviewed given production declines, the European Council on Foreign Relations said last week.  The European Union spends an average $1 billion per day on energy imports. More than 60% of the continent’s natural gas supplies come from foreign suppliers, notably Russia, Norway and Algeria respectively. Algeria has the tenth-largest natural gas deposits in the world. Its exports have been in decline, however, because of lagging foreign investments.

New Zealand is experiencing a petroleum exploration boom. After decades of focusing on less-developed nations, big companies are tilting toward wealthy countries when hunting for oil and gas. Such places have higher costs and tighter regulations, but their political stability is far better.

A tanker of US crude oil set sail last week for South Korea, the first export of US crude oil since the 1970s when a ban was put in place.

Investment bank Tudor Pickering projects another 4.8 million barrels per day of US crude oil growth during the rest of the decade, putting the figure at 12.3 million in 2020 and far above the country’s Energy Information Administration forecast of 9.1 million by that date. The investment bank sees the Permian Basin in Texas accounting for 40% of the growth, with the Bakken and Eagle Ford shales cumulatively making up 41%. Most of the increased oil output will be light and sweet crude and pressure will grow to allow oil exports after 2016.


with h/t Tom Whipple




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