Russia and China signed a second major natural  gas supply deal just a few months after a similar $400 billion deal was signed. The new agreement envisions 30 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas going to China through a new pipeline from western Siberia, whereas the previous agreement had gas coming from eastern Siberia. The new deal allows Russia to keep exporting gas for an indefinite period as Europe does its best to diversify its gas supply away from Russia. For China, the deal allows a reduction in coal burning for the production of electricity. China retired 77 gigawatts (GW) of coal power stations between 2006 and 2010 and plans to retire a further 20 GW by next year.

Much discussion is taking place about the impact of the Republican takeover of the Senate for US energy policies. There is general agreement that it will be very difficult to pass legislation to deal with climate change for a while. Others expect the Keystone XL pipeline to move Canadian oil sands crude to the US midwest will be quickly approved, as a number of mid-western Democratic senators will join Republicans to get approval out of the Senate. Whether President Obama would be willing to veto such a bill is open to question. The Republicans are also likely to move quickly to ease as many restrictions on drilling and emissions as possible.

The US is expected to export more than 1 million barrels a day (b/d) of crude oil and condensates by early next year analysts with Citi said in a new report. According to Citi’s estimates, US crude oil exports to Eastern Canada will grow 500,000 b/d, exports from Alaska will climb to 100,000 b/d, exports of processed condensate will hit 200,000 b/d and exports to Mexico will grow to 200,000 b/d from zero.

The northern US state of Illinois has agreed to rules regulating high-volume shale oil and gas drilling, clearing the way for companies to apply for “fracking” permits and start what legislators hope will be an energy boom in the southern part of the state.

Declining world oil prices are reaching the cost level of shale oil production in the US. According to the consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie, breakeven shale oil prices range from $60 to $80 per barrel in North Dakota’s Bakken region. Gaffney Cline & Associates said US shale oil companies are likely to feel the pinch, leading to marginal or negative economics, for wells drilled at $80/bbl oil and lower.

Norway’s state-owned Statoil said the giant Johan Sverdrup crude oil field in the North Sea could produce up to 650,000 barrels of oil a day at its peak.

The Ukrainian government estimates the country may have enough natural gas in shale gas reserve areas to meet the country’s needs without imports from Russia.

The International Energy Agency says natural gas prices in Asia are as much as four times as high as in other world markets. Asian demand for natural gas, meanwhile, is expected to grow by as much as 8 trillion cubic feet by 2020, while only 5.3 trillion cubic feet of new supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG) are expected to come on stream by that time.

East Africa is the new “hot spot” for the energy market led by massive natural gas finds. Energy research firm IHS says East Africa is expected to add another 1 million barrels per day in production by 2025, led by Mozambique and Tanzania.

US coal producers mined 983,849 tons in 2013, the lowest level since the 1980s, according to the country’s Energy Information Administration.

German automaker Volkswagen sees great potential in solid-state batteries, which possibly could increase electric vehicle range to as much as 700 km (435 miles), representing a volumetric energy density of about 1,000 Wh/l. (Energy density is  a measure of how much energy is stored in a certain amount of space; Wh/l is Watt-hours per litre)

Investment in renewable energy in Australia has dropped by 70%, a report by the country’s Climate Council has found. The Council also says any greenhouse gas emission reductions achieved over the past few years in the nation’s electricity sector have effectively been cancelled out since the repeal of the carbon pricing mechanism.

India’s largest wind energy company, Suzlon Energy, says it has built the world’s tallest wind turbine. The 2.1 MW turbine sits on top of a 120-meter tower made of concrete and steel in the western state of Gujarat. Suzlon Energy is working on a large wind park in the state that now has an operational capacity of 1.1 GW. The company plans to increase the capacity of the park to 2 GW, making it the largest wind park in Asia.



with h/t Tom Whipple

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