The International Energy Agency in its latest World Energy Outlook says the slowdown in the growth of demand for energy to 1.1% per year is attributed primarily to countries becoming more efficient in using energy. (Video of IEA presentation here.)  The IEA says the transport sector is in the leader for energy efficiency improvements. More than three-quarters of global car sales are now subject to efficiency standards. As a result, crude oil demand is due to grow by just a quarter despite a more than doubling of cars and trucks on the roads by 2040.

China will surpass the US as the world’s largest crude oil consumer within two decades, according to the International Energy Agency.

Offshore crude oil drilling companies say they are mothballing or even scrapping some of their aging drilling rigs as energy companies respond to a global glut of crude oil that has sent world prices tumbling. The moves by the companies that lease and operate drilling rigs are among the first concrete signs that the energy industry does not think the 25% price drop since June is temporary.

Next year US crude oil production is forecast to reach the highest level in 45 years.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) projected that the shale oil glut will not last forever and that the US shale oil production will likely decline in the 2020s. The Agency said in its annual report that it expects global oil supplies to increase to 104 million barrels per day by 2040.  The EIA also issued a short term forecast predicting that the average price of US crude oil will fall from $95 a barrel this year to $77.75 in 2015.

The volume of Canadian crude oil processed at US Gulf Coast refineries could climb to more than 400,000 barrels a day in 2015 from 208,000 in August. The rapid expansion shows Canadians are finding alternative entry points into the US while the Keystone pipeline saga drags on among the American politicians.

OPEC reported that its members received an average of $77.27 a barrel for their oil last month, down 10% from September. Several OPEC members are already in considerable fiscal trouble which could lead to political instability in the coming year. Iran is becoming increasingly desperate to have to sanctions lifted as the plunge in oil prices has badly damaged state revenues.

In Nigeria, crude oil exports account for about 83% of the West African country’s total exports.  With declining crude production and dropping world oil prices, Nigeria’s economy is suffering the consequences.

Mexico’s state-owned Pemex says it plans to build a $6-billion natural gas liquefaction plant at Salina Cruz on the country’s Pacific Coast–linked by a 120-mile pipeline to production on the Gulf of Mexico.

China is taking every opportunity to stock up on cheap crude oil while prices remain low.  The number of oil tankers sailing toward China set a record in mid-October and is still close to that record. The Chinese shipping industry now consumes about 3.5 million b/d of bunker fuel for its ships and is currently paying about $15 per barrel less than it was at this time last year for savings of some $50 million a day.

The Islamic State in Iraq controlled as many as seven oil fields in Syria and Iraq at one point and was said to be generating as much as $2 million per day in oil revenue. A US Treasury official said the group is probably now earning several million dollars per week from smuggled oil.

The second China-Russian natural gas deal, worth $400 billion, signals Moscow’s desire to stop supplying Europe as soon as possible and tie itself to China. The Russians appear to have given the Chinese very good terms for its natural gas, which will help with China’s air pollution problems and lower Asian natural gas prices – possibly to the detriment of US liquid natural gas (LNG) exports.

The US Energy Information Administration expects US liquified natural gas (LNG) exports to reach 2 billion cubic feet by next year, and eventually surge to as high as 20 billion cubic feet per day.

The cost of closing down and cleaning up the world’s aging fission nuclear reactors will exceed $100 billion over the next 25 years alone, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its annual report, warning that governments risk underestimating the cost. With almost 200 reactors due to be shut down by 2040, the IEA says are “considerable uncertainties” about decommissioning costs, reflecting governments’ limited experience in safely dismantling nuclear plants. In the last 40 years, only 10 nuclear reactors have been closed down.

Germany’s economics minister Sigmar Gabriel said the country’s 2020 target of of 40% CO2 reductions on 1990 levels was impossible to meet given the country’s heavy reliance on coal to generate electricity. Germany turned to coal after the government said it would close down its 12 nuclear plants following the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan. “It’s clear that the target is no longer viable,”  Gabriel was quoted as saying, adding: “We cannot exit from coal overnight.”

The International Energy Agency predicts that the world’s share of renewable energy sources will grow from 21% in 2012 to 33% by 2040.  Renewables, including hydropower, nearly triple by 2040 and surpass both natural gas and coal as the top source of electricity by 2035. By 2050, solar alone could become the largest share of electricity generation.


with h/t Tom Whipple and Fred





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