Worldwide investment in renewable energy has risen from $33 billion in 2004 to $211 billion in 2011. Over this time period, nvestments in renewable energy in Africa rose from $750 million in 2004 to $3.6 billion.

The African country of Nigeria faces a nationwide strike this week as the population protests the government’s announcement last week that it is doubling gasoline prices to $3.50 a gallon. As with many other oil exporting states, Nigeria has long subsidized gasoline prices, but in recent years has come under increasing pressure from the International Monetary Fund to drop the $8 billion subsidy, thus freeing up money for social projects and eliminating the incentive to smuggle gasoline out of the country. It is widely feared that doubling gasoline prices will lead to higher prices for many other products.

In 2010 natural gas accounted for almost 1/4 of  total energy consumption worldwide driven by demand in Asia and North America.

Five major oil companies have publicly expressed support for Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline in Canada. The 745-mile proposed pipeline would carry up to 525,000 b/d from oil sands projects in Alberta to the British Columbia coast, opening the Alberta oil sands to Asian markets, including China.

In order to speed up energy projects such as the Northern Gateway pipeline, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that his government intends to speed up the regulatory approval process. Canada is looking at selling its oil and gas to an energy starved Asia.

French oil company Total signed a $2.3 billion deal with Chesapeake Energy Corp and EnerVest, continuing a trend of European and Asian oil and gas companies buying into Canadian and US shale projects.

Norway’s Statoil has discovered a large oil reserve in the Barents Sea, its second major oil find in the Arctic region in less than a year. A well drilled in the Havis prospect in the Barents Sea proved both oil and gas at an estimated volume of between 200 million and 300 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalents. Last April, Statoil said it had discovered between 150 million-250 million recoverable barrels of oil equivalents in the nearby Skrugard prospect.

Iranian scientists claim to have produced the nation’s first nuclear fuel rod. Iran also said its Bushehr nuclear power plant is just weeks from operating at full capacity. The 1 GW reactor can supply 2.5% of  the country’s electricity needs.

France said it is committed to staying with nuclear energy and will spend $13 billion to upgrade safety standards at its reactors. The upgrades will include flood-proof diesel backup power systems and backup control rooms. France generates more than three quarters of its power from nuclear plants. French officials said that the costs of closing nuclear plants would lead to higher electric bills, increased greenhouse gas emissions and the loss of energy independence.

Reports out of China indicate it may levy a carbon tax on greenhouse gas emissions within the next three years to tighten its regulations on polluting industries. The main targets of the tax will be large users of coal, crude oil and natural gas, and tax cuts would be given to companies that take steps to reduce their emissions. The tax is likely to be collected only from producers and wholesalers of fossil-fuel based energy which makes it easier to collect.

China’s energy consumption per GDP is double the world average reports the country’s National Development and Reform Commission.

Lebanon has raised the stakes in the high-octane poker game under way in the natural gas-rich eastern Mediterranean by approving a law to administer offshore exploration and drilling, joining Israel, Cyprus and Turkey in a potentially explosive race for energy riches.

Almost a decade ago India set an ambitious goal: electric power for all by 2012. Instead, the country’s power sector is in shambles and its chaotic state threatens India’s economic prospects at a time when there is high inflation, a growing government budget deficit, and ripples from the European financial crisis are already damping growth.

Crude oil output in Russia, the world’s top crude producer, reached a new post-Soviet high of 10.27 million barrels per day (bpd) last year, up from 10.15 million bpd in 2010.

Alaska met with BP, ConocoPhillips, and ExxonMobil to discuss commercializing the Alaska North Slope’s natural gas reserves. The state wants the three major gas reserve holders’ to work together on developing an LNG export project aimed at Asia’s growing markets.

Crude oil production in Alaska fell nearly 5%, extending a steady production decline that began eight years ago. Oil production in Alaska peaked in 1988 with slightly more than 2 million barrels of oil produced per day.

For the first time ever, Scotland power company Scottish & Southern Energy produced more electricity from onshore wind turbines than its hydro-electric dams. The company now has the capacity to generate more than 1 GW of power from the wind – sufficient to run 750,000 homes.

 

with h/t Tom Whipple

 

 

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