In 2014 the US continued to remain the world’s largest producer of petroleum and natural gas, exceeding that of both Russia and Saudi Arabia. For the US and Russia, total petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbon production is almost evenly split between petroleum and natural gas. Saudi Arabia’s production, on the other hand, heavily favors petroleum. US hydrocarbon production over the past several years is directly attributed to its success at exploiting tight oil formations and shale gas with new technologies.

The Saudi Arabian Oil Minister said last week that his country was ready to help push crude oil prices higher through production cuts, but that the Saudis would not do it alone. He implied that there must be cutbacks in non-OPEC production, particularly in the US, which the Saudis see as responsible for the current worldwide glut.

The outlook for world crude oil prices is still uncertain after the sharp fall that began last summer, the International Energy Agency said this week. Prices have fallen to about half of what they were last June, with the international benchmark, Brent crude, at about $59 a barrel and its US counterpart around $54. The murky outlook is dependent on understanding the full implications of declining economic growth in China, production cutbacks in the US shale industry, the response by OPEC to declining oil prices, and the implications of a nuclear agreement between the West and Iran which could lead to Iranian crude oil flooding the international market.

A crude oil find near London’s Gatwick airport contains much more oil than first estimated, an independent report commissioned by the field’s developers said last week. The report estimated 158 million barrels per square mile could be lying below the site just north of the UK’s second-largest airport, much more oil than first thought.

UK Oil & Gas Investments announced there may be as much as 100 billion barrels of crude oil in the Weald basin in southern England (Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire and Kent) with recovery of 3% to 15% of the oil in place possible. “Appraisal drilling and well testing will be required to prove its commerciality, but this area has the potential for significant daily oil production,” Chief Executive Officer Stephen Sanderson said. The potential of the Weald Basin could meet up to a third of the UK’s oil demand within 15 years.

Iranian companies are trying to buy a Swiss petroleum refinery, according to insiders, as Iran seeks outlets for its crude oil if western sanctions over its nuclear policies are lifted later this year.

PetroChina has matched Exxon Mobil as the world’s largest energy company by market value. Exxon’s market capitalization is $352.6 billion compared with PetroChina’s $352.8 billion.

Due to the collapse in crude oil prices, the average US household expenditure on gasoline in 2015 is expected to be about $1,817, about $700 lower than during 2014 and the lowest level in more than a decade.

Solar and wind may now be the cheapest sources of new energy supply in the United Arab Emirates, according to a report released overnight by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.  The report finds that by 2030 the renewable energy could provide 10% of the UAE’s total energy supply and almost 25% of its electric power needs. In January, the tender for the second phase of Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park in Dubai was awarded to the lowest bidder for under 6 cents per kilowatt hour for a 25-year fixed contract. This is the lowest solar price ever achieved worldwide. Solar PV costs have fallen by 80% since 2008.

The German Association of Energy Consumers estimates that up to 800,000 Germans have had their electric power cut off because they were unable to pay the country’s rising electricity bills as the country moves from nuclear and fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.


with h/t Fred and Tom Whipple

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