Norwegian energy company Statoil said it made a natural gas discovery in the Norwegian Sea in an area near a find made less than a month ago. The company estimates the volume of the discovery to be between 12 million and 44 million barrels of oil equivalent.

OPEC should consider re-introducing individual crude oil output quotas to prevent oversupply lowering crude prices should Iran increase its oil exports following a deal over its nuclear work, an OPEC delegate said. Such a proposal is likely to spark a debate within OPEC as national prestige and market share are at stake. After refusing to cut crude oil output last year, OPEC is pumping much more than its overall output target of 30 million barrels per day because of record Saudi Arabian output, higher Iraqi exports and a partial return of Libyan crude.

Oil services company Schlumberger said it would cut another 11,000 from its workforce, bringing the total to 20,000 since cutting expenses earlier this year to offset lower world crude oil prices. That represents about 15% of the company’s staff.

Continued growth in crude oil and natural gas production, growth in the use of renewable energy sources, and the application of demand-side energy efficiency policies show the potential to eliminate net US energy imports in the 2020 to 2030 timeframe, according to that country’s Energy Information Administration.

A report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance revealed that countries around the world added more electric generating capacity from hydropower, nuclear, solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal in 2013 than they did from oil, natural gas, and coal. in 2013, when the world added 143 gigawatts (GW) of renewable electricity capacity, compared with 141 GW in new plants that burn fossil fuels. (It is important to note that this data refers to “generating capacity” and not “electrical output”. Capacity is not the same as how much electricity a power plant will actually generate in its lifetime. While natural gas and coal plants operate on average at 80% capacity annually, because of the indeterminacy of the Sun and wind, solar panels and wind turbines often operate at only 20% capacity. In other words, renewable energy capacity will have to grow at a much faster rate if to be capable of overtaking fossil fuel output.)

The Solar Energy Industry Association reported that by the end of last year, over 600,000 US homes and businesses were powered by solar energy. The industry expects to complete its 1 millionth installation later this year. There is now almost 20 GW of solar electric capacity operating in that country. Approximately 1/4 of all solar installations are in the state of California.

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee approved an agreement with European Union governments to limit the amount of biofuels from agricultural crops used to meet renewable energy targets. Biofuels will be capped at 7% of the EU’s total renewable energy mandate. Over the past few years concerns have arisen that using crops to make biofuels has jeopardized food security for low income groups both inside and outside Europe. In October 2012, the European Commission had proposed amending the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive by introducing a 5% limit for counting food crop-based biofuels towards the 10% target for renewable energy in transport fuels by 2020.

Norway is reviewing its subsidies for electric vehicles after generous government incentives made the country the biggest user of battery powered cars in the world, hurting state revenues, the finance ministry said. Norway registered its 50,000th EV this month thanks to government schemes that have cut taxes and provided a plethora of benefits, including an exemption from tolls and parking fees, free recharging stations and the use of bus lanes. With just 5 million people, Norway accounted for a third of all European battery powered car sales last year.

 

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