The international price of crude oil fell this week by 5% as traders speculated that a new nuclear agreement between Iran and the Western countries will soon bring substantial volumes of new crude oil from Iran onto world markets.

Three fossil fuel sources—petroleum, natural gas, and coal—have made up at least 80% of total US energy consumption for more than 100 years.

US crude oil production rose 9,000 barrels a day to 9.7 million barrels a day in April, the highest level since May 1971, the US Energy Information Administration reported.

The Chinese government is offering private companies the rights to explore six oil-and-gas blocks in an attempt toward opening the nation’s energy resources to private investment. The Ministry of Land and Resources said the pilot program would offer access to onshore blocks in China’s far northwest Xinjiang region, which has ample reserves but where commercial extraction is difficult due to its remote location and complex geology. Energy analysts said the success of the pilot project would depend on the quality of reserves at the blocks on offer.

The National Iranian Gas Company said the measured reserves of natural gas in Iran have increased to above 34 trillion cubic meters (tcm), which is about 1.4 tcm more than the reserves of Russia.

China’s lessening demand for liquified natural gas (LNG) is raising concerns that the global industry is facing a glut as supply grows. Downside risks appear to be growing for Australia, which is expected to become the world’s largest supplier of LNG later this decade with the start of six new projects. Lower demand for gas in China and more supply moving into that country from Russia and Central Asia, on top of a downturn in the crude oil market, are putting a cap on LNG prices.

The US government has put in place a program to triple the amount of solar energy available to low-income Americans by 2020. At the same time the government is setting up a program to help low-income households and renters find out how to go solar, while also making it easier to get a loan to invest in the necessary solar panels.

Last year renewable sources generated 22% of all electricity generation last year among the 34 countries that belong to the Organization of Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD). Hydro accounted for 13% or renewable production and non-hydro sources the other 9%.

Last year there were 1,055 gigawatts of installed hydropower capacity on the planet. The top countries for hydropower capacity and generation remained China, Brazil, the United States, Canada, Russia, and India, which together accounted for about 60% of global installed capacity at the end of 2014.

Food production from beginning to end — including  crop cultivation, animal rearing, industrial food processing, logistics and packaging — accounts for 17% of total energy use in the European Union. Renewable energy in the food sector is around 7%, while fossil fuels account for 79% of energy consumed in Europe’s food sector.


with h/t Tom Whipple

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