Saudi Arabia reported to OPEC its crude oil production was at its highest levels in more than 30 years. The desert kingdom produced 10.56 million barrels of oil per day in June.

Another crude oil boom may be in the works off the coast of West Africa.  Tullow Oil is among the early players in West African basins, tapping into prospects off the coast of Ghana. The region’s deep-water TEN project should deliver its first oil by 2016 and should peak at about 80,000 barrels per day (bpd). The Jubilee field off the Ghanaian coast could eventually produce more than 125,000 bpd. Last year Cairn announced its discovery in the deep waters off the coast of Senegal could hold as much as 670 million barrels of recoverable reserves.

Off the coast of Venezuela, Italian energy company Eni said it has started production at the Perla natural gas field. Considered among some of the largest natural gas discoveries in the world, Eni said the Perla field holds an estimated 17 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Shell Oil, the US subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, may soon drop the word “oil” from its name in a move that would signal its transition to other sources of energy. With Shell Oil Co.’s parent focusing more on natural gas and looking at other energy alternatives, the “oil” in the company’s name “is a little old-fashioned.”

One of the world’s largest solar plants will be constructed in the Middle East.  The plant will assist in the production of Oman’s heavy crude oil, according to Oman and its partners, Royal Dutch Shell and French energy company Total SA.

Germany’s fivefold increase in wind and solar energy in the past decade has outpaced investment in electric power lines to move it across the country. Germany is producing so much electricity that it’s spilling over into neighbors’ grids and increasing the threat of blackouts. Poland and the Czech Republic are spending $180 million on equipment to protect their systems from German power surges, while Austria is curbing some trading to prevent regional networks from collapsing. On a windy day, the overflow east can exceed the output from 4 atomic reactors.

A recent study by The Brattle Group concluded distributed energy is a complement to the national electricity grid, not a substitute for it.  The study looked at three markets in the US (California, Texas and Westchester County, New York) to determine if choosing a battery storage complement to rooftop solar power would be less expensive for consumers than purchasing electricity from their local grid. The conclusion was that even with rapid cost reductions for renewable power, grid-independence will remain beyond the reach of most consumers. In all cases analyzed , PV solar plus storage would be expected to cost a multiple of retail electricity prices from the grid. Hence, while some will pay the higher price to go off grid and be electricity independent, The Battle Group believes that this will not be a mass-market solution.


with h/t Tom Whipple



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