The top 10 countries with the world’s largest proved crude oil reserves are: Venezuela (292.7 billion barrels); Saudi Arabia (268.4); Canada (173.2); Iran (157.3); Iraq (140.3); Kuwait (104); United Arab Emirates (97.8); Russia (80); Libya (48.5) and Nigeria (37.1).

The US Energy Information Administration reported US oil production grew by more than one million barrels per day in 2014, the largest yearly increase since record-keeping began more than a century ago.

The US state of Texas crude oil production is likely to reach an all-time high this year, exceeding the record set back in 1972 when it produced 1.26 billion barrels.

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission observed that hedge funds and other large speculators have reduced their long positions in crude oil markets to the lowest in five years indicating that they expect further price declines for this commodity as the global surplus continues.  In July, crude prices fell 18% to 21%, the steepest monthly price drop since the 2008 global financial crisis. This week US prices dropped to $49 a barrel.

Despite the falling oil prices, European motorists are not seeing any lower price cuts when they go to fill their cars with petrol and diesel.

Last week several major oil companies such as Exxon, Chevron, and Shell reported a large decline in profits resulting from the decline in crude prices. Exxon, thought to be the best insulated from a price crash, reported its worst quarterly profit since 2009 and Chevron reported that its profits were down 90%. So far this year there have been 70,000 job losses in the industry and and some $200 billion in spending on new oil and gas projects has been suspended.

Energy advisory firm Wood Mackenzie said that most of the cutback in global oil and gas spending will be on the very expensive deep water projects that were expected to provide the bulk of new crude oil production in the next decade. Most industry observers seem to be expecting crude oil prices will remain low for several years.

Iran remains optimistic that the economic sanctions imposed by the US and other Western countries will be at least partially lifted before the end of this year and is pushing ahead on several fronts to export more crude oil and natural gas. Last week Iran announced that the pipeline is nearly ready to start exporting natural gas into Iraq. Negotiations have started for Iran to start supplying natural gas to the European Union by pipeline and via liquified natural gas (LNG). The Iranians are also getting ready to revive the project to export natural gas to Pakistan and India. A consortium of Indian companies are waiting for the termination of anti-Iran sanctions to fund the construction of a 3000 kilometre underwater (deep-sea) pipeline between India and Iran.

Since November the UK Oil and Gas Authority has awarded a total of 175 licenses to explore the UK Continental Shelf in the North Sea, making this the largest amount given out since the licensing process began in 1964.

The collapse in world coal prices has led to the bankruptcy of a large Australian coal mine (Isaac Plains) and the largest US coal producer (Alpha Natural Resources Inc.). The percentage of US electricity from coal-fired plants recently fell to 30%, just below the share from natural gas. Five years ago, coal had twice the share of gas at 44%.

The Iranian government wants to put wind turbines on windy ridges across the country in order to provide for the electricity needs of its more than 80 million people. In this way, it can keep its crude oil for export rather than generating domestic power.

23% of new car sales in Norway are electric. Since January, 18.4% of all new cars registered in Norway have been fully electric cars, while 4.5% have been plug-in hybrids. Norway’s 62,500 fully electric cars represent about 2.4% of the 2.6 million cars on Norway’s roads. The most popular models in the Nordic country are the Volkswagon e-Golf, the Tesla Model S, the Renault Zoe, and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

The European Commission approved public funding worth €33 million to build charging stations for electric vehicles in the Netherlands. Local authorities that decide to participate in the programme can choose the type of charging infrastructure for their community. The operators of the charging stations will be selected through competitive tenders.

 

with h/t Tom Whipple

 

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