Oil analyst Daniel Yergin expects crude oil’s turmoil to continue. New petroleum supplies are likely to come into the market in 2016, particularly from Iran. Assuming that nuclear sanctions are lifted on Iran in the next few months, Iran could produce another 400,000 to 600,000 barrels per day within several months. Iran’s oil minister thinks the number is higher — around 1 million  b/d.
This specter of Iran battling to regain market share from its geopolitical rival Saudi Arabia and the other Persian Gulf countries is likely to loom very large in the OPEC debates ahead.

Meanwhile, last week OPEC members failed to agree upon a crude oil production ceiling at a meeting that ended in acrimony, after Iran said it would not consider any production cut backs until it restores output scaled back for years under Western sanctions. This decision (or non-decision) is likely to produce more price wars in an already heavily oversupplied oil market.

With crude oil prices currently hovering around $40 a barrel, investment banker Goldman Sachs predicts they could fall as low as $20 as the world produces more oil than it consumes and runs out of capacity to store the excess.

Turkey is extremely dependent on foreign sources for its energy needs, with some 91% of its crude oil and petroleum products and 98.5% of its natural gas coming from abroad, mostly coming from Russia. Now Turkey is looking for new energy suppliers. Last week the country agreed to a deal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar and is currently exploring energy deals with the US, Algeria and Azerbaijan.

According to research company Navigant, to capture the excess electricity of solar and wind, global energy storage installations will rise from about 1.75 gigawatts (GW) in 2016 to nearly 11 GW by 2020. (1 GW is the size of a typical nuclear power facility.) These installations will allow for electricity to be provided to the grid or individual users when the Sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing. Storage methods currently being used around the world include batteries, flywheels, geothermal plants, compressed air and hydrogen and even ice. Yet the most popular method is hydro power – water pumped to the top of a mountain and then released to power turbines at the bottom.

Today there are about 800 million vehicles on the world’s roads. By 2050, it is estimated there will be more than 2 billion.

The city of Helsinki, Finland is planning to go 100% car free by 2050. This does not mean that automobiles will be banned, but rather that all public services would be improved to discourage people from driving in the city. The plan takes into account greater improvement of public transport, providing all necessary services within walking distance in the main neighborhoods (schools, shops, hospitals), and increasing parking charges.

13 jurisdictions from the US and Europe, called the International Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Alliance, announced last week they want all passenger vehicle sales in their territory to be zero emission vehicles by 2050.  The jurisdictions include the US states of California, Oregon, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maryland as well as the European nations of Germany, The Netherlands, the UK and Norway and the Canadian province of Quebec.

Mercedes-Benz is expected to reveal its new hydrogen fuel vehicle at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. The car would then go on sale in 2018.


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