Oil trader John Arnold is expecting one-half of the US energy industry to go bankrupt next year if the world price of oil does not rebound from its current doldrums of almost $35 a barrel. “Come January 1, revenues will experience a pronounced decline for many companies, coinciding with a time of severe stress for balance sheets across the oil industry.”

In its annual Outlook For Energy: A View to 2040, ExxonMobile said the three fossil fuels — coal, natural gas and crude oil —  will still be providing about 80% of the world’s energy in 2040. The world’s population is expected to rise to 9 billion by 2040 with an increase in economic growth. Energy demand is driven by population growth and economic growth. There will be unprecedented growth in the middle class, from under 2 billion today to 5 billion by 2030, led by India with 1.1 billion, China with 900 million and 700 million in the key growth countries. This middle class will be demanding more electricity: natural gas will be the fuel of choice in the developed nations while coal will dominate in China and India at least through 2030. Global transportation will continue to be dominated by traditional gasoline engines, but full hybrid vehicles will show strong growth, followed by plug-in/hybrid engines and diesel.

Construction has begun on the $10 billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline. The Central Asian pipeline is expected to be completed by 2020 and will have a capacity of 33 billion cubic meters. It will transport Caspian Sea natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India.

The US currently gets less than 40% of its electricity from coal, down from about 70% in 2005. Recently the head of the country’s Environmental Protection Agency said that coal is “no longer marketable” in the US due to the availability of an abundance of cheaper natural gas and the rising use of renewables like wind and solar.

It appears a global glut of liquified natural gas (LNG) is just beginning. A handful of new LNG export terminals can significantly alter the supply/demand balance and the US, Australia and Canada are in the process of adding these terminals. The first batch of terminals started to come online this year, with many more nearing completion in 2016 and 2017. These will add 14 to 15 million tonnes of annual LNG capacity to the spot market over the next year. Moreover, the rush of new supply is hitting the market at the very time economies in East Asia (Japan, China) are slowing, leaving a shortfall in demand. As a result, the spot price of LNG in East Asia is down 2/3 from where it was a year ago. Currently trading around $7.30 per million Btu (MMBtu), this price could fall as low as $4 to $4 to $5 next year when the new supplies hit the market.

Asia accounts for approximately 75% of global demand for LNG and this fuel is expected to be the fastest growing fossil fuel source of power generation in Asia for the next two decades. A significant share of this increase will stem from China, with LNG expected to account for almost 40% of that country’s increase in natural gas imports. With new LNG supplies about to hit the market from North America, Australia, Russia, and East Africa, the country of Singapore has plans to become the first LNG trading hub for Asia. It is expected to open the first Asian LNG futures market for this product in the next year. This will bring more transparency to an increasingly more liquid market and offer  greater opportunities for buyers and sellers to trade LNG on an open market.

Poland has received its first delivery of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar as it tries to diversify its energy sources and cut the price of natural gas imports from Russia. Poland has signed a 20-year contract with Qatar for LNG deliveries. The Eastern European country currently depends on Russia for about 60% of its natural gas requirements.

The city of San Diego, California, the eighth-largest city in the US, became the largest American municipality to bind itself to a transition to using 100% renewable energy. San Diego is the first US city to make its pledge legally binding. Under a municipal ordinance, it has committed to using 100% renewable energy by 2035. The city plans to shift half of its motor vehicle fleet to electricity by 2020 and recycle 98% of the methane produced by sewage and water treatment plants.

In the US city of San Antonio, Texas, a solar firm has a unique marketing idea to get more solar panels on the rooftops of residential homes. CPS Energy’s SolarHost program is designed to remove the financial burden from home owners who want to go solar.  CPS provides all the capital, buys the equipment, installs it on the homeowner’s rooftop, and operates and maintains the panels for 20 years under an agreement between the home owner and the company. The property owner is paid three cents for each kilowatt hour generated (or about $20 per month) and this is credited to their monthly CPS electricity bill. The electricity generated by the panels feeds into the CPS grid. The company plans to install panels on 850 homes in the next year as well as 50 to 75 commercial properties.

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