Japan’s next generation of farmers could be robots. With the average age of Japanese farmers now 67, Japan plans to spend 4 billion yen ($36 million) this year to promote farm automation and help develop 20 different types of robots, including one that separates over-ripe peaches when harvesting. The dearth of young people willing to take up farming has increased concerns that Japan’s reliance on food imports will deepen, with the nation already getting about 60% of its food supplies from overseas.

The average age of farmers in developed countries is now about 60, according to the United Nations.

The BRICS New Development Bank has approved $811 million in renewable energy funding for projects in Brazil, India, China, and South Africa. The projects include adding solar and wind capacity and ungrading electricity transmission networks.

A report published by the UK government’s new All-Party Parliamentary Group (AAPG) on Limits to Growth finds that world fossil fuel production is likely to peak around 2025, largely as a result of Chinese coal production peaking. The report does not say resources are running out, but does say the quality of available fossil fuel resources is declining while the cost of extracting this lower-quality resource is increasing.

The International Monetary Fund said that Middle East oil producers were denied $390 billion in oil revenue last year and face up to $150 billion in income losses this year as a direct result of the decline in crude oil prices. The loss in revenues has put enormous strain on the economies of major oil exporters such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, who have posted massive budget deficits in the past year. Several Middle East countries have been forced to introduce cost cutting measures ranging from cutting energy subsidies and raising taxes. Some also have burned through foreign reserves or started to borrow internationally.

Crude oil tankers carrying around 200 million barrels are waiting to leave or dock at ports around the world, creating “the world’s biggest traffic jam”. Middle East ports are choking on the oil waiting to be loaded onto tankers and shipped to Asia, and Asian ports are forcing tankers to wait for weeks before unloading because their infrastructure can’t cope with these amounts of oil.

The world’s glut of diesel fuel is being dumped in Europe. The continent may run out of onshore storage capacity and European-bound ships may become offshore storage tankers.

In the UK, the Gatwick Gusher shale oil basin could add as much as $74 billion (£51 billion) to the nation’s economy, according to a study by Ernst & Young.

Egypt’s  gigantic Zohr natural gas discovery in the Mediterranean Sea could hold 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, enough to make it the largest gas discovery ever recorded in the Mediterranean.

Uganda has chosen to export its crude oil to the East African coast through Tanzania. The Kabaale-Tanga route through Tanzania is the only option to secure Uganda’s first oil exports by mid-2020.

Nigeria deployed police and soldiers to gasoline stations to maintain order as fuel shortages grip Africa’s largest oil producer. The most severe fuel scarcity in a year in Africa’s most populous nation has left motorists paying more than double the government’s official price for gasoline.

Norway’s Statoil and partners announced production of the first crude oil and natural gas from the Gavea field offshore Brazil. This is part of the largest-ever oil and gas discovery in the South Atlantic ocean.

Total US crude oil production is projected to fall 15%  from 9.4 million barrels per day in 2015 to 8.0 million barrels per day in 2017.


with h/t Tom Whipple




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