Bolivia, one of the poorest countries in Latin America, has begun shipping lithium to China in what is considered the first step towards fulfilling its ambitions to becoming the world’s No. 1 exporter of the commodity. Lithium is used in high-tech batteries for such devices as smart phones and electric cars.

Australia is on track to become the world’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter by 2019.

The issue of whether Iran will participate in the OPEC crude oil “production freeze” meeting that is to take place in Algiers in late September is still up in the air. Iran’s refusal to participate in a similar freeze last spring led to the collapse of the meeting. Iran does not expect to reach what it considers to be its rightful level of production within the next month suggesting that it will not agree to any freeze. Considering the increasing level of hostility between Iran and the Sunni Arab states in the region, it seems highly doubtful that it will be a party to any freeze agreement.

Iran says it is about to start its natural gas exports to Iraq next month. The new pipeline will initially supply some 7 million cubic meters of gas a day to power plants around Baghdad, but this will expand to 70 million when the pipelines are opened to Basra next year. The Iranians have been seeking export markets for their increasing production of natural gas which is way beyond what they can consume domestically. One plan involves piping gas to Qatar where large liquid natural gas (LNG) compression plants are already in operation. Other plans involved piping the gas to the European Union via Turkey.

Last week Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy called Venezuela “a growing supply risk for the crude oil markets in 2017.”  The implications are that the South American country’s oil industry could come to a complete halt thereby removing another 2.1 million barrels per day from the global market. This would likely be enough to bring global oil markets into balance and push crude oil prices substantially higher. Investment in the oil industry has declined in recent years and the number of oil rigs in operation has dropped by a third in the last year.

By next year, 20% of US crude oil production is expected to come from the Gulf of Mexico.

McKinsey & Company look at the new economics of energy storage. Efficient and cost-effective energy storage could allow intermittent power sources such as renewables to play a base load role in energy delivery. The US government is leading the way in research and development to find solutions, funding 75 projects developing electricity storage. There are plans for hydrogen bromide, zinc-air batteries, storage in molten glass, next-generation flywheels, to name but a few with many claiming “drastic improvements” that can slash storage costs by 80–90%. The potential for industry is huge; Mckinsey estimates the energy storage market will grow a hundredfold to $90 billion a year by 2025.




with h/t Tom Whipple

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