The International Energy Agency raised its forecast for non-OPEC crude oil production increases next year to 500,000 barrels per day with the increase coming from Russia, Brazil, and Kazakhstan.

An indication of a growing glut of crude oil was a report that European oil companies have been forced to book oil tankers to store their growing oil supplies as there is no longer any room left on land.

Some energy analysts are predicting that crude oil prices will fall into the low $30 a barrel range or worse if the upcoming OPEC-Russia meeting on November 30th is a failure.

Low crude oil prices are continuing to take a toll on the Saudi Arabian economy. The government has canceled some $266 billion in planned and ongoing construction projects. The government’s unpaid bills owed to construction firms, medical establishments, and foreign consultants have burgeoned during the financial crisis. One analyst estimates that the government owes construction firms alone some $21 billion dollars. The oil price slump created a $98 billion deficit last year and the deficit this year is expected to be around $87 billion.

The Saudi Arabian cutback in construction has resulted in the laying off of some 70,000, mostly foreign, workers and there are tens of thousands of layoffs to come. Many government contractors are going into bankruptcy for lack of government payments. Most of the burden is falling on foreign workers, who are being sent home as contracts are ended. Analysts believe the Saudis are eating their way through their sovereign wealth funds at a pace that will leave them in big trouble in four or five years unless crude oil prices recover.

Angola has been Africa’s largest crude oil producer for the first seven months of this year, averaging 1.7 million barrels a day.

US coal production dropped by more than 10% in 2015 to 897 million short tons, the lowest production level since 1986.

China nnounced its five-year plan for the electric power industry. The National Energy Administration said the Asian country aims to have 2,000 gigawatts of electricity generating capacity by 2020, of which at least 320 gigawatts, or 16%, would come from solar and wind power and 110 gigawatts from natural gas.

The world’s longest subsea electric power cable will allow the UK to import electricity from Norway. The 450-mile cable from Blyth in Northumberland to Kvilldal in Norway is due to be built by 2021 and will be the first electricity link between the two European countries. The cable will be able to import or export up to 1.4 gigawatts of electricity – enough to power about three quarters of a million UK homes.

MIT Technology Review tells us what we need to know before we get into a self driving car.


with h/t Tom Whipple



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