Due to a global movement to reduce coal production, the International Energy Agency now sees demand rising by 214 million tons in the next 25 years as contrasted with the 485 million it forecasted last year.

Britain’s last coal power station will be forced to close in 2025, the government said as it laid out its plan to phase-out the polluting fossil fuel.

Coal prices in Asia have doubled in the last six months due to the severe cutbacks in Chinese production. This in turn, has led China to relax restrictions on its coal production until increases in nuclear and renewable energy can catch up. In addition, China is boosted imports of coal from Australia and Indonesia.

The focus of next week’s OPEC meeting will be on what happens to Russian, Iranian, and Saudi production. OPEC leaders are meeting with Russia to try to bring in crude oil production cuts so as to boost oil prices to much higher levels so these countries can pay for their social programs. However, Iraq is saying it will not halt oil production increases while its civil war is going on.  Russia is saying it might stop increasing oil production, but it will not cut production.  Iran wants to get its oil production up to 4.0-4.2 million barrels per day while the rest of OPEC is proposing that the country cap its production at 3.92 million for the good of everyone else.

Libya’s National Oil Company says it is planning to produce 1.1 million barrels per day of crude oil next year, well above the 600,000 b/d it is now producing. Should it reach this goal, the increased production will eat into any OPEC production cut that comes out of the Vienna meeting next week.

Russia and Iran signed agreements for three Russian oil companies to begin working with Iran to develop its crude oil. The latest production figures for Iran show that it produced 4 million barrels of crude oil per day in October and exported 2.4 million.

Discussions are underway to build an underwater natural gas pipeline between Iran and Oman. The pipeline would have the capacity to move 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. In Oman, it would be compressed into liquefied natural gas (LNG) using existing facilities and shipped to the world markets. This would provide a relatively cheap and secure way to get Iran into world natural gas markets.

China is becoming increasingly dependent on foreign crude oil. Chinese oil companies are trying to slowly buy their way into US oil production as the US is one of the few stable places where oil production is not under control of a government.

The Mediterranean is rapidly becoming the world’s most oversupplied oil market as imports flow in Iraq, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Libya.

In the 25 years since 1982, African crude oil output doubled to more than 10 million barrels a day. Now, with global crude prices sitting below $50 a barrel, international oil drillers have cut their plans for capital expenditure in the next five years by $100 billion, according to a report by Wood Mackenzie Ltd.

Walmart announced plans to increase its investments in renewable energy in the US, pledging to obtain electricity for half of its operations from wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources by 2025.

Some 145,000 new electric vehicles (EV) were sold in Europe in 2015—double 2014 sales, according to a recent Transport and Environment report. EV sales have now reached the 1% market share milestone. Data for 2016 to date suggest significantly more than 200,000 EVs will be sold in Europe this year.  Renault’s ZOE is the best-selling EV in Europe with sales increasing 32% during this first six months of this year.

 

with h/t Tom Whipple

 

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