Russia supplied a third of Europe’s natural gas needs in 2016, a record amount despite tensions with the European Union and a desire by the EU to reduce its dependence on Russian supplies.  In 2015, Russia supplied 31% of European gas supplies. The EU imports around 50% of its natural gas needs, but it has become increasingly concerned about Gazprom’s role as a dominant supplier since Russian supplies were twice disrupted in the past decade during price disputes with Ukraine.

Saudi Arabia will turn to solar power for its electricity, which could allow it to export a lot more crude oil. Solar traditionally competes with natural gas, coal, and nuclear power. However, that is not the case in Saudi Arabia, where during the hot summer 900,000 barrels/day of oil is still burned for electricity, an increasingly uncommon practice throughout the world. In fact, Saudi Arabia is the largest consumer of oil for electricity, a weakness that Saudi officials believe they can no longer afford.

Pakistan has been used to rolling electric power outages across the country plunging homes and businesses into darkness for up to 12 hours a day. Now the country is hoping a $21 billion Chinese-backed investment on energy projects will change all this. More than 10,000 Chinese workers are presently building at least 10 energy projects across Pakistan that are set to grow the country’s energy output by 60% within two years in the first major boost to supply in two decades. The Chinese are financing a large number of these projects.

In the waters off Malaysia, Royal Dutch Shell is finding natural gas quickly and cheaply to replenish depleting fields where only a few years ago geologists had lost hope of discovering any new reserves. Shell is combining the latest technology with the wisdom of industry experts to develop new crude oil and natural gas deposits where it already operates, usually within 20 kilometers of existing platforms. The result has been a string of finds which, while modest in size, are able to generate cash rapidly to suit an era of drastically reduced exploration budgets across the energy industry.

French major oil company Total said it had entered into a partnership that gives it access to some of Brazil’s biggest crude oil fields. In a deal valued at $2.2 billion, the company has gained access to two of Brazil’s largest oil fields by purchasing the interests of state-owned Petrobras.

To date, 114 crude oil and natural gas producers in the US have filed for bankruptcy this year with $57 billion in total debt, more than double the number of bankruptcy filings in 2015, according to Haynes & Boone.

Mexico’s installed solar electric generating capacity is expected to increase 20-fold by 2019 to 5.4 gigawatts (GW). Mexico’s solar PV capacity is expected to grow 275% this year, or by 390 megawatts, US consultancy GTM Research said. Additional growth will come from two solar auctions that will add 2.5 GW.

Mexico is expanding its clean energy capacity as a result of the 2014 energy transition law which dictates that 25% of electric power must be generated from clean energy sources by 2018; 30% by 2021; 35% by 2024; 45% by 2036; and 60% by 2050. Currently clean energy accounts for 28.4% of the country’s total electrical generation mix.





with h/t  Tom Whipple

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