NRG Energy and JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corp. said they had begun operations at a US$1 billion carbon capture facility at a Texas coal-fired power plant and were using the emissions to extract crude from a nearby oilfield. The facility, the largest of its kind in the world, is the latest in efforts by the power industry to curb carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

A large obstacle is emerging for OPEC’s plan to raise crude oil prices with output cuts: vast global reserves of crude oil in storage around the globe that threaten its pricing power over energy markets.

More than 7 million barrels of crude oil have been produced from the Kashagan oil field in the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan since it started up in September. Kashagan holds an estimated 16 billion barrels of oil. Production so far is around 180,000 barrels per day.

Argentina is moving to increase production at the country’s massive shale reserves, with energy companies agreeing to invest as much as US$15 billion a year in exchange for lower labor costs and extended state subsidies.

Barclays Bank said it expects North American petroleum exploration and production spending to increase 27% in 2017 following a decline of 38% in 2016. The revival is due to forecasted higher oil prices this year.

Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfield service provider, sees international crude oil spending picking up in the second half of this year and into 2018 as energy prices and production are poised to increase.

Energy service company Halliburton Company noted the North America energy market seems to be on the mend but observes continued woes elsewhere. The company’s CEO said the international downward cycle is still playing out but could turn around in the second half of this year.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) oversupply will last into the mid-2020s according to new research from Aurora Energy. The firm predicts weak global demand is likely to prevent a swift price recovery and rebalancing of the market could be stalled until 2025.

China’s Jiuquan Wind Power Base in the Gobi Desert stands as a symbol of China’s quest to dominate the world’s renewable energy market. With more than 7,000 turbines, it is one of the world’s largest wind farms.  Yet last year, 60% of its power capacity went unused. More than 92,000 wind turbines have been built across the country, capable of generating 145 gigawatts of electricity, nearly double the capacity of wind farms in the US. Yet much of that electric power is stymied by persistent favoritism toward the coal industry by local officials and a dearth of transmission lines to carry electricity from rural areas in the north and west to China’s fastest-growing cities.

Battery storage’s use for electricity could reach 250 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, from just 1 GW today, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The agency believes electricity storage as a source of electric grid flexibility will become ever-more important as variable renewable energy rises as a proportion of overall energy mixes throughout the world.  Storage has a role to play in both existing electric grids and in providing energy access to people who currently have none, with the replacement of diesel use on islands and remote settings expected to be a particular point of focus.

Electric cars are predicted to pick up critical momentum in 2017, many sources in the auto industry believe, except in North America. Tighter emissions regulations in China and Europe leave global auto makers and some consumers with little choice but to embrace plug-in vehicles, fueling an investment surge in EV production.  In Europe, EVs benefit from subsidies, tax breaks and other perks, while internal combustion engines face mounting penalties including driving and parking restrictions.

The Australian state of Victoria announced a new solar energy plant that will run the city of Melbourne’s entire tram network by the end of 2018. The Government plans to put out a tender to build 75 megawatts of new solar farms by the end of next year. About half of the energy produced by these farms will offset the amount of electricity needed to run 401 trams on Melbourne’s network.

 

with h/t Tom Whipple

 

 

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