Last week BP released its annual Energy Outlook report that surveys the prospects for the oil industry in the coming decades. The energy company sees the demand for energy growing into the 2040s but that the demand for crude oil will slow because of more efficient means of consumption and the increasing use of renewable and nuclear energy. The report estimates that 2.5 trillion barrels of crude oil have been discovered worldwide and could be “technically” extracted. However, the report does not discuss the cost of extracting this oil some of which could be too expensive to produce should cheaper technologies arrive. BP says there is double the amount of crude oil underground than what the world will need between now and 2050 so there is no need to worry about running out  of oil for the next 35 years.  Fossil fuels are expected to be supplying more than three-quarters of the world’s total energy supply in 2035. Natural gas usage is expected to grow the fastest, passing coal as the second largest source of fuel by 2035.

BP believes the world is facing a long-term crude oil glut as energy producers scramble to exploit reserves before fossil fuel demand goes into decline. BP suggests that oil companies should brace for prolonged pressure from low prices. The surplus supply should spur increasing competition between companies and producer nations to ensure their oil assets were not left “stranded” as demand gradually shifts from oil to alternative forms of energy. The result is likely to be quite significant pressures to dampen long-run oil prices.

BP also says that the growth of the Asian middle-class is expected to drive the increasing world demand for more energy with non-fossil fuel energy continuing to command a larger share of consumption.

Last year Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as the biggest source of China’s imported crude oil. Russia’s oil shipments to China rose 24% last year to an average of 1.05 million barrels per day. With OPEC cutting production by 1.2 million b/d this year, the Russians see more opportunities to increase exports of oil to Asian markets.

The Trans-Adriatic Pipeline is an essential component of Azerbaijan’s efforts to export its Caspian Sea natural gas deposits in Central Asia to European markets. It is also a cornerstone of the European Union’s strategy to weaken Russia’s hold on European natural gas markets. However, the pipeline has run into a snag in Italy. The pipeline’s route passes through ancient olive groves and over pristine beaches in the Italian tourist region of Puglia. This has led to a standoff between the energy industry and local environmental activists.

Venezuela’s crude oil exports fell to 1.6 million barrels per day in the last quarter of 2016 from 1.8 million in the third quarter.  There is no sign of improvement in Venezuela’s economic situation.

The news from Venezuela continues to get worse. Now we learn leaking crude oil tankers are fouling the waters in its harbours because there is no money or space to clean them. Sources say there are so many oil leaks that tankers entering the ports are becoming fouled with oil. As it is illegal for dirty tankers to navigate international waters or enter foreign ports, the tankers must be cleaned before they can leave Venezuela. The national oil company cannot afford to have the tankers cleaned and certified. As a result, some dozen tankers holding more than 4 million barrels of oil are anchored in the Caribbean awaiting money for cleaning. There is a two-month backlog at the only tanker cleaning facility in the South American country and the oil leaks have yet to be repaired.  Another 11 tankers are in “financial retention” which means port authorities will not let them sail due to unpaid bills. These tankers are holding an additional 2.9 million barrels which cannot be sent to customers.

Tesla now has the longest range electric car on the market. The company’s Model S 100D has a 100 kWh battery that offers an EPA-rated range of 335 miles on a full charge, making it the longest-range consumer electric vehicle in the world. The range is 20 miles greater than that of its more expensive P100D, and 41 miles more than its Model S 90D, which some observers expect to be phased out soon. A similar 100 kWh battery option is also now available for the Model X SUV, with a rated range of 295 miles.

Automakers GM and Honda are teaming up on a new venture to jointly manufacture hydrogen fuel cells at scale, with plans to start mass production by 2020. Both firms intend to use the resulting hydrogen fuel cell system in future products. Called Fuel Cell System Manufacturing, LLC, the joint venture will build the fuel cells at GM’s existing Brownstown, Michigan-based battery pack construction facility. This facility currently assembles battery packs for GM’s Volt and Bolt EVs. Honda has a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle available already, in the FCX Clarity. This sedan will be joined by two other models, a fully electric and a plug-in hybrid, later this year. Fuel cell technology has significant advantages over EVs in terms of driving range and refueling times.

 

with h/t Tom Whipple

 

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