China’s current Five-Year Plan envisions building seven new nuclear reactors a year between 2016 and 2020. China currently has 36 nuclear reactors in operation, 21 under construction and more waiting to start.

There were only 174 crude oil and natural gas discoveries worldwide last year, compared to an average of 400-500 per year up until 2013, according to research group IHS Markit.  The slowdown in exploration indicates the world is likely to become increasingly reliant on “unconventional” resources such as US shale oil and gas to meet demand for energy in future decades.

Iran has found shale oil reserves of 2 billion barrels of light crude in its western Lorestan province, according to the National Iranian Oil Company. Exploration is also being carried out for shale gas reserves in the area, and the studies were expected to be completed by this October. Iran has proven oil reserves of about 160 billion barrels, almost 10% of the world’s total.

A report from Houston-based consulting firm Graves & Co. reveals the global oil and gas industry has suffered 441,371 jobs lost since the beginning of the most recent downturn.

Saudi Arabia uses about 300,000 barrels per day of crude oil in the summer to meet its air conditioning demands.  The desert kingdom plans to develop almost 10 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2023, starting with wind and solar plants in its vast northwestern desert. The effort could replace a sizable amount of the oil now burned to produce electric power. This oil could then be diverted to export markets.

The social and economic crisis in Venezuela continues to get worse with many talking about a financial default followed by a societal collapse this year. Should this happen, anywhere up to 2 million barrels per day of crude oil production could be taken from international markets, an amount sure to drive oil prices higher.

Consultants CRU Group say global electric car and plug-in hybrid vehicle sales could hit 4.4 million in 2021 and more than six million by 2025, up from 1.1 million last year.

General Motors Co plans to deploy thousands of self-driving electric cars in the US in partnership with ride-sharing affiliate Lyft Inc, beginning in 2018. Most of the specially equipped versions of the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle will be tested by Lyft in its ride-sharing fleet in several states.

The Argentinian city of Buenos Aires saw the first street race of two driverless electric cars running at speeds of up to 185 kilometers per hour. The cars used sensors and on-board systems to navigate the street circuit whilst communicating with each other to avoid contact. However, this did not prevent one of the cars crashing into a barrier. The organizers of Formula E (all electric) racing hope ultimately to have up to 10 driverless cars racing together, run by teams who write their own software, around city tracks as part of their annual racing series.



h/t Tom Whipple

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