While Canada and the US ban Arctic drilling for crude oil and natural gas motivated by environmental concerns, Norwegian energy companies are planning to increase drilling in that country’s Arctic shelf in the Barents Sea.

The North Caspian Operating Co., a joint venture operating the giant oil field in the Kazakh waters of the Caspian Sea in Central Asia, confirmed that production from Kashagan would accelerate to 180,000 barrels per day in the coming months. Once secondary production methods are optimized to increase pressure in the reservoir, the first phase of Kashagan is expected to reach production capacity of 370,000 b/d by the end of 2017.

The partnership in control of the Leviathan natural gas field off of Israel, among the largest gas fields in the world, said they envision flows by 2019. The project is expecting a production capacity of about 1.2 billion cubic feet per day.

Australian energy company FAR Ltd. said there may be more than 1.5 billion barrels of crude oil in basins off the coast of Senegal. Senegal is located on Africa’s Atlantic coast.

The US is on track to become a net exporter of natural gas next year, driven largely by the growth of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, according to that country’s energy department. The US. started exporting LNG last year and is increasingly piping more natural gas to Mexico while, simultaneously, importing less gas via pipeline from Canada.

Researchers at Harvard University in the US say they have developed a long-lasting flow battery capable of storing intermittent renewable energy from wind and solar that could operate for up to 10 years, with minimum maintenance required. A flow battery is a cross between a conventional battery and a fuel cell. The US Department of Energy has set a goal of building a battery that can store energy for less than $100 per kilowatt-hour, which would make stored wind and solar energy competitive with energy produced from traditional power plants.

The UK’s Tokamak Energy is developing new materials and technologies and hopes to have commercial fusion power on the UK electric grid by 2030.  Using its ST40 reactor, currently under construction, the company hopes the most powerful compact spherical tokamak in the world will be able to produce plasma temperatures hotter than the centre of the Sun well before the end of this year.

“The ST40 is designed to achieve 100 million degrees C and get within a factor of ten of energy break-even conditions. To get even closer to break-even point, the plasma density, temperature and confinement time then need to be fine-tuned,” CEO David Kingham said. “The next step is to build a reactor that takes this knowledge and uses it to demonstrate first electricity from fusion by 2025. This will then form the basis of a power plant module that will deliver electricity into the grid by 2030,” he added.”



with h/t Tom Whipple

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