OPEC’s crude oil supply cuts are providing to be beneficial for producers of heavy crude oil from Western Canada and the Gulf of Mexico. Prices for Western Canadian grades have increased relative to the benchmark West Texas Intermediate since OPEC began implementing its reductions earlier this year.

In Southeast Asia, nearly a decade in the making, a $1.5 billion project to pump crude oil 770 kilometers (480 miles) across Myanmar to southwest China is set for imminent start-up, marking the opening of a new oil trading route.

The world’s deepest oil well, located on the Sakhalin shelf in Far Eastern Russia, is the Z-44 Chayvo well at 40,502 feet or almost 8 miles deep.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation says that it is committed to the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline and that the project was still on track. The $12 billion Trans Saharan Gas Pipeline is a 4,401 kilometer natural gas project to be constructed from Nigeria via Algeria to Spain.

The market for sand—a key ingredient in fracking—is surging once again as US oil production rebounds. American shale companies are using more sand to help increase the size of their wells. Sand props open underground fissures, which allows crude oil and natural gas to escape to the surface. The millions of pounds of sand being poured down wells is pushing up sand prices. US shale producers are drilling at the highest rate in 18 months.

The US electric grid is old, with most transmission lines and power plants decades into their lives. The grid includes electric power plants, transmission lines, distribution lines, substations, and transformers. University of Texas UT researcher Joshua Rhodes calculates that the replacement value of the US electric grid is $4.8 trillion. The total replacement value of the grid is divided into 56% for power plants, 9% for the transmission system, and 35% for the distribution system.

India has become a net exporter of electricity. The south Asian nation exported 5.7 gigawatts (GW) of electricity to neighbouring countries Bangladesh, Nepal, and Myanmar during the financial year 2016-17. During that same period it imported 5.6 GW of electricity. This is a welcome change for India, which has been aggressively trying to overcome the power outage issues in its towns and villages.

Egypt is opening three large electric power plants in an effort to end the African country’s electricity shortage crisis. When they are in full operation in 2018, the three plants will produce 14 gigawatts of electricity annually. In 2013, Egypt produced 24 gigawatts.

The state of South Australia will have a $1 billion solar farm and battery project in operation by the end of this year. The system will be the largest of its kind in the world, with 3.4 million solar panels and 1.1 million batteries. The project will produce 330 MW of electric power generation and at least 100 MW of energy storage.

Major energy companies are entering the renewable energy business. Royal Dutch Shell, Norway’s Statoil, and Italy’s Eni are moving into the multi-billion-dollar offshore wind farm business in the North Sea and beyond and are successfully competing in auctions against established suppliers Dong Energy A/S and Vattenfall AB. Fossil fuel executives want to get a piece of the clean-energy business as forecasts emerge that renewable energy will eat into their own markets.

The Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and CoalSwarm have released their third annual survey of the state of the world’s coal operations. The report finds a 62% drop in new coal plant construction starts globally, a 48% reduction in worldwide pre-construction activity, and an 85% decline in new Chinese coal plant permits.  China and bankers in India are concluding that overbuilding of coal plants is a major waste of those country’s economic resources.

The International Energy Agency said energy-related CO2 emissions were flat for the third year in a row as world economies move away from coal to cleaner-burning energy resources like natural gas.


with h/t Tom Whipple

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