China is hoarding crude oil at the fastest rate since the Beijing Olympics four years ago as the slump in international oil prices prompts it to import unprecedented volumes even as refining slows. The world’s second-biggest oil consumer built up a surplus of about 90 million barrels of crude in the first five months of the year.

Venezuela surpassed Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest holder of proven crude oil reserves.

The share of US electricity that comes from coal is forecast to fall below 40% for the year – the lowest level since the US government began collecting this data in 1949.

Coal India plans to import up to 30 million metric tons of coal this fiscal year as part of efforts to meet rising domestic demand and mitigate power shortages.

Houston’s Apache Corp. has announced what it calls the “best unconventional gas reservoir in North America.” Apache, the second-largest US independent natural gas producer, says the find in the Liard Basin in northeast British Columbia contains enough gas to match Canada’s entire current output for almost a decade.

North America is expected to become self-sufficient in energy by 2025 ConocoPhillips Chief Executive Ryan Lance said. The U.S. has been experiencing a boom in natural gas extracted from shale over the past two years, and Lance said the country already has no need to import any natural gas.

Norwegian oil firm Statoil discovered another big natural gas deposit off Tanzania in East Africa.

Japanese utility companies used 22% more liquefied natural gas compared with last year as all nuclear reactors are shut down.

Japanese firms (utilities, oil and gas producers, and trading companies) are buying stakes in natural gas projects around the world including Australia, Russia, Indonesia and Canada.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda ordered the reactivation of two nuclear reactors at a plant in western Japan this week, making it the nation’s first plant to go back online since the crisis last year in Fukushima.

China says it will take swift counter-measures that could include impounding European aircraft if the European Union punishes Chinese airlines for non-compliance with a scheme to reduce airline carbon emissions.

88.8% of Brazil’s supplied electricity in 2011 came from renewable energy sources (wind, biomass and hydropower).

This week Japan approved financial incentives for renewable energy that could unleash billions of dollars in clean-energy investment and help the world’s third-biggest economy shift away from a reliance on nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster. The push for renewables is aimed at cutting reliance on not only nuclear, but pricey oil and liquefied natural gas for energy needs. The scheme requires Japanese utilities to buy electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind and geothermal at pre-set premiums for up to 20 years. Costs will be passed on to consumers through higher bills.

China will adopt a three-tier pricing system for household electricity consumers from July 1. The three-tier progressive pricing system will replace the current “one price fits all” scheme. Under the new system the more electricity a family uses the higher bills it will have to pay.

China will face a smaller electricity shortage this summer compared with previous years as the result of a slowed economy, the National Energy Administration. According to the Administration’s forecast, the electricity shortage will reach 18 million kilowatts during peak hours this summer, with the provinces of Zhejiang, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Hebei and Chongqing municipality suffering a power crunch.

Pakistan’s unofficial electricity shortage has passed the 8000 megawatt mark.  Loadshedding (brown outs, black outs) is now up to 22 hours  in rural areas is up to 22 hours and 14 hours in cities.

The state of South Australia will see its electricity rates rise 18% on July 1st. The increase is largely due to the impact of the solar feed-in tariff scheme on network prices, other increases in network charges, and the introduction of a nationwide carbon tax which takes effect next month. With this increase, South Australia’s electricity prices will have risen 65% since 2010.

Residential electricity users in Bangladesh have seen at least a 50% rise in their bills since March due to a change in the tariff structure. Now, the unit price of electricity for households squarely depends on how much power is consumed in a month.


with h/t Tom Whipple


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