Iran is declaring that it has an “inalienable right” to enrich uranium, reasserting a stand that is rejected by world powers and may prevent a deal to resolve Western suspicions it seeks to build nuclear weapons. Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammad Khazaee, said in New York that Iran’s position is that international law and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty guarantee its right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes and allow it to obtain nuclear-related technology from any country that’s signed the treaty.

Amid Iranian threats to close the Strategic Strait of Hormuz, the only gateway to the Persian Gulf, the United Arab Emirates is ready to pump oil through a new pipeline bypassing the waterway, while Saudi Arabia plans to reopen a long-disused pipeline to the Red Sea.

Two Shell Oil drill ships are on their way to the Alaskan coast to explore for crude oil in arctic waters.

US imports of Nigerian crude oil slumped to the lowest level in more than 15 years in March, according to US Energy Department. Analysts say the rising production from shale formations in the US states of Texas and North Dakota is dampening demand for Nigeria’s crude oil and will continue to do so as the country becomes more energy self-sufficient. The US is Nigeria’s largest oil customer. Nigeria currently depends on crude oil revenues to fund 80 percent of its budget and 90 percent of its dollar earnings. Everything from the value of the naira to the Balance of Payments and inflation rate would be affected negatively, in the event that our biggest market for oil exports disappears.

The German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources said there could be as much as 22.6 trillion cubic meters of shale natural gas in the country. Between 0.7 trillion and 2.3 trillion cubic meters of the gas could be technically extracted. Most of these gas deposits are located in northern Germany and some on the Upper Rhine in the south-west.

Using cost-benefit analysis, a new study by researchers at Yale University, “The Arithmetic of Shale Gas” says “American consumer benefits from the technology of shale gas drilling and new gas production can be expected to exceed $100 billion per year, year in and year out as long as present production rates are maintained.”

US natural gas-fired power plants in April for the first time generated the same amount of electricity as coal as decade-low gas prices prompted utilities to use the cheaper fuel to produce electricity

World coal prices have plunged in recent months from $120 US a ton to $80 US a ton as demand declines from the world moving to cleaner electric power generation and global economies continuing to suffer.

The UK is burning more coal now than at any time since 2006, despite official promises to move to cleaner fuels. The Department of Energy said that imports are up 20% to 18 million tonnes in 2012, with coal responsible for generating 42% of all UK electricity.

Support for nuclear energy is on the rise in the UK. 63% of respondents agreed that nuclear generation should be part of the country’s energy mix, up from 61% in June 2010, while opposing voices fell to 11% from 15% last year, YouGov said.

Australia’s carbon tax came into effect on July 1st.  The tax on greenhouse gas emissions will start at A$23.00 a ton and will rise 2.5% per year until it transitions into a cap and trade system on July, 1 2015. You can learn how the carbon tax works here.

The Australian Energy Market Commission says the average electricity bill in the state of Victoria has increased by 28% over the past three years. It says they will jump by another third over the next three. The carbon price is expected to be only a fraction of this increase.

Spain’s electricity rates rose 3.95% this week. This is the second increase of 2012, having gone up 7% in April. Electricity has increased approximately three-fold in the last five years.

This week marked the start of an average 18%t jump in power bills for homes and businesses in the Australian state of New South Wales – the third double-digit increase in as many years. That translates to an average extra $208 to $427 a year for residential customers, depending on the electricity provider. For small businesses, prices will rise between $270 and $555 a year.

Bulgaria raised its electricity rates 13% this week. Bulgaria is the poorest EU member state and its citizens are expected to struggle to cope with the new price hike. The rate increase is due to the surcharge for adding renewable energy to the national grid.

Households in Delhi, India will face a 24.15% increase in their electricity bills this month because of rising prices of coal and natural gas. Due to shortage of domestic fuel, power companies are producing electricity from expensive imported fuel pushing prices up. Commercial power tariffs will rise 19.49$t and industrial sector users will have to pay 20.2% more for their electricity.

Cash-strapped Jordan has raised the prices of petrol and electricity to offset a $3 billion deficit in this year’s $9.6 billion budget. Minister of Trade and Industry Shabib Ammari increased the price of premium petrol by around 25%. The prices of kerosene, fuel oil, diesel and other derivatives have been also hiked. The government also decided to increase electricity rates for banks and hotels.

Hundreds of thousands of Irish families face an increase of more than €150 in their gas and electricity bills this year. This will push their combined energy bills through the €2,000 mark for the first time. Many households in Ireland are now paying €500 a year more for gas and electricity than they were at the height of the economic boom in 2008.

Higher water levels in Nepal are reducing weekly hours of loadshedding (electricity blackouts and brownouts). The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has reduced the existing 42-hour load shedding by 7 hours to 35 hours a week effective this month. There will be power outage for six hours in two days, five hours in four days and three hours in one day a week. The NEA has attributed the reduction in power outage hours to increased water levels in the rivers due to the arrival of the monsoon in recent days.

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