Recent estimates of methane gas hydrate deposits around the world suggest that they contain perhaps more organic carbon than all the world’s crude oil, natural gas, and coal combined. Once extracted, 1 cubic metre of methane hydrate releases 164 cubic metres of conventional natural gas. Estimates very from 10,000 trillion cubic feet to more than 100,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas hidden in methane, most of it below the ocean floor.  The deposits could be a substantial energy resource for countries like Japan that have limited access to conventional natural gas. While the resource base is enormous, the daunting challenge is how to recover these hydrates safely and economically. (See OILPRICECan ‘Fire Ice’ Replace Shale?)

In the past six weeks, China has extracted more than 235,000 cubic metres of methane gas hydrate off the coast of Guangdong province, according to the China Geological Survey. The mining operation deep into the ocean floor of the South China Sea took place at a trial site in the Shenhu area. Methane hydrate is combustible ice that China hopes to exploit to meet growing demand for energy. China expects to start commercial production of methane hydrate around 2030, according to the Ministry of Land and Resources.

Russia’s Gazprom expects to announce the details of a plan to sell China 1.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year through the new Power of Siberia gas pipeline. Russia is increasing its natural gas sales to China at a time when the Asian country is trying to cut coal consumption to reduce pollution.

The US has approved the construction of a new petroleum pipeline from the US to Mexico.  The Burgos Pipeline would have the capacity to transport 108,000 barrels per day of refined petroleum products.

The situation for the world’s oil companies is going from bad to worse. The 90 companies that make up the MSCI World Energy Sector Index, including giants like Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, have together lost $115 billion in market value since the start of April. Meanwhile planned new investment in Canada’s oil sands for next year has virtually disappeared as international oil companies have sold their assets to Canadian buyers.

Norway’s government-owned Statoil said it plans to invest $135 million per year on developing the Johan Castberg field in the Barents Sea. Located in the Arctic, the field has estimated proven reserves of between 400 million and 600 million barrels of crude oil.

China has 22,000 kilometers (13,670 miles) of high-speed railway, 60% of the world’s total. Last week China introduced its lastest high speed train which is expected to operate between Shanghai and Beijing, the busiest railway line in China serving 505,000 passengers daily. The train would run at a consistent speed of 350 kmh (217 mph), which means it would take the train three and a half hours to travel between Shanghai and Beijing. This is the first high speed train designed and manufactured by Chinese engineers without help from the West.

Norway and Australia are racing each other to demonstrate they can supply Japan with hydrogen, hoping to fulfill Japan’s ambition to become the world’s first hydrogen economy. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has a vision of vehicles, houses and power stations using hydrogen to end Japan’s energy crisis since the 2011 Fukushima disaster, which led to a dramatic drop in electricity production from its nuclear plants. He wants 40,000 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on his country’s streets by the time of the 2020 Olympics. The country’s annual hydrogen and fuel cell market is forecast to hit 1 trillion yen ($9 billion) in 2030 and 8 trillion yen in 2050, according to the industry ministry. Norway and Australia are competing to provide this hydrogen. Australia is planning to derive liquid hydrogen from brown coal to be delivered by tanker to Japan. The carbon would be removed and buried in old crude oil or natural gas wells. Norway has a different approach. Norway has a project underway to demonstrate that liquefied hydrogen (LH2) can be produced using renewable energy sources. The Norwegian system would use renewable electric power for high-temperature electrolysis to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, which would be released into the atmosphere.

The Chinese city of Beijing announced it is converting its fleet of 70,000 taxis to electric, starting this year at a cost of around 9 billion yuan. (US$1.3 billion) This could be a hardship for the taxi owners as prices for all-electric cars are almost twice that of gasoline-powered vehicles..

How much does it cost to replace an electric car battery?  Green Car Reports looked into this and found out it is a lot.  The current list price of a Chevy Bolt EV HV battery pack is $15,734.29 in the US.  Now the good news is that the battery in your electric vehicle is covered by a long term warranty that varies depending where you live.  In the US most electric-car batteries are warranted against failure for either 8 years/100,000 miles or 10 years/150,000 miles, depending on which state you live in. General Motors, which makes the Bolt, claims that battery life has not proven to be a problem with the Bolt since its inception back in 2013 and that some Bolts have over 300,000 miles on them with no discernible change to its battery range. However, it is also known that a lot of EV buyers sell their car before the warranty is up and the resale price of the car does certainly involve a consideration of the cost of a replacement battery.


with h/t Tom Whipple

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