The United Nation reports almost one half of the world’s population lives in countries with below replacement fertility, i.e. with a total fertility rate below 2.1 births per woman. The world population is currently 7.6 billion people. This figure is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and surpass 11.2 billion in 2100.

The UN forecasts India’s population will surpass China’s in seven years.

A report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research sees India leapfrogging the UK and France next year to become the world’s fifth-biggest economy in dollar terms. It will advance to third place by 2027, moving ahead of Germany. In 2032, three of the four largest economies in the world will be Asian — China, India and Japan — and, by that time, China will have passed the US to hold the No. 1 spot.

World crude oil prices ended 2017 above $60 a barrel for the first time since mid-2015. Prices are up by some 30% since OPEC and Russia agreed to cut production in late 2016. According to Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, OPEC and Russia will discuss an exit strategy for their deal on cutting output once the world supply and demand moves closer towards being balanced,.

China will become the world’s second-biggest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) this year as it overtakes South Korea. This is significant for Asia’s emerging LNG spot market as Chinese buyers rely much more on short-term purchases to meet their needs than their counterparts in Japan and South Korea.

For the first time, Russia was China’s largest crude oil supplier in 2017, topping Saudi Arabia.

Russia has become the largest global producer of crude oil with almost no contribution from shale. However that could soon change with the development of the Bazhenov shale formation, the largest in the world. Companies like Gazprom are hoping to replicate the US shale boom.

For the first time a cargo of Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) was delivered to a British port. The tanker was bringing its cargo from the Yamal LNG plant in the Russian Arctic.

India is about to surpass China this month as the world’s largest importer of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG; propane or butane) as it attempts to replace wood and animal dung for cooking. 

Egypt is set to open a new wharf for natural gas and petroleum product tankers on the Gulf of Suez in the coming days, another step in its plan to become a regional energy hub.

In Argentina, ExxonMobil announced it will start exporting natural gas from the massive Vaca Muerta shale reserves to Chile. Exxon will export a total 31.8 million cubic feet of gas over the next year. Argentina is home to 27 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 802 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, primarily in and around multiple prolific shale basins in the central Neuquen province, The Vaca Muerta shale formation is estimated to hold about 16 billion barrels of crude oil and 308 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, which makes it the second-largest in terms of shale gas reserves globally.

Tight pipeline capacity in North America is pushing more oil onto railroadsCanadian crude oil-by-rail exports to the US climbed to a six-month high of 137,000 barrels per day last fall. The amount of crude oil carried by rail out of Canada is expected to surge next year as Canada’s oil sands output grows and outpaces the capacity of congested export pipelines.

A glut of natural gas flowing out of US shale gas fields is fueling an electric power plant construction boom in several northeastern states. The key for electricity producers is location — preferably close to cheap natural gas reserves. In this case the large shale reserves in Pennsylvania.

Solar focused India has a problem.  India meets about 85% of its solar cell demand with imports from China, and photovoltaic modules account for over half the costs of a solar project. Now, the Indian government is left contemplating whether the domestic industry of solar cells and modules manufacturers should be “protected” from cheap Chinese imports. There are reports this week the Indian government is considering imposing a 7.5% tax on imported solar panels, a move that would increase the cost of solar projects going forward.

Chinese government data says there are about 825,000 electric vehicles on Chinese roads currently. China had 190,000 EV chargers installed by September 2017, with plans to expand the network to 800,000 charging points.













with h/t Tom Whipple

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