Russia is considering allowing western companies to acquire oil licenses in its Arctic waters, a concession that would make the world’s second largest crude oil producer much more attractive to foreign investors.

Russian energy company Gazprom announced it signed a long-term contract to deliver liquefied natural gas to India’s state-controlled GAIL Ltd. Gazprom will deliver 2.5 million tons of LNG per year to GAIL for the next 20 years.

US oil production surged last week to the highest level since January 1997, reducing the country’s dependence on imported fuels as new technology unlocks oil trapped in shale formations. Crude output rose by 3.7 percent to 6.509 million b/d in the week ended Sept. 21.

BP, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips Co. and TransCanada have submitted a plan to transport Alaskan natural gas for export to Asia. The project, estimated to cost $45-65 billion, comprises of an 800-mile pipeline that would move North Slope gas to a port in south central Alaska where it would be liquefied for export.

India is becoming more interested in Canadian energy assets. “Discussions have been initiated,” said Indian Consul General Saran in an interview. Her comments follow reports this week that Indian companies were exploring potential purchases of Canadian oil sands assets of ConocoPhillips.

Natural gas pipelines coming into service by year end may boost deliveries from the Marcellus shale deposit in the Northeast US by 30%, extending a supply glut that helped send prices to decade lows.

The rapidly growing crude-oil flow out of North Dakota is breaking out of its transportation bottleneck thanks to an expanding railway network. The growing availability of the North Dakota crude is changing the US oil market and could help drive down the need for oil imports at refineries along the coasts.

France’s Total projects a plateauing of global crude oil production at 95 million b/d by 2025-30, according to Michael Borrell, Total senior vice-president.

Turning air into liquid may offer a solution for storing energy. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers says liquid air can compete with batteries and hydrogen to store excess energy generated from renewables. Electricity generated by wind farms at night can be used to chill air to a cryogenic state at a distant location. When demand increases, the air can be warmed to drive a turbine. Engineers say the process to produce “right-time” electricity can achieve an efficiency of up to 70%.

Germany has announced that approximately 320 MW peak of additional solar energy capacity was installed throughout the country in August of this year. This additional capacity means that there is now more solar energy in Germany than in the rest of Europe. Germany is the first country in the world to boast of a solar energy capacity exceeding 30 GW.

At the end of June global wind energy capacity reached 254 GW, according to the latest report from the World Wind Energy Association. China, the U.S., Germany, Spain and India continue to lead wind energy development, together representing 74% of global wind energy capacity.

Several German states are considering a flat tax (congestion tax) on drivers who use their vehicles in the city centre. The proposed charge of €6.10 per day is roughly equivalent to the price of a day pass for public transport. Such taxes are already in place in London and Stockholm and apply to all personal vehicles entering and exiting the city centre. State ministers and transport officials are expected to debate the pros and cons of the proposed tax at a two-day meeting this week.

The energy business in the US is creating more jobs than any other industry. Since 2002, the exploration of natural gas deposits embedded in the country’s shale deposits, followed by oil drilling, has created more than 1 million jobs or 37% of all jobs created.

with h/t Tom Whipple

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