An Australian company claims it has found an untapped shale oil field with estimated reserves that could potentially put the country next to Saudi Arabia. Extracting the new treasure poses a huge technical challenge. Brisbane-based Linc Energy has two estimates by respected independent consultants claiming that drilling and seismic exploration in South Australia has discovered a potentially huge untapped shale oil deposit.

More than a dozen energy companies were awarded exploration rights for shale natural gas reserves in China. The Ministry of Land and Resources said 16 companies secured the rights to explore shale reserves in 19 natural gas blocks. The winners should bring more than $2 billion in investments to shale development.

China’s dependence on foreign crude oil and refined oil products is about to increase, but the government has placed a cap at 61% of total requirements for the end of the current five-year economic plan in 2015, according to a new government blueprint for energy development

Irish oil and natural gas company Providence Resources announced a major oil discovery off the coast of Northern Ireland. Providence estimated the Polaris Project holds 530 million barrels of crude oil. The company said the project is close enough to shore that it could be drilled from an onshore location.

Russian crude oil production will probably peak in the next few years as the gains from new oil fields are offset by falling output from older sites, according to Fitch Ratings.

Japan’s imports of natural gas and coal increased sharply last year and look set to grow further, creating fresh challenges for a new government that is trying to bolster the country’s stagnant economy. Japan may see its energy bill rise sharply in the months ahead because of persistently high and increasing prices for oil and as the recent weakening of the yen obliges it to pay more for these dollar-denominated purchases.

The Obama administration has delayed a decision on the rerouted Keystone XL oil pipeline until after March of this year, even though the state of Nebraska’s governor has now approved a plan for the section of the line running through his state.

A big increase in heating costs has led many Greeks to switch from heating oil to wood-burning.

Germany is considering asking owners of renewable power generation companies to take a 1%t cut in the feed-in tariff they receive for providing their energy to the national grid. In an election year, the government wants to shift more of the cost of expansion or renewable projects to the producers and away from consumers in order to slow down the surging price of electricity.

In efforts to lower the cost of electricity generation, Turkey is moving away from natural gas and moving to coal generation.  Turkey is reliant on natural gas from Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan. In the last year the country has reduced incentives to build natural gas plants by 20% and has moved to using domestic and imported coal in an effort to break its large dependency on natural gas.  Natural gas produces 1/2 of the country’s electricity.



with h/t Tom Whipple

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