A mathematical model developed by a team of scientists at Spanish universities confirms the United Nation’s lower bound estimate that global population will stabilize around 6.8 billion people by 2050.  This number is below the current figure of 7 billion.  Declining fertility rates is the main reason for the slowing population.

China will soon become the world’s top crude oil importer as its refining capacity grows and increasing US domestic oil production cuts the need for imports. China’s imports are expected to pass 6 million b/d later this year, and US imports are expected to drop below 6 million b/d in 2014.

US domestic crude oil production is expected to “grow rapidly” through 2016, the Energy Information Agency (EIA) said. The EIA, in its short-term energy outlook, expects the nation’s crude oil production to go from an average of 6.5 million barrels per day in 2012 to 7.9 million bpd in 2014, an increase of 18%.

Iraq says its proven crude oil reserves have increased to 150 billion barrels, up from a previous figure of 143.1 billion barrels. The country has among the largest oil reserves in the world.

UK petrol sales have fallen 20% over the past 5 years due primarily to more efficient internal combustion engines and automobile technology along with reduced driving as consumers experience the global recession.

Russia is preparing for a fracked, tight oil boom on the scale of the one in the United States. As the country’s conventional oil fields mature, new sources of crude oil must be found to keep production in the vicinity of 10 million b/d for years to come. Much of the discussion in Russia now centers on new tax breaks that it’s oil industry says are necessary to pay for the high costs involved in paying for the extraction of tight oil.

Exxon is planning to build the world’s largest floating natural gas liquefaction plant off the coast of Australia. Such a plant would allow the exploitation of smaller, remote natural gas fields that would not justify the construction of pipelines to shore facilities.

Some energy-intensive companies in Europe are investing heavily in new US production facilities because natural gas in the US is a quarter of its cost in Europe. Steel and chemicals are among the industries most affected. More arduous emissions policies in the EU are also contributing to the move to the US.

Japan will overhaul its troubled electric power industry by splitting generation and distribution into separate businesses. It is hoped this will foster innovation and modernization of the power grid. Tokyo Power announced it will be impossible to restart seven shutdown nuclear reactors starting this month as had been planned.

Energy poor Jordan is having to turn the lights out as it faces a growing energy crisis. The resource-poor kingdom, which imports 97% of its energy, has now lost access to cheap Egyptian natural gas as the pipeline joining the two countries was sabotaged. Unable to afford costly diesel and fuel oil from other sources, the government is now having to ration electricity as the only means to deal with the crisis.

Business activity in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh was shut down this week as people protested over electricity price increases. The protests resulted in the closure of shops, businesses, schools and public transport services, bringing the streets in cities such as Hyderabad to a grinding halt.

China generated 100.8 billion kilowatt hours of wind power in total in 2012, a 41% rise from 2011. This amount represented around 2% of China’s total electricity generation last year.

In the first quarter of this year, Portugal got 70% of its electricity production from renewable energy. 37% of this electricity was generated by hydro and 27% by wind.


with h/t Tom Whipple

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