Concerns about global crude oil supplies running dry are receding, according to the US International Energy Administration. Massive new shale oil discoveries in the US have led to a “dramatic” change in global prospects. Antoine Halff, IEA’s head of oil markets, told BBC News that concerns about an approaching “peak” in oil production have been “moved to the back burner”.

Australia is reeling from the massive finds of shale oil and gas in North America. More than $160 billion of bets placed on Australian natural gas by international oil companies, including Chevron and Exxon Mobil, are getting riskier as the country’s appeal has waned as labor shortages and a high Australian dollar have triggered high production costs for major gas projects.

South Australia is sitting on shale oil potentially worth more than $20 trillion, independent reports claim – enough to turn Australia into a self-sufficient fuel producer. Based on drilling and seismic exploration, Brisbane company Linc Energy estimates the amount of shale oil in the as yet untapped Arckaringa Basin surrounding Coober Pedy ranges from 3.5 billion to 233 billion barrels of oil. At the higher end, this would be “several times bigger than all of the oil in Australia”, Linc managing director Peter Bond said. This has the potential to turn Australia from an oil importer to an oil exporter.

When OPEC meets in December, it is rumored that the former crude oil cartel may cut crude oil production for the first time in five years. It could reduce production by half a million barrels a day due to the surge in the North American shale oil boom.

The discovery of a new crude oil field in western Kuwait should help push production to 4 million barrels per day by the end of the decade, Kuwait Oil Co. said. Kuwait in 2012 produced 2.8 million barrels of oil per day.

The giant Kashagan crude oil field in Kazakhstan is moving closer to production. In the coming months production will progressively rise from 180,000 barrels a day in the first stage to 370,000 barrels a day in the second stage.

Major oil and gas company Chevron agreed to fund most of a $1.5 billion joint venture with Argentina’s state-run energy company, YPF SA, to develop the South American country’s vast shale oil and gas deposits. The deal is the first significant investment by a major international oil company in Argentina since President Cristina Kirchner expropriated a 51% stake in YPF from Spain’s Repsol SA just over a year ago. Chevron has begun to explore shale deposits from South Africa to China, and holds leases to thousands of acres in Canada and several million overlying shale across Eastern Europe.

In France, no shale natural gas hydraulic fracturing will take place under the current administration, French President Francois Hollande said.

If the Keystone XL pipeline is approved, Calgary-based TransCanada needs 2 years to build the pipeline which would connect oil production from Alberta to refineries on the US Gulf Coast.

Coal is still king in Asia, with governments across the continent ordering new coal-fired power stations. Economic realities are outweighing worries about pollution, and coal’s lower cost means its share of the energy mix in most Asian countries will rise for years, or even decades ahead.

While the US government continues to push the mixture of ethanol with gasoline for automobile transport, some individual states are moving in a different direction. In June, Florida repealed its Renewable Fuel Standard, and in May, the state of Maine  approved a bill banning ethanol in gasoline.


h/T Tom Whipple





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