Austrian energy company OMV said it confirmed the discovery of new crude oil while drilling an exploration well in the shallow waters of the Barents Sea in the Arctic. (See map above) The company said it estimated the size of the discovery in the area drilled at between 60 million and 160 million barrels of oil and at least 10 billion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas.
Tullow Oil also discovered crude oil in the Barents Sea that may hold between 60 million barrels and 120 million barrels of recoverable crude.
Saudi Arabia’s Aramco is emphasizing natural gas development in an attempt to displace crude oil in electric power generation.
The UK energy secretary said shale natural gas is a vital part of the country’s diverse energy mix. He added shale natural gas could provide a source of economic stimulus as well as energy security. In June the British Geological Survey estimated the Bowland shale formation in the north of the country contains 1.3 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas, twice what was previously estimated.
The abundance of cheap natural gas in the US means nuclear power is fast falling out of favour. The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station is the fourth U.S. atomic plant to be shut down this year. More closures are expected.. Strong competition from natural-gas-fired power plants for producing electricity are making nuclear power uneconomical.
South Korea warns of possible blackouts and power outages in the coming months unless more nuclear power plants are built.
The German government predicts that the renewable energy surcharge added to every consumer’s electricity bill will increase from the current 5.3 cents to between 6.2 and 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour — a 20% price increase. German consumers already pay the highest electricity prices in Europe. This year, German consumers will be forced to pay €20 billion ($26 billion) for electricity from solar, wind and biogas plants — electricity worth only €3 billion on the open market.
The Chinese city of Beijing will reduce the number of automobile registrations starting next year in an effort to clean up its heavily polluted air and to ease traffic congestion, local transport authorities said this week.
Australia’s new Prime Minister Tony Abbott stated he will immediately start the process to abolish the country’s carbon tax. The tax had been introduced in July 2012 by the previous Labour government.
with h/t Tom Whipple