Population growth in the US is adding energy demand faster than any nation on the planet. China and India are also important (and in absolute terms they are certainly more important energy consumers, due to a rapidly changing standard of living). But as to whose population growth is having the largest effect on global energy demand?—it’s the US.

There are now more than 600 waste-to-energy facilities in North America, Europe and Asia. These facilities produce electricity and biofuels for transportation.

The European Parliament voted this week to limit the use of biofuels in the European Union. The Parliament approved a proposal to limit the share of food-based biofuels permitted as fuel for cars and trucks to 6% of total fuel consumption by 2020.

Electricity generated by renewable energy accounted for 20% of China’s total power output by the end of 2012.

Renewable sources accounted for 4.1% of final energy consumption in the UK in 2012, leaving the country’s renewable energy industry with plenty of work to do to meet the target of 15.0% by 2020. To meet this target, 30% of UK electricity has to be generated from renewable sources. In 2012 only 11.3% was produced this way.

Germany plans to use 2.59 billion euros ($3.5 billion) in federal money to save an energy and climate fund suffering from insufficient revenue as market based prices for carbon in Europe have plummeted. The EKF, designed to be financed with proceeds from carbon-permit sales, has failed to attract income after prices for the permits dropped to about 4 euros a metric ton this year, the government said. The fund was designed to finance climate-protection programs and research into renewable energy sources, energy storage, and power-grid technologies as well as energy efficiency and electric vehicles.

According to the International Energy Agency, worldwide demand growth for crude oil is forecast to rise 1.1 million b/d to 92 million b/d in 2014 as some western economies gradually regains strength from the Great Recession. Meanwhile, currency depreciation in some emerging-market countries such as India may slow their oil demand and push their governments into removing subsidies used to shield their industries and population from already high global oil prices.

India’s most pressing financial problem is its heavy and growing dependence on imported energy. More than half of India’s $191 billion trade deficit in the past year – $109 billion – was made up of crude oil, with India importing 82% of its oil needs. India is already the fourth largest energy consumer, after China, the US and Russia. Indian energy use rose 5.1% last year.

The North Caspian Operating Company reported crude oil was being produced from the giant Kashagan field in Kazakhstan waters of the Caspian Sea for the first time, 13 years after the field was first discovered. In the initial phase output will grow up to 180,000 barrels per day. Afterwards, production will increase progressively up to 370,000 barrels of oil per day.

Kuwait announced it will be carrying out its first survey of potential offshore oil and gas fields in the northern part of the Persian Gulf. The three-dimensional seismic survey would cover 3,500 square kilometers.

The US is about to pass Russia and become the leading non-OPEC country in the production of liquid fuels such as crude oil and ethanol this quarter, the International Energy Agency said.

Weekly rail traffic of US petroleum and petroleum products this year is averaging 13,488 carloads, a 39.3% increase over 2012. About 10% of  total US crude oil production is being shipped by rail. California’s refiners received a record amount of crude oil by rail in the second quarter of this year—748,802 barrels–which more than tripled the volume from a year earlier, as shipments from Colorado, North Dakota and other states continue to grow.

67% of that shale oil from the US state of North Dakota is now being shipped by rail tankers instead of through pipelines.

Commercially recoverable reserves of tight oil in the rest of the world could be double or more those of North America. Tight or unconventional oil requires the same hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling techniques as shale gas. Countries with this resource include Argentina, Russia (Siberia), China, North Africa and Australia. Market analysis firm IHS noted that development in these regions will likely to be slower than in the United States and Canada as many countries could run into constraints including government policy and regulation, lack of access to specialised technology and skilled labor, and access to land.









with h/t Tom Whipple

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