The United Nations population division said this summer that fertility rates in many developing countries had not slowed as the UN. had expected. As a result, it revised its forecast of the world population in 2100 upward by 700 million people, to 10.9 billion.

The Kashagan crude oil field in Kazakhstan, 13 years in development and $50 billion later, has reached 40,000 barrels/day and its developers hope to meet 75,000 b/d by next month. Kazakhstan has forecast the field will produce 1 million b/d from 2020 and eventually will reach 1.5 million b/d.

In Nigeria, the large-scale theft of crude oil by criminal networks plus related pipeline sabotage reduced output in Africa’s largest oil producer to below 2m b/d this summer, a four-year low.

Venezuela will partner with China National Petroleum Corp. on a $14 billion development project in the Orinoco heavy oil region of the country.

China imported 58% of its oil needs and 30% of its natural gas last year.

Asian government-controlled oil companies—including China’s two largest oil producers— are among the top 11 potential bidders for Brazil’s largest crude oil discoveries.  These discoveries are off-shore deep in the Atlantic Ocean.

US approval of the Keystone XL pipeline is unlikely to occur in 2013, Canada’s natural resources minister said last week.

Norway is shutting down the Statoil-operated Mongstad CO2 capture project. The project was meant to capture CO2 from a nearby natural gas-fired power plant and refinery. The project is led by Statoil, but the government pays all the costs. The project has been both challenging and costly, and the risks are now seen as too big to go through with it, the government said.

This week the Scottish government announced plans to ban petrol and diesel vehicles from town and city centres across the country although the target date for this could be as far out as 2050. The government has also announced plans to bring forward grants of £5,000 towards the purchase of electric vehicles and £8,000 towards the purchase of electric vans.

The cost of electricity from wind and solar sources in America has fallen by more than 50% over the past four years, according to a report recently released by global financial advisor Lazard Freres & Co.

China is expected to soon overtake Germany to become the world’s top country in terms of newly added solar power generating capacity. The country’s newly installed solar power generating capacity is expected to surpass 10 GW this year, which will be more than that of Germany.

Germany’s 2011 plan to shut down the nation’s nuclear power plant and make a wholesale shift to renewable energy is running into problems as consumers come face to face with the high costs of electricity ($735 billion). Last year, wind, solar and other non-fossil-fuel sources provided just 22% of the electric power for Germany.

New car registrations are falling in most of Europe. They are down nearly 11% on the year in France, 5.5% in Germany, and 18% in Spain.

Executives at top automotive battery companies said this week that the cost of lithium-ion batteries used in electric and hybrid vehicles are on a steady decline and are likely to be about half of today’s price by 2020.

The US imposed tariffs on wind towers from China and Vietnam as the trade war between the US and Asia persists. Wind towers are the steel support structures for wind turbines that hold the rotor blades and house the engine. Earlier this year the US Commerce Department found that Chinese and Vietnamese producers/importers had sold wind towers into the US below cost. Now Chinese importers will pay anti-dumping duties of 44.99-70.63%, depending on the company, and some will have to add countervailing duties of 21.86-34.81% to compensate for government subsidies. Vietnamese importers will face duties of 51.40-58.49%.





with h/t Tom Whipple

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