The International Energy Agency reports nearly 1.3 billion people, or 18% of the world population, lacked access to electricity in 2011. The world’s population is currently at 7 billion.

The Canadian government estimates production from its vast crude oil deposits should reach 5 million barrels per day by 2035, making Canada a “21st century energy superpower.” Despite tough operating conditions, the country expects future projects to target its northern arctic waters.

East Africa’s oil and natural gas bonanza is changing the power dynamics of one of the poorest regions in the world, promising to free governments from long dependence on foreign aid once the billions of dollars in natural resource revenues start to flow.

The South Stream natural gas pipeline for Europe is making steady progress, Alexei Miller, chairman of Russian energy company Gazprom, said. The company plans to commission parts of South Stream before the end of 2015. The pipeline is designed to have an annual capacity of 2.2 trillion cubic feet. Gazprom envisions South Stream as a means to add diversity to an export market that depends on Soviet-era gas transit networks through Ukraine, where geopolitical tensions add a layer of risk to Russia’s export options. The South Stream pipeline will carry Russian natural gas through the Black Sea to Bulgaria and then to Greece, Italy and Austria.

Central European nations are urging the US to boost natural gas exports to Europe as a hedge against the risk that Russia could cut its supply of gas to Ukraine. Energy analysts say that it would take at least a year or more for the US regulatory system to allow such exports.

The Polish government said it will offer 6-year tax breaks to shale gas companies in an effort to fast track investment and exploration of the country’s shale reserves. The announcement comes as energy tension with Russia run high over Ukraine and the fear Russia will shut off the gas supply to Europe that runs through the Ukraine.

Much of the Niger Delta, heartland of the oil industry that supplies four-fifths of Nigeria’s state revenue and is now soiled by spills, is nearly uninhabitable from sabotage to oil pipelines and the subsequent contaminated waters.

The US is now pumping 10% of the world’s crude oil.  This is up 1% since 2012. Overall US crude oil production averaged 7.84 million barrels a day in the fourth quarter of 2013. Shale and other dense rock, newly accessible because of advancements in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, accounted for 3.22  million barrels of the daily average.

Production from the Eagle Ford shale oil reserves in the US state of Texas is expected to keep growing through 2014 and to break the 1.5 million b/d mark in 2015, according to Bentek Energy.

The Association of American Railroads said 285 million barrels of crude oil were delivered on the US rail system last year, an average of ¾ of a million barrels per day, a 74% increase from 2012.

A major snarl in railroad traffic is ricocheting through the supply chains of businesses across the US, causing delays and losses for shippers of goods ranging from coal to sugar. Many of the problems stem from congestion on the BNSF Railway in a critical northern stretch of the country where it is shipping crude oil from North Dakota’s booming Bakken Shale region.

The explosion of shale oil and gas in the US is driving the major oil companies elsewhere to look for better profit opportunities.  Royal Dutch Shell announced it is cutting back on its business and investments in North America by separating some of its America’s downstream businesses and sell nonstrategic positions, as well as cut spending in its America’s upstream business by 20% this year.

Australian energy explorer FAR Ltd. estimates there are more than 450 million barrels of oil equivalent in the Dampier basin off the western coast of the country. The company said the area is already known to contain crude oil and natural gas deposits.

This winter’s polar vortex over North America may give new life to aging coal and nuclear power plants in the US. Masses of arctic air rolling down from the North Pole have driven electricity prices to more than 10 times last year’s average in many parts of the country and have threatened some cities with winter blackouts. They’ve also led energy companies to call for extending the lives of older coal plants, as well as aging nuclear reactors.

Saudi Aramco plans to produce 200 million cubic feet per day of shale gas by 2018 to supply a new phosphate project and an electric power plant, an industry source said. Saudi Arabia wants to develop shale gas for electric power generation in order to save more of its crude oil for export.

The UK has become a net importer of petroleum products for the first time since 1984 amid the closure of refineries and a sharp drop in crude oil production from the North Sea. Refinery production was weakened by high production costs and increasing competition from imports reported the Department of Energy & Climate Change. The nation’s remaining refineries are incapable of producing enough middle distillates such as gas diesel and aviation fuel to meet domestic demand.

India is using a coal tax to finance a major new solar project. Solar Energy Corporation of India has plans to build  a 1 gigawatt solar PV park in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. About 20% of the funding will come from the National Clean Energy Fund which derives revenue from a tax on coal produced and imported into the country.


with h/t Tom Whipple




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