A study by McKinsey Global Institute projects up to 800 million global workers will lose their jobs to robotic automation by 2030. The study of 46 countries and 800 occupations found that up to one-fifth of the global work force will be affected. Machine operators and food workers will be hit hardest. Wealthy countries like the US and Germany could see 1/3 of their work force affected. India, on the other hand, will only have about 9% of jobs replaced by robotic technologies. The authors believe the world will see a transition on the scale of the early 1900s when much of global industry switched from farming to factory work. However, as some jobs come to an end, the authors see new jobs being created, just as happened with the introduction of personal computers and the Internet.

OPEC members, Russia and other crude oil producers have agreed to extend their production freeze to the end of 2018. As of this posting, US West Texas crude is priced about $58 per barrel and Brent Crude (the European benchmark) is priced about $63. Where prices are likely to go over the next year continue to be uncertain. Some see oil prices climbing into the $70s as the global oil markets continue to tighten and there is no longer a threat of a sudden surge in crude oil production. Others argue that prices will fall over the next six months as winter demand falls in the Northern Hemisphere and US shale oil production increases in the second quarter of 2018. Many are suggesting Russia, not Saudi Arabia, is now the main player in world oil markets.  Some are calling Russia’s President Putin the “King of OPEC”. Others are calling him the “World’s Energy Czar” noting that he is calling the shots in OPEC, a role the Saudis have had for the past 50 years. The large share of the production cut that the Saudis are taking, however, is still the key to the success of the production freeze.

In Canada, Exxon Mobil inaugurated the Hebron oil field off the east coast province of Newfoundland. The field will produce 150,000 barrels of crude per day at its peak.

The US has a surplus of natural gas but is having trouble storing it. Natural gas is a byproduct of frenzied drilling for oil in the state of Texas. Energy producer there are running out of places to send it all. Pipelines running from the region’s Permian Basin to the Gulf Coast’s chemical plants, cities, and export terminals are essentially full.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp signed a preliminary agreement to construct a $20 billion complex to transform crude oil into chemicals. The project would be the largest crude-to-chemicals facility in the world. It is part of the Saudi Arabian government’s effort to diversify its economy beyond exporting crude oil.

Crude oil prices could decline to $35 a barrel next year if China and India speed up the adoption of electric cars to cope with severe air pollution commented Steen Jakobsen, Chief Economist & CIO at Saxo Bank. He said: “I think down the road, this whole electrification which is a big issue in 2018 will really kick off.”

Norway’s state-owned Statoil said its Dudgeon wind farm off the UK coast is now feeding the grid from its 67 6-megawatt wind farm, with a combined capacity of 402 MW — enough to meet the energy demands of some 410,000 average households at peak supply. Statoil plans to invest $12 billion in renewable energy projects by 2030.

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, is exiting the oil market with plans to divest $35 billion worth of major oil company stocks.

Last month Saudi Arabia started the process to put out a tender to build two nuclear plants. The desert kingdom wants to use atomic power to generate electricity at home so it can export more crude oil to the rest of the world.

India has its first-ever electric vehicle charging station, opened in the largest city of central India, Nagpur.

South Korea’s Samsung Electronics said it has developed core battery technology using graphene to make lithium-ion batteries last longer and charge more quickly, a potential industry milestone if mass produced. Its research arm has successfully synthesized “graphene balls” that can boost its battery capacity by 45% and increase charging speed by five times the existing standards.







with h/t Tom Whipple


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