SingularityHUB asked: Will almost free energy be available in the near future?  In a companion piece OILPRICE examined What Happens IF Cold Fusion Does Become Reality?

hydrogenfuelnews told us hydrogen fuel cells are to be tested in Germany. A pilot project is planned for the country which focuses on using a hydrogen fuel cell system to power police and emergency communications throughout the country. Hydrogen systems have proven they can continue generating electrical power even when battered by natural disasters, such as a hurricane that recent struck the Bahama Islands in the Caribbean Sea. The German government will install 116 hydrogen fuel cells throughout the country by the end of 2013. It will then collect data on their performance to determine whether they are a viable investment moving forward.

OILPRICE posted on the shale oil revolution and how it will change the world. “Estimates of global shale oil deposits range from 2.8 to 3.3 trillion barrels. This obviously will change the picture of global economics and politics.”

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said US crude oil and natural gas production over the next two decades will be higher than previously expected and will allow the US to increase natural gas exports. In its annual outlook the EIA forecasted imports as a share of total U.S. energy production (including oil, gas and renewables) would be 9% by 2040 against 19% in 2011 and 29% as recently as 2007. A surge in shale gas production will allow the country to become a larger exporter of natural gas than projected a year ago and a net exporter as early as 2016. Renewable fuel use for electricity generation is expected to grow slowly over the next few decades, reaching a 16% share of electricity generation by 2040 from 13% in 2011. See also At a glance: EIA’s long-term energy predictions, Eurasia Review Growth In U.S. Energy Production Seen Outstripping Consumption Growth, and THINK PROGRESS U.S. Energy Outlook: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly.

Business Insider looked at the EIA annual report and found In 30 Years, Americans Will Be Using Just As Much Coal As They Do Today. See chart below.

 

Source: US Energy Information Administration, Annual Outlook 2012

 

 

Energy & Capital told us about the first U.S. natural gas-to-liquids plant. South African firm Sasol Ltd. has announced it will be building the nation’s first natural gas-to-liquid fuel plant, the second largest in the world. Located in Westlake, Louisiana, close to the Texas shale gas deposits, it will begin as a chemical plant and later be expanded to include and NGL facility and a refinery. The 96.000 bpd refinery will convert natural gas into diesel, jet fuel, and other chemicals. The refinery is expected to be in operation by 2018.

AOL Energy had a two part series wondering if US shale gas resources are overstated? Here is Part 1 and here is Part 2.

Still on the topic of natural gas, Deutsche Welle told us about Russia’s export monopoly, Gazprom, is keeping Europe in a tight grip. “Russia is expanding its position as gas supplier for Europe. By building the South Stream pipeline Moscow will reduce its dependence on Ukraine as a transit country and at the same time undermine the competitive European Nabucco project.” The pipeline will join the South-Russian town of Anapa on the Black Sea with the Bulgarian harbor town of Varna. Eventually, it will carry Russian gas via Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia to Italy. The project is scheduled to be completed by late 2015 and is expected to transport up to 63 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe annually. One purpose of the pipeline is to circumvent Ukraine which up to now has been the main means of transporting natural gas to Europe. South Stream is a companion to North Stream which came online in 2011 to ship natural gas from Russia to Germany. (see map below)

 

 

Geopolitics and natural gas is also the theme of Energy Adventures in the Eastern Mediterranean in The Journal of Turkish Weekly. The site asks: “Is a new pattern emerging which will change the political balances of the Eastern Mediterranean?” In the waters around Israel, Cyprus, Lebanon and Crete enormous natural gas fields have been found. If the current prospects become definite finds, the Eastern Mediterranean could become a new Caspian or North Sea in global politics. “…if these deposits are discovered, disputed waters in the Eastern Mediterranean will start getting hotter.” So far there are no means of transporting the gas to market and both a natural gas liquids plant or undersea pipelines create financial, national security and political problems (eg a route through Turkey creates a barrier as it does not recognize Greek Cyprus). The author suggests that Turkey could be an important player in any negotiations and should start planning now for the inevitable.

UPI Energy Resources wrote about how the Arabs are joining the shale boom. Jordan has plans to develop its massive shale oil deposits, joining other Arab states in exploiting their shale reserves because conventional deposits are being squeezed to cope with rapidly growing populations and industrialization. Jordon has the fourth largest shale oil reserves in the world — 40 billion-70 billion tons of oil under 60% of the country’s land surface. This could translate into 100 billion barrels of crude oil. Meanwhile Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Saudi Arabia have very large reserves of shale gas.

Despite the claims of the International Energy Agency, smartplanet argued the US will not surpass Saudi Arabia’s oil production by 2020. Coming from the “peak oil” perspective, the post highlighted weaknesses in the IEA report including the uncertainties embedded in the data and the fact that natural gas liquids were defined as oil in the IEA’s forecast.

 

 

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