The US Energy Information Administration predicted that, in spite of population growth, US energy use per capita will decrease from 2011 to 2040. Yahoo reports that while the US population is expected to increase 0.9% each year until 2040 and the economy is also expected to increase by an average annual rate of 2.5%, energy use per person decline –  largely through gains in appliance efficiency as well as an increase in vehicle efficiency standards by 2025.

UPI Energy Resources said the International Energy Agency is forecasting a North American natural gas revolution. Due to developments in shale exploration, the IEA says the United States is expected to be a net exporter of natural gas by 2020 and the entire North American region should follow suit in terms of crude oil by 2035.

Energy Tribune noted the UK is giving tax breaks for the development of shale gas. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne told the UK Parliament: “Shale gas is part of our future and we can make it happen.” It is known that the country has large shale gas reserves and the British Geological Survey’s official assessment of these reserves is expected very soon.

The Globe and Mail suggested the UK’s shale revolution will shake up Europe. The arrival of shale natural gas “could transform not just the British economy but radically alter the geopolitics of energy throughout Western Europe…Russia beware. A shale gas revolution in Britain and elsewhere in Europe would not be to its liking.”  Official estimates of the UK’s shale gas reserves are expected in the next few weeks but speculation is that the amount is large enough to power the country for the next 100 years. The gas couldn’t come at a better time in Britain because so many other forms of energy are in decline (coal, oil), very expensive because of subsidies (wind, solar) or both expensive and in need of replacement (nuclear). At minimum, shale gas could put a limit on energy price increases in the UK. If the UK benefits greatly from its shale gas resources this could put pressure on France to rethink its shale gas drilling ban as it looks for ways to dig itself out of its on-going economic doldrums.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reported that Europe is facing a crisis in energy costs. While North Americans look forward to a glut of natural gas, Europeans are increasingly worried about the rising cost of energy. Manufacturers are looking with envy at low energy costs across the Atlantic and some have started moving production to the US and Canada. The high costs associated with green energy (solar, wind) and dealing with climate change have resulted in skyrocketing electricity rates making if difficult for some industries to compete in the global market.

Europe is lurching through an energy crisis that in many respects parallels its seemingly unending economic crisis. Across Europe, consumer groups, governments and manufacturers are asking how their future energy needs can be met affordably and responsibly…A real debate on energy may be in the cards for the first time in years. “We are in the realpolitik of climate change now, where costs and competitiveness do matter,” said Fabien Roques, an analyst at energy research firm IHS CERA.

Israel’s “rise to energy superpower” is under way posted the Energy Tribune. With the country’s new offshore Tamar field beginning to pump natural gas to the mainland at the end of March, it meant that Israel is no longer dependent on its Arab neighbors for natural gas imports. In 2012 enormous gas deposits were found under the Mediterranean Sea between Israel and Cypress (see map of the gas fields below)  As a result, the eastern Mediterranean basin is on the path to becoming a major player in global energy production. But Israel is not just rich in gas.  It has enormous shale oil deposits as well. The World Energy Council estimates that Israel’s Shefla Basin shale oil deposits could yield a cool 250 billion barrels and, if verified, would catapult Israel into the elite with the world’s third-largest proven oil reserves, just behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. This is shaking up the world energy scene as Russia’s Gazprom has raced to make deals with Israel and Cypress in order to benefit from a changing world market for natural gas. Others affected includes the market power of OPEC as this post observes:

…the impact of the coming rise of Israel as a regional energy superpower plainly heralds significant and imminent changes in the Middle East, and beyond. First, for the fast-diminishing tyranny that is OPEC. Second, in the geopolitical re-alignment the new eastern Mediterranean energy alliance represents. Third, the literal shift of power away from the world’s oil and gas ‘tyrannies’ that the new energy realities – including Israel’s rise to energy superpower status – represents for the democratic world.


israel offshore reserves

See also UPI Energy Resources, Israel has more natural gas than expected, The Jewish Press, Israel: the natural gas and start up nation, and Energy Tribune, Russia’s New Middle East Energy Game.

EurActiv thought East Africa will become a major player in the geopolitics of energy.  In the past two years offshore eastern Africa has become one of the world’s hottest spots for oil and natural gas reserves. The aggregate gas reserves of Mozambique and Tanzania potentially have the same size as those of Australia, which has become a leading supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the Asian market. Experts expect the newly discovered natural gas in eastern Africa to supply Asian and European demand over the next decade. Mozambique also has coal and could become one of the world’s largest producers in the next decade, producing 25% of the world’s coking coal used for steel production by 2025. The development of the country’s coal and gas reserves will require building infrastructure: roads, ports, rails, electric power grids, and telecommunications networks as well as an efficient regulatory permit process.

The Fort Wayne Gazette reported Canada is beating the US in the race to sell liquified natural gas (LNG) to Asia. An LNG terminal being built near Vancouver is scheduled to begin shipping LNG to Asian markets in mid-2015, eight months before the first continental U.S. plant is slated to start construction. Michelle Foss, chief energy economist at the Center for Energy Economics at the University of Texas says: “The smart money is going to Canada. They don’t have any objections to exporting gas and it’s closer to Asia, which cuts down on shipping costs.”

International energy giants from Exxon Mobil to Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd are considering terminal projects in western Canada to supply Asian utilities and factories that are paying more than four times the price of U.S. markets. Chevron said it’s focusing all of its North American LNG efforts north of the U.S. border because of the more favorable regulatory climate and closer proximity to Asia, making exports more profitable for producers.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) wants to see the end of global energy subsidies we learned from UPI Energy Resources. The IMF calculates that energy subsidies amount to $1.9 trillion, the equivalent of 2 1/2% of global gross domestic product or 8% of government revenues. The top three energy subsidizersare the United States at $502 billion, China at $279 billion and Russia at $116 billion. This is the first time the Fund has attempted to calculate the size of these subsidies. In its view, these subsides encourage an over-consumption of petroleum products, coal and natural gas and reduce incentives for investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy Not only do the subsidies bloat government deficits but they discriminate in favour of some energy sources over others  (and hence a country’s energy mix) as well as benefit the wealthier in society as they are the largest consumers of energy. See also The Australian, IMF urges cuts to energy subsidies.

In The Future of our Energy ScienceDaily said hydroelectric generation comes out ahead of all other energy sources when viewed from the perspective of economic, social and environmental impact. This includes such factors as risk of severe accidents, security of fuel supply, volatility of fuel price, environmental aspects and public acceptance. This is the conclusion of Dr Giorgio Locatelli, from the School of Engineering at the University of Lincoln (UK) writing in the International Journal of Business Innovation and Research (see summary here).





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