Recent Articles

Is The LNG Glut Real?

21 Nov 2017   LNG

LNG prices have tanked over the past few years after a wave of new natural gas export capacity has come online in places like Australia and the U.S. However, despite fears that the LNG market would collapse under a massive glut of gas, the supply/demand balance for LNG is a lot tighter than expected. A new report from Columbia University’s Global Center on Energy Policy argues that a group of about a dozen relatively small countries have popped up to buy some of those LNG cargoes, relieving the market of its expected glut. On their own, each individual country is a bit player in the global market for LNG. Collectively, they only accounted for 3.3 percent of total LNG imports in the world in 2014, but they have taken on a majority of the growth in imports since then, accounting for 57 percent of the total increase in imports […]

Is China making U.S. irrelevant to the future of automobiles?

21 Nov 2017   China, Electric Cars, USA

The first automobile was invented in Germany in 1885 by Karl Benz, but it was the U.S. that led the building of the global 20th-century automobile industry. Through the turn of the current century, the U.S. new-vehicle market was the world’s largest, and General Motors was for decades the world’s largest car company. Neither of those is still the case—and an increasing number of analysts, commentators, and industry executives have worried that the U.S. may become less relevant to the future of automobiles in the 21st century. DON’T MISS: China developing timetable to end sales, production of gasoline cars The volume of concern increased after the stunning early-September announcement that China is developing plans to end the sale of new vehicles with combustion engines. It has long been that country’s government-industrial policy to dominate […]

Nebraska clears path for Keystone XL pipeline, in boost for Trump

21 Nov 2017   Pipelines

Nebraska regulators approved a route for TransCanada Corp’s  Keystone XL pipeline through the state on Monday, lifting the last big regulatory obstacle for the long-delayed project that U.S. President Donald Trump wants built. The 3-2 vote by the Nebraska Public Service Commission helps clear the way for the pipeline linking Canada’s Alberta oil sands to refineries in the United States, but is likely to be tied up for years in court challenges by opponents who say the project is an environmental risk. “We are going to fight like hell to make sure this pipeline never gets built,” said Jane Kleeb, the head of anti-pipeline Bold Nebraska, a political advocacy group. The commission’s approval was not for TransCanada’s preferred route, but for a more costly alternative that would add 5 miles (8 km) of pipeline, along with an additional pumping station and […]

Motorists log more miles on U.S. roads in September versus a year ago: Department of Transportation

21 Nov 2017   USA

Motorists logged 0.3 percent more miles on U.S. roads and highways in September than a year earlier according to data released Monday by the U.S. Department of Transportation, as volumes were dented by powerful Hurricanes, Harvey and Irma. Volumes, however, remained on track to outpace last year’s record high. Motorists logged 262.5 billion vehicle miles in September, up 0.8 billion vehicle miles over September 2016, DOT figures show. Cumulative travel for 2017 increased by 1.3 percent, or 31.4 billion vehicle miles. The cumulative estimate for the year is 2,410.3 billion vehicle miles of travel, DOT said. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which struck different parts of the country in quick succession, squeezed fuel supplies and cut into crucial travel in […]

Oklahoma in budget crisis mode, governor says

21 Nov 2017   USA

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin vetoes most of a Plan-B budget measure because it relied too much on one-time funds. With an election year ahead, the governor of the shale-rich state of Oklahoma said it’s unlikely lawmakers will have enough focus to fix the budget. Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed all-but five of the 170 sections of House Bill 1019X, legislation aimed at fixing the state budget because it came “perilously close” to wiping out the state’s available one-time funds and savings. Emergency appropriation keeps most state agencies running. “Some legislative leaders have stated that revenue measures will be taken up in February when lawmakers return in regular session,” the governor said. “But I am very skeptical because next year is an election year and the pressure not to do anything will be greater.” The state budget office in October said […]

Volvo Promises Uber Fleet of Self-Driving Taxis by 2019

21 Nov 2017   Transportation

Volvo Cars said it has agreed to supply Uber Technologies Inc. with a fleet of 24,000 self-driving taxis beginning in 2019—one of the first and biggest commercial orders for such vehicles. The deal between Volvo, owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., and Uber was disclosed Monday as a framework agreement without financial terms. Such an order, though, would account for about 4.5% of Volvo’s current total sales, based on 2016 figures, and is estimated to be worth more than $1 billion, a person familiar with the situation said. The automobile industry and many big tech firms have promised broad deployment of robot cars in the near future, but all of the technology, regulation and legal framework needed for the practical use of such vehicles aren’t yet in place. Still, industry executives have predicted with more and more confidence that companies […]

Growing Gas Glut Threatens West Texas Oil Boom

21 Nov 2017   Shale Gas

Natural gas is gushing out of West Texas, a byproduct of frenzied drilling for oil . That is a problem for energy producers, who 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. Drillers in the Rockies and Canada already supply markets in the north and west. There is plenty of room on pipelines running south to Mexico, which has emerged as a major market for U.S. producers, but there is a catch: much of the gas distribution infrastructure and power plants there that would buy the fuel haven’t been built yet. The growing gas glut is already weighing on regional prices. Natural gas prices at the Waha trading hub in West Texas have fallen to much as 57 […]

Fossil Fuel to Renewables, Not Horses to Cars

21 Nov 2017   Transportation

Profs. Lee E. Ohanian and Ted Temzelides recount the story of the environmental crisis that hit cities in the late 1800s—namely excess horse manure—and how it was solved by the introduction of automobiles  They use this story to imply that free markets and innovation will lead to a transition away from fossil fuels toward cleaner technology, if only the government would get out of the way. They neglect, however, an important government intervention that encouraged the switch from horses to automobiles. A draft horse typically worked only four hours a day. During the other 20 it produced its manure in its stable, the owner of which was obligated by law to properly dispose of manure. In the early 1800s farmers would pay to get the manure, but by the end of the century there was too much […]

Nebraska Regulators Approve Alternative Route for Keystone XL Pipeline

21 Nov 2017   Pipelines

Nebraska regulators on Monday allowed the Keystone XL oil pipeline to clear its final major hurdle, granting a victory to President Trump and Republicans who have for years pressed for the project. But the pipeline company will not be allowed to build along its preferred route, the regulators announced, opening up new questions about how the project will proceed. The pipeline’s future was complicated by the commission’s 3-2 vote to approve the alternate route. The decision drew tempered reactions both from opponents of the project and TransCanada, the pipeline company, which was noncommittal about its path forward. “As a result of today’s decision, we will conduct a careful review of the Public Service Commission’s ruling while assessing how the decision would impact the cost and schedule of the project,” Russ Girling, TransCanada’s […]

Energy Majors Hit Hard By Climate Regulations

21 Nov 2017   Climate

The first news came out of Siemens, a Munich-based industrial conglomerate somewhat akin to the troubled General Electric. After last week’s disastrous news from GE—a 50 percent dividend cut and plans for a complete corporate makeover—we shouldn’t have been surprised. GE’s difficulties weren’t just due to poor business conditions. There has also been too much financial engineering and a history of overpaying for acquisitions. But Siemens made a purely business announcement: It was laying off 6,900 workers due to weak demand for gas turbine electric generators. The industry has the capacity to produce 400 big units per year worldwide, but is producing only 100, and Siemens doesn’t expect demand to bounce back. You can find Leonard Hyman’s lastest book ‘Electricity Acts’ on Amazon Understand that the gas turbine is the most efficient and economic fossil fuel generator. And replacement of old coal-fired generation by gas turbines made a major […]

Keystone XL Approval May Open Door for Foes to Fight Route

21 Nov 2017   Pipelines
Keystone XL Approval May Open Door for Foes to Fight Route

Nebraska’s approval of an alternative route could throw more uncertainty into the mix for the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline.  The Public Service Commission approved TransCanada Corp.’s project on a three-to-two vote, removing one of the last hurdles to the Calgary-based company’s construction of the $8 billion, 1,179-mile (1,897-kilometer) conduit, which has been on its drawing boards since 2008. The decision, though, wasn’t wrinkle-free: The panel mandated an alternative route that was immediately targeted by the project’s opponents as lacking adequate vetting. TransCanada is now “assessing how the decision would impact the cost and schedule of the project,” Russ Girling, TransCanada’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. The company’s shares rose 1.3 percent to C$63.35 at 12:24 p.m. in New York trading.

 Source: Nebraska Public Service Commission

The uncertainty expressed by Girling was quickly reflected in analyst notes.  “While today’s Keystone XL pipeline approval is an important milestone, it does not provide certainty that the project will ultimately be built and begin operating,” said Gavin MacFarlane, a vice president at Moody’s Investors Service. “Pipeline construction would negatively affect TransCanada’s business risk profile through increased project execution risk, and would likely put pressure on financial metrics.” Jane Kleeb, president of the environmental advocacy group Bold Alliance, said green-lighting the alternative may have helped the commission reach a “middle ground solution.” But it opens new questions that she said her group would likely explore in federal court.

Thanksgiving Gas Prices At 3-Year High

21 Nov 2017   Prices

GasBuddy’s newest report pegs gas prices at their highest average since 2014, the year oil prices crashed from their highs of over $100 per barrel. Gasoline prices are up a full 20 percent compared to last year, just in time for the busiest driving weekend of the year in the United States – Thanksgiving weekend. On Thursday, as families dig into their turkey, gas prices should reach an average of $2.53 per gallon. In 2012, the Thanksgiving-weekend national average cost of a gallon of gas was $3.44. “This year has been unique at the pumps. Gas prices spent much of the time in the weeks approaching Thanksgiving by rising when typically they would be on a sizeable downward trend,” Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said in a statement. “On average Americans are paying nearly 40 cents a gallon more than last year, which means collectively we’re […]

London’s Iconic Red Buses to Run on Biofuel Made From Old Coffee

21 Nov 2017   Biofuels

Bio-bean partnered with Shell on demonstration project London-based company also makes biomass pellets from coffee London’s iconic red double-decker buses will soon run on a biofuel partially made from old coffee grounds. The fuel will be supplied by a demonstration project set up by Bio-bean Ltd. , a London-based company that joined with Royal Dutch Shell Plc on the initiative. It will produce 6,000 liters (1,583 gallons) a year of the fuel. “It’s got a high oil content, 20 percent oil by weight in the waste coffee grounds, so it’s a really great thing to make biodiesel out of,” said Arthur Kay, founder of Bio-bean, in a phone interview. As public pressure mounts against using food for fuel, companies are increasingly focusing on biofuels made from waste such as used cooking oil and inedible plants. Some crops such as corn and sugarcane are made into ethanol to be burned […]

Russia to determine position on oil output deal in November: Novak

21 Nov 2017   Russia

Novak said he would discuss the possible deal extension with Russian oil producers on Tuesday.

Russia reviews LNG options with Japan

21 Nov 2017   Japan, LNG, Russia

Russian energy company Gazprom said it was reviewing the opportunity to expand its only operational liquefied natural gas plant with its Japanese partner. Gazprom Chairman Alexei Miller hosted a delegation from Mitsubishi Corp. to review LNG opportunities in the Far East market. “The parties reviewed issues related to joint efforts under the Sakhalin II project, including the construction of the third train of the LNG plant,” the Russian energy company stated. The so-called train is the facility that turns natural gas into the super-cooled liquid form. Economies in the Asia-Pacific region are expanding faster than developed nations and taking on more oil and gas resources as a consequence. Island nations like Japan, meanwhile, have few resources of their own and rely on imports from major producers […]

Oil, gas tax revenue driving Russia forward

21 Nov 2017   Russia

Revenue collected from the oil and natural gas industry in Russia is in part behind the 19 percent gain from last year, a federal tax director said Monday. Mikhail Mishustin, the head of the Federal Taxation Service, told Russian President Vladimir Putin that the budget has received $240 billion in tax collections over the last 10 months, which was 19.1 percent higher than during the same period one year ago. “I would like to note that the increase is largely due to the oil and gas industry that accounts for 60 percent of the revenue increase,” he said. Total Russian crude oil production is up 1.8 percent from January. The nation’s energy ministry published no data for natural gas […]

Mercedes-Benz will offer electric drive on all commercial van lines; electric eVito now available to order, eSprinter in 2019

21 Nov 2017   -, Electric Cars, Germany

Mercedes-Benz Vans will offer electric drive options on all its commercial van model lines. This will start with the mid-size eVito, with deliveries commencing in the second half of 2018. Further model ranges will follow, starting in 2019. The eVito, the second all-electric production model from Mercedes-Benz Vans after the 2010 Vito E-Cell, starts at €39,990 (US$47,000) (in Germany excl. VAT). The exclusive pre-ordering phase for the mid-size van begins today in Germany, with market launch scheduled for the second half of 2018. The first 1,000 orders on the microsite will also be rewarded with a service package including Wallbox. The eVito will be followed in 2019 by the eSprinter. The line-up will then be rounded off by the Citan. The […]

Oil markets tepid ahead of Nov. 30 OPEC meeting

20 Nov 2017   Prices

Oil markets were tepid on Monday as traders were reluctant to take on big new positions ahead of an OPEC meeting at the end of the month, when the producer club is expected to decide whether to continue output cuts aimed at propping up prices. Brent crude futures LCOc1, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $62.56 per barrel at 0439 GMT, down 16 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their last close. Sponsored U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $56.59 a barrel, up 4 cents, or 0.1 percent, from their last settlement. Traders said they were avoiding taking on large new positions due to uncertainty in markets. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), together with a group of non-OPEC producers led by Russia, […]

Oil Markets in ‘Wait-and-See’ Mode Ahead of OPEC Meeting

20 Nov 2017   Prices

Oil prices were steady Monday ahead of next week’s meeting of global crude producers where an extension of output cuts is set to be discussed. Brent crude , the global oil benchmark, fell 0.5% to $62.44 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading up 0.1% at $56.72 a barrel. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers including Russia will meet on Nov. 30 and review whether to extend the production cuts due to expire in March 2018. The deal aims to reduce a glut of global stocks to their five-year average. “We’re expecting a potential extension of the deal, that’s the general market consensus, OPEC knows that it needs to continue doing what it’s doing because its targets haven’t been reached,” said Mustafa Ansari, energy economist at development bank Arab Petroleum Investments Corp. Oil […]

In-depth: IEA Predicts Rise of Cheap Renewables and China’s Move away from Coal

20 Nov 2017   IEA

The global energy system is in a state of flux. Renewables are experiencing rapid deployment and steep pricefalls. A growing portion of global energy is provided by electricity. There’s a slow, but apparently inexorable move away from coal in China. And there’s a surge in natural gas and oil production in the US. These are just some of the insights in the latest annual World Energy Outlook (WEO), which was published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) this week. Specifically, some of the WEO’s key points include: Solar power will be cheaper than coal, on average, in China, India and the US between 2025 and 2030. Renewables will make up two-thirds of total global investment in new power plants and will be the single largest source of additional energy added up to 2040. By 2040, China will add electricity generation equivalent to the entire US power system. India will […]

The Soft Belly of The Oil Industry: the Upcoming Seneca Collapse

20 Nov 2017   Peak Oil

Ugo Bardi explains his idea of an impending “ Seneca Collapse ” of the world’s oil industry at the session on climate change of the meeting of the Club of Rome in Vienna, on 10 Nov 2017. What follows are not the exact words said, but it maintains the gist of this brief comment that was focused on the concept that the oil industry has a “soft belly” in the fact that it produces mainly fuel for engines used for transportation. If this market were reduced by the introduction of electric vehicles and other transportation innovations, the whole industry could collapse. That would be a good thing for the earth’s ecosystem and for humankind in general. Dear colleagues, we are having an interesting discussion on how to stop climate change and I think I could add some thoughts of mine on the basis of my recent work that I […]

UAE oil firm ADNOC may offer 20 percent stake in fuel unit

20 Nov 2017   Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) said on Monday it may sell as much as a 20 percent stake in its fuel distribution unit, potentially raising up to $2.8 billion.  Analysts valued the total fuel distribution unit at between $11 billion and $14 billion in reports prepared by banks advising the firm on the planned listing, sources have told Reuters. Sponsored If ADNOC raises as much as $2.8 billion, it would be the biggest initial public offering (IPO) in the United Arab Emirates since 2007 when DP World raised nearly $5 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data. Abu Dhabi is pushing its state companies to list on the bourse, hoping to lure foreign investors with privatizations after a fall in oil prices since mid-2014 depleted […]

Iran says majority of OPEC members support extending oil output cuts

20 Nov 2017   Iran

Iran’s oil minister said on Monday that a majority of OPEC members support extending output cuts but a final decision will be taken at their next meeting on Nov. 30.  The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries together with a group of non-OPEC producers led by Russia has reduced output since January 1 under an agreement set to run until next March. Producers are curbing their output in hopes of supporting prices and reducing inventories. OPEC will meet at the end of the month to discuss the policy. “The majority of members support the extension of the plan, but the final decision should be taken at the next OPEC meeting,” Iran’s Bijan Zanganeh was quoted as saying by […]

It’s Never Wise to Bet Against a Saudi Oil Minister

20 Nov 2017   Saudi Arabia

Don’t be fooled by the apparent dithering of OPEC and friends over whether to extend their output restraint when they meet at the end of the month. They know full well that failing to send a clear signal would send oil prices plummeting. The apparent backsliding from Russia and a small number of OPEC members may be a belated attempt to create a sense of uncertainty ahead of the gathering. The extension will then have a much more positive impact than if it merely ratified a long-flagged intention. Just look at what happened last time they all met, back in May: The decision to extend the cuts to the end of March 2018 was a foregone conclusion. Every ministerial interview said so. When that decision came, the market duly reacted: Brent fell by $2.50 a barrel amid disappointment that OPEC and the others hadn’t done even more. They don’t […]

Six Years After Fukushima, Robots Finally Find Reactors’ Melted Uranium Fuel

20 Nov 2017   Japan, Nuclear

Daisuke Hirose, a Tepco spokesman, inside the Unit 5 reactor at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Tepco used underwater robots that finally found the melted uranium fuel inside Unit 3, another reactor that was destroyed.  Four engineers hunched before a bank of monitors, one holding what looked like a game controller. They had spent a month training for what they were about to do: pilot a small robot into the contaminated heart of the ruined Fukushima nuclear plant. Earlier robots had failed , getting caught on debris or suffering circuit malfunctions from excess radiation. But the newer version, called the Mini-Manbo, or “little sunfish,” was made of radiation-hardened materials with a sensor to help it avoid dangerous hot spots in the plant’s flooded reactor buildings. The size of a shoe box , the Manbo used tiny propellers to hover and glide through […]

Is This The New Sweet Spot For Shale?

20 Nov 2017   Shale Oil

Over the last year, ‘permania’ has become so frenzied that the land rush drove exploration rights prices in West Texas sky high—and along with it, equipment and labor costs. So, what’s next? While most analysts and oil companies focus on the larger portion of the Permian in Texas, southeastern New Mexico—home to the smaller part of the shale play with part of the Delaware Basin—has seen increased deal and drilling activity in recent months. Now, shale drillers and oil majors want access to the Permian without paying the high prices and costs in Texas. And they’ve started using cheaper New Mexico as a kind of ‘geological back door’, as Bloomberg’s David Wethe put it, through which they can boost their position in the Permian. Exxon did it in January this year, by buying companies owned by the Bass family, with an estimated resource of 3.4 billion barrels of oil […]

Can Argentina Replicate The U.S. Shale Boom?

20 Nov 2017   Argentina, Shale Oil

Argentina has consistently been hyped as the location where the next shale revolution will unfold. The unfolding has taken some time, but progress in shale production is starting to take off in the South American nation. In October, state-owned YPF announced plans to spend $30 billion on shale investment over the next five years in an effort to scale up oil and gas production from the Vaca Muerta shale. The company hopes to boost shale output by 150 percent over that timeframe. Key to that push is lowering development costs. YPF says that it can produce a barrel of oil equivalent (boe) for $13, and it aims to reduce that to $10/boe by 2020, which the company says would make it competitive with shale production from the Permian or Eagle Ford. Part of the cost cutting drive, the company and the government believe, will be lowering labor costs. Earlier […]

China Is The World’s Biggest Energy Market Mover

20 Nov 2017   China

China is the biggest importer of crude oil to date. It is also the biggest single investor in renewable energy. However you look at it, China has become the most dominant player on several markets, including coal, oil, and renewable energy, plus electric cars—it is already the biggest car market in the world. And this will continue to be so, it seems, for the foreseeable future and even beyond. In an overview of Chinese energy developments for Bloomberg Businessweek, analyst Liam Denning calls China an energy gorilla that will maintain its size until at least 2040, consuming less fossil fuels and investing more in renewable energy. That’s pretty much what IEA said in its latest World Energy Outlook, and it probably didn’t surprise anyone. China has been swinging markets for a while now. Earlier this year, for example, when Beijing announced a firm plan to phase out internal combustion […]

As Venezuela pumps below OPEC target, oil rivals begin filling gap

20 Nov 2017   Venezuela

As Venezuela’s dilapidated energy sector struggles to pump enough crude oil to meet the country’s OPEC output target, rival producers within the exporters group have started to plug the gap, OPEC and industry sources said.  The South American country’s oil output hit a 28-year low in October as state-owned oil giant PDVSA [PDVSA.UL] struggled to find the funds to drill wells, maintain oilfields and keep pipelines and ports working. Sponsored Venezuela’s oil production, which has been falling by about 20,000 barrels per day (bpd) per month since last year, is on track to fall by at least 250,000 bpd in 2017 according to numbers reported to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), as U.S. sanctions and a lack […]

China’s Quest For Clean Air Could Hit You in the Wallet

20 Nov 2017   China

Smokestack corporate consolidation has pushed up metals prices Impact passing through to consumer goods as cleanup gains pace The great Chinese environmental cleanup, now in full swing, is shifting the corporate landscape in unexpected ways and even stoking inflationary pressure that may soon be felt in supply chains worldwide. As President Xi Jinping’s government intensifies the fight against the country’s world-class pollution problem, companies are scrambling to adapt to tighter regulation while investing in cleaner energy. In industries from steel to textiles and consumer goods, the resulting shakeout has left the survivors with far more pricing power. That in turn is reinforcing the already-resurgent factory prices that contribute to global inflation. These trends are reshaping the business environment, according to Cui Li, Hong Kong-based head of macro research at CCB International Holdings Ltd. “The environment clean-up is and will be a key driver of the industrial consolidation,” said Cui, […]

Conoco sets $50-a-barrel oil price ceiling for new projects

20 Nov 2017   Shale Oil

ConocoPhillips, the largest US exploration and production company, has ruled out investing in projects that need an oil price of $50 or higher to make a profit, as it attempts to raise shareholder returns after years of poor profitability. It is also committing most of its investment for growth to shale oil resources in North America, arguing that operations there are most able to respond to volatile markets. Companies in the US shale oil and gas industry have generally made poor returns on capital and been unable to cover their costs of drilling and completing new wells from their cash flows. But Conoco is one of many exploration and production companies now trying to deliver improved returns for shareholders and live within its means without requiring continual infusions of fresh capital. Ryan Lance, Conoco’s chief executive, said the company was seeking “returns over growth”. “The whole E&P sector, really, has not performed very well, even [through] the commodity price cycles,” he said. “We really want to be a stock that will perform through the cycles.”

Musk’s “Hardcore Smack-Down” To Gasoline Vehicles

20 Nov 2017   Electric Cars

The electric semitrailer would have a 500-mile range and will roll out in 2019, if all goes according to plan. On top of that, Musk surprised the crowd gathered at the event with a new version of the Roadster, the high end sports car that originally got Tesla going about a decade ago. The new Roadster would have a range of 620 miles and is due out in 2020. Musk said the Roadster would have a zero to 60 miles per hour time of 1.9 seconds. “These numbers sound nutty,” Musk said at the unveiling on Thursday. The truck will also have Tesla’s semiautonomous driving system, which will help assist drivers and also have the ability to drive autonomously with other trucks. The convoy system would allow a lead truck to guide a group of other autonomous trucks to follow close behind, a system that would save on labor […]

The Wireless Power Grid: More Than A 100 Years In The Making

20 Nov 2017   USA

If you can imagine a massive, horrifying beast with some 6 million miles of tentacles that costs up to $33 billion to feed and $5 trillion to replace, then you can imagine the U.S. electricity grid. But it’s a beast that can possibly be vanquished, finally. How? Magnetic induction and resonant coupling. Imagine a future where you can charge your electric vehicles while in motion using a charging mechanism built into the road on which it drives. Where the electrical grid is no longer reliant on power lines, utility poles, or expensive transformers and underground cables. A future where power companies stop chopping down trees that threaten nearby power lines. This might sound like a sci-fi movie, but the future you just imagined is nearly here, in the form of magnetic inductive coupling and resonant coupling. Magnetic induction, or magnetic inductive coupling, courtesy of Nikola Tesla, is already a […]

Tesla Investors Are Losing Patience

20 Nov 2017   Electric Cars

I have covered advanced biofuel companies for more than a decade, and just about all of them made implausible claims about their technologies. They consistently overpromised and underdelivered, until they finally ran out of money and declared bankruptcy. I am not sure that electric vehicle (EV) maker Tesla will share the same fate, but management is demonstrating the same pattern. Tesla CEO Elon Musk frequently says grandiose things to investors that ultimately fall far short of his projections. Thus far, this tactic has helped to prop up Tesla’s share price. I previously covered Tesla’s second-quarter earnings in Tesla Shares Surge Following Its Largest Loss Ever . Tesla reported a record loss, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk has an uncanny way of reassuring investors that everything is just fine. As he did so in the previous earnings call, Tesla shares moved higher. But investors may finally be running short on […]

The Hidden Cost Of Electric Cars

20 Nov 2017   Electric Cars

EU electric car producers got a fresh lease on life last week as the European Commission proposed caps on vehicle emissions as a way to fight against global warming—and to help close a technological gap with China. The Asian nation is the world’s biggest supporter and producer of electric vehicles, and this year it overtook the U.S. in terms of the number of EVs on the road, with new registrations increasing 70 percent year-on-year to around 350,000 units, while Europe saw sales rise by only 7 percent. In an effort to catch up with Beijing in a rapidly expanding market, EU lawmakers threatened financial penalties on carmakers that fail to cut tailpipe emissions by 30 percent between 2020 and 2030. On the face of it, this might sound like a smart move, and one supported by international institutions. The International Energy Agency chimed in earlier this year, showing that […]

Tesla Truck Could Threaten Big Chunk of Oil Demand, If It Works

20 Nov 2017   Electric Cars

Freight vehicles account for about 20% of world fuel use Future demand growth is dominated by medium and heavy trucks Tesla Inc. ’s unveiling on Thursday of a new electric truck showed Elon Musk can match Steve Jobs’s ability to wow the tech crowd with a glimpse of the future. If he can equal the manufacturing prowess of Apple Inc.’s current Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, he might just clobber the oil industry too. That’s a big if, given Tesla’s current inability to meet manufacturing targets on the mass-market Model 3 electric car. But if the company really can deliver a battery-powered big rig with a 500-mile range and lower lifetime costs than diesel vehicles, then a big chunk of future oil demand growth is in peril. Road freight accounts for about a fifth of world oil consumption, mostly diesel, according to the annual World Energy Outlook published by […]

Norway Oil Bosses Insist End Isn’t Nigh After $35 Billion Shock

20 Nov 2017   Norway

Oil lobby, biggest energy union see domestic industry unharmed Norway’s sovereign wealth fund said it wants out of oil Can Norway dump $35 billion in oil and gas investments, and simultaneously convince that same industry to throw money into the country’s own fossil-fuel future? After the initial shock of learning that Norway’s $1 trillion wealth fund wants nothing to do with it, the petroleum industry says both are in fact possible. But the mood is shifting. While the fund said its proposal is about spreading risk and doesn’t imply a negative outlook on the oil industry, the plan reverberated as a nod from western Europe’s biggest oil producer to the uncertain future facing oil. Such doubts are the last thing the country’s offshore industry needs. It’s just suffered through a three-year slump, and is struggling with public opinion as it faces an historic lawsuit to stop its expansion in […]

Russia’s Rosneft confirms oil supply deal with China’s CEFC

20 Nov 2017   China, Russia

Rosneft had signed an oil supply deal with CEFC China Energy Company Ltd, Russia’s largest oil producer said in a regulatory filing on Monday, confirming a Reuters report last week.  Access to Russian crude could help China, the world’s top crude importer, in its ambition to create a globally integrated oil supply chain. As well as extending Russia’s lead over Saudi Arabia as China’s top oil supplier, the deal will make CEFC, a hitherto little-known fuel trader, a top-10 global oil merchant. It will also make CEFC a dominant player in the ESPO crude market and may enable it to challenge dominant Western […]

Oil Climbs on Signs OPEC Cut May Be Extended

18 Nov 2017   Prices

Oil prices gained Friday after a week of losses, on fresh signs that Saudi Arabia plans to back an extension of OPEC’s deal to curb global production. Light, sweet crude for December delivery rose $1.41, or 2.6%, to $56.55 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, snapping a three-session losing streak. Brent, the global benchmark, advanced $1.36, or 2.2%, to $62.72 a barrel. On Thursday, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Khalid al-Falih reiterated the country’s commitment to the deal, saying that further production cuts are necessary to continue rebalancing the market. “This isn’t a parsed statement, this is clear-cut and pretty unequivocal,” said John Saucer, vice president of research and analysis at Mobius Risk Group. “It wiped away doubts.” Saudi Arabian Energy and Industry Minister Khalid al-Falih Photo: lisi niesner/European Pressphoto Agency Many traders are anticipating that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major producers will […]

Oil prices snap out of slump on OPEC rhetoric

18 Nov 2017   Prices

Renewed speculation over the next move from OPEC helped pull crude oil prices out of a slump on Friday, though many voices said U.S. shale may be the spoiler. “Khalid al-Falih, the minister of energy, industry and mineral resources of Saudi Arabia and chairman of Saudi Aramco, all but guaranteed an extension of oil production cuts to be officially announced at the end of the month despite the protestations by some Russian oil companies,” Phil Flynn , a senior market analyst for the PRICE Futures Group in Chicago, said in an emailed market report. Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries meet later this month to consider the fate of a multilateral production […]

Oil rises over 2 percent, but shows first weekly fall in six

18 Nov 2017   Prices

Oil rebounded more than 2 percent on Friday after falling for five straight sessions as a major U.S. crude pipeline was shut and traders anticipated an OPEC deal to extend curbs on production. FILE PHOTO: A worker stands in front of pump jacks at the Ashalchinskoye oil field owned by Russia’s oil producer Tatneft near Almetyevsk, in the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia July 27, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/File Photo Prices, however, fell for the first week in six, pressured by rising U.S. output data and doubts that Russia would support an extension of the OPEC output cut deal. Prices rebounded after Thursday’s comments by Saudi Arabia’s energy minister signaled a willingness to extend output cuts when OPEC meets on Nov. 30. “Obviously, the comments gave us guarantee that the extension is going to happen and was a driving story overnight,” said Phil Flynn, an analyst at […]

Oil Survives Bearish Backlash

18 Nov 2017   Prices

Crude benchmarks posted steep losses this week in the wake of the incredibly bearish assessment from the IEA. The losses continued on Wednesday and Thursday after the EIA reported a surprise uptick in crude inventories. However, oil regained some ground in early trading on Friday on hopes that OPEC would extend its production cuts. Saudi energy minister reassures market on cuts. Saudi Arabia’s energy minister tried to assuage oil market concerns about OPEC’s actions. “We need to recognize that at the end of March we’re not going to be at the level we wanted to be, which is at the five-year average,” Khalid al-Falih said in a Bloomberg television interview Thursday. “That means an extension of some sort is needed. My preference is […]

Libyan wealth is wasted, U.N. envoy says

18 Nov 2017   Libya

The humanitarian situation in Libya is in a severe state even though the OPEC-member sits on “vast wealth,” a United Nations envoy said. Ghassan Salamé, the U.N. special envoy for Libya, told members of the Security Council the situation in Libya has not improved much since the end of Moammar Gadhafi’s regime in 2011. The envoy testified that, at one point, Libya was one of the top humanitarian donors to Africa, but can now barely take care of its own needs. “It is outrageous that a country which stands upon such vast wealth has so many suffering,” he said. “However, it does, and so we must [help] them tackle the urgent concerns.” Libya is a […]

Island Nations, With No Time to Lose, Take Climate Response Into Their Own Hands

18 Nov 2017   Sea Level Rise

Fijian singers strumming ukuleles serenade delegates to the United Nations climate talks as they enter the conference hall. A traditional two-hulled sailing craft, or drua, is on display by the entrance to signify that when it comes to rising seas, all nations are in the same boat. But as two weeks of negotiations on bolstering the Paris agreement draw to a close, island leaders say the décor seems a cruel taunt. Fiji, a sunny island nation in the South Pacific, is the official host of the climate discussions here in chilly Bonn. But leaders say their hopes that island issues would take center stage […]

Saudi Arabia Pursues Cash Settlements as Crackdown Expands

18 Nov 2017   Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has spearheaded an anticorruption campaign. Authorities in Saudi Arabia are widening a corruption probe that has reached the upper echelons of the royal family and entangled prominent businessmen who are now being asked to surrender assets in exchange for their freedom, according to two people familiar with the matter. At least two dozen military officers, including multiple commanders, recently have been rounded up in connection to the Saudi government’s sweeping corruption investigation, according to two senior advisers to the Saudi government. Several prominent businessmen also were taken in by Saudi authorities in recent days. It isn’t clear if those people are all accused of wrongdoing, or whether some of them have been called in as witnesses. But their detainment signals an intensifying high-stakes campaign spearheaded by Saudi Arabia’s 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Saudi authorities launched a campaign of arrests […]

Saudi investors check out after hotel turned into luxury prison

18 Nov 2017   Saudi Arabia

As they mingled with Saudi Arabia’s business and political elite at the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh last month, the world’s top financiers were effusive in their praise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s vision to modernise the conservative kingdom. But 10 days later, with the hotel turned into a deluxe jail for the hundreds of princes and businessmen rounded up in an extraordinary corruption crackdown, the mood of many of the foreigners considering investing in the world’s top oil exporter has turned from enthusiasm to alarm. “Half my Rolodex is in the Ritz right now. And they want me to invest there now? No way,” said one senior investor.

“The wall of money that was going to deploy into the kingdom is falling apart.” The corruption purge, which has targeted some of Saudi Arabia’s wealthiest and highest-profile businessmen, including Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the billionaire, has been welcomed by Saudis who view it as a much-needed move to recoup what they believe are ill-gotten gains. But foreign investors have been stunned by the speed and scope of Prince Mohammed’s campaign. It has raised concerns about due process in the kingdom at a time when executives were studying proposals to invest in some of the heir-apparent’s grandiose projects, not least a $500bn city in the desert. “One day we are sleeping at the Ritz-Carlton, excited about a new era,” said one regional investor. “The next day they have turned the hotel into a prison — what sort of message does this send us? We some need stability.”

Iran Prepares To Export LNG To Boost Trade Relations

18 Nov 2017   Iran

Iran could ship its first export-bound cargo of LNG at the end of 2018, BMI Research said , after a JV between Iran’s Kharg Gas Refining Co. and Helma Vantage began talks with Belgian ship owner Exmar to charter its floating LNG vessel Caribbean FLNG for the short term. The JV has already sealed a deal with the National Iranian Oil Company to deploy the vessel, which has a capacity of 500,000 tons of LNG. The JV will also be in charge of storing and transferring the future LNG cargoes. The project is worth US$600 million, and BMI Research says that its volume will not be all too significant, but it would achieve a tactical purpose, allowing Iran to deepen its relationship with its partners in Europe and Asia, building the foundation of what could become a profitable business in a future where LNG will only continue to gain […]

U.S. Seeks to Bolster Saudi Arabia in Face of Expanding Iranian Threat

18 Nov 2017   Iran, Saudi Arabia, USA

The Trump administration is looking at ways to quickly strengthen Saudi Arabia’s missile defenses and disrupt the flow of advanced Iranian-made weapons across the Middle East as concerns grow over a destabilizing new crisis in the region. U.S. officials said they have rushed to ease regional tensions after an eruption of unexpected developments, including Saudi Arabia’s internal political upheaval , the mysterious resignation of Lebanon’s prime minister while visiting Riyadh, and the launch by Tehran-backed rebels in Yemen of an Iranian-made missile that was shot down near the Saudi capital. The Trump administration is pushing for a quick resolution to the political stalemate in Lebanon so the U.S. and Saudi Arabia can focus on what Washington sees as the most significant regional threat: […]

Iraq Struggles To Keep Oil Exports Elevated

18 Nov 2017   Iraq

Since the Kurdish referendum in late September, when Iraqi Kurds overwhelmingly voted for independence from Iraq, there has been a drop in crude flows through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline, as tension has ratcheted up in the region. After exports from Ceyhan averaged 540,000 bpd through the first nine months of the year, loadings of Kirkuk crude dropped to 430,000 bpd in October, and are lower once again in November, after Iraqi government forces reclaimed Kurdish oil fields last month. The Iraqi oil minister, Jabar al-Luaibi, announced last week a preliminary agreement to export oil from the Kirkuk oil fields to Iran . Until a pipeline is constructed to move the crude, the oil will be transported via tank trucks. The leading destinations for Kirkuk crude are Israel, Italy, Greece, Croatia and Spain, which account for eighty percent of flows (hark, below). (Click to enlarge) Jabar Al-Luaibi also announced last week […]

Venezuela opposition leader Ledezma flees to Spain

18 Nov 2017   Venezuela

Veteran Venezuelan opposition leader Antonio Ledezma, under house arrest since 2015 for alleged coup plotting, escaped across the border to Colombia on Friday and later flew to Spain. With a 2018 presidential election looming, an array of major Venezuelan opposition figures are now in exile, detention or are barred from holding office. They say Maduro has turned Venezuela into a dictatorship, while the government accuses them of joining forces with a U.S.-led global plot to topple him. Ledezma, the best-known detained opponent of leftist President Nicolas Maduro after Leopoldo Lopez, had spearheaded street protests against Maduro in 2014 that led to months of violence and 43 deaths. “In Spain today I feel free,” he said at Madrid’s Barajas airport, where he arrived in the early […]