• Saudi Aramco produced 8.9 million b/d of crude oil on average last year, up from 8.5 million barrels a day in 2007, according to its 2008 annual report posted Wednesday. Reserves of crude and condensate remained unchanged at 259.9 billion barrels. (5/13, #9)
  • Saudi Arabia needs to rein in fast-growing power demand-up 5.6 percent per year during 2001-2008.  An economic boom fuelled by record oil revenues this decade and subsidized domestic prices have led to a rapid rise in electricity consumption in the kingdom.  Natural gas supplies were insufficient to meet all demand for power, so Saudi Arabia burns oil products and some crude to meet demand.  (5/15, #5)
  • Norway, the world’s fourth biggest crude exporter, saw oil production fall a sizeable 7 percent in April to 1.99 million b/day last month from 2.15 million b/d in March. The data highlight one of the big underlying supply problems in non-OPEC states that many oil analysts believe is likely to send crude prices back over the $100 a barrel mark. (5/13, #21)
  • In Mexico, Chicontepec’s output has reached just under half the 72,000 b/d of petroleum that planners hope for this year. Pemex promises to increase the field’s production to more than 700,000 barrels per day within the next eight years. (5/11, #10)
  • Brazil‘s President Lula da Silva is to sign a financing agreement for state-run Petrobras during a visit to China this week. The agreement with China will finance subsalt oil development offshore Brazil. (5/16, #8)
  • Available oil storage is getting closer and closer to being full and the futures market contango has begun to flatten. When additions to storage cease, the resulting drop in demand can be expected to lead to substantial downward pressure on oil prices. (5/12, #18)
  • Johns Hopkin’s School of Public Health hosted the world’s first gathering devoted to Peak Oil and Health, with support from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. (5/12, #19)
  • The number of drilling rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the US fell by 10 this week to 918, and down 55 percent from the high of 2031 last September.  (5/16, #13)
  • As energy markets shrink, the tactics that the Kremlin used to build energy giant Gazprom into a fearsome economic and political power are now backfiring, slashing both its profits and its influence.  Gazprom is committed to long-term contracts with Central Asian countries for gas at a cost far in excess of current world prices, so that the company is saddled with a glut of expensive Central Asian gas that it is forced to sell at a loss. The company also is forced to close its own wells in Russia, which produce gas for a fraction of the cost of that from Central Asia, in order to balance its supplies with declining world demand. (5/16, #20)
  • Methane hydrates:  a 21-day expedition discovered highly saturated gas-hydrate-bearing sands in two of three sites drilled in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Office of Fossil Energy at the National Energy Technology Laboratory. NETL noted that these two sites were the first finds in the world of resource-quality marine gas-hydrate deposits. (5/16, #15)
  • The commercial use of oil from US oil shale deposits is likely at least 10 years away and will require technological advances to get past hurdles standing in the way of its commercial use, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Wednesday. (5/16, #24)
  • The Kurdistan Regional Government has signed two dozen contracts with international oil companies to explore for and produce oil. It cites the 2005 Constitution as giving it such authority. Iraq’s oil minister says the 2005 Constitution maintains the oil strategy as a right of the state, and claims KRG deals are a unilateral usurpation of such authority. (5/15, #6)
  • So badly battered is the shipping industry that the daily rate to charter a large bulk freighter plummeted from $300,000 last summer to a low of $10,000 early this year, according to a London ship brokerage. The rate has rebounded to $25,000 in the last several weeks. (5/13, #8)
  • China and Kuwait have signed a long-awaited agreement on a $9 billion oil refinery in southern China’s Guangdong province, said to be the country’s largest such venture so far. (5/12, #5)
  • PetroChina  plans to build two refineries in China to process heavy Venezuelan oil imports, company Chairman Jiang Jiemin said Tuesday. (5/12, #9)
  • Exports from China slumped 22.6 percent in April from a year earlier – a fall that was not only larger than economists had expected but also bigger than the drop in March. (5/12, #10)
  • Over 2,300 US auto retailers have been put on notice that they are being eliminated by Chrysler and GM. The latter had a widely recognized problem of having too many dealers competing for a shrinking share of US sales. Toyota Motor Corp, which has a bigger market share than Ford, also has far fewer US dealers: less than 1,500 showrooms versus 3,800 for Ford. (5/16, #11)
  • The Air Transport Association projects a 7 percent decline in US air travel this summer compared to last year. (5/16, #16)
  • European economies contracted 2.5 percent in the first quarter of 2009, or at a 10 percent annual rate, as activity stalled across the region. The American economy, in recession since December 2007, contracted at an annual rate of 6.1 percent in the first quarter. (5/16, #19)
  • Pakistan is facing a 14 percent power generation shortfall of 1,650 megawatts, while the country’s production is 11,992 megawatts. This shortfall will increase to 21 percent during the peak demand months of June, July and August. (5/16, #5)
  • Southern California Edison and BrightSource Energy have reached agreement on contracts for 1,300MW of solar thermal power, enough to serve nearly 845,000 homes. The accord, say the companies, will be the world’s largest solar power project. (5/15, #17)
  • Last week Schott AG, the largest maker of solar trough collectors-cylindrical reflectors that concentrate sunlight to heat liquids and make electricity-inaugurated its first U.S. facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (5/16, #25)
  • Trash incineration produces 0.4% of the country’s electricity.  A new study concluded that incinerating a ton of trash emits at least 35% less greenhouse gas and yields 10 times as much electricity as burying it, then capturing and burning the associated methane.  Today, the U.S. burns 13% of its trash, sends 54% to landfills and recycles 33%. (5/15, #18)
  • Salida Capital analysts in Toronto believe that a possible 35 percent increase in the number of nuclear power plants operating worldwide this decade could create a shortage in the supply of uranium yellowcake--especially if China decides to stockpile the metal to avert domestic shortages. (5/14, #20)
  • The first 630 MW of the planned 1 GW London Array UK offshore wind farm, a $4.6 billion scheme to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm in the Thames Estuary, has been given the go-ahead by the three project partners. (5/12, #20)
  • Forget peak oil — a series of new estimates of the world’s coal supply suggests reserves may be vastly overestimated, and if the planet isn’t running on a majority of alternative energies within the next few decades, we could be facing an unprecedented global energy crisis. (5/12, #17)