• In July 2009 world production of all liquid fuels increased by 580,000 barrels per day from June according to the latest figures of the International Energy Agency (IEA), resulting in total world liquid fuels production of 85.15 million b/d. (8/17, #16)
  • Contrary to expectations, Russian oil output has risen 0.8 percent this year over last but industry participants and analysts say the world’s biggest energy supplier is just postponing an inevitable decline in production. It’s estimated that exploration drilling fell by more than 40 percent in the first half of the year compared with the same period last year. And the new oil fields have already reached peak capacity and are now starting to slowly decline, while lower drilling activity could affect output as soon as next year. (8/19, #18)
  • Mexican oil output fell 7.8 percent in July compared to the same month last year as the effort to replace production capacity lost at the Cantarell field continued to lag the giant’s natural decline. Debt-rating agencies have warned Mexico it must reduce its fiscal reliance on the declining oil industry or face cuts in its bond ratings. (8/22, #4)
  • Venezuela’s GDP decline of 2.4% in the second quarter, the first such decline in five years, is testament to the nation’s oil income dependence. A 50% decline in oil revenue trickled throughout the economy, hurting manufacturing, retail sales and consumer spending. Inflation is running at 13%, one of the highest rates in the world today. (8/22, #5; 8/21, #12)
  • Iran’s President Ahmadinejad shrugged off on Thursday the impact of any sanctions targeting Iran’s gasoline imports and suggested it would soon be able to meet its own needs. (8/21, #8)
  • Azerbaijan produced a daily average of 1.01 million barrels of oil a day in January-July, up 1.6% on the year, Azerbaijan’s state statistics agency said. (8/18, #8)
  • Increased oil output from Angola, flouting agreed limits, has helped stack the odds against any formal change when OPEC meets in September. OPEC’s adherence to its output curbs reached a high of around 80 percent in March, but as oil rallied further compliance has slipped to around 70 percent. Angola’s expensive offshore oil is tapped with foreign partners who want swift returns, and the country needs to fund reconstruction after almost three decades of civil war. The result is pressure to pump as much as possible as quickly as possible. (8/20, #3)
  • Western fears about increasing Asian interest in securing African oil resources are highly exaggerated, according to the recent report “Thirst for African Oil” by the UK’s Royal Institute for International Affairs. (8/20, #5)
  • The US State Department has issued a Presidential Permit to Enbridge Energy to enable construction of the 1000-mile Alberta Clipper pipeline for the transport of crude oil from the Canadian oil sands to US refineries. The rationale: diversify supply sources, shorten transportation routes, and increase non-OPEC sources. (8/22, #8)
  • The number of US rigs drilling for oil (280) and natural gas (695) rose by 17 this week up to 985, according to Baker Hughes. Total rigs in operation peaked last September at 2032 (1606 gas, 424 oil). (8/22, #10)
  • Chevron has begun work with Transocean Inc.’s Discoverer Clear Leader ultra deepwater drillship in the Gulf of Mexico. Chevron is using the specially built vessel under a 5-year contract with Transocean on projects including Tahiti and Jack/St. Malo fields. (8/18, #18) [Editors’ note: note the 3-year lag between the highly touted Jack2 well and this effort.]
  • Iran’s outgoing oil minister announced the discovery of a giant oil field which the semiofficial Fars news agency reports has in-place reserves of more than “20,000 billion barrels.” (8/21, #10)[Editor’s note: this report, probably off by three orders of magnitude, is good for a laugh.]
  • Brazil’s President Lula da Silva expects to send proposed changes in the country’s oil laws to Congress within 2 weeks. Specifically, Lula is contemplating laws that would regulate the exploration and development of a presalt oil region offshore, which includes the Tupi field. Discussions include possibly setting up a new state-owned company that would manage subsalt development. (8/21, #13)
  • Brazil is signaling that they are not to be relied on as a future exporter of oil, even though they are the one country remaining in the Americas that can probably increase their oil production. The pace of extraction, forthwith, is now likely to be at a slower pace. (8/19, #11)
  • The US natural gas industry, disappointed by the climate-change bill passed by the House in June, is counting on new Democratic allies and a stepped-up lobbying campaign to push measures through the Senate that will favor gas over coal and oil. (8/21, #15)
  • Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil are rolling out technology intended to eliminate the environmental disadvantage of Canadian oil sands. A new process known as high-temperature froth treatment cuts carbon emissions from extracting crude from sand and mud by 10 to 15 percent. Shell and Exxon say their advances will make tar sands no more polluting than conventional oil wells from Texas or the North Sea. A 15 percent emissions cut wouldn’t make the new oil-sands projects as clean as conventional crude, and it would do nothing to address the dirtier oil from existing mines, said an NRDC scientist. (8/21, #17)
  • Canada exports more than half the 3.4 million barrels of oil it produces daily to the US; provides 82 per cent of all U.S. natural gas imports; sells a third of its hydroelectricity to U.S. markets; and supplies a third of the uranium used in U.S. nuclear power plants. *8/21, #18)
  • Growing volumes of crude oil from Canada and the Gulf of Mexico should assure U.S. Gulf Coast refiners adequate supplies for years to come despite fast-declining imports from Mexico and Venezuela. US Gulf output is expected to rise 300,000 b/d to 1.5 million b/d by 2013, largely due to deepwater expansion. (8/20, #8)
  • Ukraine paid $8.6 billion for natural gas imports last year, equal to almost 7% of gross domestic product. A deep economic recession, which has slashed industrial activity, has slowed gas consumption. Imports should decline by 25 percent this year. (8/22, #12)
  • Australia and China struck their biggest trade deal ever on Tuesday as the world’s two most valuable listed oil companies, Exxon Mobil and PetroChina, agreed on a $41 billion liquefied natural gas deal.
  • America’s Natural Gas Alliance, which represents about 40 percent of U.S. natural gas production, argues that they should be fueling a much bigger share of the nation’s electricity production since natural gas is the least carbon-intensive fossil fuel (8/19, #4)
  • It’s not clear that wind and natural gas interests will coexist peacefully. That thought sprang to mind while reading a noteworthy report on Texas wind generation issued earlier this week by Houston-based energy investment bank Tudor Pickering Holt. Looking ahead to 2020, wind power could knock out 6.9 billion cubic feet a day of gas consumption by the power sector – about $21.8 million worth of gas daily. (8/22, #5)
  • A German team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute has developed a novel catalyst for the direct low-temperature oxidation of methane to methanol. This breakthrough could make possible decentralized consumption of natural gas [as a liquid]. (8/22, #18)
  • New technology has revitalized old natural gas exploration areas and opened new ones, putting the economic logic of northern pipelines like the Mackenzie in doubt. (8/19, #17)
  • In Russia a water surge caused aging turbines to explode at a 31-year-old Siberian dam on Monday, starting a chain reaction that sent a cascade of water into a turbine hall and the four floors below it, and dumped 45 tons of fuel oil into the Yenisei River. The confirmed death toll stands at 17, but most of the 58 people still missing are also likely to be dead. (8/22, #13)
  • German Chancellor Merkel’s cabinet agreed on a plan to get a million electric cars onto Germany’s roads by 2020 and transform the country into the world’s top electric car market. (8/20, #7)
  • The current and soon-to-be-available crop of plug-in cars will be relatively expensive. The cheapest highway-capable model will likely be a 4-door sedan from Coda Automotive that will probably be in the $30-40,000 price range. Over a 10-year life, a battery-powered car may save $5,000+, assuming gasoline averages $3.50 for a 25 mpg car. (8/22, #19)
  • While the first electric cars are expected to come on line in 2010-12, in order to replace 50% of the car fleet, the world would need between 10 to 20 years36. Besides, manufacturing a single car requires at least 20 barrels of oil37. Once oil production starts to decline in 2011-201338, it will very become difficult to develop the electric car on a massive scale. (8/19, #21)
  • Cap-and-trade legislation to limit U.S. carbon dioxide emissions has “gotten out of control” and needs to be scaled back, said former Dem. Senator Timothy Wirth. (8/18, #16)