• OPEC countries will trim shipments by 0.8 percent to 22.55 million barrels a day in the four weeks ended Aug. 1, consultant Oil Movements said Thursday. (7/18, #2)
  • In Iran, political turmoil ramped back up. Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, Iran’s former president, on Friday threw his weight behind reformists and declared that the country was in “crisis” following the disputed presidential election. (7/18, #5)
  • China moves on more foreign oil: China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., the country’s largest refiner, and CNOOC Ltd. agreed to buy a 20 percent stake in Angola’s offshore deepwater Block 32 for $1.3 billion from Marathon Oil Corp. Marathon, the fourth-largest U.S. oil company, will keep a 10 percent interest in the block. (7/18, #8)
  • China is moving to strengthen ties with OPEC member Ecuador, part of a global trend in which the Asian giant is providing billions of dollars in financing to producer nations to guarantee energy supplies. (7/15, #9)
  • The Algerian branch of al-Qa’ida has vowed to attack Chinese workers in North Africa in revenge for Beijing’s tough measures to quell unrest among the Islamic Uighur people in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang. (7/15, #5)
  • Nigeria’s release of rebel leader Henry Okah and his movement’s announcement of a 60-day cease-fire may not be enough to end the insurgency that has cut crude supply from Africa’s top oil exporter by a fifth. (7/16, #4)
  • In Alberta, the expected economic recovery in developing the oil sands may start in late 2009 or early 2010. (7/16, #10)
  • Venezuela’s oil minister threatened to oust oil-industry employees who refuse to support President Hugo Chavez, or who do not embrace his socialist plans. (7/15, #8)
  • In Alaska, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has rejected a controversial land trade that would have allowed oil and gas drilling in part of Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge. (7/18, #11)
  • In the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, a successful appraisal well indicates that the Mad Dog field could soon become BP’s third giant field, joining Thunder Horse and Atlantis. (7/18, #12)
  • Curbing speculation in oil prices is now a priority with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Chairman Gensler has announced hearings over the next month to determine what the agency should do to check wild price swings like the ones we’ve seen in the last 12 months. (7/15, #14) Big speculators such as hedge funds and investment banks have sharply reduced their positions in oil futures in recent weeks, just as regulators are considering setting limits in energy speculation. (7/14, #13)
  • Ukraine has promised to raise household gas prices and enforce payment of bills to strengthen its national gas company and help secure loans to avert a new gas crisis with Russia. (7/18, #15)
  • Turkey, Austria, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary signed the document to build the 3,300 kilometer natural gas pipeline called Nabucco. The project, estimated at $11 billion, will initially transport Central Asian gas by a new pipeline bypassing Russia, via Turkey to Austria and Germany through Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. (6/16, #12)
  • NYMEX natural gas futures, the worst performing commodity in 2009, may fall to seven-year lows as demand drops with the deepest recession in half a century. Inventories are 19 percent above the five-year average, industrial gas consumption is forecast to drop 8.2 percent this year, and total demand will slide 2.3 percent. (7/18, #9; 7/17, #12)
  • The number of US oil and gas rigs rose to 920, an increase of four rigs from the previous week, according to oil field services company Baker Hughes. The number of gas rigs was down seven to 665 while the oil rig count rose to 244, up 10 rigs. (7/18, #14)
  • Efficiency gains can help reduce agriculture’s dependence on oil. In the US, the combined direct use of gasoline and diesel fuel in farming fell from its historical high of 7.7 billion gallons (29.1 billion liters) in 1973 to 4.2 billion in 2005—a decline of 45 percent. Broadly calculated, the gallons of fuel used per ton of grain produced dropped from 33 in 1973 to 12 in 2005. But while U.S. agricultural fuel use has declined, in many developing countries, it is rising as the shift from draft animals to tractors continues (7/18, #17)
  • The U.S. could spark an escalating international trade war if it proceeds with climate change legislation that would protect energy-intensive industries from imports coming from countries with less stringent emissions controls, a congressional study concludes. (7/17, #17)
  • There is a building storm over China’s protectionist tactics to become the world’s leader in renewable energy. Calling renewable energy a strategic industry, China is trying hard to make sure that its companies dominate globally. (7/14, #9)
  • China is unveiling plans to encourage consumers to get rid of their old automobiles and appliances by subsidizing trading them in for new ones. The aim is to stimulate new internal demand. (7/16, #8)
  • Nissan says its electric car takes 14 hours to charge the lithium ion batteries completely on 110-volt power, but says a 220-volt charger will do the job in 4 hours. (7/17, #23)
  • Natural gas liquids and condensate projects slated for start-up 2009-10 in some OPEC nations will add 2 million b/d to capacity at peak output. That’s according to the recently released Oil Market Report from the International Energy Agency. (7/14, #3)
  • When the latest round of US airline capacity cuts takes effect in September, the seats on domestic flights will drop to 66.5 million — down 20 percent from its 1984 peak. (7/14, #14)
  • In Ethiopia, many factories were forced to stop operating on orders from Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) because they consumed large amounts of electric power which the EEPCo cannot afford. Many of them indicate that they are heading straight into bankruptcy which may lead into layoffs of thousands of employees.(6/13, #6)
  • Japan’s electricity generation declined for the 11th straight month in June, falling 5.6 percent from a year earlier, on lower demand from factories. (7/13, #7)
  • Siemens AG, Munich Re and 10 more companies plan to draw up blueprints for their $550+ project to harness the sun that beats down on the Sahara Desert to bring electricity to European homes. Years of designing lie ahead before the mostly German promoters can start addressing financial and political hurdles for a venture. (7/13, #10)