Monthly Archives: June 2015

Oil Production Vital Statistics July 2015 – equilibrium reached

During May and June the oil price has stabilised and both WTI and Brent spot prices have converged on $60 / bbl; the US oil rig count is still falling, but slowly; oil production from all regions is stable hence global total liquids production is trending sideways on the back recent sharp rises. It appears that oil market equilibrium has been reached. Past experience tells us that this is unlikely to last long. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 78

This week’s Blowout features an intriguing new power generation concept – the offshore floating nuclear plant, which in the example shown below would generate five times as much electricity as the Swansea Bay tidal lagoons while taking up only 0.01% as much sea room: Continue reading

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Renewable Energy Storage and Power-To-Methane

In recent posts here, here and here Euan Mearns and I have published estimates of the amount of storage needed to integrate intermittent renewable energy with the UK grid in meaningful quantities. All of them point to the same conclusion:

The volume of storage needed to convert intermittent renewable energy into dispatchable energy is very large, with estimates running in the 1 to 5 terawatt-hour range even at modest levels of renewables penetration. Continue reading

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Fossil Fuels and Mankind

It has become popular to demonise fossil fuels (FF). Pop stars, press, politicians and now Pontiffs speak with a single voice: Continue reading

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Blowout week 77

The usual mix below the fold, including a renewed focus on shale oil, Gatwick gets even bigger, a new Pemex discovery, Grafenrheinfeld and Killingholme plants to close, UK scraps onshore wind subsidy, Spain’s war on solar, war brewing in the Middle East, CO2 emissions from Drax, yet more problems at Hinkley, Minnesota to charge for residential grid hookups and how the Earth is already locked into its sixth major mass species extinction. Continue reading

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China: post-industrial revolution

In this post I revisit the energy production and consumption data for China looking for clues about the future direction of global energy markets. China now consumes 23.2% of all energy consumed on Earth and clearly what happens in China will impact the whole world. Figure 1, lifted from the 2015 BP Statistical Review, shows how dramatically growth has slowed in China. Energy intensive steel and cement are barely growing as the era of industrialisation and building infrastructure comes to an end. So may this in part explain the 2014 oil price crash? Continue reading

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Is the European Renewable Energy Bubble About To Burst?

Well, is it? You would certainly never think so from Figure 1, which shows renewables generation in the EU28 more than doubling between 2003 and 2014 and continuing to grow at a healthy clip. Nor from Figure 2, which shows the EU28 on track to meet its target of obtaining 27% of its energy from renewables by 2030 with room to spare. Continue reading

Posted in Energy, Political commentary | Tagged , , , | 53 Comments

The Cost of Dispatchable Wind Power

In a recent conversation with a politician I was told we needed a lot more pumped storage hydro to store surplus wind power from when the wind blows for use when it is calm. Continue reading

Posted in Energy, Political commentary | Tagged , , | 66 Comments

Blowout week 76

This week’s Blowout features the ongoing economic transition in China, which has potentially major implications for the world energy and natural resource industries.

Stories below the fold include OPEC pumping more oil than ever, bargain-hunting in the North Sea, lack of progress at the Bonn climate talks, coal plant closures in Australia, EPA to regulate airline emissions, new renewables records set in UK, planning permission granted for the Swansea tidal lagoon, the decreasing competitiveness of nuclear electricity in France, nuclear to the rescue in drought-stricken California, and how global warming is forcing polar bears to eat dolphins while climate change ruins your weekend. Continue reading

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Global Energy Trends – BP Statistical Review 2015

The BP Statistical review of World Energy was published on Wednesday 10th June. Last year I published a short post summarising Global Energy Trends and this post up-dates those charts with the newly published data for 2014. Continue reading

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The Difficulties Of Powering The Modern World With Renewables

In the May 12, 2015 “G7 Hamburg Initiative for Sustainable Energy Security”, the energy ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, plus the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, said this: Continue reading

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A New Peak in Conventional Crude Oil Production

Since May 2005, global conventional crude oil + condensate production (C+C) has been constrained to a bumpy plateau of around 73.2 Mbpd. That limit was breached in December 2014 with a new high of 74.28 Mbpd (Figure 1). This comes on the back of a prolonged period of record high oil price. It seems likely that the reason for the new high is OPEC abandoning constraint rather than an actual expansion of global conventional C+C production capacity. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 75

Our lead story this week features a remarkable discovery by NOAA climate scientists. The global warming “pause”, or “hiatus”, that everyone thought had been going on for most of the last 20 years never happened. Global warming has in fact continued unabated.

More below the “More”, including no change in OPEC output (but North Dakota isn’t worried), low oil prices threaten “big oil”, Libya on the way to becoming a failed state, the UK wind industry threatens the government with legal action, beautiful nukes, German doctors want a moratorium on wind turbines, ex-IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri found guilty in sexual harassment case and yet another Antarctic sea ice record. Continue reading

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Rooftop PV Panels Point Where the Roof Points

On several previous occasions Euan Mearns has fulminated about this photo he took of roof-mounted solar PV panels in Aberdeen. If you’re going to do something as dumb as installing solar panels at latitude 57N, he argues, at least point them south. Don’t point them east.

But few rooftop PV panels in Aberdeen or anywhere else for that matter are optimally aligned. Most are bolted flat onto the roof regardless of which way it points.

In this post we will take a photographic tour of some of the outcomes. Continue reading

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Flat-land Large-scale Electricity Storage (FLES)

A few weeks ago I attended a small, commercial, energy storage conference in Brussels organised by Energywise where I heard a most intriguing talk on building a large pumped storage hydro scheme in Holland. The talk was delivered by Dr Jan Huynen, the president of SOGECOM who struck me as being a very serious energy engineer. The project is nearing fruition, with a €1.8 billion price tag and 1.4 GW of supply for 6 hours yielding 8 GWh per daily cycle, this is no toy. Holland is of course totally flat! Is this just another Green pipe dream? Continue reading

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Oil Production Vital Statistics June 2015

World total liquids production up 460,000 bpd to 95.7 mbpd
OPEC production up 160,000 bpd to 31.21 mbpd (C+C)
N America production down 250,000 bpd to 19.55 mbpd
Russia and FSU down 10,000 bpd to 14.05 mbpd
Europe down 20,000 bpd to 3.45 mbpd (compared with April 2014)
Asia down 149,000 bpd to 7.86 mbpd Continue reading

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