Monthly Archives: August 2016

Oil Production Vital Statistics August 2016

World total liquids bounced by a further 790,000 bpd in July partly on the back of continued recovery in Canada. Total liquids now stand at 97.01 Mbpd, down a meagre 70,000 bpd since July 2015.

The oil price staged a modest cyclical rally in August to close at $48.5 (Brent) on August 19th. Robust production from OPEC and Russia combined with large inventories hanging over the market makes me inclined to agree with Art Berman who speculates that prices will remain range bound between £38 and $52 in the near term. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 139

Elsewhere in this week’s Blowout: Iran / OPEC deal on the cards; China accused of nuclear espionage; UK government looks for ways to torpedo Hinkley Point; Fessenheim nuclear power plant in France to close; coking coal price on the rise; £200 million pumped storage hydro scheme on Lewis; National grid clutching at straw batteries; Telegraph living in the real world; Tesla cramming in more electrons; Human caused climate change started in 1830; Air Africa to run on Woodbines; France opts for tree wind power over nuclear power. Continue reading

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US Shale Oil Production Laid Bare

Enno Peters maintains a web site called Visualizing US Shale Oil Production. This is a wonderful resource for all those interested to understand the history and dynamic of US shale oil. This post is in two parts. It begins with a series of screen captures of Enno’s charts displaying production from the whole USA, the Permian, Eagle Ford, N Dakota (Bakken), Montana and Marcellus plays. Enno’s charts are interactive and readers are encouraged to visit his site to play.

Enno kindly sent me the data that underlies the charts and the second part of this post are a series of my own charts that interogates production, well numbers and decline rates. The legacy production, i.e. the underlying production without new additions, is declining at a rate of 38% per annum. Continue reading

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An update on the Energiewende

Germany is still pursuing its goal of shutting down its nuclear plants but refuses to shut down its lignite plants. It is slashing renewable energy subsidies and replacing them with an auction/quota system. Public opposition is delaying the construction of the power lines that are needed to distribute Germany’s renewables generation efficiently. Renewables investment has fallen to levels insufficient to build enough new capacity to meet Germany’s 2020 emissions reduction target. There is also no evidence that renewables are having a detectable impact on Germany’s emissions, which have not decreased since 2009 despite a doubling of renewables penetration in the electricity sector. It now seems certain that Germany will miss its 2020 emissions reduction target, quite possibly by a wide margin. In short, the Energiewende is starting to unravel. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 138

This week’s Blowout features the arrival within the next few weeks of the first of many shiploads of US fracked shale gas scheduled to be delivered to Scotland, which fracking supporters hope will “undermine arguments against fracking for shale gas in Scotland’s central belt”. The SHALE GAS FOR PROGRESS painted on the ships’ sides alone (inset) will be like a red rag to a bull to the anti-frackers, so prepare for protests: Continue reading

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The Holy Grail of Battery Storage

A recent Telegraph article claims that storage battery technology is now advancing so fast that “we may never again need to build 20th Century power plants in this country, let alone a nuclear white elephant such as Hinkley Point” and that the “Holy Grail of energy policy” – a storage battery cost of $100/kWh – will be reached in “relatively short order”. This brief post shines the cold light of reality on these claims by calculating battery storage costs based on the storage requirements for specific cases estimated in previous Energy Matters posts. Continue reading

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How smart is a smart grid?

A smart grid is a complex computerized management system designed to distribute the power available to the grid in an efficient manner relative to demand while maintaining grid stability. It does not generate any new power except in so far as it saves some energy that would be wasted with a less efficient system. Because of limited storage capacity a smart grid is also capable of maximizing energy use over only short periods; it will not solve the intermittency problem over longer periods. It is also likely to be costly. There are also questions as to whether current designs based on computer simulations will work in practice. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 137

This week we return to Hinkley Point, where yet another potentially deal-breaking complication has arisen as a result of the US filing suit against the China General Nuclear Power Company – a 33.5% stakeholder in Hinkley – for nuclear espionage. China has warned that retaliatory measures may be taken if the UK now dumps Hinkley. So what happens next? Continue reading

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What is the Real Cost of Oil?

Asking what it costs to produce a barrel of oil is rather like asking how long is a piece of string? The answer can be anything you want between $1 and $500. But of course the cost of producing oil in an ideal world should be well below the price of oil, leaving room for taxes and profits. The global oil market sets the price and producers need to adjust and adapt their strategies to maintain costs below prevailing prices from time to time. That is the theory at least. Continue reading

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El Hierro July 2016 performance update

During July the hybrid wind-hydro Gorona del Viento (GdV) plant set a new record of 65.9% renewable energy delivered to the El Hierro grid, handily exceeding the previous record of 53.9% achieved in June. This was dominantly a result of a continuation of the sustained northerly winds that began in mid-June. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 136

This week’s blowout kicks off with a look at the destiny of waste from the US Camp Century base on Greenland and follows up with the proposed OPEC freeze, more on Hinkley Point, molten salt reactors, Rosatom in Belarus, Westinghouse in Ukraine, peak coal in China, renewable subsidies, Brexit, Ofgem should be scrapped, compressed air energy storage and shale gas in China. Continue reading

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Nuclear Options

With Hinkley Point C and nuclear new-build in the UK very much in the public eye, I have found the range of nuclear options being discussed rather confusing. This post provides an overview of the 6 main reactor designs that are vying for the global market today focussing on the large, >1 GW Generation III reactors. While the post focusses on the UK, the part on generic designs should be of interest to all readers. [image from the “The Heroes of Telemark” a British – Norwegian raid during WWII aimed to prevent the Nazis gaining heavy water reactor technology. Or was it? Keep reading to CANDU to learn more.] Continue reading

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Oil Production Vital Statistics July 2016

Global total liquids bounced by +600,000 bpd in June as Canada partially recovered from the Fort McMurray wild fire and Saudi Arabia flexed its muscles raising production by 200,000 bpd compared with May.

Not surprisingly the oil price has wilted to the vicinity of $43 / bbl. But Bull and Bear forces are beginning to equilibrate. Continue reading

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