Sometimes politics changes so rapidly that few seem to notice. Remember the “energy independence” preoccupation of not so long ago? The U.S. is now emerging as the world’s energy superpower and U.S. oil and gas exports are rebalancing global markets. More remarkable still, this dominance was achieved by private U.S. investment, innovation and trade — not Washington central planning. Thanks largely to the domestic hydraulic fracturing revolution, the U.S. has been the world’s top natural gas producer since 2009, passing Russia, and the top producer of oil and petroleum hydrocarbons since 2014, passing Saudi Arabia. By now this is well known. Less appreciated is the role that energy exports are now playing in sustaining U.S. production despite lower prices. —Editorial, The Wall Street Journal, 16 June 2017
Artificial intelligence is already here, with algorithms replacing traders on Wall Street and tanker watchers in ports. Robots are here, too, drilling wells and cleaning pipelines, assembling cars, and performing surgery. Make no mistake, the fourth industrial revolution is accelerating and it is running on oil and gas—at least for the time being.This is a fact that few of those active in the advancement of renewable energy would be willing to acknowledge or even consider, yet a fact it is: the revolution needs energy, and at the moment, renewable sources are simply incapable of supplying energy in amounts sufficient to run all the power plants and smelters. –Irina Slav, OilPrice, 14 June 2017
The oil market is on an unsustainable course with output from U.S. shale and other non-OPEC sources increasing rapidly, while OPEC and its allies trim production to reduce inventories and prop up prices.The International Energy Agency (IEA) projects non-OPEC output will increase by 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2018. If that proves correct, non-OPEC suppliers will capture all the increase in demand next year, because the IEA predicts consumption will increase by only 1.4 million bpd. In effect, OPEC will be restricting its own output only to see rival producers step in to meet growing demand from refiners. –John Kemp, Reuters, 15 June 2017
A whopping $7.4 trillion will be spent globally on new green energy facilities in the coming decades, but another $5.3 trillion is needed to meet the goals of the Paris climate accord, according to a new report. BNEF projects $7.4 trillion will be invested in new green energy capacity by 2040, and that global carbon dioxide emissions will be 4 percent lower in that year than in 2016. –Michael Bastasch, The Daily Caller, 15 June 2017
The UK shale gas industry may struggle to get going and investment will be delayed. The Conservatives are the only main British party to support fracking for shale gas in the UK. Its manifesto claimed Britain had the potential to ‘replicate the shale boom that has transformed the US energy landscape’. Planning processes for shale developments would be streamlined and a higher share of tax revenues paid into a national ‘shale wealth fund’, for local communities in a bid to overcome opposition. However, the election result leaves that pledge, as with all of the party’s Manifesto promises, in the balance. –Peter McCusker, Newcastle Chronicle, 14 June 2017
There has been virtually no big petrochemical investment in Europe in the past decade whereas in the US since 2010 some $85 billion of petrochemicals projects have been completed or are under construction. Spending on chemical capacity to 2022 will exceed $124 billion, according to the American Chemistry Council, creating 485,000 jobs during construction and more than 500,000 permanent jobs, adding between $80 billion and $120 billion in economic output. After years where chemical capacity has run neck and neck with Europe, the American industry is about to dwarf it. As a result Europe faces an existential challenge. Unless it can secure similarly low feedstock prices it will be forced to shrink dramatically, raise its efficiency and specialise. This, in turn, will add further fuel to the debate on fracking in the UK, because it is the declared view of Ineos and presumably other energy-intensive firms, that only UK-produced shale gas can deliver feedstock at the price the industry needs to survive. But it also serves as a reality check for the country. A post-Brexit Britain is going to have to exploit every source of wealth to stay afloat. In this, energy costs are key because you can’t make anything without energy. That means fracking whether people like it or not. –Anthony Hilton, London Evening Standard, 14 June 2017
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