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Messages - Ken Feldman

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1
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 14, 2019, 12:09:12 AM »
Fracked wells deplete quickly and drillers typically pick the "sweet spots" in a basin to drill first, as it results in the best rates of return.  When you start seeing news stories about wells depleting faster in a basin, it means that the sweet spots have been taken.  This would appear to be the case for the US' largest fracked oil basin, the Permian.

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191212005134/en/“Base-Decline”-Rate-Oil-Gas-Output-Permian

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December 12, 2019
Data from the new IHS Markit Automated Well Forecasting Technology showed that the base decline rate of the more than 150,000 producing oil and gas wells in the Permian Basin has “increased dramatically” since 2010. The surge in shale drilling and output in recent years has been accelerating that inherent production decline because newer, younger wells decline much faster than older wells. 

HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oil and gas operators in the Permian Basin, the most prolific hydrocarbon resource basin in North America, will have to drill substantially more wells just to maintain current production levels and even more to grow production, owing to the high level of recent growth, according to an analysis by IHS Markit (NYSE: INFO), a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions.

"Base decline is the volume that oil and gas producers need to add from new wells just to stay where they are—it is the speed of the treadmill,” said Raoul LeBlanc, vice president of Unconventional Oil and Gas at IHS Markit. “Because of the large increases of recent years, the base decline production rate for the Permian Basin has increased dramatically, and we expect those declines to continue to accelerate. As a result, it is going to be challenging, especially for some companies with cash constraints, just to keep production flat.”

The new IHS Markit production outlook expects total U.S. oil production growth to flatten by 2021 due to a major slowdown in growth from U.S. shale. The new IHS Markit outlook for oil market fundamentals for 2019-2021 expects total U.S. production growth to be 440,000 barrels per day in 2020 before essentially flattening out in 2021. Modest growth is expected to resume in 2022. But those volumes would still be in stark contrast to the boom levels of recent years, LeBlanc said.

The article goes on to explain that in the 2010, when most of the wells in the Permian were conventional, the decline rate was 13%.  Now, with a much higher production rate and most of the wells being fracked, the decline rate is 40%, or 1.5 million barrels per day.

2
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: December 13, 2019, 07:54:41 PM »
Australia's Energy Market Operator is resisting new coal plans pushed by pro-coal politicians because renewables are cheaper.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/12/almost-two-thirds-of-australias-coal-fired-generation-will-be-out-by-2040-aemo-says

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Almost two-thirds of Australia's coal-fired generation will be out by 2040, Aemo says
Rooftop solar capacity to double or even triple to replace existing thermal generation, new assessment by the energy market operator predicts

Australia’s ageing coal-fired power plants could be shuttered earlier than expected if competition from renewable generators and carbon budgets render them uneconomic, according to a new assessment by the Australian Energy Market Operator.

Aemo will, on Thursday, publish a new draft integrated system plan which snapshots the unfolding revolution underway in Australia’s energy market. The energy market operator predicts rooftop solar capacity will double or even triple, providing up to 22% of total energy by 2040.
It says 63% of Australia’s coal-fired generation will be out of the system by 2040, and more than 30 gigawatts (GW) of large-scale renewable energy will be needed to replace existing thermal generation.

While some in the Morrison government continue to campaign for new coal-fired power, Aemo is clear about the future. It says “due to the already low cost of renewables and their firming options, and their projected future reductions” the lowest-cost replacements for emissions-intensive generation is a “portfolio” of renewable, storage, gas-powered generation, demand management and network resources.

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With Australia’s energy market transitioning to large-scale renewable energy, and to distributed energy such as rooftop solar, Aemo says between 5 and 21GW of dispatchable resources will be needed to support renewables.

That transition will require more utility-scale pumped hydro and battery storage, demand management and distributed batteries participating as virtual power plants. There could also be a role for flexible gas generators “if gas prices materially reduce”.

Note that the writing is already on the wall for gas.  Gas prices need to come down to compete with renewables plus storage.

3
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: December 13, 2019, 07:51:28 PM »
Another one (coal mine) bites the dust.  This time in Indiana.  And the local paper isn't sad to see it go.

https://www.indystar.com/story/opinion/columnists/james-briggs/2019/12/04/coal-dying-indiana-no-matter-who-you-vote-2020/2600559001/

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Briggs: The coal industry is dying. Indiana should let go.
James Briggs, Indianapolis Star Published Dec. 4, 2019

Indiana is about to lose a substantial chunk of its coal mining jobs in one fell swoop — a reminder that, despite the political forces propping it up, the coal industry is much less important to the state’s economy than you might think.

Gibson County Coal, which operates a mine in southern Indiana, recently gave notice to the state that it plans to lay off 184 workers in January. Parent company Alliance Resource Partners attributed the impending job losses to a decline in demand.

"A substantial portion of production from the Gibson Complex has been dedicated to supplying the international coal markets," Alliance CEO Joseph W. Craft III said in a statement. "The export markets have deteriorated over the last seven months and have contributed to an over-supplied domestic market."

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Those 184 Gibson County workers amount to 6.3% of all coal mining jobs (2,923) in Indiana, according to year-end figures for 2018. To put that in perspective, Indiana has 35 individual employers that each account for more jobs than the state’s entire coal mining industry, according to Indianapolis Business Journal data.

If all of the state’s coal mining jobs were combined under a single company, that employer would rank just below the Northern Indiana Public Service Co. (a utility that just so happens to be in the process of shutting down coal-fired plants) and far below the nearly 40,000 workers that No. 1 employer Walmart has in the state.

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Indiana is a perfect example of why future industry growth is extremely unlikely. The aforementioned Northern Indiana Public Service Co. (NIPSCO) has accelerated plans to retire its five coal-fired plants by 2028 — a plan that couldn’t be stopped earlier this year by Trump's former EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, who lobbied state lawmakers to slow down that process.

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Coal has faced no adversary in Indiana except for its own obsolescence. That is proving too much for the industry to overcome.



4
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 13, 2019, 06:51:37 PM »
The IEA thinks the oil glut will continue through early 2020, even with recently announced supply cuts from major producers and the continuing bankruptcies in the US shale industry.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/IEA-An-Oil-Glut-Is-Inevitable-In-2020.html

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IEA: An Oil Glut Is Inevitable In 2020
By Nick Cunningham - Dec 12, 2019

Despite the OPEC+ cuts, the oil market is still facing a supply surplus in 2020, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

OPEC+ announced additional cuts of 500,000 bpd, which sounds more impressive than it is because the group was already producing under its limit. In November, for instance, OPEC was producing 440,000 bpd below the agreed upon ceiling.

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The IEA cut its forecast for non-OPEC supply growth from 2.3 mb/d to 2.1 mb/d, due to weaker growth from Brazil, Ghana and the United States. The U.S. typically gets all of the attention, but disappointing news from Brazil and Ghana also led the IEA to revise forecasts lower.

They dare not call it peak demand.

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But even the combined effect of slower non-OPEC production growth and the OPEC+ cuts is not enough to erase the glut entirely. “[W]ith our demand outlook unchanged, there could still be a surplus of 0.7 mb/d in the market in 1Q20,” the IEA said.

“Even if they adhere strictly to the cut, there is still likely to be a strong build in inventories during the first half of next year,” the IEA warned.

Still, the IEA continues to ignore the reality in the US shale patch.

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The agency has consistently been at the optimistic end of the spectrum regarding shale growth, even as major investment banks long ago slashed their forecasts. The IEA cut its U.S. supply forecast by 110,000 bpd from last month’s report, but at 1.1 mb/d, its figure still seems generous. The IEA is betting that the oil majors, who are less responsive to lower prices and problems with cash flow, will continue to scale up drilling.

Meanwhile, a new report from IHS Markit highlights the accelerating rate of decline among the U.S. shale complex, a decline rate that grows in tandem with production increases. “Oil and gas operators in the Permian Basin, the most prolific hydrocarbon resource basin in North America, will have to drill substantially more wells just to maintain current production levels and even more to grow production, owing to the high level of recent growth,” IHS said in a statement. The base decline rate in the Permian has “increased dramatically” since 2010.

5
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: December 11, 2019, 06:30:28 PM »
The University of Illinois will be solar powered, thanks to a PPA signed that will fund a new 12.1 MW solar farm to power the campus in Urban-Champaign.

https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2019/12/sol-systems-university-of-illinois-solar-project-ppa/

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ol Systems, University of Illinois sign PPA for 12.1-MW solar project

By Kelsey Misbrener | December 10, 2019


Sol Systems announced the execution of a PPA with Prairieland Energy, Inc. (PEI), a University of Illinois-related organization. This 20-year PPA supports the development, construction and operation of a 12.1-MW solar farm at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The system is projected to produce approximately 20,000 MWh of solar power annually and it will triple renewable energy production on the Urbana campus.

The PPA structure will yield cost savings for the university of approximately $300,000 in the first year and an estimated $5 million over the life of the project. Sol Customer Solutions (SCS), the joint venture between Capital Dynamics and Sol Systems, will design, build, operate, finance and maintain the solar farm for the life of the PPA.

6
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: December 11, 2019, 06:21:21 PM »
Rocky Mountain power just selected the contractor that will build two wind farms totally 750 MW.  Construction started this fall and both farms will be sending their power to the grid in October 2020.

https://www.windpowerengineering.com/mortenson-will-build-750-mw-of-wind-power-in-wyoming/

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Mortenson will build 750 MW of wind power in Wyoming

By WPED Staff | December 11, 2019

Mortenson has been selected by partner Rocky Mountain Power to construct the TB Flats I & II Wind Energy Project and the Ekola Flats Wind Energy Project in Medicine Bow, Wyoming. The two projects are 20 miles apart and will have a combined wind energy capacity of
750 MW.

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TB Flats I & II spans 44 square miles and will contain 132 Vestas turbines totaling 500 MW. Ekola Flats spans 29 square miles and will contain 10 GE and 53 Vestas turbines totaling 250 MW. Erection at TB Flats I & II is scheduled to begin in April of 2020 and Ekola Flats will start in June 2020. Both projects are scheduled to complete in October of 2020. Currently, foundations are being placed at both projects.

7
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 11, 2019, 06:09:12 PM »
The glut in natural gas may lead to an organization similar to OPEC for gas exporters, OGEC.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/Creating-The-OPEC-Of-Natural-Gas.html

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Creating The OPEC Of Natural Gas
By Irina Slav - Dec 10, 2019

With global gas supplies growing faster than demand and forecasters warning of a deepening glut, it was only a matter of time before analysts began talking about a gas version of OPEC with the power to control international prices. But is an OGEC even possible?

There is already an organization of gas exporters. It’s called the Gas Exporting Countries Forum and involves a dozen countries, led by Russia, Qatar, and Iran. The list of members also includes Nigeria—Africa’s top LNG producer—Egypt, which has recently staked a claim in the international gas market with a number of discoveries, and Libya.

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We are now in a situation of oversupply, and this oversupply is only set to deepen. The conditions seem to be perfect for a gas OPEC, as energy researcher Nikos Tsafos from the Center for Strategic and International Studies wrote in a recent commentary. Like Mummadov, Tsafos also notes the increase in spot market-traded LNG, the expansion in LNG capacity, and the already present overhang in supply, all of which are factors favoring “OPEC behaviour.”

Yet there is one important factor that is likely to discourage this OPEC behaviour for the time being. Two of the largest LNG exporters in the world are not GECF members, and they are highly unlikely to become members. These are, of course, the United States and Australia, both of which have been busy boosting their LNG export capacity in the past few years. Today, the U.S. is the fourth-largest gas exporter globally, after Russia, Qatar, and Norway. Norway, by the way, is as unlikely as the other two to join GECF.

8
...
Well, if you believe everything the IEA, EIA and the gas producers sell you, yeah.
...

The article and the image clearly show that this new data "... is according to experts at Rystad Energy, “an independent energy consulting services and business intelligence data firm” based in Norway."

Did you even read the article you posted?  It clearly uses the IEA as a source:

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Indeed, Rystad’s bullish outlook for U.S. shale is hardly alone. The Paris-based International Energy Agency reported in November that the U.S. will supply 85% of the new oil and 30% of the new gas through 2030. The current bear oil and gas market will not last forever - nothing ever does. Surviving through the pain of lower pricing, the industry has so sharpened its knife that higher prices will offer drastically easier times.

But aside from the IEA, let's look at Rystad's outlook:

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Rystad says the U.S. shale industry will continue to mount production even if prices drop. The reality is that oil and gas companies already have. Oil prices have been sliced in half since the triple-digits seen in mid-2014, yet U.S. crude oil production has still jumped over 50% to nearly 13 million b/d. For 2019 alone, the weekly oil rig count has plummeted 25% to 663 rigs as of Friday, yet weekly output has risen another 1.2 million b/d. Natural gas prices have fallen 17% this year and gas rigs are down 34%, yet gas U.S. output has still risen over 10%.

Perhaps in Norway, you don't need money to actually produce things.  In the US though, you do.

https://www.npr.org/2019/11/20/780879474/as-oil-prices-drop-and-money-dries-up-is-the-u-s-shale-boom-going-bust

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As Oil Prices Drop And Money Dries Up, Is The U.S. Shale Boom Going Bust?

November 20, 2019

The shale oil boom that catapulted the U.S. into being the world's largest oil producer may be going bust. Oil prices are dropping amid weakening demand, bankruptcies and layoffs are up, and drilling is down — signs of a crisis that's quietly roiling the industry.

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/U-S-shale-sector-shrinking-to-survive-14833356.php

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US shale sector shrinking to survive
Jordan Blum Nov. 14, 2019

The U.S. shale industry is finally learning to live within its financial means, shrinking to survive amid an environment of depressed crude prices and Wall Street animosity toward nearly all things oil and gas.

https://www.stltoday.com/business/columns/david-nicklaus/as-us-nears-energy-independence-its-oil-and-gas-sector/article_81fe27e3-2035-51b8-974b-a757f5747782.html

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As US nears energy independence, its oil and gas sector is ailing
Nov 12, 2019

The U.S. is tantalizingly close to energy independence for the first time in 76 years, but the future doesn’t look bright for the firms that got us there.

Bankruptcies are rising in the oil patch, with Texas law firm Haynes and Boone counting filings by 33 producers in the first nine months of this year, up from 28 in all of 2018. Even Chesapeake Energy, a shale-gas pioneer, was forced last week to acknowledge “substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.”

Big banks reportedly are trying to reduce their exposure to oil and gas loans, and stock-market investors are none too keen on the sector either.

https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2019/11/29/tapped-out-as-investors-ditch-the-energy-industry.html

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Tapped out: As investors ditch the energy industry, producers try to keep above ground
 By Chris Mathews  – Reporter, Houston Business Journal
Nov 29, 2019, 2:00am EST

Despite the shale boom oil and gas companies made billions on, investors are shying away from pumping more money into the industry.

https://www.worldoil.com/news/2019/11/22/reduced-access-to-credit-making-life-harder-for-shale-operators

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Reduced access to credit making life harder for shale operators
By Kriti Gupta on 11/22/2019

NEW YORK (Bloomberg) - Banks have begun trimming back the credit lines of America’s shale producers, further undercutting a beleaguered industry that’s been struggling to rebuild investor confidence.

Laredo Petroleum Inc. and Oasis Petroleum Inc. are among at least six producers whose ability to secure short-term loans against their oil and natural gas reserves have dropped by 10% or more, according to data in earnings statements and filings. The declines offer the first hint of results from a semi-annual bank review of the industry’s borrowing capacity that generally runs through December.

For the first time since 2016, an industry survey done prior to the review found most respondents expected to see declines. The noose is tightening at a time when producers have seen their market values plunge 21% this year. Meanwhile, at least 15 producers have already filed for bankruptcy during the year.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Is-Big-Oil-Wasting-Its-Time-in-The-US-Shale-Patch.html

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s Big Oil Wasting Its Time in The US Shale Patch?
By Nick Cunningham - Nov 19, 2019

Growth in the U.S. shale industry is dramatically slowing down, with cash-strapped drillers slashing spending and scrapping rigs. At the same time, the oil majors are consolidating their position and moving forward with aggressive drilling plans.

The business model for small and medium-sized drillers has been shaky at best, and arguably unworkable since it depends on a steady diet of capital even as constant drilling fails to produce profits. But the story is not over yet. The oil majors have promised to succeed where the rest of the industry has mostly failed, using economies of scale, better technology, and larger contiguous plots of land to cut costs.

But just because the majors are pumping billions of dollars into the ground doesn’t mean that they will succeed either.

In fact, there are some signs that things are not going well for the majors.
ExxonMobil recently redefined its strategy in U.S. shale, characterizing its operations as one of long-term value creation instead of the “short-cycle” cash generation, as it previously described its shale venture. Results “will take time, but we’re confident they will bear fruit,” Staale Gjervik, president of XTO Energy, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, said at a recent industry conference.

The rephrasing may seem trivial, but it amounts to an admission that the oil major’s shale operations are taking longer than previously thought to become a financial success.

9
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: December 10, 2019, 06:15:13 PM »
The linked article points out that large corporations can save a billion tons of emissions by going to renewable energy production.  In most market countries, and increasingly in other countries as well, many large corporations are able to do this by using Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) to purchase their electricity difectly from a wind or solar farm.  So all of those pledges of companies going "carbon neutral" actually can make a difference if they back it up with a PPA.

https://www.mhlnews.com/global-supply-chain/more-renewable-energy-supply-chain-can-drastically-reduce-emissions

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More Renewable Energy in Supply Chain Can Drastically Reduce Emissions
A gigaton (one billion metric tons) of emissions savings can be unlocked if key suppliers to 125 of the world’s biggest corporate purchasers increase their proportion of renewable electricity by 20 percentage points.

MH&L Staff Dec 10, 2019

The global supply chain is in a position to play an important role in reducing emissions.

A gigaton (one billion metric tons) of emissions savings can be unlocked if key suppliers to 125 of the world’s biggest corporate purchasers increase their proportion of renewable electricity by 20 percentage points, according to new research released on December 9 by CPD.

Research from the non-profit organization that runs the global disclosure system, report finds that currently, the average proportion of renewable electricity suppliers purchase makes up 11% of their total electricity. Increasing the proportion of the total electricity they purchase by 20 percentage points next year, (to an average of 31%) would cut a gigaton of greenhouse gas emissions in one year,.This would make a substantial contribution to the global effort to tackle the climate crisis. For comparison, global CO2 emissions from energy rose by around one gigaton between 2017 and 2018, from ~36 to ~37 gigatons. Put another way, a gigaton is equal to the 2017 fossil fuel CO2 emissions of Brazil and Mexico combined.

10
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: December 10, 2019, 06:09:17 PM »
Here's an interesting summary of the state of the energy market and projections for near term market share.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/The-Fastest-Growing-Energy-Sectors-Of-2019.html

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The Fastest Growing Energy Sectors Of 2019
By Anes Alic - Dec 07, 2019

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Gainers:

#1 Renewables

The renewable energy sector has been on steroids over the past couple of years and is likely to stay that way.

According to the IEA Renewables 2019 report, renewable energy is taking the world by storm and penetrating the global energy system at an unprecedented clip. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the US installed 4.8 GW of solar PV capacity in the first half of 2019 representing a 2.1 percent Y/Y increase.

About 38 percent of new energy came from solar, making it the second largest contributor to the country’s new energy mix after natural gas.

On a global scale, PV installations are expected to hit a new high of 114.5 gigawatts, a 17.5 percent Y/Y increase.

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Overall, the future of global renewable energy is looking bright indeed, with the IEA forecasting that the sector will increase by 50 percent between 2019 and 2024, to reach 3,700GW. Renewable energy supplied 8.5 percent of the world’s energy needs in 2017 but that figure could reach nearly 30 percent by 2040.

And keep in mind, those projections are from the IEA, which consistently underestimates the growth of renewable energy.

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#2 Natural Gas

Natural gas demand grew at an incredible 4.6 percent clip in 2018, with 314 million tons delivered, and the growth streak has extended to the current year driven by the ongoing transition away from coal-fired electric power, decent economic growth and weather-related demand amid a price slump of historical proportions.

Natural gas now accounts for 45 percent of the increase in energy consumption over the past decade.

Natural gas demand is expected to moderate though, with the IEA saying demand will increase 2 percent in 2019 and 1.6 percent per year on average over the next five years, mainly due to lower Chinese consumption, which is projected to rise just 8 percent per year through 2024 after hitting 18.1 percent in 2018.

Again, probably an overestimate of natural gas demand in the next few years.  There's currently a glut and production in the US will cut back next year.  And China's economy appears to be much weaker than their official government projections.

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Losers:

#1 Oil

The world’s oil fields have been pumping considerably less oil in the current year compared to the peak last year. According to Y-Charts data, crude oil production clocked in at 82.46 million b/d in August vs. 84.72 million b/d in November 2018, a five-year peak.

Nevertheless, this decline mainly came from OPEC producers, with the United States hitting a record 12.8 million b/d, the most by any country.

The US production growth was driven by debt-fueled fracking.  The shale patch is in dire shape as investors have stopped lending money and we have new bankruptcy filings every week.

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#2 Coal

In the ongoing race to clean and sustainable energy, coal is emerging as the biggest loser.

According to CarbonBrief, global electricity generated from coal is on track to drop by 300 TWh, or 3 percent, in the current year. The biggest uses of coal are electricity generation, cement manufacturing, steel production and as liquid fuel.

Electricity production from coal dropped by 3% this year and it's only rated the second biggest loser of the year.  That tells you something about oil.


11
The USA in the 2020's is not setting a good example for developing countries with regard to the production of new oil and gas as discussed in the linked article:

Title: "The U.S. Dominates New Oil And Gas Production"

https://www.forbes.com/sites/judeclemente/2019/12/08/the-us-dominates-new-oil-and-gas-production/#66b796ff1cce

Extract: "The American fracking for oil and natural gas boom will continue on through the 2020s. And why not? Since fracking took off in 2008, we have more than doubled our proven oil reserves to ~65 billion barrels. Natural gas reserves have surged over 80% to ~430 trillion cubic feet. Already the largest oil and gas producer, the U.S. is set to increase its share of ~17% of global oil production and ~23% of gas. In the 2020s, the U.S. is set to supply over 60% of new oil and gas (see Figure below)."

Well, if you believe everything the IEA, EIA and the gas producers sell you, yeah.  I wonder if those projections take into account the fact that the fracking industry has been debt fueled for years while producers tried to increase market share.  That lead to a supply glut and investors are now calling in the debts.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/Shales-Debt-Fueled-Drilling-Boom-Is-Coming-To-An-End.html

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Shale’s Debt-Fueled Drilling Boom Is Coming To An End
By Nick Cunningham - Dec 04, 2019

The financial struggles of the U.S. shale industry are becoming increasingly hard to ignore, but drillers in Appalachia are in particularly bad shape.

The Permian has recently seen job losses, and for the first time since 2016, the hottest shale basin in the world has seen job growth lag the broader Texas economy. The industry is cutting back amid heightened financial scrutiny from investors, as debt-fueled drilling has become increasingly hard to justify.

But E&P companies focused almost exclusively on gas, such as those in the Marcellus and Utica shales, are in even worse shape. An IEEFA analysis found that seven of the largest producers in Appalachia burned through about a half billion dollars in the third quarter.

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The outlook is not encouraging. The gas glut is expected to stick around for a few years. Bank of America Merrill Lynch has repeatedly warned that unless there is an unusually frigid winter, which could lead to higher-than-expected demand, the gas market is headed for trouble. “A mild winter across the northern hemisphere or a worsening macro backdrop could be catastrophic for gas prices in all regions,” Bank of America said in a note in October.

The problem for Appalachian drillers is that Permian producers are not really interested in all of the gas they are producing. That makes them unresponsive to price signals. Gas prices in the Permian have plunged close to zero, and have at times turned negative, but gas production in Texas really hinges on the industry’s interest in oil. This dynamic means that the gas glut becomes entrenched longer than it otherwise might. It’s a grim reality plaguing the gas-focused producers in Appalachia.

12
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: December 09, 2019, 06:17:23 PM »
Nevada is adding 1.19 GW of solar capacity in the next two years, allowing them to close two coal-fired power plants earlier than planned.

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/12/06/1-19-gigawatts-of-solar-power-for-the-land-of-the-gigafactory/

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1.19 Gigawatts Of Solar Power For The Land Of The Gigafactory
December 6th, 2019 by Tina Casey

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The latest news about solar power in Nevada concerns NV Energy. The company has just won approval for a plan to add 1.19 more gigawatts of solar power to the state’s renewable energy profile.

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The new solar additions will replace two coal power plants scheduled for shutdown. Last December, the state’s Pubic Utilities Commission approved a plan for NV Energy to retire one of the plants four years ahead of its former schedule, in 2021. The other plant will close in 2013[sic], pending approval.

The two coal plants, North Valmy units 1 and 2, have a combined capacity of 522 megawatts. They are the last two utility-owned coal power plants in Nevada.

That "2013" above should be "2023".

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The 1.19 gigawatts in new solar capacity will be spread among three projects in southern Nevada, near the Las Vegas area. Here’s the rundown from NV Energy (condensed for an easy read):

Arrow Canyon Solar Project — 200 megawatts, located in Clark County, 20 miles northeast of Las Vegas on the Moapa Band of Paiutes Indian Reservation, developed by EDF Renewables North America.

Southern Bighorn Solar & Storage Center — 300 megawatts, also located in Clark County on the Moapa River Indian Reservation, developed by 8minute Solar Energy.

Gemini Solar + Battery Storage Project — 690 megawatts, also located in Clark County, on 7,100 acres of federally-owned land under the management of the Bureau of Land Management, developed by Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners in collaboration with Arevia Power.

What About Energy Storage?

All three projects include a copious amount of energy storage, including the Arrow Canyon project.

That’s what should really set gas stakeholders’ hair on fire. At utility scale, the solar-plus-storage trend is beginning to nudge into the natural gas space for 24/7 electricity delivery.


13
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: December 09, 2019, 06:02:38 PM »
Turkey is projected to add 21 GW of renewable capacity in the next five years.

https://www.dailysabah.com/energy/2019/12/05/solar-wind-power-to-boost-turkeys-renewable-capacity-in-next-5-years

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Solar, wind power to boost Turkey's renewable capacity in next 5 years
DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 05.12.2019

Turkey's renewable energy capacity is expected to increase by 50% from its current 42 gigawatts (GW) to 63 GW by 2024, according to the International Energy Agency's (IEA) Renewables 2019 report.

The surge in capacity will place Turkey among Europe's top five and 11th worldwide in terms of renewable capacity, the report added.

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The country has enjoyed a remarkable momentum in the expansion of installed renewable energy capacity in the last two decades, driven mostly by hydroelectric power plants. However, the next five years will be marked by solar and power capacity expansion, the report said.

Turkey currently has a total of 28,2358 megawatts (MW) in hydroelectric power capacity while its solar and wind power capacity has crossed 7,600 MW and 5,400 MW, respectively.

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Turkey is expected to add 10 GW of solar capacity by 2024 of which 3.7 GW will derive from distributed systems, namely rooftops. As a result, solar power generation is due to increase by 198% between 2019 and 2024, the IEA found.

Quote
"Our expectations put forward that solar power prices are very close to retail prices both in Turkey and most of the world. The solar power prices with the development of the PVs will see a further decline by around 15% to 35%. Those who invest in the solar PV particularly will see the drop in their electricity bills on the first day," IEA Analyst Bahar said.

14
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: December 06, 2019, 07:03:48 PM »
^^^

I noticed you left 2019 off that chart.  We have the information for 2019.

https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-global-coal-power-set-for-record-fall-in-2019

Quote
Analysis: Global coal power set for record fall in 2019

Quote
Global electricity production from coal is on track to fall by around 3% in 2019, the largest drop on record.

This would amount to a reduction of around 300 terawatt hours (TWh), more than the combined total output from coal in Germany, Spain and the UK last year.

15
They are comparing a time without the large North American and Eurasian ice sheets (kinda like
now) to the time when those ice sheets were melting (like 25,000 to 10,000 years ago).

Don't they include the Greenland Ice Sheet among the large Northern ice sheets? This ice sheet was largely present during the interglacials of the (late) Pleistocene, and not during the Pliocene.

Kohler et al 2015 say:
"Whether climate in the future is more comparable to the climate states of interglacials of the late Pleistocene or to the warm Pliocene is difficult to say, although this has, according to our results, major implications for the expected equilibrium temperature rise... The data available so far suggest that the appearance of northern hemispheric land ice sheets changed the climate system and accordingly influenced climate sensitivity. In the Pliocene, STCO2,LIU was therefore probably smaller than during the interglacials of the Pleistocene."

So, it seems to me that ASLR is right in pointing to the probability that ECS is larger now than during full glacial conditions or during Pliocene conditions.

During the glacial periods of the ice ages, ice sheets were far more extensive than they are today.

https://www.livescience.com/40311-pleistocene-epoch.html

Quote
At the time of the Pleistocene, the continents had moved to their current positions. At one point during the Ice Age, sheets of ice covered all of Antarctica, large parts of Europe, North America, and South America, and small areas in Asia. In North America they stretched over Greenland and Canada and parts of the northern United States. The remains of glaciers of the Ice Age can still be seen in parts of the world, including Greenland and Antarctica.

Here's the wikipedia article on the last glacial maximum:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Glacial_Maximum

Quote
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), permanent summer ice covered about 8% of Earth's surface and 25% of the land area during the last glacial maximum.[8] The USGS also states that sea level was about 125 meters (410 feet) lower than in present times (2012).[8]

Quote
Currently (as of 2012), about 3.1% of Earth's surface and 10.7% of the land area is covered in year-round ice.[8]


16
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: December 05, 2019, 09:21:48 PM »
China is requiring five big utilities to reduce coal-fired power capacity by 25% to 33% by the end of 2021.

https://www.reuters.com/article/china-coal-debt/update-1-china-to-slash-coal-fired-power-capacity-at-big-utilities-by-merging-assets-document-idUSL4N28C1Y9

Quote
UPDATE 1-China to slash coal-fired power capacity at big utilities by merging assets -document
Muyu Xu, Dominique Patton

BEIJING, Dec 2 (Reuters) - China plans to slash coal-fired power capacity at its five biggest utilities by as much as a third in two years by merging their assets, according to a document seen by Reuters and four sources with knowledge of the matter.

The move to shed older and less-efficient capacity is being driven by pressure to cut heavy debt levels at the utilities. China, is, however, building more coal-fired power plants and approving dozens of new mines to bolster a slowing economy.

The five utilities, which are controlled by the central government, accounted for around 44% of China’s total coal-fired power capacity at the end of 2018.

Quote
Some of their coal-fired power stations have filed for bankruptcy in recent years as Beijing promotes the use of renewable energy and opens up the state-controlled power market.

Quote
The utilities - China Huaneng Group Co, China Datang Corp, China Huadian Corp, State Power Investment Corp and China Energy Group - did not respond to faxes requesting comment.

Together, they had 474 coal-fired power plants with combined power generation capacity of 520 gigawatts (GW) at the end of last year.

So that's a minimum of 130 GW capacity that will be retired in two years.

17
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 05, 2019, 08:42:50 PM »
China's demand for natural gas has been slowing, reducing producer's hopes of an end to the natural gas glut.
Not clear if the growth in China gas demand is slowing, or the actual absolute amount of gas being used is declining.

Only difference is how quickly a lot of US producers go bust.

It's hard to get real economic data on China.  There are indications that much of their meteoric growth since 2000 has been spent on boondoggle projects like airports that have no flights, ghost cities waiting for people to move into them, and coal power plants that sit idle more than half the time.  There is some speculation that the real growth rate in the next few years will barely be above 1%, not near 6% which is the official target.

As your comment implies, it's bad news for exporting countries (with the possible exception of Russia that has the pipelines to China).  There's no need for expensive LNG port facilities that would take the exports from the US or the middle east when they can just supply it from domestic sources or the Russian pipeline.

18
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 05, 2019, 08:18:07 PM »
While a lot of the bad news about fracking has been focused on oil, it turns out that the natural gas frackers are in even worse shape.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/Shales-Debt-Fueled-Drilling-Boom-Is-Coming-To-An-End.html

Quote
Shale’s Debt-Fueled Drilling Boom Is Coming To An End
By Nick Cunningham - Dec 04, 2019

The financial struggles of the U.S. shale industry are becoming increasingly hard to ignore, but drillers in Appalachia are in particularly bad shape.

Quote
But E&P companies focused almost exclusively on gas, such as those in the Marcellus and Utica shales, are in even worse shape. An IEEFA analysis found that seven of the largest producers in Appalachia burned through about a half billion dollars in the third quarter.

Gas production continues to rise, but profits remain elusive. “Despite booming gas output, Appalachian oil and gas companies consistently failed to produce positive cash flow over the past five quarters,” the authors of the IEEFA report said.

Quote
The outlook is not encouraging. The gas glut is expected to stick around for a few years. Bank of America Merrill Lynch has repeatedly warned that unless there is an unusually frigid winter, which could lead to higher-than-expected demand, the gas market is headed for trouble. “A mild winter across the northern hemisphere or a worsening macro backdrop could be catastrophic for gas prices in all regions,” Bank of America said in a note in October.

The problem for Appalachian drillers is that Permian producers are not really interested in all of the gas they are producing. That makes them unresponsive to price signals. Gas prices in the Permian have plunged close to zero, and have at times turned negative, but gas production in Texas really hinges on the industry’s interest in oil. This dynamic means that the gas glut becomes entrenched longer than it otherwise might. It’s a grim reality plaguing the gas-focused producers in Appalachia.

Quote
Even Cabot Oil & Gas, which posted positive cash flow in the third quarter, has seen its share price fall by roughly 30 percent year-to-date. “Even though Appalachian gas companies have proven that they can produce abundant supplies of gas, their financial struggles show that the business case for fracking remains unproven,” IEEFA concluded.

19
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 05, 2019, 08:11:43 PM »
China's demand for natural gas has been slowing, reducing producer's hopes of an end to the natural gas glut.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/Natural-Gas-Set-To-Fall-Even-Further.html

Quote
Natural Gas Set To Fall Even Further
By Irina Slav - Dec 05, 2019

Slowing gas demand in China is set to pressure international gas prices further, adding to the burden of producers, some of whom already have to deal with excess supply.

Bloomberg quoted a researcher from China’s economic planning authority, who said at a BloombergNEF event in Shanghai that over the next five years, China’s demand for gas will slow down, especially in the liquefied natural gas department. The reasons for the slowdown will be economic: forecasters expect slower GDP growth in the world’s second-largest economy. Not last because of the continued trade war with the United States.

For LNG exporters, however, the bad news is rising domestic production and the launch of a new pipeline that will send 38 billion cubic meters of gas to China by 2024.

Quote
China has been the biggest driver of global gas demand in recent years, while the United States has been the driver of supply growth. This growth has been so spectacular it resulted in negative gas prices on several occasions this year. As a result, now gas producers are slowing down the pace of growth, freezing spending for 2020.

20
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: December 05, 2019, 08:08:14 PM »
Gerontocrat, I did say short term costs driven by renewable adoption.  Costs will drop, eventually, but not any time soon.

As the grid changes to support renewables then the energy producers (as opposed to the grid who do not), will take advantage of the changes to plug In more renewables as we see SSE doing.

But we have to remember that Scotland have access to 2GW of nuclear and 2.6GW of biomass from DRAX.  Renewables sit on top of this bedrock.

Given that the UK have about 8GW of Nuclear and Scotland has ~10% of the UK population, Scotland is quite Nuclear intensive.

There may be some intentional reasons for keeping the costs high, like to spur people to use less energy or spend money on energy efficiency projects.

In the US, some utilities were allowed to charge for the potential costs of building new nuclear reactors before they were even designed to offset the high costs of building them.  I think there are some counties in Florida that are still being charged for two new reactors that are still "proposed" but will likely never be built.  The utility company gets to pocket those funds until the inevitable lawsuit is settled.

21
...
The consensus ECS is from 2.0 to 4.5 degrees K with most paleo evidence indicating a most likely ECS around 3 degrees K.  So with the adjustment, the one example given went from being outside of the consensus (at 1.9 K), to almost at the median value (3.2 K).

While the linked (open access) reference has many appropriate qualifying statements and disclaimers, it notes that the AR5 paleo estimates of ECS were linear approximations that change when non-linear issues are considered.  In particular they find for the specific ECS, S[CO2,LI], during the Pleistocence (ie the most recent 2 million years) that:

"During Pleistocene intermediate glaciated climates and interglacial periods, S[CO2,LI] is on average ~ 45 % larger than during Pleistocene full glacial conditions."

Therefore, researchers such as James Hansen who relied on paleo findings that during recent full glacial periods ECS was about 3.0C, did not know that during interglacial periods this value would be 45% larger, or 4.35C.

Köhler, P., de Boer, B., von der Heydt, A. S., Stap, L. B., and van de Wal, R. S. W. (2015), "On the state dependency of the equilibrium climate sensitivity during the last 5 million years", Clim. Past, 11, 1801-1823, doi:10.5194/cp-11-1801-2015.

http://www.clim-past.net/11/1801/2015/cp-11-1801-2015.html
http://www.clim-past.net/11/1801/2015/cp-11-1801-2015.pdf

Once again, AbruptSLR cherry picks and leaves out a key sentence.  Here is the full abstract of the paper.

Quote
Abstract. It is still an open question how equilibrium warming in response to increasing radiative forcing – the specific equilibrium climate sensitivity S – depends on background climate. We here present palaeodata-based evidence on the state dependency of S, by using CO2 proxy data together with a 3-D ice-sheet-model-based reconstruction of land ice albedo over the last 5 million years (Myr). We find that the land ice albedo forcing depends non-linearly on the background climate, while any non-linearity of CO2 radiative forcing depends on the CO2 data set used. This non-linearity has not, so far, been accounted for in similar approaches due to previously more simplistic approximations, in which land ice albedo radiative forcing was a linear function of sea level change. The latitudinal dependency of ice-sheet area changes is important for the non-linearity between land ice albedo and sea level. In our set-up, in which the radiative forcing of CO2 and of the land ice albedo (LI) is combined, we find a state dependence in the calculated specific equilibrium climate sensitivity, S[CO2,LI], for most of the Pleistocene (last 2.1 Myr). During Pleistocene intermediate glaciated climates and interglacial periods, S[CO2,LI] is on average ~ 45 % larger than during Pleistocene full glacial conditions. In the Pliocene part of our analysis (2.6–5 Myr BP) the CO2 data uncertainties prevent a well-supported calculation for S[CO2,LI], but our analysis suggests that during times without a large land ice area in the Northern Hemisphere (e.g. before 2.82 Myr BP), the specific equilibrium climate sensitivity, S[CO2,LI], was smaller than during interglacials of the Pleistocene. We thus find support for a previously proposed state change in the climate system with the widespread appearance of northern hemispheric ice sheets. This study points for the first time to a so far overlooked non-linearity in the land ice albedo radiative forcing, which is important for similar palaeodata-based approaches to calculate climate sensitivity. However, the implications of this study for a suggested warming under CO2 doubling are not yet entirely clear since the details of necessary corrections for other slow feedbacks are not fully known and the uncertainties that exist in the ice-sheet simulations and global temperature reconstructions are large.

Note the bolded phrase.  They are comparing a time without the large North American and Eurasian ice sheets (kinda like now) to the time when those ice sheets were melting (like 25,000 to 10,000 years ago).

The ECS (or slow feedbacks as James Hansen refers to them) relate to the changes in albedo from melting ice sheets.  When the large ice sheets that covered North America and Europe during the ice ages, there were much, much larger albedo changes than would occur if Antarctica or Greenland were to lose their ice sheets.

This paper would seem to support ECS in line with the consensus, not one artificially inflated by 45%.

22
Didn´t we prove that for CO2 too?

I'm pretty sure.  But a lot of posters on this forum seem to think that we're doomed and it's too late to do anything.

23
James Hansen produced a very easy to read, plain language paper (in support of a legal brief for a lawsuit, not a peer-reviewed science study) in 2018 that summarizes climate change.  It has a very good explanation of equilibrium climate sensitivity and slow feedbacks.

http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2018/20181206_Nutshell.pdf

...

Of course the equilibrium climate sensitivity that Hansen is referring to in that paper is associated only with fast feedbacks (see dotted curve in the attached image, from Hansen and Sato - 2012); while it is open for discussion in this thread how fast the ice-climate feedbacks (such as albedo changes, see the solid curve in the attached image) will occur, particularly if the WAIS were to collapse abruptly in the coming decades.

The Hansen paper I linked to specifically differentiated between the fast feedbacks (Charney sensitivity) and slow feedback ECS due to loss of ice sheets.  It also included a discussion of timeframes for ice sheet response to forcings and the fact that we can still avoid those impacts by reducing ghg emissions and stabilizing, then reducing, ghg atmospheric concentrations.

You appear to continue to ignore the science on the timing of ice sheet feedbacks.  Even in extreme models with instantaneous 2 degree increases in ocean temperature, continued forcing at the unrealistic RCP8.5 scenario and inclusion of the highly speculative MICI model, the Larsen C shelf wouldn't disintegrate until the 2050s and the Admunsen shelves in front of the PIG and Thwaites portions of the WAIS wouldn't go until the 2100s. 

24
The linked study indicates that reducing anthropogenic emissions of methane will lead to a reduction in atmospheric concentrations.

https://www.pnas.org/content/116/8/2805

Quote
Interpreting contemporary trends in atmospheric methane
Alexander J. Turner, Christian Frankenberg, and Eric A. Kort
PNAS February 19, 2019

Abstract
Atmospheric methane plays a major role in controlling climate, yet contemporary methane trends (1982–2017) have defied explanation with numerous, often conflicting, hypotheses proposed in the literature. Specifically, atmospheric observations of methane from 1982 to 2017 have exhibited periods of both increasing concentrations (from 1982 to 2000 and from 2007 to 2017) and stabilization (from 2000 to 2007). Explanations for the increases and stabilization have invoked changes in tropical wetlands, livestock, fossil fuels, biomass burning, and the methane sink. Contradictions in these hypotheses arise because our current observational network cannot unambiguously link recent methane variations to specific sources. This raises some fundamental questions: (i) What do we know about sources, sinks, and underlying processes driving observed trends in atmospheric methane? (ii) How will global methane respond to changes in anthropogenic emissions? And (iii), What future observations could help resolve changes in the methane budget? To address these questions, we discuss potential drivers of atmospheric methane abundances over the last four decades in light of various observational constraints as well as process-based knowledge. While uncertainties in the methane budget exist, they should not detract from the potential of methane emissions mitigation strategies. We show that net-zero cost emission reductions can lead to a declining atmospheric burden, but can take three decades to stabilize. Moving forward, we make recommendations for observations to better constrain contemporary trends in atmospheric methane and to provide mitigation support.

Quote
Preindustrial atmospheric methane levels were stable over the last millenium at ∼600–700 ppb, as inferred from ice core measurements in Antarctica (Fig. 1). Methane concentrations have been altered by humans even before industrialization (32) but began increasing more rapidly in the 1900s (4) due to both human agricultural activities and expanded use of fossil fuels. This rapid rise closely mirrors that of other greenhouse gases that are driven by industrialization and agriculture (e.g., CO2) (1). There is no debate about the cause of the bulk of this rise in atmospheric methane from preindustrial times to the present: human activities.

t is likely that natural sources of methane changed during this period as well; for example, Arora et al. (33) found an increase in simulated wetland emissions from 1850 to 2000 due to changes in temperature and Dean et al. (34) discuss how natural methane emissions may change in response to climatic changes. However, these changes in natural sources are small relative to the more than 300 Tg/y increase in anthropogenic sources from preindustrial times to the present (1, 3, 35). This rise in atmospheric methane from preindustrial levels continued unabated until the 1990s, at which point the methane record diverged from CO2 and N2O (which both showed continued growth).

Quote
Despite the uncertainty of the current relative balance of different controls on atmospheric methane, there is no debate that the large increase from preindustrial times is driven by anthropogenic emissions and that reducing anthropogenic emissions can lead to direct, near-term decreases in atmospheric methane. However, changing methane emissions will alter the methane lifetime via chemical feedbacks with OH [Prather (108, 109)] and, as such, atmospheric abundances can exhibit longer timescales than one may assume. We illustrate this in Fig. 3 by using a simple box model [adapted from Turner et al. (27)] to evaluate four scenarios to bound the future methane abundances: continued growth in anthropogenic methane emissions (case A), a stabilization of methane emissions in 2012 (case B), and an emission decrease over 10 y (case C) or instantaneously (case D). The emissions decrease in the latter two scenarios is based on a recent report from the International Energy Agency (110) that estimates current methane emissions from oil and gas could be reduced by 40–50% with zero net cost.

Quote
While uncertainties in the methane budget exist, they should not detract from the key points discussed here. Namely, reducing anthropogenic methane emissions will slow or reverse the rise in atmospheric concentrations; however, depending on the timescale and magnitude of reduction, it may take decades before atmospheric levels decline. When considering recent decades, the stabilization period is emerging as anomalous due in part to fluctuations in natural sources/sinks, whereas the last decade of growth continues the long-term, increasing trend that is due to human activities.



25
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 04, 2019, 07:09:02 PM »
The oil glut, negative rates of return on fracked wells, and overall abysmal future for the oil industry is even affecting the Texas economy.

https://www.dallasnews.com/business/energy/2019/11/27/dallas-fed-permian-basin-slowdown-is-creating-a-drag-on-texas-jobs-machine/

Quote
Dallas Fed: Permian Basin slowdown is creating a drag on Texas’ jobs machine
Employment is down this year, after adding nearly 17,000 jobs last year.

The world’s biggest shale patch is now officially a drag on jobs creation in the Lone Star state.

Employment in the Permian Basin of West Texas has fallen by 400 jobs through the first 10 months of the year, a massive change from the 16,700 jobs added through the same period last year, according to a report Wednesday from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

“Permian Basin job growth has been sluggish this year,” according to the report. “This marks the first time since 2016 that Permian Basin employment has lagged Texas job growth.”

Quote
After years eye-rolling at shale skeptics, Texas wildcatters are now saying global analysts are underestimating just how severe the industry’s slowdown is.

What’s ticking folks off these days is how the International Energy Agency in Paris and the Energy Information Administration in Washington still predict robust U.S. production growth next year, despite the dire reality on the ground. The IEA expects an increase of 900,000 barrels a day, while the EIA forecasts 1 million, which would mean practically replicating this year’s expansion.

Those projections don’t jibe with the vibe in Texas, home to about half of U.S. crude output. Capital-hungry producers are being starved of funding, stocks have plunged and there’s been zero appetite for public offerings, making the downturn potentially more enduring than previous price-related busts.

“All I know is, after 47 years, they’re usually wrong.” Frank Lodzinski, an industry veteran of almost five decades who’s chief executive officer at shale explorer Earthstone Energy Inc. said of the forecasts. “I can’t remember another time when oil was $55 and the industry was in such shambles.”

Quote
Gloomy views from Texas could have something to do with recent developments in the Lone Star state. Just as the industry was recovering from the last downturn, more than 1,000 layoffs have been announced this year as drillers and their hired hands seek to cut costs. Investment banks have also had to trim staff locally thanks to a lack of dealmaking.

Oil analysts and investors are “a depleted and demoralized crowd, shell-shocked by the heavy losses inflicted from being the single epically losing sector on the record-breaking S&P 500 battlefield,” Mizuho analyst Paul Sankey said in a recent note to clients during a visit to Houston.

26
Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: December 04, 2019, 07:03:31 PM »
Keep in mind that wind and solar cost more than fossil fuels until 2017 or 2018, depending on the local climate.  Wind and solar are now cheaper than operating coal and new natural gas in around 74% of the world, including in the US.  They are close to parity in China.

So up until 2017 at the earliest, it may more economic sense to build a new fossil fuel plant than install a wind or solar plant.

Now, it makes more economic sense to build a new solar or wind plant than it does a new fossil fuel plant, including natural gas.

In fact, it makes economic sense in the US to retire operating coal plants and replace them with renewables as soon as you can because that saves money.

It currently costs less to install a new solar farm with battery backup than it does to build a new natural gas peaker plant in the US.  This year in California, plans for two new natural gas peaker plants were cancelled and new solar farms with battery backup were started instead.

It is projected that by 2035, most of the natural gas infrastructure in the world, some of which is being built right now, will be stranded assets because wind and solar will be cheaper to build and operate than those natural gas power plants and pipelines.

Notice that the word "nuclear" was not used in this post until this sentence.  That's because the form of power generation once touted as "too cheap to meter" is too expensive to matter.


27
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: December 04, 2019, 06:50:18 PM »

the (UK) average cost of electricity per kWh is 14.37p, and the average gas cost per kWh is 3.80p.

https://www.ukpower.co.uk/home_energy/tariffs-per-unit-kwh

I know gerontocrat, we haven't even touched on the fact that with the current power market, gas is massively cheaper than electricity.

Also the drive to CO2 neutral is pushing the short term electricity costs up, not down. Which increases resistance.

I can't see the stay warm initiative for pensioners doing quite so well without cheap gas to source the heat.

Promises need to come with a solid foundation of calculations to back them up.  Today, in the UK, we are doing "look after you leap" in the renewable energy space.

Isn't the high price of electricity due to the construction of new nuclear power plants like Hinckley C?  If the UK switched to renewables they'd find electricity prices going down.

Many utilities in the US have announced plans to retire coal plants well before the ends of their useful lives and switch to wind and/or solar with battery back up to save billions of dollars.

A new solar or wind farm can be built within two years of permitting and portions of it can be added to the grid before the entire farm is completed.

28
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 04, 2019, 06:45:35 PM »
Low prices caused by the global supply glut are forcing Canadian tar sands miners to cut back jobs and new investment.

https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Pipeline-Crisis-Forces-Canadian-Oil-Giants-To-Cut-Jobs.html

Quote
Pipeline Crisis Forces Canadian Oil Giants To Cut Jobs
By Irina Slav - Dec 03, 2019

Two of Canada’s largest oil sands producers, Husky Energy and Suncor, had some bad news for investors this week. Husky said it will slash capital spending for next year and 2021 by more than US$370 million (C$500 million) combined, while Suncor warned it will spend only as much on oil projects next year as it will this year.

Husky also said it will cut 370 jobs next year in a further sign that the industry’s troubles continue to take their toll.

Quote
These are not the only two oil sand producers that are holding their purse strings tight. MEG Energy last month said it will spend less in 2020 than it spent in 2019. The company announced an initial budget of US$188 million (C$250 million) for 2020, down by US$15 million (C$20 million) from what analysts expected. However, MEG has kept its production targets unchanged.

Now, the lower spending plans no doubt have a lot to do with the chronic shortage of pipeline capacity for the heavy oil that Alberta produces. It also has a lot to do with the production curtailment introduced by the previous Alberta government and maintained by the current one in a bid to keep a floor under oil prices. While the cuts exclude smaller producers, all large oil companies in Alberta are subject to the limits.

29
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 04, 2019, 06:42:02 PM »
Haliburton to lay of 800 workers in the US shale patches.

https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Halliburton-Slashes-800-Oklahoma-Jobs-As-Shale-Slowdown-Bites.html

Quote
Halliburton Slashes 800 Oklahoma Jobs As Shale Slowdown Bites
By Tsvetana Paraskova - Dec 03, 2019

Oilfield services provider Halliburton has notified the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development that it would dismiss 800 employees, the Oklahoma agency’s spokesman David Crow tells The Associated Press, as oilfield services firms continue to cut costs amid slowing U.S. shale growth.

Quote
El Reno’s mayor Matt White told The Oklahoman that Halliburton’s decision to permanently eliminate more than 800 jobs did not come as a complete surprise, because officials had expected potential layoffs for some time amid slowing activity in Oklahoma’s oil and gas sector.

Quote
Two months ago, Halliburton said it would lay off 650 workers across four U.S. states—Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wyoming—due to “local market conditions.”

“Making this decision was not easy, nor taken lightly, but unfortunately it was necessary as we work to align our operations to reduced customer activity,” Halliburton said in early October.

30
James Hansen produced a very easy to read, plain language paper (in support of a legal brief for a lawsuit, not a peer-reviewed science study) in 2018 that summarizes climate change.  It has a very good explanation of equilibrium climate sensitivity and slow feedbacks.

http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2018/20181206_Nutshell.pdf

Quote
Climate Change in a Nutshell: The Gathering Storm
18 December 2018
James Hansen

Quote
Charney’s derived climate sensitivity of 3 ± 1.5°C, or 0.75 ± 0.25°C per W/m2of climate forcing, was the estimate for equilibrium (eventual) warming after the Earth’s surface and ocean had warmed to restore planetary energy balance, with the assumption that ice sheet sizes remained unchanged.  In reality ice sheets begin to shrink as the world warms, but if one’s interest is only in climate change on a time scale of a century or less, then the change of ice sheet size might be neglected

Quote
Charney’s climate sensitivity thus includes effects of fast feedbacks, such as atmospheric water vapor and clouds, which respond quickly to changed climate, but it excludes slow feedbacks such as ice sheet size.  As detailed information on Earth’s paleoclimate history emerged, it became clear that the paleoclimate data provided an independent empirical evaluation of Charney’s fast feedback climate sensitivity as well as information on the climate system’s slow feedback response.

Slow feedbacks and the CO2 control knob. 

Slow feedbacks include both amplifying and diminishing effects, but empirical evidence shows that the two principal slow feedbacks are both amplifying.The first slow feedback is ice sheet size and albedo (literally its whiteness).  Ice sheets shrink as Earth warms.  The surface thus exposed is darker than the ice, so it absorbs more sunlight, increasing the warming.  Also, with warmer conditions an ice sheet is wet more frequently, from surface meltwater or rainfall, and wet ice is darker and more absorbing, again an amplifying feedback.

The second slow feedback is provided by CO2, CH4 and N2O, but mostly by CO2.  It is an empirical fact that the ocean, soil and biosphere release more of these GHGs as the planet gets warmer.  Part of the reason is that CO2 is less soluble in a warmer ocean, just as in a warm Cola, but more complex ocean chemistry and the rate of ocean overturning also affect the amount of gases released to the air.  GHGs are also released by melting tundra and by wetlands on a warmer planet.

Quote
The close correlation of CO2, temperature and ice sheet size in the paleo record allows empirical evaluation of the (fast-feedback) climate sensitivity that Charney inferred, from climate models, to be 1.5-4.5°C for doubled CO2.  Paleo evaluation is obtained by comparing glacial and interglacial states; GHG amounts and ice sheet size, although they are slow feedbacks on millennial time scales, serve as boundary forcings that maintain these quasi-equilibrium climate states.  These paleo data yield a narrower range (2.5-4°C for doubled CO2) for the fast-feedback climate sensitivity [footnote 3 in Ice Melt (2016)].

Quote
This additional warming (in the pipeline) will occur over coming decades and centuries, if atmospheric composition remains at today’s level.  However, in addition to this fast-feedback in-the-pipeline warming, there will be further slow-feedback warming even if atmospheric composition remains at today’s level, as I quantify below.Slow feedbacks will begin to come into play this century.  As we have noted, paleoclimate data indicate that the response time of ice sheets and sea level to global warming is one to four centuries.  The degree of slow feedback response this century, such as ice sheet mass loss and permafrost melt, will depend on the magnitude of global warming and thus on the rate of continued GHG emissions.

The additional global warming, from Earth’s energy imbalance and from slow feedbacks, can be increased or decreased, if atmospheric GHG amounts increase further or decrease.  Warming in the pipeline need not occur, if emissions decrease at a rate that allows atmospheric GHG amounts to decline.  The same is true for slow feedbacks: they will not occur to a significant degree, if emissions decrease rapidly such that atmospheric GHG amounts stabilize and then slowly decline.

Quote
II.  Emission reductions, at a substantial rate, must begin promptly

CO2 released in fossil fuel burning remains in the climate system for millennia (Archer, 2005).  The portion of CO2 remaining in the air declines rapidly at first (Fig. 25).  Half of the emitted CO2 is taken up in the first 25 years by the ocean, soil and biosphere, but uptake then slows such that almost one-fifth is still in the air after 500 years.  Chemical weathering eventually deposits the fossil fuel carbon on the ocean floor as carbonate sediment, but that process requires millennia

Quote
Emission reductions of 3 percent/year, the green line in Fig. 28, or more are needed to stay below 1.5°C global warming and achieve a downward temperature trend.  Decreasing temperature would tend to limit slow feedback amplifications.

Extraction of CO2 from the air is required, in addition to emission phasedown, in order to bring global temperature back close to the Holocene range (Fig. 28b). Without extraction, global temperature remains well above the Holocene level for centuries, as shown in Fig. 28a, leaving a danger of consequences such as large sea level rise, albeit such consequences are not as certain as with constant emissions.

Extraction of as much as approximately 100 PgC is possible via improved agricultural and forestry practices, which store more carbon in the soil and biosphere, based on estimates discussed in the Burden(2017) paper.  Some researchers have suggested that such potential quasi-natural extraction could be as high as 150 PgC (Robertson, 2018).  This greater extraction, in combination with 6 percent per year reduction of fossil fuel emissions, would return global temperature close to the Holocene range by the end of this century (Fig. 28b).



31

Given that we can measure the concentration of methane in the atmosphere and thus calculate the total net emissions (all sources minus all sinks), if two sources were underestimated that implies that another source (or multiple sources) were overestimated or that the sinks were underestimated.


The attached NOAA plot of the atmospheric methane concentrations at the South Pole from 2006 to Dec 2, 2019 indicate that the trend line of this methane concentration is accelerating; thus if some methane sources are not changing then other sources are currently accelerating, and may accelerate even more in the future due to global warming.

The linked article & reference provide further insights about the origins of the current trend of increasing methane emissions and associated atmospheric methane concentrations:

Title: "Atmospheric Methane Levels Are Going Up—And No One Knows Why"

https://www.wired.com/story/atmospheric-methane-levels-are-going-up-and-no-one-knows-why/

Extract: "Levels of heat-trapping methane are rising faster than climate experts anticipated, triggering intense debate about why it's happening

“Is atmospheric methane increasing as a consequence of climate change, not of our direct emissions? Are some thresholds being passed?”

“It is a wicked problem,” Kort adds, “but it’s not unsolvable.”

Any convincing explanation needs to answer three questions. What explains the long-term increase in methane levels over the past 40 years? Why was there a pause? And why was there such an abrupt surge after 2006? Only three elements of the global methane budget are large enough to be plausible culprits: microbial emissions (from livestock, agriculture, and wetlands); fossil fuel emissions; and the chemical process by which methane is scrubbed from the atmosphere."

See also:

Giuseppe Etiope and Stefan Schwietzke (2019), "Global geological methane emissions: an update of top-down and bottom-up estimates", Elementa Science of the Anthropocene, 7: 47, doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/elementa.383

https://www.elementascience.org/articles/10.1525/elementa.383/

Abstract

A wide body of literature suggests that geological gas emissions from Earth’s degassing are a major methane (CH4) source to the atmosphere. These emissions are from gas-oil seeps, mud volcanoes, microseepage and submarine seepage in sedimentary (petroleum-bearing) basins, and geothermal and volcanic manifestations. Global bottom-up emission estimates, ranging from 30 to 76 Tg CH4 yr–1, evolved in the last twenty years thanks to the increasing number of flux measurements, and improved knowledge of emission factors and area distribution (activity). Based on recent global grid maps and updated evaluations of mud volcano and microseepage emissions, the global geo-CH4 source is now (bottom-up) estimated to be 45 (27–63) Tg yr–1, i.e., ~8% of total CH4 sources. Top-down verifications, based on independent approaches (including ethane and isotopic observations) from different authors, are consistent with the range of the bottom-up estimate. However, a recent top-down study, based on radiocarbon analyses in polar ice cores, suggests that geological, fossil (14C-free) CH4 emissions about 11,600 years ago were much lower (<15 Tg yr–1, 95% CI) and that this source strength could also be valid today. Here, we show that (i) this geo-CH4 downward revision implies a fossil fuel industry CH4 upward revision of at least 24–35%. (ii) The 95% CI estimates of the recent radiocarbon analysis do not overlap with those of 5 out of 6 other bottom-up and top-down studies (no overlap for the 90% CI estimates). (iii) The contrasting lines of evidence require further discussion, and research opportunities exist to help explain this gap.

Caption for image: "Comparison between current day estimates of geological and other methane sources. Geological emissions are based on the bottom-up and top-down estimates discussed in this work (see Fig. 1 and text). Other natural and anthropogenic emissions refer to the average (and range) of bottom-up and top-down estimates reported by Saunois et al. (2016). Note that a downward revision of the geological source requires an upward revision of the same magnitude for the fossil fuel industry (Section 4). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/elementa.383.f2"

While studies can't point unequivocally to the explosion of fracking in the US over the past decade as a cause for the rise, the timing of the shift from the stabilization period and the growth of fracking may be more than coincidental.





There have been studies that have shown that methane leakage from US oil and gas production is 60% higher than what the industry and government claims it is.

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/361/6398/186

Quote
Assessment of methane emissions from the U.S. oil and gas supply chain

Ramón A. Alvarez, Daniel Zavala-Araiza, David R. Lyon, David T. Allen, Zachary R. Barkley, Adam R. Brandt, Kenneth J. Davis, Scott C. Herndon, Daniel J. Jacob, Anna Karion, Eric A. Kort, Brian K. Lamb, Thomas Lauvaux, Joannes D. Maasakkers, Anthony J. Marchese, Mark Omara, Stephen W. Pacala, Jeff Peischl, Allen L. Robinson, Paul B. Shepson, Colm Sweeney, Amy Townsend-Small, Steven C. Wofsy, Steven P. Hamburg

Science  13 Jul 2018

A leaky endeavor

Considerable amounts of the greenhouse gas methane leak from the U.S. oil and natural gas supply chain. Alvarez et al. reassessed the magnitude of this leakage and found that in 2015, supply chain emissions were ∼60% higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency inventory estimate. They suggest that this discrepancy exists because current inventory methods miss emissions that occur during abnormal operating conditions. These data, and the methodology used to obtain them, could improve and verify international inventories of greenhouse gases and provide a better understanding of mitigation efforts outlined by the Paris Agreement.

Abstract

Methane emissions from the U.S. oil and natural gas supply chain were estimated by using ground-based, facility-scale measurements and validated with aircraft observations in areas accounting for ~30% of U.S. gas production. When scaled up nationally, our facility-based estimate of 2015 supply chain emissions is 13 ± 2 teragrams per year, equivalent to 2.3% of gross U.S. gas production. This value is ~60% higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency inventory estimate, likely because existing inventory methods miss emissions released during abnormal operating conditions. Methane emissions of this magnitude, per unit of natural gas consumed, produce radiative forcing over a 20-year time horizon comparable to the CO2 from natural gas combustion. Substantial emission reductions are feasible through rapid detection of the root causes of high emissions and deployment of less failure-prone systems.

I would suggest that increased fracking of natural gas and oil is more likely to be the cause of the recent resumption of methane concentration increases and that reducing and eventually eliminating the use of fossil fuels will lead to a big decrease in the concentrations of methane in the atmosphere.  I've read similar statements from James Hansen but can't find links to them at the moment.



32
Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: December 03, 2019, 07:44:12 PM »
Tom,

Stop spreading myths about renewables.  There are numerous studies showing that wind and solar can power a high proportion of the US energy requirements with only a small amount of storage.  Here's one:

https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2018/03/01/12-hours-energy-storage-80-percent-wind-solar/

Quote
12 hours of energy storage enough for U.S. to run on 80% solar+wind
Scientists in California have modeled a solar-heavy/wind power electricity grid, without nationwide HVDC, that could reliably deliver 80% of U.S. electricity needs. 100% of needs would require 3 weeks of energy storage.

When you factor in hydro and geo-thermal, there's no need for nuclear.  It's too expensive, takes too long to build, and the waste effectively lasts forever on the scale of human lifetimes.  When you consider the radiation hazards of mining, refining and transporting the fuel and the risk of a catastrophic accident, there are good reasons no one wants one of them built near where they live.

While we shouldn't be rushing to replace currently operating nuclear power plants until we can replace all of the coal and natural gas plants first, there's no need to build more nukes.

33
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: December 03, 2019, 06:55:05 PM »
Developing countries are increasingly skipping the dead-end fossil fuel phase and going strait to renewables.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-12-01/dutch-company-to-light-a-million-nigerian-homes-with-solar-power

Quote
Dutch Company to Light a Million Nigerian Homes With Solar

Lumos Global BV, a Dutch company specializing in off-grid solar power, plans to light up over a million Nigerian households by 2025 as it expands in Africa’s most populous country of more than 200 million where only 60% have access to electricity.

Quote
The Amsterdam-based company isn’t targeting only rural areas that are not served by the electricity grid but also towns and cities where power outages are frequent and households rely, at least partly, on generators. Lumos’ offering of solar panels and a battery enables families to spend a flat fee of around $15 per month rather than three or four times as much on kerosene or diesel, according to Gordon. The company expects to sign up more than a million households by the middle of next decade, he said.

Quote
The grant for standalone systems is part of $350 million raised by Nigeria from the World Bank to increase electrification rates in rural areas. The largest portion of $150 million is dedicated to developing solar mini-grids.

The World Bank said last week it’s negotiating a $3 billion loan with Nigeria to tackle mounting debt in the power sector that risks the collapse of companies running the national grid.

“The REA knows that solar is the quickest way that everyone is going to get power as fast as they can,” Gordon said.

34
The linked reference confirms that effective values of ECS based on historical estimates were higher than previously assumed:

Timothy Andrews et al. (30 July 2018), "Accounting for Changing Temperature Patterns Increases Historical Estimates of Climate Sensitivity", Geophysical Research Letters, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GL078887

https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2018GL078887

Abstract
Eight atmospheric general circulation models (AGCMs) are forced with observed historical (1871–2010) monthly sea surface temperature and sea ice variations using the Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project II data set. The AGCMs therefore have a similar temperature pattern and trend to that of observed historical climate change. The AGCMs simulate a spread in climate feedback similar to that seen in coupled simulations of the response to CO2 quadrupling. However, the feedbacks are robustly more stabilizing and the effective climate sensitivity (EffCS) smaller. This is due to a pattern effect, whereby the pattern of observed historical sea surface temperature change gives rise to more negative cloud and longwave clear‐sky feedbacks. Assuming the patterns of long‐term temperature change simulated by models, and the radiative response to them, are credible; this implies that existing constraints on EffCS from historical energy budget variations give values that are too low and overly constrained, particularly at the upper end. For example, the pattern effect increases the long‐term Otto et al. (2013, https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo1836) EffCS median and 5–95% confidence interval from 1.9 K (0.9–5.0 K) to 3.2 K (1.5–8.1 K).

Plain Language Summary
Recent decades have seen cooling over the eastern tropical Pacific and Southern Oceans while temperatures rise globally. Climate models indicate that these regional features, and others, are not expected to continue into the future under sustained forcing from atmospheric carbon dioxide increases. This matters because climate sensitivity depends on the pattern of warming, so if the past has warmed differently from what we expect in the future, then climate sensitivity estimated from the historical record may not apply to the future. We investigate this with a suite of climate models and show that climate sensitivity simulated for observed historical climate change is smaller than for long‐term carbon dioxide increases. The results imply that historical energy budget changes only weakly constrain climate sensitivity.

The last line of the abstract is worth repeating:

Quote
For example, the pattern effect increases the long‐term Otto et al. (2013, https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo1836) EffCS median and 5–95% confidence interval from 1.9 K (0.9–5.0 K) to 3.2 K (1.5–8.1 K).

The consensus ECS is from 2.0 to 4.5 degrees K with most paleo evidence indicating a most likely ECS around 3 degrees K.  So with the adjustment, the one example given went from being outside of the consensus (at 1.9 K), to almost at the median value (3.2 K).

35
The linked reference confirms that AR5 significantly underestimated natural emissions of methane from wetlands worldwide, and recommends that policy makers shoulder the responsibility of taking corrective actions associated with AR5s shortcomings on this matter:

The linked reference indicates that the IPCC underestimated methane emissions from livestock:

Given that we can measure the concentration of methane in the atmosphere and thus calculate the total net emissions (all sources minus all sinks), if two sources were underestimated that implies that another source (or multiple sources) were overestimated or that the sinks were underestimated.

Did either reference provide information about what other sources were overestimated or if the sinks were underestimated?

Here a pre-print paper providing a literature review of what "consensus scientists" think the global methane budget has been from 2000 to 2017.  It is probably a good preview of what will show up in IPCC AR6.

https://climatehomes.unibe.ch/~joos/papers/saunois19essddis.pdf

Quote
The Global Methane Budget 2000-2017

Abstract.

Understanding and quantifying the global methane (CH4) budget is important for assessing realistic pathways to mitigate climate change. Atmospheric emissions and concentrations of CH4 are continuing to increase, making CH4 the second most important human-influenced greenhouse gas in terms of climate forcing, after carbon dioxide (CO2). Assessing the relative importance of CH4 in comparison to CO2 is complicated by its shorter atmospheric lifetime, stronger warming potential, and atmospheric growth rate variations over the past decade, the causes of which are still debated. Two major difficulties in reducing uncertainties arise from the variety of geographically overlapping CH4 sources and from the destruction of CH4 by short-lived hydroxyl radicals (OH). To address these difficulties, we have established a consortium of multi-disciplinary scientists under the umbrella of the Global Carbon Project to synthesize and stimulate new research aimed at improving and regularly updating the global methane budget. Following Saunois et al. (2016), we present here the second version of the living review paper dedicated to the decadal methane budget, integrating results of top-down studies (atmospheric observations within an atmospheric inverse-modelling framework) and bottom-up estimates (including process-based models for estimating land surface emissions and atmospheric chemistry, inventories of anthropogenic emissions, and data-driven extrapolations). 

For the 2008-2017 decade, global methane emissions are estimated by atmospheric inversions (top-down approach) to be 572 Tg CH4 yr-1 (range 538-593, corresponding to the minimum and maximum estimates of the ensemble), of which 357 Tg CH4 yr-1 or ~60% are attributed to anthropogenic sources (range 50-65%). This total emission is 27 Tg CH4 yr-1 larger than the value estimated for the period 2000-2009 and 24 Tg CH4 yr-1 larger than the one reported in the previous budget for the period 2003-2012 (Saunois et al. 2016). Since 2012, global CH4 emissions have been tracking the carbon intensive scenarios developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Gidden et al., 2019). Bottom-up methods suggest larger global emissions (737 Tg CH4 yr-1, range 583-880) than top-down inversion methods, mostly because of larger estimated natural emissions from sources such as natural wetlands, other inland water systems, and geological sources. However the strength of the atmospheric constraints on the top-down budget, suggest that these bottom-up emissions are overestimated. The latitudinal distribution of atmospheric-based emissions indicates a predominance of tropical emissions (~65% of the global budget, <30°N) compared to mid (~30%, 30°N-60°N) and high northern latitudes (~4%, 60°N-90°N). Our analyses suggest that uncertainties associated with estimates of anthropogenic emissions are smaller than those of natural sources, with top-down inversions yielding larger uncertainties than bottom-up inventories and models. The most important source of uncertainty in the methane budget is attributable to natural emissions, especially those from wetlands and other inland waters. Some global source estimates are smaller compared to the previously published budgets (Saunois et al. 2016; Kirschke et al. 2013), particularly for vegetated wetland emissions that are lower by about 35 Tg CH4 yr-1 due to efforts to partition vegetated wetlands and inland waters. Emissions from geological sources are also found to be smaller by 7 Tg CH4 yr-1, and wild animals by 8 Tg CH4 yr-1. However the overall discrepancy between bottom-up and top-down estimates has been reduced by only 5% compared to Saunois et al. (2016), due to a higher estimate of freshwater emissions resulting from recent research and the integration of emissions from estuaries. Priorities for improving the methane budget include: i) a global, high-resolution map of water-saturated soils and inundated areas emitting methane based on a robust classification of different types of emitting habitats; ii) further development of process-based models for inland-water emissions; iii) intensification of methane observations at local scales (e.g., FLUXNET-CH4 measurements and urban monitoring to constrain bottom-up land surface models, and at regional scales (surface networks and satellites) to constrain atmospheric inversions; iv) improvements of transport models and the representation of photochemical sinks in top-down inversions, and v) development of a 3D variational inversion system using isotopic and/or co-emitted species such as ethane. 

The data presented here can be downloaded from ICOS (https://doi.org/10.18160/GCP-CH4-2019; Saunois et al., 2019) and the Global Carbon Project. 

36
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 03, 2019, 06:01:25 PM »
It seems that the latest IEA and EAI projections for continued production of oil growth aren't taking into account actual investment and employment data from the oil fields.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Even-Shale-Veterans-Dont-Buy-The-Bullish-Production-Forecasts.html

Quote
Even Shale Veterans Don't Buy The Bullish Production Forecasts
By Tsvetana Paraskova - Dec 02, 2019

While acknowledging that U.S. shale growth is slowing down, analysts and experts continue to predict that total American crude oil production will rise by around 1 million barrels per day in 2020.

But U.S. exploration and production companies, the ones with the boots on the ground in the Permian and other major American shale plays, acknowledge that the slowdown is and will be much worse than what the EIA, the International Energy Agency (IEA), or OPEC predict. 

Quote
Signs of the U.S. production growth slowdown are already evident in the Permian economic indicators this year.

Job growth in the Permian Basin has been sluggish this year, the Dallas Fed said last week. Employment was little changed at an annualized -0.2 percent year to date to October—and this was the first time since 2016 that Permian Basin employment has lagged job growth in Texas. Mining, logging and construction, the largest employment sector in the Permian, contracted at a 13.9 percent annualized rate in October, dragging total employment down. Year to date, the sector has fallen by 4.7 percent, according to the Dallas Fed.

Quote
“Most people will ascribe the low U.S. growth to capital discipline. But I think the larger reason is what I've been talking about for several years the shift to Tier 2 and 3 drilling locations in all shale plays and increasing parent-child issues in the Permian,” Papa said, and warned that the growth slowdown will likely continue after 2020.

“I'll also note that this is likely not just a 2020 event. I believe U.S. shale production on a year-over-year growth basis will be considerably less powerful in 2021 in later years than most people currently expect,” the shale industry’s pioneer said.

37
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 02, 2019, 10:21:24 PM »
You seen the latest figures on oil production in the United States?

https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=WCRFPUS2&f=W

The situation in natural gas production is identical:

https://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/hist/n9070us2m.htm

Looks like scenario 8.5 is the most realistic of the predictions IPCC.

New technologies of extraction from shale bring us closer to the climate of the Mesozoic.

OPEC+ has had to cut production to avoid an oil glut and a crash in prices due to the US production increase.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/expectations-grow-for-deeper-oil-production-cuts-by-opec-and-its-allies-2019-12-02

Quote
OPEC+ will consider deepening existing oil production cuts by about 400,000 barrels per day to 1.6 million barrels per day, Thamer Ghadhban, Iraq’s oil minister, told reporters in Baghdad, according to a report from Reuters Sunday. The current OPEC+ agreement calls for an output cut of 1.2 million barrels a day from late 2018 levels through March 2020.

The IEA, not known for being very good in forecasts about the growth of renewable energy or electric vehicles, predicts demand for oil will peak in the 2020s leading to a long plateau.  That's the best case scenario for oil, as rapid adoption of EVs would basically cause a huge decrease in the demand for oil.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/IEA-Peak-Oil-Demand-Is-Less-Than-A-Decade-Away.html

Quote
Global oil demand will reach its peak in the mid-2020s and plateau around 2030, the International Energy Agency said in its World Energy Outlook for 2019.

Until about 2025, the IEA said, global oil demand will expand by about 1 percent annually, exceeding 100 million bpd and reaching 105.4 million bpd. After that growth will shrink substantially and demand will reach a plateau at less than 110 million bpd—106.4 million bpd.

There is currently a glut of natural gas, decreasing prices.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/Global-LNG-Markets-Are-Circling-The-Drain.html

Quote
Low natural gas prices from Europe to Asia, ample supply amid more than sufficient storage, and weaker demand growth this year have combined to create a perfect storm in the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market.

The LNG glut is already seen in Asian spot prices, which have been falling for five weeks in a row—an unusual price movement just ahead of the winter season in the northern hemisphere. Weighed down by a wave of new supply from the United States, Australia, and Russia, LNG prices in Asia are now down by more than 40 percent from this time last year.   

With prices weak and demand tepid, some of the U.S. LNG exports may have to be curtailed when winter ends, analysts and investment banks say.

And wind and solar plants are predicted to do to natural gas power plants and pipelines what they've done to coal, making them stranded assets.

https://rmi.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/clean-energy-portfolio-two-pager.pdf

Quote
Clean energy technology costs have reached a tipping point The past decade has seen a dramatic reduction in the costs of wind, solar, and storage technologies. At the same time, sophisticated utilities and market operators are increasingly able to procure grid reliability services from these non-traditional resources. As a result, leading US utilities are now prioritizing investment in “clean energy portfolios” (CEPs)—combinations of renewables, storage, and demand-side management strategies—that can cost-effectively provide the same reliability services as traditional gas-fired power plants.

CEPs have declined in cost by 80% since 2010, and are now lower-cost on a levelized basis than new gas plants. Within the next 10–20 years, continued cost declines will allow new CEPs to undercut the operating costs of existing gas plants. However, US utilities and independent power producers are replacing retiring coal, nuclear, and old gas capacity on a nearly 1:1 basis with new gas-fired power plants—nearly 70 GW of capacity is announced for construction within the next five years, and at least another 20 GW of new gas proposed as part of longer-term utility resource plans.

TL;DR - RCP 8.5 is no longer possible.  Fossil fuels are on the way out, much faster than anyone would have predicted two years ago.


38
ASLR makes it explicit that he is presenting the right tailed risks, not settled science. While it is difficult to accept so much scientific uncertainty (scientific reticence), the message that ASLR conveys in his posts is one of prudence.

I can think of no better demonstration for why extreme right tailed risks must prompt precautionary action even in the face of great uncertainty than the attached image. It shows the shifting attitude within successive IPCC reports to the likelihood of the temperature at which the onset of climate tipping points begins.

Taken from a comment in Nature from today (Nov. 27), by Lenton et. al

Climate tipping points — too risky to bet against
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03595-0

ASLR does a very good job in pointing out the possible consequences of unchecked fossil fuel emissions.  Unfortunately, he also writes disparagingly of "consensus" scientists and conveys a situation that seems much more dire than it is.  Yes, we need to get off of fossil fuels as soon as possible.  However, he often ignores that we're making great progress in doing so. 

He ignores the fact that most of the highly speculative and sensationalist disaster scenarios he writes about are based on the RCP 8.5 emissions scenario which assumes that renewables will be more expensive than fossil fuels through the 21st century when if fact, renewables are now cheaper than coal.

In fact, 2018 may have been the peak of global coal consumption.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/11/26/coal-fired-power-is-declining-thanks-to-a-slowdown-in-india-and-china-climate-change/

Quote
Coal-Fired Power Is Declining Thanks to a Slowdown in India and China
2019 could end with a deceleration in overall carbon emissions.
By C.K. Hickey
November 26, 2019, 4:36 PM

After more than a century as the world’s dominant source of electricity, coal may finally be losing its importance. Coal-fired power production is projected to fall 3 percent this year—the largest annual decline on record. According to a new report from three think tanks and published by Carbon Brief, this reduction represents an amount of electricity greater than that generated by coal from Germany, Spain, and the U.K. combined.

Quote
As coal’s contribution to electricity usage falls, electricity generated by non-fossil sources is on the rise across the globe. As seen in the chart below, wind power saw the largest growth among energy sources over the last year.

Quote
Coal plants still fuel 38 percent of the world’s electricity, however, and so curtailing the carbon emissions from its production remains essential for limiting a rise in global temperatures. The sharp drop projected in coal-fired electricity suggests 2019 could end with a slowdown in overall carbon emissions, according to the report.

AbruptSLR likes to post about MICI, a highly speculative hyptothesis that the authors have backed away from recently.  He likes to post about the CMIP 6 models that have higher ECS, ignoring the CMIP 6 models that have ECS in line with consensus science (that would be half of them). 

But again, the most egregious error he makes (and many of the catastrophists on this site make) is that since current emissions are close to RCP 8.5 emissions, that the emissions for the rest of the century will continue on the RCP 8.5 path.  Since RCP 8.5 assumes an acceleration of the use of coal and that renewables will be more expensive than coal, the RCP 8.5 emissions scenario just isn't possible.

Here's a graphical representation of the RCP scenarios:



The big black area in the middle of that graph is coal use.   You can see that in 2100 it's responsible for more than half of the emissions in the RCP 8.5 scenario.  It's likely to be zero decades before then.

Natural gas is already in dire straits.  Much of the natural gas infrastructure being planned today will be stranded assets well before the end of it's useful life.

https://www.utilitydive.com/news/renewables-storage-poised-to-undercut-natural-gas-prices-increase-strande/562674/

Quote
Renewables, storage poised to undercut natural gas prices, increase stranded assets: RMI

If all proposed gas plants are built, 70% of those investments will be rendered uneconomic by 2035, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Carbon-free resources are now cost competitive with new natural gas plants, according to a pair of reports released Monday by the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Wind, solar and storage projects, combined with demand-side management, have reached a "tipping point," one report finds, meaning they're now able to compete alongside natural gas on price while providing the same reliability services. But unlike the fluctuating price of fuels, these technologies' prices are expected to continue dropping, the reports' authors told Utility Dive.

This reality could leave many natural gas investors and utilities with stranded infrastructure assets, the second RMI report finds, and new gas investments should be made with caution.

Even with the additional carbon being released in the Arctic due to warming, the reduction in CO2 and methane from eliminating those two sources of anthropogenic emissions will result in emissions closer to the RCP 2.6 scenario than the RCP 8.5 scenario.

39
Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: November 27, 2019, 07:51:31 PM »
Ken, this is me 30 years ago:

"Renewables will get cheaper and cheaper. The lifetime of a power plant is 40 years. So it can't take any longer for the energy transition. It's a no brainer. Any time now."

Me 20 years ago:

"Wow, if you extrapolate the numbers we are there soon. Amazing!"

Me 10 years ago:

"Holy shit, renewables are almost as cheap as coal. No one can afford to build a coal plant these days."


Me today:

Reads that new coal power plants are still in the planning.

Yes, and peak coal is now on the horizon.  Of those plants in planning, most (if any) won't be built.

As I posted upthread, global coal use is down 3% this year.  While some of that may be weather related (more rain for hydroplants or milder weather cutting energy demand), much of it is due to the fact that outside of China, more coal power plants have been retired than built this year.  And that trend is only going to continue.

https://energypost.eu/peak-coal-on-the-horizon-a-country-by-country-review/

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Peak coal on the horizon: a country-by-country review
September 2, 2019 by Christine Shearer

Though the global coal fleet still increased by 17GW in the first half of 2019, net of retirements, the pipeline is definitely shrinking. Two thirds of proposed projects never even get started. Notably, in China existing coal plants have been running, on average, only 50% of the time since 2015, evidence of a large excess of capacity. But is it enough? The IPCC’s pathway to 1.5C requires unabated coal power generation to fall by 55-70% by 2030 and be effectively phased out by 2050. That’s why all eyes are on the 15 countries – headed by China (49%), the US (13%) and India (11%) – responsible for 91% of the global coal fleet, generating 2,027GW worldwide, to turn that shrinking pipeline into shrinking capacity. Christine Shearer of Global Energy Monitor dives deep into the latest global stats.

Around the world, 12.7 gigawatts (GW) of new coal capacity has been proposed so far in 2019 – less than 3GW above the amount that has retired (10GW). These trends mean the global coal fleet will soon decline, because only a third of proposed capacity has actually been developed since 2010.

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In 2019 to date, about 12.7GW of coal power capacity has been newly proposed across eight countries and 12GW of new construction has started across five countries. These developments are concentrated in China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Bangladesh. China also resumed construction on nearly 9GW of capacity that had been postponed under central government restrictions.

Conversely, 132GW of planned new capacity was cancelled in 2019, mainly from lack of activity. The largest numbers of cancellations were in China, India, Myanmar and Turkey.

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The implementation rate figure in the table above varies widely, from 0% in Egypt – which has yet to implement any of its projects – to 71% in South Korea. The global average is 35%, meaning just 1GW of new coal has been built or began construction since 2010 for each 3GW of proposed capacity.

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India has undergone a large downscaling in its future coal plans, in favour of lower-cost renewables. Turkey has 34GW of coal in the pipeline, but has commissioned only 12% of its proposed capacity since 2010 – a rate that would lead to only 4GW of the 34GW being completed. In reality, the figure may ultimately be even lower than this.

Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan have all reduced their proposed coal capacity, with no new large proposals since 2015. Meanwhile Japan and Korea are also facing public pressure to cut their international financial support for coal, which would leave only China as a significant source of global coal funding – given over 100 financial institutions are restricting coal financing.

Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and Pakistan have all scaled back plans for coal in their future national energy plans, with many of them experiencing significant coal-related financial problems.

It's possible that 2018 was the year that coal consumption peaked.

40
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: November 27, 2019, 07:30:20 PM »
India predicts that its shiny new coal plants will be running less and less as new renewables come online.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/power/coal-fired-plants-may-have-to-scale-down-utilisation-to-35-by-2022-kpmg/articleshow/72200926.cms

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Coal-fired plants may have to scale down utilisation to 35% by 2022: KPMG
“Even a scenario with 130 GW of renewables instead of the planned 175 GW by 2022 could result in plant load factor (PLF) dropping to 35-40 per cent for many coal plants,” KPMG said in a recent report.

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Kolkata: One of the Big Four, KPMG, has predicted that capacity utilisation for many coal-fired power plants in India will drop to 35-40% by 2022 as renewable power generation sources rise. Average capacity utilisation of coal fired power plants are around 51% at present and some plants may have to be seasonally shut or mothballed, KPMG has predicted.

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Flexible operation of conventional coal-fired plants was for a while resisted by existing operators on the premise that cycling and stop-start operations impair asset life and reliability. According to KPMG, if the option is between mothballing the plants versus operating It is possible to typically reduce the minimum technical limits to 40% in Indian conditions.

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Flexibilisation of coal plants involves retrofitting of components and modifying operational processes for increasing cycling flexibility of thermal power plants so as to achieve lower technical minimum, reduce the start-up time, increase ramp rates and enable multiple cycles of start-up and shut down of plants in a day. Going substantially below 40%, as is done in Germany where plants go down to 20-25%, would require coal quality to be improved and controlled and would also require significantly more capex.

In many cases, the overall costs of retrofit may not be justified, especially for assets in the later parts of their life cycle.

41
Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: November 26, 2019, 10:33:12 PM »

ps: Ken, how do you rate the chances of reducing CO2 emissions in 2030 by 55% (7.5% p.a.) for +1.5 celsius, 25% for +2 celsius ?

With solar and wind now cheaper than fossil fuels in about three quarters of the world (already cheaper in the developed countries and now at grid parity in China), pretty good.

Given that we're already seeing drops in global coal consumption (down 3% in 2019) and softening of demand for oil and a huge glut in natural gas, the major wildcard is how quickly battery electric vehicles take over the transportation market.  The forecast year for cost parity between BEVs and ICEs is now 2022.  So we should see peak oil demand within the decade.

I doubt we'll see a new coal power plant built after 2025 or a new natural gas power plant after 2035.  Sales of new ICE vehicles will probably be banned in most countries in the 2030s.

I suspect that we wont hit the 7.5% annual decreases needed for the 1.5 degree C target until the 2030s, but we should be able to hit the 2.0 target for emissions reductions in the 2020s and exceed them in the 2030s and 2040s.  With global temperatures increasing at around 0.18 degrees per decade and the five-year average increase around 0.9 C, we'd hit 1.5 degrees in the 2050s. So we'll end up somewhere by 1.5C and 2.0C temperature increase before looking at options for carbon dioxide removal (CDR).

When people think of CDR, they usually think of artificial leaves or other large machines to suck CO2 from the air and pipe it underground (or deep under the sea).  However, there are much better options that can be used to increase global carbon sinks from better agricultural practices, which are increasingly being used.  Look up regenerative agriculture, biochar, sustainable grazing, renewable natural gas, or reductions in methane from rice farming. 

And there are possibilities in kelp farming, with the kelp reducing acidity in the oceans and then being fed to ruminants to reduce their methane emissions.

In the past decade, a lot of progress has been made in all of these areas.  Keep that in mind when you read a gloom and doom report.  We must continue to press our leaders for more rapid changes to reduce greenhouse gases and improve carbon sinks, and we shouldn't give up hope that it can be done.


42
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: November 26, 2019, 09:59:55 PM »
While the oil frackers are going bankrupt, the LNG market has hit a global supply glut.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/Global-LNG-Markets-Are-Circling-The-Drain.html

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Global LNG Markets Are Circling The Drain
By Tsvetana Paraskova - Nov 26, 2019

Low natural gas prices from Europe to Asia, ample supply amid more than sufficient storage, and weaker demand growth this year have combined to create a perfect storm in the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market.

The LNG glut is already seen in Asian spot prices, which have been falling for five weeks in a row—an unusual price movement just ahead of the winter season in the northern hemisphere. Weighed down by a wave of new supply from the United States, Australia, and Russia, LNG prices in Asia are now down by more than 40 percent from this time last year.   

With prices weak and demand tepid, some of the U.S. LNG exports may have to be curtailed when winter ends, analysts and investment banks say.

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According to Citigroup and Morgan Stanley, U.S. LNG exporters may be forced to shut in both production and exports in the second or third quarter next year, as prices could plunge after the winter to levels that will be unprofitable for U.S. producers to export. Morgan Stanley doesn’t rule out that around half of the current U.S. LNG exports could be curtailed in Q2 and Q3 next year, if weather is typical for the seasons.   

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Yet, earlier this month, Pavilion Energy, a Singaporean buyer of a U.S. cargo LNG, canceled the loading of the cargo but will still pay for it, as both Asia and Europe struggle with the LNG glut. Some other customers of U.S. LNG cargoes are also reportedly considering paying for those cargoes but not loading them, traders have told Reuters.

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LNG prices in Asia and natural gas prices at the Dutch gas hub Title Transfer Facility (TTF) are almost half the level they were at this time last year.

Storage in Europe is full, as low LNG spot prices amid abundant supply and weaker Asian spot demand have helped Europe to fill its storage tanks to more than average levels this summer.

In Asia, milder weather in the world’s top two LNG importers—Japan and China—leads to weaker demand amid ample supply. Last week, Asian LNG spot prices for January delivery dropped to US$5.70 per million British thermal units (MMBtu), down by US$0.20 from the previous week, market participants told Reuters.

While the lower LNG prices create some demand in India, for example, overall demand in Asia this winter is certainly not growing at the record-breaking pace of the past three years. The reason—supply is more than enough, as new volumes continue to come out of the U.S., Australia, and to an extent, Russia.

43
Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Agreement - Paris 2015 and beyond
« on: November 26, 2019, 09:28:59 PM »
The UNEP emissions gap report includes projections for fossil fuel production based on IEA and other projections (for the US, EIA) that are very friendly to the fossil fuel industry and not based in reality.

The chart for oil shows US oil production growing from the current record rate of 12.8 million barrels per day to almost double, 22 million barrels per day in 2030.  Meanwhile, frackers are going bankrupt as quickly as they can get to a courthouse to file papers.  Natural gas has such a huge supply glut that suppliers are talking about cutting production.

And less than a week after the doom and gloom report was published, we see a record drop in coal use for the year.

https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-global-coal-power-set-for-record-fall-in-2019

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Global electricity production from coal is on track to fall by around 3% in 2019, the largest drop on record.

The UNEP Emissions Gap report assumes that electricity demand will continue to increase as much as it has in the past few years.  Meanwhile, China and India are seeing drops in electricity demand, in part because much of their investment in the past decade has been in coal plants, which are increasingly sitting idle.

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In China, electricity demand growth has slowed to 3% this year, down from 6.7% over the past two years. Non-fossil energy sources have met almost all this demand growth.

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However, 2019 has so far seen strong nuclear, wind and hydro power generation and relatively weak overall electricity demand growth, with coal use in electricity flatlining.

At the same time, Chinese power firms have been continuing to add new coal-fired power plants to the grid at a rate of one large plant every two weeks. This has driven coal-fired power plant utilisation rates – the share of hours in the year when they are running – back down to record lows of 48.6%. This is the fourth year in a row that the Chinese national average has been below 50% – and also below the global average, which stands at 54%.

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Electricity demand growth in India has continued to slow dramatically across the first ten months of 2019. In October, electricity demand actually fell by 13.2% against the same month last year.

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The average thermal power plant utilisation rate in India is below 58%, meaning substantial idle coal capacity.

Note that the UNEP Emissions Gap report assumes that once a fossil fuel plant is built, it will be used.  As China and India have shown, they instead sit idle while the electricity is generated from lower cost suppliers, like hydropower, solar and wind plants.


44
Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: November 26, 2019, 09:11:16 PM »
The linked report on the global decline in coal use has some very interesting information on China.

https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-global-coal-power-set-for-record-fall-in-2019

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Global electricity production from coal is on track to fall by around 3% in 2019, the largest drop on record.

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Over the preceding two years 2017-2018, reductions in coal generation in the US and EU have been offset by increases elsewhere, particularly in China.

This year, however, the fall in developed economies is accelerating, while coal generation in India and China is slowing sharply, precipitating a global reduction.

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In China, electricity demand growth has slowed to 3% this year, down from 6.7% over the past two years. Non-fossil energy sources have met almost all this demand growth.

The country’s demand for coal-fired power depends on the interplay between clean electricity growth and rising demand. The gap between the two, if any, is filled with coal.

This means that when electricity demand is growing strongly, coal dependence comes to the fore. With these conditions, 2017-2018 saw coal-fired power generation grow at an average of 6.6% year on year.

However, 2019 has so far seen strong nuclear, wind and hydro power generation and relatively weak overall electricity demand growth, with coal use in electricity flatlining.

At the same time, Chinese power firms have been continuing to add new coal-fired power plants to the grid at a rate of one large plant every two weeks. This has driven coal-fired power plant utilisation rates – the share of hours in the year when they are running – back down to record lows of 48.6%. This is the fourth year in a row that the Chinese national average has been below 50% – and also below the global average, which stands at 54%.

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However, 2019 has also seen the first contracts for wind and solar plants that will generate power at the same price as coal power plants, putting China on a path to renewable energy “grid parity” as those projects come online in 2020.

45
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: November 26, 2019, 09:04:02 PM »
Electricity generated by coal is projected to decline by 3% through the end of this year.

https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-global-coal-power-set-for-record-fall-in-2019

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25 November 2019 0:01
Analysis: Global coal power set for record fall in 2019

Global electricity production from coal is on track to fall by around 3% in 2019, the largest drop on record.

This would amount to a reduction of around 300 terawatt hours (TWh), more than the combined total output from coal in Germany, Spain and the UK last year.

The analysis is based on monthly electricity sector data from around the world for the first seven to 10 months of the year, depending on data availability in each country.

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In the past three and a half decades, only two other years have seen declining coal power output: a fall of 148TWh in 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis; and a 217TWh cut in 2015 following a slowdown in China.

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The reasons for the historic projected drop in coal-fired generation in 2019 vary from country to country, but include increased electricity generation from renewables, nuclear and gas, as well as slowing or negative power demand growth.

Across the developed countries that make up the OECD, there has been strong growth in wind and solar generation in 2019, as well as reductions in electricity demand related to slower global economic growth and trade (top left panel in the chart, below).

Falling demand is particularly clear in Japan and South Korea (part of OECD Asia Oceania, bottom left), where exports have dropped sharply. In both countries, nuclear generation increased substantially, pushing down coal use. In North America, about 60% of the fall in coal came from switching to gas, as coal plants closed and new gas plants opened (top right).

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Over the preceding two years 2017-2018, reductions in coal generation in the US and EU have been offset by increases elsewhere, particularly in China.

This year, however, the fall in developed economies is accelerating, while coal generation in India and China is slowing sharply, precipitating a global reduction.

46
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: November 26, 2019, 08:29:08 PM »
Solar, wind and hydro will soon be producing more power than coal in the US.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/26/business/renewable-energy-coal/index.html

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Solar, wind and hydro power could soon surpass coal

By Matt Egan, CNN Business

Updated 12:26 PM ET, Tue November 26, 2019

New York (CNN Business)Coal, long the king of America's electric grid, will soon get toppled by renewable energy.

Solar and wind power are growing so rapidly that for the first time ever, the United States will likely get more power in 2021 from renewable energy than from coal, according to projections from the Institute for Energy Economic and Financial Analysis.

This milestone is being driven by the gangbusters growth for solar and wind as well as the stunning collapse of coal. And it comes as the United Nations warned on Tuesday that countries are not doing enough to keep the planet's temperature from rising to near-catastrophic levels.

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Coal provided about half of America's power generation between 2000 and 2010. However, coal usage started to fall sharply late in the last decade because of the abundance of cheap natural gas. Coal was dethroned by natural gas in 2016, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

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US power plants are expected to consume less coal next year than at any point since 1978, according to the EIA. That will cause coal's market share to drop below 22%, compared with 28% in 2018. That shrinking market share makes existing coal plants even less profitable.
"It's a negative feedback loop," said Greentech's Deschenes.

This trend is playing out overseas as well. Global electricity production from coal is on track to fall by a record 3% in 2019, according to CarbonBrief. That drop is being driven by record declines from Germany and South Korea as well as the first dip in India in at least three decades.

47
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: November 26, 2019, 06:19:34 PM »
I think I'd be able to scrape by on $35 million.

48
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: November 26, 2019, 06:17:08 PM »
Investments in renewables fell from 2017 to 2018, mostly due to spending cutbacks in China and India, which have overbuilt their electric capacity in recent years.

https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Renewable-Investment-Falls-In-Emerging-Markets.html

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Renewable Investment Falls In Emerging Markets
By Tsvetana Paraskova - Nov 25, 2019

New energy investment in emerging economies slipped last year to US$133 billion, far from the 2017 record of US$169 billion, mostly due to a slowdown in China, BloombergNEF said in its annual Climatescope report on Monday. 

China, because of is massive share in new clean energy investments globally, was responsible for the majority of the decline in investments, according to BloombergNEF’s findings.

Investment in new-build solar, wind, biomass, wind, small hydro, geothermal, and biofuels capacity in China fell to US$86 billion in 2018 from US$122 billion in 2017, the report showed. Other major markets, including India and Brazil, also saw annual declines in new clean energy investments, BloombergNEF said. 

Some positive news in the report:

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Excluding China, India, and Brazil, clean energy investment in emerging markets rose in 2018 to a record US$34 billion, from US$30 billion in 2017, according to BloombergNEF.

And keep in mind that with the decreasing prices of wind, solar and batteries, more capacity can be installed for less money.  From the report:

http://global-climatescope.org/assets/data/reports/climatescope-2019-report-en.pdf

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Excluding China, new clean energy installations in emerging markets grew 21% and reached a new record, with 36GW commissioned in 2018, up from 30GW in 2017.This is twice the clean energy capacity added in 2015 and three timesthe capacity installed in 2013.

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Clean energy investment is spiking in many less traditional clean energy markets.  When excluding the three biggest markets (China, India and Brazil), clean energy investment jumped to $34 billion in 2018 from $30 billion in 2017. Most notably, Vietnam, South Africa, Mexico and Morocco led the rankings with a combined investment of $16 billion in 2018.

49
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: November 26, 2019, 06:06:16 PM »
Want to make $35 million?  Start with $1 billion and invest in fracking companies.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Why-The-Latest-Shale-Bust-Is-Different.html

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Why The Latest Shale Bust Is Different

In 2019 through third quarter, 32 oil and gas drillers have filed for bankruptcy, according to Haynes and Boone.

Since the end of September, a gaggle of other oil and gas drillers have filed for bankruptcy, including last Monday, natural gas producer Approach Resources. This pushed the total number of bankruptcy filings of oil and gas drillers since the beginning of 2015 to over 200. Other drillers, such as Chesapeake Energy, are jostling for position at the filing counter.

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Now there are stories circulating of how billionaires, who in 2016 believed the hype that the fracking bust was over, have gotten tangled up and lost tons of money on their bets. Bloomberg recounts one such story, of the brothers Farris and Dan Wilks in Texas.

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Bloomberg notes:

“Eight of the 10 biggest holdings in a portfolio spanning more than 50 investments have dropped since June 2018, when they were worth almost $1 billion. In a filing last week, they reported stakes in just seven entities worth a total of only $35.7 million. The combined value of those remaining holdings plunged by $171.2 million, or 88%, since they were initially disclosed.”

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Shale oil and gas drilling is awful for the land, water, and the broader environment. But so are all other methods of supplying power and fuel to an economy, including mountain-top coal mining, burning coal, hydro (which destroys entire canyons and rivers), nuclear power (nuclear waste, Fukushima, Chernobyl), even wind and solar power (the “fuel” is free and clean but producing and placing the equipment creates its own problems). When it comes to power and fuel, there are only compromises, some worse than others, and fracking is one of them.

And it’s brutal on investors at prevailing prices. The industry has been cash-flow negative from get-go. The high prices of oil and gas the industry needs to be cash-flow positive are being prevented by prolific shale oil and gas production. Executive compensation packages have been self-designed to reward richly any increases in production, hence no-matter-what increases in production.

And investors who believed the industry’s ceaseless hype are now grappling with reality – that their money was drilled into the ground and is gone.

50
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: November 25, 2019, 11:03:26 PM »
India's carbon emission growth is slowing as coal plants are being curtailed.

https://qrius.com/indias-co2-emissions-show-lowest-increase-in-20-years/

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India’s CO2 Emissions Show Lowest Increase in 20 years

While the world grapples with the threat of global warming, India is poised to lead the world in adoption of renewables, registering its lowest emissions increase in decades

In the first eight months of 2019, growth in India’s CO2 emissions slowed down sharply, putting the country on track to its lowest annual increase in nearly 20 years.

Our analysis, based on data from various ministries responsible for electricity, coal, oil, gas and foreign trade, shows that emissions increased by 2% in the first eight months of the year, a lower rate than any annual increase since 2001.

The main reason was a slowdown in the expansion of coal-fired electricity generation, the analysis shows, with renewable output surging and demand growth slowing.

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Electricity generation from coal slowed markedly in the first eight months of 2019, putting the country on track to its slowest power-sector emissions increase in three decades. This was due to a surge in renewable power generation and a slowdown in demand growth, which means the share of fossil fuels in meeting power demand growth will be the lowest in the past 30 years

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In recent years, however, rapid growth in renewable generation has seen coal meet a shrinking share of the increase in overall demand. In the first six months of 2019, wind (top right), solar (bottom left) and hydro (top centre) met a record 70% of the increase in electricity demand, according to our analysis of data compiled from Central Electricity Authority monthly reports.

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This year’s slowdown in electricity demand and coal-based electricity generation underscores a long-term issue of grossly overestimated power demand growth, dating back to at least 2011, during the preparation of the country’s 18th Electric Power Survey.

Demand growth during the past decade has been significantly lower than expected, particularly in industry, which has led to overbuilding of coal-fired capacity and fewer running hours for coal plants.

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Since 2009, overcapacity and weaker than expected demand growth has pushed Indian coal plant load factors from close to 80% down to around 60%, as the chart below shows.

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Slowing demand for coal-fired power generation has resulted in a run of announcements about new coal plant construction plans being stopped. The first to make such an announcement was Gujarat, the Indian state with the second-largest coal-fired capacity in the country, which said it would aim to meet power demand growth by scaling up renewables.

A similar announcement followed from Chhattisgarh, the largest coal-mining state. The country’s largest power generator has also NTPC said it would not undertake new coal-power projects, while announcing investment in a major solar park.

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