• Saudi Arabia will pump about the same amount of crude in May as in April, sources report. Supply has been steady since February at just under 8 million b/d, down from 9.7 million last summer. (4/24, #3)
  • OPEC will trim crude oil shipments by 0.6 percent in the four weeks ending May 9, the smallest drop since February, according to tanker-tracker Oil Movements. (4/24, #2)
  • Iraq and Syria have agreed on a new plan to repair the bomb-damaged Kirkuk-Banias oil pipeline. The pipeline, which extends 850 km from Iraq’s northern oil fields at Kirkuk to Banias where Syria has a refinery, has been closed since the US-led invasion in March 2003, when the line’s main K3 pumping station was bombed by US warplanes. (4/25, #4)
  • The development of Iraq‘s oil and gas reserves could be hampered by its chaotic politics and lack of interest in proposed projects, the economic newsletter Middle East Economic Survey warned last Sunday. (4/20, #6)
  • Mexico‘s oil production fell 8.4 percent during the first quarter to 2.67 million barrels a day as the country’s largest oil field continues to shed output.  Oil exports are a main source of revenue, and the combination of the price drop and drop in export volumes has strained public finances. The average price of Mexican crude exports was $38.92 a barrel. (4/22, #7)
  • Crude oil production from Russia is expected to boast modest gains in 2009 despite earlier forecasts of a decline in the industry, officials said. The output of crude oil from Russia for 2008 and the first two months of 2009 fell about 1 percent, but March output saw a modest increase of 0.4 percent to 9.76 million barrels per day. (4/21, #17)
  • Turkmenistan, Central Asia’s largest producer of natural gas, called for new pipeline routes to Europe after blaming Gazprom for causing a blast on its main export line. Russia is opposed to development of the so-called “southern energy corridor” because it would break its control of Central Asian gas exports. (4/25, #5)
  • A total of around 100 million barrels of oil, more than the world’s daily consumption, is stored aboard ships around the world, the head of trading and shipping at France’s Total told Reuters. (4/21, #4)
  • The world’s worst economic recession in six decades is hurting the Middle East, with falling commodity prices severely straining economies and wealthy oil producers digging deep into savings to sustain spending, according to the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released Wednesday. (4/25, #12)
  • Several international institutions have admitted in recent years that the increasing demand for biofuel crops has catastrophic social, economic and nutritional impacts on developing countries and their already tense food resources. Despite this, several African states have drafted policies in favor of biofuel crops. In Senegal, which was hit by food riots a year ago, up to 10 per cent of the country’s arable land might be set aside for biofuels.  (4/25, #13)
  • China National Petroleum Corp. said the crude oil pipeline linking Russia and China will start operations by the end of 2010. After the pipeline starts operation, Russia will send 15 million tons of crude to China annually for 20 years. (4/24, #4)
  • China is planning to build five nuclear power stations this year to reduce the country’s reliance on coal and oil, state media reported Monday. (4/21, #10)
  • Demand for deepwater drilling equipment, led by Brazil and India, continues to grow at a slower pace amid the global recession and lower crude oil prices, said Transocean, the world’s largest offshore oil driller. Oil and gas explorers are postponing or scrapping deepwater projects, potentially reducing crude supplies by as much as 2.4 million barrels a day in 2011, Morgan Stanley said in an earlier report. (4/22, #4)
  • Brazil’s Petrobras is seeking 240 offshore oil development vessels in the next five to six years, according to its chief financial officer.  These deals could bring new life to the stagnant global shipbuilding sector. (4/21, #9)
  • An industry source close to the Saudi’s $9 billion Manifa offshore oilfield project told Reuters that the project has been delayed for at least six months. The project will become Saudi Arabia’s largest offshore field, capable of producing 900,000 b/d. However, the heavy sour crude the field holds makes it expensive to process and not economically viable in the current financial climate. (4/22, #6) 
  • Perenco SA, a French oil company, said it will delay a planned $2 billion investment to start production at its Peruvian oil fields by two years because of slumping oil prices. (4/25, #6)
  • General Motors said it will shutter 13 assembly plants for up to 11 weeks this summer. That will disrupt the lives of nearly 24,000 workers. (4/25, #1)
  • The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the US fell by 20 this week to 955, down 53% from the peak last September. (4/25, #9)
  • Daily fuel demand in the US, the world’s largest oil consumer, averaged 18.5 million b/d in the four weeks ended April 17, down 6.5 percent from a year earlier.(4/24, #2)
  • BP and Husky Energy may scale back their $2.5 billion Sunrise oil-sands project in Alberta. The partners have delayed a final investment decision on the project until 2010 on expectation of falling industry costs. (4/24, #14)
  • Volvo, which manufactures heavy-duty trucks under the Renault, Mack, Nissan Diesel and Eicher brands, as well as its own name, said order bookings in the quarter fell 65 percent year-on-year with a fall of 71 percent in its key European market alone. (4/24, #16)
  • The US will need an array of electric power production options to meet its needs in the years ahead. Solar and wind will have their places, as will other renewables. Realistically, however, solar and wind will probably only provide a modest percentage of future U.S. power. Some serious realism in energy planning is needed, preferably from analysts who are not backing one horse or another. (R.L. Hirsch and J. Schlesinger; 4/24, #21)
  • Chinese electric car-maker BYD has devised a battery that uses ferrous ion, which is cheap, plentiful and green. If it turns out to be as functional as the company claims, it could be the breakthrough needed to finally bring electric cars into the mainstream. (4/25, #14)
  • The US may never need to build new nuclear or coal-fired power plants because renewable energy and improved efficiency can meet future power demand, the head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said. (4/23, #10)
  • In Florida, state lawmakers gave initial approval to a bill that could allow offshore drillers a chance to set up rigs within sight of Florida’s Gulf of Mexico beaches. (4/23, #11)
  • Apache, the biggest independent US oil company by market value, is reducing the size of its global workforce by 6 percent as tumbling energy prices force producers to slash costs. (4/23, #16)
  • The US airline industry has grounded more than 11% of its jets in “bone yards,” mostly in New Mexico, Arizona and California. More are scheduled to be grounded in the fall. (4/22, #18)
  • The real price of oil today is now at the same level as in 1976. This long-term price decline is due mainly to the constant discovery of new fields and greater energy efficiency, making nonsense of the idea that the world is rapidly running out of oil. (4/20, #12) [Editor’s note: this publication has never supported the view that we’re “rapidly running out of oil.” Read Kjell Aleklett’s rebuttal (4/21, #19) to this poorly-informed viewpoint in Newsweek.]
  • Oil is too cheap. At around $50 a barrel, it is trading far below the production costs of almost all new sources of crude and energy substitutes. A sustained price above $70 is needed to cover investments in Canada’s tar sands, the deep-water fields off Brazil, and Russia’s “High North” above the Arctic Circle.  Much the same goes for biofuels from grains (sugar is cheaper). (4/20, #13)