Quote of the Week

“To the extent that developing countries aspire to reach motorization levels comparable to those in developed countries, the number of vehicles will likely continue to climb rapidly. We in the developed countries cannot successfully argue that the mobility afforded to us by personal vehicles is something to be curtailed in the developing countries for the benefit of us all. As a consequence, the required raw materials and energy will challenge our resources, and the resulting vehicle emissions will strain our ecological systems.”

Michael Sivak, former director of Sustainable Worldwide Transportation at the University of Michigan (6/12)

Graphic of the Week


1.  Oil and the Global Economy
2.  The Middle East & North Africa
3.  China
4.  Russia
5.  Venezuela
6.  The Briefs

1.  Oil and the Global Economy

Oil prices, which have been falling since mid-May, fell more than $2 on Friday to settle at $65.06 in the US and $73.44 in London.  For now, the chief concern is that the OPEC + coalition will raise or lift the production cap this coming Friday and allow as much as another 1.5 million b/d of crude to enter the market. Additional pressure on oil prices is coming from the looming Sino-American trade war which could damage the global economy and lower the demand for oil. The announcement that Beijing might impose a hefty tariff on the 360,000 b/d of crude that the US has been sending to China in recent months did not help the situation nor did the continual increase in US shale oil production despite the bottleneck on getting crude out of the Permian Basin. While the renewed US sanctions on Iran may eventually reduce its ability to export oil, these sanctions do not start up until later this year so that it will be well into 2019 before we have some idea of their effectiveness.

The case for weaker oil prices in the next year or so rests on the rapid increase in US shale oil production. The EIA forecasts that the US will increase its oil production by another 80,000 b/d in June from a month earlier. In 2018, the US is on course to produce an average of  10.8 million b/d, and then increase production by a further 1 million b/d in 2019 to an average of 11.8 million b/d. The IEA says that oil demand will grow by 1.4 million b/d this year, but non-OPEC supply (mostly US shale) will increase by 2 million b/d. Roughly the same situation will obtain next year with a 1.4 million b/d growth in demand being offset by a 1.7 million increase in non-OPEC production. Toss in the likelihood that the OPEC+ production freeze will be ended by next year at the latest to offset any further losses of production from Venezuela and other struggling OPEC members and we would seem to have the global demand for oil pretty well satisfied until at least 2020.

The case for higher oil prices assumes that Venezuelan oil production will nearly cease in the next 18 months and that Libya and Nigeria will have trouble maintaining production due to endemic insurgencies. The end of the OPEC production freeze may not mean that the full 1.8 million b/d returns to the market. Moreover, the bottleneck problems in the Permian Basin may become so severe and the value of Permian shale so low that the rapid increases in production that are forecast for the next 18 months may not come to pass. In which case, oil prices would likely surpass recent highs.

The OPEC Production Cut:  Based on announcements from Moscow and Riyadh, the markets are assuming that the OPEC+ consortium will increase oil production this week:  however, the exact amount is still unknown.  A glance at the OPEC production charts shows that OPEC is dividing into two factions. For nine of the 14 OPEC members oil production is trending down and is unlikely to revive soon, if ever. For these countries, increasing production is impossible, and the only hope for higher revenues is a substantial price increase, hopefully back into three figures.  These countries want the Saudis and the other Gulf Arabs who have plenty of oil to keep production low as they are doing the bulk of the production cutting.

The better-off oil exporters, namely Russia, the Saudis, Kuwait, the UAE and Iraq which can increase oil production significantly have a different agenda. They realize that much higher prices would likely bring more US shale oil the markets and slow demand and see balanced markets and moderate prices in the $60-80 range as a medium-term solution to maximize revenues.

While the meeting this week is likely to be contentious, there are several possibilities as to the outcome. A small production increase of circa 500,000-600,000 b/d would offset Venezuela’s imminent collapse and would leave the markets at status quo. Russia and the Saudis seem to be pushing for a larger increase of circa 500,000 b/d immediately and another 500,000 later this year. This could offset losses from Venezuela, Iran, and from stronger demand, leaving the markets balanced.  The final possibility would come if Moscow and Riyadh succumb to the demands of the majority of members and allow only small increases in production. This could result in higher prices.

The most interesting recent development is that Saudi Arabia plans to host a leaders’ oil summit later this year for OPEC and non-OPEC countries participating in a supply cut pact. This is suggesting that OPEC, which has been around for nearly 60 years, may no longer be a meaningful way to manipulate the oil market.  An informal arrangement between Moscow and its vassals in the former Soviet Union and the Saudis and their Arab friends along the Gulf could become more important in determining oil prices and production levels in coming years.

Another interesting development is that India and China are considering forming an “oil buyers” club to negotiate jointly for better prices with oil exporting countries including the growing US oil export market. Between them, India and China currently are importing some 13-14 million b/d which is larger than the EU at 11.6 million b/d and the US at 7.9 million.

US Shale Oil Production:  The bulk of the record 10.9 million b/d produced last week came from the Permian Basin. This crude typically goes to the Gulf Coast for refining or export, but those pipelines are full. Thus more oil is going to the storage hub at Cushing, Okla. where US futures are priced.  As a result, northbound pipelines also are nearing capacity. Cushing inventories seem likely to rise as there is no end in sight to the increase in Permian production and it will be some 18 months before new pipelines to the Gulf are open. This situation could further widen the price differential between West Texas Intermediate and Brent crudes. This gap reached $10.25 last Thursday but closed at $8.38 on Friday. New York futures are down 8 percent from their 2018 high while Brent slipped about 5 percent from its peak.

For the week ending June 1, pipeline utilization from Cushing to the Gulf Coast was about 92 percent, compared with about 89 percent and 88 percent in April and May, respectively.  So far, however, a buildup has not taken place at Cushing as Midwest refiners process record amounts of crude to meet summer demand. Last week, inventories there fell 687,000 barrels to 33.9 million barrels.

Many of the largest US shale oil producers are missing out on the rally in oil prices to $65-70 a barrel – because they sold their oil through futures contracts at about $55 last year when that looked like a good deal.  The sale of hedged barrels at $10-15 below what they could have brought will hold down revenues and frustrate Wall Street investors, who have been disappointed by slow returns from the Permian boom. The top 25 shale producers will forego about $1.7 billion in combined revenues in the second quarter due to premature hedging. Another problem is the discount for oil sold in Midland, Texas relative to Houston has surpassed $10 per barrel. Given the various discounts and problems from the bottleneck, many drillers are not doing as well as could be expected from the recent price increases.

The most recent data for the Permian Basin suggests that the enormous gains in productivity may have started to flatten out said Spencer Dale, BP’s Group chief economist, at the presentation of the BP’s annual Statistical Review of World Energy. According to the most recent data about the Permian ‘initial output per rig’ fell sharply in the second half of 2016 and the first half of 2017, before recovering somewhat in the second half of last year.  Much of the fall in this measure of productivity was driven by a sharp decline in the rate at which drilled wells were fracked and completed rather than by a fall in the underlying productivity of the wells drilled.  “It is perhaps not surprising that as US tight oil output has increased rapidly, causing production to spread out from the sweetest spots, productivity has begun to flatten out,” Dale said. This measure of productivity doesn’t link directly to profitability, if the cost of drilling continues to fall or if acreage is drilled more intensely. But it does suggest that the very rapid increases in tight oil productivity that characterized much of the initial phase of the shale revolution may be beginning to fade.

2.  The Middle East & North Africa

Iran: Most of the news last week dealt with Tehran’s maneuvering to prevent the OPEC+ meeting this Friday from increasing production. The Iranians are also asking the meeting to help thwart Washington’s plans to slow their oil exports. It is in Iran’s interest to keep oil prices moving higher as it is unlikely to be increasing exports significantly in the next year or so. Saudi Arabia and Russia say they are prepared to pump more to calm consumer worries about supply and prices, which recently hit $80 a barrel, the highest since 2014.

Tehran continues to make efforts to mitigate the impact the US sanctions will have on its economy. India’s largest bank told local refiners last week that it will no longer handle payments for oil imports from Iran beginning in November.  Refiners in India currently use the State Bank of India and the Germany-based Europaeisch-Iranische Handelsbank to purchase oil from Iran in euros. “Once the current payment channel is blocked, Iran has to decide if it wants to trade with us in rupees or sell oil on credit in anticipation of channels re-opening in the future.” Tehran announced last week that agreements were made with China to use their national currencies for trade. In April, the Central Bank of Iran opened a line of credit with Turkey that could give Iran a way to continue trading.

Iran announced a new project to improve its oil output within three years.  The plan is to up the output from 29 existing oilfields with the bulk of the work to increase output carried out by Iranian companies using mostly Iranian equipment.  This announcement suggests that Tehran is concerned that the US sanctions will throttle foreign investment in Iran and delay increases in oil production.

Iraq: Oil production in May rose to its highest level so far this year, with the combined production of the federal government in the south and the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government in the north producing 4.59 million b/d.  Baghdad says it will look at whether to increase oil output if OPEC decides to lift production at the meeting on June 22.  The country’s oil minister said last Monday that Iraq’s current oil output was within the agreed limit with OPEC at around 4.325 million b/d. However, the field by field analysis shows higher production than the government is claiming.

Baghdad, along with Tehran, continues to maintain that OPEC and allies should not bow to the pressure to increase production to offset supply disruptions. Oil Minister al-Luiebi “rejects unilateral decisions by some oil producers without consulting the rest of the members.

Saudi Arabia: In addition to taking the lead to raise the OPEC+ production cap, there were several announcements from Riyadh last week of long-term significance.  The Saudis plan to boost investments in refining and petrochemicals to secure new markets for its crude and sees growth in chemicals as central to its downstream strategy to lessen the risk of a slowdown in oil demand.  Aramco is moving ahead with multi-billion-dollar projects in China, India, and Malaysia. The company has entered a 50 percent joint venture with three Indian refiners to build a $44 billion, 1.2-million-b/d refinery integrated with petrochemical facilities on India’s west coast.  These investments would raise Aramco’s refining capacity to between 8 million and 10 million b/d from its current 5 million b/d, and double its petrochemicals production by 2030.

Saudi Aramco is restructuring its non-oil businesses into subsidiaries and possible spin-offs as it attempts to streamline operations and achieve a higher valuation for its profitable core oil business ahead of the IPO.  The company has set up a new subsidiary to manage its multi-billion dollar pension fund unit and the retirement fund.  Other restructurings include spin-offs of the aviation and the healthcare divisions by either forming joint ventures or bringing other companies to operate the aviation fleet. The Saudis have been using Aramco as an investment vehicle in undertaking government projects such as building schools and infrastructure. This practice detracts from the company’s IPO value as it is not using money and other resources efficiently for the benefit of shareholders.

Libya: The major Libyan oil ports of Ras Lanuf and Es Sider were closed and evacuated last Thursday due to attacks by armed brigades opposed to eastern government commander Khalifa Haftar. At least two large storage tanks at Ras Lanuf terminal containing some 440,000 barrels of crude were set alight, and fighting continued through the weekend.

Haftar’s forces took control of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf along with other oil ports in Libya’s oil crescent in 2016, allowing them to reopen after a prolonged blockade and significantly lifting Libya’s oil production. More than half the storage tanks at both terminals were badly damaged in the previous fighting and have yet to be repaired, though there have been regular loadings from Es Sider. Libya’s National Oil Corporation said it had evacuated all staff from the two terminals “as a precautionary measure.”

The immediate production loss was around 240,000 barrels, and a tanker due at Es Sider on Thursday was postponed.  NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla noted that the loss of output could rise to 400,000 b/d if the shutdown continued, calling it a “national disaster” for oil-dependent Libya. A loss of this size has significance on the global scale and will contribute to the decision to change the OPEC+ production cap later this week.

3.  China

Beijing announced on Friday that it would retaliate against new US tariffs on $50bn in Chinese imports that will go into effect within days. This action takes the world’s two largest economies to the brink of a full-scale trade war. The new American import duties, aimed at forcing Beijing to stop what the White House claims has been systematic theft of US intellectual property, will apply to products ranging from cars and helicopters to bulldozers and industrial tools and machinery.  In response, China’s finance ministry said it would begin imposing its own 25 percent tariffs on 545 categories of US products worth $34bn including soybeans, beef, whiskey and off-road vehicles on July 6. It also threatened to add a further $16 billion later, targeting US energy exports such as coal and crude oil.  The tariffs on energy came as a surprise as China has risen to the top of the list of importers of oil from the US.

As Iran’s top oil consumer, China will likely attempt to evade sanctions that the US has re-imposed on Tehran, but ongoing trade disputes and diplomatic talks could motivate Beijing into limited compliance. “I do think the Chinese are going to evade US sanctions and even just ignore some of them,” said Richard Nephew, a principal deputy coordinator for sanctions policy at the State Department during the Obama administration. “But, depending on how North Korea and other trade issues are going, they may (I must emphasize, may) throw a few bones to the Trump Administration by reducing a small number of purchases, cooperating on a handful of evasion cases, etc.” Another former State Department official said that China would not cooperate with re-imposed sanctions unless they got a “big concession” from the Trump administration.

Chinese refineries processed a daily average of around 12.37 million barrels in May. This is an 8.2-percent annual increase. Over the first five months of 2018, refinery throughput stood at an average 12.2 million b/d.  So far this year, China—along with India—has 69 percent of the forecast growth in crude oil demand. Independent refiners, commonly called teapots, were instrumental for this increase as they received higher import quotas from Beijing. But with rising oil prices this year, teapots found their margins squeezed lower and additionally pressured by the tax reform and stricter enforcement of crude oil taxes across the country.

4. Russia

Moscow plans to propose to the OPEC+ meeting this week that they reverse the group’s production to the October 2016 levels—the baseline for the cuts of most pact participants when they had pumped as much oil as they could to blunt the cuts’ impact. Moscow will propose that OPEC and its Russia-led non-OPEC partners in the deal increase their combined production by 1.8 million b/d, starting as early as July.  Yet, even with the 1.8 million-b/d production rollback, the total OPEC/non-OPEC level would still be around 1 million b/d below the October 2016 levels. Some producers, such as Saudi Arabia, have cut more than intended. Other countries, most notably Venezuela, have seen involuntary production declines and are unable to lift production.

A major tax overhaul for Russia’s oil industry is about to start pressuring the earnings of major oil companies. Refiners will be hit hardest as the overhaul will increase the tax burden on downstream operations while the upstream sector will see taxes shift from production-based to profit-based. Last week, the Finance and Energy Ministries announced that they had agreed with oil companies to begin phasing out oil export duties by 5 percent annually over the next six years, from 30 percent now to zero in 2023. The producers are happy about this: the taxes—along with a so-called mineral resource tax based on production size—will be replaced by a profit-based tax that, oil companies say, will stimulate investments in production expansion.

5. Venezuela

Venezuela’s oil production fell again in May by 42,500 b/d to 1.392 million b/d according to OPEC’s secondary sources The EIA says Venezuelan production was 1.43 million b/d last month, down from 1.46 million in April and 1.98 million b/d in May of last year.  The EIA’s specialist on Venezuela expects Venezuela’s production to fall to 1 million b/d in the second quarter of 2019 but is waiting to see June export numbers from Venezuela. If exports are lower than expected, Venezuelan production could sink to 1 million b/ d even sooner. The International Energy Agency forecasts that Venezuela’s oil production could drop to 800,000 b/d or even lower.

The New York Times reports that thousands of workers are fleeing PDVSA, abandoning jobs made worthless by the worst inflation in the world. Desperate oil workers and criminals are stripping the oil company of vital equipment, vehicles, pumps and copper wiring, carrying off whatever they can to make money. Offices at the state oil company are emptying out, crews in the field are at half strength, pickup trucks are stolen and materials vanish.

Platts reported last week that Venezuela has already warned eight international customers that it wouldn’t be able to meet its crude oil commitments to them in June. PDVSA is contractually obligated to supply 1.495 million barrels per day to those customers in June, but only has 694,000 barrels per day available for export.  Venezuela is considering refining foreign crude for the first time to produce gasoline or diesel. PDVSA has drawn up a plan to process up to 57,000 b/d of foreign crude in June at the country’s largest refinery to fulfill export contracts and reduce purchases of fuels for domestic use.

All this suggests that Venezuela’s exports could easily be close to zero sometime next year.

6.  The Briefs (date of the article in Peak Oil News is in parentheses)

Vehicle overload: The world first reached the 10-million-vehicle level in the world in 1920, about 34 years after the first motor vehicle appeared on the road. From that level, a 10-fold increase to 100 million vehicles was reached by 1956, 36 years later. The next 10-fold increase took an additional 44 years. By 2010, we were at 1 billion vehicles. By 2015, there were 1.3 billion vehicles. (6/13)

Europe’s liquefied natural gas imports have surged sixteen percent (from 40.9 bcm in 2016 to 47.4 bcm in 2017) to become the third largest source of gas supply after Russia and Norway. The re-emergence of Europe as a major LNG market came after years of coal and nuclear power plant retirements as well as steep declines in the Netherlands largest gas field. (6/15)

Europe’s floating oil storage: While many analysts and agencies have already called the end of the global oil glut, oil held in floating storage in Europe is at an at least 18-month-high, also due to the booming US oil exports that have displaced some of the traditional crude oil routes in the world. Oil in ships around European shores was 12.9 million barrels on average in May, accounting for 26 percent of all global floating storage. (6/14)

A European economy that’s self-sufficient in energy and low-carbon could be shielded against the shock of higher crude oil prices, an Irish minister said. Minister Denis Naughten told European energy ministers in Luxembourg that the European economy should break its link to oil in order to ensure long-term sustainability. (6/12)

In the UK, some 30% of the natural gas fueling the nation’s homes and businesses could be replaced by hydrogen without requiring any changes to the nation’s boilers and ovens, a study by Swansea University researchers has shown. (6/11)

Russia could be collaborating with Seoul on the construction of a natural gas pipeline through North Korean territory, a Gazprom official said Friday. South Korean officials hinted earlier this year that a thaw in tensions on the Korean Peninsula could open the door to the construction of a Russian gas pipeline through North Korea. (6/16)

Offshore Australia, Royal Dutch Shell has introduced gas to its 490 meter (1,600 ft) long Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) unit as part of the cooling process before start-up. The Shell spokeswoman declined to comment on the estimated start-up date but reiterated that the oil major expects to get cash flow from Prelude in 2018. (6/13)

Egypt raised gasoline prices by up to 50 percent, the oil ministry said on Saturday, under an IMF reform plan that calls for the slashing of state subsidies on some consumer products.  The price hike, the third since Egypt floated the pound currency in November 2016, is expected to add more pressure on Egyptian consumers struggling to make ends meet amid high unemployment and price volatility. (6/16)

In Kenya, six years after British firm Tullow Oil announced that it had struck oil in Kenya, four tanker trucks, each carrying 156 barrels arrived in Mombasa on Thursday. It is East Africa’s first commercial oil. Transportation of the early oil by road will cost $15 million. It takes each truck ten days to complete a round trip. At least 2,000 barrels of crude is expected to be transported every day from the Lokichar oilfields to the refinery, where they will be stored. Exports will begin once 400,000 barrels arrive at the facility. (6/16)

Nigeria and Morocco on Monday signed three agreements, which includes a regional gas pipeline that will see Nigeria providing gas to countries in West Africa sub-region that extend to Morocco and Europe. (6/12)

For Angola, economic recovery for Angola, an OPEC member coping with declining production, is progressing but it’s still uncertain over the long term, the International Monetary Fund found. (6/13)

In Brazil, Equinor, formerly known as Statoil, said Friday it completed a transaction with Brazilian company Petrobras for a 25 percent stake in the Roncador oil field in the Campos basin off the Brazilian coast. Announced in December, the $2 billion deal included $550 million in contingent payments for projects meant to boost field recovery. Through the deal, Equinor increases its equity production in Brazil from around 40,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day to around 100,000 boe per day. (6/16)

Offshore Cuba, new data taken from an oil reservoir on the northern coast confirm the assessment of a highly prospective site, Australia’s Melbana Energy announced. Melbana said a new study of the reserves in the Zapato prospect inside so-called Block 9 confirms its interpretation of a 71 million barrel reservoir. (6/13)

The US oil rig count increased by one this week to 863, General Electric Co’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said Friday.  It was the 10th time in the last 11 weeks that oil drillers added rigs, although the increases have slowed in June to roughly one a week. At the same time, the gas rig count declined by four. So far this year, the total number of oil and gas rigs active in the United States has averaged 999, up sharply from 2017’s average of 876. (6/16)

In Alaska, oil production from the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) won’t take place for another decade at least, and domestic needs by then are uncertain, a federal report found. Murkowski’s office said the 1002 Area is a non-wilderness portion of the refuge and her provision carved out only a “small portion” of the acreage for oil and gas drilling. The area in question represents about 8 percent of total ANWR acreage. (6/16)

The US exported 186,000 b/d of jet fuel in 2017, the eleventh consecutive year of increasing gross jet fuel exports. Almost two-thirds of US jet fuel exports went to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. (6/14)

The Permian, Marcellus and Utica shale plays will supply 55 percent of the North American gas market by 2030. That’s the forecast of McKinsey Energy Insights in their latest report “North America Gas Outlook to 2030.” (6/15)

Gas storage low: The NYMEX July natural gas futures contract rose Monday on concerns about storage tightness. Inventories sit at 1.817 Tcf, a 30.5% deficit to year-ago levels of 2.616 Tcf and a 22% deficit to the five-year average of 2.329 Tcf, according to EIA data. (6/12)

Nuke/coal plan: A plan requested by US President Donald Trump to prevent struggling nuclear and coal power plants from shutting is still being “fleshed out” by the US Department of Energy and the White House, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said on Friday. What would amount to an unprecedented intervention in US power markets has drawn a backlash from environmentalists as well as oil, gas and renewable energy companies. (6/16)

Carbon capture with a twist: President Trump’s plan to revive failing power plants with mandatory purchases has proven divisive. The latest pro-coal-and-nuke episode features a new twist, though: some of the angriest pushback has come from the same conservative base that usually lambasts progressives and environmentalists over climate change. As it turns out, there is at least one major area of agreement among those divergent groups: investing in and developing carbon capture technologies. (6/11)

New solar generation capacity in the U.S. hit 55 percent of total new generation capacity additions in the first quarter of the year, despite the tariffs on imported PV panels that worried the industry, a study by the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research revealed. At 2.5 GW new solar additions were up an impressive 13 percent on the year. (6/15)

In sunny Texas, German utility E.ON said Tuesday it was making its solar energy debut with plans for a 100-megawatt facility in Reeves County in the western region of the state. (6/13)

Global spending on renewable energy is outpacing investment in electricity from coal, natural gas and nuclear power plants, driven by falling costs of producing wind and solar power. More than half of the power-generating capacity added around the world in recent years has been in renewable sources such as wind and solar, according to the IEA. In 2016, about $297 billion was spent on renewables—more than twice the $143 billion spent on new nuclear, coal, gas and fuel oil power plants, according to the IEA. The Paris-based organization projects renewables will make up 56% of net generating capacity added through 2025. (6/12)

The European Commission said it was setting a new bar for renewable energy use with a 32 percent target for 2030, with additional consideration for further revisions in 2023. The governing body said this step puts more strength behind European President Jean-Claude Juncker’s ambition for Europe to become the world leader in renewable energy use. (6/15)

Floating wind farm: Norway’s Petroleum and Energy Minister Terje Søviknes will meet next week with companies and other stakeholders to discuss the potential construction of offshore floating wind farms in Norwegian waters. The floating offshore wind parks are not fixed to the seabed and can be installed in deeper waters. (6/16)

Solar Vietnam? As China tightens the noose over Vietnam’s ability to drill for oil and gas in its own UN-mandated 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone, the country is turning to solar energy and other renewables to make up for lost ground. Over the weekend, Singapore-based Sunseap Group broke ground on Vietnam’s largest solar farm, a 168-MW project. (6/13)

EV issue: The growing adoption of electric vehicles is expected to cost Germany’s key auto industry about 75,000 jobs by 2030, a study released Tuesday shows, with parts suppliers set to suffer the most. Germany’s car industry currently employs about 840,000 people, with 210,000 of them working on powertrain production, the sub-sector set to be the worst hit. (6/11)

E-buses: The Toronto Transit Commission, the third largest transit agency in North America and the most heavily used system in all of Canada, purchased ten Proterra Catalyst E2 buses in support of the transit agency’s goal to convert its entire fleet of 1,926 buses to zero-emission buses by 2040. Canada has around 24,000 public transit buses in circulation, and around 2,000 buses turn over each year. (6/16)

More E-buses: The Chicago Transit Board awarded a $32-million contract to Proterra for the purchase of 20 new, all-electric buses. The new electric buses will give the CTA one of the largest electric bus fleets in the country. CTA has been testing two electric buses since 2014. (6/15)

Antarctica’s melt is speeding up. The rate at which Antarctica is losing ice has more than doubled since 2012, according to the latest available data. Between 60 and 90 percent of the world’s fresh water is frozen in the ice sheets of Antarctica, a continent roughly the size of the United States and Mexico combined. If all that ice melted, it would be enough to raise the world’s sea levels by roughly 200 feet. (6/14)