Quote of the Week

“The solar PV story is a Chinese story. China has been for a long time the leader in manufacturing. What’s new is the share in the market. This year, it was equivalent to the total installed capacity of PV in Germany.”

Paolo Frankl, head of the IEA’s renewable energy division

Graphic of the Week


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

1.  Oil and the Global Economy

US crude futures fell to $49.23 on Friday for a weekly loss of nearly 5 percent – the first weekly drop in more than a month. Hurricane Nate struck the US Gulf Coast Saturday night forcing the temporary closure of some 70 percent of US offshore oil production. In comparison with other recent hurricanes, Nate was relatively weak, so the damage to oil production and refining should be minimal and production back to normal in a day or two.

The tension between the OPEC production cut and increasing US and other production around the world continued last week. On Thursday, there was a brief price surge after Russia and the Saudis said they favor extending the production freeze through the end of 2018.

Last week, the Director of the IEA said, “the production growth from non-OPEC countries is still there, so I do not expect a price rise in the near future.” He made these remarks despite signs the global surplus is shrinking more rapidly, and the growth of the US rig count is faltering. Last week total US commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 6.1 million barrels.

The OPEC Production Cut: Bloomberg and Platts both report that OPEC’s oil production increased in September from August. Bloomberg calculates that production was up by 120,000 b/d for the month while Platts say it was an 80,000 b/d increase. The increases seem to have come from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Libya, and Nigeria. Bloomberg says that compliance with the agreement fell from 88 to 82 percent during the month.

The visit of Saudi King Salman to Moscow last week was the highlight of the OPEC week. The two countries seemed to have signed numerous cooperation agreements and are jointly calling for a nine-month extension of the production freeze agreement. Naturally, the countries that are hurting badly from lower prices are joining in the call to extend the ban. Venezuela is running around trying to round up more non-OPEC oil exporters to join the agreement. The Iranians say they are in favor of doing anything they can to increase prices.

Last week Russia held a five-day conference of oil ministers to discuss the situation. Russia’s “Energy Week” ran between October 3 and 7 in St. Petersburg and included meetings and panels made up of various industry executives and officials, including OPEC’s Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo. Moscow proposed that a new mechanism to monitor oil exports be set up to support the freeze agreement. The argument seems to be that some countries are exporting from reserves or cutting domestic consumption after the summer cooling season which allows them to export more oil thereby keeping prices down. The short-term efficacy of the OPEC/non-OPEC production cut is still an open question.

US Shale Oil Production: The future of oil production from the Permian Basin remains in the spotlight. There seems to be general agreement that major increases in US shale oil production will have to come from the Permian or not at all. Most observers believe that increased drilling may push up production from the Bakken and Eagle Ford by a few hundred thousand barrels a day but that neither of these basins has much future as the cost of production there will continue to grow as the high producing sweet spots become fewer and fewer.

While some continue to tout a brilliant future for the Permian basin, the number of voices saying this will not happen at today’s prices continues to grow. At a recent energy conference, consultant Art Berman told the group “that on balance, the Permian Basin shale plays are, in most cases, marginally profitable “because costs are very high and you have to balance the costs with the results,” he said. “These wells, these companies, these plays are totally dependent on outside capital.” If companies spend more than they make, they need outside help paying the bills, he said. Otherwise, they have to scale back operations, “which means you won’t grow production. And if you scale back, that means you cut jobs. A few companies are making good money, and there are companies with break-even costs at $50 oil. But overall, that’s not enough to make the economics work, particularly with the very high acquisition prices people have been paying.”

While Berman has been saying that most Permian oil production is not profitable for a long time, other observers are starting to echo the warning. The Houston Chronicle, citing Wood Mackenzie, points out that shale oil drillers spend just $5 billion on land deals in the basin during the last six months in comparison to $35 billion in the prior nine-month period.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal made the same point. “Future oil production is notoriously difficult to predict, and a surge in prices could certainly improve the economics of American shale. But a growing chorus of oil industry leaders, including some shale trailblazers, believes U.S. growth may peak sooner than government forecasters think—a development with ramifications for global oil markets. In recent years, shale production has reliably filled any voids in world supply, effectively taming volatile price gyrations. Potential limits to shale growth call into question predictions that this trend will continue. “There are no new shale plays that have come forward,” said Mark Papa, chief executive of Centennial Resource Development Inc. and former CEO of EOG Resources Inc. “Their ability to spew forth infinite streams of oil is just a myth.”

Moody’s made the same point. “The extraordinary cost reductions achieved by North American oil and gas companies have likely reached their limit, and any boost in profitability for much of the US shale and Canadian oil sands industries will have to come from higher oil prices.” Moody’s studied 37 oil and gas companies in Canada and the U.S., concluding that although the oil industry has dramatically slashed its cost of production in the past three years and is currently in the midst of posting much better financials this year, there is little room left for more progress.

The growth-at-all-costs model for shale drillers has succeeded in increasing US oil production, but it hasn’t led to many profitable oil companies. A group of activist investors hopes to change this arrangement by breaking the link between the pace of drilling and CEO pay. Reuters reports that some activist investors are pushing for fundamental changes to executive pay so that rewards will come from making profits rather than just higher production financed by Wall Street.

A new problem is appearing in Oklahoma. It seems that long-lateral fracked oil wells are making a problem for nearby conventional oil wells by destroying their output through contamination. Several lawsuits already have been filed while a group representing old-guard drillers is gathering data, aiming to force legislation guaranteeing compensation when damages occur.

2.  The Middle East & North Africa

Iran: President Trump is expected to decertify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal, a step which would throw the ball to the Congress which would have 60 days to impose new sanctions on Iran. The US would likely be alone in the imposition of sanctions as all other parties to the agreement are satisfied with Tehran’s compliance and do not believe that any Iranian actions outside of the agreement are grounds for decertification.

Tehran’s reaction to the President’s actions could take two courses. First, there are those in Iran who would want to break the agreement immediately on the grounds that the US has insulted the Iranian people. It is more likely that the Iranians will wait to see what the Congress does as “decertification” is only of concern inside Washington and would have no impact on Iranian oil sales.  Should the Congress vote to re-impose sanctions then the Middle East would go ricocheting off in a new direction. The Iranians would likely re-embark on a nuclear enrichment program and possibly move to build nuclear weapons. This could eventually trigger an Israeli military response, especially if they could convince the Trump administration to join in.

The efficacy of a US-only sanctioning the global banking system to suppress the Iranian economy remains to be seen. While the US+EU sanctions worked pretty well and many world banks will avoid dealing with Tehran to keep away from the problems that would arise if US regulators came after them, the results are unlikely to be what Washington is seeking. Moscow would do everything it could to help Iran and hurt the US and probably come up with many ways to bypass the sanctions.

Tehran is still trying to get oil prices higher but is not willing to make cuts to its own oil exports. So far it has mostly resorted to rhetoric to get others to make cuts.

The issue of whether Tehran is willing to get involved in efforts to derail Kurdish independence aspirations is still out there. There have been reports of Iranian military exercises close to the border with Iraqi Kurdistan.

Iraq: Iran, Iraq, and Turkey are taking a unified stance against Kurdistan’s oil sector after the region elected to seek independence from Baghdad in a referendum in September. The three countries will form a tripartite mechanism and “will decide on shutting down the oil,” Turkish President Erdogan said after a meeting with leaders from the other two nations on Thursday.  Kurdish leaders affiliated with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party deployed reinforcements to the Iranian border last Monday, as tensions increased over fears that federal Iraqi troops would take the Parwezkhan border crossing by force.

In the meantime, the Iraqi Army and supporting forces continue to mop up the remnants of ISIS forces which have largely been forced out of towns and now only hold a stretch of land along the Iraqi-Syrian border. Retreating ISIS forces have set fire to oil wells they held before pulling back.

Saudi Arabia: Russia and Saudi Arabia signed agreements worth more than $3 billion during a visit to Moscow by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak was quoted as saying on Wednesday. The deals will include a $1.1 billion agreement for Russian petrochemical firm Sibur to build a plant in Saudi Arabia. The relationship between Moscow and Riyadh previously marked by mutual distrust has been replaced during the past year by strategic co-operation bound by economics, trade, and geopolitics. Much of this newly found friendship can be traced to the deal struck between Moscow and Saudi-led OPEC last year to jointly freeze production in order to drive world oil prices higher. Both are highly dependent on the price of oil and have suffered greatly since prices plummeted three years ago.

The stability of the Saudi state will continue to be of major concern to those interested in the future of oil. Some believe there is serious trouble brewing in Saudi Arabia as an alliance within the royal family is being formed to derail the ascendancy of the 32-year-old crown prince to the throne. The prince and his father King Salman have bypassed the traditional Saudi approach to secession based on seniority within the royal family.

Trouble for the royal family is everywhere. The economy is not doing well. The war in Yemen is a disaster. The confrontation with Qatar is going nowhere, and much of the royal family is outraged at what the king and his son are doing. The situation could remain stable until King Salman dies or abdicates, or trouble could break out at any time.

Libya:  After a three-day halt when an armed group shut off production, Libya’s giant Sharara oil field opened on Wednesday. The field was producing about 240,000 b/d before it was shut down. The country is still in turmoil and incidents like this can be expected to continue until a strong central government with sufficient military power to control the country comes along.

A Russian oil tanker, allegedly carrying contraband oil, was fired on and possibly sunk by a Libyan coast guard vessel on Sunday.

3.  China

A new study by the China University of Petroleum in Beijing concludes that the country is about to experience a peak in its total oil production as early as next year.  Without finding an alternative source of “new abundant energy resources”, the study warns, the 2018 peak in China’s combined conventional and unconventional oil will undermine continuing economic growth and “challenge the sustainable development of Chinese society.”

This also has major implications for the prospect of a 2018 oil squeeze — as China scales its domestic oil peak, rising demand will impact world oil markets contributing to a potential supply squeeze. That could happen in 2018 proper, or in the early years that follow. The Chinese could: shift to reducing its demand for energy, a tall order in itself given population growth projections and rising consumption; accelerate a renewable energy transition; or militarise the South China Sea in hopes of finding more deepwater oil and gas.Beijing has stepped up its imports, especially from Russia. So far this year, China’s  demand for oil has increased by an average of 550,000 b/d, more than double the increase during the same period in 2016. China, which is importing some 11 million barrels of crude a day is clearly the worlds largest importer, but like the US is highly vulnerable to supply disruptions – hence the ongoing efforts to diversify its oil imports.

Solar power generation is up by 12 percent and a major effort is underway to convert the country to electric cars.

In a very brief time, the Chinese have created the world’s largest electric car market.  The government is funding its own manufacturers, luring domestic buyers with subsidies, and building a vast charging-station network. At the same time, it is forcing consumers to buy an electric car by restricting new license plates for oil-fueled cars in crowded cities.  China’s car sales are surging, but the share going to electric vehicles are expected to be 2 or even 2.5 percent by the end of the year. Beijing’s short-term goal is to have electric vehicles including hybrids to be at 8 percent of new car sales by 2018, 10 percent by 2019, and 12 percent by 2020.

4. Russia

Crude oil production was flat at 10.91 million b/d in September compared to August—staying at the lowest levels for 2017, as maintenance at some fields affected production. Russia’s August and September oil production level was the lowest since the 10.71 million bpd it produced in August 2016. In October 2016 Russia surged its production higher to establish a base before the OPEC and non-OPEC production deal so October 2016 could be used as the baseline for Moscow’s production reduction.

Moscow says it is moving into renewables and energy storage as well. Energy Minister Alexander Novak said earlier this week that Russia could find a place among the world’s leaders in solar power generation and energy storage. Russian solar panel makers, the minister added, can already produce an efficiency factor per panel on par with global leaders.

Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft wants to boost its supplies of oil to China through Kazakhstan to as much as 36,000 b/d. Such an increase may significantly drain flows of Urals blend to Europe at a time when Russian oil output has been reduced as part of a global pact to support prices. Gazprom aims to take a 10 percent share of the Chinese gas market after 2025; a company executive told an energy conference on Wednesday. Gazprom said earlier this year it planned to begin supplying gas to China through Siberia on Dec. 20, 2019.

5. Nigeria

Diezani Alison-Madueke, the former minister of petroleum (2010-2015) has been implicated in bribery, fraud, misuse of public funds, and money-laundering cases in Nigeria, Britain, Italy and the United States. She is alleged to have stolen at least $90 billion from the state during her time in office. Numerous court ordered forfeitures have already begun after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission applied to the courts to reclaim the money and the property on behalf of the government. If true, this is an impressive amount of money to have stolen during four years in office.

The former minister currently is in London where she is being tried in the British courts for money laundering. Many believe that Nigeria is better off having her tried in London where prosecutors are better, and there is no judicial corruption.

Nigeria, among other African producers, has begun to adopt a diversification policy, according to new goals announced by Abuja this week. The National Economic Council aims to increase total non-oil government revenues fivefold from $5 billion to $25 billion over an unspecified timeline and reduce dependence on oil revenues.

6. Venezuela

There are indications that Russia’s Rosneft in slowly taking over some operations of Venezuela’s national oil company, PDVSA, as the country sinks deeper into debt to Moscow. PDVSA has some $ 3.6 billion in bond payments coming up soon. If the Russians loan the money for this debt PDVSA will fall even deeper into Russian hands.

Argentina’s flagship air carrier Aerolineas Argentinas has discontinued its weekly flight to Caracas, Venezuela, citing “operational reasons.” The move further isolates Venezuela from international travel routes after carriers including Deutsche Lufthansa, Air Canada, and United Continental Holdings have pulled out.

Venezuela says has alternatives to sell its oil if the US decides to impose further sanctions on its oil sector. The Trump administration imposed new sanctions in late August, prohibiting trading new debt and equity issued by the Venezuelan government and state oil company PDVSA. These followed a widely criticized July 30 vote that allowed Maduro to replace the country’s National Assembly with a hand-picked Constituent Assembly expected to rewrite the constitution.

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

Demand for offshore rig rental globally is starting to recover from its worst-ever downturn, led by oil firms’ growing demand for harsh-environment exploration and triggering multi-billion-dollar tie-ups among drillers hoping to profit. (10/5)

Lundin Norway AS, operator of a production license in the Barents Sea, has found no oil or gas in a wildcat well it has drilled, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said on Friday, in the latest of a string of disappointing well drilling in the Barents Sea. (10/2)

Russia could exploit its position on the oil market has given recent geopolitical turmoil and end the year as the “energy superpower,” a market report read. RBC Capital Markets said Russia stands to gain further ground because of security and economic complications for some of the world’s largest oil producers: Iran, Iraq, and Venezuela. (10/3)

Gazprom dethroned ExxonMobil as the top energy company in the world, according to the 2017 S&P Global Platts Top 250 Global Energy Company Rankings. The rankings measure the financial performance of energy firms on four key metrics: asset worth, revenues, profits, and return on invested capital. The list only includes companies that have assets greater than $5.5 billion. For 12 years, ExxonMobil was second to none, but that changed this year. (10/2)

Russian gas exports to Europe and Turkey increased by 11.3 percent year-on-year to 141.2 billion cubic meters (bcm) in January-September, gas giant Gazprom said. It also said the group’s gas output rose by 19.1 percent to 339.8 billion cubic meters in the same period. (10/3)

Although Lebanon’s offshore licensing round officially began in 2013, the bids of pre-qualified companies are due by October 12, 2017. But is the four-year wait worth it? Despite all the challenges, Lebanon remains an alluring asset. With no national oil and gas company around and a relatively liberal taxation regime, it might grow into Israel’s natural gas peer. (10/5)

In Algeria, engineering company KBR said Monday it would support construction activity for gas operations at two sites hit in terrorist attacks in recent years. (10/3)

Offshore West Africa: French oil giant Total signed an agreement on Friday with Guinea’s national oil company ONAP to carry out seismic mapping of deep and ultra-deep offshore blocks with an option to acquire three of them. (10/7)

Brazil just experienced the latest demonstration of the viability of deepwater projects. On Wednesday, the country’s National Petroleum Agency put 287 oil and gas blocks up for auction, and only 37 found buyers. Too few, it might seem at first. But the proceeds came in at more than US$1.2 billion —a hefty share of this pledged by heavyweight Exxon—and roughly seven times what the government expected. (10/2)

Offshore Guyana, Exxon Mobil Corp. on Thursday reported its fifth new oil discovery after drilling the Turbot-1 well offshore Guyana with the Stena Carron drillship.  Could the company reach as much as 2 billion barrels of reserves there? (10/6)

The Panama Canal Authority is working with LNG shippers towards doubling the capacity set aside for LNG vessels by next October, the PCA said Wednesday. The PCA is working towards allowing two LNG vessels a day to transit the canal, from the single slot currently available. (10/5)

In Mexico, Pemex’s effort to secure a partner for two shallow-water fields in the Gulf of Mexico fell flat as none of the registered companies presented bids. For on-shore assets, several smaller players stepped up. (10/5)

Canadian pipeline company TransCanada said Thursday it was canceling plans for its Energy East pipeline overhaul after careful review. TransCanada submitted an application for its Energy East project three years ago, proposing the construction of a new 930-mile segment and converting 1,800 miles of gas line for oil service. It would have carried 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to eastern Canadian refineries. (10/6)

TransCanada Corp’s decision this week to scrap its $12 billion Energy East pipeline and delays to other export pipeline projects look set to increase producers’ reliance on costly crude-by-rail to bring barrels to market. The move came after Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) on Aug. 23 announced a tougher review process that would consider indirect greenhouse gas emissions. (10/7)

Canada’s real gross domestic product (GDP) was essentially flat in July, driven down by a 1.8% decline in oil and gas extraction.  That follows an eight-month streak of increases. (10/2)

The total US oil and gas rig count now stands at 936 rigs, with the number of oil rigs in the United States decreasing by two this week and the number of natural gas rigs decreasing by two, according to Baker Hughes Inc. (10/7)

Pushing offshore envelope: Members of the US House will take up a measure on offshore drilling that advocates say checks off the wish-list for the oil and gas industry. The measure would limit the presidential authority to put parts of the Outer Continental Shelf off-limits to oil and gas drillers and give the Interior Department the authority to move ahead with new leases sales “as soon as practicable.” (10/7)

Shale opportunity: Huge volumes of dirty water produced by US shale firms are driving up investment in water-handling as cash-conscious oil and gas companies try to trim costs. For every barrel of crude, drillers generate up to six barrels of brackish water containing chemicals used to release oil and gas from shale rock. The water is trucked or piped to disposal wells or recycled. Water-handling companies benefit from economies of scale, but convincing energy CEOs to release water operations that they traditionally managed in-house is challenging. (10/6)

Upcoming LNG exports: Cove Point in Maryland is to become the second major US LNG export facility to begin shipping cargoes. The export project remains on schedule for completion in the fourth quarter of this year. (10/2)

Pushback avoidance: After opening up more federal lands to drillers and coal miners, and making public its plans to allow drilling in the Arctic, the Trump administration has begun a review of 11 marine sanctuaries to consider opening them for oil and gas drilling. Public relations concerns that have led to the lukewarm reaction of the energy industry to the sanctuary review. (10/3)

The average US household expenditure on gasoline in 2017 is expected to total $1,977, or approximately 2.4 percent of median incomes of households, according to the latest EIA projections. The most recent peak for household gasoline expenditures was $2,715, or 4.0 percent of household income, in 2008. (10/7)

US coal train loadings volumes fell for the sixth straight week to a low not seen in almost three months, railroad data showed. (10/7)

Coal + nuke support: A legal battle over the future of the US electricity system is looming after the Trump administration shocked the industry with proposals for new subsidies for coal-fired and nuclear power plants. If implemented, the plan could mean the most radical shake-up of the market in decades. (10/2)

Sheltering coal and nuke? The report released in late August on the reliability and the resilience of the US grid suggested—strongly—the nation needs to prop up the two sectors (coal and nuclear generation) that the market was otherwise turning away from–for reliability and security reasons.  The renewable energy industry and the environmental community read the report as a thinly veiled threat of some proportion to the growing market share of clean energy technologies like solar and wind. Energy Secretary Perry used the study to direct the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to open a rulemaking that would require utilities to keep on-hand a 90-day supply of what the Trump administration refers to as fuel-secure resources. The rest of the world calls these resources coal, nuclear, natural gas and diesel. (10/6)

Coal/nuke vs. gas/RE: On September 29, the US Department of Energy sent a proposal to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that would if adopted, significantly increase the value of aging coal and nuclear power plants…The fact remains that a combination of inexpensive natural gas from the US shale boom and the relentless decline in the cost of renewables together spell eventual economic doom for aging base load coal and nuclear power plants. Right now we’re just haggling about the glide path to obsolescence. (10/5)

Coal pollution solution: Taiyuan, the capital of China’s northern province of Shanxi, which is known for its coal production, has banned the sale, transport and use of most coal as it tries to cut air pollution. The ban was expected to cut coal use by more than 90 percent of the city’s total consumption. (10/2)

Finnish wind: Parts of the world with incredible wind energy potential have long been inaccessible to wind farms. But with the completion of the first wind farm built to withstand ice-prone conditions off the coast of Finland, the industry has clearly evolved. Ten 4.2MGw turbines—designed to cope with the rough, cold and icy Finnish winters—have been installed over the last two years. (10/2)

Royal Dutch Shell and its partners Eneco Holdings NV and Mitsubishi Corp. are seeking to sell a stake in two Dutch offshore wind-farm projects that may cost $1.4 billion to develop. The move would allow the companies to scale back financial exposure to the wind farms and redeploy the cash in new projects with the potential for higher returns. (10/3)

Russia gets a fifth of its energy from hydropower. This might sound shocking for a country whose image is so tightly linked to oil and gas, but Russia has a lot of big rivers and it’s putting them to good use. Now, Moscow is moving into other renewables and, more interestingly, energy storage as well. Energy Minister Alexander Novak said earlier this week that Russia could find a place among the world’s leaders in solar power generation and energy storage. (10/6)

RE surge: The IEA overhauled its forecast for the next five years, significantly raising the projected growth profile for renewable energy. In its new report, the IEA argued that it now sees renewable energy as a serious global force, increasingly taking market share away from coal and natural gas. The 164 gigawatts of new renewable energy capacity came online around the world, more than triple the amount of new gas-fired power plants, and more than twice the volume of coal. (10/5)

Solar power grew faster than any other source of fuel for the first time in 2016, the IEA said in a report suggesting the technology will dominate renewables in the years ahead. The institution said 164 gigawatts of renewables were completed last year, which was two-thirds of the net expansion in electricity supply. (10/5)

Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority closed last May a project finance agreement for the 1.17-GW Noor Abu Dhabi, a project set to be the largest independent solar plant in the world. The photovoltaic (PV) facility will cost $872m – of which $650m will be debt, and $222m equity – and is slated to be operational by the second quarter of 2019. The UAE’s Energy Plan 2050 aims to shift the energy mix in the UAE to 44 percent renewables by that year. (10/2)

In Morocco, during early August the government earmarked €206.1 million for investments in solar power, to be directed towards projects capable of lifting agricultural output. The capital will be used to promote the use of solar energy to power water pumps for irrigation as part of a plan to expand agricultural water access to more than 100,000 ha of new land by 2021. The move should also help reduce consumption of butane gas in farming operations. (10/2)

Lithium batteries made with asphalt could charge 10 to 20 times faster than the commercial lithium-ion batteries currently available, according to reports from a laboratory at Rice University. (10/6)

EV boom: By the end of the year, electric-car maker Tesla Inc. will have burned through more than $10 billion without ever having made 10 cents. Yet companies around the world are lining up to compete with it. Almost 50 new pure electric-car models will come to market globally between now and 2022. (10/2)

An EV need: The number of plug-in ports for electric vehicles would need to increase more than 130 percent to meet future growth, a US Energy Department study found. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates there are 16,000 charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles nation-wide, with 43,000 actual plugs available as of June. (10/6)

EV bump: A handful of governors from western US states roll out plans Wednesday to expand access—more plug-in stations—for electric vehicles along 5,000 miles of their highways. (10/5)

Chinese EVs: The number of passenger vehicles sold in China surged 68 percent in August compared to the same month last year, but the really compelling statistic is the number of electric vehicles that made up the proportion of the 55,000 units sold in the Asian country. According to numbers published Sunday by Clean Technica, the plug-in-vehicle market grew in China to 1.8 percent of total passenger vehicles. (10/3)

China will impose tough regulations from April 2018 on passenger car makers and importers to reduce energy consumption and expand sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs). Automakers and importers will be evaluated each year for both fuel consumption of traditional cars and the output of NEVs. They will be given two separate scores. If they fail to amass enough credits for either traditional vehicles or NEVs, they may face penalties and their products may not be allowed on the road. (10/2)

Testing autonomous EV model ship: A six-meter, 2.4-ton model ship of a much larger final design of the autonomous and fully electric container vessel was revealed as testing commenced at SINTEF Ocean’s 80-meter test tank facility in Trondheim. (10/2)

Wave innovation? Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) researchers have developed mini-turbines to convert the power of ocean waves into clean, renewable energy.  At just 28 inches in diameter, the five-blade mini-turbines are apparently simple and environmentally friendly. (10/3)

A Finland utility is expected to use horse manure to power the entire Helsinki International Horse Show later this month, according to a press release from Finnish utility, Fortum. And while the jokes practically write themselves, the headway of this alternative energy is serious business. (10/5)