U.S. – Oil & Environment
- For the first time in 60 years, the U.S. is a net natural gas exporter on an annual basis, averaging 0.4 billion cubic feet per day.
- U.S. oil output is expected to increase from 9.73 million barrels a day in December 2017 to 11 million in November 2019 (Source: EIA).
- North American oil production grew 5% in 2017 due to shale oil.
- Russia pumped 10.98 million barrels a day in 2017; Saudi Arabia 10 million.
- U.S. Interior department said it is considering selling off oil and gas leases in 90% of coastal waters. Florida waters to be untouched.
- The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will replace clean water Obama-era regulation and open up debate on climate change in 2018.
- EPA aims at weakening or killing the regulations that Trump administration believes are too broad and harm their economic growth.
- EPA’s top priorities for 2018 will be to replace the Clean Power Plan, which would have reduced carbon emissions from power plants.
- Re-write the Waters of the United States rules, defining which U.S. waterways are protected under the federal law.
- 4 issuers withdrew proposals for approval to launch bitcoin exchange-traded funds, due to regulator’s ongoing concerns regarding liquidity and valuation.
- Kodak announced a plan to launch its own “photo centric cryptocurrency” (Bloomberg), Kodakcoin, to create more control over image rights management.
- Energy consumption by cryptocurrencies could require up to 140 terawatt-hours in 2018, 0.6% of global total. That is more than the expected power demand for electric cars in 2025.
- South Korean government plans to ban cryptocurrency exchanges due to suggested tax evasions and rapid speculations, with majority being males aged between 25-35 years.
- South Korean financial authorities are checking if 6 local banks that offer virtual currencies are adhering to anti-money laundering rules.
- NAFTA’s 6th round of negotiations will take place in Montreal on January 23-28. Mexico will withdraw if the U.S. does.
- Bruce Heyman, the former U.S. ambassador to Canada, said NAFTA has become a toxic term when it comes to its political implications and should be changed.
- GM is testing an autonomous electric car, Chevrolet Bolt, with nosteering wheel and pedals, giving total control to the machine.
- Iranian protest resulted in 22 deaths and more than 1,000 arrests, with many detainees being students.
- Iran bans teaching of English language in primary school as it opens the door to “western invasion”, according to country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
- Venezuela’s annual inflation in December was 2,616%, which is higher than the accumulated inflation over the year for all of Latin America.