Energy Roundup: OPEC Production Cut, U.S. Demand Slowing, Big China Nukes and More

Last Updated Dec 17, 2008 1:32 PM EST

Oil production slashed during OPEC meeting -- OPEC agreed yesterday to its largest cut in production ever. Reducing output by two million barrels, OPEC leaders said, will chase up oil prices which have fallen since July's high. Non-OPEC members Russia and Azerbaijan may compliment the cut by lessening their output by a combined 600,000 barrels. [Source: AFP]

American oil demand slowing -- Growth in U.S. demand for oil is expected to virtually stall between now and 2030 because of greater energy efficiency, more renewable fuels and an expected rebound in oil prices, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Overall energy use will still increase, but at a slower pace than recent predictions. With an annual three percent increase in renewable energy, American dependence on foreign energy will decrease, the group said. [Source: AP]

Construction on China's largest nuclear plant underway -- An official ceremony kicked off construction of the Yangjiang nuclear power plant, the largest approved plant in China. The southern China power plant will eventually host six domestically engineered CPR-1000 pressurized water reactors, which generate 1080 megawatts each. The project is estimated to cost $10.1 billion, said Zhang Guobao, head of China's National Energy Bureau, though he didn't say when the project should be finished. [Source: World Nuclear News]

Russia keeps distance from OPEC -- Amid speculation that the world's No. 2 oil producing country -- the largest outside of OPEC -- would join the powerful group of oil-rich nations, Russian officials played coy at yesterday's summit in Algeria. Moscow could slash oil output next year to help strengthen falling crude prices, but would not commit to further closing the gap between the powerful group and Russia's independence, said Russian Deputy Premier Igor Sechin. [Source: AP]

Wave power as alternative energy -- Researchers at Portugal's Technical University of Lisbon and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are collaborating on a project intended to maximize the efficiency of an oscillating water column similar to those used in earlier water-power systems. As water levels change in its chamber, trapped air is forced into an opening to drive a turbine. [Source: Earth2Tech]