Musk says Tesla will build vehicle designed to be a robotaxi
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Tesla will build a vehicle dedicated for use as a robotaxi, and it will start making three new vehicles next year, CEO Elon Musk told fans at a party celebrating the opening of a Texas factory.
Musk didn’t give details of the robotaxi other than to say it will “look quite futuristic.” He also said Tesla will start building the Cybertruck pickup at its new factory near Austin, Texas, next year. After that, it will start building a new Roadster and an electric semi, he said.
He made his remarks Thursday night at the “Cyber Rodeo at Giga Texas,” an invitation-only party for thousands of guests at Tesla’s new billion-dollar-plus factory.
As many as 15,000 people were expected to attend the private event hosted to mark the opening of the new factory in Travis County that also serves as the company’s new headquarters following its move from California.
Musk said at the Thursday night event streamed live on YouTube that Tesla was delivering the first Model Y small SUVs built at the new factory, which he said can make a half million of the SUVs per year.
Tesla and Musk have often missed targets to start producing vehicles. In 2019, he promised a fleet of autonomous robotaxis would be on the road the following year, but the company’s “Full Self-Driving” software is still being tested by selected Tesla owners on public roads.
The company is the largest maker of electric vehicles in the U.S. and the world.
Musk said this year will be about scaling up the Austin factory as well as a new one in Germany. He also said the company may start building a robot in 2023. “Next year there’s going to be a massive wave of new products,” he told the crowd Thursday night.
A county-issued permit said the event included interactive tours, food, alcohol and live entertainment. But the event was off-limits to the general public and the news media.
Musk has said the Austin-area plant will employ up to 10,000 workers.
Wilkinson urges collaboration after Saskatchewan rejects federal energy table
Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson arrives to a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 30, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
By Jeremy Simes in Regina
Federal natural resources minister Jonathan Wilkinson has asked Saskatchewan to work together on shared energy priorities after Ottawa and the province recently clashed over differing net-zero plans.
In a letter addressed to Premier Scott Moe this week, Wilkinson said he remains open to discussing how both parties can collaborate to build the economy while also ensuring the environment is sustainable for future generations.
Wilkinson has been working with each province to create regional energy and resource tables, forums that would identify areas where both jurisdictions can move forward on shared priorities and accelerate economic activity.
He said most provinces and territories have agreed to have their own table with Ottawa, but Saskatchewan has not.
Saskatchewan Justice Minister Bronwyn Eyre wrote to Wilkinson on May 16 the province won’t participate because it is “directly connected to the federal ‘Just Transition’ plan.”
Wilkson responded he’s disappointed Saskatchewan won’t take part, adding he believes people expect governments of all stripes to come together and find solutions.
“Given that the intention is to focus on areas of economic priority of the province for the advancement and betterment of the provincial economy, it is difficult to understand such a rejection and how this will be in the best interest of Saskatchewan’s citizens,” he said in the letter Wednesday.
Alberta, Nunavut and Quebec have not yet said if they will participate.
Wilkinson’s letter comes after Moe said Saskatchewan would not meet Ottawa’s target for electricity emissions to be net-zero by 2035.
Moe has said Saskatchewan can meet a 2050 target, but the 2035 target is not achievable, would harm the province’s economy and cause electricity to be unaffordable and unreliable.
The 2035 target is part of Ottawa clean electricity standards, which are still under development. The standards would allow fossil fuels to be used if the emissions are abated.
Wilkinson said the 2035 target is possible, affordable and desirable.
He said countries and businesses are moving toward net-zero to seize economic opportunities and to avoid the effects of climate change, noting all G7 countries have committed to achieving a decarbonized electricity grid by 2035.
In her letter, Eyre indicated the province is still open to having discussions with Ottawa about projects and funding.
However, she said Saskatchewan is “drawing a line” over various environmental policies she believes are harmful.
She said Ottawa should stop these policies, which include proposed emissions caps, the carbon tax, clean electricity regulations, fuel standards and fertilizer emissions reductions.
“When you do this, we can build a stronger Canada together,” she said in the letter.
Wilkinson said Ottawa and Saskatchewan already agree in several areas, including hydrogen, biofuels, critical minerals, value-added agriculture, carbon capture and small modular nuclear reactors.
He said the province could start dialogue over advancing key projects, including Foran Mining’s plans in northeast Saskatchewan and the Critical Minerals Processing Centre in Saskatoon.
Wilkinson said both parties could also look at how they can advance regulatory processes around small modular nuclear reactors, which Saskatchewan is considering as part of its future electricity grid.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2023.
Canadian Energy Centre
Mexico leapfrogging Canada on LNG and six other global oil and gas megaprojects
By Deborah Jaremko of the Canadian Energy Centre Ltd.
Major investments in countries like the United States, Norway, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are being made to meet world demand
New major oil and gas megaprojects around the world are proceeding amid concern about underinvestment in conventional energy leading to painful supply shortages.
“The energy future must be secure and affordable, as well as sustainable,” said Daniel Yergin, vice-chairman of S&P Global, earlier this year.
“Adequate investment that avoids shortages and price spikes, and the economic hardship and social turbulence that they bring, is essential to that future.”
Even if oil and gas demand growth slows, a cumulative $4.9 trillion will be needed between 2023 and 2030 to prevent a supply shortfall, according to a report by the International Energy Forum and S&P Global Commodity Insights.
Major investments in countries like the United States, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Mexico are being made to meet world demand.
Meanwhile, due to regulatory uncertainty and concerns over proposed policies like an emissions cap for oil and gas production, Canada’s vast resources – produced with among the world’s highest standards for environmental protection and social progress – are being left behind.
Here’s a look at just a handful of global oil and gas megaprojects, listed in rising order of development cost.
Mexico: Altamira LNG
New Fortress Energy
Mexico is leapfrogging over Canada to become an LNG exporter.
While Canada’s first LNG export project is expected to start operating in 2025, Mexico’s could come online this August – less than 10 months after Mexico’s government finalized a deal with U.S.-based New Fortress Energy to make it happen.
While relatively small at 1.4 million tonnes of LNG per year (LNG Canada’s first phase will have capacity of 14 million tonnes per year), under Mexico’s agreement the Altamira site is to become an LNG hub.
New Fortress Energy is to deploy multiple same-sized floating LNG units to produce LNG from natural gas transported through TC Energy’s Sur de Texas-Tuxpan pipeline.
An existing LNG import terminal at Altamira is also expected to be converted into a 2.8-million-tonne-per-year export facility.
United States: Willow Oil Project
The U.S. government granted approval this March for the giant Willow oil project on Alaska’s North Slope to proceed.
The project, owned by ConocoPhillips, is designed to produce 180,000 barrels per day at peak and operate for 30 years. It includes a processing facility, operations centre, and three drilling sites.
The Willow leases are inside the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska, which was established in 1923 as an emergency oil supply for the U.S. Navy. It is now administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
Willow would occupy about 385 acres (around half the area of Central Park in New York City) in the northeast portion of the 23-million-acre reserve. It is expected to deliver nearly US$9 billion in government revenue, creating about 2,500 jobs during construction and 300 long-term positions.
ConocoPhillips has yet to make a final investment decision, but is anticipating starting production in 2029, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
United States: Golden Pass LNG
QatarEnergy, Exxon Mobil
Golden Pass LNG is one of four natural gas export terminals under construction on the U.S. Gulf Coast as the United States continues to build its platform as an LNG powerhouse.
With about 90 million tonnes per year of LNG export capacity today, analysts with Wood Mackenzie expect that if current momentum continues, another 190 million tonnes per year could come online by the end of this decade.
The US$10-billion Golden Pass project owned by QatarEnergy and Exxon Mobil will have three production trains with total export capacity of about 18 million tonnes of LNG per year.
The U.S. began exporting LNG in 2016 and has since built more LNG capacity than anywhere else in the world, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
First LNG exports from Golden Pass are planned for 2024.
Norway: Njord Field Restart
Wintershall Dea, Equinor, Neptune Energy
Norway has officially reopened a major offshore oil and gas field, with the goal to extend its life beyond 2040 and double its total production.
Nearly US$30 billion in upgrades to the Njord project’s production platform and offloading vessel started in 2016, after nearly 20 years of operations. It was originally only expected to run until 2013, but improvements in recovery technology have opened the door to accessing substantially more resources.
Production restarted in December 2022, just in time to help address Europe’s energy crisis.
“With the war in Ukraine, the export of Norwegian oil and gas to Europe has never been more important than now. Reopening Njord contributes to Norway remaining a stable supplier of gas to Europe for many years to come,” Norway’s oil and energy minister Terje Aasland said in a statement.
The project will drill 10 new wells and tie in two new subsea oil and gas fields, with the work expected to add approximately 250 million barrels of oil equivalent to the European market. Partial electrification of equipment is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Qatar: North Field East LNG expansion
Qatar Energy, Shell, TotalEnergies, Eni, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, Sinopec
The largest LNG project ever built is underway in Qatar.
State-owned QatarEnergy’s US$29 billion North Field East Expansion will increase the country’s LNG export capacity to 110 million tonnes per year, from 77 million tonnes per year today. Startup is planned in 2025.
A planned second phase of the project will further increase capacity to 126 million tonnes per year.
World LNG demand reached a record 409 million tonnes in 2022, according to data provider Revintiv. It’s expected to rise to over 700 million tonnes by 2040, according to Shell’s most recent industry outlook.
Saudi Arabia: Jafurah Gas Project
State-owned Saudi Aramco is moving ahead with development of the massive Jafurah gas project, which it says will help meet growing energy demand and provide feedstock for hydrogen production.
First gas from the $110-billion project is expected in 2025, rising to reach two billion cubic feet per day by 2030. That’s about one-third the volume of all the natural gas produced in British Columbia. Saudi Aramco produced 10.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day in 2022, or more than half the gas produced in Canada.
Last year the company started construction work on the gas processing facility that is the anchor of the Jafurah project. Aramco is reportedly in talkswith potential partners to back the US$110 billion development.
Russia: Vostok Oil
Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft continues to barrel ahead with the massive Vostok oil project in the country’s arctic, which Rosneft calls the largest investment in the world.
The US$170 billion project will use the Northern Sea Route to export about 600,000 barrels per day by 2024. Production is expected to increase to two million barrels per day after the second phase. For comparison, Canada’s entire oil sands industry produces about three million barrels per day.
The main problem the energy industry faces is global underinvestment in conventional sources, Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin said earlier this year. He stressed the importance of Vostok’s oil supply for growing Asian economies.
“Vostok Oil project will provide long-term, reliable, and guaranteed energy supplies,” Sechin said.
Two new icebreaker vessels recently helped deliver 4,600 tonnes of cargo including oil pipes for the project to the arctic development sites, the Barents Observer reported.
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