Moody’s Investors Service has placed the ratings of 120 oil & gas companies around the world on review for a ratings downgrade. The reviews reflect a mix of declining crude oil prices that are near multi-year lows, weakening global demand, and a prolonged period of oil oversupply that will continue to significantly stress the credit profiles of companies in the oil & gas sector. These companies include Royal Dutch Shell, Norway’s Statoil and Total.

The pace of drilling in the North Sea, the center of UK crude oil production for the past 40 years, has plunged to a record low as crashing energy prices force explorers to abandon costly projects. Just 63% of oil and gas rigs in the UK North Sea were being now, according to data provider RigLogix.  In the Norwegian North Sea, the 71% rate is also the worst on record.

Malaysia’s state-owned oil firm Petronas plans to slash as much as $11.4 billion in capital and operating expenditures over the next four years due to low world oil prices.

The world’s largest oil service company, Schlumberger, said it will cut 10,000 more jobs from its current 95,000 staff due to ongoing cancellations of projects by customers.  The latest wave of cuts means the firm will have cut 34,000 employees, or 26% of its original workforce, since November 2014.

OPEC currently controls 72% of the world’s proved crude oil reserves — 1.2 trillion barrels.

Exxon Mobil says the global energy landscape won’t be radically different in 2040 than it is today. Crude oil and natural gas will remain king, accounting for an even slightly larger share of the energy supply. Coal will fall behind natural gas to become the third-largest source of energy. Renewable sources such as solar and wind power will triple but remain small — producing just 4% of the world’s energy in 2040. Exxon’s main predictions:

— Global energy demand will rise 25% from 2014 to 2040, led by developing nations in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. (The International Energy Agency recently forecast a one-third increase by 2040.)

— Oil use will grow 25% in that period, although it will account for a slightly smaller share of overall energy, and use of natural gas will jump 56%.

— Together, oil and gas will account for 57% of the world’s energy, up from 56% in 2014.

— Coal’s share will slide from to 20% from 26%.

—Nuclear and biomass will each account for 8% of energy in 2040, hydro 3%, and other renewables 4%. Exxon thinks alternative fuels will become a staple in power generation but grow more slowly in transportation because of technology and cost issues.

The International Energy Agency says South-East Asia’s energy demands are expected to grow by 80% from 2015 to 2040.

A report from the World Energy Council forecasts strong growth in global adoption of electrical energy storage, citing dramatic reductions in the cost of electrical energy storage. With many new technologies in the pipeline, storage costs of energy are projected to fall as much as 70% over the next 15 years.

Japan has approved 85.5 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy projects since the introduction of an incentive program in July 2012, with solar comprising the bulk of the new capacity. 23.7 GW, or about 28% of this total, have gone online as of last fall. Japan has approved 79.8 GW of solar projects, with 29% of that capacity already generating electricity. Biomass and wind power followed solar in terms of the approved capacity with 2.7 GW and 2.3 GW respectively.

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