The head of France’s Total Petroleum, Patrick Pouyanne, said over-supply of crude oil on the global market now amounts to 2%. He added that two-thirds of the drilling rigs in the US are shut down as a result of oil prices that are this week trending around $30 a barrel. Some 87,000 people have been laid off in that country whose jobs were tied to the oil industry.

According to Bloomsberg, US oil and gas producers are expected to announce 2015 losses totaling over $15 billion. Companies have already announced huge earnings losses, vastly reduced output, and large spending and job cuts.

Pakistan is hoping to reduce the amount of its electricity shortages by purchasing liquid natural gas (LNG) from Qatar. The countries have entered into a long-term purchase agreement worth $15 billion (13.3 billion euros), whereby Pakistan will import 3.75 million tons of LNG annually from Qatar. This is the single largest energy contract in Pakistan’s history and comes at a time when the country is striving hard to resolve its severe energy crisis – a factor that has caused electricity outages and dragged down the economy. The current shortfall is projected to be around 5,500 megawatts which has led to significant electricity load shedding being implemented across the country in both urban and rural areas. The shortages are estimated to have cost the country around 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) annually.

The Danish Government has given approval to the development of an offshore electric power interconnector between Germany and Denmark. The 400 megawatt link will also connect offshore wind farms (Denmark’s Kriegers Flack and Germany’s Baltic 1 and Baltic 2). The project, to be completed by 2018, is part of the European Union’s future cross-border electricity market, where much more electricity must be traded back and forth across borders. The link will enable both countries to buy electricity from each other at times when the wind is not blowing and the wind turbines are not spinning.

East African countries are working an a plan to create a regional electric power interconnection in an effort to increase their economic development. The countries include Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Libya. If implemented, the plan would ensure access to electricity to millions of people in the region through regional power grid interconnections and would improve their livelihood by tackling power shortages.

The 2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook reveals renewable energy comprised 20% of the US electric power infrastructure last year, reaching 222 gigawatts of installed capacity. 13.5 GW (0r less than 1%) of this renewable capacity is from biomass, biogas, and waste-to-energy projects.

Renowned physicist, Stephen Hawking, suggests humans may be able to harness the power of a ‘mini’ black hole to power the Earth. He believes a mountain-sized black hole would give off X-rays and gamma rays, at a rate of about 10 million megawatts, would be enough to power the world’s electricity supply. Professor Hawking jokes: “People have searched for mini black holes of this mass, but have so far not found any. This is a pity, because if they had I would have got a Nobel Prize.”

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