World population will reach 9.9 billion in 2050, increasing by 33% from an estimated 7.4 billion now, the latest report from the Population Reference Bureau has predicted. Very low birth rates in Europe will mean population declines there while Africa’s population is expected to double.

European aviation manufacturer Airbus is reportedly working on a flying driverless taxi that you can summon via an app on your smartphone. The company expects to have a prototype built and doing initial tests by the end of 2017.

Energy research and consulting firm, Wood Mackenzie, reported that new crude oil discoveries in the world are now at a 70-year low and that very little is being spent finding more oil. Exploration began to collapse with the fall of the price of a barrel of oil from over $100 to under $40 over the past two years. Last year explorers discovered only about a tenth as much oil—2.7 billion barrels—as they have annually on average since 1960, and the lowest amount since 1947. This year, they’ll probably find even less, spurring new fears about their ability to meet future demand for oil.

Wood Mackenzie estimates a $50 billion decline between 2016 and 2020 in investment in oil and gas projects on the Norwegian Continental Shelf as companies defer and cancel projects to cut costs. More than 10 projects have been deferred or scrapped.

The huge global crude oil oversupply that has kept prices low for the past two years may not clear until the second half of 2017, said Shell’s chief energy adviser Wim Thomas. The potential return to the market of some 1.5 million barrels per day of supply from Libya and Nigeria and uncertainty about Iranian and Iraqi production levels could push a rebalancing further away and keep world prices low.

The African country of Uganda issued production licenses to Tullow Oil Plc and Total SA of France and Cnooc Ltd., the state-owned Chinese producer. The country expects to pump as much as 230,000 barrels per day of crude oil by 2020.

In West Africa, sustained crude oil prices below $50 a barrel will dampen the prospects for new oil projects in the region. Angola, the continent’s biggest producer, has the lowest break-even price of $49.60 a barrel. Nigeria needs $81.80 a barrel to make a profit, while Gabon, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea require between $70 and $80 oil.

The first US liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipment to China arrived last week, marking the official entry of the US into the Asian LNG market. The Maran Gas Apollonia, which carried the cargo, traversed the newly enlarged Panama Canal to reach China, and was the first LNG tanker to transit the newly expanded canal.

Royal Dutch Shell announced new natural gas discoveries in  Egypt.  The gas is located in an area of north Alam El-Shawish in the nation’s western desert. The initial quantities discovered were estimated at about half a trillion cubic feet of gas with more possible reserves.

Cuba is turning to foreign investors to boost renewable energy as it faces cutbacks in cheap crude oil imports from Venezuela.  Cuba wants to get 24% of its electric generation from renewable resources by 2030.

China’s state-owned Shanghai Electric Power Co. plans to acquire a controlling stake (66.4%) in Pakistani power utility K-Electric Ltd., in a deal that could be one of the biggest foreign investments in Pakistan’s history. K-Electric supplies power to Pakistan’s largest city and economic hub, Karachi, home to around 20 million people.


with h/t Tom Whipple

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