Oil Forecast to Stay Top Energy Source


Oil Forecast to Stay Top Energy Source

Although oil is expected to remain the top energy source in the Americas out to 2040, there will be gains by natural gas and renewables, some of which will about double from small bases, according to the 2018 edition of ExxonMobils global energy outlook.

In 2016, North America accounted for 20 percent of global energy demand, which totaled 552 quadrillion British thermal units, and Latin America for 5 percent. By 2040, North Americas share is expected to slide down to 16 percent of 681 BTUs, and Latin Americas share is projected to edge up to 6 percent. ExxonMobil did not indicate whether it includes Mexico in North or Latin America.

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North America

Demand for all energy types in North America is expected to increase 3 percent from 2016 to 111 quadrillion BTUs in 2040.

Oil is estimated to remain the regions top energy source, accounting for 38 percent of its demand in 2040, down slightly from 39 percent in 2016. Natural gas is expected to jump to a 36 percent share in 2040, up from 30 percent in 2016. Abundant natural gas supplies give manufacturers a competitive edge in parts of Latin America, according to the outlook, along with Africa and the Middle East. Coal is expected to slide from 13 percent down to 6 percent.

While the shares of nuclear (8 percent), biomass/waste (3 percent) and hydro (3 percent) are all expected to remain little changed to 2040, other types of renewables are projected to increase from 3 percent to 7 percent. The outlook projects wind and solar energy to see strong growth in North America and Europe, and provide more than 20 percent of delivered electricity in 2040.

Latin America

In Latin America, combined demand for all energy types is projected to jump 42 percent to 40 quadrillion BTUs by 2040.

The outlook expects oil to remain the regions leading energy source, accounting for 40 percent of its demand in 2040, down from 44 percent in 2016. Natural gas is projected to edge up from 22 percent to 27 percent during that period. Coal is expected to rise from 3 percent to 4 percent and biomass/waste to slide from 17 percent to 12 percent. Other forms of renewables are expected to double to 8 percent, from 4 percent.


The company projects global transportation-related energy demand to increase by close to 30 percent out to 2040. At the same time, total distance traveled per year by cars, sport utility vehicles and light trucks will increase about 60 percent, reaching about 23 trillion kilometers. As personal mobility increases, average fuel economy for new light-duty vehicles will rise from about 13 km per liter to close to 21 km/l.

The growth in transportation energy demand is expected to account for about 60 percent of the growth in liquids fuel demand. Liquids demand for light-duty vehicles is expected to be relatively flat to 2040, reflecting better fleet fuel economy and significant growth in electric cars.

Carbon Dioxide

ExxonMobil noted that global carbon dioxide emissions rose close to 40 percent from 2000 to 2016 despite a roughly 10 percent decline in emissions in Europe and North America. Combined, such emissions in Europe and North America are projected to fall about 15 percent by 2040, compared to 2016.

The 2018 edition of The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040 is posted on ExxonMobils web site here.

Photo: avarand/Shutterstock

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