North American Energy Demand to Stay Flat


Energy demand will stay flat in North America and increase by 37 percent in Latin America between 2017 and 2040, according to a new forecast by ExxonMobil.

The study predicts that North America’s energy demand will be 108 quadrillion British thermal units in 2040, the same as in 2017, according to the study, “Outlook for Energy: A Perspective to 2040.” Oil and natural gas are expected to comprise 75 percent of that amount, with oil remaining the leader at 38 percent. Demand for natural gas in North America is expected to be 25 percent higher in 2040 than in 2017, while demand for oil is projected to remain essentially flat, declining 3 percent over that time. Coal is expected to show the steepest decline, dropping by 70 percent.

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The renewables segment is expected to show strong demand growth, with consumption projected to be 143 percent higher in 2040 than in 2017; however, it would still only account for about 8 percent of energy consumption in the region.

Demand in Latin America is expected to grow to 38 quadrillion Btu. Oil, natural gas and biomass and waste energy are forecast to account for 80 percent of demand in that region, with oil remaining in the lead at 41 percent. Demand for oil in the region is expected to rise by 31 percent and demand for natural gas by 65 percent over that time period. Although demand for renewables is forecast to have a high growth amount of 142 percent over that span, it is from a 2017 base of only 1 quadrillion Btu. ExxonMobil did not indicate whether it includes Mexico in North or Latin America.

North America’s abundant reserves of unconventional gas is expected to feed new liquid natural gas projects and meet growing local demand, the company concluded in its outlook.

In 2040, wind and solar power are expected to deliver 25 percent or more of electricity in Europe and North America, contributing to public policies that promote renewables.

North American tight oil, also known as shale oil, and associated natural gas liquids production is expected to nearly double between 2017 and 2025, which would swing North America to become a net exporter of liquids. Other types of liquids including oil sands, deep water and conventional crude and condensate.

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