Oil: Top Energy Source to 2040


Global energy demand in 2040 will be 30 percent higher than in 2010, with oil, gas and coal accounting for 80 percent of total energy consumption, according to ExxonMobils The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040.

Energy demand growth is expected to slow as economies mature, efficiency gains accelerate and population growth moderates, the company concluded in the recently released report. In transportation, hybrid vehicles are expected to move from the margins to the mainstream, and the percentage of conventional vehicles making up the global fleet is projected to drop down to about half of 2010 levels.

Energy Demand
ExxonMobil projects demand for all forms of energy will rise at an average annual rate of 0.9 percent a year from 2010 to 2040.

Oil will still be the top energy source, spurred on by a 70 percent growth in liquid petroleum demand in non Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations. Natural gas will be the fastest-growing major energy source, with global demand surging 60 percent from 2010 to 2040. By 2025, natural gas is projected to be the second most widely used source of energy worldwide.

Wind, solar and biofuels are expected to account for about 4 percent of global energy demand by 2040. Wind is the fastest-growing energy source over the 2010 to 2040 period, rising at about 8 percent a year.

In the countries belonging to the OECD – including countries in North America and Europe – ExxonMobil expects energy use to remain essentially flat, even as the countries achieve economic growth and higher living standards.

Non OECD energy demand is expected to grow by close to 60 percent from 2010 to 2040. Chinas surge in energy demand will extend over the next two decades, then gradually flatten as its economy and population mature, ExxonMobil stated. Starting about 2030, the outlook forecasts Chinas industrial energy demand will peak as its population plateaus, its economy matures and its infrastructure expands at a more measured pace.

At the same time, India and Africa – and other non OECD regions, including Latin America, the Middle East and other Asian nations such as Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam – will become the growth leaders in the industrial sector, ExxonMobil reported. Indias industrial energy demand is expected to nearly triple from 2010 to 2040.

Overall, global energy demand for transportation will rise by nearly 45 percent from 2010 to 2040.

ExxonMobil expects the average new car to get 48 miles per gallon in 2040, compared to 27 miles per gallon in 2010. With personal vehicles growing more fuel-efficient, ExxonMobil expects growth in global transportation demand to be led by trucks, ships and planes.

Hybrid vehicles are expected to move from the margins to the mainstream over the next 30 years. ExxonMobil expects that by 2040, hybrids and other advanced vehicles will account for nearly 50 percent of all light duty vehicles on the road, compared to only about 1 percent today. As a result, energy trends in the transportation sector will diverge in an unprecedented way, with demand for personal transportation fuels changing very little even as commercial transportation energy needs continue to rise sharply, the company concluded.

ExxonMobil expects to see growth in plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, along with compressed natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas powered vehicles. Together those are only expected to account for about 5 percent of the global fleet in 2040, because their growth will be limited by cost and functionality considerations.

Conventional vehicles, today about 98 percent of the global fleet, are projected to drop to about 50 percent of the fleet and only account for 35 percent of new-car sales by 2040.

The number of personal vehicles in the world – cars, SUVs and light pickup trucks used for everyday use – is expected to nearly double from 2010s total to 1.6 billion vehicles in 2040. ExxonMobil believes the vast majority of the growth will come from non OECD areas, where prosperity is growing rapidly and vehicle ownership levels today are relatively low.

Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will plateau approximately 2030 and will remain essentially unchanged from 2030 through 2040. The company expects that in the OECD, emissions will decline by 20 percent over the outlooks period.

While remaining the highest in the world, the United States per-capita emissions are expected to decline significantly from just under 18 tons per person in 2010 to less than 12 tons per person by 2040. Europe, where per-capita emissions are less than half of the United States level, is also expected to see a decline, from more than 6 tons per person in 2010 to less than 6 tons per person by 2040.

A key factor is China, which accounts for one quarter of global emissions. Chinas emissions are expected to begin declining after about 2025 to about 6 tons per person in 2040, ending decades of very large increases associated with rapid economic development and industrial activity. Factors at work include vehicles with better fuel economy, more efficient power plants and new technologies and practices that save energy across all end uses. ExxonMobil also foresees a shift toward less carbon-intensive fuels, particularly in the electricity generation sector.

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