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Jan. 9, 2012: Energy Outlook Sees Efficiency, Growth, and Natural Gas Reshaping Demand

January 9, 2012
KEYWORDS energy / outlook / trends
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IRVING, Texas — Demand for energy will rise through 2040 as global economic output doubles and prosperity expands across a world where population will grow to nearly 9 billion people, Exxon Mobil Corp. states in The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040. Extending its annual long-term energy forecast to 2040 for the first time, ExxonMobil said this year’s outlook reveals several trends that will influence how the world uses energy over the coming decades.

The outlook projects that global energy demand in 2040 will be about 30 percent higher than it was in 2010, led by growth in developing regions such as China, India, Africa, and other emerging economies. While oil will remain the most widely used fuel, overall energy demand will be reshaped by a continued shift toward less-carbon-intensive energy sources — such as natural gas — as well as improvements in energy efficiency.

As in previous editions of The Outlook for Energy, rising demand for electricity is identified as the single largest influence on energy trends. ExxonMobil projects that global electricity demand will rise by 80 percent through 2040 as economies and living standards improve, and consumers switch to electricity from other sources such as oil, coal, or biomass. By 2040, four out of every 10 units of energy produced in the world will be going toward the production of electricity.

The mix of fuels used to produce electricity will change dramatically, however, as nations shift away from coal in favor of lower-carbon sources such as natural gas, which emit up to 60 percent less CO2 than coal when used for electricity generation, notes the outlook. By 2040, 30 percent of the world’s electricity will be produced using natural gas, while demand for coal will peak and experience its first long-term decline in modern history.

The Outlook for Energy also reveals the impact of new technologies that are expanding global energy supplies, such as advances in production techniques that have unlocked a century’s worth of natural gas across the United States. ExxonMobil estimates that natural gas from shale and similar sources will account for 30 percent of global gas production by 2040.

Developed by a team of experts using a combination of public and proprietary sources, ExxonMobil said it publishes The Outlook for Energy to encourage broader understanding of energy issues among policy makers and the public.

For more information, visit www.exxonmobil.com/energyoutlook.

Publication date: 01/09/2012

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