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More Oil and Gas to be Found

There is no doubt: oil and gas will remain the preferred energy source for years to come, according to Exxon Mobil’s comprehensive review of energy demands in the next 30 years.
This article appeared in Vol. 9, No. 2 - 2012

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Global energy de mand by fuel type. By 2040, oil and natural gas will be the world’s top two energy sources, ac count ing for about 60% of global demand, compared to about 55% today, according to ExxonMobil. Gas is the fastest grow ing major fuel source over this period. Coal is the only energy source to be reduced in the years to come. Source: © ExxonMobil Energy Outlook 2012 Global energy demand will be about 30% higher 30 years from now. This is one of the main conclusions in ExxonMobil’s The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040.

The reason is that economic output is expected to more than double and prosperity to expand across a world whose population will grow to nearly 9 billion people. However, it is also important to keep in mind the probability that the increase in energy demand will slow down in the years to come.

Another important observation is that while energy demand remains essentially flat in OECD countries, non-OECD energy demand will grow by close to 60%. “China’s surge in energy demand will extend over the next two decades then gradually flatten as its economy and population mature. Elsewhere, billions of people will be working to advance their living standards – requiring more energy,” the report says.

Fossil fuels will remain the premier energy source. In 2040, oil, gas and coal will together make up about 80% of the global energy consumption.

With respect to coal, demand will peak and begin a gradual decline within the next 30 years, the Energy Outlook says. This is because new policies seeking to curb emissions by imposing a cost on higher-carbon fuels. Natural gas, on the other hand, is expected to overtake coal for the number-two position behind oil as demand rises about 60%.

For both oil and natural gas, an increasing share of global supply will come from unconventional sources, such as oils sands, shale oil and shale gas.

The good news is that ExxonMobil expects global energy-related CO2 emissions to level off around the year 2030. This global emissions trend is the result of significant improvements in energy efficiency, plus shifts toward natural gas and other less carbon intensive fuels, as efforts continue to manage the risks posed by rising greenhouse gas emissions.

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