Readers: This blog post about the launch of ExxonMobil’s latest Outlook for Energy report was featured in The Hill today. Also, I encourage you to take a look at our video blog featuring Bill Colton, vice president for Corporate Strategic Planning, who talks about the key findings in this year’s Outlook.
Want to know how much energy the world will need over the next couple of decades and where it will come from?
Take a look at ExxonMobil’s newly released Outlook for Energy. There, you’ll find that growing populations, coupled with economic and social progress, mean the world is going to need more energy by the year 2030. And we’ll need a diverse mix of affordable energy sources to meet this demand.
Released today, our Outlook found that the world’s single largest energy source through 2030 will continue to be oil because of its importance as a transportation fuel, which will be especially in demand in fast-developing economies worldwide. But overtaking coal for the No. 2 spot in the world’s energy lineup is a cleaner-burning fuel that can help meet the world’s enormous power generation needs: natural gas.
Natural gas is abundant, affordable, versatile and can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 60 percent compared to coal when used to generate electricity. Because of these qualities, natural gas will be the fastest-growing major fuel through 2030, as worldwide demand increases by more than 60 percent from 2005.
This development is just one of the significant shifts forecast in the new report. Built upon public and proprietary data for more than 100 countries, the Outlook helps guide ExxonMobil’s global investment decisions. It is, in effect, the foundation for our playbook. So why share it publicly? Because we believe that everyone benefits when consumers and policymakers are well-informed about energy and environmental challenges and options.
Here are just a few more of the report’s key findings:
- By 2030, global energy demand will be about 35 percent higher than it was in 2005. Growth will be led by China, India and other fast-developing countries, where rapid economic progress and rising living standards are fueling big increases in energy usage.
- U.S. energy demand will hold steady through 2030, as it will in many mature economies, where relatively slower growth in energy needs can be offset by ongoing improvements to efficiency.
- Power generation will be the largest and fastest-growing global demand sector. By 2030, power generation will account for more than 40 percent of all energy demand.
- In the U.S. and other mature economies, CO2 emissions will decline significantly through 2030, while rising energy demand in fast-developing economies will push global emissions up by about 25 percent.
With just these few key facts, you can see the challenges ahead. Growing economies need more energy, including electricity. We must meet this rising demand safely and with minimal impact on the environment. As our Outlook shows, technology has proven to be one of the best means to manage these challenges.
Natural gas is a perfect example. In just the past few years, advances in “unconventional” gas-production technologies have, for the first time, made it economically feasible to tap the enormous supplies of natural gas that are found in tight rock and shale, as well as coal bed methane.
The result is nothing short of revolutionary. A generation ago, unconventional natural gas production was not economically possible. Today, it’s the fastest-growing major energy source on the planet. And by 2030, the world’s unconventional gas production will be nearly one and a half times greater than the oil output of Saudi Arabia.
Meeting our energy and environmental challenges will not be easy. It will require pursuing a diverse mix of economic energy sources, plus continued progress on efficiency. Critically important will be stable, predictable regulatory frameworks that allow for long-term investment in the technology and infrastructure needed to develop the energy that will be required to meet growing demand.
I encourage you to visit our Outlook for Energy website where you can view and download our latest report, and I’d welcome any feedback and questions you might have.