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ExxonMobil’s outlook for energy: Part 1

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

According to ExxonMobil’s Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040, the world will require all forms of energy over the next quarter century to meet a greater than one third increase in demand that will be driven by population growth, improved living standards and expanded urbanisation.

In the annual forecast, ExxonMobil project that future energy needs will be approximately 35% higher in 2040 than 2010. These needs are expected to be supported by more efficient energy saving practices and technologies, increased use of less carbon intensive fuels such as natural gas, nuclear and renewables as well as the continued development of technology advances to develop new energy sources. Without gains in efficiency, global energy demand could have risen by more than 100%.

Oil and gas demand

Population growth is anticipated to be the driving force behind the increased energy demand as the global population is expected to hit 9 billion by 2040. A doubling of the global economy, at an annual growth rate of 3%, in the largely developing world is also likely to push demand levels up.

The outlook projects that oil and natural gas will continue to meet approximately 60% of energy needs by 2040. Liquid fuels will remain the energy of choice for most types of transportation because they offer a unique combination of affordability, availability, portability and high energy density.

There outlook expects a 25% increase in the demand for oil, which will be led by increased commercial transportation activity, is expected to be met through technology advances that enable deep water production and development of oilsands and tight oil.

Natural gas is expected to continue to be the fastest growing major fuel source as demand increases by approximately 65%. Natural gas is projected to account for more than one quarter of all global energy needs by 2040 and it is expected to overtake coal as the largest source of electricity.

Alternative energies

ExxonMobil expect nuclear energy to see solid growth despite some countries scaling back their nuclear expansion plans following the 2011 Fukushima incident in Japan. The predicted growth will be led by the Asia Pacific region, where nuclear output is projected to increase from 3% of total energy in 2010 to nearly 9% by 2040. Renewable energy, including biomass, hydro and geothermal, wind, solar and biofuels, is expected to grow by nearly 60%. Wind solar and biofuels are most likely to make up 4% of energy supplies in 2040, up from 1% in 2010.

Power generation

In 2040, energy for power generation is expected to still be the largest component of global demand and is expected to increase by 50% as improved living standards come with urbanisation and rising incomes lead to increased household and industrial electricity consumption. The growth reflects an expected 90% increase in electricity use, led by developing countries where 1.3 billion people currently live without any access to it.

Adapted from a press release by Claira Lloyd.

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