China to drive non-OECD energy demand
Exxon and the IEA bet on growth in the Middle Kingdom
Global forecasts frequently make bold pronouncements about what the energy world will look like in the future. The 2011 World Energy Outlook and The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040 published late last year by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and ExxonMobil Corp., respectively, are no exception.
Both predict global energy demand, driven mainly by non-OECD countries, will increase by no less than 30 per cent in the coming decades. And both foresee a growing role for natural gas in power markets. Be warned, though. Energy forecasting is rife with uncertainty, and the pertinent details often lie in what’s not said as much as in what is.
|A perennial bull on technology, Exxon foresees the makeup of the world’s oil reserves changing to include more deepwater production and “tremendous” growth in oil sands production, both in Canada and Venezuela. By 2040, the company predicts oil sands will account for a quarter of total liquids supply in North and South America.||Alberta’s oil sands underpin “rapid” growth in Canadian oil production, the IEA says. Output grows from 1.5- to 4.5-million barrels per day between 2010 and 2035, the Paris-based forecasting agency says, part of an overall increase in unconventional oil production in non-OPEC countries of five million barrels per day.|
|Following its purchase of XTO Energy three years ago, Exxon has become a big believer in natural gas. By 2040, the firm says production from shale and other unconventional rock formations will comprise 30 per cent of the global market, up from 10 per cent two years ago.||The share of shale gas production in North America is rising so rapidly that it should no longer be considered “unconventional,” the IEA says. Companies ought to be cautious, though, as concern over the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing – it takes anywhere from 7,500 to 20,000 cubic meters of water to frack a single well, the IEA notes – spreads through regions unaccustomed to fossil fuel activity.|
|Industrial activity will drive demand for natural gas in China and India, Exxon says. The Middle Kingdom alone is expected to account for almost half of all Asia-Pacific non-OECD demand growth, the Irving, Texas-based petroleum giant predicts. Overall global energy demand will rise by 35 per cent between 2009 and 2035.||Global energy demand increases by 40 per cent between 2009 and 2035, the IEA says. Much of the growth is attributable to demand for crude oil, which is expected to rise by 18 per cent due mainly to increased demand in the transportation sector in non-OECD countries.|
|The corporate descendant of Standard Oil predicts “meaningful” growth in renewable fuels, with the largest bump coming from wind and followed by solar energy. By 2040, solar, wind and geothermal power are expected to meet seven per cent of global energy demand, up from three per cent in 2010.||China adds more coal, gas, nuclear, hydro, biomass, wind and solar power between now and 2035 than any other country in the world, the IEA predicts. By 2035, the IEA anticipates generation from non-hydro renewable energy will comprise 15 per cent of global electricity supplies, or more than double what Exxon predicts.|