“Demand for coal is expected to rise through 2025 and then decline as China’s economic growth gradually slows and it follows the shift seen in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries toward cleaner fuels,” oil major ExxonMobil said.
“Still, over time, global coal demand is expected to remain most prominent in Asia Pacific, primarily to support growing power-generation requirements.”
ExxonMobil also warned that without efficiency gains across economies worldwide, energy demand from 2010-2040 would head toward a 140% increase instead of the 35% forecast in its 2015 Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040 report launched.
With carbon considerations driving gas’ rapid growth ahead of coal, ExxonMobil said the OECD would lead efforts to curb carbon dioxide emissions through 2040 as energy demand declines and a shift to lower-carbon fuels occurs.
“Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in those countries are projected to be about 10% below 1980 levels, even though they will have about 40% more people and significantly larger economies,” the oil major said.
“Across OECD nations, the outlook assumes the implied cost of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will reach about $80 per tonne in 2040.”
However, while non-OECD countries will represent 70% of global energy demand by 2040, ExxonMobil said energy demand per person in those nations would remain well below OECD levels.
Utilities and industrial operations were expected to account for about 80% of the demand increase worldwide, ExxonMobil said, as operators increasingly choose natural gas due to its lower emissions and versatility as a fuel and feedstock.
ExxonMobil’s report projects that carbon-based fuels will continue to meet about three quarters of global energy needs through 2040 – consistent with all credible projections, including those made by the International Energy Agency.
“The outlook shows a shift toward lower-carbon fuels in the coming decades that, in combination with efficiency gains, will lead to a gradual decline in energy-related carbon dioxide emissions,” ExxonMobil said.
“The global middle class is expected to climb from about 2 billion in 2010 to almost 5 billion people by 2030, representing more than half of the world’s population, according to the Brookings Institution.
“As projected, that middle class expansion – largely in India and China – will be the largest in history and will have a profound impact on energy demand. Along with income gains, on-going societal changes such as expanded infrastructure, electrification and urbanisation will contribute to greater energy use.”
ExxonMobil’s outlook was developed by examining energy supply and demand trends in 100 countries, 15 demand sectors covering all manner of personal and business needs and 20 different energy types.