The world faces a fossil energy future to 2030



International Energy Agency : Economist, engineer
The world’s primary energy needs in the Reference Scenario are projected to grow by 55% between 2005 and 2030, at an average annual rate of 1.8% per year.
Demand reaches 17.7 billion tonnes of oil equivalent, compared with 11.4 billion toe in 2005. Fossil fuels remain the dominant source of primary energy, accounting for 84% of the overall increase in demand between 2005 and 2030. Oil remains the single largest fuel, though its share in global demand falls from 35% to 32%. Oil demand reaches 116 million barrels per day in 2030 – 32 mb/d, or 37%, up on 2006. In line with the spectacular growth of the past few years, coal sees the biggest increase in demand in absolute terms, jumping by 73% between 2005 and 2030 and pushing its share of total energy demand up from 25% to 28%. Most of the increase in coal use arises in China and India. The share of natural gas increases more modestly, from 21% to 22%. Electricity use doubles, its share of final energy consumption rising from 17% to 22%. Some $22 trillion of investment in supply infrastructure is needed to meet projected global demand. Mobilising all this investment will be challenging. Developing countries, whose economies and populations are growing fastest, contribute 74% of the increase in global primary energy use in this scenario. China and India alone account for 45% of this increase. OECD countries account for one-fifth and the transition economies the remaining 6%. In aggregate, developing countries make up 47% of the global energy market in 2015 and more than half in 2030, compared with only 41% today. The developing countries’ share of global demand expands for all primary energy sources, except non-hydro renewables. About half of the increase in global demand goes to power generation and one-fifth to meeting transport needs – mostly in the form of petroleum-based fuels. World oil resources are judged to be sufficient to meet the projected growth in demand to 2030, with output becoming more concentrated in OPEC countries – on the assumption that the necessary investment is forthcoming. Their collective output of conventional crude oil, natural gas liquids and non-conventional oil (mainly gas-to-liquids) is projected to climb from 36 mb/d in 2006 to 46 mb/d in 2015 and 61 mb/d in 2030 in the Reference Scenario. As a result, OPEC’s share of world oil supply jumps from 42% now to 52% by the end of the projection period. Non-OPEC production rises only slowly to 2030, with most of the increase coming from non- conventional sources – mainly Canadian oil sands – as conventional output levels off at around 47 mb/d by the middle of the 2010s. These projections are based on the assumption that the average IEA crude oil import price falls back from recent highs of over $75 per barrel to around $60 (in year-2006 dollars) by 2015 and then recovers slowly, reaching $62 (or $108 in nominal terms) by 2030. Although new oil-production capacity additions from greenfield projects are expected to increase over the next five years, it is very uncertain whether they will be sufficient to compensate for the decline in output at existing fields and keep pace with the projected increase in demand. A supply-side crunch in the period to 2015, involving an abrupt escalation in oil prices, cannot be ruled out. The resurgence of coal, driven primarily by booming power-sector demand in China and India, is a marked departure from past WEOs. Higher oil and gas prices are making coal more competitive as a fuel for baseload generation. China and India, which already account for 45% of world coal use, drive over four-fifths of the increase to 2030 in the Reference Scenario. In the OECD, coal use grows only very slowly, with most of the increase coming from the United States. In all regions, the outlook for coal use depends largely on relative fuel prices, government policies on fuel diversification, climate change and air pollution, and developments in clean coal technology in power generation. The widespread deployment of more efficient power-generation technology is expected to cut the amount of coal needed to generate a kWh of electricity, but boost the attraction of coal over other fuels, thereby leading to higher demand. In the Alternative Policy Scenario, global primary energy demand grows by 1.3% per year over 2005-2030 – 0.5 percentage points less than in the Reference Scenario. Global oil demand is 14 mb/d lower in 2030 – equal to the entire current output of the United States, Canada and Mexico combined. Coal use falls most in absolute and percentage terms. Energy-related CO2 emissions stabilise in the 2020s and, in 2030, are 19% lower than in the Reference Scenario. In the High Growth Scenario, faster economic growth in China and India, absent any policy changes, boosts their energy demand. The stimulus to demand provided by stronger economic growth more than offsets the dampening effect of the higher international energy prices that accompany stronger demand. Worldwide, the increase in primary energy demand amounts to 6% in 2030, compared with the Reference Scenario. Demand is higher in some regions and lower in others.


WEO 2007