IEA Says Energy Map Must Evolve to Become Sustainable

IEA Says Energy Map Must Evolve to Become Sustainable

The foundations of the energy system are shifting, and one of the biggest changes is in how oil and gas demand is moving away from countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and toward developing countries. During the 2013 Offshore Energy Conference in Aberdeen this week, Capella Festa, senior energy analyst at International Energy Agency (IEA), outlined inevitable market shifts in the energy mix on the horizon through 2035.

In addition to demand changes, other energy shifts include the resurgence of oil and gas production in countries such as Iraq, Brazil, and, most strikingly, the United States. Energy efficiency and pricing are getting more political attention, and this can fundamentally change demand patterns, she said.

“In this changing energy map, people are asking about the implications of it relating to competitiveness and different price differentials. Also, with shifts in demand, what does this mean for geopolitics?”

The current energy map needs to change, because it simply isn’t sustainable, she said.

“When you look at our fossil fuel subsidies, over 500 billion is spent each year mainly by countries such as the Middle East, North Africa – oil producing countries paying consumption subsidies on fossil fuels. Hard to see energy efficiency playing the role that it should when those subsidies are there. Also, those governments are finding this harder to maintain economically.”

CO2 emissions were at a record high last year, and there are still 1.3 billion people in the world without access to electricity or clean water. All of these things are going to bring about change because they can’t be sustained as a status quo, she said.

In the early 1970s when the IEA was founded, 60 percent of global demand was in OECD countries. By 2035 this will be completely reversed. The major players in China, India and the Middle East are the countries that will see the biggest demand growth, according to Festa.


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