Exxon: Rising Living Standards Propel Energy Needs

Exxon: Rising Living Standards Propel Energy Needs

NEW YORK (AP) — Exxon Mobil says the drive for higher living standards around the world will keep demand for electricity and transportation fuels growing even as economies get more efficient and governments put a price on pollution.

The company's annual long-term energy outlook, released Thursday, predicts world energy demand will grow 35 percent by 2040 as electricity and modern fuels are brought to some of the billions of people in the developing world who currently live without power or burn wood or other biomass for cooking and heating. Those growing needs will be somewhat offset by a slow decline in consumption in the far more energy-hungry economies of the developed world.

"People want a warm home, a refrigerator, a TV, someday a car, and a cellphone," said William Colton, Exxon's vice president for corporate strategic planning, in an interview.

There are ample supplies of fuel to meet the world's demands, according to the report, and Colton concludes that average annual growth of 1 percent per year is manageable for the world's energy companies.

Exxon's outlook, which forecasts world energy demand through 2040, is noted by investors and policymakers, and used by Exxon to shape its investments. "The last thing we want to do is delude ourselves about the future," Colton said. "We make billion-dollar decisions on this."

The report's conclusions largely agree with those reached in other long-term energy forecasts, including a recent report by the International Energy Agency.

The outlook predicts demand for oil and natural gas — Exxon's main products — will grow steadily because shippers and truckers will need more diesel to move more goods and utilities will need additional natural gas to make electricity for more people.


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