IEA Projects Growth in Global Energy Demand through 2035

World primary energy demand is anticipated to increase by 36 percent between 2008 and 2035, or 1.2 percent per year on average, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported today in its World Energy Outlook-2010.

The share of fossil fuels in the overall energy mix declines in favor of renewable energy sources and nuclear power, but oil will remain the leading fuel in the energy mix by 2035, followed by coal. Natural gas consumption will experience the fastest growth among the three fossil fuels, with its share of total energy use almost reaching that of coal.

In the report's New Policies Scenario, the price of oil is set to rise, reflecting the growing insensitivity of both demand and supply to price, with the average IEA crude oil price rising from just over $60 in 2009 to $113 per barrel in year-2009 dollars in 2035. Oil demand will continue to grow steadily, reaching about 99 million b/d of 2035, 15 million b/d higher than in 2009.

All of the net growth comes from Non-Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), with nearly half from China alone, while demand in OECD countries is expected to fall, by over 6 million b/d.

Non-OECD countries account for 93 percent of the projected increase in world primary energy demand. China, which IEA preliminary data suggests overtook the U.S. in 2009 to become the world's largest energy user despite its low per capita energy use, contributes 36 percent to the project growth in global energy use.

Crude oil output reaches an undulating plateau of just under 69 million b/d by 2020 while production of natural gas liquids and unconventional oil, notably Canadian oil sands, grows strongly. OPEC countries account for a growing share of global production, with the biggest increases coming from Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Production in and exports of oil and gas from the Caspian region also grow substantially.

The energy trends envisioned in the New Policies Scenario imply that national commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while expected to have some impact, are collectively inadequate to meet the Copenhagen Accord's overall goal of holding the global temperature increase to below 2 degrees Celsius. Rising demand for fossil fuels would continue to drive up energy-related carbon dioxide emissions through to 2035, making it all but impossible to achieve to 2 degree Celsius goal, as the required reductions in emissions after 2020 would be too steep.

The New Policy Scenario trends are in line with stabilizing the concentration of greenhouse gases at over 650 parts per million (ppm) of CO2-equivalent, resulting in a temperature rise of more than 3.5 degrees Celsius in the long term. In order to have a reasonable chance of achieving the goal, the concentration of greenhouse gases would probably need to stabilized at a level no higher than 450 ppm CO2, IEA reports.

The central scenario in this year's outlook, the New Policies Scenario, takes account of the broad policy commitments and plans that have been announced by countries worldwide. "We have taken governments at their word, in assuming that they will actually implement the policies and measures, albeit in a cautious manner, to ensure that the goals they have set are met," said Nobuo Tanaka, executive director at the IEA.


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