Energy sources will continue to evolve and diversify as global energy demand surges. In one of the most significant developments shown over the Outlook, advancements in drilling technology will cause natural gas to overtake coal as the No. 2 fuel source by 2040. Oil is projected to remain the No. 1 fuel; however, alternative sources such as nuclear, wind, solar and biofuel will take on an increasingly large role in meeting the world’s energy needs in the future.
Unconventional fuel supplies play a greater role in meeting energy demand
Over the Outlook period, the growth in so-called “unconventional” supplies due to technology advancements is critical. ExxonMobil projects total liquids demand to rise to 113 million barrels per day of oil equivalent (MBDOE) in 2040, a 30 percent increase from 2010. About 70 percent of this increase is tied to the transportation sector.
Conventional crude production from both OPEC and Non OPEC sources will see a slight decline over time. The successes of deepwater and oil sands developments are examples of how new technologies are key to delivering additional sources of liquid supplies to meet rising demand. The same is true for tight oil, which is growing as a result of recent advances in technology that have enabled the energy industry to unlock the oil found in “tight” rock formations.
Technology-enabled oil and other liquid supplies are vital to meet rising demand
By 2040, only about 55 percent of the world’s liquid supply will come from conventional crude oil production. The rest will be provided by deepwater, tight oil and NGLs, as well as oil sand and biofuels, as technology enables increased development of these resources.
As we look to the future, energy sources considered “unconventional” today are rapidly becoming conventional, thanks to the technologies available to produce them, giving them an increasingly significant role in the global energy mix.
Natural gas is the fastest-growing major fuel
Natural gas plays an increasingly significant role in the energy fuel mix over the next 30 years as technological advancements help develop this abundant, clean energy resource. By 2025, natural gas will have overtaken coal as the second most consumed fuel, after oil.
Oil, gas, nuclear and renewables grow, while coal experiences a decline by 2040
With global energy demand increasing around 35 percent from 2010 to 2040, a diverse, reliable and affordable fuel mix will be needed to provide the energy that enables economic growth and societal advancements. As our world changes – with improved living standards, more fuel-efficient vehicles and modern appliances and buildings, as well as increased limitations on greenhouse gas emissions – some important changes occur in the makeup of our energy supply.