Energy demand in the European Union in 2035 will be “back to where it was 50 years earlier”, despite the economy being almost 150 per cent bigger.
That’s one of the key findings of BP’s Energy Outlook, which has just been released.
In it, the oil and gas giant also predicts that the US will achieve overall energy self-sufficiency by 2021 and oil self-sufficiency by 2030; by 2035 coal will account for less than 25 per cent of primary energy, its lowest share since the industrial revolution; and in the next 20 years China will add more renewable power than the EU and US combined.
And the report warns that despite gains in energy efficiency and a shift towards lower-carbon fuels, “carbon emissions are still likely to increase, indicating the need for further policy action”.
BP chief executive Bob Dudley said: “The world is going to continue to demand growing supplies of energy but the mix of those supplies is changing and becoming less carbon-intense. However, further policy action may be necessary to meet international targets to limit carbon emissions.”
The annual Energy Outlook Despite predicts that despite the current weakness in global energy markets and the slowdown in China’s growth, global energy demand will increase by 34 per cent between 2014 and 2035, or by an average of 1.4 per cent per year.
The Outlook projects that fossil fuels will remain the dominant energy form between now and 2035, meeting 60 per cent of the projected increase in demand and accounting for almost 80 per cent of the world’s total energy supplies in 2035.
Gas will be the fastest growing fossil fuel, increasing 1.8 per cent a year and oil will grow steadily at 0.9 cent a year, although its share of the energy mix continues to decline. Coal, meanwhile, is forecast to slow sharply to such an extent that by 2035 its share in the energy mix will be at an all-time low.
On nuclear, BP predicts growth of 1.9 per cent per annum – 1 per cent more than its forecast for the yearly expansion of hydropower.
Much of this nuclear growth will come in China, which BP estimates will increase its nuclear output by 11.2 per cent a year, more than doubling its capacity by 2020 and increasing it nine-fold by 2035.
However in Europe and North America, BP says nuclear will decline by 29 per cent and 13 per cent respectively, “as ageing plants are gradually decommissioned and the economic and political challenges of nuclear energy stunt new investments”.
The study confirms other industry projections that India and China will drive much of the global energy growth, but it predicts that Africa will experience the fastest energy demand growth among world regions, driven by urbanization, rising population, and strong GDP growth.
At the launch of the Outlook in London yesterday, BP boss Dudley said that the current downturn in oil and gas prices was “among the worst I’ve known in my 35 years in the industry”.
“It has been a painful process adjusting, and the continuing weakness in the oil market is going to be with us for some time – but not forever. This is not the first crash and it won’t be the last. So we still need to take the long view.”
Dudley said that while it was one thing to adapt to tough conditions, “it is important to adapt in a way that means you’re ready to meet the next set of challenges”.
He said that “the outlook for carbon emissions is changing significantly – and positively”.
“The rate of growth of carbon emissions is projected to more than halve over the Outlook period compared to the past twenty years. That is driven both by faster gains in energy efficiency – or energy saving – and by the shift towards lower-carbon fuels – or energy-switching.”
However he warned that despite this slowing of the rate of growth, “carbon emissions are still likely to increase, indicating the need for further policy action. The trends we observe are not meant to be what we want, but what we see.”
To see the full BP Energy Outlook click here
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