NPRA '08: Fossil fuels to meet bulk of energy needs

31 March 2008 16:22  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS news)--Fossil fuels will account for 80% of energy needs by 2030 as global demand rises more than 40%, said a senior ExxonMobil Chemical executive on Monday.

"Tremendous population and economic growth will require a variety of energy resources," said Sherman Glass, senior vice-president of basic chemicals, intermediates and synthetics at ExxonMobil Chemical, at the 33rd National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (NPRA) meeting.

"However, fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal are the only resources with the scale and affordability to meet the bulk of the world's needs."

The world's population is expected to rise from 6bn to around 8bn by 2030 with most of the growth in India and China. And the world economy is forecast to double to $75 trillion in the same period, noted Glass.

From 2005 to 2030, there will be about 450m more light vehicles on the world's roads, a 65% increase, he said.

And while renewable energy use will rise rapidly, aided by government subsidies and mandates, the total impact will be small, said Glass.

"Biofuels, wind and solar account for about 0.5% of world energy needs today, and by 2030, this will account for only 2%," he said.

"Even with aggressive efficiency efforts and the use of renewables, the bulk of energy demand will be met with oil, gas and coal."

The world has consumed about 1 trillion bbls of oil in its history, and there are 2 trillion bbls waiting to be tapped, as well as another 1 trillion bbls in oil sands and shale oil, according to Sherman.

"So we have three times as much oil in the future than we have used to date," he said.

The NPRA meeting started on Sunday and runs through Tuesday.

By: Joseph Chang
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