APIC ’08: Global energy use to grow 40% by 2030

28 May 2008 05:25  [Source: ICIS news]

Transport demand still growing By Chow Bee Lin

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Global energy consumption is estimated to grow 40% from 2005-2030 due to population growth and improving living standards, and 80% of this need will be met by hydrocarbon resources such as oil, gas and coal, a senior ExxonMobil executive said on Wednesday.

"Our assessment is that global energy demand will grow by 40% from 2005 to 2030, reaching close to 325m bbl/day on an oil-equivalent basis," Matt Aguiar, global vice-president of basic chemicals at ExxonMobil, said in an address at the Asian Petrochemical Industry Conference (APIC).

"[And] about 25% of this growth in global energy demand will come in the transportation sector, mostly from cars and trucks."

Aguilar stressed that fossil fuels will still have a fundemental role to play in meeting this demand.

"A wide variety of energy resources will be needed to meet the higher demand and fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas and coal are the only energy sources of sufficient scale, flexibility and affordability to meet the majority of the world’s energy needs," he said.

"We project that fossil fuels will continue to provide about 80% of the world's energy over the next two decades, and oil and gas together will provide close to 60% of energy needs over the same period."

Government subsidies and mandates could spur the rapid growth in the use of renewable energy sources but the total amount of energy from renewable resources would actually be very small, he said.

"Today biofuels, wind, and solar make up about one half of 1% of world energy sources. And, even with dramatic growth, they’re expected to provide only about 2% of energy supplies by 2030," he added.

The good news for downstream application sectors like the transportation, power and chemical industries was that the world had about three times as much oil available for future use as it had used to date, said Aguiar.

"The US geological survey estimates that some two trillion barrels of conventional oil are still in the ground, waiting to be tapped. (And) current estimates indicate there is as much as one trillion barrels of "frontier", non-traditional resources, such as heavy oil and shale oil, available – even though they are more difficult and more costly to recover," he added.

The global chemical industry was estimated to enjoy strong growth over the next 20 to 25 years – about 2% per year over GDP growth – with most of this increased demand coming from emerging economies of the world, especially in Asia, he said.

"We expect that some 60% of the increase in global petrochemical demand over the next 10 years will occur in Asia. China alone will account for nearly 40% of that growth. By 2015, Asia could account for 50% of global demand for commodity chemicals.  China could account for 25%," he added.

The outlook for energy and petrochemicals presented both challenges and opportunities that could be managed by new technologies, he said.

"In ExxonMobil Chemical, we believe strongly in the need to invest in technology to develop new products and applications, maximise efficiency and minimise the environmental impact of our operations."

"To this end, ExxonMobil Corporation spends about $1bn on research and development and technology applications each year. A significant segment is dedicated to the chemical business," he said.

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ICIS custom publishing and The Chemical Daily have produced an official 84-page special publication on Asian petrochemicals for the APIC event

By: Chow Bee Lin
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