Global energy demand continues to grow but that growth is slowing and mainly driven by emerging economies, led by China and India, according to the BP Energy Outlook 2035 which has just published.
This is the fourth annual edition of the Outlook, and for the first time it sets out BP's view of the most likely developments in global energy markets further beyond 2030 to 2035, based on up-to-date analysis.
The Outlook reveals that global energy consumption is expected to rise by 41 percent from 2012 to 2035, compared to 55 per cent over the past 23 years (52 percent over the past 20 and 30 percent over the past 10.
Ninety five per cent of that growth in demand is expected to come from the emerging economies, while energy use in the advanced economies of North America, Europe and Asia as a group is expected to grow only very slowly - and begin to decline in the later years of the forecast period.
Shares of the major fossil fuels are converging with oil, natural gas and coal each expected to make up around 27 percent of the total mix by 2035 and the remaining share coming from nuclear, hydroelectricity and renewables.
Among fossil fuels, gas is growing fastest, increasingly being used as a cleaner alternative to coal for power generation as well as in other sectors.
Bob Dudley, BP Group Chief Executive, said: “The Outlook highlights the power of competition and market forces in unlocking technology and innovation to meet the world's energy needs. These factors make us optimistic for the world's energy future.
“The Outlook leads us to three big questions: Is there enough energy to meet growing demand? Can we meet demand reliably? And what are the consequences of meeting demand? In other words, is the supply sufficient, secure and sustainable?"
“On the first question, our answer is a resounding 'yes' .The growth rate for global demand is slower than what we have seen in previous decades, largely as a result of increasing energy efficiency.
“Trends in global technology, investment and policy leave us confident that production will be able to keep pace. New energy forms such as shale gas, tight oil, and renewables will account for a significant share of the growth in global supply.”
On the question of security, the Outlook offers a mixed, though broadly positive, view. Among today's energy importers, the United States is on a path to achieve energy self-sufficiency, while import dependence in Europe, China and India will increase.
Asia is expected to become the dominant energy importing region. Dudley noted: "This need not be a cause for concern if the market is allowed to do its work, with new supply chains opening up to these big consuming regions."
On the question of sustainability, global carbon dioxide emissions are projected to rise by 29 percent, with all of the growth coming from the emerging economies.
The Outlook notes some positive signs: emissions growth is expected to slow as natural gas and renewables gain market share from coal and oil; and emissions are expected to decline in Europe and the US.
Indeed towards the end of the period covered by the Outlook we expect many advanced countries will be seeing their economies grow while their energy use falls.
BP Chief Economist Christof Rühl said: “This process shows the power of economic forces and competition. Put simply, people are finding ways to use energy more efficiently because it saves them money.
“This is also good for the environment, the less energy we use the less carbon we emit. For example CO2 emissions in the US are back at 1990s' levels.”
This year's edition also examines transportation more closely and takes an in-depth look at the North American natural gas revolution.