World energy use seen surging

Energy consumption expected to jump 50% by 2030; greenhouse gases will see similar rise. Oil prices seen ranging from $113 to $186 a barrel.

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By Steve Hargreaves, staff writer

NEW YORK ( -- World energy use is expected to surge 50% from 2005 to 2030, largely due to an expanding population and rapid economic growth, according to a government report Wednesday.

Without any new laws restricting greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide emissions will see a similar jump, the Energy Information Administration said in its annual report on global energy markets.

Demand for new energy is led by the developing world, EIA said.

While developed countries are expected to see a 19% rise in energy use, demand for energy in the developing world is expected to surge 85%.

Oil prices are expected to range from $113 to $186 a barrel, under different price scenarios the agency modeled.

"Given current market conditions, it appears that world oil prices are on a path that more closely resembles the projection in the high price case than in the reference case," the report said.

Under the high price case, world oil use is expected to grow to 99 million barrels a day in 2030, from about 85 million barrels a day currently, as high prices limit demand.

In the medium price case, worldwide oil use is expected to jump to 113 million barrels a day, EIA said, as oil prices ease to about $70 in the next few years and new supplies come online.

The projections in the report were based on 2007 oil prices. Oil has nearly doubled in price since then.

Although the government and the oil companies say producing 113 million barrels of oil a day is possible, market skepticism has kept oil prices high over the last few years.

The International Energy Agency, a sister organization to EIA established by developed countries to counter the influence of OPEC, recently said it is revising its assumptions about oil supply. That agency said it's likely the world will not be able to produce more than 100 million barrels of oil a day by 2030.

Others in the industry, like the oilman T. Boone Pickens, feel the world is pretty much maxed out at 85 million barrels a day.

"The key here is going to be supply," said Paul Horsnell, head of commodities research at Barclays Capital in London. "And we're thinking closer to 100 [million barrels a day] as opposed to 115."

The report also said that rising prices are expected to decrease the use of oil and biofuels as a fuel, going from 37% of the world's energy use in 2005 to 33% in 2030, although liquids will remain the largest single source of energy.

Production of so called non-conventional liquid fuels - things like ethanol, coal-to-liquid, heavy oil and oil from tar sands - is expected to see a big increase.

Under the medium price scenario, these unconventional fuels go from 2.5 million barrels a day in 2005 to nearly 10 million barrels a day in 2030. Under the high price scenario, these numbers could be much higher, the report said.

Without any new greenhouse gas restrictions, coal use is expected to soar - increasing 64% by 2030.

China - which the report said has doubled its coal use since 2000 - is leading the way, accounting for over 70% of new coal consumption.

China, along with India and the U.S., has huge amounts of coal, which is a cheap but dirty fuel.

Electricity generation under the medium prices scenario is expected to nearly double by 2030, the report said, fueled mainly by coal and natural gas.

But future legislation could curb those predictions. The agency noted that "the outlook for fossil-fuel-fired generation could be altered substantially by international agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Nuclear power is expected to increase by nearly 50%, the report said, mostly in India and China.

Use of renewable energy is expected to increase nearly 70% by 2030. But much of that is due to large hydropower projects, and under current policies, renewables' overall contribution to global energy supply remains small.  To top of page

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