Growth in US, Brazilian and Iraqi oil production, and rapid growth in energy demand in India and China will shift the global energy balance by 2035 according to projections by the International Energy Agency in their 2013 World Energy Outlook.

The report is available at www.worldenergyoutlook.org.

The production shift:

  • The IEA projects that oil production from the US and Brazil will grow about 6 million barrels per day (bopd) by 2025. Brazilian production is projected to continue growing through 2035, but US production is shown peakingĀ  around 2025. Iraq production is projected to grow from less than 3 million bopd to over 8 million bopd in 2035.

The demand shift:

  • Today the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OEDC) countries consume about half of all energy. By 2035 OEDC share of global demand will decline to about 35 percent, driven by demand growth in non-OEDC Asia.

The shifts in production and demand result in dependence on imported oil growing for EU and Asian countries, but declining for the US. This shift leaves 90 percent of Middle East oil going to Asia by 2035. This, in turn, increases the pressure on the Straits of Malacca, a narrow (minimum 1.7 miles wide) passage through Malaysia that already carries over 15 million barrels of oil per day. Countries such as Japan and South Korea may need to make decisions about committing military resources to protect tankers from piracy along the Malaysian tanker routes or forging alliances and building pipelines with China or Russia.

While some things are changing, many energy realities are expected to change little.

  • The IEA report does show significant growth in non-hydro renewable energy, but fossil fuels will continue to dominate energy supply, slipping to just 75 percent in 2035, down from 82 percent in 2011.
  • In a separate 2013 report IEA noted the importance of energy efficiency to reducing total global energy demand, a trend that will continue and contribute to the small increase in OEDC energy demand.
  • Looking at non-OEDC countries, the number of people without access to electricity will decline from 1.3 billion today, primarily in Africa and India, to 1 billion by 2030–the number of people without access to electricity is more than the combined population of the US and EU.

Picture above: oil tankers loading at Al Basrah Oil Terminal in Iraq (2004). Recent upgrades allow the terminal to load 3 million barrels of oil per day.

Last 5 posts by Edie Allison

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