BP Publishes Energy Outlook 2030 — Natural Gas Grows as Transportation Fuel

Strong growth in production from unconventional sources of gas and oil will have a major impact on global energy markets to 2030, redefining expectations for major economies and rebalancing global trade flows, according to BP’s latest Energy Outlook 2030. The transport sector illustrates a strengthening role for natural gas as a fuel for transportation.
The world has ample proved reserves of oil and natural gas to meet expected future demand growth. At the end of 2011, global proved reserves of oil were sufficient to meet 54 years of current (2011) production; for natural gas that figure is 64 years.

Transport Sector

Of all sectors, transportation shows the weakest growth, with OECD transport demand projected to decline. The sector starts to show some diversification away from oil; gas accounts for 16% of transport energy demand growth, with another 13% coming from biofuels, and 2% from electricity. Oil will remain the dominant fuel in transport, although its share falls from 94% in 2011 to 89% in 2030. Nevertheless biofuels and natural gas both reach 5% share of transport by 2030. Gas (including gas-to-liquids) is the fastest growing alternative and likely to overtake biofuels in transport by 2030.

Energy consumption growth in transport slows to 1.2% p.a. (from 1.9% p.a. 1990-2010) primarily due to accelerating gains in fuel economy. Other factors include the impact of high oil prices on driving behaviour, vehicle saturation in the OECD, and non-OECD subsidy reduction.

The Outlook’s overall expectation for growth in global energy demand to 2030 is little changed from last year, with demand expected to be 36% higher in 2030 than 2011 and almost all the growth coming from emerging economies. However, expectations of the pattern of supply of this growth are shifting strongly, with unconventional sources – shale gas and tight oil together with heavy oil and biofuels – playing an increasingly important role and, in particular, transforming the energy balance of the US.

By 2030, energy use in the non-OECD economies is expected to be 61% higher than in 2011 whereas use in the OECD will have grown by only 6%, and actually to have fallen in per capita terms.

While the fuel mix is evolving, fossil fuels will continue to be dominant. Oil, gas and coal are expected to converge on market shares of around 26-28% each by 2030, and non-fossil fuels – nuclear, hydro and renewables – on a share of around 6-7% each.

Natural Gas

Natural gas is expected to be the fastest growing of the fossil fuels – with demand rising at an average of 2% a year. Non-OECD countries will generate 76% of demand growth. Power generation and industry account for the largest increments to demand by sector. LNG production is expected to grow more than twice as fast as gas consumption, at an average of 4.3% a year and accounting for 27% of the growth in gas supply to 2030.

Shale gas supplies are expected to meet 37% of the growth in gas demand and account for 16% of world gas and 53% of US gas production by 2030. North American shale gas production growth is expected to slow after 2020 and production from other regions to increase, but in 2030 North America is still expected to account for 73% of world shale gas production.

Carbon Emissions

While the rate of growth is moderating, carbon emissions are still expected to increase by 26% from 2011 to 2030. Most of the growth will come from non-OECD countries, so that by 2030 70% of CO2 emissions are expected to come from outside the OECD. However, per capita emissions in non-OECD regions will still be less than half those in the OECD.

BP assumes continued tightening in policies to address climate change, yet emissions remain well above the required path to stabilise the concentration of greenhouse gases at the level recommended by scientists (450 ppm).

The BP Energy Outlook 2030 is available online at www.bp.com/energyoutlook.

(This article primarily compiled using information from a BP press release)

Oil and gas usage in the transport sector has been revised up, largely reflecting the need to offset a drop in biofuel supplies resulting from more modest expectations of the penetration of next generation fuels.

This article was first published by NGV Global News.


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