Our energy future

The world’s population is growing.  So are expectations for a better, healthier, more prosperous way of life among more people than ever before.

Meeting those expectations requires ready access to energy.

At the same time, there is increasing awareness of climate change and the impact of greenhouse gas emissions.

A balanced energy future — one that draws on existing and future technologies – can be the answer to reconciling hopes and concerns.

As the voice of the upstream oil and gas industry, IOGP welcomed the Paris Agreement in 2015.  Today, we support global and regional efforts to reduce emissions.  For example, IOGP has joined the Methane Guiding Principles to support the industry to further reduce Methane emissions.

Our industry recognizes — and is acting upon — the need to find and produce the oil and gas that the world will continue to need for decades to come.

IOGP works on behalf of the world’s oil and gas companies and organizations to promote safe, responsible and sustainable exploration and production. For more details, see the pages of the IOGP committees such as Safety, Environment or Wells. To find out how our industry’s activities aligns with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, download Mapping the oil and gas industry to Sustainable Development Goals: an Atlas.

Supporting global and regional efforts to reduce emissions

IOGP has joined the Methane Guiding Principles to support the industry to further reduce Methane emissions.

+ Read more about your energy future
+ Read more about your energy future

Oil and gas currently provide more than half of global energy. 

Oil and Gas currently provide 54% of global energy.

Oil’s advantages are its energy density and versatility.   This makes oil an excellent fuel. Filling up a car with 50 litres of gasoline, adds only about 40kg in weight to the vehicle, keeping it going for up to 700 km.

Oil is important not only as an energy source, but also as a feedstock for  materials used for example in making phones and laptops.  And oil-based lubricants enable the efficient operation of wind turbines and electric vehicles among many other applications. Almost anything with moving parts – including electric cars and trains – relies on oil as a lubricant.

Oil is also an essential ingredient, for example, to the pharmaceutical industry. Many of the medicines that save and prolong lives and control pain are made with petrochemicals.

 Filling up a car with 50 litres of gasoline, adds only about 40kg in weight to the vehicle, keeping it going for up to 700 km.

Gas is also an ideal partner to renewables such as solar and wind power.

Gas is just as important – particularly for power generation.

Natural gas, used in the latest combined cycle power generation plants, emits about half the carbon dioxide of coal. Gas is also an ideal partner to renewables such as solar and wind power – when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.

Fortunately, there is potentially a huge volume of gas. The US government estimates that the world has 7,124 trillion cubic feet of proved gas reserves.  With the right technology and market conditions, there could be enough gas available for 180 years or more at current rates of demand.

The US government estimates that the world has 7,124 trillion cubic feet of proved gas reserves.

How will the energy demand develop?

But what about tomorrow? How will the energy and especially the oil and gas demand develop in the next decades?

According to the latest figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA), in 2017 the world used the equivalent of about 14.0 billion tonnes of oil to meet its energy needs. In the IEA’s New Policies Scenario, by 2040, a growing population will need 17.7 billion tonnes of oil equivalent: an increase of more than 25%. This scenario provides “a measured assessment of where today’s policy frameworks and ambitions, together with the continued evolution of known technologies, might take the energy sector in the coming decades.” The scenario incorporates the commitments made in the National Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement. In this scenario the combined share of oil and gas will be 53%, very similar to today.

The IEA Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS) “starts from selected key outcomes and then works back to the present to see how they might be achieved. The outcomes in question are the main energy-related components of the Sustainability Development Goals, agreed by 193 countries in 2015: 

  • Delivering the Paris Agreement. The SDS is fully aligned with the Paris Agreement’s goal of holding the increase in the global average temperature to ‘ wellbelow 2c’. 
  • Achieving universal access to modern energy by 2030.
  • Reducing dramatically the premature deaths due to energy-related air pollution.”

Based on this scenario, the global energy demand in 2040 would be at about the same level as today, due to higher efficiency and higher penetration of renewables. The share of oil and gas would be 48% and natural gas would have become the energy source #1.

In 2017 the world used the equivalent of about 14.0 billion tonnes of oil to meet its energy needs. In the IEA’s New Policies Scenario, by 2040, a growing population will need 17.7 billion tonnes of oil equivalent: an increase of more than 25%.

Global energy demand 2040

Regardless of the demand development, depletion calls for continuing investment in order to meet global demand.

The future of energy demand.

There are significant uncertainties about future energy demand, but one thing is for sure. Without investment, the producing oil and gas fields would deplete quickly.  As the IEA puts it: “The natural decline rate is the drop in production from all currently producing fields that would occur if capital investments were to cease immediately. If there were to be no further capital expenditure, total (oil) production globally would fall by over 8% per year till 2025, an average loss of nearly 6 mb/d every year. Global production in 2040 would be just above 15 mb/d.”

The graphs below show for oil and gas the demand development in the two IEA scenarios and the development of production based on IEA (oil) and Equinor (gas) assumptions.

Regardless of the demand development, depletion calls for continuing investment in order to meet global demand.

Without investment, the producing oil and gas fields would deplete quickly.

Oil production with no new investment from 2018 and demand in the New Policies and Sustainable Development Scenarios

Natural gas production with no new investment from 2018 and demand in the New Policies and Sustainable Development Scenarios

A bigger global middle class.

‘Between now and 2040 rising standards of living in many parts of the world will create a bigger global middle class than ever.   These people will require more energy for better homes, transport, power and consumer goods.   Oil and gas are poised to play an important part in meeting this demand for decades to come.  But this will rely on significant investment to reverse the trend in field depletion.

Global Prodution Report

Global supply and demand

A look at regional supply of – and demand for – oil and gas the world over

Did you know – Oil and gas by numbers

Every week, we post a ‘Number of the week’ to highlight the important role oil and gas plays in society. Each number is accompanied by a short explanation.

Opinions

We regularly publish opinions on the benefits of oil and gas, with contributions from industry professionals as well and IOGP staff.

Oil in everyday life

Whether as a fuel or a feedstock: oil is an integral part of your daily life.

Global Energy Briefs

Concise reports on topical energy issues – from low-emissions pathways to well safety, and more.

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