International Energy Outlook 2009 Predicts World Energy Use to Grow

May 28, 2009

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released today its reference case projection from the “International Energy Outlook 2009” (IEO2009), which projected the world marketed energy consumption to grow by 44 percent between 2006 and 2030. The projection states that the increased energy consumption will be driven by strong long-term economic growth in the developing nations of the world, despite the current global economic downturn dampening world energy demand in the near term.

According to the projection, with economic recovery anticipated to begin within the next 12 to 24 months, most nations are expected to see energy consumption growth at rates anticipated prior to the recession. Total world energy use is expected to rise from 472 quadrillion BTU in 2006 to 552 quadrillion BTU in 2015, and then to 678 quadrillion BTU in 2030.

In the industrial industry alone, energy consumption is expected to grow from 175 quadrillion BTU in 2006 to 246 quadrillion BTU in 2030, growing at an average rate of 2.1 percent per year, according to the reference case. The “BRIC” countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) are expected to account for more than two-thirds of the developing world’s growth in industrial energy use through 2030.

Along with increased worldwide energy consumption, the projection anticipates that the world’s economies recovering will cause increased oil prices, persisting through 2030. The IEO2009 reference case shows world oil prices rising to $110 per barrel in 2015 (in real 2007 dollars) and $130 per barrel in 2030, with total liquid fuel and petroleum consumption increasing by 22 million barrels per day. Conventional oil supplies from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are expected to contribute 8.2 million barrels per day to the total increase in world liquid fuels production, with non-OPEC countries contributing another 3.4 million barrels per day.

However, unlike the reference case, the full version of the IEO2009 includes three world oil price cases to take into account the extremely volatile nature of world oil prices. The price cases range from $50 per barrel in the low-price case to $200 per barrel in the high-price case, with supply outlooks ranging from 90 million barrels per day in the high-price case to 120 million barrels per day in the low-price case (compared to 107 million barrels per day in the EIA’s reference case).

Additionally, the reference case showed that unconventional resources, such as biofuels, oil sands, extra-heavy oil, coal-to-liquids, and gas-to-liquids from both OPEC and non-OPEC sources becoming increasingly competitive: The reference case shows the world production of unconventional resources increasing to 13.4 million barrels per day in 2030, accounting for 13 percent of total world liquids supply.

The reference case also discusses renewable energy use for electricity generation, which is expected to grow by an average of 2.9 percent per year. The renewable share of world electricity generation is expected to increase to 21 percent in 2030, up from 19 percent in 2006. Additionally, the reference case projects energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to rise from 29.1 billion metric tons in 2005 to 40.4 billion metric tons in 2030, a 39-percent increase, much of which is expected to occur among developing nations, especially in Asia. The reference case does not, however, take into account specific policies to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

To view the EIA’s full report on IEO2009, visit

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