Oct 13, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Coronavirus pandemic speeds up oil's long goodbye

Reproduced from IEA; Chart: Axios Visuals
Reproduced from IEA; Chart: Axios Visuals

The coronavirus pandemic is altering the long-term future of oil, but global thirst for the fuel will nonetheless remain large for decades, the International Energy Agency said a sprawling new report released Tuesday.

Why it matters: Its the IEA's deepest effort yet to game out how COVID-19 is changing the future of oil, and energy systems overall in the years ahead.

Driving the news: The IEA compared its demand outlook under current and announced policies and a "delayed recovery" that assumes more enduring economic damage.

  • Both are well below the central "pre-crisis" projection from last year's outlook.

What they're saying: "The era of global oil demand growth will come to an end in the next decade," said IEA head Fatih Birol.

  • "But without a large shift in government policies, there is no sign of a rapid decline. Based on today’s policy settings, a global economic rebound would soon push oil demand back to pre-crisis levels," he said.

The intrigue: Aggressive climate policies would alter the outlook significantly.

  • In IEA's climate-friendly "sustainable development scenario," oil demand falls to 66 million barrels per day by 2040, compared to 104 million in its "stated policies" model.
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