Still thirsty after all these years: The federal Energy Information Administration's latest long-term global supply and demand outlook, which looks ahead to 2040, does not forecast a peak in global oil demand during that period.
Why it matters: EIA's outlook provides more weight to the camp of analysts who believe the world is nowhere near a plateau in oil demand, despite the growth of new technologies like electric vehicles and much more efficient internal combustion engines. It's one reason why it will be an immense challenge to achieve deep worldwide cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in coming decades.
And it's another data point in vigorous ongoing discussion, one featuring dueling forecasts from major energy companies and other analysts, such as Shell, whose CEO has argued a global oil demand peak could arrive as soon as the late 2020s. The Wall Street Journal has a nice look here at various projections.
Yes, but: A few caveats. EIA has long faced criticism for being too conservative in its predictions about the pace of market penetration of emerging and green technologies. A related caveat is that EIA's outlook models only existing national policies.
Compare that to Statoil's central projection of a global oil demand peak in 2030. That happens under their "reform" scenario, which assumes some tightening of nations' emissions targets and policies. Anyway, as the late Yogi Berra is credited with once saying, "it's tough to make predictions, especially about the future."
Big picture: The annual report is a wide-ranging look at global electricity, transport fuels, industrial demand and more. Here's a few other toplines from the central "reference" case in EIA's latest International Energy Outlook...
- Total world energy consumption grows 28% between now and 2040, driven largely by increased demand in China, India, and other Asian countries.
- Renewables are the fastest-growing energy source at an average increase of 2.3% annually as wind and solar deployment rise.
- Fossil fuels remain "dominant," supplying 77% of global energy in 2040, but the mix is changing — coal use is basically flat while natural gas rises considerably.
- Global carbon dioxide emissions from energy, which is the dominant source of those emissions, rise an average of 0.6% annually.