Mar 14, 2017

The world's oil thirst isn't peaking anytime soon.

Ben Geman, author of Generate

The latest podcast from Columbia University's energy think tank has an interesting chat with Eirik Wærness, the chief economist at Norwegian oil giant Statoil. But if you don't have 34 minutes to spare...

A big takeaway: Even if carbon emissions are controlled enough to hold the global temperature rise to 2 degrees celsius above preindustrial levels (that's the difficult goal of the Paris accord), oil companies will still need to find lots of crude to meet global demand.

"Even in a world where demand is declining significantly some decades from now towards a 2 degree scenario . . . we need the equivalent of three to six new Saudi Arabias, or three to six United States', if you like, in new oil production by 2040 … to offset decline from existing fields if we were to stop investing today," Wærness said on the Center on Global Energy's latest podcast.

Why it matters: We're hearing a string of warnings from industry officials and experts that even with the U.S. production surge, global investments in new production could lag behind what's needed. The world's oil thirst isn't peaking anytime soon despite better efficiency and new technologies, according to forecasts from the International Energy Agency and big companies.

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