The Energy Outlook considers a base case, outlining the ‘most likely’ path for energy demand by fuel based on assumptions and judgements about future changes in policy, technology and the economy, and develops a number of alternative cases to explore key uncertainties. In the base case, world GDP more than doubles, but unprecedented gains in energy efficiency mean that the energy required to fuel the higher level of activity grows by only around a third over the Outlook. Fossil fuels remain the dominant form of energy powering the global expansion: providing around 60% of the additional energy and accounting for almost 80% of total energy supplies in 2035. Gas is the fastest growing fossil fuel supported by strong supply growth, particularly of US shale gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG), and by environmental policies. The oil market gradually rebalances, with the current low level of prices boosting demand and dampening supply.
Oil demand increases by almost 20 Mb/d over the Outlook, with growing use in Asia for both transport and industry. Tight oil continues to grow, although at a gradually moderating pace. The continuing reform of China’s economy causes growth in China’s energy demand to slow sharply. This slowing weighs heavily on global coal, which grows at less than a fifth of its rate over the past 20 years. Renewables grow rapidly, almost quadrupling by 2035 and supplying a third of the growth in power generation. The rate of growth of carbon emissions more than halves relative to the past 20 years, reflecting gains in energy efficiency and the changing fuel mix. But emissions continue to rise, suggesting the need for further action. The uncertainty around the base case is explored in three alternative cases: slower global GDP growth; a faster transition to a lower-carbon world; and shale oil and gas having even greater potential.