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EIA projects world energy use to increase 53% by 2035; oil sands/bitumen and biofuels account for 70% of the increase in unconventional liquid fuels

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Unconventional liquids become increasingly important in the total supply of liquid fuels, according to IEO2011. Click to enlarge.

Worldwide energy consumption will grow by 53% between 2008 and 2035 with much of the increase driven by strong economic growth in the developing nations, especially China and India, according to the reference case in the newly released International Energy Outlook 2011 (IEO2011) from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The transportation sector accounted for 27% of total world delivered energy consumption in 2008, and transportation energy use increases by 1.4% per year from 2008 to 2035 in the reference case. The transportation share of world total liquids consumption increases from 54% in 2008 to 60% in 2035 in the IEO2011 Reference case, accounting for 82% of the total increase in world liquids consumption.

World oil prices remain high in the IEO2011 Reference case, but oil consumption continues to grow; both conventional and unconventional liquid supplies are used to meet rising demand. In the IEO2011 Reference case the price of light sweet crude oil (in real 2009 dollars) remains high, reaching $125 per barrel in 2035.

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Oil sands/bitumen and biofuels account for 70% of the increase in unconventional liquid fuels. Click to enlarge.

Total world petroleum and other liquids fuel use increases by 26.9 million barrels per day between 2008 and 2035, but the growth in conventional crude oil production is less than half this amount at 11.5 million barrels per day, while production of natural gas plant liquids increase by 5.1 million barrels per day.

World production of unconventional resources (including biofuels, oil sands, extra-heavy oil, coal-to-liquids, and gas-to-liquids), which totaled 3.9 million barrels per day in 2008, increases to 13.1 million barrels per day in 2035. Oil sands/bitumen and biofuels account for 70% of the increase in unconventional liquid fuels.

The IEO2011 reference case projection does not incorporate prospective legislation or policies that might affect energy markets. In the Reference case, China and India account for half of the projected increase in world energy use over the next 25 years, said Acting EIA Administrator Howard Gruenspecht. China alone, which only recently became the world’s top energy consumer, is projected to use 68% more energy than the United States by 2035.

In the IEO2011 Reference case, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rise from 30.2 billion metric tons in 2008 to 43.2 billion metric tons in 2035—an increase of 43%. Much of the increase in carbon dioxide emissions is projected to occur among the developing nations of the world, especially in Asia.

Other key findings of IEO2011 include:

  • China and India lead the growth in world demand for energy in the future. The economies of China and India were among those least affected by the worldwide recession. They continue to lead world economic growth and energy demand growth in the Reference case. In 2008, China and India combined accounted for 21% of total world energy consumption. With strong economic growth in both countries over the projection period, their combined energy use more than doubles by 2035, when they account for 31% of world energy use in the IEO2011 Reference case. In 2035, China’s energy demand is 68% higher than US energy demand.

  • Renewable energy is projected to be the fastest growing source of primary energy over the next 25 years, but fossil fuels remain the dominant source of energy. Renewable energy consumption increases by 2.8% per year and the renewable share of total energy use increases from 10% in 2008 to 15% in 2035 in the Reference case. Fossil fuels, however, continue to supply much of the energy used worldwide throughout the projection, and still account for 78% of world energy use in 2035.

    While the Reference case projections reflect current laws and policies as of the start of 2011, past experience suggests that renewable energy deployment is often significantly affected by policy changes.

  • Natural gas has the fastest growth rate among the fossil fuels over the 2008 to 2035 projection period. World natural gas consumption increases 1.6% per year, from 111 trillion cubic feet in 2008 to 169 trillion cubic feet in 2035. Unconventional natural gas (tight gas, shale gas, and coalbed methane) supplies increase substantially in the IEO2011 Reference case—especially from the United States, but also from Canada and China.

Other report highlights include:

  • From 2008 to 2035, total world energy consumption rises by an average annual 1.6% in the IEO2011 Reference case. Strong economic growth among the non-OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) nations drives the increase. Non-OECD energy use increases by 2.3 percent per year; in the OECD countries energy use grows by only 0.6 percent per year.

  • Petroleum and other liquid fuels remain the largest energy source worldwide through 2035, though projected higher oil prices erode their share of total energy use from 34 percent in 2008 to 29 percent in 2035.

  • Projected petroleum consumption and prices are very sensitive to both supply and demand conditions. Higher economic growth in developing countries coupled with reduced supply from key exporting countries result in a High Oil Price case in which real oil prices exceed $169 per barrel by 2020 and approach $200 per barrel by 2035.

  • Conversely, lower economic growth in developing countries coupled with increased supplies from key exporting countries result in a Low Oil Price case in which real oil prices fall to about $55 per barrel in 2015 and then gradually decline to $50 per barrel after 2030 where they remain through 2035.

  • World coal consumption increases from 139 quadrillion Btu in 2008 to 209 quadrillion Btu in 2035, at an average annual rate of 1.5% in the IEO2011 Reference case. In the absence of policies or legislation that would limit the growth of coal use, China and, to a lesser extent, India and the other nations of non-OECD Asia consume coal in place of more expensive fuels. China alone accounts for 76% of the projected net increase in world coal use, and India and the rest of non-OECD Asia account for another 19% of the increase.

  • Electricity is the world’s fastest-growing form of end-use energy consumption in the Reference case, as it has been for the past several decades. Net electricity generation worldwide rises by 2.3% per year on average from 2008 to 2035. Renewables are the fastest growing source of new electricity generation, increasing by 3.0% and outpacing the average annual increases for natural gas (2.6%), nuclear power (2.4%), and coal (1.9%).




Remaining world oil needs to be rationed for the future. The only viable present alternate transportation technology we have is light electric vehicles.

Even forty years from now, diesel may remain the key heavy lifter.


Three questions:
1) Why are the data points 2009, 2010 and 2011 not used, making a "prediction" starting in 2008 is a not very interesting.

2) Why does the EIA think that the consumption rate of Asia will drop from 4,5-6% per year (been so since 1990) to slightly more than 1% in the future?

year growth rate calculated from the data EIA used for non OECD-Asia
1990 6,50%
2000 4,50%
2008 5,00%
2015 3,00%
2020 3,00%
2025 1,50%
2030 1,10%

3)How long before we become honest about unconventional and bio "fuel" really being down cycled crude-oil/gas (down cycled because the energy content of the original crude was reduced significantly in the proces of sowing, harvesting and refining bio-fuels to create political correct "green fuels")

Account Deleted

I think IEA underestimate the growth rate for coal and natural gas and overestimate it for oil. Natural gas and coal are currently much cheaper than oil so there will be a substitution effect of oil for natural gas and coal. Oil is not going to be less costly to produce in the future because you need to drill deep see, drill in the arctic, extract oil from tar sands and oil shale and extract oil from old fields using injections of CO2 and water. None of these new sources of oil are cheap compared to how we used to drill oil in large on-shore fields of sweet crude. This cost scenario is unlike natural gas where horizontal fracturing in on-shore shale formations will actually lower the cost of producing natural gas in the future. Moreover, the cost of coal digging will be lowered by use of even bigger diggers and trucks. The cost of electricity from coal power could drop from use of more efficient coal power plants.

In my opinion mankind needs a miracle to avoid that coal burning in China and India will ruin the global climate and make it a lot hotter because I do not see any political will in China and India to stop it from happening. So it will happen. It will not help that Europe, Japan and USA stop burning coal because even combined it is already less than China’s consumption and China is on track to more than double their coal burning in the next 10 years. It may increase fourfold by 2035 from 3.5 billion ton to 14 billion ton per year. For comparison the USA barely burns 1 billion tons of coal.


You forget, this is from the US Energy Information Agency.

The EIA's historical data are excellent, but its forecasts have been hilariously wrong for quite some time. They should only be used for entertainment.


Right, this is piece of crap, EIA has a terrible history in predicting the future. The production curve has been flat for 7 straight years and strangely next year it will start to grow like in the good old time, unbelievable. Asides and again these curve include NGL which is only the growing part the crude oil is not growing at all, but this is not even mentioned


Henrik....not much we can do about it. China and India will be the major energy users by 2038 leaving USA far behind. Of course, they will do like we did and go for the cheapest (dirtiest-coal) source. Since their combined population may be about 10 times USA's, one could expect that they will eventually use up to 10 times the energy, specially if they remain the world's factories.

Major changes that EIA nay have under estimated is the progressive switch to clean energy sources such as Wind and Sun and the accelerated transition to electrified and CNG vehicles.


No signs of Peak Oil here. Bright future! (?)


Right on Peter. Conventional world oil consumption will go from about 80 Mb/day to about 100 Mb/day from 2008 to 2038. That is not much of a major peak oil there, certainly not with regards to extraction and consumption. Reserves figures are so unreliable.


in 1970 it took 5 years past the US peak of production to admit that US had peaked, for the world production it will probably take 10 years past peak to admit that it has peaked. Following their nice continuous growth prediction we should wonder why the price of oil went up 4 fold between 2004 and 2008 ?

this curve is only politic not geology


So, what happens if the Peak will be there after all?

The Norwegians have just recently accepted that North Sea oil peaked about 10 years ago. Therefore, press releases about “giant” discoveries in Norway seem somewhat desperate, especially in view of that this “giant” find would be equivalent to world oil consumption for one (1) day. If you have a real positive view, that gives us one more day to contemplate about a substitute for oil.

As a general comment, I could add that IEA (not EIA) now agree with researchers in Uppsala, Sweden on that the decline in current oil fields is about 6%. However, IEA (as EIA) still continue with their extrapolation of the oil demand. To fill that gap, all of us would have to start digging.


Tree...peak oil in one country does not always mean peak oil in other places. What is true in USA may not pass the test elsewhere. There more oil to be discovered in many other countries and under open seas. The world may still be pumping oil 100+ years from now from hard to reach places.


People continued to catch whales long after the populations were hunted to a fraction of their peaks, too. They just caught fewer and depleted the populations very rapidly.

I doubt we'll be pumping petroleum 100 years from now. Other sources of liquids and chemicals will be easier and cheaper.


E-P...of course the daily production quantity may not be the same but new wells/shale/sands will be discovered and oil extraction will still be done in early 2100. Improved extraction methods will make it possible.

Bio-fuels are not the panacea that many thought it was. They produce as much if not more pollution than the fossil duels, as not as cheap and production will always be limited because planet Earth is needed for other purposes.

Electrified vehicles may be one of the best way to reduce liquid fuel consumption by up to 40% but resistance to change and current primitive technologies is slowing the transition which may take 4 to 5 decades instead of 2 to 3.

The current decade will see great strides for:

1. Lower cost smarter phones (2+ billions)
2. Lower cost 2D & 3D multi-purpose smart tablets (1 to 2 billions)
3. Wireless chargers (2+ billions) for 1) and 2).
4. Industrial 3D printers (many for automated parts production)
5. Electrified vehicles with wireless chargers (fixed and mobile)
6. Improved lower cost supercaps with 100+ Wh/Kg energy density.
7. Improved lower cost batteries with 500+ Wh/Kg energy density.
8. Much lower cost hydrogen production.
9. Improved lower cost, lighter FCs.
10.Improved much lower cost solar cells.
11.Improved lights (150+ lumens/Watt)
12. Lower cost composites for lighter vehicles.

As many of the above take 5 to 10 years to go into mass production, the next decade will benefit.


You seem to know something that nobody else does. You know where to dig! Where is this oil? Or, is it a big secret of yours? Realize that no giant oil field has been discovered anywhere in the World since the 1970’s. Soon Saudi (yes, this is correct…) will peak. The most optimistic projections about tar sand, Fischer-Tropsch diesel, etc. show that such sources would make only a small contribution in 2030. Consequently, it is inevitable that we will have a peak before that. On the other hand, I think that we will still pump some oil in 2100, albeit at a very low level compared with what we do today.


Peter..Crude oil production and consumption is no where near their worldwide peak. By 2040 or so, major consumption will be moved to China, India, Russia, Brazil etc but will progressively go down in Japan, USA and EU. Economies are shifting fast and moving away from traditional places. Unemployed people use less fossil fuel. It will take at least another century before we extract the last drop, specially from hard to get places near the poles and in very deep oceans. Tar sands and shales are not restricted to Alberta and a few NW States. Many more similar places will extract oil from shales and tar sands when conventional crude is harder to pump. More oil will be extracted from old wells with CO2 and chemicals when the price is right ($150 to $200/barrel?)

Progressive transition to electrified and FC vehicles and trains will ease oil demands by 2030 and thereafter. Other sources will also help to reach peak crude demands sometime between 2050 and 2100.

Other cleaner energy sources will make the front pages. Low cost hydrogen and improved storage will be around by 2020.


It seems to be pointless to discuss with you by using facts, so I have basically stopped doing that. It is obvious that IEA and EIA have been very successful in misleading you, at least. Their strategy seems to be that they do not want to upset people with stating hard facts about the potential for a Peak Oil crisis. “No worries” as Crocodile Dundee used to say… Keep on with business-as-usual. Maybe you, for once, should try to read some of the reports published by the team at Uppsala University in Sweden. These are peer-reviewed publications, in contrast to most IEA/EIA publications and press releases from oil companies who want to please their investors. It is much more difficult to get away with ill-founded statements and erroneous conclusions in a peer-reviewed paper. Read one of the papers from the Uppsala group and come back to this forum and tell us if you learned something.


As typical, the know-nothings can't get two organizations straight. The Energy Information Agency, EIA, is a domestic governmental agency and part of the DOE. The International Energy Agency, IEA, is an international organization and a part of the UN agencies, I beleive.

Also as typical, the eco know-littles don't know that USA domestic production has begun to rise from a low of about 5 million bbls/day and is with in spitting distance of 8+ million barrels per day, the Peak of the 1976. Furthermore, we have grown synthetic fuel manufacture to an additional nearly 3 million bbls/day.

On top of that, despite our population rising to over 300 million, our oil demand is down from a peak of 21 million bbls/day in 2000, in a steady decline over the past decade to about 18 million bbls/day, a decline of 14%.

The result is that US imported oil demand is way down to about 7 million bbls/day.

In addition, the only major country to even approach the Kyoto targets is the USA, even though we never agreed to it. Our documented emissions are at mid 1990s levels approaching the target level of 1990.

Of course this is still all bovine scatology, because the bureaucrats still haven't managed to get any of the mighty Oaks and Redwooods to fill out their required paper work documenting how much CO2 they sequestered in their trunks, roots and leaves.

Since they never document natural sequestration, our enlarging forests, sequester more and more with the result the USA emits not a single gram of CO2 on net, and actually absorbs a lot from Eurasia to boot. Just as the peer reviewed and publsihed paers from the Princeton University teasm have tested and proved.

So much for the California loons and their AB32. The Peakist fools still spout Apocalyptic cant, even though the Peakist nonsense was concerned with sweet oil refining capacity, originally.


ExDemo, you're not a complete propagandist like Reel$$, but you seem to subscribe to some very inaccurate sources.

USA domestic production has begun to rise from a low of about 5 million bbls/day and is with in spitting distance of 8+ million barrels per day

US crude oil production was 5.3 million bbl/d in 2009 (this includes lease condensate). Other liquids, such as natural-gas plant liquids (of which only butanes and pentanes-plus can be used in gasoline) and LPG, are not crude oil and have much less energy per barrel. Ethanol is even worse, at about half the energy per barrel.
the Peak of the 1976.
Peak crude+condensate was 9.6 million bbl/d in 1970.
we have grown synthetic fuel manufacture to an additional nearly 3 million bbls/day.
Total production of ethanol was under 700,000 bbl/d in 2009. Biodiesel was under 35,000 bbl/d in 2009. And the petroleum inputs to that production are not counted against it (the totals count it twice).

You think you've broken free of an echo chamber, but you've just gotten into another. It's time for you to start consulting trustworthy sources, because yours are not giving you the facts.

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