Global energy demand is expected to grow by 50 per cent over the next two decades. The dual challenge of broadening access to energy and reducing carbon emissions remains, says Abdalla Salem El-Badri, Secretary General, OPEC
With the world’s population expected to reach more than 8.6 billion by 2035 – an increase of around 1.4 billion from today’s level – and energy demand anticipated to expand by more than 50 per cent over the same period, the need to find sustainable energy solutions is profound. And in the search for solutions, it is important to appreciate what ‘sustainable energy’ means to people across the world. It is clear it means different things to different people.
By 2035, the shares of each fossil fuel – oil, coal and natural gas – are likely to be around the same level, at about 27 per cent of the overall energy mix. There are some who may ask whether this growth can be achieved. There is no doubt that it can. There are plenty of available resources.
The role of OPEC
From the perspective of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), its members continue to invest in order to maintain existing capacity and add new oil production. OPEC’s projections see oil demand rising by around 20 million barrels per day during the period from now to 2035, with OPEC expected to supply slightly more than 50 per cent of this increase. It is committed to making sure there is a balanced market between supply and demand. However, like any investment, supply and demand will be influenced by various factors – such as policies, oil prices and overall economic conditions.
A balanced approach
With oil continuing to play a leading role in the global energy mix, it will be important to continually advance the environmental credentials of oil, in terms of both its production and its use, to improve operational efficiencies and recovery rates, and to push for the development and use of cleaner fossil-fuel technologies.