By Pablo Gorondi
China and India are increasingly driving world energy demand as the United States’ production boom puts it on track to become independent of the global market, the International Energy Agency said Tuesday.
China is close to becoming the world’s largest oil importer, while India will turn into the leading importer of coal in the next decade to lead the Asian surge, the Paris-based IEA said in its 2013 World Energy Outlook.
“The dominance of Asia will be more and more visible,” IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven told The Associated Press. “Asia will be the clear center of the global energy trade.”
While per capita energy consumption will not be as high in Asia as in North America and Europe, “the demand and the thirst for energy (in Asia) in all its forms will be tremendous.”
At the same time, the United States is moving toward “meeting all of its energy needs from domestic resources by 2035,” the IEA said.
The IEA also noted that while new oil sources — from oil sands in Canada to deep-water wells in Brazil — will temporarily diminish thirst for crude from OPEC, which includes some of the world’s leading oil exporters from Saudi Arabia to Venezuela and Nigeria, the Middle East will remain a crucial provider in the longer term.
While the IEA sees global daily oil demand rising by 14 million barrels by 2035 to 101 million barrels, the production of conventional crude oil will fall by then to 65 million barrels a day. Other products, such as light, tight oil — also known as LTO or shale oil — will make up the difference.
The IEA warned that despite environmental policies being implemented by several of the world’s largest consumers, including the U.S. and China, current projections show that energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will rise 20 percent by 2035.
“This leaves the world on a trajectory consistent with a long-term average temperature increase of 3.4 degrees Celsius, far above the internationally agreed 2 degrees Celsius target,” the IEA report said.
Van der Hoeven said that while “energy efficiency measures are coming on in every part of the world … the full potential of energy efficiency has not been realized.”
The IEA, which has 28 member countries and focuses on energy security, economic development and environmental awareness, noted that large differences in energy prices around the world, especially in gas and electricity, will make a difference in how industries will develop in different regions.
“Natural gas in the United States still trades at one-third of import prices to Europe and one-fifth of those to Japan,” the IEA said, adding that Japanese and European industries were paying twice as much as their U.S. counterparts for electricity.