Exxon Mobil sees energy demand up a quarter by 2040

HOUSTON — Exxon Mobil Corp. believes the world’s energy demand will grow 25 percent by 2040 and that a third of its fuel will come from oil, even as natural gas outpaces coal to become the world’s No. 2 resource.

The biggest U.S. oil company said in its annual energy outlook report that the projected increased in the natural gas — a lower-carbon fuel — is one reason the world’s economy will become 50 percent less carbon intensive over the next quarter century. Exxon Mobil’s analysts expect carbon emissions to peak in 2030 and come down 20 percent by 2040.

Global demand for natural gas, Exxon Mobil said, should grow by 50 percent while renewable resources and nuclear energy will make up 40 percent of worldwide demand growth as the global population grows by 2 billion and emerging markets expand rapidly. Income should grow 135 percent per capita in developing nations.

“To keep pace with demand, the world will need to pursue all economic energy sources,” Exxon Mobil said in its report, which is written by economists, engineers and other scientists and helps guide the oil major’s thinking on long-term multibillion-dollar investments.

Energy demand in China and India are expected to account for half of global demand growth while the appetite for fuel in developed OECD nations could fall amid more efficient energy use.

North America could become a net oil exporter by 2020, after the advent of U.S. shale production and renewed vigor in Canadian oil industry in the years before the oil-market crash.

Exxon Mobil believes oil and natural gas will make up 60 percent of global energy supplies and nuclear and renewables will come close to 25 percent by 2040. The amount of coal generating electricity will likely drop from 40 percent in 2014 — Exxon Mobil’s base year for its outlook — to 30 percent in 2040.