MRO Magazine

World oil consumption to rise despite improvements in energy efficiency, says report

Irving, TX -- Exxon Mobil Corp. has released a report that says the world will require about 40% more energy in 202...


March 3, 2004
By MRO Magazine

Irving, TX — Exxon Mobil Corp. has released a report that says the world will require about 40% more energy in 2020 than today and consumption levels will reach almost 300 million oil-equivalent barrels per day.

“Developing reliable, affordable supplies to meet this energy demand will be an enormous challenge. Meeting future demand and developing more efficient uses of energy while taking actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will make this challenge even greater,” said Frank Sprow, the company’s vice president for Safety, Health and the Environment.

These sizeable increases in energy demand are projected despite continued improvements in energy efficiency. In total, ExxonMobil expects these efficiencies to be about 1% per year, because of improved vehicles, power plants, construction standards and other actions.

If efficiency gains were achieved at only half this rate, the world would consume about 30 million additional barrels of oil-equivalent energy per day. To put this amount of energy in perspective, Western Europe currently consumes close to 30 million
barrels per day.


According to the report, 80% of the energy growth from 2000 through 2020 will be devoted to improving living standards in many parts of the developing world, where about 85% of the world’s population will live in 20 years.

“Because 80% of the world’s growth in energy demand through 2020 will be in developing countries, 80% of the growth in carbon emissions will also be in the developing world. As a result, actions to reduce carbon emissions must include consideration of the world as a whole,” Sprow said.

The report states that the potential impacts of greenhouse gas emissions on society and ecosystems may prove to be significant. “To address these risks, we have for many years taken actions to improve efficiency and reduce emissions in our operations and in customer use of our products. We are also working with the scientific and business communities to undertake research to create economically competitive and affordable future options to reduce long-term global emissions,” Sprow said.

ExxonMobil also continues to consider investments in alternative energy sources that meet their investment criteria and can compete favourably among other opportunities. ExxonMobil’s focus with regard to alternatives is on research to make promising options commercially viable, as for example through its $100-million investment in Stanford’s Global Climate and Energy Project (G-CEP).

The G-CEP project unites the scientific and engineering community with private industry in search for new commercially viable technologies that can substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions and can be adopted globally.

In the context of the use of petroleum in the overall economy, the report estimates that by far the majority of emissions arise from consumer use of fuels (87%), with the remainder from petroleum industry operations (13%). “Therefore, we also undertake research on petroleum manufacturing efficiency improvements, as well as on advanced vehicles and fuels with automobile manufacturers,” Sprow said.

Sprow added that the report was developed to clearly convey ExxonMobil’s positions, research and actions on critical energy issues. “The company’s strategy in addressing these issues includes expert analysis and consultation with others, investment discipline, broad diversity in its energy portfolio, and breadth of research on energy-related issues and opportunities.”

The full report is available on ExxonMobil’s Web site at