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  March 19th, 2018 | Written by

Broad-Based Growth In Future Global Energy Demand Foreseen

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  • The use of fuels as a feedstock in petrochemicals is projected to be the fastest growing source of energy demand.
  • Industrial sector currently consumes half of global energy, buildings use 29 percent, and transportation, 20 percent.
  • Slowing energy demand growth in transportation results from improvements in vehicle efficiency.

Growth in global energy demand is broad-based across several sectors, according to the recently-released BP Energy Outlook 2018.

The industrial sector (including the non-combusted use of fuels) currently consumes around half of all global energy and feedstock fuels, with residential and commercial buildings (29 percent) and transportation (20 percent) accounting for the remainder.

In the main scenario expounded in the BP report, the industrial sector will account for around half of the increase in energy consumption through 2040, although improving energy efficiency causes growth of industrial use outside of the non-combusted sector to slow. By contrast, the non-combusted use of fuels, particularly as a feedstock in petrochemicals, is projected to be the fastest growing source of demand.

Differing trends in the way energy is used and consumed in the various sectors has an important bearing on the energy transition.

Energy growth in the buildings sector also grows robustly, the report projects, driven by an increase in demand for space cooling, lighting, and electrical appliances.

The slowing in demand growth is most marked in the transportation sector as improvements in vehicle efficiency accelerate. The BP report foresees global demand for both passenger and freight transportation services more than double by 2040, with patterns consistent across road, aviation, and maritime transportation. But the impact on transportation fuel demand is offset by efficiency gains: energy used in transportation will increase by only 25 percent through 2040, according to the report, much slower than the 80-percent increase during the previous 25 years and goes flat as 2040 approaches.

In the road transportation sector, the impact from increased travel is offset by efficiency improvements, mitigating the growth of fuel used by passenger vehicles. “Growth in fuel demand for trucking is stronger,” the report noted, “with increasing freight activity and more modest efficiency gains causing the share of energy within transport consumed by trucks to increase.”

Energy consumption in aviation and maritime transportation will increase by broadly similar amounts, according to the report, supported by the expansion in global GDP, with air passenger traffic growing particularly strongly.