Bloomberg News

Gas, Nuclear Demand to Rise as Coal Is Dethroned, Exxon Says

December 12, 2011

(Updates comment from Exxon on coal in third paragraph.)

Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Global natural gas, oil and nuclear consumption will rise 32 percent during the next three decades as population growth drives fuel demand and environmental restrictions reduce coal use for the first time since the 18th century, Exxon Mobil Corp. said.

India will lead the growth as energy use there more than doubles by 2040, Exxon said today in the long-term outlook it publishes annually. Africa, Latin America and the Middle East also will see increases in energy demand, while fuel consumption will decline in the U.S. and Europe, according to the forecast.

Nuclear power’s contribution to the world’s energy supply will almost double by 2040, Irving, Texas-based Exxon said. Natural-gas use will rise 62 percent, displacing coal as the second-largest fuel supply behind crude oil. Coal consumption will drop 6 percent, the first decline in demand for the fuel since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s, said William Colton, Exxon’s vice president of strategic planning.

“Coal has been the fastest growing major fuel in the world over the past decade, and will continue to surprise to the upside to power the world’s largest and fastest growing economies,” Vic Svec, senior vice president of investor relations at St Louis-based Peabody Energy Corp., the largest U.S. coal producer said in an e-mail.

The base year for the demand estimates was 2010. Exxon compiles the outlook annually to guide long-term investment decisions.

Renewables Quadrupling

Demand for renewable energy will more than quadruple by 2040, the report said. Oil, gas and coal will comprise 78 percent of global fuel supplies in 2040, according to the report. Biomass, hydroelectric and renewables such as wind and solar will contribute 15 percent of supplies. Nuclear will meet about 8 percent of demand.

Crude will continue to be the dominant source of transportation fuels in 2040, accounting for 89 percent of the market, according to the report.

“The scale of the challenge is enormous and requires an integrated set of solutions and the pursuit of all economic options,” Rex Tillerson, Exxon’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in the report.

Exxon employs a team of economists, analysts and engineers that assemble the long-term world energy outlook every year. The company has been compiling the forecast for more than 50 years.

--Editors: Jessica Resnick-Ault, Jasmina Kelemen

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Carroll in Chicago at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Warren at

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