EIA forecasts a 50 percent increase in energy demand by 2050 driven by Asian economies

Energize Weekly, October 2, 2019

World energy consumption is projected to grow by 50 percent by 2050, with most of that demand coming from growing Asian economies, according to the federal Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) International Energy Outlook.

“Energy consumption was greater in Asia than in any other region in 2018, and we project that consumption will almost double between 2018 and 2050, making Asia both the largest and fastest-growing region in the world for energy consumption,” Linda Capuano, EIA administrator, said in a statement. “This long-term trend of Asian energy consumption to support growing economies strongly influences the extraction, refining, and transport of oil, natural gas, and other fuels.”

Among the other finding in the report were that:

  • Manufacturing centers are shifting toward Africa and South Asia, especially India, resulting in energy-consumption growth in those regions
  • Natural gas and petroleum product consumption is rising in Asia faster than supply is growing, potentially shifting global trade patterns and infrastructure investments
  • End-use consumption is increasingly shifting toward electricity, with a 79 percent increase in electricity generation between 2018 and 2050
  • Falling generation costs, energy consumption growth and policy work together to shift the electricity generation mix

The industrial sector, which includes mining, manufacturing, agriculture and construction, will make up more than 50 percent of global end-use energy consumption between 2018 and 2050, according to the EIA.

Energy-intensive manufacturing – such as steel and aluminum making, oil refining and basic chemicals – is increasingly concentrating in fast-growing Asian economies with India and China accounting for more than half of all this manufacturing between 2018 and 2050.

“The economies in countries outside the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) account for nearly all of EIA’s projected growth in petroleum product consumption between 2018 and 2050 … as growing populations and economic growth result in increased consumption of energy,” the forecast said.

The OECD is an economic organization representing 36 of the world’s most advanced economies, including the U.S., the European Union and Japan.

The non-OECD Asian countries will also account for three-quarters of the projected increase in liquid fuel demand, with India in particular seeing an increased demand for motorized transportation.

While demand will grow in Asia, crude oil production will be concentrated in the Middle East, the Americas and Russia.

For electricity, the EIA is forecasting a 1 percent annual growth in demand in OECD countries and a 2.3 percent demand growth in non-OECD countries.

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