Energy consumption around the world is expected to rise almost 50 percent by 2050, a report from the U.S. Energy Information Agency indicates.
The 2019 International Energy Outlook, released in September, said growth in Asia will account for much of the increase as manufacturing, population, increasing standards of living and access to electricity drive the demand.
Renewable energy – solar, wind and hydroelectric generation – will be the fastest-growing energy source, the report indicates and will top petroleum and other liquids as the most-used energy source by 2050.
Worldwide renewable energy consumption will increase by 3.1 percent per year, while natural gas consumption will increase by 1.1 percent per year. Petroleum and coal have smaller consumption increases.
Natural gas consumption around the world will rise by more than 40 percent by 2050, with much of the demand coming from Asia, where it will be used for increased industrial activity, power generation, and transportation.
The report indicates that natural gas consumption in China and India will lead the way due to rapidly expanding economies, with China’s use estimated to increase by 190 percent and India’s by more than 250 percent. “Both countries expand industrial sectors as a growing middle class, growing GDPs, increasing natural gas consumption and growing populations cause increasing demand for consumer goods,” the report states.
Consumption in Asia will grow faster than its production, leading to an increasing amount of natural gas imports. By 2050, Asia will surpass Europe at the largest natural gas importer. That gas, the report found, will mostly come from the U.S., Middle East, and Russia.
Much that that gas will come through pipelines but strong growth in the export of liquified natural gas is projected. Russia and several other European countries will remain the largest exporters, while the U.S. will grow its export market due to LNG shipments.
With the continuing low prices and an oversupply of natural gas, the industry has put more of a focus on expanding its export capacity for LNG to meet this future demand, however, even that faces challenges due to increased foreign competition.