ExxonMobil predicts energy demand across the world will soar 35% by 2040, compared to 2010, with oil and gas supplying about 60% of that demand.
The forecast comes as technology continues to fuel production of more energy-efficient resources. The demand and supply pattern also is expected to open doors for more global trade. The future holds opportunities for North America, which ExxonMobil predicts will transition from being a net energy importer to a net exporter as early as 2025.
ExxonMobil also expects North America to become a net exporter of oil and oil-based products, as domestic oil demand falls, mostly resulting from improved transportation efficiencies and increases in liquids supplies. And Canada could be the primary driver of oil exports.
“In North America, we expect unconventional gas production will grow substantially as expected,” William Colton , vice president of corporate strategic planning, for ExxonMobil, said during a Dec. 11 conference call. “The growth in unconventional supplies is a result of recent improvements in technologies to tap these resources. This will almost eliminate the need for oil imports in North America and make LNG available for Europe and Asia Pacific.”
The technology includes use of hydraulic fracturing, a technique that has been around for decades in the oil and gas industry, and horizontal drilling to unlock resources from shale plays.
“A decade ago there was little idea that the pooling of similar technologies would lead so quickly to today’s unprecedented growth in unconventional oil and gas,” Colton said. “And who can imagine what breakthroughs could emerge in the future and how that might benefit us all. Human creativity and ingenuity will always be the most fundamental driver of progress.”
The company expects total liquids to rise globally to about 113 MMb/d by 2040, nearly a 30% increase from 2010. That growth is being pushed by technology-advancing production levels in deep water, tight oil, and NGL.
“Deep water was barely on the radar screen 10 years ago and [deepwater drilling] activity is expected to more than double by 2040. The same is true for tight oil, which is growing as a result of recent advances in technology that have enabled our industry to unlock oil found in tight rock formations,” Colton said. “The advances are very similar to the ones that have enabled growth in unconventional natural gas.”
Such advances are enabling the shift from conventional crude oil, which could make up