Global Energy Resources Sufficient Until 2030: IEA

The world has enough energy until 2030, at least on current trends and despite an expected surge of demand, on condition that there is sufficient investment in the supply chain, the International Energy Agency said Nov. 7. Two thirds of a more than 50% rise in energy demand in next 25 years would come from developing countries, the IEA predicted in its World Energy Outlook report for 2005.

Demand is foreseen coming to 16.3 billion tons of oil equivalent by 2030, an estimated 5.5 billion more tons than is consumed at present, according to the IEA's "reference scenario" based on current trends. "The world's energy resources are adequate to meet the projected growth in energy demand in the reference scenario," the IEA said, adding that global oil reserves today "exceed the cumulative projected production between now and 2030." But the agency warned that the energy sector would require investment worth about $17 trillion between now and then, about half of it in developing countries.

The IEA described financing the necessary investment in non-industrialized countries as "one of the biggest challenges posed by our energy-supply projections".

The agency also stressed that oil consuming nations must respond to an "urgent need" to upgrade their distillation and refining capacities. The IEA said crude oil price for its member countries, after hitting an average of $65 in Sept., should fall back to $35 a barrel in 2010 in response to new production capacities before edging back up to $39 in 2030.

Under current trends, the Middle East-North Africa region's share of world oil output would rise to 44.0% in 2030 from 35.0% in 2004 on the assumption of necessary annual investment of $56 billion a year. The area's gas production is seen trebling by 2030 to 1.210 trillion cubic meters.

In the current uncertain and complex geo-political context, the reference scenario is not considered by the IEA to be the desired outcome. "More vigorous government policies in consuming countries could, and no doubt will, steer the world onto a different energy path," the study said. It noted that the leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized countries -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the U.S. -- acknowledged such a trend at a summit last July by calling for stronger action to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and related greenhouse gas emissions.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005

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