Mining and Heavy Industries

Coal demand tipped to peak by 2025

Coal ships loading at Newcastle. Photo: Southern Cross Maritime

Global demand for coal will grow until 2025, then will taper off to 30% of the world’s energy mix by 2040, according to a new report from ExxonMobil.

ExxonMobil’s 2016 edition of The Outlook for Energy predicts global energy demand to increase 25% between 2014 and 2040, driven by population growth and economic expansion. Most growth in energy demand is predicted to come from developing nations, where per capita income is expected to grow by 135%.

While a surge in energy demand will lead to increased demand for coal over the next decade, the report predicts a shift in the energy mix will see the world’s reliance on coal diminish to less than a third of overall consumption by 2040.

Coal made up 40% of world energy demand in 2014. By 2040 that  figure is tipped to drop to just 30%.

Natural gas is expected to meet roughly 40% of the growth in global energy needs, while nuclear and renewables are expected to meet another 40% of growth.

A 1.6% per annum growth in gas consumption will see it replace coal as the second-most consumed fuel for energy, behind only oil.

A 0.2% per annum decline in coal consumption, meanwhile, will see it slip to third-most consumed fuel for energy by 2040, according to the report.

“ExxonMobil’s analysis and those of independent agencies confirms our long-standing view that all viable energy sources will be needed to meet increasing demand,” Exxon Mobil Corporation’s chief executive Rex W. Tillerson said.

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