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BP Energy outlook 2030 shows increasing impact of unconventional oil and gas on global energy markets

Thursday, Jan 17, 2013

Strong growth in production from unconventional sources of gas and oil will have a major impact on global energy markets to 2030, redefining expectations for major economies and rebalancing global trade flows, according to BP’s latest Energy Outlook 2030, published today.

This is the third annual edition of the Outlook, which sets out BP’s view of the most likely developments in global energy markets to 2030, based on up-to-date analysis and taking into account developments of the past year. Last year’s Outlook led the way in showing how North America is likely to become self-sufficient in energy. This year’s edition examines more closely the revolution in shale gas and tight oil – the phenomenon driving America’s energy revival – including its global prospects.

The Outlook’s overall expectation for growth in global energy demand to 2030 is little changed from last year, with demand expected to be 36% higher in 2030 than 2011 and almost all the growth coming from emerging economies. However, expectations of the pattern of supply of this growth are shifting strongly, with unconventional sources – shale gas and tight oil together with heavy oil and biofuels – playing an increasingly important role and, in particular, transforming the energy balance of the US.

Growing production from unconventional sources of oil – tight oil, oil sands and biofuels – is expected to provide all of the net growth in global oil supply to 2020, and over 70% of growth to 2030. By 2030, increasing production and moderating demand will result in the US being 99% self-sufficient in net energy; in 2005 it was only 70% self-sufficient. Meanwhile, with continuing steep economic growth, major emerging economies such as China and India will become increasingly reliant on energy imports. These shifts will have major impacts on trade balances.

BP Group Chief Executive, Bob Dudley said: “The Outlook shows the degree to which once-accepted wisdom has been turned on its head. Fears over oil running out – to which BP has never subscribed – appear increasingly groundless. The US will not be increasingly dependent on energy imports, with energy set to reinvigorate its economy. And China and India are expected to need a lot more imports to keep growing.

“The projections demonstrate yet again that we inhabit a diverse and dynamic energy market. The future is full of opportunities for job-creating businesses with world-leading technology and capability and for countries that want to work with them.”

Although major shale gas and tight oil resources exist around the world, significant exploitation of these resources has so far taken place only in North America. While advances in technology and high prices offer the potential for development of resources elsewhere, a combination of other factors is also necessary.

BP Group Chief Economist Christof Rühl said: “Vast unconventional reserves have been unlocked in the US, with oil production following gas. This delivery has been made possible not only by the resources and technology, but also by ‘above-ground’ factors such as a strong and competitive service sector, land access facilitated by private ownership, liquid markets and favourable regulatory terms.

“No other country outside the US and Canada has yet succeeded in combining these factors to support production growth. While we expect other regions will adapt over time to develop their resources, by 2030 we expect North America still to dominate production of these resources.”

Source: BP Energy

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