Yergin Predicts Global Energy Demand to Rise 30% to 40% in Next 20 Years

Global energy demand will climb 30 to 40 percent in the next 20 years, spurred by rising incomes in emerging markets and global economic growth, said Daniel Yergin, chairman of IHS-Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

“In the 20 years since 1990, world energy demand has grown 40 percent,” he said today in a speech at the World Energy Congress in Montreal. “By 2030, we forecast growth of approximately 30 to 40 percent off a much larger base.”

Yergin based his forecast on an expansion of the global economy to $120 trillion by 2030 from about $62 trillion this year. The global economy was $58.1 trillion at the end of 2009, according to the World Bank. Emerging-market consumption is key because North America and Europe have already achieved “peak demand,” particularly in terms of oil, he said.

“It’s a very different picture in emerging markets,” Yergin said. “Rising incomes and large populations in those countries will be the growth engine for world energy demand in the years ahead. It is very sobering to realize that much of the infrastructure that will be needed in 2030 to meet the energy needs of a growing world economy is still to be built.”

The shale-gas “revolution” counts as the biggest in the energy industry since the beginning of the 21st Century, said Yergin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Prize,” a history of the oil industry.

This year, the industry has seen the potential of deep- water drilling “go from dynamism to paralysis,” he said, following the April 20 explosion at a BP Plc rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

To contact the reporter on this story: Margot Habiby in Montreal at mhabiby@bloomberg.net

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