Investments totalling $38 trillion are needed to meet projected global energy demand through 2035, and unrest in the Middle East and North Africa may disrupt this spending, according to the International Energy Agency.
Energy supplies may be threatened if unrest in energy-producing countries curbs oil and gas projects, Fatih Birol, chief economist at the adviser to 28 industrialized nations, said at a press conference in Paris.
“If the investment doesn’t come through in the MENA region, this will have major implications on international oil prices,” Birol said. MENA countries will account for 90 percent of crude production growth in the next 10 years, he said. The IEA projects $16.9 trillion will need to be spent on power-generation infrastructure through 2035, or 45 percent of the total investment required to meet energy demand. That compares with $10 trillion on oil, $9.5 trillion on natural gas, $1.1 trillion on coal and $300 billion on biofuels.
“We believe electricity is the solution” to meeting growing demand, Fulvio Conti, chief executive officer of Enel SpA, said at the conference. “It’s the cheapest, cleanest and easiest” energy source that can be distributed, he said. Enel is Italy’s biggest power company.