A recent energy conference was told: “The world will attain the 100 million barrels a day mark of [oil] consumption later this year, much sooner than we all earlier projected.” This report notes that petrochemicals ‘are required to manufacture many parts of the modern energy system, including solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, thermal insulation and electric vehicles’.
Petrochemicals are set to account for more than a third of the growth in world oil demand to 2030, and nearly half the growth to 2050, adding nearly 7 million barrels of oil a day by then, reports Green Car Congress.
They are also poised to consume an additional 56 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas by 2030, and 83 bcm by 2050.
The Future of Petrochemicals is part of a new IEA series focusing on “blind spots” of the global energy system—issues that are critical to the evolution of the energy sector but that receive less attention than they deserve.
The report is among the most comprehensive reviews of the global petrochemicals sector, and follows other reports in the series, including the impact of air conditioners on electricity demand, the impact of trucking on oil demand, or the role of modern bioenergy in the renewables sector.
Petrochemicals are particularly important given how prevalent they are in everyday products. They are also required to manufacture many parts of the modern energy system, including solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, thermal insulation and electric vehicles.
Our economies are heavily dependent on petrochemicals, but the sector receives far less attention than it deserves. Petrochemicals are one of the key blind spots in the global energy debate, especially given the influence they will exert on future energy trends. In fact, our analysis shows they will have a greater influence on the future of oil demand than cars, trucks and aviation.
Demand for plastics—the key driver for petrochemicals from an energy perspective—has outpaced all other bulk materials (such as steel, aluminium, or cement), nearly doubling since 2000. Advanced economies currently use up to 20 times more plastic and up to 10 times more fertilizer than developing economies on a per capita basis, underscoring the huge potential for global growth.
—Dr Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director
via Tallbloke’s Talkshop
October 7, 2018 at 05:27AM