Outlook on Energy

According to BP, US oil output will slow down in the upcoming years, leading to an unparalleled demand for OPEC’s crude oil. Its 2015 edition of its Energy Outlook forecasts a rapid growth of the shale industry in the US until the end of the decade. It was only ten years ago that the United States was importing approximately 60 per cent of its total demand. However, BP expects North America to become a net oil exporter over the next few years, and the US will most likely become self-reliant in oil by the 2030s. Growth in US shale producing is projected to be around three million barrels a day between the next twenty years. Afterward, output growth would slow down and allow the Middle Eastern producers to regain market share.

Even though the uprising of shale subdued US demand for imported oil and gas, it is unlikely that this trend will spread to other countries such as Britain, Russia, and China. The US’ situation was a unique one in that its low population density in resource-rich zones and privately owned lands made fracking easier. By 2035, the world’s population is estimated to be 8.7 million, meaning 1.6 billion more people will need energy. Global demand is predicted to increase by 37 percent in the next two decades, or an average of 1.4 percent annually. As growth in shale diminishes and global demand expands, BP expects OPEC’s market share to rebound back to 40 percent, which has been the average over the past 20 years.

From a broader perspective, power generation is expected to become a larger portion of primary energy consumption, with coal losing out as the dominant fuel. By 2035, BP predicts that renewable energy will account for the largest increase of share in power generation while the largest decline will be from coal.

- Angela Li