US energy forecasters trimmed their long-term outlook for oil prices and global energy consumption today on expectations for more tepid economic growth. A key driver in the report, the 2017 International Energy Outlook, is a projected 3.0 per cent annual global growth through 2040, compared with last year's estimated 3.3 per cent annual growth, according to the US Energy Information Administration. The report lays out expectations for all major energy forms as rapid development in India and China drive world energy markets and the global push toward climate policy mitigation encourages renewable energy and hits coal. The EIA now anticipates in its baseline scenario that oil prices will be USD 109 per barrel in 2040, down from USD 141 per barrel in last year's forecast, according to the US Energy Information Administration. A "high" price forecast is USD 226 per barrel, while a "low" price forecast is USD 43 per barrel, both under their year-ago benchmarks. The actual price will depend on factors such as whether US shale production disappoints or exceeds expectations and whether global energy demand outpaces estimates, said Ian Mead, EIA's assistant administrator for energy, who presented the findings at a briefing at a Washington think tank. The EIA sees total global energy consumption of 736 quadrillion British thermal units in 2040, for a total growth of 28 per cent compared with 2015.
Last year's report projected 815 quadrillion British thermal units for growth of 48 per cent from 2012. While the report is broadly consistent compared with last year's analysis, the agency now sees a jump in the penetration of electric cars by the end of the forecast period, Mead said. Renewable energy also continues to see solid growth (2.8 per cent per year), while coal is the only major energy source not to see growth, according to the EIA.