Peak oil demand is still "at least" decades away while nations move slowly towards alternative sources of energy, the boss of oil giant Saudi Aramco said today.
"Despite the progress being made, alternatives still face multiple challenges, and we should all anticipate a long and complex energy transition," Amin Nasser, president and chief executive of the Saudi state-owned firm, said at an oil summit in Paris.
While growth in clean energy alternatives lag, the global economy is forecast to double in size by 2050. That means roughly 2bn additional people will need access to affordable energy, so overall demand for energy will be substantially higher than it is today, he said.
The International Energy Agency has said global oil demand is expected to grow until 2040, mostly because of the lack of easy alternatives to oil in road freight, aviation and petrochemicals.
"[This] is why I believe 'peak oil demand' is not in sight for at least the next few decades, and why the notion of 'stranded resources' is not one I recognise."
These "misleading" terms conceal the real challenges oil firms face, including securing long-term investment, grappling with the low price of oil and supporting climate change policies, Nasser said.
"When we look beyond short-term factors and misplaced notions, I see the oil market pointing upward and expect it to continue improving."
But he said the industry must make fundamental changes:
"We need to be far more resilient, which means fundamentally transforming the way we conduct our business while reducing the greenhouse gas footprint of oil. But if we can meet these challenges head-on, the stage is set for oil to remain a crucial part of the global energy mix for a long time to come."