China and India to account for half the projected jump in energy consumption by 2040

China and India will account for half of the 56 per cent growth in global energy consumption between 2010 and 2040, according to a report from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Shale gas and other fossil fuels will continue to supply 80 per cent of the world's energy needs, despite rapidly growing use of nuclear and renewable sources (report).

In its latest International Energy Outlook report, the EIA says it expects total world energy use to grow from 524 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2010 to 630 quadrillion Btu in 2020 and 820 quadrillion Btu in 2040.

Much of this growth will occur in emerging economies, with energy use in China and India alone expected to account for nearly half of the increase in total energy use. Within OECD countries, energy use will rise by 17 per cent. Outside, it will grow by 90 per cent.

Oil consumption, meanwhile, is forecast to grow by 32 per cent – from 87m barrels per day in 2010 to 98m in 2020 and 115m in 2040. Fossil fuels will continue to supply 80 per cent of global energy use, while the use of liquid fuels would fall six per cent and natural gas consumption would rise 1.7 per cent.

Natural gas will be the fastest-growing fossil fuel, with consumption growing by around 1.7 per cent per year thanks to increasing supplies of tight gas, shale gas, and coalbed methane support growth.

Coal use is projected to grow faster than petroleum and other liquid fuel use until after 2030, mostly down to increases in Chinese coal consumption and low demand for liquids attributed to slow growth in OECD regions and high sustained oil prices.

However, the fastest expanding energy source will be nuclear power and renewables, the report says, consumption of which will rise 2.5 per cent by 2040.