The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Oil, Natural Gas as Energies Today and Tomorrow

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 15, 2017

For us, the top three points in the just-released U.S. Energy Information Administration’s International Energy Outlook 2017:

1. Natural gas, oil and coal are projected by EIA to supply about 76 percent of the world’s energy in 2050, which is pretty much what it is projected to be this year. (Note: EIA includes biofuels with fossil fuel liquids; we’re counting them with renewables.) Here’s how it looks in a pie chart:


2. EIA projects that world energy consumption will increase 28 percent by 2040. EIA’s chart showing the breakdown by energy source:


3. Natural gas will be the fastest growing of the fossil fuels, while liquid fuels (petroleum) will continue to be the world’s leading energy source. EIA:

Global natural gas consumption increases by 1.4%/year. Abundant natural gas resources and rising production—including supplies of tight gas, shale gas, and coalbed methane—contribute to the strong competitive position of natural gas. Liquid fuels—mostly petroleum-based—remain the largest source of world energy consumption.

Putting the three together, the ongoing U.S. renaissance in natural gas and oil production puts America in a strong position for the future, especially in the context of rising world energy demand. Continued growth in domestic natural gas and oil production offers the U.S. a chance to grow in its energy self-sufficiency. When you include energy from Canada, our leading source of imported oil, and Mexico, North American energy security looks strong.

Breaking things down further, EIA projects that world natural gas use will increase 43 percent by 2040:


Meanwhile, EIA projects natural gas from shale and tight-rock formations will grow in its importance to the global supply:


And that the U.S. will rank only behind the Middle East in natural gas production growth out to 2040:


The world’s projected growing use of natural gas and the expectation that the United States will be a leading natural gas producer is important for our domestic production, economy and trading posture. Our country’s pioneering of shale energy production is the foundation for overall energy leadership in the foreseeable future. Also, as world consumption of natural gas growth, it’s not unreasonable to believe that U.S. progress on reducing carbon dioxide emissions and air quality may be replicated in other countries.


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.