(EnergyAsia, December 9 2011, Friday) — Energy demand will rise through 2040 as global economic output doubles and prosperity expands across a world which will have a population of nearly nine billion people, said Exxon Mobil Corporation’s latest annual forecast.

In its Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040, ExxonMobil projects that global energy demand will increase by about 30% from 2010, led by growth in developing regions such as China, India, Africa and other emerging economies.

While oil will remain the most widely used fuel, overall energy demand will be reshaped by a continued shift toward less-carbon-intensive energy sources such as natural gas as well as steep improvements in energy efficiency in areas like transportation, where the expanded use of hybrid vehicles will help push average new-car fuel economy to less than 50 miles per gallon by 2040.

As in previous editions of the report, ExxonMobil said rising demand for electricity is the single largest influence on energy trends, with global electricity demand rising by 80% through 2040 as economies and living standards improve, and consumers switch to electricity from other sources such as oil, coal or biomass. By 2040, four out of every 10 units of energy produced in the world will be going toward the production of electricity.

The mix of fuels used to produce electricity will change dramatically, however, as nations shift away from coal in favour of lower-carbon sources such as natural gas, which emit up to 60% less carbon dioxide than coal when used for electricity generation. By 2040, ExxonMobil expects 30% of the world’s electricity to be generated from natural gas, while demand for coal will peak and experience its first long-term decline in modern history.

The report predicts that new technologies will further expand global energy supplies, building on production techniques that have already unlocked a century’s worth of natural gas in the US. ExxonMobil estimates that natural gas from shale and similar sources will account for 30% of global gas production by 2040.

Rex W. Tillerson, the company’s chairman and CEO, said:

“Outlook for Energy demonstrates that by applying innovation and technology, the world does not need to choose between economic growth and environmental stewardship. As people in developed countries look to regain their economic momentum, and as everyone seeks improved living standards for themselves and their families, ExxonMobil will continue to invest in the technologies that enable us to provide the reliable, affordable energy central to economic growth and human progress.”

Developed by a team of experts using a combination of public and proprietary sources, Outlook for Energy guides ExxonMobil’s global investment decisions.

ExxonMobil said it publishes Outlook for Energy to encourage broader understanding of energy issues among policy makers and the public.