(EnergyAsia, April 8 2013, Monday) — Coal will be the biggest loser in the world’s energy mix to 2040 as it cedes market share to oil, gas, nuclear and renewables, said ExxonMobil’s latest long-term forecast.

With global energy demand forecast to rise by 35% from 2010 to 2040, ExxonMobil said the world will need a diverse, reliable and affordable fuel mix to provide the energy to support economic growth and societal advancements.

The US major foresees a world of rising living standards that will include more fuel-efficient vehicles, appliances and buildings that will also produce limit greenhouse gas emissions.

With demand growing by 65% between 2010 and 2040, natural gas will be the star as it displaces coal as the second-most popular fuel by 2025. An economical and clean fuel source, gas will grow in importance as it will feed the world’s rising power demand.

Oil will remain the largest single source of energy to 2040, growing by a slower rate of 25%, said ExxonMobil.

The three fossil fuels together will provide approximately 80% of total global energy by 2040.

ExxonMobil’s “Outlook for Energy: The View to 2040” represents the company’s long-term view of the world’s energy future. The annual report is used to assess trends in energy supply, demand and technology to help guide the company’s long-term investments that underpin its business strategy.

Alluding to fears that oil and gas production from shale will contaminate water sources, the major said the industry has established stringent practices to ensure that producing wells protect groundwater while at the same time minimising overall environmental impact.

“As the world moves to less carbon-intensive fuel sources, coal will peak and begin a gradual decline in 2025 and is predicted to end up at about the same level it was in 2010 by the end of the outlook period,” said ExxonMobil.

“Nuclear will grow significantly, mainly due to rising electricity demand and a desire to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. From 2010 to 2040, the use of nuclear energy is predicted to double.

“Another notable shift in the energy mix is the significant growth in wind, solar and biofuels. These three fuels grow rapidly, with demand in 2040 more than five times the 2010 level.”

Despite the advances of renewables, ExxonMobil said they will only make up 3% to 4% of total world energy by 2040, as greater advances in technology are needed to increase the commercial viability and associated economics of developing these resources.