Sheikh Yamani, a former Saudi oil minister, is famous for having pointed out that the stone age did not end because we ran out of stones. He was responding to a debate at the end of the last century about whether the world would run out of oil. He went on to say something else, now forgotten. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph in 2000 he said: “Thirty years from now there will be a huge amount of oil – and no buyers. Oil will be left in the ground.” We are half way there. So, was Yamani right? Few in today’s oil industry think so. In January, Exxon predicted that oil, gas, and coal will still meet 80% of the planet’s energy needs in 2040 and beyond. This view is shared throughout the industry and most of the energy commentariat. Reassurance is as abundant as oil. Global primary energy demand is projected to reach about 17 billion tonnes of oil equivalent (btoe) by 2035. Of this, about 13 btoe will come in roughly equal proportions from coal, oil and gas. Renewables and hydro will provide about 1.5 btoe each and nuclear 1.0 btoe. Expressing energy demand data as btoe handily allows you to compare each of the different energy sources on the same basis. Except that it doesn’t. Almost all of the renewable primary energy ends up providing consumers with useful energy services. This is not true for fossil fuels. Much of their primary energy ends up as waste heat.
Tom Burke 5th Feb 2016 read more »