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EIA: Natural Gas Use Will Lead Energy Demand Worldwide through 2025

Natural gas usage worldwide will climb faster than demand for any other energy source over the next 23 years, according to the Energy Information Administration's (EIA) International Energy Outlook. Natural gas consumption is projected to increase 2.3% per year, or a total of 69%, through 2025 to 156 Tcf from 92 Tcf in 2002.

The electric power sector is expected to account for 51% of the total incremental demand growth in worldwide gas use over the period, EIA said. The industrial sector should account for 36% of the growth.

Total worldwide energy consumption is projected to grow 57% over the 23-year forecast period or about 2% per year to 645 quadrillion Btus in 2025 from 412 quads in 2002. Meanwhile, the world's production of carbon dioxide, the main cause of climate change, is projected to grow 57% even with implementation of the Kyoto Protocol by the countries that signed it, EIA said.

EIA's reference case does not include the Kyoto Protocol because the treaty does not explain the methods that will be used to reduce emissions. As a result, the reference case shows CO2 soaring to 38.8 billion metric tons in 2025 from 24.4 billion metric tons in 2002. The Kyoto treaty, however, barely makes a dent in projected CO2 growth, according to EIA. Even accounting for the impact of the treaty, CO2 emissions are still expected to reach 38.2 million metric tons in 2025, a 0.6 million metric ton reduction.

World power consumption nearly doubles over the period to 26,018 billion kWh in 2025 from 14,275 billion kWh in 2002. About 59% of the projected growth comes from emerging economies.

Renewable energy use grows 1.9% per year during the period but fails to increase its 8% market share of total energy usage. More rapid growth rates projected for natural gas and coal cause the renewable share of world energy use to remain flat.

Nuclear power usage is expected to grow 28% over the period to 3,210 billion kWh. Prospects for nuclear power have improved in recent years, EIA noted, with higher capacity utilization and expectations that operating licenses will be extended. Higher fossil fuel prices and implementation of the Kyoto Protocol also are expected to encourage more nuclear power usage.

EIA said world coal consumption is projected to grow 2.5% per year through 2015 and then 1.3% per year thereafter until 2025. World oil demand is projected to grow to 119 million bbl/d in 2025 from 78 million bbl/d in 2002 or about 53%. EIA said it lowered its oil demand forecast because of higher oil prices and price projections. The agency expects oil prices to slowly fall from current high levels to $31/bbl (in 2003 dollars) in 2010 before rising again to $35/bbl in 2025.

For more from EIA's International Energy Outlook, go to http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/ieo/index.html.

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