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ExxonMobil Expects North American LNG Imports to Reach 18 Bcf/d by 2020

ExxonMobil Expects North American LNG Imports to Reach 18 Bcf/d by 2020

ExxonMobil Corp. released its 2004 Energy Outlook last Thursday, predicting that global natural gas demand will grow about 2.2%/year through 2030, remaining the fastest of any major fuel over that period and reaching a 25% share of total energy consumption by 2030.

The area of fastest gas demand growth will remain the Emerging Asia region, and power generation will continue to be the main driver, representing 48% of the demand growth between 2000 and 2030, said Alan Kelly, head of corporate planning for ExxonMobil.

ExxonMobil predicts that total global energy demand will rise 1.7% per year through 2030, driven by higher personal incomes and living standards in Asia. "We're expecting global energy demand to grow at close to 2% a year," said Kelly, to 335 million boe/d by 2030, up from 220 million boe/d currently. Total energy demand also is expected to rise the most in Asia, with oil as the leading fuel used mostly for transportation.

During a webcast, he noted the economic growth and energy demand are interdependent. "If we can't meet the significant supply and demand challenges, then economic growth is likely to be compromised." ExxonMobil is expecting the growth of total worldwide gross domestic product to be about 2.8%. Over the time frame, China will emerge as the largest Asian economy. China's GDP is expected to grow at 6.3% per year, or more than double the rate in North America over the time period.

Kelly said more efficient energy production methods are needed to meet the rising growth. Those methods include heavy oil, oilsands and oil shale production. On the demand side, more fuel efficient cars, especially in North America, will offset demand in places like China, where more people will buy cars, he said.

Kelly noted that with the substantial worldwide growth in natural gas demand will come a significant increase in global natural gas trade. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports in North America are expected to grow to 9 Bcf/d in 2010, 18 Bcf/d in 2020 and 26 Bcf/d, or 24% of total supply, in 2030.

The gas import growth in Europe also will be substantial, rising to 53% of total supply in 2010, or about 34 Bcf/d, and to 70% of total supply in 2030, or 62 Bcf/d. Asia Pacific gas imports are expected to reach 5 Bcf/d in 2010 and grow to 22 Bcf/d in 2030.

ExxonMobil also predicts that energy use will become more diversified over the long term, but oil and gas are expected to remain the dominant fuels. "For the foreseeable future, fossil fuels are likely to be the only energy forms that have the scale and versatility to meet the significant growing energy demand challenge," said Kelly.

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