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ExxonMobil sees gas trumping coal by 2030

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Natural gas will surpass coal as the second-largest global energy source behind oil by 2030, even as overall global demand for energy jumps 35% from 2005 levels, ExxonMobil said today.

That energy demand will be fastest in developing economies, where usage will climb 70%, while developed economies will see essentially flat demand because of improvements in energy efficiency, the supermajor said in its annual energy outlook, according to a Reuters report.

New supplies of gas, including the shale rock fields that are now being tapped across North America, and its lower environmental impact versus other fuels, will drive that higher demand.

Exxon and its peers such as Chevron have invested heavily in large natural gas developments in recent years.

Power generation is the fastest growing major energy-demand sector, the company said, and will contribute 55% of the total growth in demand through 2030, bringing its share of total energy demand to 40%.

Alternative sources of energy such as wind, solar and biofuels will grow about 10% per year through 2030, but will still contribute only about 2.5% of total global energy supplies, ExxonMobil said.

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