World Energy Needs

The world currently consumes about 100 million barrels of oil a day. While the IEA projects increasing use of renewables, improved energy efficiency and a shift toward electric vehicles, oil will continue to meet rising demand for petrochemicals (used to make everyday products ranging from smartphones to running shoes) and to fuel transportation.

Natural gas demand will grow as countries seek to lower greenhouse gas emissions by displacing coal for heating and power generation. Natural gas is cost-effective, abundant and reliable while producing 40 to 65% fewer emissions than coal.

Who Uses the Most Energy?

The answer depends on the type of energy. The United States consumes the most oil while China is the world’s top electricity consumer. The average Chinese family uses less energy than an average North American family, but that is changing. As prosperity in countries like China and India increases, energy demand will rise further as more people begin living middle-class lifestyles.

Different countries use different types of energy, so it’s difficult to say who uses the most. Canada itself uses a complicated energy mix of oil, natural gas, hydroelectricity, nuclear and more.

Regardless of the source of energy, demand is growing. With the global population expected to increase by about two billion over the next two decades, and with improving standards of living, it is estimated the world will need about 47 million more megawatts of electricity than current consumption.

Right now, fossil fuels supply about 80% of the energy we require. The remaining sources include nuclear power, biofuels, hydro, and other renewables such as solar, wind and geothermal energy.

Did You Know?

  • The biggest demand for oil will be for petrochemicals, not transportation (diesel and gasoline)
  • The greatest demand for natural gas will come from India and Asia
  • By 2040, renewable energy sources are expected to supply 7% of total global energy demand

The International Energy Agency (IEA) prepares annual projections about potential energy demand using a number of difference scenarios. In its 2019 report, the IEA projected global demand for natural gas is expected to increase by 36% by 2040, supplying 25% of total energy consumed worldwide, and global demand for oil will increase by 9%, supplying 28% of total energy consumed.


Growth in the Global Energy Mix from 2016-2040

A colourful bar graph representing all the different types of energy used around the world in 2017

International Energy Agency (IEA) 2019 Stated Policies Scenario

Energy Consumption by the Numbers

The IEA’s annual projections indicate global energy demand will continue to increase as the world grows and reduces poverty. In its 2019 report, the IEA projects that by 2040:
  • 1.7 billion: Global population growth of 1.7 billion and rising standards of living in developing and newly industrialized nations will drive growing energy demand.
  • 24%: World energy demand is forecast to increase 24%
  • 2 times more: The world would need twice as much energy as it produces today if it weren’t for continuous improvements in energy efficiency.
  • 36%: Natural gas demand up by 36%. Many nations are looking to natural gas for affordable and reliable electrical power generation that produces lower emissions than coal.
  • 9%: Total oil demand increase. While use of oil for transportation will peak, growth in petrochemicals means more oil will be needed in the future.
  • 1 billion: In 2017, the number of people without access to electricity dipped below 1 billion.

International Energy Agency, 2019, Stated Policies Scenario

Why Canada’s Oil and Natural Gas?

Canada has the world’s third-largest oil reserves after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, and is the world’s fifth-largest producer of natural gas. We currently produce more oil and natural gas than we can consume, making us a net exporter of these resources.

Canada’s oil and natural gas industry can and should become the world’s energy supplier of choice. Canada is able to provide our environmentally and socially responsible products to help meet growing energy needs and help displace fuels from other less responsibly produced sources.

The Canadian oil and natural gas industry is also implementing innovative technologies to improve efficiency and reduce environmental impacts. Through substantial investments in innovation and implementation of new technologies, Canada’s performance will continuously improve.

Canada can build on our leadership in environmental stewardship and responsible energy production to help address growing global carbon emissions. At the same time, ensuring a healthy oil and natural gas industry with access to global markets also ensures ongoing prosperity and economic benefits across our country.

International Energy Agency, 2019, Stated Policies Scenario