Energy Researcher: Peak Oil Won’t Happen Before 2030

Enverus Dismisses Peak-Oil Predictions by the IEA Because of Fuel Economy Standards, Slowing EV Adoption
Electric vehicle charging
A driver charges an electric vehicle in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, Quebec, on April 1. (Graham Hughes/Bloomberg News)

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Global oil demand won’t peak before the end of this decade because of underwhelming fuel economy standards and slowing adoption of electric vehicles in the U.S., energy researcher Enverus says.

Enverus is dismissing peak-oil predictions by the International Energy Agency and instead forecasting that crude demand will rise to about 108 million barrels a day by 2030, according to an April 9 report by the firm. Its latest estimate is about 3 million barrels a day more than last year’s outlook, according to the report’s author, Al Salazar.

“People including ourselves have been overestimating the impact of electric vehicles and fuel economy standards,” Salazar said in an interview. “We’ve incorporated a more conservative view on electric vehicles in terms of the uptake, with Tesla selling less cars and with Ford pivoting to hybrids.”

Enverus expects global oil demand growth to gradually slow, but not peak. The firm said rising supply costs and a lack of new projects will likely push crude prices higher, particularly after 2030, and could bring peak demand in the next decade. It also said bearish IEA estimates or bullish views of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries require significant changes to consumption over a short period to happen — and “history is not in their favor.”

The IEA said in its World Energy Outlook in October that fossil fuels will peak before 2030 due to the clean energy transition gaining momentum. Such views run contrary to many within the industry. Last month, top oil executives attending the CERAWeek by S&P Global conference said they expect consumption to rise for many years to come.

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