The International Energy Agency, IEA, has stated that natural gas will become irrelevant come 2040.
In its newly released annual World Energy Outlook, the body said natural gas will play an increasingly important role in the mix of global fuels through to 2040. Renewables will also play a leading role moving forward, it said.
However, it said the extent to which gas fades, will depend on how countries implement the Paris Climate Agreement.
It said that lower demand being experienced by coal, makes natural gas an increasingly important fuel at the moment.
“Given the economics natural gas can provide for the energy system, whatever policy we have, natural gas always comes out one of the big winners,” IEA Executive Director, Fatih Birol said.
“We see clear winners for the next 25 years – natural gas but especially wind and solar – replacing the champion of the previous 25 years, coal,” Birol wrote in the World Energy Outlook synopsis. “But there is no single story about the future of global energy: in practice, government policies will determine where we go from here.”
In the longer-term, investment in oil and gas remains essential to meet demand and replace declining production, the IEA said in its report, but the growth in renewables and energy efficiency lessens the call on oil and gas imports in many countries.
Global oil demand will continue to grow until 2040, mostly because of the lack of easy alternatives to oil in road freight, aviation and petrochemicals, according to WEO-2016.
However, oil demand for passenger cars will decline even as the number of vehicles doubles in the next quarter century because of improvements in efficiency, but also biofuels and rising ownership of electric cars.
It said coal consumption will barely grow in the next 25 years, as demand in China starts to fall back due to efforts to fight air pollution and diversify the fuel mix. The gas market is also changing, with the share of LNG overtaking pipelines and growing to more than half of the global long-distance gas trade, up from a quarter in 2000.