A new report from ExxonMobil Corporation indicated global energy demand will be greatly impacted by expanding populations and growth in the middle class. As a result, higher levels of oil and gas consumption are expected.
The report found that by 2040 the demand for energy will be 35 percent higher than its current levels. With more people needing resources, new markets will open up for producers, which bodes well for the U.S. as it begins to export more oil and gas to other nations. Despite tight restrictions on liquefied natural gas exports, Exxon predicts the U.S. will be a net exporter of liquid resources by 2020.
"This is expected to open new trading opportunities as Asia Pacific's net imports are projected to rise by nearly 80 percent by 2040," the report stated.
Though global oil prices have fallen as of late, oil will remain the top energy source for at least two more decades. The focus on oil production isn't expected to drop off anytime soon because there will be an additional 2 billion people in the world reliant upon resources by 2040.
However, this hasn't taken the focus off of natural gas production as the nation moves closer to full energy independence. Because of recent gains made in fracking technology, efficiency levels per well have risen considerably. The Exxon report noted the demand for resources would be closer to 140 percent if the fracking industry hadn't become so efficient in their methods.
Wells becoming cleaner
As drilling methods have improved, so have their ability to extract trapped gases from shale deposits with reduced emissions. One of the top concerns among environmentalists was the amount of methane gas released into the atmosphere from frac'd natural gas wells. However, a study from the University of Texas at Austin found current methane emissions are actually 10 percent lower than they were a year ago.
Additionally, with several forms of control devices in place that limit emissions, the level of methane coming from each well has declined significantly over the past years.
"Because of this equipment, methane emissions from well completions are 97 percent lower than calendar year 2011 national emission estimates, which were released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in April 2013," the report stated.
These new innovations in energy efficiency have placed the nation in a strong position to lead the way in future energy solutions.
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