March 07, 2011

Interesting Excerpts From OPEC's 2010 World Oil Outlook

OPEC recently released their 2010 World Oil Outlook. It is a rather large document and I haven't read all of it. But from skimming through I noticed a couple of interesting projections that deal with biofuels.

Moreover, Figure 5.6 illustrates how projected global ethanol supply growth – not just regional – impacts gasoline. Driven by the US and Brazil, the main supply sources, global ethanol supply is projected to rise from 1.4 mb/d in 2009 to 2.4 mb/d by 2020 and then to 3.8 mb/d by 2030. The net increase by 2030 is 2.4 mb/d. Over the same period from 2009–2030, worldwide gasoline consumption is projected to rise from 21.2 mb/d to 25 mb/d, an increase of 3.8 mb/d. Thus, ethanol comprises 6.5% of total global gasoline consumption in 2009, almost 10% by 2020 and nearly 15% by 2030. Extrapolating out these figures shows that ethanol supply growth comprises 60% of the incremental gasoline demand growth to 2030, leaving only 40%, or 1.4 mb/d for gasoline supplied from refineries.

There are a couple of points here that I thought were interesting. First that ethanol comprised 6.5% of total global gasoline consumption in 2009. And that it is expected to reach 15% of total global gasoline consumption in 2030.

This, of course, contradicts those that have argued that ethanol could never displace a meaningful amount of gasoline consumption.

Further out, they predict that algae based biofuels will contribute substantially to the fuel supply.

Second-generation biofuels are assumed to contribute increasingly to global supply from 2020 onwards. Further down the line, beyond the forecasting period, algae-based biofuels – a third-generation biofuels technology – could potentially provide huge amounts of supply and be what some are calling a ‘game changer’.

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