dal FT di ieri
Claims about the death of oil have been greatly exaggerated. Renewables have become more competitive, leading the International Energy Agency to forecast rapid growth. But oil will stick around for some time to come. Granted, the fuel is under near-term pressure. Fears of a recession have shaved demand forecasts for next year. Concerns that a cap on Russian oil — which accounts for more than 10 per cent of global consumption — would disrupt the market have failed to materialise. The IEA has provided what might seem like another bearish signal. The think-tank sees renewable capacity increasing almost 75 per cent by 2027 — much faster than it had forecast. It is not hard to see why. Policy support abounds. As an example, in energy crisis-hit UK, spot power prices are at £500/MWh-plus, while a 2022 wind auction was awarded at £48/MWh. Renewables will edge all fossils out of the energy mix eventually. But gains should come at the expense of coal and natural gas first. For now, oil is only indirectly affected via the growth of electric vehicles. Transport accounts for about 40 per cent of demand. Indeed, the IEA still sees oil demand growing from 95mn barrels a day (Mb/d) in 2021 to 102 Mb/d by 2030, in its stated policies scenario. That change of 7Mb/d may not sound like a lot. But the industry has to run just to stand still. Oilfields have a natural decline rate. Even pencilling in a modest 2 per cent annual fall would still leave a 25Mb/d hole by 2030. Filling this gap, thinks the IEA, would require oil and gas companies to double annual investments. That is a tall order, especially in ESG-conscious Europe. Consider that even in 2025, oil and gas investments for global oil producers should reach about $750bn, a quarter below that of 2012, according to Goldman Sachs. Even with greater efficiencies and technological advances, this amount is too low to lift production and cover the underlying declines in production as fields mature. Oil demand is doomed to secular decline. But as the energy crisis has taught us, transitions rarely unfold in a linear fashion. There is room for the fuel’s price to spike higher on its way out — further hastening the uptake of renewables.