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Oil demand set to peak around 2030 as more cars go electric: Equinor

London — Global oil demand will peak around 2030 at 111 million b/d as a sharp rise in electric vehicles and energy efficiency gains offset growing demand from the aviation and petrochemical sectors, Norwegian producer Equinor said in its long-term energy outlook.

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A widespread electrification of vehicles, mostly cars, will see oil demand from light-duty vehicles in the transport sector fall by 9 million b/d from 2030 to 16.2 million b/d in 2050, according to Equinor's central Reform scenario.

The decline in total oil demand after peaking will be slow, however, with demand dropping by about 5% by 2050 to just under 105 million b/d, according to the outlook.

Equinor's energy outlook painted a more pessimistic picture for oil than the International Energy Agency and BP, which estimate, respectively, that oil demand could peak after 2040 or in the late 2030s.

Equinor, formerly known as Statoil, also expressed concerned the global transition to lower carbon energy sources was being slowed by the geopolitical climate.

Under a Rivalry scenario, the oil and gas producer said it saw the pace of change dictated by geopolitical conflict and other political priorities other than climate change.

"Unfortunately, we currently see too many signs of the Rivalry-scenario. If continuing, they will negatively impact necessary global collaborative efforts and economic growth which are keys to drive the world in a sustainable direction," Equinor's chief economist, Eirik Waerness, said.

Under the Rivalry scenario, despite lower average economic growth than in the Reform-scenario, energy demand and GHG emissions will be higher caused by "the volatility and lack of coordination across borders, resulting in slower improvement in energy efficiency and coal keeping most of its position as an energy source".

--Robert Perkins, robert.perkins@spglobal.com
--Edited by Daniel Lalor, newsdesk@spglobal.com