Fossil fuels to remain ‘king’ in energy mix up to 2040 – OPEC-IEA

Houston, Texas – While labeling it as “the stubborn technology’ in the energy mix, two of the world’s key players in the energy sector – the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and International Energy Agency (IEA) — agree on a common projection that fossil fuels will still reign supreme in meeting people’s need for energy even in the next 30-40 years.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol’s fearless forecast will be for fossil fossils to continue their dominance in the energy mix, amid ‘disrupting cycles’ in the industry.

He cited parallelism to what had happened 30 years ago — that in 1987, the share of fossil fuels in the mix had been at 81-percent; and despite the plague of financial crisis in the 1990s as well as transformation in investment cycles brought about by sustainable development goals and climate change risk issues, that 80 plus-percent share of fossil fuels had been sustained to-date.

“The share of fossil fuels is still 81% — the same from 30 years ago.  You have to take note that fossil fuels are the ‘stubborn fuels’, they won’t just go away,” Birol stressed.

Considered as fossil fuels are oil and gas as well as coal – resources known to still have vast discovery and development potentials going along with the advancement also of technological solutions.

OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo further indicated that in the midst of concerns relating to climate change risks and with the rise of alternatives such as renewables, batteries and other technology developments, what people need to understand is that “the problem is not energy but emissions – we need energy, but we should know how to manage emissions.”

He stressed “oil and gas will continue to be dominant fuel into the foreseeable future –and, the issue is how to apply technology to control emissions and a lot of work still needs to be done on this issue.” Players in the fossil fuels sphere have been putting their bets on commercial scale rollout of carbon capture and storage (CCS) as well as carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies.

Beyond the issue of climate change, Barkindo surmised that global energy producers would likewise need to focus on addressing ‘energy poverty’ wherein 2.0 billion people of the world are currently plagued by that.

“There are two sides of one coin – one side of the coin is energy; and the other side of the coin is sustainable development. Energy poverty is at the core of the sustainable development,” he said.

In addressing that dilemma, the OPEC chief noted that fossil fuels will remain at the forefront, because in reality, these are the technologies that could still guarantee that need for reliability, affordability and ease of access to energy service.

And in the next 30-40 years planning horizon, the anticipated addition of 2.0 billion people into the world will further require massive investments – and that leaning is seen toward the more conventional sources, which in decades past had been sufficiently provided by fossil fuels.

“There are 2.0 billion people more coming into this world between now until 2040-2050, mainly coming from the developing countries. And the world has a responsibility to ensure that nobody is crowded out and nobody is denied his/her own right to develop and enjoy the life that you guys enjoy in the first world,” Barkindo noted.


Velasco, M. M. (March 7, 2018). Fossil fuels to remain ‘king’ in energy mix up to 2040 – OPEC-IEA. Manila Bulletin. Retrieved from


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