Oil demand set to peak at 101.6 million bpd in 2026
The adoption of electrification in transport and other oil-dependent sectors is accelerating and is set to chip away at oil sooner and faster than in our previous forecast. As a result of this transition, Rystad Energy is downgrading its peak oil demand forecast to 101.6 million barrels per day (bpd), a pinnacle that will come in 2026, earlier than thought, plateauing before falling below 100 million bpd after 2030.
In our updated base case, which we call the “Mean” case, oil demand will be whittled away mainly by a growing electric vehicle (EV) market. Aside from the staggering takeover of EVs, assumptions across all our scenarios (low-case, mean-case and high-case) see oil demand being either phased out, substituted, or recycled across a range of sectors.
We forecast tectonic shifts – some sudden and others slowly evolving – in plastics recycling, a growing share of hydrogen in the petrochemical sector, and oil substitution in power, agriculture, and maritime sectors. Other sectors will still see thriving oil demand in the mid-term, such as trucks, maritime and petrochemicals, and aviation in the long term, where we see a sizable substitution of jet fuel with non-petroleum fuels such as bio-jet fuel, which is still part of the overall liquids products universe.
“Oil demand will evolve in three phases. Through 2025, oil demand is still affected by Covid-19 impacts and EVs are still slow to take off, then from 2025-2035, structural declines and substitution impacts -especially in trucks – take hold, and then finally, towards 2050, the recycling of plastics and accelerated technologies in maritime will be the final transition leg bringing oil demand further down towards 51 million bpd in 2050 in our Mean Case,“ says Sofia Guidi Di Sante, oil markets analyst at Rystad Energy.
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