International Energy Agency: No new oil and gas fields

Explosive U-turn: The IEA’s energy experts are calling for no further deposits to be developed. And they make a dramatic prediction for the price of oil.

An oil rig off the British east coast

Dhe International Energy Agency (IEA) proclaims the farewell to the petroleum age: From now on, no more investments should be made in the development of new oil and gas reserves, demanded the energy experts from Paris in a new report that describes how the world will look up to the middle of the century can reduce their emissions of climate-damaging CO2 to zero net. In it, the IEA also recommends stopping the sale of cars with internal combustion engines around the world from 2035 and immediately stopping the construction of further conventional coal-fired power plants.

The Energy Agency is a multinational organization affiliated with the OECD, a network of industrialized countries, and is highly regarded for its expertise in the energy sector. According to the company, the 220-page report is the first comprehensive study on how the global transition to a climate-neutral energy sector can succeed. The paper serves as preparation for the United Nations World Climate Conference in November in Glasgow, Scotland.

The energy agency’s call for a freeze on investments in new oil and gas reserves has a signal effect: it provides arguments to opponents of the oil industry, but also to critical shareholders who are pressing for a more resolute realignment of energy companies. At the same time, the IEA’s change of course is symbolic: the Energy Agency was founded almost half a century ago as a reaction to the shortage of fossil fuels as a result of the first oil crisis in 1973. Just a few years ago, the IEA experts insisted on higher investments in new oil and Gas fields penetrated, otherwise supply bottlenecks threatened.

Focus on climate protection

Now, on the other hand, the IEA is opening a completely different scenario in which climate protection is the focus. Curbing the rise in temperature on earth is “perhaps the greatest challenge mankind has ever faced,” warns IEA Director General Fatih Birol. There is a “sustainable path” to a climate-neutral global energy sector. However, this is “narrow” and it requires “an unprecedented transformation,” said Birol. Instead of investing in new oil and gas fields, the world urgently needs to invest a lot more money in renewable energies and innovations for climate protection. The energy experts therefore advocate investing only in ongoing projects for the development of oil and gas wells, but not tackling any new ones.

According to the IEA, the end of the petroleum age has already begun. The energy experts predict that global oil consumption will never reach 2019 levels again. Last year, the demand for oil fell due to the Covid pandemic. But even if this has been overcome, consumption will decline sustainably and by the end of the decade will be 18 percent lower than in 2020. By 2050, the IEA predicts a global decline in demand of three quarters. The consumption of natural gas will peak towards the end of the decade and then also decline sharply.