Natural gas and petroleum (hydrocarbons) will be a critical energy source for decades

  • Global energy consumption is expected to increase nearly 50% over the next 30 years. Petroleum and other liquid fuels are expected to remain the world’s largest energy source in 2050, as renewable energy sources, including solar and wind, are expected to grow to nearly the same level.
  • The four main pillars of energy security are affordability, availability, reliability, and sustainability. Compared to other available sources of energy, natural gas optimizes across all four pillars.  It is relatively cheap, abundant, reliable, and sustainable.  It is a critical component in a long-term global energy transition, allowing the use of existing infrastructure in the cleanest way possible as society develops technologies that further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.3
  • Natural gas emits roughly half the greenhouse gas combustion emissions as coal when used to generate electricity. Since 2010, coal-to-gas switching by consumers and industry has saved an estimated 500 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2). These savings are equivalent to the total energy-related emissions of all Central American countries over the same period.4
  • Alongside growth in renewable energy consumption, global natural gas demand will increase approximately 33% through 2045 as consumers across the globe continue switching to natural gas from greater emitting energy sources.5
  • Fast-growing developing countries will spur demand for oil for decades, and the U.S. is the largest oil and natural gas producer in the world with smaller GHG emissions intensity than other large producers.6
  • Energy density is the amount of energy stored per unit volume or mass. Hydrocarbons are a million times more energy dense than wind or solar energy. That means less materials, mining, manufacturing, and land area to provide the equivalent energy output compared to any alternative source of energy.7
  • Hydrocarbons are essential for steel, cement, plastics, and fertilizer – the foundation of modern civilization. 
  • Hydrocarbons, in particular natural gas, are essential to make nitrogen fertilizers. At least half the recent global crop harvests have been produced thanks to the application of fertilizers. Without modern nitrogen fertilizers, we could feed only about half of today’s humanity.8
  • Plastics are produced from natural gas, feedstocks derived from natural gas processing, and feedstocks derived from crude oil refining.9
  • Plastics have worldwide applications from outerwear to electric cars, to wind towers and solar panels. Cellphone casings and eyeglass frames are plastic, as well as many of the tools in a hospital operating room. Many jet plane frames are made from high-strength, petroleum-derived carbon fiber.10 
  • Oil products have been crucial for dealing with the pandemic, from protective gear for emergency staff to the lipids that are part of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Even the popular headache medicine Acetaminophen — including such brands as Tylenol and Panadol — is a petroleum-derived product.9


  1. EIA World Energy Outlook 
  2. Based on IEA Data from IEA (2022) World Energy Outlook, World Energy Outlook 2022 Analysis - IEA. All rights reserved; as modified by Kinder Morgan. STEPS (Stated Policies) scenario.
  3. Switch Energy Alliance
  5. 2021 OPEC World Oil Outlook 
  6. Fraser Institute
  7. CHBC 2015
  8. How the World Really Works
  10. The Atlantic