DNV forecasts oil demand in transport sector to halve by 2050

Bridge crossing blue lake in the Pyrenees mountains. Spain.

DNV’s latest Transport in Transition report is a deep dive into the energy transition of transport – the most dynamic of the energy demand sectors through to 2050. The report draws on DNV’s system dynamics-based Energy Transition Outlook model and explores the vast changes in fuels, electricity and infrastructure needed to transport ever-larger numbers of people and volumes of freight while at the same time decarbonizing the sector.

Despite oil demand in the transport sector forecast to halve by 2050, the present pace of the transition still falls severely short of the goals of the Paris Agreement. Opportunities to accelerate change through pilot projects and uptake of alternative energy need to be seized as soon as possible, urges the report. Today, transport of passengers and goods accounts for about a quarter of global energy-related CO2 emissions, a share that will grow to 30% by 2050.

Road transport leads the way in reducing reliance of fossil fuels, falling from 38 million barrels per day (bpd) today, to 19 million bpd in 2050, reducing share from 91% to 57%, according to DNV’s forecast. Conversely, the consumption of oil within aviation will be virtually flat to 2050, with hydrocarbons set to have a 60% share in the sector in the same year.

Driven by the decarbonisation push, the fuel mix in the maritime sector will also change significantly over the coming decades, according to the report. By 2050, it will likely transition from being almost entirely oil-based to an energy mix comprising of 50% low- and zero-carbon fuels, 19% natural gas and 18% biomass. Electricity will obtain only a 4% share, from short sea shipping and port stays for larger vessels.