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Topic 51: Energy landscape of the future and the risks associated

Maria Christou's picture

People say that by 2040 the energy landscape
will definitely change. It is also believed that by 2040 the
global energy demand
will be increased by 30% while the population is
expected to be increased by
How will these affect the industries? What are the risks associated? Undoubtedly,
fossil fuels will remain the world's
major sources of energy (at least 50% t of the world's energy supplies). That
means that carbon dioxide emissions will still pollute our environment and
cause health problems. Moreover, in order to meet the growing demand, we will
need to extensively develop alternative sources of energy; for example,
renewable energy and more specifically biofuels. By growing larger fields for
biofuels though, we undermine the food production and since the population is
increasing that will cause a major problem.

Future hides a lot of
risks unless we find ways to efficiently manage the world’s thirst for energy.





Toby Stephen's picture

I would imagine that the risk type would be exactly the same as it is right now unless there's a major breakthrough which introduces a completely new form of technology to the current global energy mix. We already have a decent grasp on these risks, some more than others depending obviously on how long the technology has been around for. For me the main change will be in the risk level, which will change largely based on where the technology is being implemented (for example, we may be exploring much more remote locations in the future than we can at present, which will be accompanied by it's own set of risks and considerations).


Toby Stephen
MSc Oil & Gas Engineering

Fungisai N Nota's picture

Fungisai Nota BEng(Hons) MIET

Fungisai N Nota's picture

Fungisai Nota BEng(Hons) MIET

Fungisai N Nota's picture

Fungisai Nota BEng(Hons) MIET

Fungisai N Nota's picture

Fungisai Nota BEng(Hons) MIET

Fungisai N Nota's picture

Fungisai Nota BEng(Hons) MIET

Fungisai N Nota's picture

Fungisai Nota BEng(Hons) MIET

Fungisai N Nota's picture

Fungisai Nota BEng(Hons) MIET

Fungisai N Nota's picture

Fungisai Nota BEng(Hons) MIET


I agree that fossil fuels will remain the
largest source of energy in the future and that green house gas emissions will
increase because of the demand of energy with an increasing population growth
but I am also of the opinion that the CO2 emissions from fossil fuels will drastically
reduce compared to the methods of reducing emission presently. This can be
achieved by maximizing energy efficiency potential by replacing older inefficient
processes with best available technologies and best practice technologies.
Renewable energies like biofuels are best substitute for fossil fuels but even
the use of biofuels has its negative impacts not on the environment but on a
starving population. For example China buys tonnes of cassava to produce its
biofuels from Nigeria. This has hiked up the prices of food products produced from
cassava because there is now such a high demand of it from China who will pay
more to use it for energy consumption.


Okechukwu Chukelu (51231798)

Ambrose Ssentongo's picture

Thanks Okechukwu for this, infact as a means to further curb down on risks posed to the environment by utilizing the existing various energy sources,  the other means of carbon dioxide emissions reduction that’s taking a lead in governments committed to achieving global CO2 emission reduction targets is “carbon capture systems-CCS” which are estimated to have a capacity of reducing by at least 90% the CO2 emissions from power generating plants and other industrial sources. Governments like that of the UK are endeavouring to create and promote markets for low carbon electricity and are also investing a lot in development of carbon capture systems to see that they become economically feasible and eventually see the CCS industry become a competitive one. As regards pollution to the environment therefore, the future is not bleak despite the recognizable fact that fossil fuel is going to remain a major source of energy for quite some time ahead of us.



Ambrose Ssentongo

Oluwatosin A. Oyebade's picture

I dont quite agree with you Ambrose that CCS is the saviour of the world in terms of mitigating carbon emissions. Reducing C02 emissions by atleast 90%?? C'mon, that is just preposterous because the technology hasnt been proven yet as it is still undergoing series of tests. We terefore  cannot rely on an uncertainty as an efficient solution to the C02 emission challenge. Despite this vgueness, if CCS would actually pull through, the difficulty in finding reservoirs large enough to deposit huge amounts of C02 essential to fulfil the aims of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is another issue t contend with and this is  excluding the other challenges of this technology such as earthquakes triggered by injecting large amounts of C02 into a formation which is capable of damaging the reservoir seal that ensures the permanent character of the storage and encourage escape of the C02 through leaks.

In my opinion, sourcing for alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, wave and other renewables would be the best way out of this quagmire as continous use ofC02 infested energy sources and running helter-skelter to find mitigation techniques isnt exactly an intelligent cycle to keep running.

Read more: An energy briefing paper insight. Carbon Capture and Storage; Analysing Uncertainty.UK Energy Research Centre.

Oluwatosin Oyebade

Ambrose Ssentongo's picture

Ambrose Ssentongo

Ambrose Ssentongo's picture

Hello Oyebade, I should have replied to this much earlier but hadn’t got chance to see it. Well, a few Carbon Capture projects include Statoil’s Sleipner(since 1996, the sleipner CO2 xapture project has stored about 8MtCO2) and Snøhvit site in the North Sea(this one’s storing 700,000 tonnes of CO2 reinjected back into the ground), BP’s In Salah Field in Algeria since 2004 has so far stored 3MtCO2, Weyburn CO2 project in Canada has been running since 2000.

Monitoring schemes have proven successful so far in all these projects with no effects on underground formations and these have served as very critical sources of research and lessons learnt from a very important guide to assure the reliability of CCS (Carbon Capture Systems) in the world. The North Sea’s salt aquifers  are estimated at storage capacity of about  4.6bt CO2. These are emission volumes accounting for about 200 years worth emissions from Scotland and North East England! CCS development is the way to go if we’re to counter the effects of dependence on fossil fuel to meet of the world’s energy demand at the moment and in the next number of decades.

Ambrose Ssentongo

Fungisai N Nota's picture

Fungisai Nota BEng(Hons) MIET


the early 2011, the report Research on
the Energy Development Strategy of China in Mid and Long-term (2030, 2050)
released by the Chinese Academy of Engineering. According to the report, in
2050, the percentage of coal in primary energy resources is expected to drop to
40% or even below 35%. Over the coming several decades, petroleum will be still
the main support for national energy safety and natural gas could be useful for
adjustment of energy structure. Among clean energy, hydropower will be in the
first position in the development of renewable energy before 2030. Nuclear power
is a strategic option for China energy safety which may become a green support
for China energy. It is anticipated that by 2050, the percentage of clean
energy will be 50% in the energy structure.

The energy landscape is bound to change in the future. Considering the targets set by the numerous Eco-friendly organisations, and the growing number of governments in agreement with such organisations, Renewable energy seems as though it may have a significant role to play towards energy supply by 2050. Some of these protocols include the Kyoto protocol which have numerous governments actively trying to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent global warming. Furthermore, a report published by the WWF in 2011 suggests that with the global population expected to be approximately 9 billion by 2050, the remaining discovered fossil fuels would not be adequate towards fufilling the global energy demand. thus, implying and suggesting that by 2050, renewable energy could be sustaining all of the global energy needs. 

Having said this, with new technologies being introduced, and the technology that may be introduced in the future, fossil fuels looks set to continue meeting majority  f global energy demands. For example, shale gas technologies and oil sands technologies may provide feasible means to continue exploiting fossil fuels.

To conclude, I think the energy landscape for the future is dependent on two main factors:

1. The available technology

2. The level of awareness on enevironmental issues.

These two considerations could be accountable for shaping the future energy landscape.


Ikechukwu Onyegiri's picture

With the recent trends in energy trade policies with the American shale gas effect crippling gas production in Hammerfest Norway which now exports its gas to Japan through the artic one will have to say globalization is really not going to play a "unifying" role in a future where we want to keep emissions low and energy affordability fairly okay.

Energy security comprises of two elements: firstly, ensuring the affordable and reliable supply of energy and secondly, guaranteeing the unhindered delivery of that energy "from point of production to ultimate customer" (POLIS Journal Vol.4 2010)

The world's energy mix in the future will be one determined by: Who you are (how much energy you have available, your politics, your demands), where you are and how much money you've got. In light of this various risks can be eminent. Firstly economic risks which tallies off in an economic efficiency versus population growth debate will be topmost. Geopolitics in energy supplying countries will be forced to be opened to external influences seeking to maintain energy demand. Just like the case of the US and Afghanistan, I think with the technical risks we still encounter today with the so-called renewables such as biofuels one can say that a balance might have to be stroke by energy suppliers and demanders to protect the interest of both parties.

Another dimension to this is to look at the development risks of third-world energy producing nations. Definitely advancing economies such as China and India will become even more demanding in the future and with "globalization" merging the world into one big family one won't be surprised if the energy needs of poorer countries won't be neglected and under-developed energy producing countries exploited.

Though we can only make vague predictions of what tomorrow will be, one thing about the future energy mix is sure; it won't be enough and we will have to compromise to get by. It will be driven by population growth (worlds population increases by 1 billion every 13 years), climate change & policies, energy demand, energy security and economic growth. As countries move away from reliance on one source of energy and energy import, I can say the future energy mix will be a tie of both political and technological knots.

[1] The future of energy, Shell 2008, Seminar Report 2008 EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation.

Ikechukwu Onyegiri

Msc Oil and Gas Engineering


demand will definitely change (increase) in the future. As the demand for
energy increases as a result of population increase, the risk factor also
increases. More greenhouse gases will be emitted into the atmosphere due to increased
use of fossil fuels. This alone poses the major future risk associated with
increased energy demand. tThe consequences are so obvious presently and will
get worse in the future if something drastic is not done now.

is presently hosting the 18th UN climate change conference to come up with a
new frame work to replace the historic 1997 Kyoto protocol which will expire
soon. Qatar has the World's largest per capita carbon footprint.

Argentine ex-diplomat, Raul Estrada argued that Qatar's funding of the
conference would have been an important factor in awarding her the event. He
stated that Qatar hasn't been seen to be pushing for a result. Instead, in the
history of climate change negotiations, trying to avoid the adoption of
commitments to reduce the use of fossil fuels. She now finds herself in the
strange role of steering some 194 nations towards a new deal to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions. How Viable?

strongly agree with Maria Christou's comment that the way forward is to develop
alternative sources of energy like renewables, bio fuels that can compete
shoulder to shoulder with fossil fuels. Countries should have a voluntary
pledge in having a fixed emission reduction target. This to a very large extent
will reduce the overall risk associated with energy demand of the future.




Hanifah N. Lubega's picture

I am not querying any of the posts above, but the main issue here should
be that, As we predict the future energy scenarios and the technologies we
think might play a big role in meeting the future energy demand, are we
considering the level of safety? I am currently impressed by the trend of
safety and reliability in developing countries in the energy sector especially
those with a higher hazards rate like Oil and Gas and Nuclear among others.
Technologies have been put in place and some are still being studied to ensure
reliability and safety improvement in addition to the prevailing laws and
regulations, but as some of you are envisaging the move towards renewables, are
we ready to keep up with the safety and reliability culture or will we then
only focus on only energy supply and carbon reduction? I seem to have a bad
feeling about this! If we anticipate running out of oil in 2050 for example, as
a sector with relatively high safety emphasis and regulations, is the alternative
fuel/energy ready to embrace safety culture? I think this will be a big
in the future mix since the focus and incentives seem to be on
energy development. Look at the potential for the hydrogen economy, quite
impressive but before we get excited about using electrolysis to dissociate the
H2O compound for hydrogen, the safety and reliability of the
technology is very important because unless we incorporate all this we can’t be
sure of its sustainability.

Ambrose Ssentongo's picture

Hanifah, we shouldn’t be afraid of embracing these high risk alternative energy sources because of their associated risks. The same risk management strategies for example those we study at our masters level, employed in assessing and managing risks in the developed oil and gas sector are mostly generic and can thus be applied to a range of other industries to assure safety only with different parameters depending on the industry one’s dealing with. Infact sectors of the oil & gas and petrochemical industries have experienced higher frequency of occurrence of accidents leading to deaths than those from say the nuclear industry which has only a number examples we commonly talk about – Fukushima 1 2011, Chernobyl 1986 among others, (with devastating consequences we agree though). “Events like Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, Chernobyl in Russia, and Fukishima in Japan have been widely reported, but even these events did not cause the large number of deaths that the Bhopal accident caused in India.” (1)

My opinion is that  we should  not look at alternative sources of energy like nuclear with any indifference because we’re already dealing with industries of high risk in regards to safety and are developing continuously various means of cutting down risk to ALARP , we can therefore confidently take on development of these other sectors too. “We have grown so accustomed to the great threats of fossil fuel products, both as energy sources and as the base of our petrochemical industry, that we no longer see them as a threat to our lives the same way we see nuclear power.”(1) This is because we’re so used to hearing about fire explosions, car accidents unlike nuclear accidents and thus tend to put a lot of emphasis on the few we’ve heard about.


1. alternative-energy-source-nuclear-power/



4. Nuclear power: The case for a safe, alternative energy source | Washington Times Communities 

Siwei Kang's picture

This topic is hot, and it is hard to say what the right answer is. From my point of view, clean energy is the trend for future. According to BP's 2030 outlook, oil, natural gas and coal will keep dominating global energy portfolio as 30% respectively. The remaining 10% is comprised by renewables, hydro and nuclear. Meanwhile, the European Commission, an organization from EU, also gives their answer. It is eatimated that the oil production will peak before 2030, whereas the gas between 2040 and 2050. Oil, gas and coal will still rule energy market share, accounting for 70%. But both nuclear and renewables will increase significantly to 15%.

My point is based on the change of population,  GDP and climate change by the end of 2050. In 2050, the population will increase more than 40%, and GDP will jump to more than three times. According to IPCC, the carbon dioxide emission in 2050 is half of that in 1990.If the population is 9 billion worldwide in 2050, the carbon dioxide discharge per capita is half of the level right now. Natural gas is cleaner than coal and oil, therefore I believe that it will grow fast. On the other hand, in the light of fossil energy's first place in energy in the future, the CCS technology will be developed dramactically. 

By 2050, for transport, oil and gas, fuel cell and electricity vehicles will be the main tools. For electricity and heat, coal, nuclear and renewables, like wind and wave, will be the primary energy. 

To sum up, the future energy will be more diversified than now. Fossil energy still be very important but alternatives could be more active too.

Reference: BP 2030 outlook,

Deinyefa S. Ebikeme's picture

The energy landscape has always been changing and its effects can be felt significantly when there is a major transition change of dependency from one form of energy consumption to another across the continents.

The drive factors can be seen in the technological advancement and applications using these energy sources in a more effective, reliable and sustainable way in meeting the needs of human in a safe, economic and environmental friendly manner.

This determines the level of Industrialization of any nation and it comes with various types of risks (financial, inherent, societal, environmental, systematic, war etc.) which are mitigated over time and leads to review or new legislations to govern the process.

In the near future (2100) due to high energy demands in the face of increasing population, economic growth and development, other forms of energy such as unconventional (oil sands, heavy oil, shale gas, methane clathrates etc) and renewable energy  will  emerge as play-maker in the competitive market with various forms of risks (Unknown known) associated with them.

It is therefore imperative for proper research study and demonstration to be carried out to identify the various types of risks associated and mitigation plans required for the developing technologies using these sources of energy presently. Success can also be achieved by collaboration and knowledge sharing from different research institutes.



Deinyefa Stephen Ebikeme IBIYF

Dear All,


In my opinion, as long as everything is a derivative of hydrocarbon (from drugs to plastics, clothes to printing inks [1]) and we are heavily dependent on these items, I won’t thing it would be much of a difference in the future. Our cellphones uses compound derived from hydrocarbons and can we leave without it in the future? 


I do agree with Toby, without any breakthrough (in this case - in manufacturing our daily life items), we will not move away from hydrocarbons.


As pointed out by others, we will see rise on the renewable energy. We do viewed it as clean energy but one aspect that people often miss is the fundamental of each energy and its impact on climate change.


We know from Conservation of Energy Law [3]: that energy could not be created nor destroy but rather change from one form to another. Just imagine when we convert wind energy, the natural wind with its potential / kinetic energy is converted into mechanical energy to produced electricity. As the wind downstream of the wind turbine travel inwards, it lost its natural energy and created a low pressure environment. (Bernoulli Theorem) Therefore, wind with higher pressure will move into the low pressure system creating an unbalanced pressure system such as turbulence or even hurricane or typhoons on a bigger scale. Same principle applies to tidal and wave energy. It is basic physics and research should carried out to research on this matter. 


Maybe by harnessing the natural power from mother earth, we disturb its natural functionalities. Perhaps in future, we would be responsible in making the climate change worst. Just a thought.


The earth has its own system, to regulate itself, it need to function as intended [2]. Will we be distrupting her from doing her job? Will we see a lot of frequent freak storm like Sandy, Kartarina and more earthquakes?



Anas Abd Rahman



1.Williams, L.O., (2002), An End to Global Warming, Elsevier Ltd, UK, 1sr Edition, Available from

[Accessed on 30 November 2012]


2.National Oceanography Centre. Available from 

[Accessed on 30 November 2012]


3. Sarton, G.; Joule, J. P.; Carnot, Sadi (1929). "The discovery of the law of conservation of energy". Isis 13: 18–44, Available from

[Accessed on #0 November2012]

Adejugba Olusola's picture

A quick look at the current energy landscape, the main sectors in the responsible for energy consumption are Transportation, Industrial, Residential & Commercial, and Electric Power and energy sources include Oil, Natural Gas & Coal(Fossil fuels) which currently make up about 82% of energy sources, Renewal energy makes up about 9% and Nuclear Electric Power makes up about 8% energy consumption as at 2011{1}.

My opinion is there will be a shift in the balance of energy mix from various sources. Fossil fuels will still play a prominent role in a more diverse energy mix of the future but with increasing focus on cleaner energy with less carbon emissions. Natural Gas and LNG will play a more prominent role in the future - natural gas will grow fast enough to overtake coal for the number two position behind oil{2}.

Energy-saving practices and technologies will increase leading to gains in energy efficiency which will temper demand growth and curb emissions{2}. Population growth will continue to fuel the demand for energy and as the fossil fuels begin to decline and become scarce so will the extension of the boundaries/frontiers of sourcing them which willl cause world energy prices to continue to rise. From Okechukwu's example, we already seeing the impact of biofuels on food prices so there will need to be alternative means of sourcing biofuels or the raw materials to make them. It is yet to be seen whether the rate of development of Renewables will suffice to match the increasing the energy demand talk less of replacing the fossil fuels.

In summary, the cost and availability of a diverse mix of energy will be a key factor in determining the energy landscape of the future.


1. U.S Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Review 2011. 2012

2. Exxonmobil. 2012 The Outlook for Energy: A view to 2040. 2012

Adejugba Olusola

Ambrose Ssentongo's picture

In further support of you Olusola, further/deeper reading has indeed showed me that cost is an imperative in the energy landscape especially regarding alternative energy. A report by EIU(Economist Intelligence Unit) indicates that for the first time globally, in 2010 there was a higher (by 19%) investment in renewables to provide electricity than conventional power plants driven by fossil fuels. This shows how alternative sources of energy are taking lead in the world but however, this comes with risks of which again the report identifies the major ones being: strategic risk, environmental , financial, market, operational, political/regulatory and weather related risks. Among these, financial risk is the most significant and it is most and most so at the initiation stages of the projects since because they are highly capital intensive. It is therefore inevitable to talk about cost when the subject of alternative energy comes up.

Alabi Ochu Abdulraheem's picture

In the future there would be greater demand of energy for consumption, hence the need for higher production of biofuel to support fossil fuel. Producing biodiesel is a potentially hazardous process as it involves hazardous chemicals (such as sodium hydroxide which is highly corrosive and methanol which is toxic) and the risk of fire and explosion (due to the high flammability of methanol). HSE does not enforce health and safety in domestic premises, but because of these serious health and safety risks, HSE advises against the home manufacture of biodiesel using domestic facilities. The major source of biodiesel is vegetable oil (edible source) which poses a great risk in its availability for consumption. In mitigating against this risk, research are currently on-going on how biodiesel production can be achieved from non – edible sources like jatropha seed oil.
Name: Alabi Ochu Abdulraheem
Reg no: 51231595

Olamide s Ajala's picture

Humman success have been closely tied to our ability to  capture, collect and harness energy.
The outspread use of energy is the basic reason why hundreds of millions of people enjoy a standard of living today,that would have been unimaginable to most of humanity a mere century ago. The energy path the  world is currently taking  is not sustainable : there are great cost associated with the use of energy.Heavy reliance on fossil fuel is causing environmental degradation at the local,regional,and global levels. Climate change in particular poses global risk and difficulty that  are imaginabily unparalled in magnitude, density  and challenges .Also the drive to secure access to vital energy resources particularly oil and natural gas, has become a powerful driver in geo-political alignments and strategies.

Conclusively if the current trends persist, inequibtable access to energy,particularly for people in rural areas of developing company and the eventual exhausation of oil non renewable energy supplies would have a profound effect on international security,health and safety as well as economics prosperity.

Hanifah N. Lubega's picture


Good point Ambrose, but am delighted to know that the UK Health and Safety Executive has already taken the first step of acknowledging that there might be a challenge and embarked on ways to ensure health safety and environmental protection as the novel technologies strive to take centre stage. As these energy technologies aim at ensuring sustainability, security and affordability to meet the transport, fuel and heat demand, the need to be safely produced and harnessed is equally important.


One of the key challenges envisaged is the difficulty in identification of hazards and risks due to lack of sufficient safety data like failure rates which is the widely used concept in today’s industrial development and inexperience in the novel technologies since most of them that are predicted to have a major role are mainly ‘Third generation’ technologies. This in my opinion is likely to lead to significant uncertainties and as the utilisation of these technologies increases, safety-related incidents may also increase. Other risks envisaged in this energy mix are skill gaps since most of them may be new, neglect of the safety culture, inadequate knowledge on hazardous activities and financial pressures among others. The government policies that focus on CO2 reduction, affordability and efficiency improvement may also affect the emphasis on safety and reliability of these technologies especially in terms of health hazards.


As noted earlier, the HSE is aware of this move into the new energy economy and it trying to work with responsible Authorities and Agencies to ensure that the safety standards are not compromised. So this somehow mitigates ma fears in the first blog I posted on the future of safety in the energy mix. 




faizakhatri's picture

in my opinion our future energy needs in a sustainable fashion by mixing of mitigating carbon in climate along with renewable There are long-term challenges for increasing the role for renewable energy as part of a secure carbon-free generation mix and for this the whole world are developing  for renewable energies as an alternatives like solar, wind ,tidal power, bio fuels for lower carbon foot prints with efficiently make balance in energy supply and demand in future According to the IPCC, global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions must be reduced by 50–80%, by 2050 to avoid the dramatic consequences of global warming obviously it is great challenge as inflation rate increases global energy demand will be higher in future and focused largely on reducing emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere.


Fossil fuels continue needed for maintaining supply energy demand in future and CCS will boost life of power plant and other industrial units like processing plants / refineries that would otherwise be closed due to high levels of emissions CCS may help for implementation of reduction of fossil fuel power station with CO2 capture, with carbon storage options should be consider to avoid CO2 transport. Or another option is Electricity or Hydrogen can be transported to make these emission-free secondary energy carriers to consumers. In this way it seems that moderate additional costs for electricity could allow the implementation of a first level hydrogen transport infrastructure instead of building a CO2 transportation network... In this way, fossil fuels can continue to play a role within a diverse energy mix.


As far as transportation sector is concern In the future, more Research and Development in vehicles technology like cars powered by fuel cellsand hydrogen can supplement electric cars. Further progress in future improvements changes in fuel efficiency and emission control of internal combustion engines Obvious internal combustion engine is a heart of all vehicles if it’s work Efficiently automatically it reduce carbon emissions and it can be achieved only through improvements in other supporting

technologies, lubricants are one of them and it can play directly a part in emissions and fuel consumption performance of vehicles which reduce friction and provide sustainable cooling for long lasting life of engine. Environmental needs new automotive technologies need lubricant quality either by using lower viscosity lube oil , Ion Exchange acid adsorption technology is increasingly being used for proactive maintenance of in service lubricants, blended formula of Regeneration of waste lubricating oil technology in which recycling of waste lube oil, fractionation, finishing it , waiting for SAE 0w-16 to come out in near future So, basically,everything that leads to energy savings and environment preservation .


The outlook for improved carbon capture technology

Edward S. Rubin a,*, Hari Mantripragada a, Aaron Marks a, Peter

Versteeg a, John Kitchin.



Pattanapongchai and Bundit Limmeechokchai.

Faiza khatri 

M.Sc oil and gas engineering

Keqin Chen's picture

Throughout history, the
higher quality of energy contributes a lot to the progress
of human civilization by
satisfying the increase of need of each person. A
industrialization has progressed around the world
the last century, the

energy consumed by
global average per capita has risen by
50% in the last 40 years alone.

According to the statistics
of IEA (International Energy Agency), t
he current global energy mix consists of oil (32%), natural gas (21%), coal
(28%), nuclear (6%), hydro (
3%) and renewable energy such as biomass, wind and
solar (about

And giant change will take
place in the following 40 years. In 2050, the share of each energy will be
changed to
oil (13%), natural gas (16%), coal (14%), nuclear
13%), hydro (23%) and renewable energy such as biomass, wind and
solar (about 2
1%). (HSBC Statistics)

The following trends and
associated risk contingency shall be mentioned:

1. Though renewable energy grows rapidly, fossil
fuels remain the principal sources of energy globally (Oil + Gas + Coal will
take 43% of total) and we still will face the troubles greenhouse gas emission.

2. Electricity demand will continue to grow, and we
have to improve the efficiency and the safety of nuclear and hydro electricity
plants. And Gen IV Reactors should be focused on, especially fast neutron
breeder reactors.

3. Numerous renewable energy with includes such sources as wind, photovoltaic and
thermal solar, tidal and wave power, biomass etc
, the development of renewable
alternatives is crucial for the sustainability of human civilization.
But there are constraints also. For example, one such constraint for biofuels is the conflict
between foods.
And ethanol and biodiesel are now also struggling with the limits
of low net energy in biological processes.



1.World Energy
to 2050,


Keqin Chen

Msc of Oil and Gas Engineering


xenios.ze's picture

The future of energy will contain
sources like nuclear fusion. How safe is this?

The Safety and Environmental
Assessment of Fusion Power (SEAFP) has put through a study to check potential
hazards in a variety of scenarios concerning accidents in nuclear fusion facilities.
The study concluded that the fusion reaction contains no highly radiotoxic
products, thus it has a very good inherent safety qualities. Even if the worst
accident occurs and large amount of radioactive material escapes to the environment
the consequences will not be the same as the ones of a nuclear fission facility
accident, it would be much more less, and for example, if an accident happens
the nearest local community will not need to be abandoned.

The inherent safety characteristics
of a fusion reactor are due to the very low fuel inventory in the reactor
during operation and to the rapid cooling that extinguishes the fusion
reactions should a malfunction occur.

Finally, the radio-toxicity of the
waste and other structural materials will decay rapidly and in less than 100
years the radiotoxicity of those materials will be close to zero.

European commission research and

Xenios Zenieris

MSc Oil and gas Engineering

xenios.ze's picture

The future energy landscape contains
energy sources like hydrogen. For the utilization of this energy a major issue
like the hydrogen storage, is causing the so called hydrogen economy to be developed
in a slower rhythm. There are three ways of storing hydrogen, the first one is
by the liquefaction, the second one by compression and the third one by storing
the hydrogen in solid materials.

The first two choices are not so preferable
because of the huge energy that is needed to be put in order for these storage
methods to take place. But also are not so preferable because of the safety
issues that are included in these two methods. The liquefaction of the hydrogen
contains the same dangers as the gasoline, and the compressed hydrogen in tanks
are dangerous for ignition if any accident happens.

Finally, the safer method to store
hydrogen is to store it in solid materials, which is more cost and
energy efficient and it can be store in very small pressures of ≥2
bars. The environment that we live in is just 1 bar.

Isn’t that impressing?

Xenios Zenieris

MSc Oil and Gas engineering

Abdulazeez Bello's picture


Industrialization is one of the major drives of energy
consumption which is projected to increase (world energy outlook, 2012) by 2035.
Thermal energy sources will still be leading as advancement in nuclear energy
technology would have reached a new height. Reactors with better cooling and
safety mechanism (SIL 5) would be in use. This has the potential of providing
large amount of energy both from fusion and fission processes (Prinja, 2012). Crude
oil exploration would be on especially in areas perceived as risky (artic) or
wells thought to be depleted would be put to production as a result of better
technological advancement and proper risk management methods in use. Though renewable
energy sources would have increase but will continue to complement the major
providers as capacity will still be low and cost of production high. Coal would
still be a major energy source for electricity in manufacturing countries like
china and India thus underscoring the need for clean energy.


Nawal K Prinja (2012).
‘An Industry based lecture on nuclear safety’


FELIXMAIYO's picture

This is an interesting topic; the points raised by my colleagues are exciting.  After reading all the post I came to conclusion the drivers that are bound to change the energy landscape are population, industrialisation, politics, and economics. The world population is projected to rise from the current 6 billion to approximately 10 billion. This is a significant growth and energy demands will increase and this poses a big challenge to many continents…although some of the energy sources are perceived to be risky now. In my opinion I believe they will come back and play a big role in future. Countries like Japan are running away from nuclear but with technological advances, safe technologies will be developed. I believe in 2050countries will be struggling to meet their energy demands. So a lot of scramble for the resources that are available to meet their energy demands will take place. The scramble for the resources might result in wars, political instabilities in some continents. I energy landscape will change depending on the factors have listed before.


Emmanuel Mbata's picture

Nice comments by every one. in my opinion, a particular energy source can not be able to serve the worlds demand by 2050, cars and other machinaries that depends on products of fossil fuel will be driven by other sources of energy. 

The rate at which reservoirs are depleted and the issue of global warming has triggered research into discovering a clleaner energy source. most countries like the USA, Nertherlands are trying to reduce their dependent on fossil fuel.

With the world population estimated to be around 9.1billion by 2050 and the reservoirs depleting, a cleaner source of energy will replace fosill fuel.


Kyeyune Joseph's picture

World population and industrial development are growing steadily at a rate that is not keeping pace with energy production. Increase in energy consumption in countries especially China and India coupled with dwindling production of conventional oil and gas complicates the energy equation at the moment. Energy for heating, electricity and transport will come from a number of sources in the future and the following sources will play an important role:

Conventional oil and gas will still be an important energy source though its percentage in the overall energy mix is likely to drop. However, liquefied natural gas is predicted to rise since significant reserves still exist. Shale gas discovered in USA seems to be a game changer and will be a vital energy source especially with gas to liquids technology thus providing transport fuels. Additionally, other unconventional sources like tar sands in Canada and Venezuela are predicted to be important too. Coal will be a force to reckon with especially if carbon capture and storage is made a reality as the world is struggling to cope with greenhouse gases and their effects. Fossil fuels can be predicted to still be able to provide at least more than 45% of global energy supplies even by 2050 if reserves to production ratios improve slightly.
Contribution of nuclear to the overall energy mix is predicted to rise despite the recent events in Japan. However, this will depend on use of abundant thorium as fuel for nuclear reactors and improved safety as regards storage of waste fuel.
Renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, wave and others will continue to grow though improvement in operation efficiency will determine their fate. Biofuels are predicted be a major source of transport fuels especially as conventional oil and gas reduces.

Risks anticipated are emissions from fossil fuels and effects such as global warming and global dimming that are bound to cause problems such as floods. Pollution of safe water sources by oil and gas during exploitation is more likely with technologies like fracking as well as operations in high pressure high temperature offshore locations.
In summary, the energy landscape is dependent much more dependent on improvements in technology used to exploit available energy sources as well as health and safety of people and protection of the environment.

Shell energy scenarios to 2050, report available at http://www. 

YAKUBU ABUBAKAR 51126107's picture

Hi guys I share some of your views regarding the energy landscape
in the 2040 and the risk and safety concern, a lot of attention now and in the
near future on energy sources has to do with CO2 emission and it’s reduction there
is a plan by the International Energy Agency (IEA) to cut down greenhouse
emission by 50-70% by the 2050.

But it’s interesting to say that coal, oil and gas would
still be a dominant contributor of energy source by the 2040 as they are now.
And historically coal mining account for the highest casualty and oil and gas
also has a significant share of accidents over the years.

Even though according to the IEA there would be a
significant increase in the renewable energy contribution in the energy land
scape which would say have less safety concern as compared with the fossils
fuel sources.

I totally agree that there will be a drastic reduction in
the number of safety issues associated with the mining and exploration of the
energy sources because of the improvement and implementation of safety
standards and legislation which will help reduce the causality rate in those
sectors mention above.

Equally there would be improvement in technology where human
involvement in most of the risky operations would be minimised to enhance
safety of the plant and the environment.

Yakubu Abubakar

Msc. Oil and Gas Engr.


RossWinter's picture

With the future energy needs on the rise we need to look at alternatives to the finite supply of fossil fuels. We have already passes Hubberts peak in our global oil reserves, and despite finding more ingenious ways of extracting oil and gas we will eventually run out of them. The security in the future energy supply will be down to each countries self-sufficiency on energy sources and the 'energy poor' countries could become hostile to 'energy rich' countries. As Maria stated in the opening post, we need to look at developing the energy of the future today!

Ross Winter Msc Renewable Energy

Derek Porter.'s picture

Hi Ross
I would like to continue your argument stating that “the future is down to each countries energy self-sufficiency”. I do agree but would also like to extend the point giving examples where the countries can work together to create a future.  This would help to reduce the risk of a future with a low supply of energy.

  • Beauly to Denny distribution upgrade to unlock the Highlands renewable energy (Ref  1)
  • The langeled pipeline transporting natural gas from Norway to England (Ref 2)

I believe this is the perfect future to begin, as we know that each country will have the peaks and declines in several energy sources. For the UK perspective, having ties with Norway (known to be among the most advanced energy producing country) is a smart decision and may just become a saviour of our industry.

Ref 1 - Beauly - Denny upgrade approved, January 6, 2010, the Scottish government.
Ref 2 -

mohamed.elkiki's picture

First, i disagree with you because i don't think oil and gas will finish and also people and to be more specific companies will always relay on oil and gas. Oil and gas are big business and as the other renewable energy going in advance, the technology in oil and gas industry are going very rapidly. there are a lot of ways now to extract more oil and gas and even companies thinking of shale , tar and other sources. In my opinion, oil and gas will always lead the energy industry and other types of energy can support. Also, people working in oil and gas industry has big experience with risk and reliability so to ignore all of this and go to new types of energy and relay completely on it will be difficult. I know that accidents in oil and gas industry is bigger than other accidents in other sectors on energy but this is because also oil and gas are the most used sources so its normal to have accidents in them.

Richard Sedafor's picture

I agree with the ideas that my colleagues have posted. Indeed, the future energy demand is going to be much greater due to increase in population.The technologies and energy sources that will used in the future largely depends on influential set legislations and policies.

The Climate Change Act 2008 for example requires that greenhouse gas emissions be cut by 80% below 1990 by 2050.[1] This act and others set out by the Kyoto protocol may force some energy technologies and energy sources out of use because they will become uneconomical. But this is good for the future of our planet. Coal, one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, is expected to still remain in the energy mix by 2050 but this is largely dependent on the economical implementation of Carbon Capture and storage technologies. 

The drive for more energy to fuel industrialized economies should by no means result in health risks for humans. Authorities that are charged to implement set out policies on greenhouse emissions must be given the full support they need both politically and financially.



Brenda Amanda's picture

Discussions about the future are
always interesting because there is rarely a prediction that is completely
accurate as factors are always changing with time.

As Ambrose mentioned earlier,
risk cannot be totally eliminated and as the world energy demand continues to
increase, more risky ventures and technologies will be reverted to, so as to
produce energy to meet this demand. Case in point is the fracking for shale gas
in the USA that was accepted as a saving technology despite its numerous
environmental effects, because at the time the country was running short of gas
supplies and had to spend heavily to meet its local energy demand.

My opinion is that although
research and development of numerous technologies to provide alternative energy
sources in the future is steadily on-going, there is a definite possibility of
having a period in the next 50 yearswhen the difference between energy demand
and supply is a thin line and desperate steps will be taken to avoid this. The
associated risks of energy development would be greater than we have today but
as always, research will provide more efficient and environmentally friendly
ways of solving emerging energy crises.

amaka.ikeaka's picture

A major issue associated with biofuel as a future viable energy option is the fuel vs food argument.First generation feedstock include:seeds, grains, corn, and sugar cane; these are food crops, and hence will be in direct competition for food, when converted to fuel. Like Maria pointed out above, this will undermine the food production, and since the human population is projected to rapidly increase in the future, will increase poverty, introduce scarcity of food supplies and hence inflation of food prices [1]. The prevalent question would be: to fuel or to feed? To counter this issue, production of biofuels from second generation feedstock (non-food sources such as waste biomass, stalks of wheat, corn stover, wood, biomass crops) and third generation feedstock (algae) should be our focus for a more sustainable future.


[1] Biofuels: Green Energy for the Century? Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition: 2010


Kevin K. Waweru's picture

The future energy landscape will be influenced by various factors, the most notable ones being population growth, economic development, energy security, environmental impact and technological change among others. However, it is the impact on the environment that bears the greatest risk to humanity.

Recent environmental disasters such as Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina in the US, as well as the Tsunami that hit Japan causing damage to the Fukushima nuclear plant have all been linked to climate change. Reliance on fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) which contribute almost 50% of the world's energy demand will have to reduce if the fight to tackle climate change is to be won.

The UN Climate Change Conference 2012 being held in Doha, Qatar has ended today. Early indication suggests that the Kyoto Protocol has received an extension until 2020. However, a new protocol binding all nations to tackle climate change will be introduced by 2015. In addition, developing countries are set to receive some form of financial compensation from the industrialised nations for losses arising from climate change. Nonethless, the general consensus to continue tackling climate change remains.

What is not clearly set out is the methodology to be used to determine which losses arise from climate change and how they will be quantified for purposes of compensation.


Kevin K. Waweru

MSc Oil and Gas Engineering

Liu Yishan's picture

The anticipated role of nuclear power has been scaled back as countries have reviewed policies in the wake of the 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. Japan and France have recently joined the countries with intentions to reduce their use of nuclear power. The evidences show that nuclear power will fall back in the future. I think the most important reason is the risks of using nuclear energy are relative higher than others. The accidents of nuclear plants may bring massive disaster to human beings. Therefore, from the forecast of nuclear power, we can believe that the role of safety will be more and more important as the energy technologies will develop faster and faster.

Reference: IEA, World Energy Outlook 2012

Ekaterina Pavlichenko's picture

Personally while I might identify with the sentiments behind ‘renewables’ I don’t really see a future rural landscape littered with spinning windmills. Oil and Gas will surely be the way forward and considering that we sit on the edge of an energy revolution, with vast untapped sources of oil and gas producing shale globally available it can only be a matter of time before the world energy map is transformed.

Fracking for Oil and Gas will become the mainstream source for energy globally, with gas becoming the dominant power source. Because of its virtually global distribution, oil and gas shale fracking will offer energy independence to almost all nations with untold economic benefits to the nations that adopt and develop this cheap energy source.

The downside to this will be the lack of enforceable safety regulations, with many counties used to depending on direct imports of their oil and gas, without being involved in the production and processing stages, new global organisations will necessary need to be established to ensure that universal safety standards are applied.

Fracking represents minimal risk oil and gas extraction with the main danger being the extraction of the gas. It’s been reported that any pollution that has been associated with fracking for gas is to do with gas seepage. The results of this can occur up to a kilometer above where the actual fracking took place, which suggests that the main source of pollution associated with fracking comes from leaking seals on the wellheads, consequently HSE will need to focus intently on the managerial aspects of the gas production wells.  

Andrew Strachan's picture

Commercial scale fusion energy is predicted to come on-line by 2050[1]. As described previously [2] the safety related risks for fusion are benign relative to other energy alternatives. The biggest risk is that it fails to come to fruition given the heavy investment and apparent lack of long-term alternatives.

Oil and gas, coal and nuclear are all short term energy sources and are not sustainable options although they will be required to fill the gap until we find a true alternative. Water and food shortages will increase energy demand and unless we curb this I cannot see how renewable energy (wind/wave/solar) can meet demand.




Fungisai N Nota's picture

Fungisai Nota BEng(Hons) MIET

Fungisai N Nota's picture

 Well I believe that the direction of the energy landscape is
on a dangerous path. With the global warming that is in the loom there is need
to reduce the carbon footprint. But as it stands with many of the new methods
that are coming up they are more dangerous and harmful to the environment than
they do good like with the recovery of shale gas the fracking causes more
problems and then with the chemicals they then inject into the ground these can
end up in the water streams and hence have a major impact to the environment
but because it is cheaper it is well sort after then some of the renewable
technologies that can drive us into the future.

Fungisai Nota BEng(Hons) MIET

ZHANGYANAN's picture

Topic 51: Energy landscape of the future and the risks associated

Recent years, the way that people consume
the energy didn’t have a big change.

As the fossil energy such as the coal, oil
and gas, they are all the non-renewable energy,

people more and more rely on
the nuclear, wind energy, solar energy, hydroenergy and some other renewable energies.

The renewable energy cannot be only used as the recycling

but also keep the balance of the ecology and environment.

everything has two sides, we need to develop the renewable energy with
minimizing the risk for the environment.

Zhang Yanan

ID: 51233945


Mehran Vakil's picture

Nowadays, one of the prominent issue caused many debates is Energy landscape of the future. From my perspective, becoming dominant of oil and gas production is inescapable. The cheap price as well as expansion of exploring and exploiting wells is the main reasons of my attitude.
However, boosting energy demands by virtue of increasing population draws global attention to develop a method for supplying priority requirements such as heating and electricity.
So, I think nuclear power is the best abbreviation for generating required energy. Obviously, it will expand day after day thoroughly around the world. Nonetheless, I become aware that people usually scare about nuclear. I think because of their background about nuclear hazardous incidents whether industrial or political.  
I don’t really believe in renewable, due to its cost. It is more expensive rather than conventional and it is also young method and complicated(Hurst, 2012).
Imagine 40 years later, still utilizing oil and gas and the issues associated with them. Seriously, our children will be in dangerous situation. Sometimes I think they have to wear a specific mask for inhaling and exhaling. Such a scary landscape!!!

HURST, A. 2012. RE: Energy landscape of the future.

Edwin Lawrance's picture

We know that our oil and gas reserves are depleting slowly
and this concerns everybody. What will substitute this decrease in oil and gas
production? The answer generally is that, the renewable will kick in and a
large share of the future energy will be developed from renewable sources. In
my opinion oil and gas still will be there, with the discovery of tar sands, shale
oil and shale gas the future of the energy market will continue with fossil
fuels as primary sources. But extraction of oil and gas from these
unconventional sources comes with a big price, the pollution caused by the
production from these sources are way high than the usual practise. The water,
soil and air pollution will be increasing if technology is not efficient enough.
If the current methods applied to recover the unconventional sources continue,
the amount of green house gases in the atmosphere will be even higher than now.

So if no compatible way is there to extract the unconventional
sources and environmental safety is of prime importance then the best possible
way is to rely upon renewables more.

AndrewRCarss's picture

As our reserves of fossil fuels run out, the world will be looking to fill the gap with an alternative energy source.

As my colleagues have already discussed, there are many alternatives. As engineers, how to energise our planet will be one of the biggest challenges of our generation.

Much has been said about wind energy. I do not believe this to be the way forward. It worries me also because being from Scotland. The Scottish government seem to be banking so much on the successful development of wind technology.

At the moment it is heavily subsidised by our government, and unless it catches on commercially, it is a non-starter because the government cannot keep subsidising it forever.

Cheaper alternatives are coming to the market such as shale gas. With governments around the world looking to implement austerity measures during this global recession, I fear that they will look for the cheaper energy sources rather than developing more expensive longer term solutions.

We cannot let this happen.

One thing is for certain, as human beings we will adapt to our environment. Fossil fuels will run out and they will be replaced with an alternative. What the alternative is..who knows!!

ndrew Carss - MSc Subsea Engineering (DL)

Ojo Oluwayimika Joseph's picture

 With the current dependence on oil and gas in present times for energy and the increasing population of the world, it is definitely clear that unconventional sources will be sought after to generate energy. Such sources include tar sands and extra heavy oil, nuclear energy, biomass and even more dependence on Solar energy. The interesting twist to unconventional sources is that very little have been exploited so far out of an extremely large amount. A typical example is the tar/oil sands. Three countries with the highest bitumen reserves are Canada, Kazakhstan and Russia respectively in a descending order. Estimated discovered bitumen in place in all amounts to about 2.5 trillion barrels and the prospective bitumen in place is thought to be about 817 billion barrels. Canada accounts for about 70% of the total figure which is about 1.73 trillion barrels (226.56 billion cubic meters). Over the years, Canada has been widely recognized for their efforts in exploiting this vast reserve of bitumen deposits as they remain the only country exploiting tar sands on an economic basis. Major deposits can be found in northern Alberta which is located in western Canada sedimentary basin even though this extends to the eastern part towards Saskatchewan. The three major tar sands exploration areas in Alberta are the Athabasca, Peace River, and Cold Lake, their average deposit depths estimated at 300, 500 and 400 respectively. The three areas comprise of an amazing 1.73 trillion barrels of discovered bitumen in place! Various technological advancements have been developed for the safe extraction and processing of these resources. However, it is obvious that there are still many tar sand fields yet to be developed in the world. Some countries with enormous amounts have not even delved into exploration.

This goes further to show that there will be more reliance on these unconventional sources in the future.

Ojo Oluwayimika Joseph

Oil and Gas Engineering 


Mohamed H. Metwally's picture


It is basically a scientific challenge! Huge efforts have been made to make best use of renewable energy but unfortunately the efficiency in getting energy from sun or wind is unsatisfactory so far.

To put things in perspective, it could be a business game; Clearly, the oil and gas companies would be somewhat against any progress in this area, so the issue has to be looked at from a wider perspective; and major powers in O&G have to resolve this issue based on what-if approach because no one can stop science from its rapid progressing.


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