WASHINGTON - Crude oil prices will increase gradually and reach $51 a barrel by 2025 due to inflation and rising energy needs in developing nations, according to an Energy Department projection.
The report by the DOE's Energy Information Administration said strong economic growth in Asia will drive world energy prices in the next decade. The developing world's demand for energy will nearly double by 2025 with oil, coal and natural gas leading the way.
The report projects global energy demand to grow about 54 percent by 2025. But China, India and other developing countries will see a 91 percent jump as these countries continue rapid industrial development, said the EIA.
OPEC producers are expected to still be the major oil suppliers in 2025, the report said. They now account for about a third of the oil being pumped.
Crude oil prices have been steadily rising since the late 1990s. The price of light crude closed at $36.70 a barrel on Tuesday in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The sharpest jump in demand will come from China and other Asian countries. Demand in the United States also will continue to increase. "The United States, China and the rest of developing Asia account for nearly 60 percent of the projected growth in world oil use," the EIA said.
Coal and oil will remain dominant fuels despite concerns about climate-changing "greenhouse" gases, the report said. Emissions of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas, will increase from 23.4 billion metric tons in 2001 — the baseline used in the report — to 37.1 billion metric tons by 2025, according to the EIA projections.