Both the World Energy Council and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, believe that the global demand for oil will peak before the supply of oil runs out. As reported by Bloomberg in November, the estimates forecast the remaining market life of oil between 5 and 15 years. Shell, has, in fact moved toward natural gas as opposed to continued investment in oil in anticipation of this expectation and is now the world's largest independent producer of LNG (liquid natural gas).
Other traditional oil companies are following suit, according to the Wall Street Journal, as approximately half of the production total for the largest oil companies is now in natural gas, not oil. By 2020 France's Total SA, Britain's BP PLC, and Italy's Eni SpA will devote between 50 and 70% of their effort to LNG output.
The World Energy Council, the UN-accredited global energy body, has over 3,000 member organizations in 90 countries and includes private and state companies, governments, and other energy stakeholders. In their extensive 2016 World Energy Scenarios report, the Council suggests that the competitive combination of alternate energy sources (such as wind and solar), increasing focuses on sustainability and climate change matters, automation, zero carbon goals, electric vehicles, decreasing population growth, and environmentally conscious emerging economies will depress the world's demand for oil. The council predicts a very different energy industry from that which has been evident for the last 45 years.
Exxon Mobil and Saudia Arabia differ somewhat on this outlook. Both are behemoths in the oil industry, with Exxon the largest publicly traded oil company, and Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest producer of oil. As reported in October in Bloomberg, Saudi Arabia claims crude reserves of 266.5 billion barrels, enough to last for another 70 years, and is selling investment bonds in its industry with up to a 30-year life.
Exxon, in its 2017 Energy Outlook, estimates growing global oil demand through 2040; however, the company acknowledges that due to carbon emissions concerns, natural gas may play a larger role than in the past in this demand. The firm notes that rising prosperity (thus, more auto sales), electricity demand, innovations in technology, more travel and commercial shipping, will all contribute to this demand. Exxon also indicates that natural gas will surpass coal demand by 2040, but states that oil will remain the world's primary energy source as well as a source for chemical industry products, at more than 32% of the energy mix.