Each year the IEA publishes reports that forecast market trends and developments for the next five years concerning the primary energy sources for global markets: oil, coal, gas and renewables. In addition, a market report assesses energy efficiency.
The medium-term reports aim to contribute to market transparency through a comprehensive analysis of the recent trends and future prospects in terms of global demand, supply, processing and trade for oil, coal and gas as well as analysing the current drivers and barriers influencing deployment of renewable energy worldwide. The series examines planned investment in new capacity and infrastructure, highlighting potential market pressures to 2021. Trends in price formation and inter-fuel substitution potential are also covered.
Although published at different times of the year, the medium-term reports are consistent in terms of broad economic, price and policy assumptions, providing an integrated view of energy development over the medium term.
The most recent editions of the market reports can be ordered via the IEA Bookshop, and the Medium-Term Oil Market Report forms an integral part of the annual subscription service for the benchmark monthly Oil Market Report (OMR).
Older editions of the market reports are available below for free download. See the below sections for more detail and the download links to the most recent and older editions of all the market reports as well as related material.
In early 2016 crude oil prices for WTI and Brent fell below $30/bbl for the first time since 2003, having halved in just a few months. In a departure from the past four decades, producers continue to produce and sell what they can, letting the market set the price. Low prices are a major short-term benefit to consumers and will provide a boost to demand growth. But if low prices persist, investments in new supply are cut back – as has been demonstrated recently by a succession of announcements from major companies. Unless the heavily oversupplied oil market can return to balance and high levels of stocks start to diminish, oil prices cannot rise to the levels necessary to support investments in the higher-cost resources that must be developed to meet rising oil demand. The result could be a sharp rise in oil prices that risks curtailing economic growth.
In the 2016 edition of its Medium-Term Oil Market Report, the International Energy Agency analyses the key factors impacting the supply and demand for oil from today out to 2021. These include: high-cost supply resilience from light, tight oil producers in the United States; the lifting of nuclear sanctions on Iran; the impact on demand of lower oil prices – including recent subsidy changes in the Middle East; and the timing of the oil market’s return to balance. This report is published during one of the most fascinating periods in oil market history.
Medium-Term Coal Market Report
Analysis on coal often tends to be one-sided. But to truly understand the important role that coal plays, for better or worse, in the global energy system, it is critical that we examine both sides of the coin. This means understanding the implications of climate agreements on the future for coal while at the same time coming to terms with what coal is doing – and will continue to do – for energy security and energy access in developing and emerging economies.
This means taking a close look at those emerging economies, specifically in South and Southeast Asia. For example, given China’s dominance in coal markets, the main problem for the coal industry is adjusting to how Chinese demand and imports will evolve in the future. In India, already the second largest coal consumer in the world, coal use is expected to grow. Will this trigger imports? Viet Nam, a net exporter until 2014, is building coal power plants at a fast pace. How much coal will they need to import? Where will that coal come from?
Meanwhile, despite an increase in the price of natural gas price in the United States, coal consumption continues to drop. Is this decline inevitable? The last coal plants closed in Belgium and Scotland in 2016 while other European nations have announced the end of coal generation. Is coal going to disappear forever from Europe? At the same time, banks and funds are turning away from coal financing. Will this bring a halt to construction of new coal power plants?
The Medium-Term Coal Market Report 2016 addresses these questions and more, providing insight into the drivers of coal demand, supply and trade through 2021.
Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report
The rapid spread of renewable energy is a bright spot in the global energy transition toward a low carbon economy. Despite lower fossil fuel prices, renewable power expanded at its fastest-ever rate in 2015, thanks to supportive government policies and sharp cost reductions. Renewables accounted for more than half of the world’s additional electricity capacity last year. Yet, even with this remarkable progress, there are questions about whether renewables are on track to reach targets set by the Paris Agreement.
This report examines these questions in detail, looking closely at how renewable energy in the power, heat and transportation sectors will evolve over the next five years in the face of lower fossil fuel prices. It explores recent renewable deployment and policy trends across different regions and countries, particularly as costs for wind and solar PV continue to fall.
The Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2016 also assesses the potential impact of enhanced policy action for the electricity sector under its "accelerated case", which would position the world firmly on a path to a more sustainable and secure energy system. See also the Executive Summary here.
Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015 was launched on 2 October 2015 on the sidelines of the Group of 20 energy ministers' meeting in Turkey. It is now free to download here. Other related material include the press release here, Executive Summary here; also available in Chinese and Japanese. The Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2014, presented for the first time an investment outlook for renewable power capacity, in addition to projections for renewable electricity technologies, a global biofuels supply forecast and extended analysis of final energy use of renewables for heat. It is free to download here, as are the Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Reports from 2013 and 2012.
Energy Efficiency Market Report
Often called the “first fuel” of the global energy system, energy efficiency is one of the most important steps that any government can take to move towards a sustainable energy system.
To check on the progress made on this front, the IEA Energy Efficiency Market Report tracks the core indicators of energy efficiency. This year, the report takes a new approach and expands the scope of analysis by examining the drivers of energy efficiency programmes in emerging economies, as well as the impact of those policies.
Some of the questions that are addressed in this year’s report include:
- Which countries and policies are having the greatest impact, and what is the recipe for their success?
- Are we improving energy efficiency fast enough to achieve our climate goals?
- What is the size of energy efficiency investments around the world and in key energy-consuming sectors?
- What has been the impact of low energy prices on these efficiency investments?
- What are the benefits of efficiency programmes on climate policy, energy security and public budgets?
- What are the market trends for energy efficiency services and financing?
The Energy Efficiency Market Report is the global tracker for energy efficiency programmes, providing policy makers and the private sector with insights on the latest trends and market prospects.
Medium-Term Gas Market Report
The context for global natural gas markets is changing rapidly, raising new challenges for industry and policy makers alike. The slowdown in Asian gas demand that started in 2014 intensified in 2015, prompting a rare decline in the region’s LNG imports and pushing prices to new lows. As the world prepares to welcome a large wave of new liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, market players are left with one burning question: where will all that gas go?
Heavily oversupplied markets in the short term have triggered sharp investment cuts across the industry; if under-investment persists it could sow the seeds of a classic bust-boom commodity cycle. Unlike previous downturns, however, this time there is greater uncertainty about future demand prospects.
Caught between cheap coal and continued policy support for renewables, global gas demand has so far failed to react to the steep fall in prices. Industry participants are now wondering whether this is temporary or whether it marks the beginning of structurally lower growth for gas demand. How countries reassess environmental policies in the aftermath of the Paris Agreement will be key to determining what comes next for gas.
The Medium-Term Gas Market Report 2016 assesses these trends and provides a detailed analysis of global demand supply and trade development through 2021. It also explores the links between today’s oversupply and emerging shifts in trade patterns, pricing mechanisms and market structures that have the potential to substantially reshape the global gas industry over the next few years.