How we develop our Outlook

ExxonMobil uses a data-driven approach to understand potential future energy demand and supply.

Report Aug. 28, 2019

In this article

How we develop our Outlook

Monitoring policy and technology trends

Throughout the process, we monitor changes in technology, such as cost decreases for solar panels, improvements in battery technology and advances in well completion technology for tight oil. We also follow policy developments, such as adopted policies and ambitions formulated in context of the Paris Agreement, the European Union’s recently adopted tailpipe emissions regulations and China’s ‘blue sky’ policies.

Historical foundation

We use energy demand data from the International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) World Energy Statistics and Balances data service and other credible third-party sources as the historical basis for the Outlook. For liquids supply, we use S&P Global Platts data as the historical basis. For natural gas, historical production and pipeline flows are based upon Wood Mackenzie, IHS, JODI Gas, S&P Global Platts (Eclipse) and other objective third-party sources; historical LNG production and trade flows are based upon IHS Markit (Waterborne) data. In this report, data for periods from 2017 and earlier are considered historical, while data for 2018 and later are ExxonMobil’s modeled projections of expected energy demand, supply and trends through 2040.


Because population and living standards drive energy demand, we compile demographic information and model economic trends for about 100 regions covering the world. The sources for historical data are primarily the U.N., World Bank, IMF and IHS. Estimates of future population are compiled from the U.N. and World Bank. We model economic trends (e.g., GDP) based on respected third-party views and ExxonMobil’s own analysis.

Demand for services

The work on fundamentals and data from the historical foundation, along with consumer preferences, form the basis to project energy demand across 15 sectors covering needs for personal mobility, residential energy, production of steel, cement and chemicals, plus many others.

Energy sources

We match the demand for energy services with about 20 types of energy (e.g., natural gas), taking into account the current use of each type of energy and the potential evolution of technology, policies, infrastructure and more.

Liquid and natural gas supply

To meet the global demand for liquid fuels and natural gas, we project oil and gas production from key producing countries/regions. For natural gas, we also project trade flows via pipeline and liquefied natural gas (LNG).