The era of growth in global demand for oil will come to an end in the next decade with the coronavirus crisis set to leave scars on the energy system that that will last for years, the International Energy Agency has said.

However, experts at the Paris-based watchdog said demand for natural gas is set to grow significantly even as renewable sources play an increasingly important role in the energy mix.

In its latest World Energy Outlook report, the organisation says the next 10 years could be a pivotal period in the development of the global system.

The coronavirus crisis has sent demand for oil and gas plunging and triggered a deep downturn in the North Sea oil and gas industry.

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The outlook for the sector is clouded with uncertainty.

The IEA reckons total energy demand could return to pre-crisis levels by 2023 based on policy intentions and targets set to date.

However, recovery may not happen until 2025 in the event a prolonged pandemic results in a deeper economic slump.

“Oil remains vulnerable to the major economic uncertainties resulting from the pandemic,” said the IEA.

Demand for gas will be supported by growth in Asia but may go into slight decline in advanced economies by 2040.

The IEA said that despite a dramatic drop in emissions this year the world is far from doing enough to put them into decisive decline.

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“The economic downturn has temporarily suppressed emissions, but low economic growth is not a low-emissions strategy,” observed executive director Fatih Birol.

He added: “Only faster structural changes to the way we produce and consume energy can break the emissions trend for good.

“Governments have the capacity and the responsibility to take decisive actions to accelerate clean energy transitions and put the world on a path to reaching our climate goals, including net-zero emissions.”