- Journal Article
Abstract: Greenhouse gas (GHG) implications of natural gas and oil differ when they are used for combustion or as a feedstock. In addition to the growing demand for feedstocks that are converted into products (such as plastics and fertilizers), climate policies that penalize GHG emissions may incentivize a switch from burning natural gas and oil to their feedstock use.
Using an enhanced version of the MIT Economic Projection and Policy Analysis (EPPA) model, we examine several scenarios to assess natural gas and oil use as feedstock and find that global feedstock use grows 2-3 times by 2050 relative to 2015 levels.
In a scenario consistent with reaching 2°C goal set by the Paris Agreement, the share of natural gas used as a feedstock grows from about 5% in 2015 to about 15% in 2050 and the share of oil used as a feedstock grows from about 10% in 2015 to about 17% in 2050. In a scenario consistent with reaching 2°C goal set by the Paris Agreement, the share of natural gas used as a feedstock in 2050 is 86% larger than in the no-policy Reference. The corresponding increase in a share of oil used as a feedstock is 40%. USA, Europe, and the Middle East remain as the major regions for feedstock use, but China, India, and Africa grow fast to become major feedstock use centers.