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Energy investment on pace for record decline, IEA analysis says

A board on the the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on March 18 shows declining oil prices as a result of the coronavirus pandemic's impact on world energy markets. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
A board on the the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on March 18 shows declining oil prices as a result of the coronavirus pandemic's impact on world energy markets. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

May 27 (UPI) -- Global energy investment could sink to its lowest level in history due to fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, the International Energy Agency said in an annual report Wednesday.

The World Energy Investment report said it expects travel and other restrictions to lead to an investment drop it called "staggering in both scale and swiftness."

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"The baseline expectation for 2020 is a widespread global recession caused by prolonged restrictions on mobility and social and economic activity," it states.

"Oil is bearing the brunt of this shock because of the curtailment in mobility and aviation, which represent nearly 60 percent of global oil demand," it added.

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"After oil, the fuel most affected by the crisis is set to be coal. Coal demand could decline by 8 percent."

The pullback in energy spending cuts across all sectors, from fossil fuels, renewables and efficiency, the report said.

"It means lost jobs and economic opportunities today, as well as lost energy supply that we might well need tomorrow once the economy recovers," IEA Executive Director Faith Birol said in a statement. "The slowdown in spending on key clean energy technologies also risks undermining the much-needed transition to more resilient and sustainable energy systems."

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The report assesses trends in global energy investment through mid-May, including individual projects, interviews with energy leaders and investors and the industry's most recent analysis.

"A combination of falling demand, lower prices and arise in cases of non-payment of bills means that energy revenues going to governments and industry are set to fall by well over $1 trillion in 2020," the IEA said. "Oil accounts for most of this decline as, for the first time, global consumer spending on oil is set to fall below the amount spent on electricity."

There have so far been 5.6 million COVID-19 cases worldwide and 350,800 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Many countries are still under strict national and international travel restrictions, which is driving down energy use.

"Now in its fifth edition, the World Energy Investment report is the annual IEA benchmark analysis of investment and financing across all areas of fuel and electricity supply, efficiency, and research and development," the agency said.

"The energy industry that emerges from this crisis will be significantly different from the one that came before."

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