Global energy demand is projected to increase by one-third from 2010 to 2035, with China & India accounting for 50% of the growth[1]. Much of the growth is projected for regions of the developing world with the fact that rising incomes in some countries and population will push energy needs higher. The major bottleneck for the energy sector could result from the future growth of energy demand in the developing countries. Developing countries are experiencing rapid growth in population, energy demand, and the environmental degradation that often results from industrial development. This highlights the paramount need for new energy producing ideas and methods to achieve sustainable energy growth and minimal environmental impact. The oceans of the world represent a relatively untapped resource for both hydrocarbons and renewable sources of energy.

Energy from the oceans

Many of the world's potential reserves of hydrocarbons lie beneath the ocean. The hydrocarbon industry has developed techniques suited to conditions found in the offshore, both to find oil and gas (known as exploration) and to successfully extract it for human use. The past fifty years have witnessed ever expanding exploration for and exploitation of offshore oil and gas resources. Originally the focus of these activities was on near-shore and shallow- water prospects. It has since widened to include areas of deeper water, areas where environmental conditions are severe, and environmentally vulnerable areas such as enclosed and semi-enclosed seas. There are more than 6,000 offshore oil and gas installations operating worldwide: 4,000 in the Gulf of Mexico, 950 in Asia, 700 in the Middle East, 400 in Europe. Another potential source of hydrocarbon energy from the oceans is methane hydrate - a crystalline solid consisting of methane molecules surrounded by frozen water molecules. This source of natural gas is found in deep ocean sediments and could, according to some estimates, dwarf all the known global reserves of conventional gas. New exploration techniques and energy sources are already improving the scope and success of offshore extraction operations, adding to the world's known resources.
Lastly, current trends have shown that renewable energy sources from the oceans have made considerable technological progress in recent years. Costs are rapidly dropping and many renewables, under the right conditions, have reached or are approaching economic viability. While oil and gas represent more than 60 per cent of the world's primary energy supply, advances in renewable energy technologies will continue to play a role in determining the world's energy mix.