But a DOE forecast also included an optimistic “high scenario”, suggesting Brent could rise to $173 a barrel.
The forecasts were issued against the background of declarations in Europe that oil is to be abandoned as part of a transition to a carbon-free economy.
The “high scenario” assumes that expenditure on renewable energy sources will remain high and that hydrocarbon resources and the technology needed to secure them will, on the contrary, remain reasonably priced. Those factors would underpin a rise in price to $173 a barrel.
Under a “low scenario”, oil prices by 2050 would remain at the level of $48 a barrel. Expenditure on renewables would be 40 % lower than in the baseline scenario and technology required for oil and gas extraction would be costly.