That's according to the International Energy Agency, which said in a new report Thursday that demand for energy could crash 6% this year if lockdowns persist for many months and the economic recovery is slow.
Such a scenario is "increasingly likely," the IEA said, adding that a drop of that scale would be seven times the size of the decline following the 2008 global financial crisis. Demand for electricity is poised to plunge 5% in 2020, the largest fall since the Great Depression.
"This is a historic shock to the entire energy world," Fatih Birol, executive director of the Paris-based agency, said in a statement. "It is still too early to determine the longer term impacts, but the energy industry that emerges from this crisis will be significantly different from the one that came before."
Demand for coal, oil and gas has been slammed as a result of shutdowns aimed at containing the spread of the virus, which have put the brakes on economic activity and brought international air travel almost to a standstill. Oil demand in particular could drop 9%, erasing eight years of growth.