Energy Library


May 31, 2019

The Energy Outlook explores the forces shaping the global energy transition out to 2040 and the key uncertainties surrounding that transition.

The Outlook considers a number of different scenarios. These scenarios are not predictions of what is likely to happen or what BP would like to happen. Rather, they explore the possible implications of different judgments and assumptions by considering a series of "what if" experiments. The scenarios consider only a tiny sub-set of the uncertainty surrounding energy markets out to 2040; they do not provide a comprehensive description of all possible future outcomes.

The outlook facing major energy providers, like BP, is both challenging and exciting.

One of the biggest challenges of our time is a dual one: the need to meet rising energy demand while at the same time reducing carbon emissions. The emissions-reduction side of this dual challenge will mean shifting to a lower-carbon energy system, as the world seeks to move to a pathway consistent with meeting the climate goals outlined in the Paris Agreement. Much more progress and changeis needed on a range of fronts if the world is to have any chance of moving on to such a pathway. 

Meeting the other side of the dual challenge will require many forms of energy to play a role. There’s a strong correlation between human development and energy consumption – and our analysis of this relationship in this year’s Outlook highlights the need for much more energy to meet demand as prosperity rises.

There are many other challenges facing our industry as the global energy system evolves. The center of gravity of energy demand is shifting, with the expanding middle classes in Asia accounting for much of the growth in global GDP and energy consumption over the next 20 years. The pattern of energy supply is also changing, with the shale revolution catapulting the US to pole position as the world’s largest producer of oil and gas, and the rapid growth of liquefied natural gas (LNG) transforming how natural gas is transported and traded around the globe. Meanwhile, the way in which energy is consumed is changing in real time, as the world electrifies and energy increasingly becomes part of broader services that are bought and sold in ever more competitive and efficient digital markets. Read more