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Introduction from Bernard Looney, chief executive officer

In February 2020, bp announced a new purpose – to reimagine energy for people and our ‎planet. This purpose was supported by a new ambition, to be a net-zero company by 2050 or sooner ‎and to help get the world to net zero
“This year’s Outlook explores three main scenarios – Rapid, Net Zero and Business-as-usual – which ‎span a wide range of possible outcomes. Those three scenarios have helped us to develop a strategy ‎that we think is robust to the uncertainty around the pace and nature of the energy transition‎.”


Bernard Looney, chief executive oficer

Bernard Looney, chief executive officer

Our new purpose and ambition are underpinned by four fundamental judgements about the future. ‎That the world is on an unsustainable path and its carbon budget is running out. That energy markets ‎will undergo lasting change, shifting towards renewable and other forms of zero- or low-carbon ‎energy. That demand for oil and gas will be increasingly challenged. And that, alongside many others, ‎bp can contribute to the energy transition that the world wants and needs, and create value doing ‎so.‎


In August, we set out a new strategy in support of this purpose and ambition. It will see bp transform ‎from an International Oil Company focused on producing resources to an Integrated Energy ‎Company focused on delivering solutions for customers. From IOC to IEC. And while the Covid-19 ‎pandemic has had a huge impact on the global economy and energy markets, it has not affected our ‎belief in and commitment to our purpose, ambition and strategy.  ‎

We consider three scenarios

That belief and commitment is in no small part down to the objective analysis that goes into every ‎edition of the Energy Outlook. It does not to try to predict precise future outcomes – any attempt to ‎do that is doomed to fail. Instead, it helps us to understand the many uncertainties ahead – in the ‎near and longer term – by considering a range of possible pathways the energy transition may take ‎over the next 30 years. This year’s Outlook explores three main scenarios – Rapid, Net Zero and ‎Business-as-usual – which span a wide range of possible outcomes. Those three scenarios have ‎helped us to develop a strategy that we think is robust to the uncertainty around the pace and ‎nature of the energy transition. ‎

Three features are common across those scenarios and they form a set of core beliefs as to how ‎energy demand is likely to change over the next three decades: ‎


  • Renewable energy will play an increasingly important role in meeting the world’s growing energy ‎needs. ‎
  • Customers will continue to redefine mobility and convenience, underpinned by the mobility ‎revolution that is already underway combining electric vehicles, shared mobility and autonomy.‎
  • Oil and gas – while remaining needed for decades – will be increasingly challenged as society ‎shifts away from its reliance on fossil fuels.‎

The consumer will drive change

And those core beliefs lead us to three more about how the energy system will change out to 2050: ‎


  • The energy mix will become more diverse, driven increasingly by customer choice rather than ‎resource availability.‎
  • Markets will need more integration to accommodate this more diverse supply and will become ‎more localized as the world electrifies and the role of hydrogen expands.‎
  • Countries, cities and industries will increasingly want their decarbonized energy and mobility ‎needs met with bespoke solutions, shifting the centre of gravity of energy markets towards ‎consumers and away from traditional upstream producers.‎


The Energy Outlook has been tracking and analysing the trajectory of the world’s energy system for ‎the past 10 years. This year’s Outlook has been instrumental in the development of the new strategy ‎we announced in August. I hope it is useful to everyone else seeking ways to accelerate the energy ‎transition and get to net zero. We welcome any feedback on the content and how we can improve.

Bernard Looney signature

Bernard Looney

Chief executive officer

September 2020