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Notes and definitions

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 judgements 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.


For ease of explanation, much of the Outlook is described with reference to the ‘Evolving transition’ scenario. But that does not imply that the probability of this scenario is higher than the others. Indeed, the multitude of uncertainties means the probability of any one of these scenarios materializing exactly as described is negligible.


The Energy Outlook is produced to aid BP’s analysis and decision-making, and is published as a contribution to the wider debate. But the Outlook is only one source among many when considering the future of global energy markets. BP considers the scenarios in the Outlook, together with a range of other analysis and information, when forming its long-term strategy.




  • Unless noted otherwise, data definitions are based on the BP Statistical Review of World Energy
  • Primary energy comprises commercially-traded fuels, and excludes traditional biomass
  • The primary energy values of nuclear, hydro and electricity from renewable sources have been derived by calculating the equivalent amount of fossil fuel required to generate the same volume of electricity in a thermal power station assuming a conversion efficiency of 38% (a global average for thermal power generation)
  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expressed in terms of real Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) at 2010 prices




  • Transport includes energy used in road, marine, rail and aviation
  • Industry includes energy combusted in manufacturing; construction; the energy industry including pipeline transport; and for transformation processes outside of power generation
  • Non-combusted includes fuel that is used as a feedstock to create materials such as petrochemicals, lubricant and bitumen
  • Buildings includes energy used in residential and commercial building, plus agriculture, fishing and IEA’s non-specified sector “Other”
  • Power includes inputs into power generation (including combined heat and power plants)




  • OECD is approximated as North America plus Europe plus OECD Asia
  • China refers to the Chinese Mainland
  • Other Asia includes all countries and regions in non-OECD Asia excluding mainland China and India


Fuels, carbon and materials


  • Oil unless noted otherwise includes: crude; natural gas liquids (NGLs); gas-to-liquids (GTLs); coal-to-liquids (CTLs); condensates; and refinery gains
  • Liquids includes all of oil plus biofuels
  • Renewables unless otherwise noted includes wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and biofuels and excludes large-scale hydro
  • Non-fossils includes renewables, nuclear and hydro
  • References to carbon emissions consider only CO2 emissions from fuel combustion
  • Plastics includes synthetic fibres
  • Single-use plastics refers to plastic packaging and other single uses, such as plastic straws and cups


Comparison and other key data sources

Comparison data sources used to compare with Evolving transition scenario:


IEA: New Policies Scenario, International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook 2018 , Paris, France, Nov. 2018


IEEJ: Institute of Energy Economics Japan, Outlook 2019-Energy transition and a thorny path for 3E challenges, Tokyo, Japan, Oct. 2018


IHS: IHS Markit, Rivalry: the IHS Markit view of the energy future (2018-2050), Jul. 2018


OPEC: Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, World Oil Outlook 2040, Sep. 2018


Equinor: Energy Perspectives 2018 – Long-term macro and market outlook, May 2018


ExxonMobil: 2018 Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040, Feb. 2018


CNPC: CNPC Economics & Technology Research Institute, Energy Outlook 2050, 2018


EIA: US Energy Information Administration, International Energy Outlook 2017, Washington, D.C., United States, Sep. 2017


Comparison data sources used to compare with Rapid transition scenario:


Shell: Sky Scenario, Feb. 2018


IEA: Sustainable Development Scenario, International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook 2018, Paris, France, Nov. 2018


IPCC: P1 Illustrative Model Pathway, Global Warming of 1.5 C, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Oct. 2018


Equinor: Renewal Scenario, Energy Perspectives 2018, May 2018


Other key data sources:


BP p.l.c., BP Statistical Review of World Energy, London, United Kingdom, Jun. 2018


International Energy Agency, Energy Balances of Non-OECD Countries, Paris, France, 2018


International Energy Agency, Energy Balances of OECD Countries, Paris, France, 2018


UN Population Division, World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision, New York, United States, 2017



This presentation contains forward-looking statements, particularly those regarding the global energy transition, changes to the fuel mix, global economic growth, population, productivity and prosperity growth, energy markets, energy demand, consumption, production and supply, energy efficiency, mobility developments, policy support for renewable energies and other lower-carbon alternatives, sources of energy supply, technological developments, trade disputes and growth of carbon emissions. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties because they relate to events, and depend on circumstances, that will or may occur in the future. Actual outcomes may differ depending on a variety of factors, including product supply, demand and pricing; political stability; general economic conditions; demographic changes; legal and regulatory developments; availability of new technologies; natural disasters and adverse weather conditions; wars and acts of terrorism or sabotage; and other factors discussed elsewhere in this presentation. BP disclaims any obligation to update this presentation. Neither BP p.l.c. nor any of its subsidiaries (nor their respective officers, employees and agents) accept liability for any inaccuracies or omissions or for any direct, indirect, special, consequential or other losses or damages of whatsoever kind in connection to this publication or any information contained in it.



Data compilation: Centre for Energy Economics Research and Policy, Heriot-Watt University