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BP Technology Outlook 2018

Release date: 15 March 2018

BP today published the second edition of the BP Technology Outlook. The report considers the potential impact of advances in technology throughout the global energy system to 2050, without predicting policy. It explores five areas where BP believes technology can play a game-changing role: Energy efficiency; digital; renewable power; energy storage; and decarbonized gas.

 

Key conclusions from the BP Technology Outlook 2018 include:

 

  • While meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement is technically feasible, the Outlook’s modelling suggests that technology advances alone cannot deliver the carbon reductions needed. It suggests further action is required, particularly policy measures such as putting a price on carbon emissions, as well as consumers making lower-carbon choices.
  • Improvements in energy efficiency have the potential to save around 40% of current primary energy use, although many of the improvements require significant investment. Areas where savings can be made include increasing vehicle efficiency, improving building design, and the use of energy in cooking and washing.
  • Digital technology, including sensors, big data and artificial intelligence, is the most significant source of system-wide efficiency improvement.
  • Onshore wind power looks set to become the most economical source of electricity by 2050, with grid-scale solar power also becoming much more competitive. However, there are integration costs to overcome intermittency issues when a high proportion of grid demand is provided by wind and solar power.
  • The way goods and people are transported will continue to change significantly, led by, but not limited to, electrification of lighter duty applications as batteries improve. Liquefied natural gas is projected to become a competitive fuel for heavy duty trucks and some ships, and bio-jet remains one of the only viable solutions to reduce emissions in aviation.
  • Technology can reduce average lifecycle costs for oil and gas production by around 30% over the long term, but around $0.6 trillion investment a year in upstream oil and gas is still needed to meet projected demand.
  • Space heating is likely to continue to be primarily provided by gas-fired appliances although a high carbon pricing could favour hybrid appliances using heat pumps supplemented with gas, as well as all-electric systems.
  • Decarbonized gas - including gas with carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS), synthetic gas, bio-gas and hydrogen - has wide potential application in balancing power systems, and in the heating and heavy duty transport sectors.

 

“The future of the global energy system is going to be shaped by a wide variety of technologies. Understanding how these technologies are evolving and the trends underpinning their development helps to inform BP’s plans for growth and investment.”“Reviewing the BP Techology Outlook alongside our recently published Energy Outlook, it remains clear to us that a carbon price is the most effective tool in accelerating the transition to a lower-carbon economy.” 
 

Lamar McKay, BP deputy chief executive

 

“We believe the studies highlighted in the BP Technology Outlook 2018 can assist policy-makers and other key decision makers in considering what additional measures and actions may be needed to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

 

David Eyton, BP group head of technology

Further information

 

Contacts

 

BP press office, London: +44 (0)20 7496 4076, bppress@bp.com

Notes to editors

 

  • Go to www.bp.com/technologyoutlook to download the BP Technology Outlook.
  • Join the conversation online #bptech

Cautionary statement

 

This press release contains forward-looking statements. 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 press release. BP disclaims any obligation to update the material contained in this press release. 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 press release or any information contained in it.