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The changing energy mix

The BP Energy Outlook explores the forces shaping the global energy transition out to 2040 and the key uncertainties surrounding that transition. Insights from the Outlook help shape our strategic thinking

The demand for energy continues to grow – largely driven by increasing prosperity in fast-growing developing economies. In the evolving transition scenario, the rate of this growth however is slower than in the previous 20 years, as the world increasingly learns to produce more with less energy. Despite this, a substantial proportion of the world’s population in 2040 could live in countries where the average energy consumption per person is relatively low.

Renewables are now the fastest-growing energy source in the world today and in our evolving transition scenario we estimate that they could account for 15% of all energy consumption in 2040– and in other scenarios more. That said, oil and gas could meet at least 50% of the world’s energy needs in 2040 – even in a scenario consistent with the Paris goals, with the share of gas growing aided by increasing use of carbon capture, use and storage. 

Gas offers a cleaner alternative to coal for power generation and can lower emissions at scale. It also provides a valuable partner for renewables intermittency, delivers heating at the high temperatures required by industry and is increasingly used in transportation. Across our scenarios, gas grows robustly, overtaking coal as the second-largest source of energy by 2030.

Oil demand grows for the next 10 years in our evolving transition scenario, before gradually levelling out due to factors such as accelerating gains in vehicle efficiency and greater use of biofuels, natural gas and electricity. The largest source of oil demand growth is the non-combusted use of oil, for example as a feedstock for petrochemicals.

Energy consumption – 2040 projections
Energy consumption – 2040 projections

Evolving transition

This scenario assumes that government policies, technology and social preferences continue to evolve in a manner and speed seen over the recent past.

Faster transition

This scenario sees more countries with energy consumption per person closer to levels in advanced economies.

Even faster transition

This scenario is consistent with the Paris goals and is broadly similar to the reduction in carbon emissions in the IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario.

  • Visit bp.com/energyoutlook for more information on our projections of future energy trends and factors that could affect them out to 2040.