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BP TECHNOLOGY OUTLOOK 2018 – How technology could change the way energy is produced and consumed

About the BP Technology Outlook

The BP Technology Outlook examines the potential of technology to change the way we produce and use energy to 2050. Many things can impact the world of energy – including natural resources, national policies, and consumer or societal preferences.

BP Technology Outlook seeks to isolate some of the major longer-term technology signals from other drivers, through to 2050, based on simple techno-economic analysis, since our previous publication in 2015.Therefore does not contain forecasts, they are technology signals, and comparison with the BP Technology Outlook 2015, shows clearly that technology development is impossible to predict with any certainty. The core analysis, therefore, does not factor in the impact of policies, such as those aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions or improving air quality. However, in the studies on power, transport and heat, a carbon price has been overlaid on the core calculations to see what difference it could make.

It examines three regions: China, Europe and North America, which together account for more than 50% of the world’s primary energy consumption but have very different energy systems.

Who did we work with?

It draws on a series of studies carried out over three years by BP and eight partners in universities and research institutes, using a combination of fundamental analysis and energy system modelling to produce insights into long-term trends.

How can BP Technology Outlook help?

It is designed to inform thinking in business, governments, academia and beyond. The BP Technology Outlook provides an insight into how the world of energy could evolve independently of policy or regulation. It may, therefore, help policymakers consider what additional incentives and measures to introduce.

What’s happened since we published BP Technology Outlook 2015?

The three key messages haven’t changed.

  • The abundance of energy resources
  • The comparative ease of power sector decarbonization
  • The rapid evolution of digital technology

But a lot can happen in three years.

  • Energy storage – lower battery costs
  • Renewables – solar and wind costs
  • The higher performance of unconventional reservoirs

What’s included in BP Technology Outlook 2018?

  • Energy efficiency
  • Power
  • Intermittency
  • Transport
  • Heating and cooling
  • Energy system modelling
  • Energy storage,
  • Air quality

Please download the report to look at BP Technology Outlook 2018 in detail.

Taking the long-term view

It is an exciting time to be involved in the energy industry. Access to heat, power and mobility is continuing to help millions emerge from poverty across the developing world and to underpin growth in industrialized economies.

However, as demand for energy grows, the way it is supplied is changing. Renewable energy is growing rapidly. Oil and gas are also still growing and being produced and used ever more efficiently. Meanwhile, global coal use looks set to plateau and the prospects for nuclear power vary by region. Although the speed of change seems to accelerate every day, the energy industry still needs a long-term view, as it is making investments in projects, developments and systems today that will last for decades.

Such investments need to be informed by an understanding of what the future may hold and BP has always made this topic a priority. As we look to the future, our technology teams work with our businesses, specialists and partners to understand technological trends and forces. We are grateful to the experts in academia and elsewhere who have contributed to the research underpinning this Outlook.

Bob Dudley, group chief executive, BP

Over the past few years, the BP Technology Outlook and its companion publication the BP Energy Outlook have helped shape BP’s choices. For example, our new investments in long-term natural gas projects reflect our projections of its strong growth and potential use in many technologies for decades to come. Digital technologies that are helping us discover and produce oil reserves – oil that will be used with increasing efficiency as vehicle technology evolves. Meanwhile, our increased venturing investments in a range of high-technology start-ups, from bio-jet fuel made using domestic waste to artificial intelligence, embrace many new technologies that have potential to support the transition to a low carbon energy system.

I hope that the BP Technology Outlook 2018 will prove valuable for all those who work in the world of energy or take an interest in it.

Source: BP