Pandemic ‘only reinforces’ BP’s net zero ambitions

Introducing BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2020, the group’s CEO Bernard Looney says ‘the pandemic has only reinforced our commitment to our ambition to become a net zero company by 2050 or sooner and to help the world get to net zero’.

Looney said that the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted ‘both the fragility of our planet and the opportunities it provides to truly build back better’.

The BP CEO maintained: As the world emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic, it feels like we are at a pivotal moment.

‘Net zero can be achieved by 2050. The zero-carbon energies and technologies exist today – the challenge is to use them at pace and scale, and I remain optimistic that we can make this happen.’

BP said that some of the statistics in the review, such as the continuing strong growth in renewables, ‘offer encouragement that the world is moving onto a more sustainable path’. But it also flagged up that others, notably the ‘continuing persistent growth’ in carbon emissions, ‘underline the scale of the challenge for the world to reach net zero’.

Some of the key findings of the review include:

•             Growth in primary energy consumption slowed to 1.3% in 2019, less than half the rate of growth the previous year (2.8%).

•             Carbon emissions from energy use grew by 0.5% in 2019, only partially unwinding the unusually strong growth of 2.1% seen in 2018.  Average annual growth in carbon emissions over 2018 and 2019 was greater than its 10-year average. 

Renewables contributed their largest increase in energy terms on record (3.2 exajoules). They accounted for over 40% of the global growth in primary energy last year, more than any other fuel. Their share in power generation (10.4%) also surpassed nuclear for the first time.

•             Natural gas consumption increased by 2%, well below the exceptional growth seen in 2018, but its share of primary energy still hit a record high (24.2%). Natural gas production rose by 3.4%, buoyed by a record increase in liquefied natural gas exports (54 billion cubic metres).

•             Oil consumption grew by a below average 0.9 million barrels per day (b/d), or 0.9%, while demand for all liquid fuels, including biofuels, topped 100 million b/d for the first time.

Spencer Dale, BP chief economist, commented: ‘Global energy markets have been severely disrupted by the pandemic. BP’s Statistical Review highlights the key energy trends emerging before COVID-19 and I hope it will be a valuable source of information as the world emerges from the pandemic and transitions towards net zero.’

On Monday (15 June), BP announced that – in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic – it has revised its long-term price assumptions to an average of around $55 a barrel for Brent and $2.90 per mmBtu for Henry Hub gas ($2020 real), from 2021-2050.

The BP Statistical Review of World Energy is available online at

Lesley Bankes-Hughes

Lesley Bankes-Hughes