London-based BP joined other oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell in forecasting a peak for oil demand in the late 2030s, when it is expected to slightly decline at around 110 million bpd.
It did not foresee a peak in demand in its previous outlooks that stretched into 2035.
While the transportation sector will continue to dominate the growth in oil consumption, demand for plastic manufacturing will become the main source of growth in the 2030s.
Oil companies such as BP, Shell and France’s Total are betting on growing demand from the petrochemical sector in the coming decades.
Dale however said changes in regulations for plastics consumption such as stringent policies on plastic bags and packaging could dent oil demand by as much as 2 million bpd, roughly the same as the impact of EVs.
Overall energy demand will continue to grow in the coming decades, rising by a third into 2040, or roughly 1.3 percent per year, driven by growth in China and India, but the world is learning to “do more with less energy” as economies become more efficient, Dale said.
For example, the European Union’s gross domestic product is set to treble in 2040 from 1975 but the level of energy demand will be the same.
China’s energy demand will continue to grow but at a slower pace by the 2030s, when India will become the main driver of growth.
BP once again revised upwards its forecast for growth in renewable power, which is set to grow by 40 percent by 2040, with its share in the energy mix increasing from 4 percent to 14 percent.
The revision is due to technological gains as well as more aggressive government policies, particularly in India and China.
“There is plenty of scope for policy to continue to surprise us” to further boost the growth in the renewables, Dale said.