ATHENS – Global liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies will more than double by 2040, a BP economist told New Europe.

“The sustained growth in LNG supplies greatly increases the availability of gas around the world, with LNG volumes overtaking inter-regional pipeline shipments in the early 2020s, Will Zimmern, lead economist, energy transitions, told New Europe in Athens where he was presenting the BP Energy Outlook, the company’s view of long-term global energy markets.

The Outlook explores a number of scenarios. “In the Outlook’s Evolving Transition scenario, where policies and technologies gradually evolve as we have seen in the recent past, global carbon emissions will rise by 10% by 2040,” he said, noting that while this growth is far slower than the rates seen in the past 25 years, it is higher than the sharp decline thought to be necessary to achieve the Paris Commitments. “We need a far more decisive break from the past,” he said.

Zimmern noted that renewables are just one of the ways the world can reduce carbon emissions.

“We continue to believe that carbon pricing must be a key element as it provides incentives for everyone to play their part and all technologies to compete based on their effectiveness,” he said, explaining that this can range from consumers using energy more efficiently to producers choosing lower-carbon forms of energy, including renewables but also, for example, switching from coal-to-gas in the power sector.

Turning to electric vehicles and oil, Zimmern stressed that a key uncertainty in the period to 2040 is the speed at which sales of electric cars increases. “To gauge the significance of this uncertainty, we considered a scenario in which there was a worldwide ban on the sales of cars with internal combustion engines (ICE) from 2040,” he said, explaining that this scenario would reduce liquid fuel demand by around 10 million barrels a day, to around 100 million barrels, but even in this “ICE ban” scenario the level of global oil demand in 2040 would be higher than in 2016.

“The suggestion that rapid growth in electric cars will cause oil demand to collapse just isn’t supported by the basic numbers – even with really rapid growth, even in the scenario where we see an ICE ban and very high-efficiency standards, oil demand is still higher in 2040 than it is today,” Zimmern said.