BP: Oil will remain king for transportation through 2030

British oil giant BP expects unconventional sources of crude and other fuels to supply a larger amount of the world’s energy needs over the next 20 years and oil will remain the primary fuel for transportation.

As far as overall energy consumption, BP believes oil will decline over the next two decades, while gas and coal will rise. The company made the predictions Wednesday as it released its updated 2030 energy outlook.  It is the third year in which the company has released the expectations publicly.

“This outlook is a projection, not a proposition,” Chief Executive Bob Dudley declared during a presentation from London that was carried over the Internet.

BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil are among the companies that each year publish outlooks that forecast the future of the energy sector.

The goal: To figure out what the world will look like in the future so they can make the most profitable exploration and production decisions today. By releasing their conclusions publicly, these companies also spark an annual conversation about the world’s energy needs.

BP’s updated projections include:

– Energy demand is expected to be 36 percent higher in 2030 than 2011, with almost all the growth coming from emerging economies.

– Growing production from unconventional sources of oil – tight oil, oil sands and biofuels – is expected to provide all of the net growth in global oil supply to 2020, and over 70 percent of growth to 2030.

– By 2030, increasing production and moderating demand will result in the U.S. being 99 percent self-sufficient in net energy; in 2005 it was only 70 percent self-sufficient. The U.S. will remain a small net importer of oil, although net imports will decline by about 70 percent.

– Major emerging economies such as China and India will become increasingly reliant on energy imports. These shifts will have major impacts on trade balances.

– Russia will remain the world’s largest energy exporter, with increases in  exports of all fossil fuels. By 2030, Saudi Arabia will be the world’s largest oil exporter, although  the trajectory over time will be impacted by the likelihood of OPEC production cuts.

“Fears of oil running out, to which we never subscribed, appear increasingly groundless,” Dudley said.

At London-based BP, a 10-member team works year round on the company’s energy projections, which include assumptions on changes in policy, technology and the economy. Internal and external experts are consulted, public and private data and reports are reviewed and existing regulations and how they may change in the future are considered.