'By collaborating, our aim is to do more': BP chief on climate partnership and $1 billion investment

Last edited: 4 November 2016

Ten of the world's major oil and gas companies have come together to tackle climate change. BP chief executive Bob Dudley - and current chair of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) - tells BP Magazine about the partnership's new $1 billion investment and how it can make a difference

Why do you think this partnership of 10 oil and gas companies responding to climate change is significant?

The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative is 10 very different companies from different geographies and with different approaches. These are major national and international companies representing over a fifth of the world’s oil and gas production and we’re coming together for the good of tackling climate change. It’s allowing us to accelerate and mobilize our collective resources - not just financial, but our people and our organizations. That, I believe, is a significant step forward.

But, let’s not forget as individual companies we are already active in creating conditions that can have an impact on greenhouse gas emissions. In BP, we were one of the first major oil and gas companies to recognize the risk of man-made climate change, which has given us several decades of experience to draw on.

We have low carbon businesses that are competitive, in wind and biofuels, and market-leading products that lower carbon, like our new Ultimate with ACTIVE fuels. By collaborating as part of the OGCI our aim is to do more.

The OGCI has announced plans to invest $1 billion over the next decade in technologies to lower emissions. Can you outline what the funding will go towards and why?

This is funding specifically intended to bring promising low carbon technologies to the market as quickly as possible - technologies with potential to really lower emissions at scale. We think the best way to do that is through a new investment partnership dedicated to accelerating progress at all stages of development, which is why we are setting up OGCI Climate Investments. The $1 billion investment will be used from early stages of research through to the deployment.

Can you be more specific about the areas OGCI is targeting?

Over the course of the past two years, we have done a lot of work to identify the areas where we think we can have the highest impact, and our initial areas of focus will be on reducing methane emissions and on carbon capture, use and storage.

Methane emissions are important because the energy transition that’s underway is going to need more natural gas in the energy mix. And, to fully maximise the lower carbon benefits of gas over coal, we need to minimise the loss of methane right along the chain between production and consumption.

Carbon capture, use and storage, or CCUS, is another important area. There are already a number of projects underway around the world, but we need to identify the obstacles that are preventing CCUS from achieving significant scale.

Is $1 billion going to be enough?

On its own, no, but I believe it is going to have an impact and let’s remember this is only part of a much bigger picture. It sits alongside all the work that individual OGCI members are doing. And we anticipate that all our investments, both individually and collectively, will be multiplied and amplified through partnerships. We also expect that the successful technologies, as they emerge, will be deployed across our businesses, which will make the impact even greater.

So what happens next for the OGCI and this programme of investments?

Things are moving really fast in this area and that is very positive. Two years ago, a number of CEOs came together to set up the OGCI. A year ago, we were welcoming the outcome from the UN climate conference in Paris. And now, here we are with the Paris Agreement coming into force, and that is really helpful in setting a clear direction of travel for everyone, BP and the OGCI included.

It gives us real confidence in our commitment - through shared action and shared investment - to being part of the solution and we believe we can catalyse practical action that can have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

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