1. Home
  2. News and insights
  3. BP Magazine
  4. Advancing energy – news roundup

Advancing energy – news roundup

Release date: 9 September 2019

Welcome to our regular update on how BP is helping to make energy cleaner and better. This month, we look at the EV revolution in the UK and China, lowering the carbon footprint of tomorrow’s oil and gas platforms, plus the art, and science, of cutting deals to advance the energy transition
1. Network news: BP rolls out ultra-fast charging in the UK
Helge Lund's quote in the Financial Times

The UK’s electric vehicle drivers can look forward to quicker and convenient recharging with BP’s roll-out of hundreds of 150kW-ultra-fast chargers to its retail forecourts.


The first of 400 is now live on BP’s retail site in Cranford, near Heathrow Airport in West London, with the rest to follow fast over the next few years.


What else?


It’s the latest in a string of investments and innovations following the 2018 acquisition of Chargemaster, the UK’s largest charging network.


Since then, as BP Chargemaster, the company has:


  • Added 500 charging points in public spaces to create a network of 7,000.  
  • Developed key partnerships to bring chargers to a wider audience  ̶  for example, pub and restaurant chain Mitchells & Butlers now has 200 available on its premises.
  • Launched smart charge home units, where users can control rates of charge and activate start/stop times using an app.

What’s next?


“We’re gearing up for EVs to grow from the 200,000 on UK roads today to 6-8 million in 10 years’ time,” says BP Chargemaster CEO David Newton. “We aim to be ahead of the curve in creating a business that can help people switch to EVs as the world moves to a low carbon future.”

2. Charging ahead in the world’s largest EV market
Energy illustrated – electric cars

Meanwhile, BP has joined forces with leading mobile transportation platform DiDi to create a brand-new charging network in China  ̶  home to more than half the world’s electric vehicles. 


The move follows a successful pilot in May in the southern city of Guangzhou. The joint venture now plans rapid expansion of the network across the country, connecting more than half a billion users.

Big plans


The ambition is to become China’s leading EV charging provider, and our latest move follows a series of investments with Chinese partners that support the development of the country’s EV ecosystem.


“The lessons we learn here will help us to further expand BP’s advanced mobility business worldwide, helping to drive the energy transition and develop solutions for a low carbon world.” 


Tufan Erginbilgic, BP’s Downstream chief executive

3. Reshaping the portfolio
BP's Gordon Birrell

BP has announced the sale of its Alaskan business to Hilcorp for $5.6 billion, a move that will bring about a large-scale reconfiguration of its US portfolio.


BP CEO Bob Dudley paid tribute to all those who helped build this ‘world-class business’ and the important role it has played in boosting both Alaska’s economy and America’s energy security over the past six decades. 


“However, we are steadily reshaping BP and today we have other opportunities, both in the US and around the world, that are more closely aligned with our long-term strategy and more competitive for our investment,” he explained, adding:


“This transaction also underpins our two-year, $10 billion divestment programme, further strengthening our balance sheet and enabling us to pursue new advantaged opportunities for BP’s portfolio within our disciplined financial framework.”


Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive

4. Ronit’s bright idea
Air BP aircraft fuelling

This is 21-year-old Ronit Kanwar, whose fear of the dark led to a bright idea that’s changing the lives of families in parts of rural India.

The University of Oxford student set up a company called Empower Energy that enables rural families to use ‘life-and productivity-enhancing products’, starting with solar-powered lamps. 

He was inspired by his own childhood experience of visiting his grandparents in Himachal Pradesh. Power cuts were common in the small village, leaving locals to either endure what Kanwar describes as ‘nightmarish’ hours in the dark or air-polluting kerosene lamps. Now, with a new, cleaner source of light, villagers can work or study longer into the evening.

What's next?


After winning the BP-sponsored prize in the One Young World Lead2030 Challenge, Kanwar now has $50,000 and 12-months’ support from a BP mentoring team to develop the initiative further.

Kanwar said: “At Empower Energy, our goal is to enable rural communities to access products and services to help them transform their lives.”

5. Platforms of the future
'The world needs more energy' chart

Cleaner, greener and leaner oil and gas platforms are on the way. 

Smaller in scale and powered remotely or by the wind and the sun, these production platforms will use less energy and operate with a lower carbon footprint. It’s all part of BP’s efforts to reduce emissions from its operations and help to advance the energy transition.

Engineers are exploring: 


  • Powering platforms from shore by electric cable. 
  • Using solar and floating wind facilities to power deepwater platforms.
  • Switching to all-electric subsea control systems, using electrical cables rather than pipes filled with hydraulic oil.
  • Introducing robots to carry out more inspections and maintenance work.
6. Here’s the deal: low carbon investments
Speakers at BP's powering the charge conference

Meet the team helping BP to invest in a low carbon future. 

As well as brokering traditional transactions like last year’s big deal with BHP, BP’s mergers and acquisitions (M&A) team is focused on new low carbon opportunities to advance the energy transition. 

So, when BP saw an opportunity to grow its existing biofuels business in Brazil by more than 50%, it was the M&A team in the UK and the US, led by Rob Lawson, that went to work behind the scenes to seal the deal with giant agribusiness Bunge.  

Rob and his team also helped to mastermind BP’s acquisition of Britain’s largest electric vehicle charging company, Chargemaster, and secure a $200 million investment in solar development company Lightsource.

Growing markets


While deals focused on alternative energy and low carbon technologies begin small, they can have an outsize impact by providing an early foothold in growing markets, says Lawson.

What’s next?

We’ll be back, when we’ll update you on:


  • Emerging technologies and their role in the energy transition.
  • Three big energy questions answered.
  • Methane-detecting technology.


Be the first to know...

Subscribe to our email for the latest stories in energy, technology and engineering, direct to your inbox...