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Take five: Bernard Looney on the new carbon emissions reduction fund

Release date: 26 March 2019

Upstream chief executive Bernard Looney believes passionately in the power of BP people to make transformational changes that will deliver more energy with fewer emissions. He is backing his team with $100 million specifically for carbon emissions reductions activity. Here, he answers five key questions about the new Upstream Carbon Fund announced today

What’s the aim of the new fund?

I’ve seen a tremendous appetite in the organization to get after the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from our operations. The purpose of this new fund is to encourage employees to come up with even more ideas − and to turn those ideas into reality. We want to hear all the suggestions – big or small – because everything counts and everyone has a role to play. 


How does it fit with the operational emissions reductions targets BP launched in April 2018?

The progress on our operational emissions targets has been impressive. Already, across BP, our people have delivered 2.5 million tonnes of sustainable emissions reductions compared with our 2016 baseline. That puts us well on track to reach our goal of 3.5 million tonnes by 2025. 


In fact, our greenhouse gas emissions were lower in 2018, despite higher oil and gas output, and we’re also on track with our methane intensity target of 0.2%. This fund helps us to keep that momentum going. 

“We as leaders don’t have all the answers − we have a resilient and flexible strategy, and can do things at scale where it makes sense − but a lot of the power of change resides in our people.”

 

Bernard Looney, chief executive of Upstream

Who is the fund targeted at?

BP is fortunate to have thousands of talented and motivated people who care deeply about our role in advancing the energy transition. They understand the challenges we face and are brimming with ideas of how to meet them. We as leaders don’t have all the answers − we have a resilient and flexible strategy, and can do things at scale where it makes sense − but a lot of the power of change resides in our people. 


They have been quick to embrace digital technology and agile ways of working as part of our transformation agenda − and I would love to apply the same thinking to how we solve the lower carbon challenge. And to help make that closer connection between our low carbon goals and how we perform as individuals, the pay of more than 35,000 employees − as well as myself and other executive directors − is now linked to BP’s progress against our sustainable emissions reduction target.

 

Why has this fund been launched now?

The pace of change in our industry is astonishing and our stakeholders expect us to quickly adapt to a new reality of lower carbon energy. Bob Dudley has talked about BP being progressive and pragmatic in our approach − I like to think that this new fund will help us to be both. 

 

The time is right to galvanize and encourage employees to find new ways to get our emissions down now and design out emissions for the future.

Workers at BP's Khazzan gas project in Oman use a gas detector to test for emissions

What do you hope the $100 million will achieve?

I’ve found it heartening that while our targets began as a leadership commitment, there has been a real pull from within the organization towards bringing down our emissions. Our team in Oman is a shining example of this. The new Khazzan gas project was designed to be inherently efficient, using technology we first developed for our US operations. It reduces emissions by using less equipment from the outset, resulting in a lower carbon footprint and fewer opportunities for potential leaks. But, the team did not stop there. They looked for further reductions opportunities − and found one in the camp power supply. With clever engineering, they reduced the need for three gas turbine generators to two. If the fund helps to encourage more examples like this, then it’s a success.  

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