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Driving ambition: Bernard on the year since bp’s net zero launch

Release date:
12 February 2021
One year on from our ambition launch, Bernard looks back at the initial steps bp has taken in our #bpnetzero journey and shares his pride in the team that delivered despite the challenges of the global pandemic. Plus, watch this review of the year in 60 seconds

A year ago today, we launched our new company purpose and net zero ambition. And while it’s still very early days, it feels like a good moment to take stock of progress. 

Thanks to the countless people who have supported us – here are 10 areas that have spurred us on over the past 12 months: 

1) Setting our new purpose and ambition: 

As I mentioned above, there is only one place to start – our North Star. We changed our purpose to reimagining energy for people and our planet – and set our ambition to be a net zero company by 2050 or sooner, and to help the world get to net zero.


2) Launching our new strategy: 

After 112 years, we’re pivoting from being an International Oil Company to an Integrated Energy Company. We plan to be very different by 2030 – reducing our oil and gas production by 40% and raising our low carbon investment 10-fold. And we aim to almost double customer touchpoints in our convenience and mobility business to 20 million per day.

We recently partnered with EnBW to jointly develop and operate two offshore wind leases in the Irish Sea

In the past year, Lightsource bp started up new solar projects all around the world, including the Vendimia asset in Almochuel, Spain.

In the past year, we started up oil and as projects in Oman, Egypt, India, the Gulf of Mexico and North Sea

Houston is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Texas, fourth most populous city in the United States

Houston was the first of two cities we partnered with last year to help them decarbonize

3) Beginning our reinvention of bp: 

To deliver our strategy, we retired bp’s upstream/downstream model and created a ‎leaner, flatter, more integrated company. We are driving down costs and improving efficiency through agile working and digitization.


4) Making progress through partnerships: 

We can deliver more when we work together – so we agreed low carbon partnerships with Amazon, Equinor, Microsoft, Ørsted, Qantas, EnBW and Uber, as well as the cities of Houston and Aberdeen. 


5) Diversifying bp: 

We’ve entered the US and UK offshore wind markets – striking deals for significant positions in both. Our solar partnership Lightsource bp has been a delivery machine. We’re also in action planning industrial-scale production of green hydrogen and leading a partnership to develop the UK’s first decarbonized industrial hub. All of this means we have a pipeline of 12.5GW (net) in renewables projects – well on our way to our goal of 50GW by 2030.


6) Focusing our hydrocarbons: 

We’ve focused on the best new oil and gas production in Egypt, Oman, India, the Gulf of Mexico, North Sea and Southern Gas Corridor. These projects keep bp on track to deliver 900,000 extra barrels per day from major projects by the end of 2021, relative to 2015. With margins around 35% higher than the base business we had in 2015, these new barrels are a cash engine powering our transformation.

7) Demonstrating financial discipline: 

We’ve reduced our net debt, revised our long-term price assumptions, and strengthened our balance sheet through divestments like the sale of our petrochemicals business. But it’s also about what we haven’t done – like walking away from deals to add 12GW of renewables in 4Q 2020 because they did not meet our investment criteria of 8-10% expected returns.

Our employees stepped up to help other during the pandemic, like Ricky Burns, who made visors for health workers with his 3D printer

Our EV charging network expanded in the UK, Germany and China

Our retail staff around the world provided a valuable service to customers

8) Committing to people and planet: 

Our new sustainability frame governs our wider approach to environmental and social issues. Our updated human rights policy clarifies our commitments to the communities where we live and work – and to everyone who works for and with us. Our new biodiversity position enables us to achieve a net positive impact on biodiversity in our new projects. 


9) Driving down emissions: 

We will soon be reporting on emissions in our Sustainability and Annual Reports – but I am pleased that our efforts to transform from a brown business to much greener one are starting to take effect. It’s what we like to call the greening of bp. 

10) Supporting our communities:

All of this took place during the most extraordinary and challenging year. So, I am perhaps most proud of how our people supported their colleagues and neighbours during the pandemic. From 3D printing masks to free fuel for the emergency services – they genuinely put our purpose into action.


Throughout all of this – I am proud that we’ve performed while we’ve transformed – and had one of our safest years ever.


Of course, ‘greening’ companies like ours have a long way to go, but as we begin year two of our transformation, I am even more energized and determined to reach our ambition. 

Day by day, it becomes clearer that we are on the right path. And not just because our people are motivated by this. But because it’s a tremendous business opportunity. Everything is aligning for us to do good for people and our planet. 

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