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The role of resilient hydrocarbons

Release date:
16 September 2020
As part of day three of bp week, EVP of production and operations Gordon Birrell discusses the role of our oil, gas and refining businesses in bp’s strategy and ambition

What are resilient and focused hydrocarbons?

At the heart of our new strategy is a transition to low carbon energy, and a corresponding reduction in oil and gas production. We know oil and gas will continue to perform a vital role for the world, but demand will start to fall over the longer term. 

So, we plan to reduce production by 40% by 2030 and create a resilient, lower cost and lower carbon oil, gas and refining portfolio that is smaller but of the highest quality, giving us the cashflow we need to help fund our transition to an integrated energy company.

How are you going to do that?

We’ve created a new production and operations organization, bringing together all our hydrocarbon operations in one place. It is the operational heart of bp, from where we can produce the affordable hydrocarbon energy and products the world needs – safely, cleanly and efficiently. It includes our oil- and gas-producing facilities and our world-class refineries, which produce vital products, from road surfacing to high-performance fuels.


“Bringing our oil, gas and refining teams together will allow us to learn faster and drive a safer, agile and resilient business.” 


Gordon Birrell, EVP of production and operations


What are you doing to address safety?

In our industry, accidents can destroy lives and damage environments. This is why safety is our core value. We aim to eliminate the most serious process safety events and life-changing injuries – a major step towards our ultimate goal of no accidents, no harm to people and no damage to the environment.

How will a smaller oil and gas business make the money you need to fund bp’s transition?

We’re excited about our plans to transform our operations and become more efficient. Bringing our oil, gas and refining teams together will allow us to learn faster and drive a safer, agile and resilient business. 

We can see countless opportunities to reduce duplication and complexity, centralize and standardize our processes, apply digital technology, and empower our people to work differently and find better solutions.

What are you doing to get emissions down and support bp’s ambition and aims?

We are focused on achieving our targets under our Aims 1 and 4. Our target for Aim 1 is to achieve a 20% reduction in our operational emissions by 2025. Aim 4 is to install methane measurement at our major oil and gas processing sites by 2023, publish the data, and then drive a 50% reduction in methane intensity in our operations. And we’ve now supplemented that with our new 2025 target of 0.20% for methane intensity, based on our new measurement approach. This replaces our current methane intensity target, which is based on current reporting protocols.


 There is a lot already happening – like operating our facilities more efficiently to reduce energy usage, applying new technologies, finding ways to lower flaring, and improving monitoring and maintenance.

What does the future hold?

It looks very different. We’ve been clear that from now on we will not enter new countries for exploration. We’ll still explore, but it will be very selective, in our core regions and close to our existing hubs, aimed at finding oil and gas we can produce at lower cost and with a lower carbon footprint.


And, as our current wave of major projects completes over the next few years, we plan to move away from the big, mega projects in favour of building smaller facilities that are safer, lighter and lower-emission by design, with a much shorter development time.

For the first time in bp’s 111-year history, all our hydrocarbon operations are ‘under one roof’. We’re excited about bringing these teams together to allow us to learn faster and drive a safer, agile, lower carbon oil, gas and refining business.
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