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Advancing energy – news roundup

Release date:
28 February 2020
Hello, here’s your February round-up of what BP is doing to help make energy cleaner and better

900 words – around four minutes’ reading time

1. Trust and trade associations

We announced this week that we would withdraw from three trade associations over climate change differences, citing our support of the Paris Agreement goals and net zero ambition as reasons for the decision. 


Why now?


BP’s in-depth review of the policies held by 30 key trade associations comes a few weeks after BP announced its net zero ambition.


Which associations?


The three associations whose climate-related activities and policy positions were deemed not to be aligned with BP are Western Energy Alliance (WEA), Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM).


Why it matters:


The in-depth review acknowledges that some in society have lost trust in BP and the industry more widely because of seeming inconsistencies between public statements and lobbying and advocacy.


BP’s new CEO, Bernard Looney, says in the report: 


“If BP is to stand a chance of achieving our ambition, then we have to earn back people’s trust.”
2. Reaction and response to the ambition launch

The hashtag #bpNetZero has been in frequent use this month with social media users commenting on our new ambition. Many used it to praise BP’s ‘bold plans’, just as many used it to ask our CEO Bernard Looney tough questions, such as:


Why haven’t you set targets yet?


Bernard responds:

“Every journey has to begin with a destination. We don’t have targets right now, but we will come back in September with more information on the first five years.”


Why aren’t you addressing Scope 3 emissions? 


Bernard responds:

“Our new ambition tackles Scope 3 head on. We're not just aiming to halve the carbon of our products - as others seek to do. We're aiming for net zero on an absolute basis for the carbon associated with the oil and gas we dig out of the ground.”


Why would we believe you?


Bernard responds:

“We know many will doubt our intentions. What really reflects our seriousness is that we are Reinventing bp  ̶  making possibly the most wide-ranging changes to our organization in more than a century to help us work towards our new ambition.”


Media reaction:


  • The UK Telegraph called the net zero pledge “one of the most ambitious climate plans laid out by a major oil company.”
  • Bloomberg echoed this, calling it the “boldest climate plan of any major oil company,” but noted the “enormous task” for the company. 
  • The Financial Times noted that “BP has established a real-time test for the industry and what investors really want. Rivals in Europe may feel pressure to follow.” 

What do you think of our net zero ambition? Use the #bpNetZero and follow @bp and bernardlooney_bp on Instagram and Linkedin

3. Picture of the month
Energy illustrated – electric cars

What’s this?

It’s a summary of the 10 net zero aims we set out earlier this month that together are in support of our ambition to be a net zero company by 2050 or sooner, and to help the world get to net zero.


What are they?


Aims 1-5 are to help BP get to net zero and include aims to:

  • Get to net zero across our entire operations on an absolute basis by 2050 or sooner.
  • Get to net zero on an absolute basis from our Upstream production by 2050 or sooner.
  • Make a 50% reduction in carbon of the products we sell by 2050 or sooner.
  • Reduce methane with measurement at all our major oil and gas processing sites by 2023, transparent reporting and 50% reduction in our operated methane intensity.
  • Increase proportion of investment into non-oil and gas.

Aims 6-10 are to help the world get to net zero and include aims to:

  • Stop corporate reputation advertising campaigns and redirect resources to active advocacy for progressive climate policies.
  • Incentivize employees to deliver on our aims and advocate for net zero by increasing climate element in annual bonus for leadership and 37,000 employees.
  • Reframe relationships with trade associations and exit when appropriate.
  • Become a recognized leader in transparency for our sector – support Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations and work to implement them.
  • Create a team dedicated to helping countries, cities and corporations around the world decarbonize.
4. Net Zero Teesside project
Speakers at BP's powering the charge conference

The UK’s first zero-carbon industrial centre took another step forward today with the formation of a consortium to accelerate the Net Zero Teesside project.


BP with Eni, Equinor, Shell and Total have assumed leadership, transitioning the Net Zero Teesside project from OGCI Climate Investments – the $1 billion fund of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative. 


BP will take on the role as operator of the project that aims, by the middle of the decade, to capture from local industry up to six million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year – equivalent to the annual energy use of up to two million homes in the UK.


How will the project achieve zero carbon?


With the use of carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) technology. For this project, that means building a transportation and storage system that will gather industrial carbon dioxide (CO2), compress it and store it safely in a reservoir under the North Sea.

5. Building a bigger brain: BP’s university partnerships

BP’s ambition to become a net zero company by 2050 or sooner may be new, but it was addressing the threat of climate change some 20 years ago.


As well as pioneering alternatives like wind, solar and biofuels two decades ago, it also set in motion a plan to work with the world’s finest academics on the issue of climate change. The goal? To create a bigger brain to help address this defining challenge. Essentially, connecting BP’s community of 2,000-plus researchers with the scientific community to improve understanding and find solutions. 


So began BP’s partnership with some of the world’s foremost universities, including Cambridge, UK, Princeton, US, and Tsinghua in China.


What role for oil and gas?


Professor Stephen Pacala, a leading climate scientist and director of the BP-backed Carbon Mitigation Initiative (CMI) at Princeton University, says: 


“I want the carbon and climate problem solved as quickly as possible, but it’s hard with the current technologies, so there’s an indispensable role for oil and gas companies to play in helping to find the solutions we need.” 
6. Video series: More than a job for BP’s pioneers
Speakers at BP's powering the charge conference

Getting to net zero will take passion, skill and will. Meet on-screen our six BP employees as they explain, with the help of hobbies and new experiences  ̶  from fly fishing to sheep herding  ̶  why they are passionate about the environment.


They share why they feel their career is contributing to a low carbon future for the world, and why they believe BP has a part to play in achieving it. Their work is at the forefront of the energy transition.


From seeking out technologies that allow us to reduce plastic waste and advance the adoption of electric vehicles, to cutting emissions and building more sustainable oil and gas platforms.

Thanks for reading, see you next month for more on how BP is advancing energy. 


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