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The people behind #bpNetZero

Release date:
22 February 2021
Greening the global energy system one working day at a time. Meet the people behind the projects that are removing emissions from our roads, homes and skies as we journey along the path to net zero
 
🕒 10 min read | 📖 Feature

Offshore wind

Meet Stacey and Rob, who are working at the forefront of bp’s new move into offshore wind
Stacey Dillon-Nicholls – Fanning the winds of change
It’s 30 years since Denmark built the world’s first offshore wind farm. Since then, more than 115 have appeared worldwide. And, with the industry set to expand by 13% each year over the next two decades, efforts are now focused on building the port infrastructure needed to bring the energy onshore and overcome the technical challenges of such large-scale offshore installations.
“This is the most excited I’ve ever felt about any job.” So says Stacey Dillon-Nicholls. And no wonder, since she’s part of bp’s first move into offshore wind. 

Working with our partner, Equinor, to develop up to 4.4 gigawatts of new wind energy offshore New York. “This is a huge milestone in the company’s journey to zero-carbon energy,” says our new port infrastructure project manager. 

 

For bp, this project represents a step towards our aim to develop 50GW of net renewable generating capacity by 2030. It’s also the largest US offshore wind contract awarded to date.

 

“It feels good to be part of history!” Stacey says. 

As a civil/structural engineer by trade and a 25-year veteran of the oil and gas business, Stacey knows that big problems come with big challenges. 

 

“The project will involve transforming existing major New York ports into large-scale offshore wind industrial facilities that will help to turn the city into an offshore wind industry hub.”


Being able to play a part in delivering bp’s net zero ambition clearly means a lot to Stacey.

 

“Like many, I had scepticism about how we are really going to do this, but we’ve come a long way in a year. I’m proud to be a part of the next stage in bp’s journey.”

Rob Jonkergouw – Empire wind state of mind

It’s the job interview question most people dread. But not bp’s Rob Jonkergouw. He knows exactly what he’d like to be doing in the not too distant future  ̶  looking out to the US Atlantic, squinting into the distance to watch rotor blades turn and, with each revolution, helping to deliver new energy to New York. 

 

“I can’t wait for that moment,” says Rob.

bp’s vice president of asset management offshore wind, Rob is in charge of the team managing the company’s stake in Empire and Beacon, the two-gigawatt (GW) and 2.4GW offshore wind farms being developed off the US East Coast.
Working on bp’s ground-breaking $1.1-billion investment in a joint venture with Equinor, the Norwegian operator of the offshore wind assets. Rob believes the projects will provide major wins – for bp, which will accelerate its understanding of offshore wind technology; for Equinor, which benefits from bp’s expertise in the US energy market; as well as for the people of New York, as not only will they receive cleaner energy, but we will also develop a leading offshore wind industry hub, bringing jobs and investment to the area.

“It’s a win, win, win,” says Rob. 

 

The opportunity is the latest step for Rob, who joined bp early in his career. He managed bp’s entry into the UK Emissions Trading Scheme – then, the world's first CO2 trading system, before going on to develop bp’s onshore wind farm development strategy. This work was instrumental in the group’s latest significant shift into offshore wind.  


bp aims to have developed around 50GW of net renewable generating capacity by 2030 – a 20-fold increase from 2019.


Rob isn’t daunted by the goal. “One of the reasons I joined bp in the first instance was because I felt it was a company where you could foresee being able to make a difference,” he says. 


He believes the wind farm projects are a sign of bp’s intent to deploy its abilities and expertise, managing supply chains and integrating low carbon technologies with its trading functions across a global stage. 


“Our intent is serious and now it’s about rolling up our sleeves and delivering. That has its opportunities and its challenges, but for bp and the world, this can really make a big difference. We have a lot to offer.”

Carbon capture, utlization and storage (CCUS)

Bilal shares his conviction for the success of a project that could safely capture and store 10 million tonnes of the UK’s industrial emissions every year

The UK government has plans to ‘build back better’, and a core part of this will be through supporting huge carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) projects like Net Zero Teesside.  


Based in the northeast of England, this ground-breaking CCUS project is set to revive the local economy and create thousands of jobs, while also capturing up to 10 million tonnes of ‎CO2 emissions each year – equivalent to the emissions associated with the annual energy use of up to three million homes in the UK.

 

bp business development analyst Bilal Ahmad has been working on the bp-operated project for just over a year – and he couldn’t be more excited about it.

“A first-of-a-kind project for the UK – and for the world,” he says. “There’s a lot of momentum behind this project.”

 

Bilal’s working on getting the right agreements in place with partners and the government so that by around 2025, local industries can ‘plug into’ a pipeline that transports their industrial CO2 emissions and safely stores them under the North Sea. 

 

“It’s like a giant waste disposal system but for CO2,” he explains.

Bilal is one of the 95% of people on the project whose background is in delivering oil and gas projects. In a previous role, he went from seeing subsea equipment sketched on a whiteboard to seeing it installed in Azerbaijan.

 

“That was challenging. Getting the kit shipped from Norway to the Caspian through a canal which is frozen six months of the year.

 

“Similarly, he can’t wait for the day to see Net Zero Teesside up and running and inspiring other countries to follow suit to help reach their climate ambitions. 

 

“When I look at the Net Zero Teesside team and the broader team we have in bp, I know we can reach net zero. It’s not just ambition – it’s conviction.”

Resilient and focused hydrocarbons

Our oil and gas assets aren’t simply the cash engine helping us to perform as we transform; they’re also taking important steps to reduce their operational emissions. Tae, Dan and  Daniel explain how
Tae Park – Setting the foundation for bp’s transition

Born in South Korea, Tae was raised in Houston, Texas, where energy is big business. For the past eight years, he’s worked at bp as a project manager, most recently, overcoming the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic to help deliver a huge expansion project at our Atlantis field in the Gulf of Mexico.


Delivered just months after bp announced its net zero ambition, working on a major oil project might have felt like a contradiction.

“Atlantis is a great example of what bp means when it talks about resilient hydrocarbons. And by adding barrels to bp’s portfolio, we sustain the company and help it to thrive over time.” 


Projects like Atlantis are all part of bp’s refreshed strategy to deliver lower carbon, more resilient, high-quality sources of oil and gas that provide people with the energy they need and support our transition to an integrated energy company.


The higher value comes from the way the oil and gas resources are discovered and delivered, with people like Tae working to identify opportunities to drive efficiencies. When COVID struck, that meant pushing through the challenges of virtual working using agile methods and still delivering Atlantis on schedule in July 2020.


Most of Tae’s experience lies in upstream operations, but he says he is proud to play a part in bp’s broader transition to net zero. 

“It hasn’t always been easy saying that you work in oil and gas in recent years, but from a personal standpoint, you want to do your best for the company,” he says. “I’m proud to say that we’re trying to make a difference in this world.”


Most of all, Tae says he’s proud to be able to show his two daughters that the company he works for is “trying to leave this world in a better place than what has traditionally been expected from us as an ‘oil company’.”

Dan White – Reducing flaring across bp’s assets
Some 20 years ago, Dan White was a bp engineer based in Wyoming, US, working on a project to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions being released into the atmosphere during well test flaring, a critical part of the well construction process. The concept was called ‘green completions’. 
 
Fast forward to now, Dan and the team in Oman have pioneered another first for green completions.  
They have delivered more than 20 of the minimal-flaring well test operations, removing over 240,000 tonnes of carbon emissions in the past two years – the equivalent of removing 51,850 cars from the roads.

These have long been part of the plan for the Block 61 gas field, which bp has developed in partnership with the state oil and gas company of the Sultanate of Oman. Its processing facility, which began producing ahead of schedule in 2017, is powered by its own gas and has achieved twice the efficiency of a typical oil and gas facility. 

 
Delivering the green completions was not a straight-forward job. This time, the wells were in the deserts of Oman rather than on the prairies of Wyoming, with the added complexity and risk caused by higher well pressures and flow rates.

 

However, once Dan explained the concept – and how it would work – all departments got on board.  

He says: “As I explained the project, I could see people’s eyes light up, and that it made real sense. The teams shared a common vision and generated a lot of energy to make it happen. That energy is still alive and is being shared now with other regions.” 
 
The project is also delivering business value by routing the hydrocarbons to sales rather than flaring. Dan now has a new job where his central team can influence the potential use of green completions and other low carbon solutions across all bp’s well operations, while also sharing the approach with partners around the globe. 
 
“It's like we’ve started a kind of mini revolution,” he says. “I'm now in a stronger position to look at ways that we can reduce or eliminate flaring across bp. Our ambition is zero flaring as the base case.” 
 
Daniel Touzel – Taking to the skies to measure methane

Environmental science has been Daniel Touzel’s passion for more than 20 years, when he first joined bp. 

 

And as environmentalist, he admits that family and friends have asked why he decided to work for an oil and gas company. 


“This is where I believe I can make the most positive difference,” says bp environmental specialist Daniel. “My view has always been ‘let’s innovate and try to change.” 

This approach paid off when tackling a recent challenge – how to deploy new technologies to directly measure methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas. This is at the heart of bp’s Aim 4 – to install methane measurement at all bp major oil and gas processing sites by 2023, publish the data, and then drive a 50% reduction in methane intensity in our operations.

 

The challenge for Daniel and the team was the apparent lack of existing technology to measure methane emissions, especially for remote sites, such as offshore oil and gas platforms. Daniel discovered a company with cutting-edge sensors and analytics for methane  measurement, SeekOps, and another, Flylogix, which had a fixed-wing drone that could be launched from shore and flown around oil and gas installations safely – often out of sight of its pilot

“There was a light bulb moment for me. Could we combine these techniques to unlock offshore methane measurement? This is where it all stemmed from,” he says.

 

“Normally in the realms of technical development, it’s challenging to bring together new technologies, but we had to take a risk and see if it would work.”


The integrated drone and sensors were successfully trialled over bp’s Clair field – west of Shetland. The project has now been extended across a range of oil and gas operators in the UK North Sea through the OGTC, a collaborative technology development centre.

 

The partnership will support oil and gas operators in developing a shared solution. And while Daniel doesn’t expect drone-based measurement of methane emissions to completely replace what he describes as source-level, or ‘bottom-up’, measurements, the new system could provide a site-level, or ‘top-down’, validation that reported emissions are complete and accurate.


And does he still believe in the vision? He answers: “Absolutely, finding ways to better understand and reduce our emissions is incredibly satisfying. I feel very privileged to be part of it.”

12 transformational months in 60 seconds – watch year one of our #bpNetZero journey

Electric vehicles

From growing charging networks to keeping engines running smoothly, Dave, Angelique and Patrick are all helping to drive the EV revolution
Dave Olive – Plugged in and switched on

Switching to an electric vehicle (EV) can save money on fuel costs, reduce harmful vehicle emissions, and help to clean up our air. The Mayor of London has an ambition to make the city’s transport network zero carbon by 2050. To achieve this, the mayor is supporting the switch to zero-emissions vehicles with the rapid installation of charging points across the capital. 


One man helping with – and sharing – that mission is installation manager Dave Olive. He longs to see the day when the world’s last petrol pump is replaced by an electric version. 


It sounds far-fetched, but Dave has always been a dreamer. When he first started installing EV charging points, people told him it would never fly. 

 

He switched on his first in the Olympic Park, the new development being built for the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics. 

From then, both his job and business have grown swiftly. 

 

Known as bp pulse, the group Dave now works for is the UK’s largest EV public charging network and the country’s fastest-growing rapid and ultra-fast charging network in 2020. In 2018, he oversaw the installation of the first charging hub of its kind in Milton Keynes that helps people to charge away from home more easily, and there are more to come.

 

“When I started, a lot of people were very sceptical, saying: ‘I'll never change from a petrol vehicle to an EV,’” says Dave. 


“As more people are installing EV chargers, I’ve gone from working for a small company to a medium company to a very large company. That’s kind of how it's grown for me and that's how I see the market. I don't see it slowing down anytime soon.”


The electrical compliance & quality manager has worked closely with Transport for London, installing more than half of the 300 rapid charge points the authority added across the UK capital in 2020, bringing the total number of public charge points in the city to over 6,000. 

The goal for bp to deliver 70,000 charge points worldwide in the next nine years is ambitious, but Dave’s enthusiasm is infectious. 

 

He has plans to install EV chargers powered at least in part by solar panel canopies. He’s speaking to colleagues in the Netherlands, Italy and the US to see how they are approaching the challenges.


“It's amazing,” he says, “the whole world is pushing towards this way and bp is in all areas.”

Dave, who insists he’ll never go back to petrol engines since he started driving his electric car, says the thing that really excites him is increasingly powerful charging points. 


“We're installing 150-kilowatt chargers at the moment on bp forecourts. And, there's talk around even bigger,” he says. “The speed at which you could recharge your car is moving towards five to 10 minutes. That's incredible.”

Angelique Laboy-Coparropa – Driving the charge for cleaner air
bp has set out an aim to create 70,000 EV charging points by 2030. At the heart of that drive is not only the technology but also the people who help to deliver it. People like Angelique Laboy-Coparropa, a Chicago-based customer experience and communications lead within bp’s customers and products business.  

In August 2020, Angelique worked on the launch of bp’s first battery-integrated ultra-fast electric vehicle charger in the US – part of bp’s investment in FreeWire Technologies.

 

The launch in California, where the state is banning combustion engine vehicles by 2035, was an exciting time for Angelique, not least because she got to see the impact of  bp’s aim to grow its worldwide charging network.

 

“It makes me wonder about when we have 70,000 EV chargers worldwide – what will that look like?” 

 

Born in Panama, Angelique has a passion for the environment that’s personal. She’s witnessed a transformation in its cities’ poor air quality, thanks, in part, to the switch to electric.

 

“There used to be these old school buses everywhere, the ‘diablos rojos’ with black smoke coming out of them,” she explains.

“But going there a year ago, the air was much cleaner, the buses are modern, some are electric, and I think those numbers will increase. Seeing it that way – it makes you realize that’s why change is needed – let’s keep these places beautiful.” 

As bp’s focus has shifted to a new purpose, so, too, have Angelique’s feelings about her role in the company and society.


“Working on EV chargers, I can wake up and say we are working hard to make a difference.”

Patrick Bauer – Boosting the electric revolution from the inside

Electric vehicles (EVs) are incredible machines. Powered by electrical moving parts and incorporating space-age technology, these feats of engineering are taking over our streets. And vital to keeping these robots of the road running smoothly are e-Fluids. These fluids keep the system not only running well, but also help to further boost their green credentials.

 

E-Fluid engineer Patrick Bauer is part of a team formulating ‘e-Fluids’ for EV transmission systems. 

The senior development technologist is based at bp’s Castrol Driveline Technology Centre in Hamburg, where the team works collaboratively with car makers and components manufacturers across the globe. Indeed, more than half of the leading car manufacturers use Castrol ON e-Fluids

“What we do is enable e-mobility, because without the right fluids, manufacturers won’t be able to come up with the most efficient systems they need to convince people to actually buy an EV,” says Patrick.


Sales of EVs are growing, although a key barrier to wider adoption is ‘range anxiety’ – worry over how far an EV can go on a single charge.

 

“Through optimized lower-viscosity fluids, we can ensure that the drivetrain gets as efficient as possible,” he says. “We can help to maybe add up to 1% or even more on the range of a vehicle, which is crucial.”

While Europeans weigh up the pros and cons of hybrid versus pure electric, Patrick’s colleagues in China are seeing a massive trend towards EVs. He estimates it will take five to 10 years for the majority of sales to be electrified vehicles. 


The 33-year-old, who joined BP’s graduate programme seven years ago, has witnessed the dramatic shift in focus as the automotive industry has been “shaken up by electrification”.

 

And it’s exciting. 


He says: “It feels great. It’s got to be a global effort to decarbonize and electrification of the automotive industry is key to that. This is something that really gets me up in the morning.”

Cities

Meet two people playing their parts in making our cities cleaner. Grace, who’s helping to decarbonize Houston, and Sujay, who’s been instrumental in a new project aimed at encouraging Delhi’s massive two-wheeler fleet to go electric
Grace Rumford – Helping Houston decarbonize

Grace Rumford remembers being in the room a year ago when bp chief executive Bernard Looney unveiled the company’s ambition. Not only would bp aim to become a net zero company by 2050, but it would also help the rest of the world to get there too.


The announcement marked a dramatic shift for the company, which swept Grace along like a tidal wave into a pivotal new role. 

 

“I didn’t know what my next job would be, but the whole experience was just very energizing and exciting. Suddenly, it felt like there was a whole world of opportunities that aligned with my personal and professional goals,” she says.

The shift took her into the nascent regions, cities & solutions business, where she helped to forge a ground-breaking partnership with the City of Houston last summer. More recently, she spotted an opportunity to collaborate with ride-hailing firm Uber to explore developing and driving the use of EV charging infrastructure in the city. 


Houston, which currently emits more than 30 million tonnes of C02 per year, has adopted a comprehensive Climate Action Plan that provides a blueprint for the city to become carbon neutral by 2050. bp serves as the city’s strategic and technical planning partner on the CAP, supporting working groups on topics including reducing regional greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improving energy efficiency in buildings.  

Houston is one of 454 cities around the world that have already committed to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 as part of the UN Race to Zero campaign.

This was followed by Aberdeen in the UK. bp expects there will be 10 to 15 partnerships with cities in the next 10 years.


As senior manager for US business development for bp regions, cities & solutions, Grace feels both fortunate and aware of the scale of the challenge.


“We’re doing something that’s never been done before by bp. But if we keep moving together in the right direction, we can bring together solutions that help our partners and customers to decarbonize,” she says.


“I feel very lucky being given the opportunity to deliver. It is exactly what I had hoped for when I joined bp.”

Sujay Sharma – Electrifying Delhi, one two-wheeler at a time

Over the past 21 years, Sujay has worked in all sorts of bp businesses – from the trading floor to head office. But it’s a new venture, in a place close to his heart, that he is particularly excited to be part of. 


Born in Mumbai, Sujay is now bp’s chief development officer for Jio-bp – a joint venture with Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries. Part of his job involves laying the foundations for the electrification of India’s giant fleet of two-wheeler vehicles. 

“Our ambition with Jio-bp,” he says, “is to build an advanced mobility business here in India that is the equivalent of our entire fuels business.” Jio-bp wants to do it in just 10 years.


Luckily, he and the team are already hard at work with the launch of a pilot project that could transform the way two-wheeler vehicles in the city of Delhi are powered. And with 187 million on India’s roads, it’s an important step. 

You turn up at Jio-bp retail outlet and exchange your used battery for one that’s freshly charged.  


“The process takes less than a minute,” says Sujay. “You hand in your discharged battery, receive one that is fully charged – and you’re back on your way.”

 

These batteries have the potential to power millions of journeys, while also helping to significantly improve air quality. 

And with strong growth in India’s e-commerce and food delivery industries, two-wheel journeys are also expected to rise.

 

For Sujay, though, it is what this project represents for his children and the future that makes it so meaningful. “What I do now has more relevance to my children than to me,” he says. “I watch them play these games online where you can build a city – and they decide how to construct it.

 

“They are learning about the importance of building a greener future. I love talking to them about what we’re doing – because it will benefit their generations the most.”

Solar power

Having cut her teeth in hydrocarbons, Lightsource bp COO Ann Davies has made the switch to solar but remains passionate about all forms of energy

For Ann Davies, there is nothing more exciting on this earth than energy. And as someone who once underwent astronaut training, she should know.


Physicist, engineer and now chief operating officer (COO) of solar joint venture Lightsource bp (LSbp), Ann had won the experience after devising an experiment that could go on the International Space Station. 

 

From there, she studied physics at the University of Oxford, and joined bp in 2005. She worked in North American gas fields and on North Sea offshore oil rigs before turning her talents to solar. 

“I am passionate about being part of responsible energy growth in all its forms. It’s not as simple as good energy or bad energy, we must create a sustainable energy system,” she says.

 

Having built up considerable leadership skills in hydrocarbons, she took the job at LSbp in 2020, a year in which the company developed more than 1.4GW of utility-scale solar. That’s enough to power more than 424,000 average UK  homes.

 

It has more solar projects in development and, in the first quarter of 2021, brought LSbp’s total acquisitions to over 1.9GW. LSbp employs 500 people across 14 different countries and is expanding fast. 

 

“Some of the biggest problems we have on this planet relate to energy. That will appeal to any scientist or engineer out there who wants to solve problems,” she says.

It’s her hope that new recruits can, like her, work across the spectrum of energies, looking for ways to harness best practices to achieve a better energy future.

 

She adds: “This is one big issue to solve and it’s going to take time, it’s going to take patience, and it’s going to take action, and we have to work together for our future.”

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