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Innovation and engineering in bp: experience isn’t everything

Release date:
16 September 2020
David Eyton, executive vice president of innovation and engineering, on gathering our scientists, digital experts, entrepreneurs and business builders into a single team with a purpose – to take new ideas and then incubate and scale them

Earlier this year, I started a new job – leading innovation and engineering in bp. This week, I have the chance to share how my team will play a central role as bp reimagines energy for the people and the planet.

 

You can watch some of what I said on the video below. But I wanted to explain why I agreed to do the job in the first place. To be honest, it’s a little daunting. I’ve spent 38 years in bp; 12 as bp’s head of technology. The rest in engineering-related roles.

 

So, you might think that leading innovation and engineering in bp is something I have experience enough to do. If so, you’d be wrong. Because this is a job for which experience can only count for so much, and that’s precisely why I agreed to take it on. 

 

“It’s a chance to do something entirely new. Something that hasn’t been attempted in bp before, or possibly anywhere at this scale.”

 

David Eyton, EVP of innovation and engineering

 

 

It’s a chance to do something entirely new. Something that hasn’t been attempted in bp before, or possibly anywhere at this scale. Because, at bp, we have decided that we want to change – and have got to change.

 

In February, we set an ambition to get to net zero by 2050 or sooner, and to help the world get to net zero too. Then, we launched a new strategy, which includes increasing our low carbon investment 10-fold and getting to 50 gigawatts of developed new renewable power capacity by 2030.

Going for net zero is a huge shift for bp

It needs an entirely new way of working. And that’s where our new innovation and engineering group comes in. We’ve gathered all our scientists, digital experts, entrepreneurs and business builders into a single team with a purpose – to take new ideas and then incubate and scale them, to reimagine energy for people and our planet. 

 

We’re involved with some incredible technology – green hydrogen, fast-charging batteries, carbon capture, artificial intelligence. One of our partners even plans to turn everyday rubbish into jet fuel. By the end of 2022, we’re aiming to have created 10-15 new digitally-led businesses, each with billion-dollar potential. 

 

And, because bp’s licence to innovate is derived from our licence to operate safely and securely, we’re home to bp’s safety and operational risk assurance and digital security teams. Our ability to manage new areas of risk as our business evolves will be both essential and a competitive advantage.

 

Best of all, we’re building our team with world-class talent, both from within bp and through hiring people from Google, Uber, Tesla and the start-up community – people like Marco Ryan, Fran Bell, Justin Lewis and Meghan Sharp. 

 

Together, they have a lot of experience. But like me, none of them have done anything quite like this before. Are we daunted? Sure. Are we excited? Yes. But do I believe that, together, we can get this job done? No question.

Highlights from David’s bp week presentation
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