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2024 Annual General Meeting: chief executive officer's speech

Release date:
25 April 2024
Murray Auchincloss, chief executive officer

bp 2024 AGM, International Centre for Business and Technology (bp ICBT)

Thanks Helge. My first AGM in this role – and it’s an honour.


I want to start with my own “thank you” – to you our shareholders, to  our staff, and to the board. A change of leadership is never straightforward. But you’ve been supportive – and patient – throughout. And for that I’m very grateful.


As Helge said, our destination is unchanged. We’re moving from an international oil company to an integrated energy company. We’re supplying today’s energy system. We’re helping to build tomorrow’s. And we’re going to be simpler and more focused as we do this.


Why? Because we want to grow the value of bp.         


Safety first

We also want to build an even safer bp. 


Three people lost their lives working for the company last year. A contractor at bpx energy and two colleagues at our newly acquired TravelCenters of America business. 


We are determined to learn and improve. We will never accept loss of life as part of doing business. We want zero fatalities. Zero life-changing injuries. Zero major process safety incidents.


We’ve made progress on process safety - but there’s more to do.  


We’re constantly working to reinforce our operating culture.


To rigorously embed the Lifesaving Rules, and have all our people live – and own – our Safety Leadership Principles.


It's how we protect our colleagues – and why safety will always come first at bp.  


A year of delivery

So, let’s come now to our progress in 2023.


I’m proud to say that we delivered a resilient financial performance:

  • Operating cash flow of $32 billion.
  • Underlying replacement cost profit of $13.8 billion.
  • An 18.1% return on average capital employed.
  • $6.5 billion of shares bought back.
  • And net debt at its lowest in a decade at $20.9 billion.  

We have a strong balance sheet, a disciplined financial frame, an integrated offer that very few companies can match.


Last year this allowed us to increase the dividend per ordinary share by 10%.


It’s also given us the confidence to enhance our share-buyback guidance. 


Why? Because we want to grow the value of bp.


Strategic progress

The last few years were about creating options. Now we’re fully focused   on delivery. Driving margins, progressing projects, tackling emissions – rigorously applying our investment criteria across our hydrocarbons business AND our transition growth engines.


2023 was a year of strategic execution. These are some of the highlights:

  • Our oil and gas production – grew 2.6%, with four new major projects starting up.
  • Our EV-charging network – expanding by more than a third.
  • Strong growth in our gross convenience margin.
  • Biogas supply volumes – up 80%
  • Biodiesel production – up 18%
  • Adding 21 gigawatts to our renewables project pipeline.
  • And 1.1 million tons per year to our hydrogen project pipeline.
  • And even with higher oil and gas production, our operational emissions were flat year-on-year – meaning they’re still 41% down on 2019 levels.

So – delivering the plan. Delivering for shareholders. Doing the work now to grow the value of bp.


Growing the value of bp

We’re now four years into the strategy we set out in 2020. Looking back, we’ve learnt a lot. One of the biggest lessons for me is this:


To deliver the plan we need to become a simpler, more efficient, more focused organization. 


To guide us in that work, we’ve set out six near-term priorities for bp:

  • Improve safety and reduce emissions.
  • Drive  a focus in the business on the activities that create the most value.
  • Deliver the next wave of efficiency – including technology and global capability hubs.
  • Deliver the next set of growth projects – that provide the growth through 2030 and beyond.
  • Optimize ROACE through disciplined investment allocation.
  • And grow shareholder returns.

That’s our agenda through to 2025 and beyond.


I’ll end where I began. With a big thank you for your support. Investing in bp is a choice – and one we never take for granted.


I also want to say a special thanks to our employees, who worked incredibly hard for bp last year.


I absolutely believe your company has what it takes to be one of them world’s leading integrated energy companies.


We have the assets.


The relationships and partnerships.


A world-class trading capability.


Outstanding science and engineering capability.


Over a century’s experience in getting energy to where it is needed.


Most important, we have people who are immensely skilled and care deeply  about the work that they do.


If we bring all this together, if we stay safe, if we’re pragmatic and flexible, if we focus on the things that matter, if we deliver the plan…


We can win in this energy transition.


And we can grow the value of bp.


Thank you.