As the world moves towards net zero emissions, we think natural gas can play an important role in getting us there. When burned for power, natural gas has, on average on a lifecycle basis, about half the GHG emissions of coal, with fewer air pollutants, so expanding its use globally to displace coal will help to reduce carbon emissions. In fact, switching from coal to gas has avoided more than 500Mte CO2 from the power sector globally since 2010. As the amount of renewables in the energy mix grows, gas can also be a flexible partner to wind and solar, providing a reliable back-up source that’s not weather dependent.
Natural gas is adaptable, suitable for use in both domestic and industrial applications, and now widely available via a growing global market that uses pipelines and marine tankers. Looking ahead, gas can also be decarbonized. By using carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) technology, the CO2 generated when gas is burned for power or heat in industry can be captured so that it doesn’t reach the air. It can then be stored, or used, for example, to create building materials.
We’re pursuing several different routes to lower the carbon footprint of our fuels, lubricants and petrochemicals. They include:
In 2019 we opened carbon neutral retail sites in Mexico, Indonesia and China, while Castrol extended its carbon neutral auto dealership service into India and China. This service gives dealers the tools and support to make their dealerships carbon neutral and to service vehicles with carbon neutral lubricants.
For 14 years we’ve helped customers take action on their emissions through our carbon reduction and offsetting programme, BP Target Neutral. During this time we’ve helped bring more than 20 carbon neutral products and services to market for the aviation, commercial, transport and automotive sectors.
Some of these are world firsts, for example: carbon neutral Castrol lubricants; helping fleet customers offset emissions though fuel cards; and carbon neutral PTA.
BP Target Neutral has helped customers offset over 5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions since 2006, generating around $20 million to support carbon offsetting projects worldwide. These have contributed to emissions reductions, helped to improve livelihoods, financed renewable energy generation, and protected internationally significant forest land.
of greenhouse gas emissions offset by customers through BP Target Neutral since 2006
Supporting the development of a new transport system is a focus area for us – including electric vehicles and their charging infrastructure – because 25% of emissions currently come from transport. We’re modernizing our fuels and retail business to support the transition. In 2019 we hosted an event bringing together leading companies from across the electrification ecosystem to discuss shared challenges and opportunities. We also commissioned and published an independent report, ‘On the Move’, to explore expert and consumer opinions on the future of road transport, focusing on the real and perceived barriers consumers face in adopting lower carbon alternatives. The report was based on a survey of 12,000 people across three European countries.
Hydrogen has important potential as a close-to-zero carbon option for power and heat generation, for transport, and as a source of lower carbon feedstocks used to make products. Hydrogen could be an essential complement to electrification of the global energy systems of the future. We’re exploring its potential to reduce emissions in our operations, improve our products and provide the basis for creating low carbon businesses.
In 2019 we joined the Hydrogen Council, a global CEO-led initiative to promote and support the role of hydrogen in the energy transition. The Council aims to accelerate investment into large-scale commercialization of hydrogen solutions across industries worldwide. We’re also a member of Hydrogen Europe, whichseeks to promote and develop large scale, low carbon hydrogen based opportunities. In our view, robust policies, including carbon pricing, will be required to incentivize the investment required to exponentially grow the use of hydrogen.
We believe carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) can play a vital role in limiting emissions – helping us to reduce our carbon footprint and supporting global efforts to meet the Paris goals.
CCUS can significantly reduce emissions from gas power generation and energy intensive industries that rely on fossil fuels. Its advantages include:
Although CCUS requires significant upfront investment, over time its deployment at scale can be expected to bring costs down.
A third-party study in the UK found that for every £1 invested in carbon capture, the pay back to the national economy is almost £5. With an average CCUS project currently capable of capturing at least one million tonnes of CO2 every year, the process offers a cost effective way to decarbonize, transition to a lower carbon economy, and reach the Paris net zero target. It also creates opportunities to build new low carbon businesses, with the CO2 sold to support these ventures.
Collaboration is needed to make CCUS mainstream. It’s been used for more than 20 years, but needs government support, such as carbon pricing and policy making, to accelerate its deployment. Through the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), we’re identifying the policy mechanisms that could be most effective in scaling CCUS up on a regional basis. In the US, we are also playing a leadership role in a National Petroleum Council (NPC) report.
We’re exploring opportunities to deploy CCUS in our own operations and projects. For example, we’re participating in a joint venture in the UAE, which uses CO2 from industrial processes to enhance oil recovery. We’re also playing a leading role in the OGCI’s Net Zero Teesside project in the UK.
The world needs to use scarce resources in radically new ways; moving from a ‘take, make, waste’ approach towards one in which materials are re-used, recycled, repurposed and redirected to extend their purposeful life for as long as possible. bp can contribute to this through the way we use resources in our businesses and by shifting our mindset to design and operate with circularity in mind. We could see waste first and foremost as a possible feedstock for other processes.
This is already happening in some parts of our operations. For example, Downstream is working with Virent and Johnson Matthey to advance a bioforming process for the production of bio-paraxylene, a key raw material for renewable plastics.
Circular thinking is in its early stages across all industries, but we will continue to explore new ways to support it.