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Getting to Net Zero - Q&A with Giselle Thompson

Release date:
16 February 2021

This Q&A appeared in the T&T Energy Chamber publication Energy Now. You can access the full edition here



In February last year bp introduced its Net Zero ambition. That was followed by its announcement that the company intended to transition from an International Oil Company to an International Energy Company. Last July, bpTT head of communications and advocacy Giselle Thompson spoke with Energy Now about the company’s Net Zero ambition. Here she speaks about how the transition is progressing and what has changed since July.

Q: A lot has changed globally since July. How has bp changed in that time?


From a global perspective, COVID-19 has continued to have an effect on economies and the energy sector in terms of inventories and prices. What hasn’t changed is the focus on the environment. If anything, the focus on climate change has gained momentum over the past few months with more companies making commitments to get to net zero by 2050 or sooner.bp CEO Bernard Looney and Global Optimism founder Christiana Figueres recently pointed out that over 100 countries have now pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner and in their co-authored opinion piece for CNN.com they also urged governments, investors, employees and the public to get behind companies committed to a low carbon transition.bp has also laid out its strategy to achieve our Net Zero ambition. Central to the strategy is bp’s transition from an international oil company (IOC) to an international energy company (IEC). It’s a huge step for the company. We also introduced our sustainability framework which widens our focus from providing cleaner energy to caring for people and the planet.

Q: What does the transition from IOC to IEC mean?


It will mean a change in focus. The strategy calls on us to deliver solutions to customers in three areas – low carbon electricity and energy, convenience and mobility and resilient and focused hydrocarbons. We will differentiate ourselves by integrating energy systems, partnering with countries, cities and industries and by driving digital innovation.Globally, bp intends to increase low carbon investment and expect investment in hydrocarbons to be about 40 percent lower by the end of the decade. However, we see hydrocarbons as integral to bp for decades to come and as enabling our strategy which calls for a focus on delivering resilient and focused hydrocarbons. This means focusing on being safe, competitive and aligned with our Net Zero ambition. 

Q: What does that mean for bp’s Trinidad operations?


For Trinidad and Tobago, that means continuing to focus on being safe and cost competitive, maximizing recovery from existing fields, bringing sanctioned projects online, lowering emissions in our operations and looking for opportunities to decarbonize the gas value chain. . There’s still a lot of work to do in T&T, including bringing on our Cassia C and Matapal projects. The Cypre project is moving through the project approval process and this project is also being designed to be a “greener” facility with carbon emissions of 20% of traditional offshore platforms. 

Q: How are you progressing with your Net Zero ambition in T&T?


We are making good progress with our efforts to lower emissions in our operations, actually surpassing our target in 2020. In our Trinidad operations, we were able to deliver 21.1k tonnes of sustainable CO2 reductions in 2020 and we have a target of 28k tonnes in 2021. We will continue to pursue projects aimed at sustainably reducing emissions in our operations and implementing a methane measurement system to improve the quality of data capture and report using digital tools.We plan to maintain this focus while we deliver activities to sustain our gas business, including bringing our next two sanctioned projects online.Our partnerships are also progressing well. The solar project – a partnership with Shell and Lightsource bp is progressing and we have already had initial public consultations.The schools science and conservation programme has been a hit with both teachers and students. The programme is a collaboration between the Ministry of Public Utilities, Pennacool, bpTT and Shell. It’s been very exciting to see the younger generation get into the conservation and low carbon conversation.We’re also continuing to look at  longer term pathways or opportunities for Trinidad and Tobago as we navigate the energy transition. bp’s Advancing the Energy Transition (AET) team has been studying existing energy systems in T&T for the past year to identify opportunities and pathways to a low carbon future and we are engaging with stakeholders to share what we have learnt.


Q: How will you know if the transition has been successful?


bp’s Net Zero aims are clear in terms of what we want to achieve. Ultimately, we want to be a net zero company by 2050 or sooner and help the world get to net zero. But success goes beyond that to ‘how’ we will achieve our ambition. Our strategy and sustainability framework lay out the ‘how’ so we will be successful not only by achieving our aims but by doing so in a sustainable manner and one that benefits not only bp but the wider society.