BP has a significant presence in hundreds of California communities through gas stations and convenience stores. Its retail footprint includes more than 290 ARCO-licensed and -branded stations, along with the franchise for about 740 ampm convenience stores.
In addition, BP is the largest supplier of renewables natural gas (RNG) to the California transportation sector. Produced entirely from organic waste, RNG — or “biogas” — can reduce emissions by around 70 percent compared with gasoline or diesel.
At the global level, BP has formed a partnership with Lightsource, Europe’s largest solar development company, and it will invest $200 million over three years. The U.S. headquarters of Lightsource BP is in San Francisco.
All across the Golden State, BP helps create and support new low-carbon businesses and promising technologies through its venturing arm. In fact, BP Ventures has invested more than $190 million in California-based companies.
One of those companies is Fulcrum BioEnergy, which produces low-carbon “biojet” fuel from household waste. Another is Beyond Limits, a Caltech startup that is commercializing artificial intelligence and cognitive computing software. BP has invested $40 million in Fulcrum and $20 million in Beyond Limits.
In 2018, BP announced a $5 million investment in FreeWire, a California-based manufacturer of mobile electric vehicle rapid-charging systems.
Elsewhere in California, BP’s San Diego Biosciences Center (BSC) conducts research, supports investments and manages academic partnerships aimed at accelerating the world’s transition to a lower-carbon future.
As part of the company’s global technology team, the BSC studies how bioscience can add value to BP’s businesses and make them more sustainable. Created in 2015, its staff includes both scientists and engineers.
Their research supports many aspects of BP’s operations, including the production of renewable energy, oil and natural gas, along with the development of innovative and efficient fuels and lubricants.
For example, the BSC works closely with BP Biofuels, which produces ethanol from sugar cane in Brazil. This ethanol has lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions that are 70 percent lower than conventional transportation fuels.
The BSC also provides specialist advice to Butamax, BP’s joint venture with DuPont. The Butamax technology converts sugars from corn into an energy-rich biofuel known as bio-isobutanol, which can be blended with gasoline at higher concentrations than ethanol and transported through existing fuel pipelines and infrastructure.
Meanwhile, the BSC advises BP Ventures on low-carbon and other investments.
In the years ahead, the BSC plans to expand its research in areas such as wastewater, remediation and enhanced oil recovery. For example, it plans to help BP make further progress on converting waste streams to biogas, cleaning legacy industrial sites and producing oil more efficiently from existing resources.
Beyond its lab and business work, the San Diego BSC team manages BP’s partnership with the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI), a world-class research program based at UC-Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
To date, the EBI has funded more than 75 research programs or projects in areas such as biofuels, biomass and renewable chemicals. BP has contributed more than $300 million to the EBI since 2007.
* Vendor figures for the year ended December 31, 2016. BP jobs figures as of June 30, 2017.