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Dudley and other BP executives participate in CERAWeek 2019

Release date: March 15, 2019

Speaking at CERAWeek by IHS Markit Group - the world’s premier energy conference, which took place in Houston from March 11 through March 15 - Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley and other BP leaders stressed the importance of shifting to a lower-carbon economy, and also highlighted steps BP is taking to make all types of energy cleaner and better
Bob Dudley at CERAWeek 2019
Bernard Looney at CERAWeek 2019
Morag Watson at CERAWeek 2019
Tufan Erginbilgic at CERAWeek 2019
Bob Dudley at CERAWeek 2019
Bernard Looney at CERAWeek 2019
Morag Watson at CERAWeek 2019
Tufan Erginbilgic at CERAWeek 2019

‘Progressive for society and pragmatic for investors’

“We are operating in a world that is not on a sustainable path,” Dudley said in a keynote dinner address on March 12. “How we respond will define our future.”

 

As the world responds, Dudley noted, it must meet both sides of the dual challenge - that is, it must “provide much more energy, but with far fewer emissions.”

 

Meanwhile, companies like BP must balance their responsibilities to society with their responsibilities to shareholders.

 

“We get our license to operate from society,” Dudley said, “but we get our capital from investors, and it’s our duty to spend it wisely and deliver the returns they expect, both shorter term and long term.

 

“In other words, we have to be progressive for society and pragmatic for investors.”

 

That means both adapting to and advancing the transition to a lower-carbon energy mix, Dudley explained.

 

“I’m confident that we can readily reshape BP however fast the energy transition unfolds - and I’m sure it’s a similar story at the other majors.

 

“That reshaping process is already underway,” he added, citing BP’s investment in Lightsource BP, Europe’s largest solar development company, and Chargemaster, the U.K.’s largest electric vehicle charging company.

 

Dudley concluded his remarks with a call for continued evolution in the oil and gas industry, greater willingness to engage with its critics, and more transparency with shareholders.

 

“We have to move from being pure-play oil and gas companies into broader energy businesses,” he said. “We need to demonstrate that we share the common goal of a low-carbon future and that we are in action towards it. The stakes are too high not to.”

 

 

Controlling methane emissions

During a March 13 panel on reducing methane emissions, Upstream Chief Executive Bernard Looney emphasized that BP is committed to being a leader on methane, and he described a wide range of leak-detection technologies the company is using to improve its operations.

 

For example, he pointed out that a new drone deployed by BP’s U.S. Lower 48 business - BPX Energy - can visit and inspect 1,500 wells in just 30 days. Elsewhere around the world, Looney noted, BP has established permanent methane monitoring cameras in Oman, and in Trinidad it can provide leak detection 24 hours a day.

 

He also echoed Dudley’s comments from the previous night - delivered in a conversation with CERAWeek conference chair Daniel Yergin - about BP’s position on U.S. methane regulation.

 

“In the United States, we believe in the direct federal regulation of methane, both for new and existing well sources,” Looney said.

 

One of his fellow panelists was Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

 

Shortly before the panel began, BP and EDF announced a new, three-year strategic agreement aimed at reducing methane emissions from the global oil and gas supply chain.As a first step in the partnership, BP will provide up to $500,000 to fund ongoing research into methane emission detection technologies at Colorado State University.

 

Upstream, downstream and everything in between

Other BP leaders participated in CERAWeek panels covering issues such as electric vehicles, artificial intelligence (AI), and carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS). Here are some of the key points they made:

  • “Key trends impacting downstream are changing, and arguably offering more significant opportunities. But one has to be highly competitive, agile and adaptable in this unpredictable and rapidly changing world. This is our strategy at BP.” Tufan Erginbilgic, Downstream chief executive.
  • “Under our ‘Reduce, Improve, Create’ framework, we are reducing the carbon footprint of our upstream operations.” Gordon Birrell, chief operating officer, production, transformation and carbon.
  • “Simple arithmetic suggests that rapid growth in electric vehicles can have huge implications for transport and air quality, but it doesn’t do much for oil demand or carbon emissions.” Spencer Dale, group chief economist.
  • “At BP, we think about AI as a broad spectrum of capabilities. It goes from machine learning all the way up to true cognitive computing, which mimics some of the most complex human characteristics.” Morag Watson, vice president, digital innovation.
  • “CCUS is needed for the dual challenge, and the United States is well-positioned. Although the technology is there, deployment has been limited.” John Mingé, former chairman and president, BP America.
  • “There are three reasons why BP loves retail: Firstly, it’s the most material part of our fuels marketing business. Secondly, retail delivers high returns with low volatility. And thirdly, BP has a track record of growth in retail and we see future growth.” Alex Jensen, senior vice president, retail Europe, and global chief marketing officer, fuels“.
  • At BP, we have three big priorities: improving reservoir characterization, improving the advanced, ultimate recovery from the reservoir, and improving the drilling well stock on a facility to operate more efficiently.” Ahmed Hashmi, chief digital and technology officer, Upstream.
  • “In Latin America, we’ve looked to expand our presence across energy. It’s not only an upstream play; we are looking at the energy value chain on a more integrated basis.” Felipe Arbelaez, regional president, Latin America.