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Susan Dio speaks to Society of Petroleum Engineers WIN Congress

Released date:
January 25, 2019
Susan Dio and audience
Susan Dio and delegates
Susan Dio - Keynote speaker
Susan Dio and audience
Susan Dio and delegates
Susan Dio - Keynote speaker

Good morning! Thanks so much for the warm welcome. It’s great to see how many of you came out bright and early for today’s event. I’ve been in London most of the week for meetings, so if I seem a little tired - or if I make any mistakes - let’s blame it on the jet lag.


In all seriousness, I want to thank Shauna for that kind introduction; and I want to thank this entire organization for inviting me to participate in your first-ever Women in Energy Congress. It’s a real honor to be here.


Looking out at all the impressive, accomplished women sitting around this room, I wish we had time for everyone to give a speech. I’d love to hear your perspectives on the issues I’ll be discussing. With that in mind, I’ll make sure to leave plenty of time for Q&A.


A moment of rapid change

Let me start with an observation that’s exciting and a bit unnerving: The global energy industry is changing faster than at any point in our lifetimes.


It’s changing because of technology, because of market pressures, and because of government policy. In a larger sense, it’s changing because people increasingly recognize the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Any time an industry is changing this fast - in such a short period of time - you’re going to face challenges.


To meet the challenges of today, tomorrow and beyond, our industry must harness all the talent and ingenuity that society has to offer.


In practice, that means doing more to recruit, develop and retain members of traditionally underrepresented groups, such as women and minorities.


The demographics of America’s labor force suggest that women, in particular, could play a much larger role in the energy industry than they do today.


Global energy trends

Before discussing the role of women in our industry, it’s worth stepping back to examine the structural trends that are reshaping global energy.


Demand is projected to increase by 35 percent out to 2040, mainly because of rising prosperity in the developing world.


Renewables are the fastest-growing form of energy; but even in highly aggressive lower-carbon scenarios, non-renewables still account for a large majority of primary energy in 2040.


On current trends, carbon emissions will grow much more slowly out to 2040 than they did over the past quarter-century. But they’ll still increase by 10 percent.


To put things in perspective, we need global emissions to decline roughly by half to meet the Paris climate goals.


The dual challenge

In short: The world must find a way to produce more energy with fewer emissions


At BP, we call this the dual challenge.


To deliver significantly lower emissions, every type of energy must be cleaner and better - including oil and gas.


That’s why BP is reducing emissions in our operations, improving our products, and creating low-carbon businesses.


BP’s role in the U.S. energy transition

Here in the U.S., for example:

  • Our Lower 48 onshore business has slashed its total greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent since 2000, with methane reductions accounting for most of the decline.
  • On the downstream side, thanks to a $200 million-dollar modernization project completed in 2017, BP’s Cooper River plant in South Carolina will be able to reduce the amount of electricity it purchases from the grid by 40 percent and slash CO2 emissions by up to 110,000 tons per year.
  • In or shipping business - a business I know well - we recently designed and built 26 new product and crude tankers that are over 20 percent more fuel-efficient than our previous generation tankers. We’re also building six new LNG tankers that will be roughly 25 percent more fuel-efficient than their predecessors. The new LNG tankers will service BP’s 20-year liquefaction contract with the export terminal in Freeport, Texas.
  • In terms of our products, BP’s Castrol business offers a growing number of carbon-neutral lubricants and engine oils. In 2017, Castrol launched EDGE Bio-Synthetic, a carbon-neutral motor oil made with 25 percent plant-based oil derived from sustainably produced sugar cane.
  • As for creating low-carbon businesses, BP recently partnered with Tesla to install a high-storage battery at our wind farm in South Dakota. This project is the first of its kind in our U.S.-operated wind business and a potential step forward in the performance and reliability of wind energy.
  • Meanwhile, BP has invested $40 million dollars in Fulcrum BioEnergy, a California-based company that produces low-carbon “biojet” fuel from household waste.

All of this has helped - and will help - advance the energy transition here in the U.S.


Between 2005 and 2017, America’s total energy-related CO2 emissions declined by 14 percent, thanks mainly to the growth of natural gas in electricity generation.


However, researchers with the Global Carbon Project estimate that U.S. emissions actually grew, by 2.5 percent, in 2018, while overall global emissions grew by 2.7 percent.


So it’s clear the world still has a lot more work to do if we hope to get emissions on a more sustainable path.


Is that a reason to stop investing in oil and gas? Absolutely not.


Even in lower-carbon scenarios consistent with meeting the Paris climate goals, oil and gas account for a major portion of global energy for decades to come.


That means the world also needs significant new oil and gas investment.


What might happen if we stopped making those investments? It’s pretty simple: An immediate end to new oil investment today would mean a massive undersupply in the years and decades to come.


A massive undersupply, in turn, would drive up prices...

...which would damage economic growth and disrupt the global financial system...

...which would make it harder for governments, companies and individuals to advance the lower-carbon transition.


In short: Investing in oil and gas is perfectly compatible with meeting both parts of the dual challenge.


Again: It’s not a race to renewables; it’s a race to lower emissions.


That means we have to pursue the kinds of innovation that will make all fuels - including oil and gas - cleaner and better.


Maximizing America’s human capital

Innovation requires human capital. And if we look at the available data, we see that America’s human capital includes a large number of women who currently are not maximizing their potential as engineers, innovators or business leaders


Consider the findings of a recent McKinsey report, which represents “the largest comprehensive study of the state of women in corporate America.”


McKinsey surveyed literally hundreds of companies employing millions of people. The two key findings were:

  • First, in corporate America as a whole, “Women remain significantly underrepresented, particularly women of color.
  • ”Second, compared with many other industries, women are especially underrepresented in the oil and gas sector.

I don’t think anyone in this room would find that surprising.


In fact, according to a 2017 report by the World Petroleum Council and the Boston Consulting Group, “women account for a far smaller share of employees in the oil and gas industry . . . than they do in most other industries.”


So what does that mean? It means that we have highly capable people that are working in other STEM industries, or not pursuing a STEM career at all.


What BP is doing to recruit, develop and retain female employees

At BP, we understand that recruiting, developing and retaining talented employees of all backgrounds is, not only the right thing to do, but also vital to our future success as a company.


As I mentioned earlier, America’s workforce is rapidly changing. The bottom line is, any company that wants to compete for talent in the decades ahead simply will have to be a company that values diversity and inclusion.


That’s why we’re trying to expand the pipeline of talent coming into our industry, while also cultivating the female and diverse employees who already work for us.


For example, we support STEM-education programs aimed at women and minorities all across the country. These include the Million Women Mentors project, which helps young women learn about and succeed in the STEM fields.


Meanwhile, BP has a wide range of internal mentorship initiatives and employee groups designed to help people navigate the company, build a network, and acquire the skills they need to advance their career.


We tell our employees - including our leaders - that diversity, respect and inclusion can’t simply be “priorities.” A company needs to make them part of its institutional DNA - part of its culture.


Signs of our progress in the U.S.

I’ll be the first to admit that BP still has a long way to go. But I’m proud of the progress we’ve made, especially recently.


Just look at the board of BP America. A year ago, our 10-member board had only one woman. Today, it has four.


For that matter, a year ago there was not a single woman on the BP Group executive team in London. Today, there are two.


Here in the U.S., women lead two of our most important upstream businesses, with Janet Weiss running BP Alaska and Starlee Sykes running our Gulf of Mexico business.


Meanwhile, another woman - Janet Kong - runs our Chicago-based trading business, and yet another woman - Laura Folse - runs BP Wind Energy.


Moreover, the vice president of operations for our Gulf of Mexico business is Lori Knutson - a woman.


For that matter, Lori’s predecessor in the VP of ops role was Aleida Rios - also a woman - who now heads the global engineering function for BP Upstream in London.


Finally, the offshore installation manager on our Mad Dog platform - one of the key platforms in BP’s Gulf of Mexico business - is LaToya Stallworth, yet another woman.


In other words, across the board, we now have women in crucial leadership positions running important businesses. We’re enormously proud of that. But again, we know there’s a lot more to do.


Conclusion: Building a genuinely diverse, respectful, inclusive culture

Let me close with a quick story. I recently had the privilege of sitting next to Madeleine Albright at a Ford’s Theatre event in Washington. As you know, she’s a longtime advocate of women helping other women succeed professionally.


Chatting with her, it struck me that all of us have an obligation to share the lessons we’ve learned, and the insights we’ve gained, with the younger generation of women.


I know from firsthand experience that mentorship can make a big difference in people’s careers. I’ve had women look me up when I’m visiting a site or walking through the lobby and say, “Hey, I just wanted to thank you. Five years ago you gave me some great advice that really helped me.”


I’ve also had young women ask me the tough questions - questions like “When do I tell my boss I’m pregnant?” or “How do I tell my boss I’m pregnant?” Navigating the business world as a young woman can be quite complex, and having mentors can help. It certainly helped me.


In that sense, by meeting our obligations to younger women, we’re also creating potential opportunities - which is how we can change the underlying gender dynamics within our industry.


As I said earlier, it’s an exciting time to work in this industry. And as I look out at all the talent assembled here today, I’m more confident than ever that we can meet the dual challenge and create a sustainable energy future for generations to come.


And with that, I want to thank you all again for having me today, and I’ll be happy to take your questions.


Thank you