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BP sets ambition for net zero by 2050

BP
An operator on BP's Cedar Creek 2 wind farm in Colorado, US.

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BP said on 12 February the company set a new ambition to become a net zero company by 2050 or sooner, and to help the world get to net zero. The ambition is supported by ten aims. Five aims to get BP to net zero: net zero across BP’s operations on an absolute basis by 2050 or sooner; net zero on carbon in BP’s oil and gas production on an absolute basis by 2050 or sooner; 50% cut in the carbon intensity of products BP sells by 2050 or sooner; install methane measurement at all BP’s major oil and gas processing sites by 2023 and reduce methane intensity of operations by 50%; and increase the proportion of investment into non-oil and gas businesses over time.
Five aims to help the world get to net zero: more active advocacy for policies that support net zero, including carbon pricing; further incentivise BP’s workforce to deliver aims and mobilise them to advocate for net zero; set new expectations for relationships with trade associations; aim to be recognised as a leader for transparency of reporting, including supporting the recommendations of the TCFD; and launch a new team to help countries, cities and large companies decarbonise.
To deliver all this, BP said the company will fundamentally transform its whole organisation, and maintain its commitment to performing while transforming.
BP will host a capital markets day in September to set out its strategy and near-term plans.
BP’s new CEO Bernard Looney announced on 12 February the new purpose and new ambition for the company. “The world’s carbon budget is finite and running out fast; we need a rapid transition to net zero. We all want energy that is reliable and affordable, but that is no longer enough. It must also be cleaner. To deliver that, trillions of dollars will need to be invested in replumbing and rewiring the world’s energy system. It will require nothing short of reimagining energy as we know it,” Looney said.
“This will certainly be a challenge, but also a tremendous opportunity. It is clear to me, and to our stakeholders, that for BP to play our part and serve our purpose, we have to change. And we want to change – this is the right thing for the world and for BP,” the new BP CEO added.
BP’s Chairman Helge Lund noted that energy markets are changing, driven by climate change, technology and societal expectations, and the Board supports Bernard and his new leadership team´s ambition for BP. Aiming for net zero is not only the right thing for BP, it is the right thing for our shareholders and for society more broadly. As we embark on this ambitious agenda, we will maintain a strong focus on safe, reliable and efficient operations and on delivering the promises we have made to our investors,” he said.
BP’s new ambition to be a net zero company by 2050 or sooner covers the greenhouse gas emissions from its operations worldwide, currently around 55 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (MteCO2e) a year, and the carbon in the oil and gas that it produces, equivalent currently to around 360 MteCO2e emissions a year – both on an absolute basis. Taken together, delivery of these aims would equate to a reduction in emissions to net zero from what is currently around 415 MteCO2e a year.
“This is what we mean by making BP net zero,” Looney said. “It directly addresses all the carbon we get out of the ground as well as all the greenhouse gases we emit from our operations. These will be absolute reductions, which is what the world needs. If this were to happen to every barrel of oil and gas produced, the emissions problem for our sector would be solved. But of course, the world is not that simple; the whole energy system has to be transformed and everyone has a contribution to make – producers and sellers of energy, policy makers and everyone who uses energy,” he added.
Therefore, BP also aims to help its customers reduce their emissions by halving the carbon intensity of the products it sells, again by 2050 or sooner – offering customers more and better choices of low- and no-carbon products.
BP also aims to install methane measurement at all of its existing major oil and gas processing sites by 2023 and then reduce the methane intensity of its operations by 50%.
The structure of BP’s organisation – and of much of the industry – has been broadly the same for more than a century, split into separate organisations – upstream, downstream, and other businesses. To deliver its new ambition and aims, BP will now undergo a fundamental reorganisation.
“We need to reinvent BP,” Looney said “Our historic structure has served us well but, in order to keep up with rapidly-evolving customer demands and society’s expectations, we need to become more integrated and more focused. So we are undertaking a major reorganisation, introducing a new structure, a new leadership team and new ways of working for all of us,” he added.
Under the plans, BP’s existing, largely autonomous business segments – upstream and downstream – will be dismantled and the group reorganised globally into a more focused and more integrated entity, comprising 11 teams. The heads of these teams will make up BP’s new leadership team.

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Co-founder / Director of Energy & Climate Policy and Security at NE Global Media

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