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BP Changing Oil and Gas Production in Favour of Greener Practices

Updated: Aug 26, 2020

Ellie Chivers provides some good news about oil giant BP's plans to go emission-free in the next 30 years.

Photo by Jay Skyler

As of the beginning of August, oil giant BP is planning to cut its oil and gas production by 40% in favour of cleaner energy sources. This new plan hopes to see a 10-fold increase in yearly low carbon emissions to $5 billion by 2030.The news comes as a huge step forward in BP’s plans to be emission-free by 2050, and will cost the company $1.5 billion.

Bernard Looney was appointed CEO of BP in February, and a switch to greener resources underscores much of his business mission.The London-based firm has predicted demand for fossil fuels will reduce by 75% over the next 30 years if global temperatures are limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius, with BP going as far as to suggest its oil and gas production will plummet by at least one million barrels a day over the next decade.

Mel Evans, senior climate campaigner for Greenpeace UK, has praised the changes, suggesting other oil and gas production companies need to follow suit:

“Slashing oil and gas production and investing in renewable energy is what Shell and the rest of the industry needs to do for the world to stand a chance of meeting our global climate targets.”

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Alternative Investments 

Instead of using production methods involving damaging fossil fuels–which, when burnt, trap heat in the atmosphere, resulting in global warming – BP are now looking to invest in greener sources, including:

  • Bioenergy. – Electricity and gas created by organic matter, or biomass. Biomass could include plants, food waste and sewage. While biomass does release some carbon dioxide when it is burned, it is considered carbon neutral, as it does not produce any more than it absorbed while growing. 

  • Hydrogen and Carbon Capture and Storage. – The process of capturing and storing these gases involves taking their emissions and either reusing them or storing them so they cannot escape into the atmosphere and cause damage.

The company have also promised an increase in electric vehicle charging points – from 7,500 to 70,000 –and hopes to sell $25 million of their oil and gas refining properties over the coming five years in order to prioritise a more renewable future.

A Fall in Demand

As is the case with several industries across the world, the Coronavirus pandemic has had a massive hit on demand for oil and gas, thanks to consumers being ordered to stay at home and factory workers not coming in to do their 9-5. CNN Business has reported an 18-year low in the price of Brent crude oil, with BP themselves reporting a $16.8 billion loss in this year’s second quarter.

Looney revealed that the news surrounding the restructuring of their oil and gas production was actually supposed to be announced the following month, however a need to cut the company’s dividend due to lower oil prices, alongside the pandemic, pushed the CEO to publicise the news early. Of the news’ sudden announcement, Looney said:

“Particularly as we are making the announcement around the dividend we wanted to give the story all at once so people can put all the decisions in context.”

While our future may seem very uncertain at the moment, one thing is for sure, and Mel Evans says it best herself:

“BP has woken up to the immediate need to cut carbon emissions this decade.”

We can only hope other companies also begin to realise this very pressing need for change.


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