BP’s chief executive admits he understands why fossil fuels are not socially accepted and reiterated his pledge to make his company a net zero carbon company by 2050.
Bernard Looney, 49, who took on the role of the oil and gas giant in February, said he knew the industry was seen as “bad” and had “a challenge … with confidence.”
In the past year alone, BP was responsible for 415 million tonnes of carbon emissions, including the emissions produced by customers who burn its fuel.
BP CEO Bernard Looney says he understands why the industry is seen as ‘bad’
But Looney reiterated its promise that BP would cut the amount of oil and gas it produces by 40 percent by the end of the decade.
The company also plans to tenfold the amount invested in low carbon projects by 2030 to around five billion US dollars (£ 3.8 billion) per year.
Its strategy to improve the perception of BP in the eyes of consumers has been hailed by the environmental group Greenpeace, which called it a “necessary and encouraging start”, adding that BP has “woken up to the immediate need to reduce carbon emissions this decade”.
BP plans to reduce the amount of oil and gas it produces by 40% by the end of the decade
Speaking to the Sunday Times, Looney said: “Oil is increasingly socially contested, there is no question.
“We think it’s a bad industry, and I understand that.
“I don’t agree, because if you meet our people, I don’t think you will call them bad people.
“Good people don’t come to work for a bad company – good people have choices.
Looney said it was clear from day one that he wanted his tenure to be defined by the carbon transition.
His plan is to use the oil company’s hydrocarbons – oil and gas – to invest in the transition.
“It’s just not possible to transform a 110-year-old business just by turning off the taps in one area and pivoting 100% to the new one,” he said.
His comments follow recent announcements that BP will cut 10,000 jobs from its global workforce due to a huge drop in demand for oil, while stock dividends have been cut in half.
It is estimated that around 2,000 jobs in the UK are at risk.
Key management positions are set to be cut by a third after the oil giant was hit by the coronavirus outbreak, although Looney added that the cuts were part of a plan to cut operating costs at $ 2.5 billion (£ 1.9 billion) for the new fiscal year. .
“It’s always been part of the plan to make BP a leaner, faster, lower carbon company,” Looney said.
BP announced last week that it was cutting its stock dividends following a record quarterly loss of £ 5.2bn ($ 6.7bn) after falling demand for oil.
Last year, the oil and gas giant was responsible for 415 million tonnes of carbon emissions, including emissions also produced by customers burning its fuel.