If you watched ‘The Oil Machine’ on BBC iPlayer: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/m001gf42/the-oil-machine you may recall a statement by a spokesperson from BP who stressed the importance of being part of the transition to a lower carbon economy. He went on to explain (at 43.05 minutes) that they are ‘ramping up’ their investing in non-oil and gas forms of energy.
Imagine my surprise when greeted by the headline ‘BP to invest twice as much in oil and gas as renewables’ (The Guardian 27 December 2022). The article by Energy correspondent Alex Lawson went on to explain that the company had earmarked up to $7.5bn (£6.2bn) for oil and gas projects, compared with a range of $3bn to $5bn for green energy see: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/dec/27/bp-plan-spend-billions-fossil-fuels-green-energy-oil-gas-renewables.
It pointed out that: “BP expects to increase spending on “resilient hydrocarbons” – oil and gas, refining and bioenergy projects – by up to $1bn in 2023.
“In 2021 the company’s capital expenditure was $12.8bn and it expected to spend $14bn-15bn this year, and then $14bn-16bn a year between 2023 and 2025.
“Within this, investment into “resilient hydrocarbons” will increase from $9bn in 2022 to “$9bn to $10bn a year” from 2023 to 2025, including $7.5bn a year on oil and gas projects.
“BP intends to invest $3bn to $5bn a year on “low-carbon” energy projects between 2023 and 2025, rising to $4bn to $6bn a year in the second half of the decade.
“BP also plans to spend a further $2bn to $3bn in its convenience and mobility division, which includes its fuel forecourts and electric vehicle charging businesses.”
I suppose it depends on what your definition of ‘ramping up’ is although the term could certainly be applied to the massive profits the company has made following the rise in wholesale gas prices, resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as many households struggle to keep warm and the climate crisis worsens.
Friends of the Earth has criticised BP for not moving faster into renewables. Mike Childs, head of policy said: “Where you spend your money says a lot about your priorities. It’s astounding that in the middle of a climate emergency BP is planning to invest billions more dollars on planet-warming fossil fuels than on clean, green renewables.”
The Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay said: “Time and again these corporations have shown us that they are not willing to change their actions in line with what the science demands, so it is vital that governments step up and do what is necessary to give us the best possible chance of protecting the environment for ourselves and future generations.”
BP said it expected spending in non-oil and gas projects – including renewables, hydrogen and bioenergy investments – to grow to more than 40% of its total investment by 2025 and to about 50% by 2030.
Meanwhile the government is facing a fresh challenge in the courts over plans to award up to 130 new licences for North Sea oil and gas exploration, in the latest attempt to stop ministers’ proposed expansion of fossil fuel production.
Three campaign groups have written to the business secretary, Grant Shapps, explaining the grounds on which they consider the latest offshore oil and gas licensing round to be unlawful. They call for the decision to award the new licences to be reversed, arguing that new oil and gas exploration and development is not compatible with its international climate obligations and the Paris Climate Agreement.
The campaign groups are Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and Uplift, a campaign group against North Sea oil and gas (see: https://upliftuk.org/).