A senior official at colossal fossil BP says his company has “dramatically” reduced oil and gas exploration and might ultimately leave a sizeable share of its fossil resources in the ground, in a post originally published on Business Green.
“The amount of exploration activity that we do now compared to seven or eight years ago has been reduced quite dramatically, so we spend far less on it,” Dominic Emery, vice president of group strategic planning, told the Economist Sustainability Summit in London last week.
“We also have a set of reserves, some of which are booked effectively on part of our valuation of the company, but also we have what we call resources, which are not booked and don’t form part of our valuation of the company,” he explained. “There’s no doubt that both globally and within our portfolio, a lot of that oil and gas won’t come out of the ground. We do continue to do some exploration, but most of it is much more conservative than we did previously.”
He added the company plans to “pull forward the value” of some of its existing oil and gas facilities “into a much shorter time frame, so we can then adapt our portfolio”.
Emery spoke just a month after BP decided to support a shareholder resolution calling for a corporate strategy consistent with the Paris Agreement, Business Green notes. Scarcely more than a year ago, BP was projecting global oil demand peaking between 2035 and 2040, and global greenhouse gas emissions rising through 2040. But even with the change in high-level strategy, a noted risk specialist and one Mi’kmaq community are still concerned about oil spills at one of BP’s drilling sites in the Scotian Basin, 230 to 370 kilometres off the Nova Scotia coast.
“Emery said the wider global oil and gas industry had ‘moved on leaps and bounds’ with regards to addressing climate change since the Paris Agreement in 2015, with BP—which bought a $200-million stake in Lightsource in 2017—and its rivals increasingly competing on their low-carbon efforts,” Business Green states.
“I think there is now quite a lot of healthy competition now going on amongst the companies to sort of—let’s call it ‘out-carbon’ each other, and actually that’s no bad thing,” he said. “There is cooperation going on, but there is also competition going on to take it one step further.” Reports in the last week to 10 days revealed that the world’s colossal fossils have spent more than US$1 billion lobbying against climate action since the Paris deal was signed, and are investing well under 10% of their capital dollars in renewable energy projects. Meanwhile, 33 global banks have backstopped $1.1 trillion in new fossil projects over that period.