BP is sticking to green goals after Looney’s departure, emphasizes the acting boss
BP’s acting boss insisted the oil giant’s green initiative was on the right track following the exit of his disgraced predecessor Bernard Looney.
Murray Auchincloss, who was the energy group’s finance chief before becoming interim boss, said: “One person leaving the company doesn’t change the strategy.”
Looney was seen as a driving force behind BP’s energy transition plans, including a goal of reaching net zero by 2050 or sooner by cutting oil and gas production and investing in renewable energy.
But the Irish businessman was forced out last month after admitting during an earlier investigation into his conduct that he had failed to disclose to the board all previous romantic relationships with colleagues.
Over the weekend, the 53-year-old was accused of promoting women he had a relationship with.
Eco goals: Acting BP boss Murray Auchincloss (right) insisted the oil giant’s green initiative was on track following the exit of his disgraced predecessor Bernard Looney (left).
His abrupt exit has raised questions about the future of BP’s green agenda.
Speaking at the Abu Dhabi International Progressive Energy Congress (ADIPEC) in Abu Dhabi yesterday, Auchincloss stressed that the strategy remains unchanged. He said: “We provided an update to the strategy in February, seven months ago.”
“This is a strategy supported by the management team and board. The departure of one person does not change the strategy.”
He added that the industry must continue to invest in oil and gas and said the energy transition “will take time.”
Oil executives and policymakers are in Abu Dhabi this week for the energy conference ahead of the United Nations’ COP 28 climate talks in Dubai, which begin on November 30.
Shell CEO Wael Sawan, who took part in a roundtable discussion with Auchincloss, said the oil company had no plans to deviate from its green strategy.
The company has been criticized for slowing the transition to renewable energy since Sawan took over in January, saying it will keep oil production near current levels and ramp up production of natural gas.
“Ultimately, the shareholder must make a judgment as to whether the low-carbon energy options we offer them are investable, and we must be able to cover our cost of capital and generate a return for our shareholders,” he told Event .
Meanwhile, the chief executive of French energy group Total Energies warned that the energy transition would drive up prices for customers and said governments needed to find a way to make the increase gradual.
“We firmly believe that electricity prices will rise in the future,” said Patrick Pouyanne.
Vicki Hollub, chief executive of US-based Occidental Petroleum, said it was important that energy companies were included in the climate debate because they had solutions to mitigate the impacts.
Oil and gas company bosses and heavy industry bosses met to discuss emissions ahead of COP 28.
The aim is to encourage key industry players to make decarbonization commitments that would help limit global warming.
“We hope to reach this agreement before COP28 and then coordinate on how best to implement this at COP,” said COP28 Executive Director Adnan Amin.
Boost for drivers
Drivers could be given a breathing space.
Rising oil prices have driven up gasoline and diesel prices in recent months.
And some experts have warned that oil prices will exceed $100 a barrel. However, analysts at Citi expect the price of crude oil to fall to $70 next year from its current level of around $92 a barrel.
However, Ed Morse, head of commodities research at the investment bank, said prices would average $73 a barrel in the second quarter of next year.
He said: “Demand appears to be subdued as pandemic recovery factors continue to weaken and peak transport fuel demand looms, while supply grows from non-OPEC+ suppliers.”