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Pandemic impact justifies new focus on low-carbon targets: BP CEO

Highlights

Making 'good progress' with energy transition

Price volatility, oil demand uncertainty key concerns

Plans September update on low-carbon push

London — The coronavirus pandemic underscored BP's efforts to "reimagine energy" by taking a leading role in the push to cleaner, low-carbon fuels, the oil major's CEO Bernard Looney said Wednesday.

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Rising levels uncertainty over the future demand for oil, oil price volatility, a growing attractiveness of stable returns from some renewables, and an increased awareness of "the fragility of the world we live in" mean BP is taking the right path to pursue lower-carbon fuels, Looney said.

"We are maintaining momentum on the plans for reimagining energy and reinventing BP," Looney said in a speech at a webcast annual general meeting.

"The more we understand the current situation, the more I am convinced that the decisions we took in February are right."

In February, Looney set out ambitious new targets for the oil major to become a "net-zero" carbon emitter by 2050 or sooner as he looks to position the company to take a leading role in tackling climate change with cleaner energy.

Under a number of as yet, loosely defined goals, BP plans to get to net-zero on the carbon content of the company's oil and gas production by 2050 or sooner and see its oil and gas output decline gradually "over time".

Like many of its oil major peers, BP also aims to increase its investment in non-oil and gas businesses, currently running at around $500 million a year, or roughly 3% of overall capex.

Looney, who succeeded Bob Dudley as CEO in February, said BP was making "good progress with this transformation" and planned to provide a detailed update on its efforts at a strategy presentation in September.

The heads of the world's largest oil and gas producers pledged Tuesday to maintain a strategic focus on producing cleaner energy and helping to mitigate climate change despite reeling from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on oil and gas prices.