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BP Chief: Investors Still Question Big Oil’s Net-Zero Strategies

Investors are still getting to grips with the net-zero and green shift strategies of the major oil companies, BP’s chief executive Bernard Looney said during a virtual conference on Wednesday, at which the top executives of the biggest European oil firms discussed the future of energy.

“I’m fully confident that over time that will be acknowledged. But I understand that investors have questions whether we can do it or not,” Looney said at the IP Week conference run by the Energy Institute, as carried by Bloomberg.

Speaking about BP’s foray into renewable energy solutions, Looney said that the company he leads wants to give the society the renewables it wants, but noted that oil and gas—albeit in smaller volumes—will continue to be central to BP’s business because it would be the cash engine to help it transform into a lower-carbon company. 

“You can't defy gravity, you can't go against the will of society... I want to be the one in the room working out how to give people the renewables they want,” Looney said.

But he also said that “People don't always want our product, but they need it... Oil and gas will be here for decades to come, and is central to our business - fuelling our transition into a lower carbon company.” 

BP, as well as Norway’s Equinor and France’s Total, said at the IP Week conference this week they are excited about hydrogen.

Equinor’s CEO Anders Opedal said that the Norwegian giant would focus in the next two-three years on “accelerated growth in renewables, particularly in offshore wind. We are also excited about hydrogen and CCUS.”

Italy’s Eni, for its part, is ruling out future double-digit-billion investments in new oil projects as it would be “sanctioning projects in the range of $5-6 billion with a time-to-market which is shorter,” Guido Brusco, Director Upstream, said at the conference.

Last year, Eni was one of the first oil majors to announce a plan to cut emissions, in which it said its oil production would start declining after 2025 under the new long-term strategy to rely on natural gas, renewables, and new technologies.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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