British Petroleum beats greenhouse gas target by eight years

Giant also aims to stabilize net future emissions

provided by British Petroleum

British Petroleum has announced that it has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by over nine million tons, eight years ahead of target, and said it will peg net future emissions at this new, lower level despite plans to grow its oil and gas production by 5.5 per cent a year.

    Chief executive Lord Browne said that BP's pledge, made four years ago, to cut emissions from its own operations by ten per cent from 1990 levels by 2010 had already been achieved – and at no net cost to the company.

    Speaking at Stanford University, Browne said BP's target now was to contain net emissions at current levels through the next decade. This would be done partly through a mix of internal actions, principally the more efficient use of energy across the company's operations. It would also entail the use of carbon credits resulting from the company's accelerated shift to natural gas and other lower-carbon products, as well as cleaner transport fuels and lubricants essential to the development of lower-emission engines.

    BP plans to grow its oil and gas output by some 5.5 percent annually to 2005, with further increases beyond that, and to expand its volume of refined products. “On that basis, if we take no further action, the emissions from our operations will increase by something like 50 million tons – from 80 million tons now to 130 million tons by 2012,” Browne said.

    “How then can we contribute to the objective of stabilization? There are two principal ways. First, through efficiency – improving the productivity of the energy we use and doing everything we can internally to reduce our emissions per unit of production.

    “By applying existing knowledge across the span of our operations, and selective new capital investment in areas such as cogeneration, we believe we can achieve a 10-12 percent improvement in the efficiency of our energy use. In total, we think we can deliver around half the reductions necessary to sustain our internal emissions at 10 per cent below 1990 levels through efficiency gains.”

    Delivering the remaining half depends significantly on a continued reduction in the carbon content of the products BP makes and sells, including natural gas in its various forms, which represents over 40 per cent of the company's production and will increasingly substitute for higher-carbon fuels in emerging economies such as China.

    “We will offer refined products that are designed to enable improved efficiency, or greater emissions reductions, to occur when they are used by others,” Browne said. “For example, we believe that if every car driver in Europe used the best lubricant we have available today, CO2 emissions would fall by 30 million tons a year.

    “We'll continue to improve the quality of our refined products. Within the next three years, 50 percent of our pump sales worldwide will be clean fuels, including zero-sulphur fuels, which we hope will help to catalyze the development of more efficient engines,” Browne said.

    “On an industry basis, by utilizing a systems approach combining advances in the technology of fuels, lubricants and engines, a reduction of up to 400 million tons of CO2 emissions by 2010 is conceivable.”

    BP would continue to expand its solar business, which is set to grow by 40 per cent this year and already has a 17 per cent share of the world market. It was also looking at other potential energy sources, including hydrogen, and at carbon capture and geological storage.

    Browne said that, while international frameworks for the various credit mechanisms to offset greenhouse gas emissions were still being developed, “I feel more confident now that such systems will eventually be established. The acceptance of the risk and of the potential for progress is reflected in all the actions being taken by governments around the world.

    “In the US, President Bush made an important statement four weeks ago about reducing carbon intensity. That builds on previous statements on stabilization and opens new possibilities based on the fundamental American belief in technology.”

    Browne concluded: “I believe the American people expect a company like BP – the largest single supplier of oil and gas in this country – to offer answers and not excuses. People expect successful companies to take on challenges, to apply skills and technology and to give them better choices. Well, we are ready to do our part – to reinvent the energy business, to stabilize our emissions – and, in doing so, to make a contribution to the challenge facing the world.”

    The full text of Lord Browne's speech is available at