BP’s Dud­ley warns of mov­ing too fast on cli­mate change

Muscat Daily - - BUSINESS -

Hous­ton, US - BP Plc’s out­go­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Bob Dud­ley warned Big Oil of mov­ing too fast on in­vest­ing in new tech­nolo­gies to counter cli­mate change, be­cause their fail­ure could lead to fi­nan­cial ruin.

“If you go too fast and you don’t get it right you can drive your­self out of busi­ness,” Dud­ley said in a Columbia En­ergy Ex­change pod­cast with Pro­fes­sor Ja­son Bord­off.

Oil com­pa­nies must re­tain a strong fi­nan­cial foot­ing to be able to in­vest when game-chang­ing tech­nolo­gies are de­vel­oped, he said. In the early 2000s, be­fore his ten­ure as CEO, BP in­vested heav­ily in so­lar tech only to write off much of the spend­ing.

“If we un­der­stand where the tech­nolo­gies are go­ing and we in­vest, the best thing we can do strate­gi­cally is have a strong bal­ance sheet. When it be­comes re­ally clear cer­tain tech­nolo­gies are go­ing to move very quickly and be prof­itable, then we’ll be able to make that shift.”

BP, Exxon Mo­bil Corp, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Chevron Corp and Total SA are ‘only re­spon­si­ble for pro­duc­ing about 8 per cent of the world’s oil. If we were all driven out of busi­ness that oil would still be pro­duced’ by na­tional oil com­pa­nies and other coun­tries, he said.

‘We want to be lead­ers in this and we do enor­mous amount as com­pa­nies’ such as in de­vel­op­ing tech­nol­ogy and re­duc­ing emis­sions from their own op­er­a­tions. But ‘we’re not the epi­cen­ter of these is­sues’.

“I meet with share­hold­ers and they say ‘we would like you to move re­ally quickly into re­new­ables.’ I say, ‘we can do that, would you like us to cut the div­i­dend?’ They go, ‘no, no, don’t do that.’ We’ve got to find the right bal­ance and pace here,” Dud­ley said.

“I can­not imag­ine how we’re go­ing to get there with­out a price on car­bon. I don’t know how the world can get to the to goals of Paris with­out a very ma­jor role for nat­u­ral gas.”

“Tech­nol­ogy has not yet been cracked that will make the big move­ment on cli­mate change. Re­new­ables are fan­tas­tic. They’re one way to do it, but we’re go­ing to come through with some so­lu­tion,” he said.

Bob Dud­ley

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