Fossil fuels becoming ‘socially challenged’, says BP boss

The chief executive of BP says he understands why people view the industry as “bad” and that fossil fuels are becoming the subject of social challenge.

Bernard Looney, who took on the role at the oil and gas giant in February, said the industry had “a challenge… with trust” but BP was determined to be a net zero carbon company by 2050.

This week, BP said it would cut the amount of oil and gas it produces by 40% by the end of the decade and Mr Looney said the business will increase the amount it invests in low-carbon projects tenfold by 2030 to around five billion US dollars (£3.8 billion) a year.

The move gained him unusual praise from environmental group Greenpeace, which called it a “necessary and encouraging start”.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, he said: “Oil is increasingly becoming socially challenged, there’s no question about that.

“There’s a view that this is a bad industry, and I understand that.

“I don’t agree, because if you meet our people, I don’t think you’ll say they’re bad people. Good people don’t come to work for a bad company – good people have choices.”

Mr Looney said he was clear from day one that he wanted his term in charge to be defined by the carbon transition.

His plan is to use the oil company’s hydrocarbons – oil and gas – to invest in the transition.

“It’s simply not possible to transform a company that’s 110 years old by simply shutting off the taps in one area and pivoting 100% into the new,” he said.