Business / Companies

BP plans to boost its natural gas business in sustainable energy push

By Lyu Chang (China Daily) Updated: 2016-01-14 10:42

The United Kingdom-based oil and gas giant BP Plc plans to increase its business in the natural gas sector as a part of efforts to limit climate change, a senior executive said on Wednesday.

"We are building a more resilient portfolio with a growing natural gas component to support actions of the Paris agreement on climate change," said David Eyton, chief technology officer at BP in Beijing.

Another reason for BP increasing its role in natural gas will be its forecast of a significant volume of fossil fuels, such as natural gas, which will still be used as part of the transition to a more sustainable future energy mix.

"Natural gas is probably the best option as a substitute for coal and for balancing the power grid with supply and demand of renewable energies such as solar power and wind power," he said.

Eyton made the remarks during a meeting in Beijing for the release of a BP technology outlook by 2050.

The report said that emerging and existing technologies could nearly double the world's proven oil and gas reserves, which will surpass the energy demand projection by 2050 and beyond.

It said that by using advanced technologies, proven oil and gas resources from discovered fields could increase from 2.9 trillion barrels of oil equivalent to 4.8 trillion barrels, and that will exceed the world's demand for energy of about 2.5 trillion barrels.

"The world is not running out of resources for its energy needs. Fossil fuels of oil, gas and coal, along with uranium, are plentiful while the alternatives of renewable energies do not deplete by definition," it said.

The report came at a time when oil prices fell below $30 a barrel on Tuesday for the first time in 12 years in the United States due to a number of factors that include high stockpile of global oil market, sluggish economy and the rising US dollar.

With sharply falling crude oil prices which have squeezed the profits of many oil giants, BP is going through a "simplification plan" to reshape its portfolio and make it more efficient.

"We are improving the efficiency of our operation and products, and also focus on technology development that is the most valuable measure facing the environment," said Eyton.

At the same time, an abundance of supply and a fall in demand growth have driven energy prices down, coupled with global pledges to limit the amount of greenhouse gases, renewable energies are likely to play an increasing role in the future energy consumption.

Eyton said BP is a major investor in wind power and bio-fuels with 2.6 gigawatts of wind power in North America and three large bio-ethylene mills in Brazil.

"But we are still learning by doing in places where these businesses can be profitable," he said, adding that the big challenge is to address the impact of the intermittency especially on solar power and wind power in managing the power grid.

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