CERAWeek: BP investing for future despite economy

The oil and gas industry needs to continue investing in technology to achieve greater energy efficiency and to commercialize new energy sources, said Tony Hayward, BP PLC chief executive officer.

Paula Dittrick
OGJ Senior Writer

HOUSTON, Feb. 10 -- The oil and gas industry needs to continue investing in technology to achieve greater energy efficiency and to commercialize new energy sources, said Tony Hayward, BP PLC chief executive officer.

Speaking Feb. 10 in Houston at the opening address to the Cambridge Energy Research Associates annual executive conference, Hayward said industry planners are responsible to look beyond the immediate economic slump.

"The long-term trend is this: The world economy will recover. The future is not cancelled," Hayward said. "We have the natural, human, and financial resources to meet the world's growing need for energy."

He said the world has produced about 1 trillion bbl of oil and has 1 trillion bbl of proved reserves. An additional 1 trillion bbl is known to exist but is not yet commercially viable.

BP plans to invest an average of $6 billion/year during the next decade in the US, he said.

"Over the last 5 years, BP has invested over $30 billion in the United States to find and develop new sources of oil and gas, extend production from existing fields, improve the reliability of our US refineries, expand our wind and solar businesses, create better biofuels, and develop new, low-carbon technologies."

BP suggests policy
Hayward noted that energy companies and governments must have confidence in each other before industry will be willing to make the necessary massive investments to meet expected growth in energy demand over 20 years.

He offered seven policy suggestions for governments worldwide. These are:

-- Provide stable, enduring fiscal and regulatory policies.

-- Ensure a free, open energy market because this is the best guarantee of energy security worldwide.

-- Energy efficiency and energy conservation must be made a priority.

-- Begin to address the climate change by pricing carbon to make energy conservation more attractive and to make wind, nuclear, and solar more cost-competitive.

-- Support development of hydrocarbon resources in the US and worldwide.

-- Provide transitional incentives to make low-carbon energy competitive with other energy sources.

-- Cooperate with businesses to reach workable fiscal, regulatory, and climate change regimes.

"We know the aims—a stable energy supply and a sustainable planet—and we are all signed up to them," Hayward said. "In years to come, when we gather for this and similar conventions, I hope we will look back on this one as a turning point," he said.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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