'Why are you not Elon Musk?': The New Boss of an Oil-and-Gas Titan isn't Leaving Clean Energy to Tesla
One of the world's biggest oil-and-gas companies announced on Wednesday that it aims to reduce its total fossil-fuel emissions to net zero by 2050, and shift investment away from conventional fuel sources to renewable ones. Tesla CEO Elon Musk's name quickly came up.
"We are aiming to make absolute reductions to net zero of around 415 million tonnes of emissions — 55 million from our operations, 360 million from the carbon in our upstream production," Bernard Looney, who became CEO of 110-year-old British energy giant BP this month, said in a presentation.
Bloomberg TV anchor Alix Steel asked Looney how BP could overhaul its business without investors losing out.
"You have returns for oil-and-gas investments that can be plus 25%," she said. "For renewable investing, you're looking at 8% to 10%. You need the cash flow from the oil and gas to fund the transition."
"Why is this not better left to Google, Amazon, and Tesla?" she asked. Players outside of oil and gas can do "all the cool new energy things" and "at least in Tesla's case, have the ability to think out of the box in a particular way," she continued. They aren't "moving a company around that's 110 years old," she added.
"Why are you not Elon Musk?" Steel asked.
"I struggle enough with who I am," Looney replied. He redirected the question to Nick Boyle, the CEO of Lightsource Renewable Energy, a solar-energy specialist that BP bought a 50% stake in two years ago.
"He is Elon Musk," Looney joked.
"Thank you, Bernard," Boyle said. "No pressure."
Oil-and-gas companies should lead the clean-energy revolution because they specialize in delivering large engineering projects in remote places, know energy markets inside out, and boast the trading capability and financial resources to drive through renewable-energy initiatives, Boyle said.
Fossil-fuel giants like BP have "powered the world for the last 100 years" and are "in a perfect position to power the world the next 100 years," he added.