BP has been accused of prioritizing fossil fuels over green energy as it plans to spend up to twice as much on oil and gas projects as on renewable energy investments next year.
The FTSE 100 company has earmarked up to $7.5bn (£6.2bn) for oil and gas projects, compared to a range of $3-5bn for green power.
BP plans to increase its spending on “resilient hydrocarbons” – oil and gas, refining and bioenergy projects – up to $1 billion in 2023.
In 2021, the company’s capital expenditures were $12.8 billion and it planned to spend $14-15 billion this year, then $14-16 billion per year between 2023 and 2025.
Within this framework, investments in “resilient hydrocarbons” will increase from 9 billion dollars in 2022 to “9 to 10 billion dollars per year” from 2023 to 2025, including 7.5 billion dollars per year on oil and gas projects. gas.
BP intends to invest $3-5 billion a year in “low-carbon” energy projects between 2023 and 2025, rising to $4-6 billion a year in the second half of the decade.
BP also plans to spend another $2 billion to $3 billion on its convenience and mobility division, which includes its fuel bays and electric vehicle charging business.
However, the company has been criticized for not switching to renewable energy sooner.
“Where you spend your money says a lot about your priorities,” said Mike Childs, policy manager at Friends of the Earth. “It’s amazing that in the midst of a climate emergency, BP is considering investing billions more in planet-warming fossil fuels than in clean, green renewables.”
BP has racked up windfall profits this year after rising wholesale gas prices, fueled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Energy companies have warned that a windfall tax on their profits could hurt investment in green energy. However, BP chief Bernard Looney admitted there was no investment in the UK he wouldn’t make if a windfall tax was put in place.
A tax on North Sea oil and gas operators was later introduced by Rishi Sunak, and dubbed the “Looney Levy”.
Looney has tried to bolster BP’s green credentials since taking office in February 2020, setting a goal of making the company net zero by “2050 or before”.
The £86bn company said investments in upstream oil and refining must pay for themselves in less than 10 years, while gas projects must pay for themselves in 15 years.
“This focused and disciplined capital framework, coupled with a wealth of attractive oil and gas investment opportunities, should maximize returns,” the company said in its annual report.
In a major investigation into ‘carbon bombs’, the Guardian reported in May that oil and gas majors were planning dozens of sweeping projects that threaten to smash the 1.5C climate target.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt last month toughened the windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas companies. However, it includes an investment allowance for new projects.
“The government needs to stop pandering to the fossil fuel giants with its low windfall tax,” Childs said. “Ministers should raise the rate and close the loophole that encourages companies to invest more in oil and gas. More gas and oil will lead to more extreme heat and more devastating wildfires, floods and storms than we have seen in 2022.”
BP spent more than £800,000 on influencer social media ads in the UK that champion the company’s investments in green energy earlier this year.
Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay said: “Despite the greenwash we are seeing from these fossil fuel giants, it is clear that they remain committed to making as much money as possible from oil and gas. gas, and are ready to send us all to hell. a handcart in the process.
“Time and time again these companies have shown us that they are unwilling to change their actions based on what science demands, so it is vital that governments step in and do what is necessary to give us the best possible chance. to protect the environment. for ourselves and future generations.
BP said it expects spending on non-oil and gas projects – including investment in renewables, hydrogen and bioenergy – to reach more than 40% of its total investment by 2025 and about 50% by 2030.
In October, it bought US biogas company Archaea Energy for $3.3 billion plus $800 million in debt. Looney is expected to give an update on BP’s investment plans in February. The company plans to spend £18 billion in the UK by the end of 2030.