BP pushes deeper into green power, preps to retail electricity in 5 US states


First quarter results out this morning from BP highlight the oil supergiant’s continuing expansion into green power.

CEO Bernard Looney signals a big rebound in the leviathan’s profits in 2021’s first three months; at the pre-tax, pre-interest level, $5.541 billion advances on last year’s $1.150 billion.  BP lumps ‘gas and low carbon energy’ together; they jointly account for nearly 62% of today’s total PBIT.

Capital investment largely maintained at $3.798 billion for the quarter is led sectorally by just over $1 billion identified for ‘low carbon energy’. In 2020’s equivalent, the firm spent in effect zero.  Capex directed at future pumping of oil plummets though, dropping nearly 50% to $1.319 billion.

Last February Looney announced his ambition for a carbon neutral BP by 2050.  The company’s moves since December 2020 to strengthen its green offering include:

  • In January, sealing with Equinor a 50:50 partnership to develop 4.4GW of in US wind projects located offshore New York and Massachusetts.
  • in February, securing with partners EnBW ‘preferred bidder’ status for two 60-year leases in the Irish Sea.The UK’s first offshore wind leasing round for a decade promises both of the equal partners 1.5 GW of capacity
  • In March, BP announced plans to build for the UK’s biggest blue hydrogen production facility, targeting 1GW of production by 2030.

In solar, the parent’s net share of Lightsource bp’s pipeline grew by 1.4GW. Purchases over the quarter included 0.845GW from Iberia Solar in February, and in January a further 1GW from 14 sites to be developed with RIC Energy Madrid, Andalucía, and Castilla y León.

In March, Lightsource bp announced it will run 88 service stations in Australia with 100% solar power from January 2023.

Today’s figures came as a report emerged that BP has filed papers with regulators for five big US states, ready to launch into selling electricityto homes and businesses.  BP Energy Retail seeks licences in California, Illinois, Texas, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

BP trades power on wholesale markets, but has thus far held back from direct engagement with retail customers, as pursued by Total in France and Shell Energy in the UK.

In heavy trading, BP’s share price on the LSE at noon was up 1.48%, at 300.95 pence.


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