Although the company is continuing with its investments in shale oil in countries, including Argentina, faced with rising consumer demand for EVs, BP is weighing its options to see how it can meaningful participate and survive in this changing market.
London-based BP is holding partnering talks with electric vehicle manufacturers to offer battery re-charging docks at its global network of fuel service stations.
The move is significant since it underscores BP’s efforts to move away from diesel and petrol cars, said Bob Dudley, BP’s Chief Executive.
Electric vehicles are expected to grow rapidly in the coming decades and the coming of age of this technology is threatening the business model of oil companies, with demand for fossil fuels from the auto sector is slated to plateau in the late 2020s, according to some oil company estimates.
Looking for a piece of this emerging market, BP is examining different ways to get involved in the sector.
“We have discussions going on with a lot of the EV manufacturers to have a tie-up with our retail network for charging,” said Dudley in an interview.
Already Rival Royal Dutch Shell has launched a pilot scheme to install battery charging docks at its service stations in Britain and in the Netherlands.
The number of EVs is forecast to grow significantly in the coming decades with BP estimation placing the vehicle count to 100 million by 2035, up from 1.2 million in 2015.
Although Dudley has been a vocal advocate of the oil and gas industry’s need to participate toward cleaner energy sources, so as to combat global warming, oil companies, including BP and Shell, are yet to come up with a clear plan on ways to boost their participation levels in the production of renewable energy, including wind and solar.
“We’ll be ready for this world but we’re not going to dive in too deeply,” said Dudley, referring to BP’s previously unsuccessful ventures into renewable energy, including solar power.
He went on to add, the company will continue to make investments in future technologies in the form of acquiring small stakes and/or partnering with companies.
Dudley mentioned that BP was also studying autonomous vehicles and the potential for combining natural gas with solar power generation.
He denied a recent media report that said BP was thinking of putting its entire North Sea business up for sale.
“That is absolutely incorrect, we are deeply committed to the North Sea, it is one of our heartlands,” said Dudley.