Mar 12, 2019 - Energy & Environment

The future of BP's venture and low-carbon strategies

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Photo: Alexander Demianchuk/TASS via Getty Images

HOUSTON — I caught up with Lamar McKay, BP's deputy chief executive, to chat about the company's venture and low-carbon strategies.

Where it stands: BP Ventures is mix of equity investments, acquisitions, and collaborations in technologies like fast battery charging, advanced monitoring of oil-and-gas operations, artificial intelligence and more. It's part of BP's wider, $500 million-per-year mix of low-carbon and alternative energy investments.

What's next: That $500 million figure could get higher. "We hope it grows going forward. We think it will. ... We see a lot of opportunity," he said.

China: BP recently made a venture move in China via an investment in PowerShare, a digital platform that connects EV drivers, charging station operators and power suppliers.

What I didn't know is that BP has set up a small venture office in the country to sniff out other opportunities.

  • "There is innovation occurring in China at a scale and at a pace that is probably not matched in the rest of the world," McKay said.
  • "They are leap-frogging technologies. ... They are skipping conventional progression on some of these things," he said.
  • "Obviously with the amount of activity going on in EVs, advanced mobility is an area that will continue to be interesting there, but [it's] really across the spectrum," he added.

Carbon removal tech: McKay said BP Ventures is exploring frontier technologies for removing CO2 from the atmosphere. I asked about tech for removing CO2 at the early stages, such as via direct air capture, soil-based techniques and more.

  • "We are looking at some of those, whether they will result in an investment, I don't know yet, but yeah, absolutely we are keeping an eye on that," McKay said.
  • BP already invested in Solidia Technologies, which absorbs CO2 in the concrete production process.
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