Oct 4, 2019

BP names Bernard Looney as its next CEO

BP said Friday that Bernard Looney, head of the company's oil-and-gas exploration and production unit, will take over as CEO in early February.

Why it matters: It adds clarity to the oil giant's succession plans after word emerged recently that current CEO Bob Dudley, 64, is readying to step down after a decade in the role.

Where it stands: The 49-year-old Looney joined BP as an engineer in 1991 and moved through several roles, becoming head of the upstream division in 2016.

  • Per Reuters, "The Irishman's energetic management style was quickly felt as he spearheaded BP's drive to improve performance through cost cutting and digitalization."
  • He's been the upstream chief at an active time that included the $10.5 billion acquisition of BHP's U.S. shale assets and BP's recently announced sale of its Alaska operations.

The big picture: As I noted in this piece about Dudley's career, it's part of a wider changing of the guard at some of the world's largest oil companies.

  • ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods took over for Rex Tillerson in 2017 after Tillerson left for what would be a short tenure as secretary of state.
  • Mike Wirth became CEO of Chevron in 2018, replacing John Watson.

One big question: How Looney will address growing pressure on oil-and-gas giants to take more aggressive steps on climate change.

  • Under Dudley, BP has set emissions-cutting targets for its operations and boosted investments in renewables, electric vehicle charging and other climate-friendly tech.
  • However, alternative energy remains a small share of its business. And BP has rejected activists' calls to set targets for emissions-cutting from use of its fuels in the economy (known as "scope 3" emissions).

What they're saying: BP Chairman Helge Lund, in a statement praising Dudley's tenure, said of Looney: "As the company charts its course through the energy transition this is a logical time for a change."

Go deeper: BP agrees to activists' calls for wider climate disclosure

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BP invests $5 million in forest carbon offsets firm Finite Carbon

Photo: Lance King/Getty Images

BP said Friday that its venture capital arm is investing $5 million in a company that specializes in offsetting carbon emissions through forest projects.

Why it matters: It's the latest example of oil giants using their venture arms to stake companies with tech and products designed to fight climate change.

Go deeperArrowOct 25, 2019

To meet climate goals, oil producers must slash production

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The world's biggest publicly traded oil and natural gas companies would have to cut production by roughly a third on average by 2040 to meet the goals of the Paris climate deal, according to a new report.

The big picture: The opposite is occurring. Most oil and gas producers are expanding production in response to growing demand and the fact that the world is not on track to meet the Paris ambitions.

Go deeperArrowNov 1, 2019

BP's moves highlight Big Oil's slow diversification into power tech

Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

BP's venture arm announced Thursday that it led a Series A funding round for Grid Edge, a British software company that helps buildings control and cut their energy use.

Why it matters: It's the latest sign of how oil majors are boosting their investments in power technologies, EV charging and other areas outside their dominant fossil fuel lines.

Go deeperArrowOct 10, 2019