BP in talks with electric carmakers on service station chargers

FILE PHOTO: BP's Chief Executive Bob Dudley speaks to the media after year-end results were announced at the energy company's headquarters in London
FILE PHOTO: BP's Chief Executive Bob Dudley speaks to the media after year-end results were announced at the energy company's headquarters in London, Britain, February 1, 2011. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/File Photo

August 1, 2017

By Karolin Schaps and Ron Bousso

LONDON (Reuters) – BP <BP.L> is in talks with electric vehicle makers on partnering to offer battery re-charging docks at its global network of fuel service stations as it seeks to benefit from the move away from diesel and petrol cars, Chief Executive Bob Dudley told Reuters on Tuesday.

The expected rapid growth in the use of electric vehicles in the coming decades is threatening oil companies’ business model as demand for some road fuels could plateau as early as the late 2020s, according to some oil company estimates.

Looking to take a slice of the growing market, London-based BP is however 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,” Dudley said in an interview.

Rival Royal Dutch Shell <RDSa.L> has already launched a pilot scheme to install battery charging docks at a few of its service stations in Britain and the Netherlands.

The number of electric vehicles on roads is forecast to grow significantly in the coming decades, particularly in cities, with BP estimating that there will be 100 million by 2035, up from 1.2 million in 2015.

Dudley has been a vocal advocate of the oil and gas industry’s need to take part in the move away from fossil fuels toward using cleaner sources of energy in order to combat global warming.

But BP, along with rivals including Shell have yet to come up with a clear plan for increasing their interests in renewable energy production such as solar and wind.

“We’ll be ready for this world but we’re not going to dive in too deeply,” he said, referring to BP’s previously unsuccessful ventures into renewable energy, including solar power.

BP will make investments in future technologies but these will be small percentage stakes in companies or partnering with them, he said.

Dudley said BP was also studying autonomous vehicles and the potential for combining natural gas with solar power generation.

Oil companies are also using venture capital funds to invest in new energy technologies. Shell, for example, announced on Tuesday an investment in a Singapore-based solar firm Sunseap Group.

PIVOTAL YEAR

This year is shaping up to be pivotal for BP as it starts up the largest number of new projects in a single year and the huge series of payments made in penalties and compensation for the deadly 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico taper off.

BP’s shares rose by more than 3 percent on Tuesday to trade around 459 pence after the company reported a 10 percent rise in oil and gas production in the second quarter. The company aims to add 800,000 barrels per day of new production by the end of the decade.

Dudley said that the company will remain focused on reining in spending in order to make the company profitable in “a new normal” of a $50 a barrel oil price and aimed to reduce its operating breakeven cost to $30 a barrel in order to make it resilient.

BP’s first American CEO also said BP could not identify at the moment any attractive opportunities in the U.S. shale industry, where it has a smaller production interest compared with Exxon Mobil<XOM.N>, Chevron <CVX.N> and Shell.

“We scan and screen ops all the time and people offer things to us. They just appear expensive,” Dudley said. Meanwhile, however, BP is one of several major companies developing shale gas prospects in Argentina’s Vaca Muerta province.

He also 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,” he said.

(Reporting by Karolin Schaps and Ron Bousso; Editing by Veronica Brown, Greg Mahlich)

  • Why are they wasting resources on inefficient electric cars when hydrogen power cars are coming soon?
    Just like with light bulbs they forced the curly bulbs full of mercury on us and what happens suddenly LED bulbs are available – were the curly bulbs necessary at all?
    A recent study concluded that the moment you buy your Tesla for example it is a though you drove a gas car for 6 six years prior – thats the environmental costs of battery production etc. Electric cars are not efficient or good for the environment.

    • R A.

      I’m waiting for the nuclear powered 4WD SUVs!

  • Ivan John Skibinsky

    The question is why, when anyone with a brain in their head knows Global Warming is a hoax!

  • a voice of concern

    BP sold off more than $20 Billion in assets to pay for the gulf screw up so denying the sale of anything is silly.
    NOW, unless you can recharge a friggin battery in less than 2 minutes all of this stuff is 100% BOLLOCKS.
    If the government forces me use this crap design I will go buy a generator on a trailer with a tank of gas and pull It behind me wherever I go.
    WISE UP AND SWITCH TO LNG. North America has more Natural gas than any other country in the world and it is clean and efficient and the engines last for a half-million miles.

    • Ivan John Skibinsky

      Natural Gas freezes in winter in cold climates.

      • a voice of concern

        OMG are you stupid or what? Why make comments if all you have is a 3rd grade education?
        LNG IS Liquid Natural Gas and is similar to Propane or LPG which is a Liquid at about minus yes – 260 Degrees F or -160 degrees C. It will vaporize at any temperature above that.
        So unless you are spending winter on MARS it will and DOES work in all locations on EARTH!
        There has been fleet vehicles all over the world using LNG for over 50 years.

        • Ivan John Skibinsky

          Your a complete moron and don’t know what the hell your talking about! Please come up north and tell everyone who has to insulate their propane tanks in winter their stupid! Even most propane delivery trucks burn gasoline because their lines freeze up in winter. Have you ever been to northern Canada in winter, I bet not. Your a fool and full of nonsense.

        • willnkc

          Natural Gas wells sometimes have small amounts of water that can freeze, and clog things up.

    • willnkc

      A screw up caused by government, but I agree with the rest.

    • willnkc

      A screw up caused by government, but I agree with the rest.

  • Leland Meier

    If you’re looking to buy diesel fuel, be careful at BP stations. The pump handles are different colors from the rest of the industry. You may be pumping gasoline into your diesel tank.

    • willnkc

      The nozzle is usually a different size, so it won’t fit.

      • Leland Meier

        The green gas nozzle fits easily into a diesel tank…I know from experience.

  • Another Deplorable

    Who wants to sit around at a recharging station for one to four hours while your battery is being charged?

    • Ivan John Skibinsky

      They are all going insane!

    • willnkc

      I agree, that’s the first think I thought about. They need to make the batteries easily exchangeable, so people can be in and out quicker.

    • willnkc

      I agree, that’s the first think I thought about. They need to make the batteries easily exchangeable, so people can be in and out quicker.

    • R A.

      Yeah, if that happened around where I live, those people would be robbed, mugged, beaten and when their car was finally charged they’d get carjacked by the local Sons of o’Bama!!!

    • Bill Jr

      Liberal Idiots Who Think They Are Saving The Planet As Their Money Flows Into The Hands Both The Utilities Companies and The Big, Medium, Little and Small Oil Companies That Provide The Fuel For Electric Power Generation.

  • Ivan John Skibinsky

    Where is all the electricity needed for electric cars going to come from? This I want to see!

    • R A.

      It comes from Al Gore’s jet airplanes and his many SUV’s!!

    • Tim Lass

      Now ‘that’ is the correct question to ask. Currently the power for electric vehicles comes from the same electric grid that powers everything else; which in the US is sourced by…. Natural Gas 34% – Coal 30% – Nuclear 20% – and the rest are much smaller …Hydroelectric 6% – Wind 6% – Biomass 1.5% – Solar 1%, and on down. I believe we really should be investing in the ultimate green energy that’s everywhere on the planet…. geothermal. If we harnessed geothermal heat to power electric turbines, our energy problems would be over…..for millennia.