Time Now for Beyond Petroleum
So the hapless Tony Hayward is to go. I don’t envy his reported replacement, Bob Dudley, in the least. He has to finalise the closing of the Gulf of Mexico leak, continue the clean up, and deal with the political and economic fall out, all within a poisonous atmosphere of blame and recrimination.
Here’s a suggestion: resurrect “Beyond Petroleum”. Instead of business as usual, why doesn’t Dudley declare an energy revolution? Big Oil, along with coal, is at the root of all our carbon footprints, whether as individuals or organisations. Why not become a 21st Century energy company, providing low carbon, clean, safe energy to the masses and demonstrating that the change is feasible. The precedent is there with GM. When the motor giant came back from bankruptcy, it sold off the Hummer and invested in the Volt electric car. It even, it is alleged, considered changing the iconic blue GM logo green.
So BP could make a stand – declare an end to deep sea oil exploration, arctic wildlife drilling and tar sands. It could reinvest in renewables and bring the “Beyond Petroleum generation” – the execs who jumped ship into renewables start ups – back into the fold. Investing in talent, innovation and the future would restore faith in the organisation and make it part of the future rather than a relic of the past.
The alternative is chasing increasing elusive oil reserves while its customer base tries to find low carbon alternatives. That doesn’t sound like a great business plan to me.
The opportunity is there – let’s see if BP takes it.