BP reported a net profit of $27.7 billion Tuesday, more than double the $12.8 billion it made in 2021. File photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 7 (UPI) -- British oil giant BP has switched tracks on its carbon emissions strategy, announcing plans Thursday that it will now invest $8 billion into new oil and gas production over the next seven years -- the same as it will spend on bioenergy, EV charging and hydrogen and renewable power.
The move is part of a plan to boost the group's before-tax earnings to as much as $56 billion in 2030 and comes as BP posted a $27.7 billion net profit for 2022, more than double its 2021 profit.
The target is now to lower its emissions by 20% to 30% by the end of this decade, a big drop from the 35% to 40% the company announced when it unveiled its net-zero by 2050 goal three years ago, the first of the global oil giants to do so.
Environmental groups, British opposition lawmakers and union leaders said the plan was a major curtailment of BP's climate goals that would have been delivered by reducing oil and gas production, alleging that it was driven by the massive profits from surging energy prices over the past year caused by Russia's war on Ukraine.
"In amongst colossal profits, BP cuts back 2030 climate ambition by about a third. Any suggestion these high profits are being channeled into clean energy is claptrap,'' Greepeace's chief scientist Doug Parr tweeted.
"It's yet another day of enormous profits at an energy giant, the windfalls of war, coming directly out of the pockets of the British people,'' Ed Miliband, Labor's shadow climate change and net zero secretary, wrote on Twitter.
"What is so outrageous is that as fossil fuel companies rake in these enormous sums, Rishi Sunak still refuses to bring in a proper windfall tax that would make them pay their fair share."
Urging the government to increase windfall taxes on the oil and gas giants, Trades Union Congress general secretary Paul Nowak, said: "As millions struggle to heat their homes and put food on the table, BP are laughing all the way to the bank.''
He added that families struggling with the cost-of-living crisis were being treated like "cash machines."
The country's existing Energy Profits Levy introduced in May, which was increased from 25% to 35% in January and extended through March 2028, is expected to bring $40 billion into the treasury.
It applies to profits earned in Britain on oil and gas extraction activities only, with an exemption for profits plowed back into renewable energy infrastructure.
BP CEO Bernard Looney said he "would not be surprised" if the company had to pay more than $3 billion in taxes in Britain but did not provide any alternatives to the windfall taxk.
"Our role is to invest, our role is to pay our taxes ... and our role is to return our value to our shareholders who happen to be millions of people, not faceless institutions," Looney told The Guardian.
ExxonMobil posted a $55.7 billion profit for 2022 last week, while Shell and Chevron reported profits of $39.9 billion and $36.5 billion respectively.