Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The meaning of 'Beyond Petroleum'

We now know what BP means by 'beyond petroleum' thanks to a talk by Lord Browne of Madingley, BP Group's Chief Executive, as the keynote speaker at the Energy Institute's International Petroleum (IP) Week dinner on 15 February.

It means petroleum. And then more petroleum. Only different.

Browne said, "Moving beyond petroleum doesn't mean abandoning petroleum, but rather identifying different ways in which the petroleum products which people want to use can be supplied."

Going beyond petroleum needn't mean giving up on hydrocarbons with technology opening up some great new possibilities. The peer provided the dinner guests with details of BP's latest project. "Last year we announced a plan to take natural gas from the North Sea, to separate out the carbon and the hydrogen molecules; to re-inject the carbon into an existing North Sea oil field - thereby increasing the amount of recoverable reserves, and extending the life of that field by 15 to 20 years - and then to take the hydrogen to a power station on the Scottish coast at Peterhead, to produce carbon-free electricity."

The aristocrat tried unsucccessfully to debunk peak oil, as in: "There is no physical shortage of oil or gas. However, demand for energy, and in particular for oil and gas, is growing."

And so with BP raking in record profits from petroleum we will see that beyond petroleum lies oodles of cash.

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