BP boss Bernard Looney said its energy transition push will gain “enormous credibility” from the delivery track-record of Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, the former RWE Renewables CEO who will now lead the oil & gas supermajor’s renewables and low carbon business.

Looney said Dotzenrath’s appointment after a long power sector career that included overseeing huge projects in key sectors including offshore wind, adds crucial senior managerial know-how as BP embarks on one of the most ambitious renewable build-outs of any large energy business globally.

“It was hugely important to me that we attract somebody who had an executive-level track record in the low carbon space,” BP CEO Looney told Recharge in an exclusive interview.

“People will look at us and say ‘where is the track record of doing this wisely at an executive level?’ With Anja’s appointment that is very much taken care of.”

Noting that Dotzenrath – who will join BP as executive vice president, gas & low carbon energy, in March 2022 – “has been described as a rock star in the renewables industry”, Looney added: “She lends enormous credibility to what we are about to do and are doing. In many ways I’m proud we have managed to attract someone like Anja – I don’t take it for granted.

“We approached her and she chose to come and work with us. She chose to join us because she believes in the potential of what we’re trying to do. That gives me enormous confidence.”

Dotzenrath – who will replace BP veteran Dev Sanyal, who is leaving the company for a new role elsewhere – will take charge of an energy transition push underpinned by headline targets to develop 20GW net of renewable assets by 2025 and 50GW by 2030.

Looney said the renewables capacity is just one element of a multi-faceted green power strategy that stretches from large-scale power production from wind and solar, through to delivery of electrons to EVs at service station forecourts, taking in elements such as hydrogen and energy trading along the value chain.

“[In offshore wind] we’re talking here about multi-billion-dollar, multi-year projects. This is what we have done for decades and decades.

“The provision of safe, reliable, clean, affordable energy is going to be more complex – that’s what an integrated energy company does.

“We have the pieces of the puzzle – including natural gas,” Looney said.

'World needs greening companies'

With the UN COP26 climate conference fast approaching and carbon emissions in the spotlight as never before, Looney said he accepted that some will take the view that BP and other hydrocarbons businesses are part of the problem rather than the solution, however ambitious their energy transition plans.

The BP CEO said: “The world is short on time and wants simple [black and white] answers. If you’re green you’re good, if you’re not, you’re bad.

The world needs greening companies every bit as much as it needs green companies.

“People have a desire to exclude those companies that are not green from being part of the dialogue, part of the solution – this is a problem.”

Looney claimed the above approach excludes any place for “greening companies” that are high in carbon now but “have an ambition to be net zero”, with targets, ambitions and transparency.

“The world needs greening companies every bit as much as it needs green companies,” said the BP boss, who added that he was “encouraged over recent months that I find conversation is beginning to be a little bit more solution-oriented, a little more pragmatic”.

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