Oil and Gas

Michael Bloomberg's $500 million plan to halt the growth of gas is 'irresponsible,' BP boss says

Key Points
  • In June, Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, said that he would donate $500 million to a co-ordinated campaign called "Beyond Carbon."
  • The campaign, according to its website, is designed to get the U.S. "on the path to a 100% clean energy economy."
  • In doing so, it plans to prevent the growth of natural gas and close every coal-fired power plant in the U.S.
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We cannot carpet the world with renewables fast enough, BP CEO says

Outgoing BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley believes Michael Bloomberg's $500 million plan to halt the building of gas-fired power plants in the U.S. is "irresponsible."

Speaking to CNBC's Steve Sedgwick at the Oil & Money conference in London Wednesday, Dudley said: "Every scenario I look at, we cannot carpet the world with renewables fast enough."

In June, Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, said that he would donate $500 million to a co-ordinated campaign called "Beyond Carbon."

The campaign, according to its website, is designed to get the U.S. "on the path to a 100% clean energy economy." In doing so, it plans to prevent the growth of natural gas and close every coal-fired power plant in the U.S.

In a separate speech to those in attendance at the Oil & Money conference, Dudley said that while Bloomberg's efforts "may be well intentioned," they were also "misguided."

"They rest on a false equivalence between gas and coal. And an assumption that an all-electric economy will emerge just as soon as we close the alternatives," Dudley said.

When asked by CNBC why he referenced Bloomberg in his speech, Dudley replied: "Because I think it is irresponsible."

"I think it means well (but) it is not going to work in so many countries."

A spokesperson for Michael Bloomberg was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC Wednesday afternoon.

BP's group chief executive Robert Dudley attends 'The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum' (SPIEF) in Saint Petersburg, Russia on June 06, 2019.
Sefa Karacan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Energy transition

Last week, the U.K.-based oil and gas major announced Dudley would step down from his current role at the end of March next year.

The 64-year-old has worked with BP for 40 years and held the position of chief executive for almost a decade. He will be replaced by current upstream chief executive, Bernard Looney, shortly after delivering the firm's full-year results in early February next year.

Looney, 49, will continue with his current role until February 5, at which point he will take the reins from Dudley and join the BP board.

The energy giant has been targeted by climate activist groups on numerous occasions in recent months, with demonstrators increasingly angry about the lack of progress toward a lower-carbon future.

Earlier this year, BP agreed to a request from shareholders for greater detail and transparency on how each capital investment decision would align with the Paris climate agreement — an international accord that seeks to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

Dudley said last month that BP would sell some of its most carbon-intensive projects and reduce investment in others to try to improve the firm's environmental footprint.