Oil and gas giant BP is lobbying for the support of natural gas as a way to move the transition from more polluting fossil fuel sources like coal. The BP company’s actions are reflecting a wider European debate about what fossil fuels should be marked sustainable in a transition to a net zero world.
The European Commission had skipped natural gas power plants from a new list of investments that can be marketed as sustainable. It delayed the decision last month due to complaints from some countries and companies.
BP is arguing that the omission of natural gas could threaten the financing of such projects. As a result, that could lead to slowing down the shift from coal. The company is also lobbying for an increase of the emission limits that allow natural gas plants to be called green.
The European Commission has set a limit of 100 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt hour (CO2e/kWh) for a natural gas plant to qualify as green. According to BP, those levels are hard to achieve even with carbon capture and storage technologies. The company is urging the EC to raise the emissions limits to encourage natural gas energy production that can replace coal from the energy mix.
“Natural gas should have a dedicated threshold, above the current 100g CO2e/kWh, to reflect its role to facilitate an affordable and fair energy transition by enabling a shift away from coal in power generation and heating, providing dispatchable power to complement renewables and offering an alternative fuel in transport,” according to BP’s submission to the EC.
BP Gas Lobbying Attracts Support
Other companies like Eni, Total and Repsol have also expressed criticism towards the 100g threshold. They say it is too low and hinders transition from more polluting fossil fuels. As natural gas production with CCS is still too expensive for large-scale commercial adoption, the oil companies argue that higher emissions limitations will allow them to expand gas energy production without carbon capture set in place.
Oil companies like BP are trying to adjust to a net zero economy where the world is transitioning away from its major energy source – fossil fuels. The BP net zero 2050 support has been pledged in accordance with the Paris Agreement. However, the company’s actions are pointing to continuing lobbying for natural gas which is still polluting, even less than coal.