OTC 2021 Keynote: BP's Digital Chief Says Execs Need ‘Agile Mindset’ to Manage Transition

The work that oil and gas companies do has prepared them for the transition to cleaner fuels, BP executive says.

The experience that oil and gas executives have gained throughout their careers has prepared them to manage the energy transition, said Rob Kelly, BP Plc’s vice president of digital production and products. Shown is BP’s Cedar Creek Wind Farm Phase II in Colorado. (Source: Hart Energy; BP Plc)

Oil and gas executives may be more prepared than they are aware to handle the rigors of the energy transition, the leader of BP Plc’s digitalization efforts said Aug. 17 at the Offshore Technology Conference.

“What struck me was the experiences that I’ve had at BP over the last 33 years have actually prepared me very well for the transition that's happening at the moment and what’s about to change,” said Rob Kelly, BP’s vice president of digital production and products. “And it’s due to the skills and the knowledge that I’ve acquired along the way.”

Advancing the energy transition became part of the job description for Kelly and the other 70,000 or so BP employees 18 months ago when the company committed to being a net-zero company by 2050. Suddenly, an international oil company was pivoting to a newly defined integrated energy company, figuring out how to deliver solutions to its varied customers. 

It’s a tectonic shift for a major to attempt and spurred a lot questions, he said, many of them along the lines of, why make this change to a company that’s been in existence for 110 years?

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Joseph Markman

Joseph Markman, senior editor for Hart Energy, covers midstream, markets and policy/regulations.