A Free-Market Energy Blog

BP Biogas: Greenwashing with the Uneconomic

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- October 18, 2022

BP is trying to have its cake and eat it too. And it is being criticized on all sides: the greens for greenwashing its major activity (oil and natural gas production) and mineral energy advocates for engaging in the uneconomic as a contra-capitalist company. BP head Bernard Looney tries to square the circle with both.

Looney just reported on LinkedIn:

Some brilliant news to share today… bp has just signed a $4 billion deal to buy Archaea Energy – a leading US biogas company that produces renewable natural gas. As I’ve said recently – “putting our money where our mouth is.”  

I realise renewable natural gas might not mean much to people outside the industry so let me explain…  It’s gas from organic waste – homes, cities and farms – that is captured instead of vented into the atmosphere or flared. That gas can then be processed and used for power or transport. A double win for the environment.  

It’s a big deal for our company – accelerating growth in bioenergy – one of our 5 transition growth engines. And it’s a compelling combination of Archaea’s fantastic, fast-growing business and bp’s trading expertise and global customer base – so we’re creating a real biogas leader.   

Plus, it’s another great example of bp doing what we said we would – investing with discipline into the energy transition and supporting our net zero ambition. It’s exactly what our transformation into an integrated energy company is all about.  

So this is a great move – for bp, Archaea, our customers, and our investors. A big thank you to everyone involved – and we look forward to welcoming the brilliant Archaea team. 

Many of the comments were salutes from the BP community. But the negative comments were notable. Mine was:

Government subsidies? Cost and opportunity cost? Greenwashing?
Your investors want to know…

And a better comment by Rachid Melliti:

This is interesting but based on the relative maturity of the company (IPO in 2021?) , The fact it is loss making , and ridden with debt, $3.3b seems an excessive price to pay on the potential returns the company will generate mainly based on BP’s ability to open doors. Is it a matter of having so much cash that acquiring companies seems to be what must be done rather than the right thing to do?

And others:

Archaea Energy is a loss making company. Will this be an asset or a liability?

Another on Looney’s self-congratulations:

… there is little discourse on LinkedIn. It’s puff pieces, humble bragging, and clapping hands when someone does a deal. No one on LinkedIn would question valuation for instance. But hey, if BP wants to double down on being a trash brand it’s their prerogative. On the positive side, finally a SPAC that didn’t lose money for all the bag holders…

Few say anything on this platform that doesn’t go along with the party line for fear of retribution.

The anti-fossil-fuel Left is hardly fooled either:

Chump change off your current balance sheet, Looney. Utter hogwash dressed as greenwash. AramcoCoal India Limited and PetroChina International have the largest global carbon dioxide footprint, followed by ExxonMobilbpBHP and Shell according to the MSCI Inc. Net-Zero Tracker These combined emissions ALONE are on course to give us 2.9 degrees of warming, which is catastrophic. 

bp are also underreporting their Scope 3 emissions at  327.6mln tonnes compared to an estimate of 647.9mln.

… So maybe less greenwash and more deeds. Your grandchildren are judging you already.


Biogas is to natural gas as holy water is to regular water. It gives it a halo. BP will market it as a sign of virtue to the innumerate masses. “Contains 10% biogas” or whatever. 

And an obvious observation:

Given the quantity of commercially available gas in the world today this seems like a complete waste of $4 billion.

Final Comment

It is time for real oil and gas companies to Go Proud. Chevron has moved in this direction. Jamie Dimon, head of JP Morgan also. Liberty Energy has a lot of ideas for the oil majors. After oil, IEA’s Fatih Birol and US DOE’s Jennifer Granholm have pleaded for more of the real thing.

Alex Epstein’s Fossil Future has provided the blueprint. BP needs to ditch both ‘beyond petroleum’ and Net Zero and get back to its core business.


  1. Robert Bradley Jr  

    In today’s Houston Chronicle (James Osborne, “Interest Ramps Up Around Hydrogen Energy”:

    “Hydrogen fuel has been talked about as the next big clean energy technology for years, the solution to cleaning up emissions from long haul trucks, cargo ships and other heavy industries that are not easily electrified, and a potentially lucrative business for oil-producing regions like Texas. But interest has ramped up dramatically in recent month after Congress passed billions of dollars worth of hydrogen tax credits through the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest climate legislation in U.S. history, in addition to the $7 billion awarded to the Department of Energy last year to develop six to 10 hydrogen hubs around the country.

    Suddenly, clean projects that appeared too expensive to be commercially viable now potentially make sense, said Frank Wolak, president of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association, a Washington-based trade group.”

    It’s magic!


  2. John W. Garrett  

    Is BP the world’s worst managed company?

    It has had a succession of idiots in charge beginning with the boneheaded John Browne. In more than twenty years, the shares have gone exactly nowhere.

    Looney is just that— loony!

    Drill, baby, drill!


  3. Denis Rushworth  


    For a complete and discouraging summary of the issues concerning use of hydrogen as an energy carrier.


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