bp completes autonomous vehicle trial with Oxbotica
bp has successfully completed an autonomous vehicle trial at its Lingen refinery in Germany, working with Oxbotica, a leader in autonomous vehicle software, claiming it marks a first in the energy sector - and simultaneously bolstered its presence in the offshore wind sector.
During the trial the vehicle travelled over 180km fully autonomously, safely navigating the extensive and complex environment of the bp refinery, including busy junctions, narrow paths, railway crossings, and multiple terrains, day and night and in unpredictable weather conditions. Oxbotica was able to deploy its autonomy software platform and integrate with the existing infrastructure within two hours of arriving on site.
Following the success of the trial, bp aims to progress to deploying its first autonomous vehicle for monitoring operations at the refinery by the end of the year.
The self-driving vehicles will enhance human operations and improve safety by increasing the monitoring for irregular conditions, faulty equipment and security threats, making it more frequent and around the clock. The autonomous vehicles’ enhanced analytics will help the site reduce the size of its current fleet.
Morag Watson SVP digital science and engineering, bp said: “This relationship is an important example of how bp is leveraging automation and digital technology that we believe can improve safety, increase efficiency and decrease carbon emissions in support of our net zero ambition.
“Lingen has 30 km of roads. Intelligent technology like this helps us make the incremental but equally critical improvements to our operations, so we can continue to focus on delivering the energy the world needs in the way that it wants. I am looking forward to working with Oxbotica to explore how we can unlock the full potential of autonomy.”
The announcement follows bp’s recent $13m equity investment in Oxbotica. The partnership will give Oxbotica access to bp’s operations, retail sites and customer network, helping to unlock its potential.
Ozgur Tohumcu, CEO at Oxbotica said: “As part of our first refinery trial in Lingen, we showcased how autonomy improves safety, reduces emissions and improves productivity. The investment from bp will allow us to scale our autonomous software platform across the energy ecosystem with a number of planned use cases and unlock the true power of universal autonomy.”
Beyond the trial, bp believes that Oxbotica’s technology can help it to create an inherently safer operating environment for field workers through its reliable, repeatable, and predictable application.
The software can be installed into any vehicle and can work indoors, outdoors, underground, in any weather condition and any time of day or night. It has zero dependence on external infrastructure such as GPS or third-party mapping and is completely sensor- and platform-agnostic.
Erin Hallock, Managing Partner at bp ventures, added: “Oxbotica’s technology makes autonomous vehicles safer due to improved vision, more efficient due to reduced downtime and less carbon intensive through forensic control of acceleration, braking and driving patterns. We are delighted to partner with a business at the forefront of the future of mobility that can modernise bp through autonomy and look forward to scaling the software across bp’s ecosystem.”
Oxbotica spun out of Oxford University in 2014, developing its technology over a series of Innovate UK-supported projects.
The company now produces two pieces of software. The first is Selenium, the ‘brain’ of an autonomous vehicle, which combines data from vehicle sensors to help the vehicle answer questions relating to location, environment and movement.
The second is Caesium, a cloud-based fleet management system to co-ordinate multiple vehicles and allow them to exchange data without human interaction.
EnBW and bp to develop offshore wind farms
Karlsruhe-based EnBW and bp plan to jointly develop offshore wind farms off the coasts of Great Britain in a 50:50 partnership.
Following the auction for the award of seabed rights by The Crown Estate in the UK, the two partners secured two large areas in the Irish Sea that are estimated to be the highest-value areas in the first auction of offshore wind rights in England and Wales for 10 years. EnBW and bp plan to build two offshore wind farms there with a combined capacity of 3GW, enough to power the equivalent of 3.4 million households.
“We are delighted with this auction win in a tough international bidder field," said EnBW CEO Frank Mastiaux. "The award confirms that bp and EnBW are the right partners with the right strategy and the right capabilities. EnBW is among today’s leaders in advanced offshore wind technology. In partnership with bp, a major player with international experience in the offshore business, we will once again contribute significantly to a climate-friendly energy future in the UK, which is currently the world’s largest market for offshore wind power."
Mirico Cloud identifies emission changes
Mirico is extending its gas measurement services with the launch of Mirico Cloud for the oil and gas industry.
The platform lets customers detect and quantify gas emissions across multiple oil and gas sites, and quickly fix issues causing changes in emissions. Customers can be contacted by SMS or email for alerts if a new emission is above a certain size, or about an existing known emission that has started to grow.
Customisable dashboards can show average emissions over the last 24 hours or how emissions vary by asset type.
"It's great to be able to broaden the service we provide our customers," said Dr Linda Bell, CEO of Mirico. "We really feel this is a big step forward in helping the oil & gas industry to quickly identify emission issues at scale and ultimately help them in their goals to reach net zero."
The industry remains under intense pressure to deliver on emission targets. Achieving 50% lower emissions by 2030 will require either full electrification of the West of Shetland and Central North Sea or earlier-than-expected field cessations, according to Wood Mackenzie.
In 2018 the UK produced 451 million tonnes CO2 equivalent (MtCO2e) of greenhouse gas emissions. Around 3% of this total is direct emissions from oil and gas activity on the UK Continental Shelf. Energy generation, mainly from fossil fuels, produced 23% of emissions, and the transport industry accounted for a further 28%, mostly from the use of oil-based products.
The North Sea Transition deal has four key pillars:
- Supply decarbonisation reduce emissions from oil and gas production by 50% by 2030
- Carbon capture and storage (CCS) target 10 Mtpa of carbon capture by 2030
- Hydrogen deliver 5 GW of low-carbon hydrogen capacity by 2030
- Supply chain/people deliver investment of £14-16 billion into low-carbon technology by 2030
Methane in the spotlight, a busy 48 hours for bp and JPMorgan releases carbon reduction targets
Institutional investors with a collective $5.35 trillion in assets are calling on the Biden administration to get tougher about methane emissions as it seeks to address climate change. "Any credible pathway for the use of natural gas in a Paris-aligned future must address methane emissions," it states.
Cutting human-caused methane by 45% this decade would keep warming beneath a threshold agreed by world leaders, according to the UN Environment Programme. Such reductions would avoid nearly 0.3°C of global warming by 2045 and would be consistent with keeping the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal, to limit global temperature rises to 1.5˚C, within reach.
bp and CEMEX will work together on accelerating the progress of the latter's 2050 ambition to deliver net zero CO2 concrete globally. Around 70% of global emissions come from transport, industry and energy and cement making is energy intensive. Last week bp and renewable energy supplier Pure Planet forged a partnership to launch a new digital energy service that will support households, EV drivers and energy consumers in the UK.
Hot on the heels of the CEMEX announcement, bp shareholders rejected a plan that would have forced the company to strengthen its climate commitments in an AGM poll, with only 20.65% pledging support. "We will continue to engage with shareholders on our strategy, targets and aims so as to ensure their views are fully understood," it stated. One of the challenges is that there is no single metric that measures Paris consistency, according to chief executive Bernard Looney.
JPMorgan Chase yesterday released comprehensive steps it is taking in its efforts to align its financing activities with the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, publishing 2030 carbon intensity targets for the Oil & Gas, Electric Power and Auto Manufacturing sectors. It also released its new Carbon Compass methodology that describes how the firm set its targets and how it will monitor progress over time, and unveiled a Center for Carbon Transition.
“There must be collective ambition and cooperation by business and government to tackle climate change,” said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase. "Setting our Paris-aligned targets is an important step toward accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy and meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement. JPMorgan Chase is committed to doing its part by working with clients around the world to reduce emissions and by ensuring our own operations remain carbon neutral."