CERAWeek: Q&A for Haywood

Daniel Yergin directs questions from the audiece to BP’s Tony Hayward:
Q: How does BP balance all these changes?
A: “I don’t believe anything about the medium and long term has changed,” BP’s Tony Hayward said “Only a year ago we were talking about struggling to maintain supply. Once the downturn ends that problem will return, which is why the industry must continue to invest through the slump.”
Just a few years ago oil was also at $40 “and I thought $40 was a fabulous price” Hayward said. “The industry worked very well at $40 just a few years ago.”
The problem is costs went up steeply with the spike in oil and have not come down. So now the industry needs to get costs back in line.
Q: What have you learned on that over the last few years?
A: “It’s clear to us biofuels form corn are probably not a viable way of proceeding.” BP is working on sugar cane biofuel in Brazil, because it’s more sustainable and less harmful ecologically.
This history of science and engineering is if you can make it work in a laboratory it’s rare can’t scale it up.
Q: Your take on electric cars?
A: [paraphrased] I have to say I’m quite aligned with the auto industry. There’s a right sequence to this and take the power in the internal combustion and turn it not into more power engines but more efficiency. Second it’s about biofuels and thirdly it’s about electric cars.
“The problem at the moment is if we move everything to electric cars where’s the electricity coming from? It’s coming from coal-fired power plants, so you’re not very far ahead on carbon abatement.”