At the North East England Chamber of Commerce Business Summit held at Teesside International Airport, Louise Kingham, senior vice-president, bp Europe and head of country UK, spoke about the low carbon future for the region. Here’s an extract from her powerful speech.


At bp, with our partners, we have some really exciting plans for the country and this region.

We intend to invest up to £18 billion in the UK’s energy system by the end of 2030.We used to spend roughly 10 – 15% of our capital in Britain – we expect to increase that to 15–20% this decade.

As well as our Teesside projects, we are looking at continuing to invest in the North Sea but driving down operational emissions through a range of measures like zero routine flaring. We’re also exploring opportunities to electrify offshore facilities in the Central North Sea and West of Shetland.

We plan to develop two wind farms in the Irish Sea and one in the North Sea with our partners, EnBW. These will have a potential combined capacity of around six gigawatts and could generate enough energy to power more than six million UK homes every year.

To support the wind farms, we’re planning to invest more than £100 million in infrastructure, ports, harbours and shipyards, including four ships. These could create around 500 jobs.

The Northern Echo: Louise Kingham with BUSINESSiQ Editor Mike Hughes at a live Level Up eventLouise Kingham with BUSINESSiQ Editor Mike Hughes at a live Level Up event

In terms of low-carbon transport, we plan to invest £1 billion in electric vehicle charging in the UK over the next 10 years, deploying more rapid and ultra-fast chargers and supporting hundreds of new jobs.

Low-carbon energy is often also local energy – wind and solar power tend to be used fairly close to where they are generated compared with gas and oil.

And so stepping up the supply of low-carbon energy is good for security as well as sustainability.

It’s also good for economic stability to diversify supplies when oil and gas prices can be very volatile, as we are seeing at the moment.

Not only can we produce energy without carbon; we can also take the carbon out of energy production. And sometimes that is the best solution, particularly in an industrial setting.

But industrial plants need very large amounts of power and heat and they are among the toughest parts of the system to decarbonise.

Teesside is of course just such an industrial complex.

So, it is very exciting to be working here to bring clean energy to heavy industry.

It puts the area in a strong position to become the world’s first net zero industrial cluster in the UK by 2040. That’s something we can all be incredibly proud of.

So, what are the projects that bp is developing here?

First, Net Zero Teesside Power. This will be a commercial scale, 860-megawatt, gas fired power station. That’s roughly around enough power generation for 1.3 million homes per year.

Up to two million tonnes of the carbon dioxide generated each year will be captured and transported approximately 145 kilometres offshore to be stored safely deep beneath the North Sea. The plant is a joint venture between bp and Equinor, with bp as operator.

The Northern Echo: Louise Kingham and a vision for the Clean Energy Education Hub at Redcar & Cleveland CollegeLouise Kingham and a vision for the Clean Energy Education Hub at Redcar & Cleveland College

That’s the world’s first commercial-scale gas-fired power station with carbon capture – here on Teesside.

Project two is H2Teesside – a world-scale hydrogen project aiming to produce 1GW of hydrogen.

And it’s blue hydrogen – which is hydrogen produced from natural gas, with up to 2 million tonnes per year of carbon emissions captured and stored.

Hydrogen is a multi-purpose zero-carbon fuel. It can be used for heat in industry or homes. It can be a transport fuel. And it provides a medium to store energy. So, hydrogen will play a big role in the net zero economy.

Project Three is HyGreen Teesside. This is another hydrogen project, producing green hydrogen through the electrolysis of water using renewable electricity.

HyGreen Teesside aims to be one of the UK’s largest green hydrogen production plants. Together, we estimate the two Teesside hydrogen projects will deliver 15% of the Government’s national target of 10GW.

This is a real chance for this region to shine on the world stage.

An example of this is the fact we recently announced ADNOC – the Abu Dhabi energy company – will take a 25% stake in the design stage of the H2Teesside.

ADNOC is an incredibly impressive and innovative energy company, a long-time partner of bp – and this is its first investment in the UK. And Masdar - the Abu Dhabi renewable energy company – has also signed a memorandum of understanding to acquire a stake in HyGreen Teesside.

This is a great boost for the projects – a strong signal of the confidence investors have in them – and good news for the region at the heart of the UK’s ambitions for building a hydrogen sector.

But it’s not just about global prestige and partners. It’s about the people.

To really succeed, the programme has to bring benefits to local households and families. It has to create quality jobs that enable people to build their careers and their lives in this region.

Too often, industrial change brings about dislocation. It leaves communities without workplaces and leaves people without hope.

This must not happen again. We need to have a just and fair transition to the low carbon future.

And this region will not only be a source of low carbon energy – but high quality jobs.

We expect Net Zero Teesside Power alone to provide 3,000 jobs in construction, peaking in 2024, and then 1000 jobs to 2050.

H2Teesside is estimated to create 1,200 construction jobs by 2027 and more than 600 operational jobs.

Our projects will also directly create new jobs in the local and national supply chains, positioning both to benefit from exports, and help to sustain sectors that currently employ thousands of people on Teesside

And we will help to train people in the specialist skills needed for these jobs.

That is why, for example, we are supporting a Clean Energy Education

Hub at Redcar & Cleveland College.

This will train school leavers, apprentices and adults in the skills needed for jobs in the kinds of facilities we are building – as well as in wind and solar farms and other roles.

So bp is very much backing the North-East of England and home-grown energy.