BP and Microsoft have agreed to collaborate to drive the digital transformation in energy systems and advance their net-zero carbon emissions goals, in a partnership that will see the supermajor supply renewable energy to the tech giant.

The move also includes a co-innovation effort focused on digital solutions and the continued use of Microsoft Azure as a cloud-based solution for BP infrastructure.

The companies will work together to develop new technology innovations and digital solutions that will support their sustainability aims, including reducing energy use and carbon emissions — as Microsoft pledged this year to be carbon negative by 2030 and to remove more carbon from the environment than it has emitted since its founding by 2050.

'No on can do it alone'

“BP is determined to get to net zero and to help the world do the same. No one can do it alone – partnerships with leading companies like Microsoft, with aligned ambitions, are going to be key to achieving this,” BP executive vice president for regions, cities and solutions, William Lin, said.

In the mix: BP and boss Bernard Looney are cooking up something new at the UK supermajor Photo: Picture RYTIS DAUKANTAS/UPSTREAM

“By bringing our complementary skills and experience together, we are not only helping each other achieve our decarbonisation ambitions but also creating opportunities to support others on their journey towards reducing carbon emissions.”

“BP shares our vision for a net-zero carbon future, and we are committed to working together to drive reductions in carbon emissions and fulfil demand with new renewable energy sources,” executive vice president of Microsoft’s worldwide commercial business, Judson Althoff, added.

Push for innovation

The duo signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to combine Microsoft’s digital expertise with BP’s understanding of the energy market.

Initially, the partnership will focus on Microsoft’s ‘Smart Cities’ initiative and BP’s ‘Clean Cities’ vision, looking to identify areas to help cities achieve their sustainability goals.

The companies will also work on the co-development of innovative, clean energy parks with an ecosystem of low carbon technologies such as carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) to prevent or reduce emissions.

Another area of focus will be the industrial internet of things (IoT) solutions — which aims to deliver an “intelligent edge” of capabilities to BP production and operations facilities — while also exploring ways to harness the power of data-driven, personalised, actionable insights to empower energy consumers to manage their home energy use and reduce carbon emissions.

BP moves further into the cloud

As part of BP’s cloud-first IT approach, the company has extended its agreement to use Microsoft Azure cloud services as a strategic platform.

This expands on BP’s existing relationship with Microsoft, which helped accelerate the digitisation of BP infrastructure and operations, while Microsoft 365 enabled greater collaboration and remote working productivity during the Covid-19 response.

“Utilising Microsoft Azure cloud enables BP to access a broad and deep portfolio of cloud services, including machine learning with Azure Digital Twins , data analytics, security and more, to gain greater insights, drive significant optimisation opportunities and transform business processes,” BP said.

Data centre power

The new partnership will also see BP supply renewable energy to help power the Microsoft cloud.

Man on emission: BP boss Bernard Looney leading company on energy transition journey Photo: Picture RYTIS DAUKANTAS/UPSTREAM

The duo signed a framework agreement for renewable energy projects that aims to provide renewable energy to help power Microsoft’s data centres.

BP will supply renewable energy to Microsoft across multiple countries and regions including the US, Europe and Latin America.

The agreement contributes to Microsoft’s 100% renewable energy goal by 2025.

Earlier this year, BP announced its ambition to become a net-zero emissions company by 2050 or sooner.

By the end of the decade, it aims to have developed around 50 gigawatts of net renewable generating capacity — a 20-fold increase on what it has previously developed, increased annual low carbon investment 10-fold to around $5 billion and cut oil and gas production by 40%.