UK supermajor BP has joined the IBM Quantum Network as an industry partner, giving the energy giant access to IBM’s quantum expertise, software and a computer network that includes a 65-qubit quantum computer, which BP described as “the largest universal quantum system available to industry today”.

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BP said it would work with IBM “to explore using quantum computing to solve business and engineering ‎challenges and explore the potential applications for driving efficiencies and reducing carbon ‎emissions”.

The IBM Quantum Network of more than 130 members — including Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, academic institutions and research labs — has set a goal to develop a 1000-qubit system by the end of 2023.

A qubit, or quantum bit, is the basic unit of information in quantum computing.

Quantum computing has potential applications in a range of industries and disciplines. BP said the science could be used for modelling chemistry and properties of hydrocarbon reservoirs as well as analysing and managing the fluid dynamics of wind farms, optimising robotic facility inspection and creating “opportunities not yet imagined” to deliver cleaner energy.

Morag Watson, BP’s senior vice president, digital science and engineering, said: “Next-generation computing capabilities such as quantum computing will assist in ‎solving the science and engineering challenges we will face, enabling us to reimagine energy ‎and design new lower carbon products.”

BP has set a target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner, and to develop 50 gigawatts of net renewable energy generating capacity by the end of the decade, while scaling back its oil and gas production.