BP urges more oil, gas investment while speeding energy transition

(This Aug. 26 story has been corrected to fix typos in paragraph 1 and 3 and IEA's growth projection in paragraph 5)

By Nidhi Verma and Mohi Narayan

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Global oil major BP said the world must invest in the production of oil and gas to avoid sharp price spikes while accelerating the energy transition to combat greenhouse gas emissions.

Global gas prices surged seven-fold last year as 3% of global gas supplies were hit following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, forcing countries to boost energy spending and shift to coal, BP CEO Bernard Looney said in New Delhi.

"We need to do both. We need to invest in today's energy system responsibly and, at the same time, we must invest in accelerating the energy transition," Looney told the B20 conference.

Energy transition has to be orderly to maintain its pace as emission levels have risen since the Paris conference on climate change in 2015, despite global efforts, he said.

The Paris-based energy watchdog International Energy Agency (IEA) expects global oil demand to climb by 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2023 to reach a record high of 102.2 million bpd.

Looney said his company would invest 40% of its capital on energy transition projects by the middle of this decade and 50% by the end of the decade. "We will invest between $55 and $65 billion as BP this decade in energy transition growth engines," he said.

BP, investing in energy projects in India along with its partner Reliance Industries Ltd, has set up about 3,000 electric vehicle charging points to date, up from 750 in January. The two have set up 300 battery swapping stations.

BP has invested in India's gas sector, and its venture arm has bought a stake in electric ride-hailing startup BluSmart.

"I have every expectation that we will do more in India in years to come," Looney said.

(Reporting by Nidhi Verma and Mohi Narayan in New Delhi; Editing by William Mallard)