Bob Dudley is the group CEO of British oil major BP. Dudley, 63, had served as president and chief executive of TNK-BP and on June 18, 2010, was assigned to be BP executive in charge of the Gulf Coast Restoration Organisation. Bradley said fuel price controls are "not good", days after India asked state-run fuel retailers to shield customers from record-high costs by cutting margins. BP is in talks with Reliance Industries LTD (RIL) to enter retail fuel business in five years, said Dudley.
Watch: BP in talks with Reliance to enter retail fuel business in India, says CEO Bob Dudley Edited Excerpts: You said that it really energies you every time you come to India, how would you really explain that and what really has been the conversation with the PM? The key highlights of that?
A: I am always energised, you have to come to India and spend some time there because it is hard to describe really. It is a young dynamic country and people are always doing things and getting things done. So, I just tell people to come.
The meeting today with the Prime Minister probably is the only event in the world where the leader of the country pulls together people from around the world and talks about energy. He is genuinely interested in opinions of what people have. I have seen over the three years, three events, it changed policy and direction for the good of getting activity and investment in India.
So, I find it interesting myself listening to different perspectives on it but it is not just a talking forum, it is actually one that gets some things done.
There does seem to be some desperation, some frustration now with the crude oil prices running up, the payment terms need to be worked upon, the currency the way it has been moving as well. So, how valid do you see those as concerns right now? Would you say it is short term or is it going to spill over?
The world oil prices are way off the fairway of what is right for the world and comfortable. So, they are very high now and countries like India and Turkey for example imports all of its fuel, it is very painful and then you have the strengthening of the dollar and the impact on the rupee, so at the pump, it is higher than it is probably ever been in India.
The concerns here are how long this will last? I always go back to the fundamentals of market supply and demand. Take away some short-term geopolitics here, the supply and demand should keep oil price in $60-65 is what we will see. However it is not going to be tomorrow, it is going to take some time, there are bottlenecks with oil production, there are other sources that could come on but it won't be overnight.
What is the kind of production that you have seen from KG-D6 and its impact on India? How have you read that?
Our KG-D6 production has fallen. We had waited quite a long time and Prime Minister and the government have brought in market pricing for that gas. So, that allows us now to commit the $6 billion of investments because you got to keep it going because everything declines and so you have to keep investing and we are going to go through this dip but in 2021 we will be back and probably producing 10 percent of the gas of India. It is a big project for us.
Have to ask you about the technology disruptions and also the electric vehicles. There is a lot of thing happening in sense of transition, how do you look at the conventional oil and then, of course, these new disruptions?
There is room for all of it. Electric vehicles are probably simply not going to change as much as people are assuming overnight. If you burn coal to produce electricity and that makes an electric vehicle then that is not changing oil demand. So, that will have less impact.
It is great for the cities particularly. We are absolutely supportive of electric cars and vehicles and we will be working, hopefully bringing some of what we are doing in mobility with Reliance and retailing but that is not what I would worry about. However, I am fully supportive of them.
We want to get it right. Our teams have spent a lot of time together, it is always a matter of pacing but this is not something for overnight. You go into partnerships like this, it is decades and decades and decades. So, our partnership with Reliance is great, we just got to get the right sort of terms here with retailing. I am taking great comfort from this meeting that there are no price controls on retailing because that really makes it difficult. So, I am optimistic.
What really has been the conversation with Reliance, the fuel retail space, where do you see that the way it is?