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Oil and gas multinational BP will withdraw from three US trade bodies over difference in climate policy, it announced on Wednesday.

It will withdraw from the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) due to disagreeing with the group’s climate policy. While BP advocates carbon pricing policies to discourage emissions, WSPA is against the idea.

BP said it was “encouraged” by efforts of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) association, but it would withdraw due to the same areas of disagreement.

The company will not renew its membership of the Western Energy Alliance (WEA) because of disagreements over methane emissions regulation. It also said it had divested from the states covered by the group.

In a report, BP said it has also noted differences with five more trade bodies.

Trade bodies sceptical of policy difference

Western Energy Alliance president Kathleen Sgamma told Offshore Technology: “As a small provincial association, we were surprised to make BP’s report. After all, BP’s plans to divest from [the area WEA operates in] have been known for quite some time, and BP never bothered to contact us about the trades’ assessment.

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“It certainly is a legitimate reason not to continue membership in the Alliance when BP no longer operates in our region, but I suspect BP needed a few trades to put at the top of its pyramid in the glossy report.

“The withdrawal will not have a large effect on the Alliance, as BP was not a large funder. We are not considering a reassessment. In fact, had BP bothered to engage with us in advance of the report, it would have realised its assessment on reducing methane emissions is likely at least partially aligned with ours.”

WSPA President Catherine Reheis-Boyd said: “While our partnership will look a little different, WSPA and our members will continue to work with BP and all stakeholders to engage in a civil public discourse around creating a sustainable energy future. It’s hard work, and we don’t always agree, but it’s a mission worth serving.

“Our members know the way the world produces, distributes and consumes energy is evolving. […] Working together as an industry, we will rise to the challenge of a changing climate.”

AFPM President Chet Thompson said: “We are certainly disappointed with BP’s decision. […] As an active member of our executive committee, BP knows full well that AFPM recognises that climate change is real and that we are committed to engaging on and developing policies that enable our members to provide the fuels and petrochemicals that humanity needs to thrive in a sustainable way.

“[…] We are left to assume that their decision to exit the organisation was based on factors other than our actual positions on the issues.

“[…] When it comes to specific policy prescriptions, we — like any family — don’t always agree, but it is certain that more industry-wide progress is achieved through ongoing collaboration than without it. We believe that BP’s decision to leave industry organisations like ours hurts their cause not helps it.”

BP declined to respond to these comments.

The company has communicated its policy differences to five other groups: The American Petroleum Institute (API), the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) the Australian Institute of Petroleum (AIP), and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).

The announcement is the first action taken since the company set ambitions to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.