Mathijs Groenewegen

Business Development Engineer BP Netherlands

1. As a promising engineer, why did you choose a job at BP?

The main reason I chose this job is the company culture and the people who work there. There is often the perception about multinationals that they are slow, hierarchical organizations and that new employees are placed in a cubicle or in a fixed development process from their first day. At BP, it's different. It feels more like a family business than the ‘grey suits’ company as it is sometimes portrayed. The second reason I chose BP has to do with the huge challenge BP and other companies in the industry are facing. At the time I made the choice, BP was on the eve of a huge change. I was looking for a position where I could be part of this change: ‘to work on a green road ahead’.

2. You are involved in BP's green and blue hydrogen projects. These projects are crucial for BP's Rotterdam refinery. Where's your biggest concern?

I work as a Business Development Engineer at the BP refinery in Rotterdam. At Business Development we are responsible for the long-term strategy and our team is the first to look at the new projects and project proposals. The strategy work also includes reducing CO2 emissions and our hydrogen projects, both blue and green. My personal motivation is to invent smart technologies and commercially interesting solutions with which we can make these currently expensive projects profitable. With this, I want to contribute to the fact that companies like BP can really change and work towards investment decisions in Rotterdam.

My main concern is that we are not willing to take advantage of all the opportunities we have. I have this concern both internally within BP but also for the whole of the Netherlands. We have so many opportunities in our country to build a new and clean energy system, to create a fair and social society and to maintain our prosperity. Unfortunately, there is not yet one perfect solution that gets us all there at once. We must therefore learn to accept that ten good solutions now are better than an expectation of one perfect solution in the future. That requires courage and decisiveness. I believe that whoever says that the perfect solution does exist will steer us away from it rather than towards it.

Mathijs Groenewegen

3. What advice do you give the new Minister of Economic Affairs?

This presupposes that I have any idea what it means to be Minister of Economic Affairs. But I think my advice would be to put up a sign at the entrance to the ministry that says, "Leave your sacred cows outside this door." Going beyond sacred cows and dogmas are of great importance for us all in climate debates. We have entered a crucial decade for both climate policy and the energy transition. Everything needs to be negotiable. It is tempting to make policy based on dogmas with matching images and one-liners. They sound very strong, but ultimately they mainly undermine the need and support for change. This is particularly the case for hydrogen. We have to focus on green hydrogen and we do, but that does not make the role of blue hydrogen any less important. Take H-vision: with 3 MT CO2 reduction: our project is now the most important CO2 reduction project in Rotterdam. Green hydrogen has a different role. It creates a new, clean hydrogen value chain and it balances a future energy system. Unfortunately, it will not (yet) be reducing CO2 on a large scale.

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