Recently many big oil companies have branched out into the renewable sector in what seems like an attempt to move with the times. In July this year, Royal Dutch Shell secured a deal to build a wind farm off the coast of the Netherlands. Just a few months before that, France’s Total made several large investments for solar power in Spain and a wind farm right here in Scotland. This company, Total, is also following in Shell and BP’s footsteps by expanding its EV charging point business.
While these companies are investing more in greener energy sources, they are also scrapping plans to drill more oil wells as they are trying to cut their budgets. Shell recently delayed plans for new oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea and BP has promised not to try and find oil in new countries.
Europe’s oil companies are turning to producing green energy. Partly due to encouragement from the governments of Europe and partly due to investors wanting to take the companies in a direction that makes more sense financially.
The pandemic has caused a catastrophic decrease in the demand for oil which has then led to a decrease in profits for these oil companies. This has been a warning for them to diversify their businesses in order to keep their companies afloat.
All of Europe’s large oil companies have now set targets which are in line with the EU’s goal of being “net zero” by 2050. The plan to get there is by selling renewable energy and by offsetting any carbon emissions with nature-based solutions, like planting forests.
Electricity is the major component of most of these plans along with Hydrogen. Hydrogen is a clean gas, meaning it does not produce emissions and could generate electric power for vehicles.
BP seems to be leading the way in the industry when it comes to going green. The company announced its plans to increase investment in renewable energy by ten-fold and cutting the investment in oil and gas by 40%. By 2030, BP aims to generate enough renewable energy to match the amount generated by a dozen large off-shore wind farms.
This announcement from BP has put pressure on the other large oil companies and has been commended by environmentalists as a huge step in the right direction. Perhaps these companies that in the past were largely to blame for rising carbon emissions, could be the driving force to decrease our carbon footprint enough that we could reverse climate change.
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