Green investments of oil giants: change of strategy or just throwing dust in experts’ eyes?

Most of experts connect the so called “green investments” of world’s largest fossil fuel companies with unstable political situation in the Middle East countries. The main subject to worry about is Saudi Arabian plans about separating state economy from petrol industry. Shareholders from Exxon Mobil and Shell are going to fight climate changes according to UN agreement about climate and nature. And now we want to understand: will real steps to help our planet be taken or its just play for public to gain some extra rating in social media?

There is one more point of view. In terms of modern oil prices crisis, companies want to keep controlling world energy market, and in this case money spend on renewable sources seems to be a great long-time investment.

For example, France is going to spend about $1 billion for electricity storages that can remain active for 100 years. Here is the article of Le Monde on the subject of renewable energy in France.

This step could be described like great plan to handle with European fossil fuel deficiency. Patrick Pouyanné, chief of the Saft, told us that electricity is the power of the 21st century, so investments in renewable sources that are being made now, could save a lot money in future. France also announced that $200 million would be spend on the transformation of oil refinery into plains for biological fuel, and $500 million are aimed on development of renewable energy sources.

Vast of European corporations are interested in solar energy, so it was not surprising that some of them started development of low-carbon technologies that are cheaper and more effective than existing ones. Insider told us that Shell does the same, but make it less noticeable because of need in saving image of great petrol company. The company is planning to spend about 200 million dollars for renewable sources annually, and the first step was the purchase of windfarms in Netherlands. Experts say, that such amount of natural electricity can cover all needs of approximately 800 thousand households.

Windfarm in Netherlands

The Norway also keeps moving in right direction. It was confirmed that government is going to spend about $1.5 billion for windfarms near the Baltic sea. In official statement they underlined that familiar “gas and oil energy profile” need to be changed for renewable sources like wind, sun and other low-carbon technologies.

Hywind is the name of the world largest windfarm that will be built on the Scottish coast.

The trend to invest a lot of money into renewable energy sources is pretty good, but the best thing is that countries, which used to depend of fossil fuels, now have to change their priorities, because the risk of losing energy independence and becoming a “hostile” of Islamic countries grows every day.

Vice President of Statoil confirmed that company sees real threat in global warming and want to help to handle with it. She told that even if fossil fuels remain important in the future, every factory has to do its best to minimize usage of carbon and its derivatives. Also it was underlined, that building of business in renewable energy area was a wish of shareholders and that this step was not conditioned by any financial or production reasons. She ensured us that there is a plan to minimize usage of carbon worldwide and replace it by solar and offshore wind energy.

Solar energy – energy of the future

Exxon Mobil, the favorite target of eco-activists is announcing “investments into renewable energy sources and ecology”, but company want to spend on it only 0.5% of annual budget, so we cannot describe it as serious change of priorities. British Petroleum is going to create “alternative energy sources division”, but for some years this initiative still remains just an afford and nothing more.

Even despite the world enviromentalistic community that keep pressing the “Big Oil” companies, they spend millions of dollars to protect and please governmental lobbies to keep the fossil fuel extraction and transition profitable business. Of course, all of them deny participation in such schemes, but they just cannot lie us forever.

Most of experts predict “brutally forced dusk” of oil companies in next 10 years in case if they will not do anything to transform their business. But Jeremy Leggett, petroleum geologist, told us that investments in renewable energy sources is just a part of their plan.

While some of countries are transforming their energy systems in more ecological way, other countries concentrate on gas and oil usage. It means, that “Big Oil” gets double profit: they make great long-term investments, and they expand time of usage of fossil fuels for decades. All oil company managers understand that some of next years could became “year X” for the whole industry so their main goal it to back-map from this year.

Geothermal energy is another low-carbon source

European Union could become a fossil fuel free territory if the French investments in renewable energy will be successful and will turn country into “Green giant”. The SolarPower Europe that had been losing its positions on market for long 16 years, is going to start a new campaign that will bring company into top-3 energy producers in 5 years. So implementation of French plan about tripling an amount of solar energy till 2022 does not look so fictional.

Nevertheless, in Japan providing of renewable energy sources requires only single resolution of government, while in European Union there must be a great consideration and consolidation of all countries, and among them there are a lot of states that depend on transportation and production of oil and gas a lot.

Oil analytics are sure only in one thing: oil companies are not going to leave energy market. Investments in “green energy” is also caused by cheap share prices and it still remains a good chance to keep some eco-activists and enviromentalists silent. So yes, we could say that green is in fashion, but it is because of its profits, but not because of will of “Big Oil” to start taking care of our planet.

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