LONDON (Reuters) by Ron Bousso & Susanna Twidale – European oil companies have started to address what they worry may one day be an existential threat to their business — the end of a century of oil demand growth in a low carbon world. The emergence of the electric vehicle and demand among investors and consumers for cleaner energy to limit climate change has pushed the European side of Big Oil to take baby steps toward refocusing their businesses from oil production and refining to electricity via natural gas and renewables. Their funding for oil exploration dwarfs any alternatives, but they are buying up power generation and retail utilities to integrate with their long-standing natural gas and emerging renewables ventures. Relatively small investments in electricity aim to help them ride the energy transition by offering households and businesses cleaner power than coal can provide and giving their petrol stations a green edge with EV charging. Testing an electrification route also helps meet demands from shareholders that they “future proof” their businesses. The International Energy Agency predicts regulatory changes to curb carbon emissions will mean demand for electricity will grow much faster than that for oil as Asia’s power-hungry middle class… continue reading
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