The Renewables vs Oil Spend of Majors

The Renewables vs Oil Spend of Majors
How much will the majors pump into renewables and oil and gas over the next few decades?

BP (NYSE: BP) and Total (NYSE: TOT) have the biggest announced renewables targets to 2030 among the oil and gas majors, according to Rystad Energy, which highlights that the companies are aiming for 50 gigawatts (GW) of capacity.

This is more than double that of any other major during the same period, with Eni, Shell, Equinor, and Repsol all targeting under 20 GW of renewables capacity, Galp aiming for 10 GW and Chevron aiming for well under five GW, Rystad outlines.

If we take BP and Total’s 50 GW target by 2030 as their renewables investment benchmark, the companies will have to spend roughly $5 billion to $6 billion per year on new projects within renewables to reach their targets, according to Vegard Wiik Vollset, Rystad Energy’s vice president of renewable energy.

In comparison, Vollset highlighted that BP’s planned capital expenditure (CAPEX) on oil and gas projects to 2030 is $8 billion per year and Total’s planned CAPEX on oil and gas projects to 2030 is around $10 billion per year. Going by the figures above, on average, BP’s annual oil and gas spend would be around 37.5 percent to 25 percent higher than its annual renewables spend to 2030 and Total’s annual oil and gas spend would be around 50 percent to 40 percent higher than its annual renewables investment during the same period.

Looking further ahead to 2050, Vollset outlined a drastic shift away from fossil fuels. The Rystad Energy representative told Rigzone that total investment in renewable energy in 2050 is expected to be ten times that of oil and gas, even if the midstream and downstream part of oil and gas is included. Vollset highlighted that, in 2020, the world spent more on oil and gas projects than on renewable projects.

“With regards to what the oil majors will be doing by then [2050], I think it depends on the individual company, as you see drastically different approaches between them,” Vollset said.

“Whereas the European majors have already made strategic shifts into renewables, the U.S. majors have yet to make any material investments within renewables energy,” Vollset added.

Commenting on what the potential percentage breakdown of investment among the majors may look like to 2050, Emma Richards, a senior oil and gas analyst at Fitch Solutions, noted that it would be hard to gauge as CAPEX projections tend to be short run.

Net zero ambitions can offer a guide, but what this means in terms of spending on renewables versus oil and gas will depend on a host of factors, not least the deployment of carbon capture technologies and the use of carbon offsets,” Richards told Rigzone.

“In general, the percentage share is currently extremely low but, for those majors transitioning from big oil to big energy, clean energies will likely take the lion’s share of CAPEX by 2050,” Richards added.

The Fitch Solutions analyst went on to note that U.S. majors look set to retain oil and gas as a larger share of their portfolios than their European counterparts.

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