European oil companies changing names and shifting their focus to alternative energy

Energize Weekly, February 17, 2021

European oil companies are continuing their push to reorient and rebrand themselves as comprehensive energy companies and not just producers of oil and natural gas.

On Feb. 9, French oil company Total announced it was changing its name to TotalEnergies to reflect a broader strategy of developing renewable energy and net-zero carbon projects.

“A new name is a new commitment,” Patrick Pouyanné, the company’s CEO, said in a statement. “It explicitly states what we want to be a leader in a world with more energies and fewer emissions. The company of responsible energies.”

Two days after TotalEnergies’ announcement, Royal Dutch Shell forecast that its oil production peaked in 2019 and will decline 1 to 2 percent annually, as the company branches out into alternative energy and energy services.

Shell said its aim is to double the amount of electricity it sells to 560 terawatt-hours by 2030 and serve 15 million retail and business customers worldwide.

The company also unveiled a new strategy “to accelerate its transformation into a provider of net-zero emissions energy products and services.” The goal is to become a net-zero carbon emissions operation by 2050.

Shell said it expects to spend $100 million a year in net-zero carbon projects.

TotalEnergies is also seeking to have a net-zero carbon emissions across all its activities by 2050.

Total projects that it will reach peak demand for oil in the 2030s, and after that, output will decline.

In 2020, TotalEnergies secured $2 billion in renewable energy investments, adding 10 gigawatts (GW) of generating capacity to its portfolio.

In 2021, TotalEnergies acquired a development pipeline of four large-scale projects totaling 2.2 GW solar and 600 megawatts of battery storage in Texas. All the projects will be complete between 2023 and 2024.

The French company also took a 20 percent stake in Indian solar developer Adani Green Energy Ltd. Adani is the world’s largest solar developer. TotalEnergies aims to develop 35 GW of renewable generating capacity by 2025.

The two companies follow Norway’s Statoil, which changed its name to Equinor in 2018 and also switched to an emphasis on renewable energy.

“Equinor is committed to being a leader in the energy transition,” the company said in November. “It is a sound business strategy to ensure long-term competitiveness during a period of profound changes in the energy systems as society moves towards net-zero.”

The company’s goal is to reach carbon neutral worldwide operation by 2030.

An expert on deep ocean oil and gas drilling – primarily in the North Sea – Equinor has leveraged that knowledge into offshore wind generation.

The Norwegian company is partnering with SSE Renewables on Dogger Bank, the world’s biggest wind farm to be located off the coast of the United Kingdom.

Dogger Bank will consist of three projects each of which will have 1.2 GW of installed generating capacity.

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