According to research by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the world’s biggest oil companies are closing more clean energy deals as pressure to diversify their businesses mounts and growth accelerates among green technologies, Bloomberg reports.
Oil majors more than doubled the number of acquisitions, project investments and venture capital stakes in clean energy, to 44 in 2016 from 21 the year before. In the last 15 years, they’ve completed 428 transactions and spent $6.2 billion building stakes in clean energy companies. However, the sums still represent a fraction of the money invested in crude every year, indicating that the oil majors core focus remains in the oil business.
Solar energy generated the largest number of projects backed by oil companies. Wind created the second-highest volume of deals, with offshore wind investments beginning to catch up with windmills stationed on land. Shell has a stake in the Borssele III and IV wind projects in the Dutch North Sea and Statoil ASA recently developed the world’s first floating wind farm off the coast of northern Scotland. Interest in biofuels is however on the decline.
Total SA has concluded the highest number of acquisitions and joint ventures with its purchases of SunPower Corp. in 2011 and battery maker Saft Groupe SA last year. Oil majors’ venture capital deals have also been shifting toward power storage and digital technologies. A case in point is Shell’s recent purchase of NewMotion, an electric vehicle charging point network.
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