Sunday, December 11, 2011

How much attention Energy Giant pays to renewable energy?

I guess you can imagine how expensive nowadays to extract oil and gas, with the remaining traditional energy running out at such a fast pace - in fact, the cost of exploration has been a major part of expenditure for Big Oil and Gas. It made me think of a question: what are they going to do about it? Do big oil and gas companies (I mean REALLY big ones) continue on using high-tech exploitation technique hunting for and extracting that X% of oil underground? Or they probably are changing their strategy (at least as some of them claim), spending more R&D resource, time and money on developing renewable energy? If so, how well are they doing?

Some of them seem pretty optimistic, like Exxon Mobile. "HALF the cars on the world's roads will be environmentally friendly hybrids or electric vehicles by 2040" - this is what they said (Read more here). But the question remains: what are their bases by saying so? And, how much money do they spend on renewable energy exactly over the years?

Here are some of my hypothesis:

1. Main focus of the Big Oil and Gas is still traditional energy. Instead of spending much attention on R&D of alternative energy, they are spending more time and money on technology with traditional energy.

2. Even if in 2040 (as projected by Exxon in the graph above), the main source of global energy will still be oil and gas (the percentage of its composition will be even higher than it is in 2010). It is thus not a surprise why financial market still account for traditional oil and gas as a reliance so much, and that energy sector are still strongly engined by traditional energy.

3. How long will it take before alternative energy (solar, wind, nuclear, biomass, hydro) can be truly competitive in the energy market? Maybe a few more decades, at least. 2040 or 2050 maybe still be an optimistic estimate.

- Cathy Xuege Lu


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