How to change the image of Energy's Black Sheep?
- Investments in R&D of green technologies by the oil and gas industry is a good start to change the negative perception compared to other industries.
- While Renewables will continue to grow rapidly, fossil fuels is expected to remain the dominant form of energy powering the global expansion for the next decades.
- With the oil industry under pressure from a severe downturn, and stagnation in R&D investment in Renewables, it may be time for these and other industries to join forces in Energy technology development.
This past weekend I saw the announcements on social media about the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), where major oil companies committed to an investment of $1 billion over the next ten years, to develop and accelerate the commercial deployment of innovative low emissions technologies.
The OGCI member companies, who aim to lead the industry response to climate change, include the major oil companies globally, who together represent one fifth of the world’s oil and gas production.
I found this communication somewhat inspiring since it is a step in the right direction in changing the perception of the oil and gas industry’s commitment to sustainable energy and combating climate change. Although this sounds like a large number, it did however make me wonder how it fits into the context of Research and Development (R&D) investments in the Energy industry and beyond.
Is enough being done to change the negative perception that exists about the oil and gas industry compared to the much more loved and socially accepted green industry of renewables, and electric vehicles?
One way to change this may be to join forces between the renewables, hydrocarbon and other industries in sharing ideas, and jointly committing to technology investment to change the world. Is this such a crazy idea, and are the industries too different to ever be able to collaborate, or even be associated with each other?
A good article was published in September 2014 by Ed Crooks titled “Oil majors’ R&D into conventional and renewable energy at risk - Fall in crude price puts pressure on long-term investments”, where concern was expressed that oil companies will not spend enough, either to sustain growth in their core businesses, or to open options in alternative energy sources.
At the time in 2014, the industry was however still investing an estimated $20 billion in R&D per year, although none of the oil industry companies made the