Goldman Sees Exxon, Chevron Following Euro Peers Into Renewables

(Bloomberg) -- Big U.S. oil companies like Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., which have lagged their European rivals in venturing into renewable energy, are likely to increasingly make room for cleaner energy in their portfolios, said Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Over the past few years, European oil majors like Total SA, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Equinor ASA have increased their bets on wind and solar power, while also investing in technology for electric vehicles including batteries and charging stations. The latter company even changed its name from Statoil ASA to reflect its move to be a broader energy producer.

Their U.S. rivals haven’t matched them, but Exxon, Chevron and Occidental Petroleum Corp. this month joined an international industry initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help fight climate change.

Exxon and Chevron currently have the lowest score among the international majors in terms of renewable investments, lagging European peers, but that’s going to change, Goldman’s co-head of global natural resources, Gonzalo Garcia, said in a presentation at a conference organized by Norwegian utility Statkraft A/S in Oslo on Wednesday.

“I don’t see how they can stand on the fence when every projection suggests that in the next couple of decades renewable energy will be the dominant source of electricity around the world,” he added in an interview.

During his presentation, Garcia also said he’s probably spent more time talking with oil company executives about the energy shift and renewables in the last two years than the previous 23 put together.

“Suddenly they’re waking up to the fact that this is happening, that it’s only moving in one direction and they need to do something about it,” he said.

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