To solve the impending and potentially cataclysmic effects of climate change on our Planet Earth, environmental scientists agree that the global economy must move rapidly away from fossil fuels and adopt alternative energy sources that produce no carbon emissions.
Today that means bolstering mostly wind, solar, hydrogen, biofuels, nuclear energy, and all-new technologies.
This stark reality has left the fossil fuel giants, such as ExxonMobile, Pemex, Shell, British Petroleum (BP), the OPEC nations, and others scrambling to map out new future revenue streams.
The deep conundrum for these operators is finding a viable pathway forward. After all, it is their very products that the world wants to eliminate by 2050.
How can the major players in the gas and oil industry survive? Can they adapt and change? How can they move forward by essentially abandoning their primary product?
One “great hope” that the fossil fuel sector is pinning its strategy on is the development of an effective and affordable method of carbon sequestration. This is basically the “have our cake and eat it too” scenario. If industry researchers can find a way to prevent the CO2 generated by burning oil, gas, and coal from entering the atmosphere, the industry could continue to sell its product.
Carbon capture technology has made some recent advances. However, this is a complex and still highly expensive solution that may not become fully viable quickly enough.
That’s why fossil fuel companies are investing heavily in their own alternative energy technologies. One example is the millions of dollars ExxonMobile is pouring into research on using algae from the sea to produce carbon-free biofuel.
There is also the “if you can’t beat them, join them” option. For example, BP is increasing its investments into low-emission products to $5 billion while moving to shrink oil and gas production by more than 40%.
Other industry players are making a shift to diversify. They’re seeking contracts to build electric charging stations, battery production, advanced chemicals, alternative transport mechanisms, and they’re even pushing into retail.
Shell recently announced it plans to earn 50% of its revenue from non-fuel products as early as 2025. It has already made significant progress. For example, Shell already has more retail outlets in the convenience sector than McDonald’s globally.