Big Oil Knows How This Is Going To Go

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The “supermajor” oil companies collectively known as Big Oil are having a time of it, in large part because of the pandemic, obviously, but also because we are swiftly moving towards a post Peak Oil era. Big Oil knows this, and it’s doing what it can to get in on what’s next.

Take Royal Dutch Shell, one of the seven so-called “supermajor” oil companies that comprise Big Oil, who got pretty shook this summer after it had to write down $22 billion following cratering of demand. And while at the time that was largely attributed to the pandemic, Shell and other oil and gas companies have also been trying to diversify.

This has meant investments in the electric supply chain, the latest being Shell’s purchase of Ubitricity, which operates the biggest car charging network in Great Britain.

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From the Financial Times Monday:

Shell said on Monday it would buy 100 per cent of the company for an undisclosed amount. Ubitricity, founded in Germany, is a leading European provider of on-street charging for electric vehicles.

The company, which integrates electric car charging into street infrastructure such as lamp posts, has more than 2,700 charge points in the UK, giving it a market share of 13 per cent.

Shell said the acquisition would help it expand into on-street charging. It already has more than 1,000 fast and ultrafast charging points at 430 Shell retail stations and a greater number including those owned by partners and affiliates at forecourts and motorway service stations.

Subject to regulatory approval, the deal is expected to close later this year.

Twenty-seven hundred charge points are not that many, and 13 percent of the market is also not that much since “the market” for EVs in Great Britain is a single-digit percentage compared to internal combustion cars, but when big multinational corporations move their money that’s always the truest indication where they think the future is going.

One of the biggest oil companies in the world thinks this electric thing has legs, or at least enough to hedge its bets a little. See you at the Shell station in 2050, plugging in our vintage Teslas.

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.

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DISCUSSION

I remember reading a line in a Greenpeace pamphlet sometime in the 1980's that said something to the effect of “big companies will do something about global warming when it becomes more profitable than ignoring it”. Even as a kid I realised that was true.

Nice to see we’ve finally reached that point, but it’s a shame they’ve known about it for at least thirty years and done fucking nothing. Worse than nothing, they’ve made it worse and profited off of it.