Pressed by investors and governments, they're moving into cleaner energy. So this may turn out to be the year that oil giants, especially in Europe. started looking more like electric companies.

Last month, Royal Dutch company, a British-Dutch company, won a deal to build a vast wind farm off the coast of the Netherlands.

Earlier in the year, Total of France, which owns a battery maker, agreed to make several large investments in solar power in Spain and a wind farm off Scotland. Total also bought on electric and natural gas utility in Spain and is joining Shell and BP of Britain in expanding its electric-vehicle charging business.

At the same time, the companies are ditching plans to drill more wells as they chop back capital budgets. Shell recently said it would delay opening new fields in the Gulf of Mexico and in the North Sea, while BP has promised not to hunt for oil in any new countries.

Prodded by governments and investors to address climate change concerns about their products, Europe's oil companies are accelerating their production of cleaner energy - usually electricity, sometimes hydrogen - and promoting natural gas, which they argue can can be a cleaner transition fuel from coal and oil to renewables.

For some executives, the sudden plunge in demand for oil caused by pandemic - and the accompanying collapse in earnings - is another warning that unless they change the composition of their businesses, they risk being dinosaurs headed for extinction.

This evolving business is more striking because it is shared by many longtime veterans of the oil business.

''During the last six years, we had extreme volatility in the oil commodities,'' said Caldio Descalzi, 65, the chief executive of Eni, who has been with that Italian company for nearly 40 years.

He said he wanted to build a business increasingly based on green energy, rather than oil. ''We want to stay away from the volatility and uncertainty,'' he added.

Bernard Looney, a 29-year old BP veteran who became chief executive in February, recently told journalists, ''What the world wants from energy is changing, and so wee need to change, quiet frankly, what we offer the world.''

The honor and serving of the Latest Developments in demands for cleaner energy, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Stanley Reed.


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