Exxon and Shell will Never Again Match Their Oil Market Share in Renewables

According to Bloomberg, cleantech global capital spending was $333 Billion last year, 40% of that in China.  That’s 3.5x bigger than the COMBINED capex total for Shell, Exxon, BP, Chevron, and Total.
Put another way, that’s enough capital to outspend 7 Shell’s and 7 Exxon’s.
These are staggering numbers.
Bloomberg reports cleantech venture capital was a paltry $4 Bil, meaning the whole sector was half the size of the Softbank Uber deal alone.
Inflection point may be behind us – our theme song: The world has turned upside down.
I am calling it here:  As wind and solar now start to mature, Exxon and Shell will never match their oil market share in renewables (Shell was a major wind and solar player 15 years ago, Exxon actually invented the lithium ion battery). Several of the majors, BP, Shell, Chevron et al had larger market share in renewables than oil up until about 2004.  Total, which bet heavily on Sunpower a decade ago, probably has the best chance to stay relevant, but even that is iffy.  They’ve let Sunpower’s effective market share shrink.
We are well past the trillion dollar mark in renewables and cleantech infrastructure spending globally.  IEA forecasts within 5 years global renewable power generation will be larger than the total power consumption of China, India, and Germany combined.
Even if the largest of the major oil companies were to shift half of their capex now into renewables, it is highly doubtful at this point they will ever achieve more than 1-2% total global market share over time – no matter what they do from here on out.
They probably have a 36-48 year window left, in which if they shifted 50% + of capex, they MIGHT be able to hold energy market share for the coming decades, if renewable industry growth rates collapse to low single digits.  But frankly, after that time, barring a massive asset sale + stock and debt acquisiton spree, or even now if the renewable industry keeps growing aggressively, probably would not be enough to do it.  They’d need to run a massive asset divestiture program and funnel the cash into heavy renewables investment before the installed base gets too much bigger.  And given debt loads, dividends, and need to keep cashflow up in their core, it is probably not a practical bet for any of their boards to make.  Math is math.  At this point the old seven sisters are probably reduced to being niche players in the energy future.
For reference ExxonMobil currently has about 2.3% share in global oil production.

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