BP and Shell are the giants of the oil and gas sector. Their businesses are dominated by oil and natural-gas production. So they often meet criticism form the enviromentalists.
But situation is changing constantly as BP and Shell's new campaign goes beyond trying to score "green" points with consumers.
BP has invested millions in green energy technology. Its wind business is expected to record a profit by yearend, with its solar business targeted for the black by the end of 2003. No other giant oil company comes close to BP's alternative-energy efforts except Royal Dutch Petroleum, which includes various companies under the Shell name.
BP and Royal Dutch are making strategic bets that renewable-energy technology will advance, grow cost-efficient, and move from niche markets to the mainstream sooner rather than later.
BP's primary focus is wind and solar. It holds slightly over a 20% stake in Green Mountain Energy that generates power from wind, solar, and other renewable sources. Consumers might be more familiar with BP's Connect service stations, which are partially powered by solar panels. BP is developing hydrogen-related energy technology, too.
Royal Dutch's Shell is striving to be greener as well. It has invested roughly half a billion dollars in five years. Like BP, its primary thrusts are solar and wind energy. Shell, though, is also concentrating on biofuel derived from agricultural fibers, geothermal energy that uses the earth as a heat source, and hydrogen. These two energy giants are also reducing their green-house gas emissions.
The key part of BP and Shell’s green strategy is an aggressive marketing campaign.