Oil investors are getting worried. Electric cars have accelerated on to the front pages. Sales are surging, carmakers are unveiling plans for all-electric models and this week Britain vowed to ban sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040. Yet if Big Oil believes that death is about to pull up in a Tesla, it’s doing a good job of hiding it. On Thursday, Ben van Beurden, the boss of Royal Dutch Shell, welcomed Britain’s plans and declared that his next car would be electric. And earlier in the year Spencer Dale, BP’s chief economist, bluntly described the arrival of electric vehicles on the oil majors’ lawn as “not a game-changer”, adding that not even “enormous” growth in sales of such vehicles would make a big dent in global oil demand. That’s partly because the world needs oil for much more than just cars. BP reckons that fuel for passenger vehicles accounts for about a fifth of the 95 million barrels consumed globally every day. Most of the rest is used in industry, plastics manufacturing or to fuel heavy goods vehicles, aircraft and ships. Such sectors do not have easy non-oil alternatives and companies believe that some, especially petrochemicals, will keep growing strongly for decades.
Times 31st July 2017 read more »