23 Aug 2022

Energy companies investing just 5% of profits in renewables

Big energy companies are investing the equivalent of 5% of their record profits in green projects, an exclusive Channel 4 News analysis has revealed.

Channel 4 News analysed the accounts of four of Europe’s largest oil and gas companies – BP, Shell, TotalEnergies and Equinor.

In the first six months of this year they made a total of more than £74bn in pre-tax profits.

BP invested £300m into renewables and ‘low carbon’ in the first half of 2022 — equivalent to just 2.5% of its £12.2bn profits. By comparison, it invested £3.8bn in new oil and gas projects — more than 10 times its low carbon investments.

Shell invested equivalent to 6.3% of its £17.1bn profits into low carbon energy, investing nearly three times more in oil and gas.

The analysis found all four companies are investing more in fossil fuels than renewables and low carbon energy.

‘We don’t have any control’

BP, Shell and Equinor only publish figures on renewables investment alongside what they class as ‘low carbon’ energy — which can include more contested, non-renewable energy technologies.

Tess Khan, of green energy campaign group Uplift, told Channel 4 News: “What this shows is that their investment in renewables is a vanishingly small proportion of their overall investment, which is still very much focused on oil and gas.

“In the UK we don’t have any control, no matter how much oil and gas we produce domestically, over the price that we pay for it. And ultimately, we are in an energy affordability crisis.”

All four companies told Channel 4 News they are increasing their investment in renewables.

BP is planning low carbon investments of up to £5bn by 2030. Shell says it will invest £20-£25bn in UK energy in the next decade, more than 75% of it in low carbon energy.

TotalEnergies says 25% of its investment will be in renewables up to 2025. Equinor aims for more than 50% of its investment to be in renewables and low carbon by 2030.