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Liam Denning

Big Oil Can Help Renewables by Spinning Them Off

Spinning energy-transition assets into new companies would attract new investors and mollify old ones.

Let them spin.

Let them spin.

Photographer: David McNew/Getty Images North America

Big Oil’s forays into renewable energy have drawn a lot of skepticism. Besides accusations of greenwashing, any oil CEO embracing energy transition must somehow convince investors to trust them putting cash into unfamiliar businesses that might need a lot of upfront spending before there’s much in the way of profits. 

It’s a race against time; a race to prove the CEO isn’t just splurging money on their version of the vision thing. One way to try getting there faster involves a lesson from a more familiar bit of the energy business: pipelines.