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Royal Dutch Shell and Total flirt with becoming utilities

Royal Dutch Shell and Total flirt with becoming utilities

Mar 28th 2018

IN AMERICA Big Oil remembers BP’s attempt to go “Beyond Petroleum” in the 2000s as a toe-curling embarrassment. In Europe it is seen as being ahead of its time. Once again the oil industry is experimenting with cross-dressing. Statoil, a Norwegian oil firm, is abandoning a name given to it almost 50 years ago to become the wispier Equinor. The firm formerly known as Dong, for Danish Oil and Natural Gas, is now Ørsted, a big wind firm named after the founder of electromagnetism.

Royal Dutch Shell and Total, Europe’s biggest private producers, are (mercifully) not changing their names. But they are toying with a strategy that could be far more adventurous—moving their core businesses from hydrocarbons to electrons.

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