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Author Topic: The consolidation continues - BP to do what BP does best?  (Read 3212 times)
Laurence
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« on: August 03, 2011, 11:37:01 PM »

Looks like BP are pulling out of the Solar panel market - to concentrate on what they do best, I guess (unrenewables?) Sad

http://www.renewablesinternational.net/bp-to-quit-solar-panel-production/150/510/31497/

Margins are starting to be squeezed to the point where higher cost-based manufacturing facilities can't make money. And if you can't make money, you pack up and go elsewhere, or make something else.

Who's next? Place your bets....

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GavinA
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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2011, 12:24:14 AM »

and here we have the end game for an oil giant in the renewables sector at a time of peak oil, when they can make far higher margins focussing on their primary product.

tbh, IMO BP are significantly to blame for the PV market stagnating in the late 90's / early 2000's just as it was primed for take off, as they bought out Solarex in the mid 90's who at the time were pretty much the US market leaders, then spectacularly failed to invest in the company leaving it to wither and eventually die as it couldn't compete with those german, chinese and other companies not owned by an oil company who actually did invest billions in new plants and technology to reduce the cost of their panels.

A cynic would argue that this was a deliberate strategy of greenwash which actually attempting to silently strangle the industries major player to death. I am a cynic.

Beyond Petroleum...  banghead
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renewablejohn
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« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2011, 08:38:57 AM »

GavinA

I am also a cynic. The number of times alternative technology which could damage the existing players market has suddenly died once purchased by the existing player is pathetic. Government should get a grip and outlaw this anti competitive practice.
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clockmanFR
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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2011, 11:46:45 AM »

In many ways `hats off to China`when they started manufacturing PV's, several Western big boy's attempted to take the Chinese to courts over so called Patent infringements.

China just carried on manufacturing and the market place actually won.
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profp
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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2011, 12:05:35 PM »

GavinA

I am also a cynic. The number of times alternative technology which could damage the existing players market has suddenly died once purchased by the existing player is pathetic. Government should get a grip and outlaw this anti competitive practice.

In this case, you guys are wrong. There was no planned malevolence, granted, a bit of ineptitude perhaps - but certainly no strategy to silence competitors to the traditional oil business.
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GavinA
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« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2011, 05:49:44 PM »

In this case, you guys are wrong. There was no planned malevolence, granted, a bit of ineptitude perhaps - but certainly no strategy to silence competitors to the traditional oil business.
possibly. They were however hedging their bets, and definitely used the solar side of the business as greenwash while they were investing hundreds times more in oil exploration in ever more difficult locations than they invested in their solar business.

However you look at it, they took a world leading solar brand and massively underinvested in it to the point that at the time when the world market has turned into a huge market worth hundreds of billions of dollars a year BP are closing it down.

Had they chosen to invest seriously in the business, using some of their vast oil profits to actually move the company 'beyond petroleum' rather than just using that as a PR strategy, then they could easily have been doing what the likes of suntech are doing now and pulling the solar revolution forward from the front, rather than paying lip service to that side of their business resulting in it beign closed down.

Looking at BP's track record though, you could be right about it simply being utter incompetence.
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EccentricAnomaly
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« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2011, 06:08:58 PM »

I wonder if part of the issue might be that, since the Deepwater Horizon accident, BP might feel it's better just to keep a low profile rather than try any greenwash.
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profp
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« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2011, 09:31:08 AM »

I wonder if part of the issue might be that, since the Deepwater Horizon accident, BP might feel it's better just to keep a low profile rather than try any greenwash.

It's more a case of retrenching to the core business they know best - sadly developments in oil extraction have reduced the commercial imperative that previously existed to explore the AE sector of the business. AE was always a minnow, and never provided anything approaching a sane ROI. There is/was no greenwash campaign. The company is accountable to its shareholders. The shareholders accept that BP is an oil-driven business (and if they don't like it, they have the freedom to invest elsewhere). The internal company culture is (yes, I know this is hard to believe) primarily safety driven, with the balance sheet coming a close second. If a strategy doesn't make commercial sense, it gets canned, as the shareholders would expect.
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Kombi
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« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2011, 06:04:05 PM »

Let's hope they'll keep honoring their 25 year output warranty...I would not want to hear the opposite...
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AidyB
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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2011, 08:05:20 PM »

I actually heard that they were pulling out of the wholesale market and moving to the developer market rather than pulling out of the industry all together.

Total have just bought in, Shell sold out about three years ago.  I am sure the oil supermajors will end up trying to dominate the western power market however it continues, but then why wouldn't they?
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Declaration of interest: I used to work for a Solar PV Installer.
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