Oil giants pile into energy storage

This five-year chart of Brent crude prices shows the pain oil companies have been experiencing since mid-2014... and why they might be looking to diversify into energy storage.

This five-year chart of Brent crude prices shows the pain oil companies have been experiencing since mid-2014… and why they might be looking to diversify into energy storage (chart: CNBC).

By Jason Deign

The last week has seen two Big Oil firms move into energy storage as continuing low prices for crude force petroleum sector players to diversify.

On Monday the French oil giant Total announced a friendly takeover of Saft Groupe, which specialises in batteries for the transport, industry and defence sectors.

The €950m purchase represents a 38.3% premium on Saft’s share price on the close of business the Friday before the announcement. It is also 41.9% above Saft’s weighted average share price over the previous six months, Total said.

“The acquisition of Saft is part of Total’s ambition to accelerate its development in the fields of renewable energy and electricity, initiated in 2011 with the acquisition of SunPower,” said Patrick Pouyanné, Total’s chairman and CEO.

“It will notably allow us to complement our portfolio with electricity storage solutions, a key component of the future growth of renewable energy.”
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Could energy storage be onto a winner in France?

We analyse recent market developments in energy storage in France – from Total buying into Aquion Energy, GDF Suez testing Eos Energy Storage batteries to start-ups such as Nawa Technologies. Photo credit: McPhy Energy

We analyse recent market developments in energy storage in France – from Total buying into Aquion Energy, GDF Suez testing Eos Energy Storage batteries to start-ups such as Nawa Technologies. Photo credit: McPhy Energy

It has been a mixed bag for energy storage in France recently. Three weeks ago came the news of faltering finances at Areva, one of France’s biggest power sector companies and a potentially significant energy storage player.The future of Areva’s energy storage programme is as yet still unclear and might not be known until a new strategic plan is unveiled in February.

Almost simultaneously with the Areva bombshell, however, another big French energy player, GDF Suezannounced it would be testing battery systems from Eos Energy Storage, a promising US developer. So what is to be made of the fickle French market?
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