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Oil giant Repsol signals renewables fillip in 'net-zero' pledge

Spanish group says it's first to set target that will be scrutinised over 'greenwashing'

Spain’s Repsol said it plans to become a “leading international player in renewable energies” as it became the first global oil & gas group to adopt a net-zero emissions target, in an announcement that will inevitably face scrutiny for signs of ‘greenwashing’.

Repsol said its board had sanctioned 1.6GW of unspecified further renewable investments, likely to be Spanish onshore wind and solar, bringing its total portfolio to 5.6GW, as it set the net-zero ambition for its operations by 2050 to coincide with the COP25 UN climate summit, which is being held in Spain.

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Repsol said the move will also see it “integrate renewable energy into refining operations, which will incorporate production of green hydrogen as well as the use of renewable energy to fuel industrial processes”.

Repsol boosted its renewables base earlier this year with the acquisition of a 794MW wind and solar portfolio in Spain. It is also a stakeholder in the pioneering WindFloat floating wind initiative that is currently underway off Portugal.

Like other oil & gas groups Repsol is under pressure to show action in the face of governmental, consumer and shareholder pressure to refocus its business for the energy transition.

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The Spanish fossil group said adjusting the value of its assets to reflect future oil and gas prices in line with the aims of the Paris Agreement would lead to a € 4.8bn ($5.3bn) impairment charge this quarter.

Repsol’s move will be closely examined, with oil & gas giants regularly accused of championing renewables while quietly securing a long-term future for their core products, particularly gas.

Rivals such as Total have previously defended themselves against charges of greenwashing in the face of extreme scepticism from market commentators.

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