Oil & gas companies have been gradually ratcheting up their investments in renewables in recent years, apparently coming round to the reality — and unavoidable financial imperatives — of a clean-energy future. But how significant is this push into green power? Are the deep-pocketed oil majors about to become major players in renewables?

Of course, this is not the first time Big Oil has shown an interest in clean energy. Around a decade ago, majors such as Shell, Total and BP — which memorably rebranded as Beyond Petroleum — dipped their toes into wind and solar, only to exit after a few years, citing low returns.