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Renewables spending seen outpacing oil, gas exploration in Asia

Spending on renewable energy will outpace investments in oil and gas exploration in Asia by 2020, consultancy Rystad Energy said May 26.

Capital spending on renewables is expected to edge out investment in upstream oil and gas projects at more than $30 billion in the region in 2020. Clean-energy investing is supported by large project pipelines in Australia, Taiwan, Vietnam and South Korea and by national policies aimed at developing renewable energy resources, the firm said.

Meanwhile, oil majors are likely to play a bigger role in building wind and solar farms and energy storage projects, Gero Farruggio, head of renewables at Rystad Energy, said in a news release.

"Commercial drivers are increasing the desire to ride the 'solar-coaster,'" Farruggio said. "Solar panels, lithium-ion batteries and turbines will soon be conventional segments of Australia's oilfield services."

The analysis excluded China.

Albert Cheung, head of global analysis at market researcher BloombergNEF, said at an energy conference in April that he does not expect "a huge amount" of growth in gas demand in the global electricity sector.

Maarten Wetselaar, director of integrated gas and new energies at Royal Dutch Shell PLC, agreed.

"I think the power sector will, in the transition ... be a significant user of gas, because the priority will obviously be to push coal out of the energy mix," Wetselaar said at the April conference in New York. "But over time, the storage solutions and other solutions to manage intermittency will penetrate the power sector deeper," and "then gas will be more peripheral."

Shell, which plans to become the world's biggest electricity company by 2035, has said it will invest up to $2 billion annually in new energy technologies beginning in 2020.