pedalling_faster wrote:if they re-define themselves as an "energy company", there's a lot they can do about energy depletion.
Well, I disagree, and this gets to the real point. You can't just arbitrarily define your company as something and then be successful at it - your strategic goals have to be based on your resources and capabilities. Otherwise, companies who really ARE good at it will put you out of business.
Your idea is very vogue in business school right now, and the example always used is the railroad companies. If only they had defined themselves as "transportation companies," they would still be thriving, right? I disagree. I think companies like Ford would have still made better cars than them, would have run them out of the car business, and then because of all the money they wasted on cars, the whole company probably would have failed taking the railroad division down with it. The reason - nothing about moving things around on track has to do with designing, manufacturing, or selling cars.
Furthermore, does it matter that the railroad companies failed? Would things be any different today if they had modified their strategy and went into making cars? I don't think it matters - the market just re-allocated their capital, equipment, and people into a different industry.
So, bottom line, I think in 50 or so years, most of the oil companies will cease to exist regardless of what they do now. And I think that changing strategy is probably just a waste of shareholder money. Of course my opinion doesn't really matter, but I do invest accordingly.