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(JAMIE FRANCIS/THE OREGONIAN)

Financial Times

BP goes beyond petroleum – and back again

Lex is a premium daily commentary service from the Financial Times. It helps readers make better investment decisions by highlighting key emerging risks and opportunities.

The sun may finally be setting on Beyond Petroleum. Remember that? It was BP’s big push into renewable energy under former chief executive officer John Browne. By putting its U.S. wind farm business up for sale this week, the company may be telling the world that an oil and gas producer has no business being in the power generation business, which is where investing in solar or wind power inevitably leads. BP is right to sell, though the $1.5-billion (U.S.) or so the wind farms are likely to fetch (and that may be optimistic) would be a poor return on an investment that may have cost it up to $4-billion.