More opportunities for fossil fuel producers

Heavy industries like steel still require a heat intensity that cannot come from electricity alone

As the move to renewable power and electric cars gains momentum, Shell’s CEO Ben Van Beurden told an audience at the World Petroleum Congress that the company is planning to spend up to $1 billion a year on its New Energies division

“In some parts of the world we’re beginning to see battery electric cars starting to gain consumer acceptance while wind and solar costs are falling fast – all of this is good news for the world and must accelerate.”

In areas of transport where batteries are not adequate, Shell sees opportunities in hydrogen fuel-cells, liquefied natural gas and next-generation biofuels for air travel, shipping and heavy freight.

And, with the intermittent nature of wind and solar energy Shell also sees natural gas-fired power plants having a long-term role.

Putting more focus on the fast-growing developing world

AdAAsWith tWithAs the shift to clean energy accelerates questions about the long-term business models of the fossil fuel companies were raised at the event.

Whilst Russian energy minister Alexander Novak and Amin Nassar, the boss of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company see oil and gas being dominant for decades to come, Ben Van Beurden highlighted the potential for some of the fastest-growing nations to leapfrog straight to a cleaner energy mix.

“When you consider the areas of the world where energy demand is still to expand, like Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, there is a huge opportunity. These countries will still require fossil fuels to develop industries such as steel, cement and chemicals because they need a heat intensity that cannot come from electricity alone.

“These are areas that are not, on the whole, locked into a coal-driven system. There is the potential for them to shift more directly onto a less energy-intensive pathway to development.”

Van Buerden believes that there is ‘too much focus on energy-transition policies in Europe and North America instead of the fast-growing developing world’.

“What happens in England is important, but what happens in Ethiopia is at least as important. From Denmark to the DRC, from the U.S. to Uganda, to India, to China, there is a lot of work to do.”

www.shell.co.uk

 

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