Plans are underway for oil giant Shell to spend as much as $1 billion a year on its New Energies division.
Ben Van Beurden Shell CEO said that In some parts of the world battery electric cars are starting to gain consumer acceptance while wind and solar costs are falling fast. He also added that
This was good news for the world and must accelerate, while still offering opportunities for producers of fossil fuels. The intermittent nature of wind and solar energy means power plants fired by natural gas will have a long-term role, and that the oil giant sees opportunities in hydrogen fuel-cells, next-generation biofuels for air travel, liquefied natural gas and, shipping and heavy freight — areas of transport for which batteries aren’t adequate.
The Shell CEO Mr. Van Beurden was addressing the World Petroleum Congress a gathering of ministers and CEOs from some of the largest oil producers.
This plans come at a time when the accelerating shift to clean energy is raising questions about Shell’s long-term business models.
Oil and gas will be dominant for decades to come according to Russian energy minister, Alexander Novak, and Saudi Arabian Oil Co. Boss, Amin Nasser, while Mr. Van Beurden highlighted the potential for some of the fastest-growing nations to leap straight to a cleaner energy mix.
He also stated that when one considers the areas of the world where energy demand is still to expand, like Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, there is a huge opportunity. He said that these areas are not, on the whole, locked in to a coal-driven system, that there is the potential for them to shift more directly onto a less energy-intensive pathway to development.
He further stated that there was often 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.” He said.