What’s the story?
Europe’s biggest oil firm, Shell, has shared its updated strategy to ‘accelerate its transformation’ to a provider of net-zero emissions energy products and services, for both itself and for the products it sells to customers, by 2050.
To speed up the journey to carbon neutral, Shell announced in a media release a new set of targets to reduce its net carbon intensity, with milestones of 6-8 percent by 2023, 20 percent by 2030, 45 percent by 2035 and 100 percent by 2050, using a baseline of 2016.
In the release, Shell also confirmed that its oil production peaked in 2019, and expects that its total carbon emissions peaked in 2018 at 1.7 gigatonnes per annum. The oil giant is seeking access to an additional 25 million tonnes a year of carbon, capture and storage (CCS) capacity by 2035, and aims to use nature-based solutions (NBS) “in line with the philosophy of avoid, reduce and only then mitigate, to offset emissions of around 120 million tonnes a year by 2030”.
Why is this positive news for the planet?
Any time a big corporation not only pledges to work towards a net-zero target, but also sets out a roadmap for doing so, that is a win for the planet.
According to the BBC, Shell wants to expand its renewables, biofuels, and hydrogen businesses as it comes under increasing pressure from investors and creditors. This is a good thing, because if there is one group of people that big corporations listen to, it’s their shareholders. In recent months, we have seen an increase in investors putting pressure on global companies to address their involvement in fossil fuels and demand a strategy to move towards renewables or clean energy.
Shell services 1 million commercial and industrial customers, and 30 million customers at 46,000 retail service stations daily. Its plans for the energy transition include shifting its long-term focus from oil and gas, to selling renewable energy. Shell has pledged to invest $2-3 billion in Renewables and Energy Solutions, which will target integrated power, nature-based solutions and hydrogen. However, Shell has made no commitment to increasing solar and wind power generation, unlike its competitors BP and Total.
Existing Shell refineries will be used to produce biofuels, in an extension to the company’s current biofuels production and distribution business, which in 2019 sold more than 10 billion litres of biofuels.
Chief executive, Ben van Beurden, said:
“We must give our customers the products and services they want and need – products that have the lowest environmental impact. At the same time, we will use our established strengths to build on our competitive portfolio as we make the transition to be a net-zero emissions business in step with society.”