Oil and gas production cut would be ‘dangerous’ – Shell
The CEO of British energy giant Shell, Wael Sawan, has defended reliance on oil and gas, claiming that cutting production of hydrocarbons would be “dangerous and irresponsible.”
In an interview with the BBC on Thursday, Sawan argued the world still “desperately needs oil and gas,” and that a transition to renewable energy is not happening fast enough to replace them.
Last year, the European Commission urged the EU to speed up its shift to green energy in order to end its dependence on Russian oil and gas. The drive to abandon cheap Russian fuel sent energy prices soaring and contributed to a severe cost-of-living crisis across the bloc.
Sawan claimed that reducing fossil fuel production would risk worsening the economic downturn by limiting global energy supplies and pushing up bills in the face of growing demand from China and cold weather in Europe.
Shell has been criticized by climate activists, with Professor Emily Shuckburgh, a climate scientist at the University of Cambridge, saying the company should focus on accelerating the green transition “rather than trying to suggest the most vulnerable in society are in any way best served by prolonging our use of oil and gas.”
The head of the UN, Antonio Guterres, recently described investments in oil and gas production as “economic and moral madness.”
Commenting on those remarks, Sawan insisted that “what would be dangerous and irresponsible is cutting oil and gas production so that the cost of living, as we saw last year, starts to shoot up again.”
He stated that the EU’s rush to replace Russian energy last year – which involved a buying frenzy of liquefied natural gas – fueled a bidding war on the market and deprived poorer countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh of LNG.
“They took away LNG from those countries and children had to work and study by candlelight,” Sawan said. “If we’re going to have a transition, it needs to be a just transition that doesn’t just work for one part of the world.”
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) recently predicted that oil will remain irreplaceable for the foreseeable future, and that the world’s appetite for crude will rise to 110 million barrels a day by 2045.
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