The CEO of Shell, Wael Sawan, has defended the company’s reliance on oil and gas, stating that cutting production of hydrocarbons would be “dangerous and irresponsible.” In an interview with the BBC, Sawan argued that the world still “desperately needs oil and gas” and that the transition to renewable energy is not happening fast enough to replace them.
Last year, the European Commission urged the EU to accelerate its shift to green energy in order to end its dependence on Russian oil and gas. However, this drive to abandon cheap Russian fuel led to a sharp increase in energy prices 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 driving up bills, especially with the growing demand from China and cold weather in Europe. He emphasized the importance of a just transition that considers the needs of all countries, rather than benefiting only one part of the world.
Shell’s stance on oil and gas production has been criticized by climate activists, who argue that the company should focus on accelerating the green transition instead of prolonging the use of fossil fuels. Professor Emily Shuckburgh, a climate scientist at the University of Cambridge, stated that Shell should prioritize the well-being of the most vulnerable in society rather than prolonging the reliance on oil and gas.
The head of the UN, Antonio Guterres, also recently criticized investments in oil and gas production, describing them as “economic and moral madness.” In response, Sawan argued that cutting oil and gas production would lead to a rise in the cost of living, as seen in the previous year. He highlighted the negative consequences of the EU’s rush to replace Russian energy, which resulted in a bidding war on the market and deprived poorer countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh of liquefied natural gas.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has predicted that oil will remain irreplaceable in the foreseeable future, with the world’s demand for crude projected to rise to 110 million barrels a day by 2045.
In conclusion, Shell’s CEO Wael Sawan has defended the company’s reliance on oil and gas, arguing that cutting production would be dangerous and irresponsible. He emphasized the need for a just transition that takes into account the global energy demand and the well-being of all countries. However, Shell’s stance has faced criticism from climate activists who believe that the company should prioritize accelerating the green transition. The debate around fossil fuel production continues as the world grapples with finding sustainable energy solutions for the future.