Fossil fuel executives must be “more assertive” in debates over energy futures and prepare for intense discussion in the run-up to the UN climate conference in Paris in December, Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden told an International Petroleum Week dinner in London last Thursday.
“The outcome of the political process is uncertain, but the trends behind it are unmistakeable,” van Beurden said, according to prepared remarks.
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“Even more than the oil price, these trends will shape the future of the industry over the coming decades. For a sustainable energy future, we need a more balanced debate. ‘Fossil fuels out, renewables in’—too often, that’s what it boils down to. Yet in my view, that’s simply naïve.”
He added that “yes, climate change is real. And yes, renewables are an indispensable part of the future energy mix. But no, provoking a sudden death of fossil fuels isn’t a plausible plan.”
Van Beurden’s comments “indicate that the oil industry is beginning to become rattled by those talking about a ‘carbon bubble’ of oil and gas reserves that should be left in the ground, and moves by the Church of England and universities to remove their investments from the large oil and coal extractors,” writes Guardian Energy Editor Terry Macalister.
Meanwhile, John Light at grist.org reports that Shell may be preparing for a summer of exploratory drilling in the Alaskan Arctic. “The company suspended operations there in 2012 after a series of minor disasters. Its contractor was hit with eight felony counts and fined $12 million late last year,” he writes.
“But now Shell is moving forward again, with what looks like a newly reaffirmed go-ahead from the Department of the Interior (DOI). One clear sign of its intent: The company has leased a port on the Seattle waterfront where it can base its Arctic operations.”