Shell to invest 'up to $2 billion' in New Energies

WORLDWIDE: Oil and gas giant Royal Dutch Shell expects most of its planned investments in its New Energies division until 2020 to be in power, and solar, wind and gas generation, the company confirmed.

Shell set up its New Energies division in 2016 to build on its experience in “lower carbon technology
Shell set up its New Energies division in 2016 to build on its experience in “lower carbon technology

The company reaffirmed its intention to spend between $1 billion and $2 billion in the division each year until 2020 in its Energy Transition report.

It set up its New Energies division in 2016 to build on its experience in "lower carbon technology" and "explore new commercial models focused on the world’s energy transition".

The company had previously stated it intended to spend up to $1 billion per year by 2020 to explore opportunities in renewables and biofuels, before upping this spending target in 2017.

New Energies spending remains only a small slice of Shell’s total capital expenditure, however.

Shell reduced its annual capital spending from $46 billion in 2013 to $24 billion last year, and has earmarked between $25 billion and $30 billion in total annual spending until 2020.

But Chad Holliday, the company’s chair, claims Shell’s strengths of having a "global energy supply and trading network" and staff with "some of the best engineering and project management expertise around" can be leveraged in areas outside its traditional sectors of oil and gas.

"We are preparing for the future by using those strengths while investing in new areas of energy, whether that is wind or solar power, charging points for electric vehicles or lower-carbon biofuels," he wrote in a foreword to the report.

Primary energy use by geography between 2017 and 2070 (credit: Shell)

Shell expects global energy demand to grow during the 21st century as the world's population exceeds ten billion and becomes more prosperous, it stated.

Each of its energy scenarios accompanying these changes feature "long-term demand for oil and gas, alongside rapid growth in renewable sources like wind and solar, and low-emission fuels such as biofuels," the report’s authors wrote.

Shell expects demand for wind power to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) 11.3% between 2020 and 2025.

It anticipates only hydrogen (CAGR of 29.7%) and solar PV (20.3%) demand will grow at a faster rate over this period.

The company predicts wind growth will grow at a similar CAGR between 2025 and 2030 (9.5%), and 2030 and 2040 (10.1%), before slowing in the 20 years beyond 2040 (5.4%).

After 2025 it expects global demand for oil to decline beyond 2025 and demand for gas to fall beyond 2030.

The authors wrote: "The decline in costs of solar and wind generation, along with the electrification of the energy system, make the development of renewable energy resources increasingly attractive for society, and an attractive opportunity for Shell."

The report comes a week after environmental group Friends of the Earth threatened Shell with legal action over its contribution to global warming.

Shell led a consortium that won a tender for the 680MW Borssele III and IV zone in the Dutch North Sea in December 2016. It has since sold a 45% stake in the project to Swiss investment manager Partners Group.

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