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The president of Shell stated that the reduction of oil and gas production may be dangerous

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Wael Sawan, the head of oil giant Shell, told the BBC that the world still “desperately needs oil and gas” and argued that limiting the production of these raw materials would be “dangerous and irresponsible”.

Wael Sawan stressed that the world still “desperately needs oil and gas” because the transition to renewable energy is not happening fast enough to replace them.

He warned that increased demand from China and a cold winter in Europe could pick up again energy pricesand therefore bills.

Continuing mining is ‘economic and moral madness’

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Sawan angered climate scientists, who said Shell’s plan to continue current oil production until 2030 was flawed.

Professor Emily Shuckburgh, a climate scientist at the University of Cambridge, said companies like Shell should focus on accelerating the green transition “rather than implying that the most vulnerable in society are in any way served by extending our use of oil and gas.”

UN chief António Guterres recently said that investing in new oil and gas production is “economic and moral madness.”

Sawan referred to these words in an interview with the BBC.


“I respectfully disagree,” said Shell’s CEO. “What would be dangerous and irresponsible would be to reduce oil and gas production,” he said.

The race to find greener alternatives to fossil fuels is now underway, with world leaders pledged to stop the world warming by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius this century. Last year European Commission outlined how the EU plans to accelerate the transition to green energy to end its dependence on Russian oil and gas.

Lack of infrastructure in poor countries

However, as the BBC notes, many countries do not have the infrastructure to switch to more sustainable forms of energy.

Sawan said last year’s international gas bidding war left poorer countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh unable to afford liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments, which were instead routed to Northern Europe.

“They took LNG from these countries, and the children had to work and study by candlelight,” said Shell’s CEO. “If we’re going to make a transition, it has to be a just transition that doesn’t only work in one part of the world,” he added.

Claire Fyson, co-head of climate policy at Climate Analytics, a global science and policy institute, told the BBC that “the idea that this is a choice between our dependence on fossil fuels and working by candlelight is a blatant misrepresentation of reality.” – Especially when we know that renewable energy sources they are cleaner, cheaper and better for public health, she stressed.

“A Huge Challenge”

Great Britain pledged to spend £11.6 billion on international funding for activities related to climate changebut an internal document seen by the BBC says economic shocks such as the COVID pandemic have “turned this goal into a huge challenge”. The head of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, said that “if governments are serious about the climate crisis, there can be no new investments in oil, gas and coal from now on.”

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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