Wael Sawan, the boss of energy major Shell, has hit out at critics of his company’s decision to maintain the current level of oil and gas production.
Sawan has been quoted as saying that renewable energy capacity is not growing fast enough to compensate for any lost hydrocarbons production.
Shell, which also makes industrial products like the Shell Corena compressor oil, has the long-term ambition of becoming a net-zero business by 2050. However, it has recently scaled back its shorter-term commitments in response to the recent energy crisis.
In an interview with the BBC, Sawan disagreed with arguments that continuing with fossil fuel production is morally and economically unjustifiable, saying:
“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 also pointed out that following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the price of liquefied natural gas (LNG) skyrocketed as European countries scrabbled to replace Russian gas imports. This has made LNG unaffordable for poorer countries. He said that any energy transition:
“…needs to be a just transition that doesn’t just work for one part of the world.”
When asked about whether Shell has any plans to move its headquarters from UK, he said it would not be a priority issue over the next few years, but he did not rule out potentially moving Shell’s listing and headquarters to the US, where for each dollar in profit, Exxon Mobil is valued 40% more than Shell.