Energy major Shell has joined a second round of bidding, together with other potential buyers, to purchase Danish biogas firm Nature Energy. The development follows BP’s acquisition of Archaea Energy Inc., which produces biogas in the United States, for $4.1 billion as part of its plans to scale up its production of renewable natural gas.
Both Shell and BP are looking to transition to becoming net-zero businesses by 2050, and biogas is an interesting avenue for achieving this goal as it is produced from biological waste such as from agriculture, so it is entirely renewable. Nature Energy currently operates 13 facilities, mostly in Denmark, with more on the way. This year, it plans to use 4.4 million tonnes of waste to produce 181 million cubic metres of green natural gas for use in household heating or transport.
Shell, which makes popular lubricants like the Shell Refrigeration compressor oil, already has a relationship with the company, having agreed to purchase biogas from it in 2020. Biogas has yet to see major breakthroughs that could see it compete with established energy technologies like wind and solar, but the technological and industrial capability of Shell could help advance the technology enough to make industrial-scale production feasible.
In addition to reducing the need to burn fossil fuels, biogas production could also help ensure Europe’s energy security by reducing its reliance on third parties like Russia and distant producers of liquefied natural gas.
The sale process is expect to conclude by the end of this year.