Shell CFO says investors focusing more on energy security amidst Russian invasion

William Mathis, Bloomberg March 30, 2023

(Bloomberg) – Shell Plc investors are showing more interest in energy security in the wake of the crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Chief Financial Officer Sinead Gorman.

New Chief Executive Officer Wael Sawan is preparing to lay out Shell’s strategy at a capital markets day event in June, which could see the company underscoring the role of oil and gas as Europe’s energy crunch spotlights concerns over security of supply. That message may play well with shareholders who benefited from soaring prices last year.

“You see a changing dialog since the crisis with a more balanced perspective between security and carbon,” Gorman said on the sidelines of a conference in Oxford, England.

While the company has faced pressure from climate activist shareholders to take more aggressive action to cut emissions, CEO Sawan said earlier this month that reducing oil and gas production is not healthy. The company is hearing different messages from investors in the U.S., Europe and Asia and Shell’s priority is to look after all of its shareholders, Gorman said. 

Shell is targeting net-zero emissions by 2050, but reaching that goal is dependent on shifts in global energy demand.

Currently, the world is not on track to cut demand for fossil fuels at a pace that would reach global climate goals. Projected emissions from existing fossil fuel infrastructure, without reducing greenhouse gases through technologies such as carbon capture and storage, would exceed the remaining carbon budget to keep average temperatures below the Paris agreement’s 1.5C target, according to a report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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