CERAWeek by S&P Global 2023: Shell CEO reaffirms energy transition, security goals

Bethany Fischer, Digital Editor, World Oil March 09, 2023

(WO) – CERAWeek by S&P Global continued on Thursday with an Executive Leadership session featuring S&P Global Vice Chairman Daniel Yergin and Shell CEO Wael Sawan. During the discussion, Sawan talked about emissions goals, European energy security, and Shell’s place in the energy transition.

Shell’s contribution to the energy transition. While Sawan expressed excitement about the future of the industry and the energy transition, the CEO acknowledged that the world is “way behind” where it needs to be. Sawan reaffirmed Shell’s commitment to reach net zero by 2050. The company will continue, he said, to decarbonize operations by prioritizing LNG, carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS), and “leveraging customer connects” to support clients in delivering low-carbon energy around the world.

Last week, Sawan made waves when he said that cutting oil and gas production “isn’t healthy,” despite committing to the energy transition. The CEO clarified that he was referring to global operations. “The transition is determined by demand, not supply,” he said. Starving the world of supply will only exacerbate the cost crisis, he added.

Concern for energy security in Europe. However, Sawan expressed concern for the market today. The CEO described the current market as “fragile,” with Europe having yet to solve its energy crisis. Sawan called efforts to secure affordable energy “complacent.” When supplying energy to Europe, “we need to stop depending on luck,” he said. Governments need more storage, more renewables, better LNG import support and better legislation to achieve energy security, he added.

When speaking about Shell’s electric future, Sawan said that Shell is not looking to be the world’s largest power company. Instead, the firm will focus on delivering multi-energy sources and playing to their strengths. For example, Shell has exciting opportunities in the U.S. and India, where the company has acquired LNG terminals that are set to start working in the near future.

In fact, Sawan doubled down on the idea that LNG will be “critical” for Europe’s future energy security. According to Sawan, 2.5% of the world’s demand has exited the market, thanks to Russian production cuts. Liquified natural gas will help diversify Europe’s energy supply, with countries like Germany opening four LNG terminals to received excess supply.

Overall, Sawan appeared excited for Shell’s future, as it leads the charge in this new energy market. While the CEO says that “the energy transition isn’t one that Shell can slow down or speed up,” the industry giant will be a huge player in decarbonization and stabilizing Europe’s volatile energy security in the near future.

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