Shell's Scramble Scenario?

Nothing irks me more at the moment than oil companies that suddenly seemed to turn over a new green leaf a while ago when the price of oil skyrocketed now going back to their old ways.. and sometimes even worse.

Some started trying to relabel themselves as energy companies genuinely concerned about the environment and accepting the reality of Peak Oil. They started heavily investing in green energy projects, only to turn tail when oil prices crashed.

In January last year, I published a quote from Shell’s CEO who said that “After 2015, easily accessible supplies of oil and gas probably will no longer keep up with demand”.

I more recently wrote about Shell now snubbing new renewable energy investment as they weren’t competing well against their other investments.

My last post was related to the looming oil/tar sands catastrophe in Canada and it seems that Shell has a big role there also.

The Pembina Institute has accused Royal Dutch Shell of backflipping on commitments to reduce its green house gas emissions at a Canadian oil sands project.

The group believes that if Shell does not stay good on its word and meet targets originally set for the projects, emissions from those facilities could increase by 900,000 tonnes – equivalent to the emissions from 200,000 cars.

What I don’t understand is that given tar sands oil extraction is horribly energy intensive and expensive, why turn more attention to it when oil prices are comparatively low? What do they see on the horizon? Is peak oil even closer than their CEO thought a year ago? Has it arrived already as some believe?

Harking back to the speech by Shell’s CEO, Jeroen van der Veer last year; he outlined two scenarios for our energy future.

One was the Blueprints scenario, that he said resembles a cautious ride, with some false starts, on a road that is still under construction. Coalitions would emerge to take on the challenges of economic development, energy security, and environmental pollution through cross-border cooperation.

The other was Scramble scenario, where nations rush to secure energy resources and greenhouse gas emissions are not seriously addressed until major shocks trigger political reactions that are severe and lead to energy price spikes and volatility.

If what Pembina says is true and based on Shell’s recent turnaround on renewables, sounds like we’re heading for scramble – and that’s not good for us or the environment.


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