Incoming Shell CEO to ramp up renewables’ efforts, Nigerian oil operations likely to suffer
Shell’s incoming CEO, Wael Sawan, is planning to intensify the group’s drive to develop its renewable energy business, including a possible “transformative” clean power acquisition, according to company and industry sources.
The Lebanese-Canadian Sawan, 48, current head of Shell’s natural gas and renewables business, is likely to accelerate the group’s renewables portfolio expansion.
However, this could mean a further reduction in the multinational’s activities in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, as pressure mounts on the company, which has been operating in Nigeria for over six decades, to reduce its investment in hydrocarbons.
Shell has recently launched a divestment campaign in Nigeria, citing the numerous problems in the Niger Delta as well as the imperatives of the global energy transition, which seeks to drastically reduce carbon emissions.
However, the process has been stymied by a court decision that requires the company to resolve environmental issues with one of the communities in which it operates before selling off some of its onshore and shallow water assets.
Sawan will take on a firm with a strong balance sheet following a surge in oil and gas prices, but whose renewables capacity has lagged peers like TotalEnergies and BP as green issues gain traction.
Shell aims to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and become a net-zero emitter by 2050, and it is already taking steps to do so, bringing in hundreds of experienced oil and gas workers and hiring hundreds more this year.
According to a group spokesperson, the strategy Sawan helped develop in his current role will be maintained, “and delivery of the strategy will be as dynamic under the new CEO as it has been under the current CEO”.
With the $53 billion acquisition of smaller rival BG Group, outgoing CEO Ben van Beurden quickly cemented Shell’s position as the world’s top Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) trader.
The company remains heavily reliant on oil and gas, with renewables and energy solutions accounting for only 6% of earnings in the second quarter of this year.
Source: Energy Ghana