Global Processing

Shell''s renewables strategy to focus on biofuels

March 18, 2009
Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Europe''s largest oil company, announced its alternative energy strategy would focus more on biofuels than wind or solar energy, reported the Associated Press. They also revealed that investments in the sector are still only a tiny fraction of its overall business. Presenting the company''s strategy, Shell said it has made $1.7 billion in investments in renewable energy and to reduce carbon dioxide output over the past five years. Executive board member Linda Cook said the company wouldn''t give further details or disclose future spending plans in the individual categories of renewable energy. But she said Shell''s ultimate goal is to build a "material business in alternative energy" and that the company plans to concentrate on biofuels at the expense of wind energy or solar power. In the past year, Shell has signed deals with U.S.-based companies Virent Energy Systems Inc. and Colexis Inc. to develop plant-based alternatives to gasoline, with a focus on fuels not based on food crops. In the past Shell has been reluctant to disclose its spending on renewable energy, despite the urging of its own sustainability reporting panel. The company said net reserves were 11.9 billion barrels of oil or equivalents at year-end, enough to last about 10 years if it stopped developing new projects. Shell plans to increase production by 2 to 3 percent per year through 2012, after seven years of falling production. Shell has said the company does not expect to cut jobs despite the global economic downturn.