rainn.png
Thursday February 2nd, 2023 6:09AM

Shell CEO to step down as oil giant looks to climate goals

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LONDON (AP) — Shell CEO Ben van Beurden is stepping down at the end of 2022 after nine years in charge, the energy giant said Thursday, a change that comes as oil and natural gas companies are under pressure to shift away from fossil fuels even as they see soaring profits from energy prices driven up by Russia's war in Ukraine.

Taking over Jan. 1 is Wael Sawan, a Lebanese-Canadian who has worked for Shell for 25 years and is now director of integrated gas, renewables and energy solutions. The choice signals the focus of the London-based company to take what it calls a leading role in the energy transition despite facing criticism that it's been slow to reduce climate-changing emissions.

“I’m looking forward to channeling the pioneering spirit and passion of our incredible people to rise to the immense challenges, and grasp the opportunities presented by the energy transition," said Sawan, who has been a member of Shell’s executive committee for three years.

He takes over at a tumultuous time for Shell and other oil and gas giants. While the world is looking to transition to renewable sources like wind and solar, the war in Ukraine has created volatility that has driven up energy prices and fueled inflation.

Natural gas prices have soared as Russia has curbed supplies to Europe, where an energy crisis is forcing governments to institute conservation measures and go back to coal and oil despite climate goals to ensure the lights stay on this winter.

Volatile oil prices soared above $120 per barrel in June, pushing gasoline prices at the pump to record highs in the United States. Crude has since fallen below $90.

That has translated to record profits for energy companies at a time when households and businesses are getting stung by rising costs. Some European governments have approved taxes on excess profits of energy companies to help households and businesses, and the European Union's executive Commission proposed Wednesday a similar levy on electricity producers across the 27-nation bloc.

In late July, Shell posted record profits of $11.5 billion for a second straight quarter. That was up from $5.5 billion in the same three-month period last year, despite a hit worth billions from pulling out of Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.

Ellen Wald, the founder of energy consulting firm Transversal Consulting, notes that prior to heading natural gas and renewables, the incoming CEO was involved in the company’s upstream operations. Despite efforts by Shell to shift toward more renewables, the company still makes most of its money selling and trading crude oil, Wald said.

“It’s not like he’s just a renewable guy," Wald said. "He’s still an oil and gas person, but I do think the fact that he was in this (renewables) division before moving to CEO shows how integral they see this to the future of the company.”

Shell Chairman, Sir Andrew Mackenzie, called Sawan “an exceptional leader, with all the qualities needed to drive Shell safely and profitably through its next phase of transition and growth.”

Sophie Lund-Yates, a lead equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, an investment services firm, called Sawan’s appointment “a clear marker” that Shell intends to make its renewable strategy clearer, even if “change won’t happen overnight.” He “won’t be ignorant to the fact oil prices can collapse at short notice” and that is “all but guaranteed to be something he’ll have to navigate,” Lund-Yates added.

Formerly known as Dutch Royal Shell, the company late last year left the Netherlands and consolidated its headquarters in London as it simplified its archaic corporate structure. Shell has resisted pressure to break itself up, with one company focused on renewable energy and the other on legacy fossil fuels, as other firms have done.

It has a goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 by investing in renewable energy, restoring forests and taking other steps but has been accused of moving too slowly.

Last year, the Hague District Court ordered Shell to cut carbon emissions 45% by 2030, saying the company’s net-zero target “is not concrete, has many caveats and is based on monitoring social developments rather than the company’s own responsibility for achieving a CO2 reduction.”

“It’s a tricky position for these European legacy energy companies because they face an immense amount of pressure to basically get out of their core business, and yet there’s still demand for their core products—a lot of demand for it,” Wald said.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Utilities
© Copyright 2023 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Week 3 Preview: 'Bama, Baylor out to avoid more Sun upsets
There may be no reason to put second-ranked Alabama and No. 17 Baylor on upset alert even though both are playing Sun Belt Conference teams in Week 3
8:23AM ( 3 minutes ago )
Shell CEO to step down as oil giant looks to climate goals
Shell CEO Ben van Beurden is stepping down at the end of 2022 after nine years in charge as oil and natural gas companies are under pressure to shift away from fossil fuels
8:08AM ( 17 minutes ago )
US futures wobble as rail strike is averted
Futures on Wall Street shifted between small gains and losses as investors turned their attention to an upcoming retail sales report after the White House announced early Thursday morning that a tentative railway labor agreement has been reached, averting a strike that could have been devastating to the economy
7:55AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Putin, Zelenskyy court major allies as Ukraine makes gains
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy are each courting major allies
7:00AM ( 1 hour ago )
Samsung sets goal to attain 100% clean energy by 2050
Samsung Electronics says it’s shifting away from fossil fuels and aiming to entirely power its global operations with clean electricity by 2050
6:29AM ( 1 hour ago )
A new space race? China adds urgency to US return to moon
It’s not just rocket fuel propelling America’s first moonshot after a half-century lull
6:20AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
A less-glitzy Detroit auto show returns after 3-year absence
When it came time to showcase its electric Chevrolet Equinox SUV to the public this year, General Motors decided against doing so at the big Detroit auto show, as it typically would have done in the past
12:45AM ( 7 hours ago )
'Car guy' Biden touts electric vehicles at Detroit auto show
President Joe Biden spent a good portion of his day Wednesday showcasing his administration’s efforts to promote electric vehicles at the Detroit auto show
6:30PM ( 13 hours ago )
California sues Amazon, alleging antitrust law violations
California is suing Amazon, accusing the company of violating the state’s antitrust and unfair competition laws
6:12PM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
Likely vote over Louisiana project caught in abortion debate
For a third time the Louisiana Bond Commission is scheduled to vote, Thursday morning, on a $39 million future line of credit for a New Orleans power plant, critical to power drainage pumps that remove rainwater in a city that faces chronic flood problems
1:14AM ( 7 hours ago )
Asian shares mostly higher after wobbly gains on Wall St
Asian shares are mostly higher after modest gains on Wall Street
12:08AM ( 8 hours ago )
China's Xi visits Kazakhstan ahead of summit with Putin
Chinese President Xi Jinping has started his first foreign trip since the outbreak of the pandemic
10:58PM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
One union rejects deal days ahead of rail strike deadline
Members of one union are rejecting a tentative deal with the largest U.S. freight railroads while three other unions remained at the bargaining table just days ahead of a national strike deadline
3:38PM ( 16 hours ago )
US wholesale inflation declines in August to still-high 8.7%
Inflation at the wholesale level jumped 8.7% in August from a year earlier, a slowdown from July yet still a painfully high level that suggests prices will keep spiking for months to come
10:24AM ( 22 hours ago )
Energy crisis: EU chief wants to tap excess producer profits
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wants to cap the revenue of electricity producers that are making extraordinary profits because of the effects of the war in Ukraine and climate change
9:11AM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Business - Utilities
Week 3 Preview: 'Bama, Baylor out to avoid more Sun upsets
There may be no reason to put second-ranked Alabama and No. 17 Baylor on upset alert even though both are playing Sun Belt Conference teams in Week 3
8:23AM ( 3 minutes ago )
Biden approval rises sharply ahead of midterms: AP-NORC poll
President Joe Biden’s popularity has improved substantially from his lowest point this summer, but concerns about his handling of the economy persist
8:17AM ( 9 minutes ago )
Biden: Tentative railway labor deal reached, averting strike
Under a tentative railway labor deal avoiding a strike that could've devastated the U.S. economy, workers will receive 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses
8:13AM ( 13 minutes ago )
US futures wobble as rail strike is averted
Futures on Wall Street shifted between small gains and losses as investors turned their attention to an upcoming retail sales report after the White House announced early Thursday morning that a tentative railway labor agreement has been reached, averting a strike that could have been devastating to the economy
7:55AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Live updates: Royals meet mourners at cities across Britain
While mourners in London are standing in a 4-mile (6.5-kilometer) line to view Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin, members of the royal family are meeting crowds gathered in other parts of Britain
7:47AM ( 39 minutes ago )