World to Stay Reliant on Fossil Fuel Until 2050: Shell

SINGAPORE

THE world will remain heavily reliant on fossil fuels for the next 40 years, Shell’s chief executive said this week, as a massive US oil spill cast a cloud over the industry.

Despite the upsurge in alternative sources, fossil fuels, including oil, natural gas and coal, will remain the dominant source for meeting increasing world energy demand until at least 2050, said chief executive Peter Voser.

“Energy demand will double between now and 2050. We have currently roughly 80 percent of fossil resources delivering the energy demand today. We still see this at around 60 percent by 2050,” said the chief executive of the Anglo-Dutch energy giant.

Alternative and renewable energy sources will only garner 30 to 40 percent of market share within the same time-frame, Voser said in Singapore, a major hub for the oil trade, where he was attending the opening of a petrochemical complex.

His comments come as rival BP is under intense pressure over an oil spill from a platform in the Gulf of Mexico, which has given US authorities pause for thought over future drilling plans.

“There will be continuous need for fossil resources over the next decades… in order to actually allow renewables and other energy sources the time to technically develop, commercialise and build market share,” Voser said.

Giving alternative energy sources time to become efficient and economically viable will, in the long term, help mitigate any adverse environmental impact caused by the use of fossil fuels, he said.

He added that Shell was continuing drilling in the Gulf of Mexico as it had not been asked to stop by US authorities following the accident in the area.
At least 210,000 gallons of crude a day has been streaming from a well below the Deepwater Horizon rig that sank on April 22, after a massive explosion that killed 11 workers.

Voser was in Singapore to attend the opening of the Shell Eastern Petrochemicals Complex, Shell’s biggest petrochemicals investment worldwide to date.
He said the “main growth engines” for the company’s future were in the Asia-Pacific region, due to accelerating demand, particularly from China and India.

The “Asia-Pacific is a very important market… Our main growth engines for the future on the upstream side are in this region,” he said, citing exploration and production operations in Malaysia, Australia, China and Brunei.

A spokesman for the company would not disclose the value of the investment in Singapore, saying only that a project of this size would cost “several billion dollars”.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at the inauguration that the complex was expected to draw more than S$2 billion (US$1.45 billion) in investment spin-offs from leading chemical companies.

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