• Shell believes it has already peaked its oil output and carbon emissions, and sets stronger interim reduction targets

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

In an interesting development, Royal Dutch Shell has announced that it believes that carbon dioxide emissions from its own operations and the use of its products have already peaked, as has its oil production. It now expects its oil output to fall by up to 2% per year, and that its petrol and diesel output will be 55% lower in 2030 (presumably compared to this year).

The company has also released updated targets for its net carbon intensity per megajoule of energy produced compared to 2016 levels – a fall of 6-8% by 2023, a 20% fall by 2030, a 45% fall by 2035, and then achieving net-zero by 2050. Such interim targets are an indication of the pace of change that the company’s planners expect to be able to achieve, and are also revealing in how they compare to the company’s previous targets, which were >3% by 2022, 30% by 2035, and 65% by 2050. In the opinion of analyst Giacomo Romeo at investment banking group Jefferies, it is unclear how Shell will achieve its goals, though the company is putting a focus on selling electricity, hydrogen and biofuels, and deploying carbon capture and storage, as well as investing in offsets. Certainly, the pace the change in Shell’s targets (and of the targets of many other companies and countries), suggests that many believe such targets are achievable, and the considerable falls in prices for renewable energy technologies in the last two decades offer some support for this, even though setting targets is the easy part, and achieving them considerably harder.