Oil Change International

Exposing the true costs of fossil fuels

Shell: World’s Most Carbon Intensive Oil Company

Of all the oil majors, Shell prides itself on undertaking cutting edge energy forecasting, that not only inform the group’s thinking but also dove-tail into policy making by decision makers across the energy spectrum.

It is one of the few companies to get out its crystal-ball and try and predict what the energy future will look like. And its forecasting is taken seriously.

In its latest energy scenarios Shell argues “Never before has humanity faced such a challenging outlook for energy and the planet. This can be summed up in five words: ‘more energy, less carbon dioxide’.”  Indeed the company has been running greenwashing adverts depicting how it will capture CO2, just like the forecasting predicts.

The reality could hardly be more different. New groundbreaking research published by Oil Change and other environmental organisations today predicts that for Shell its future looks set to be “more energy, more CO2”. Shell, ignoring the bleak warnings predicted in its own forecasting, has chosen the most carbon intensive and climate changing path forward.

The research examined the carbon intensity of the top international oil companies, including Shell, BP, Chevron and Exxon and came to a staggering conclusion: Shell is now the most carbon intensive oil company in the world based on its total resource: these are the reserves of oil and gas that Shell one day hopes to exploit, and go beyond just booked reserves.

Shell’s intensity is set to rocket. The average carbon intensity of each barrel of oil and gas Shell produces will increase 85 per cent on today’s figure. As the carbon intensity increases so will the emissions of carbon dioxide. And so will climate chaos.

The new research measured the carbon intensity by calculating emissions per future barrel of oil produced.  While all the companies are moving into higher carbon production, Shell stands out due to:

  • Its reliance on Nigerian crude which is associated with huge levels of gas flaring – despite years of Shell promising to switch off the flares;
  • Its promotion of liquefied natural gas which is highly energy intensive  – contrary to the green adverts telling you otherwise;
  • Its massive gamble on Canada’s dirty and polluting tar sands – Shell revealed to investors last year that nearly a third – 30%  – of its total resources are in the dirty tar sands.

Shell is stacking up serious problems for the future for the company and for all of us.  Its claims of promoting “responsible energy” need to be seriously questioned by investors because we are all heading for carbon control and constraint.

“As carbon control legislation moves forward in the US, and the world looks towards Copenhagen for action to limit climate change, Shell is going the wrong way by massively increasing the carbon intensity of its production,” argues Steve Kretzmann, Executive Director of Oil Change International, and one of the authors of the report.

The initial report is available for download here and is covered in the Financial Times today.

UPDATE: The full report is available here.


Comments (12)

  1. Aaron Hunt Warner says:

    This is NUTS! I can’t understand why Shell refuses to refrain from its short-sighted slash and burn practices when they could go green and MAKE green in the process! Hand over fist. Sure, they’ll have to do some reconfiguring, but that pales in comparison to the revenue they’ll be brionging in.

  2. Francisco says:

    shell must changer their strategies because it may increase the risks for the future of company.

  3. I just don’t understand what shell is doing…

  4. terry says:

    What is the likelihood that shell could use the existing infrastructure and simply replace their “power source” with solar and/or wind ?
    Just a thought but the idea that CO2 can be captured is an incomplete sentence. If it could be done….. then what would they do with the waste ?Bury it ? Put it in a capsule and send it to outer space ?
    In the words of the infamous Earl Pitts……..WAKE UP AMERICA! Wake up Shell !

  5. Eugene D.Alexander says:

    I realize that Shell is putting short term profit before anything else. It is a shame that they have no sense of responsibility to humanity and to the people whom they are making suffer.

  6. Dave Kisor says:

    The old shell game. Which energy corporation is worse? Shell wins, carbon footprint down!

  7. Nina Council says:

    It is criminal for the U.S. and all countries to allow companies like Shell as well as all CO2 producing companies to continue as usual. Global warming is a crisis and scientists have already proved what is going on to be true. It is happening far faster than once believed, and we humans and all living creatures are doomed unless the mindset of the entire planet changes. GREED continues to be the bottom line

  8. janet barber says:

    I don’t understand why Congress can’t legislate to prevent Shell’s atrocities.

  9. Michael B Casey says:

    There is a simple solution and it ‘s been proposed before. Don’t buy Shell products!! If everyone who claims to be “GREEN” made a minor effort to drive to the next gas station or switch oil change brands or anything else that Shell sells then they would change and quickly. Don’t let a lower price affect the decision.

    Bring the #1 polluter into line and then switch to #2. We are in control!! It does not require 100% participation. Just a significant number of people to cooperate.

    I for one will not be purchasing anything Shell.

  10. Fran Phillips says:

    I’m so glad I read this. I’ve been buying Shell gasoline for many years. That stops as of today!

  11. Rohit Menon says:

    It is not only the environment affected by Shell’s activities, but also the people of Nigeria. the land and people of Nigeria have been fighting for their human rights ever since oil was first drilled there in 1958. I am a student writing a paper on the miseries of the Nigerian people. I thank the author as this article has really helped. I would like anyone and everyone to understand the situation and miseries of the people of Nigeria and spread awareness on the topic.

  12. Rohit Menon says:

    It is not only the environment affected by Shell’s activities, but also the people of Nigeria. the land and people of Nigeria have been fighting for their human rights ever since oil was first drilled there in 1958. I am a student writing a paper on the miseries of the Nigerian people. I thank the author as this article has really helped.

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