Big oil’s timing is always, as ever, impeccable. Just stop and think for a moment. It’s the biggest climate meeting in a decade and you would think that big oil companies would be tripping over themselves to be seen to be green…
However, last week came the news that BP was investing in dirty oil sands and this week comes the news that Shell has quietly shed most of its solar power operations.
The Guardian points to a “small announcement from Environ Energy Global of Singapore” that reveals “that it had bought Shell’s photovoltaic operations in India and Sri Lanka, with more than 260 staff and 28 offices, for an undisclosed sum.”
The sell-off, to be followed by similar ones in the Philippines and Indonesia, comes after another major disposal executed in a low-key way last year, when Shell hived off its solar module production business. The division, with 600 staff and manufacturing plants in the US, Canada and Germany, went to Munich-based SolarWorld. Shell has however formed a manufacturing link, with Saint-Gobain, and promised to build one plant in Germany.
The Anglo-Dutch oil group confirmed yesterday that it had pulled out of its rural business in India and Sri Lanka, saying it was not making enough money.
“It was not bringing in any profit for us there so we transferred it to another operator. The buyer will be able to take it to the next level,” said a spokeswoman at Shell headquarters in London.
Pathetic is the word that comes to mind, especially given the fact that Shell is so awash with cash at the moment.