Africa Oil Business News


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Shell ties oil, gas sector’s survival to innovation

As the global population rises, with more people moving out of poverty and gaining access to energy, the biggest oil and gas firm in the country, Shell, has insisted that countries need to take innovation in the sector more seriously.

 The firm, on its website, said energy was vital for producing food, fuelling transport, and offering communication channels across the world, and thus, must be treated as critical.

It maintained that all sources of energy would be needed to meet growing needs in a sustainable way, stressing that everyone had a part to play – whether in the private or public sector.

 Shell, therefore, reiterated its commitment to using advanced technologies, while taking an innovative approach to help deliver cleaner energy and finding ways to use energy more efficiently.

The firm said, “More than nine billion people are expected to live on Earth by 2050, up from seven billion today. Asia’s fast-growing cities will absorb much of this growth, with three in four people living in urban centres. Billions of people will rise out of energy poverty.

“As living standards improve for many across the world and more people buy their first refrigerators, computers or cars, energy use will rise. Total global energy demand could rise by up to 80 per cent by mid-century from its level in 2000.”

According to the company, a range of sources would be needed to supply this vital energy over the coming decades, as up to 30 per cent of the world’s energy mix could come from renewables in 2050, with fossil fuels and nuclear providing the rest.

The company added, “At Shell, we are finding ways to provide energy from cleaner sources and help customers use energy more efficiently. Shell plans to spend $100bn from 2011-2014 to support new energy production.

“We are entering more challenging environments to unlock new resources and boosting production from existing fields. At the same time, we are using new technologies and an innovative approach to limit our impact on the environment and find effective ways to engage with communities near our operations.”

It also assured all stakeholders in its market that it was developing cleaner energy sources, such as natural gas, the cleanest burning fossil fuel, saying, “From the extraction of the fuel to the generation of electricity, natural gas power plants emit around half the carbon dioxide of coal power plants. Natural gas complements wind and solar power, which need a highly flexible backup supply when the wind stops or the sun goes down.

 “For our customers we offer advanced fuels and lubricants to help boost fuel efficiency, as well as driving tips and programmes to help save fuel.

“We believe the most practical, commercially viable way to reduce CO2 from transport fuels over the next 20 years will be lower-carbon biofuels. Already as one of the largest suppliers of biofuels, we have moved into biofuel production. Through the Raízen joint venture in Brazil, we are producing the lowest-carbon biofuels commercially available today in the form of ethanol from Brazilian sugar cane.

It said natural gas offered an affordable, available and environmentally acceptable option to power people’s lives today. This, it added, will also help to meet the world’s rising demand for more, cleaner energy into the future.

Shell said it was using advanced technology to open up new resources of natural gas. “Cooling gas to liquid shrinks its volume 600 times for shipment to distant markets. We are moving ahead to build the world’s first giant floating facility to turn gas to liquid, Prelude FLNG that will be located off the coast of Australia,” it said.

According to shell, natural gas has the potential to help meet the growing global demand for transport; and if converted into different forms, could fuel ships, trucks, buses and trains.

The clean energy campaign is now a global one, but Nigeria, a major player in the business, seems not to be doing enough to connect with the agenda, especially in the area of managing its gas resources.

The Chairman, United Nations Sustainable Energy for All, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, and other experts recently called on the Federal Government to end gas flaring in Nigeria.

Yumkella, in a keynote address at the 26th World LP Gas Forum in London on Wednesday, condemned the continuous and unsustainable level of gas flaring by international oil firms operating in the country.

According to him, it is not fair that children still play at night in the Niger Delta looking at gas being flared in the distance.

For a country that requires gas to power thermal stations and attain equitable energy distribution to all and sundry, the UN executive called for an urgent action from the government to reduce gas flaring in the country.

He also said gas flaring must be stopped throughout the African continent in order to ensure sustainable development.

“The gas flared in Africa can supply 50 per cent of the energy we need, but we have been flaring gas for the past 50 years. That creates insecurity and inequity. For instance, Nigeria has been flaring gas since the discovery of oil in the country. This must stop because we need that gas to generate power,” Yumkella said.