Shell Sees Growing Role for Natgas & Renewables

Royal Dutch President Jeroen van der Veer estimates that 50 percent of industrialized countries' energy needs could be met by natural gas and renewables by 2020.

Published: 13-Feb-2001

HOUSTON, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch/Shell Group (RD.AS) (SHEL.L)estimates that 50 percent of industrialized countries' energy needs could be met by natural gas and renewables by 2020, Royal Dutch President Jeroen van der Veer said on Tuesday.

Van der Veer said some 60 percent of the world's second-largest oil company's current production consists of oil, but that the share of cleaner burning natural gas would continue to rise gradually from its current level of about 40 percent.

Shell's push to boost natural gas production and invest in renewables, he said, were a response to consumer demand for cleaner energy but would also be good for the bottom line.

"Sustainability and good business go hand in hand," he told the Cambridge Energy Research Associates conference in Houston.

Van der Veer said national economies are based today on fossil fuels -- coal, oil and natural gas -- which meet about 85 percent of the world's energy needs - and that this would not change overnight.

However, the oil industry needed to respond to public concerns about the role of fossil fuel combustion in raising Global temperatures.

"The oil industry cannot ignore the issue of climate change," he said.

Van der Veer said this called for a shift away from coal and oil toward increased use of natural gas, with its lower carbon content, as well as long-term investment in the development of renewable energy sources.

Shell, he noted, had decided to invest $500 million over five years in renewable energy sources such as wind, biomass and solar power. It has also recently set up a business unit to develop the use of hydrogen for use in fuel cells.

These investments were sound long-term business decisions and not a public relations stunt, he said.

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