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Shell Says It Can Be Top Power Producer and Make Money

By Kevin Crowley and Alix Steel: 11 March 2019, 20:09 GMT: Updated on 11 March 2019, 21:38 GMT

Oil major aims to be top power producer by early 2030s

Shell seeks 8-12% returns in historically low margin business

Royal Dutch Shell Plc plans to become the world’s biggest power company despite electricity’s historically narrow margins.

The world’s second-largest oil explorer by market value is spending up to $2 billion a year on its new energies division, mainly to grow in a power sector it envisions delivering 8 percent to 12 percent annual returns, according to Maarten Wetselaar, director of Shell’s integrated gas new energies unit.

“We believe we can be the largest electricity power company in the world in the early 2030s,” Wetselaar said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Monday. “We are not interested in the power business because we like what we saw in the last 20 years. We are interested because we think we like what we see in the next 20 years.”

European oil producers such as Shell, BP Plc and Equinor ASA face greater regulatory and investor pressure to adopt clean energy than American rivals Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. For Shell, the business is still in an experimental phase, Wetselaar said.

“We want to prove ourselves to ourselves that that hypothesis works before we scale it beyond our current commitments,” he said.

Equinor CEO Eldar Saetre took a more hardline approach on the main stage at the CERAWeek by IHS Markit conference in Houston. “Collectively we’re not doing enough on climate change,” he said. “Not taking action is unsustainable.”

SOURCE

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