Foreign companies could own as much as 75 percent of the new ventures, the officials said. In its negotiations with dozens of international companies, including Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, Iraq had until now offered stakes of no more than 49 percent in new joint ventures to develop existing and new oil fields.
Posts on ‘March 19th, 2009’
Until recently, Shell's investment in wind power featured prominently in its corporate advertisements. FoE said the company's move heralded a slightly more honest approach. "Shell is at least being a bit more honest about the fact they are a fossil fuel company. It has seen the limitations of the greenwash it was putting out a few years ago."
"We're picking up properties as they become available or look strategic," said Tracy Boyd, a spokesman for Royal Dutch Shell PLC. Shell does not expect to need large quantities of water for at least 15 years, he said, and by then it may have developed less water-intensive ways to extract oil, perhaps using wind power.
Dozens of smaller oil companies, starved of cash and facing stiff financial constraints from low oil prices, have in recent months slashed project spending, though most big privately run oil firms, such as Royal Dutch Shell PLC, have maintained their spending plans for 2009.
Shell’s spending on renewables except biofuel appears to have fallen from $200m a year to zero over the past nine years
So at last we have an explanation. During my video interview with Jeroen van der Veer, the chief executive of Shell, I asked the same question 15 times: “What is the value of your annual investments in renewable energy?”
After several attempts to change the subject, he admitted that he knew the figure, then flatly refused to reveal it. Nor could he give me a convincing explanation of why he wouldn’t tell me, claiming only that “those figures are misused and people say it is too small” and it “is not the right message to give to the people”.
But it was news that a corruption probe into Nigeria's oil industry had been broadened to include Shell itself that spooked the market, sending its 'A' shares down 21p to 1619p.
We’ve got so used to big oil companies trying to use tiny investments in renewable energy as fig leafs for their core business of pumping oil, that in a way, an oil company just turning round and issuing a big ‘screw you’ to such pretensions might almost seen slightly refreshing, if only for the novelty value.
Well, in theory. But it’s hard to read yesterday’s press statement from Shell without your heart sinking. With regards to wind and solar power, Shell said that they do “not expect material amounts of investment in those areas going forward. [Wind and solar] continue to struggle to compete with the other investment opportunities we have in our portfolio.”