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Geelong Advertiser: Shell aiming to go green

Martin Watters
21Mar08
 
PUTTING BACK: Shell is planning to reduce emissions, says Greg Lewin
 
The oil giant is concentrating on developing biofuels and wind technology.

MARTIN WATTERS reports

THE future viability of Shell’s global operations lies underground, but the oil giant hopes to be putting back rather than taking out.

Shell hoped to trial new gas sequestration technology in the Otway Basin within weeks as part of $1.2 billion long-term plan to drastically reduce emissions, the company’s global research boss said yesterday.

Shell Global Solutions president Greg Lewin yesterday explained gas sequestration would help the company to continue delivering fossil fuel-based energy while addressing climate change.

Mr Lewin was a former Geelong refinery worker who now heads the company’s technology and innovation division based in the firm’s global headquarters in The Hague. The former Belmont resident returned to Victoria yesterday to explain how new technology was securing the world’s energy needs in a responsible manner.

And the energy sector would have to face harsh reality to save the planet, he said.

“(Climate change) is extremely important and I think to appreciate that you have to understand some of the hard truths,” Mr Lewin said.

“The world’s energy demand is increasing and as a responsible oil and gas company Shell is looking at providing that in a responsible manner.

“The fact that the majority will come predominantly from fossil fuels will have to be addressed, so it’s absolutely key to Shell that we can also provide the energy and address the climate change issue by sequestering CO2 and developing biofuels and wind technology.”

Mr Lewin said the Otway Basin joint project was a demonstration next month to show successful CO2 sequestration.

Following that would be a “world-first” in Queensland with gas mining to create electricity with the emissions produced put back into a salt aquifer.

Despite having the technology now, Mr Lewin said implementing these working projects took years rather than months.

“But what we think is possible by 2050 is about 25 per cent (of Shell’s energy output) will be met by renewables, but that is a very challenging target.”

Mr Lewin said sequestering gas added extra cost to Shell’s bottom line, so debate was still open who should pick up the tab: the company, government, or the consumer.

Whoever was to pay, he said the Federal Government was right to develop carbon trading schemes.

“We as a society have to decide which way we need to shoulder that cost … the legislation and framework is not yet there. So essentially the technology is ready to be deployed and government legislation needs to be put in place _ these are very big projects and the companies are investing a lot of money.”

http://www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/article/2008/03/21/12409_business.html

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