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Shell: Crude shortfalls will boost renewables


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May 15, 2008, 12:03PM

Houston Chronicle: Shell: Crude shortfalls will boost renewables

Royal Dutch Shell said the failure of crude suppliers to keep pace with accelerating demand may prompt the expansion of renewable energy.

There’s “plenty of oil in the world,” Shell’s Scenario Team said today on a Webcast led by Global Business Environment Vice President Jeremy Bentham. “The important moment is actually not a possible peak of oil production;” it’s when demand exceeds supply, which may “come well before a peak” in output.

Under two of Shell’s scenarios, which run until 2050, the company expects a “step-change in the growth rate of energy” demand because of population expansion and economic development. Supplies of easy-to-access oil and natural gas will fail to meet demand after 2015, Chief Executive Officer Jeroen van der Veer said in January.

Shell, based in The Hague, said in February that it plans to maintain a broad portfolio of renewable resources, with biofuels remaining an “important” alternative to conventional oil besides hydrogen, solar, wind and nuclear power. Renewables will supply about 30 percent of global primary energy by 2050, according to Shell.

The world “is certainly going to need more oil as well as more renewables and indeed many energy sources,” the company said today. “The demand growth is happening so fast that it will be very difficult for energy supply to keep up. For this reason we’re going to need all the energy we can get.”

Shell expects carbon dioxide emissions to rise in the short term as energy demand increases and many renewable alternatives to fossil fuels remain too expensive without subsidies.

The company has joined the International Energy Agency’s carbon capture and storage research project in Canada and is examining potential carbon capture at its Scotford refinery in the Canadian province of Alberta.

Oil and gas production at Shell has dropped for five straight years. The company plans to revive growth through projects such as a gas-to-liquids venture in Qatar and Canadian oil sands.

Van der Veer in April said Shell’s existing resources will provide 55 years of oil production at current levels, according to the Financial Times. Energy demand is expected to double between now and 2050, leading to the use of more expensive, unconventional fuel sources including Canada’s oil sands, the newspaper said. and its also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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