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‘With this ambition we embrace the Paris goals at Shell’

Marjan van Loon, CEO of Shell Nederland. Photo: Wiebe Kiestra for the FD

Printed below is an English translation of an article recently published by the Dutch equivalent of the Financial Times, Financieele Dagblad under the headline ‘With this ambition we embrace the Paris goals at Shell’.

By Bert van Dijk  Energy Editor

Shell wants to drastically reduce its CO₂ footprint in the world. The CO₂ footprint must be halved in 2050 not only for its own activities, but also for the end-use of its products. That recently launched ambition is a world first. It is the first time that a large oil and gas company expresses such measurable climate ambitions.Marjan van Loon, CEO of Shell Netherlands.

‘We have been chewing for years,’ says Marjan van Loon, president of Shell Netherlands, in a meeting with the FD. People have often said to us: just speak out, connect with the Paris goals. With this ambition, we embrace those goals. ‘

Shell Nederland employs about 10% of the entire group with 10,000 employees. It does business with more than two thousand Dutch companies and Shell invests each year, according to their own say, € 3.5 billion to € 5 billion. ‘Of course that is the wet sector in Rotterdam, but it is also greenhouse builder Kubo who builds greenhouses around our solar panels in Oman to protect them from the desert. Every year we receive 90,000 travelers from the Netherlands, from Shell alone. The hotels notice that, just like the taxi drivers, “says Van Loon.

Shell wants to do it in the Netherlands, she wants to say. In fact, the Netherlands is the guide country for the rest of the Shell world when it comes to the energy transition. It is no coincidence that the head office of the newly established New Energies division will be located in The Hague and not, for example, in London, Singapore or Shanghai. This part will concern, among other things, the development of clean fuels, wind and solar energy.

To the 51-year-old Van Loon the task of getting the ‘new’ Shell in the spotlight. After the departure of the somewhat distant and officially operating Dick Benschop two years ago, she had to give Shell a better, friendlier, but certainly less fossil image.

Did you succeed?

‘I notice that people know better what Shell does. We have been very explicit about our ambitions and in favor of a clear climate goal in the coalition agreement. People have also seen more from Shell in the Netherlands in the past two years. ‘

Climate. The word falls for the first time in the conversation that takes place in the office of Van Loon in The Hague. There is a saucer of pepernoten on the conference table. On her desk a model of a windmill. That symbolizes the future. A future that Shell wants to commit to through the CO₂ ambition.

Shell wants to halve the CO₂ footprint in 2050. How are you going to do that?

‘By developing new cleaner fuels, producing more sustainable energy and stimulating electric driving. We set up charging stations ourselves, we have purchased charging station company Newmotion and announced the Ionity partnership, which will be charging stations along the European motorways. We hope to be able to seduce people electrically because charging is well taken care of. That is also going faster and faster. You will be ready in 4 to 8 minutes at the latest charging stations. Then you can pee, drink a cup of coffee and go on again. ”

Critics say that halving the CO₂ footprint in 2050 is not enough. That must go to zero.

‘The international climate models show that for the 2-degree scenario in 2070 you have to be CO₂ neutral. A halving in 2050 is in line with that goal. ‘

You drive one of the few hydrogen cars in the Netherlands. What are the experiences?

‘Very well. It is an electric car, only you make your own electricity. The only waste you produce is water. The biggest advantage is the discussion that arises. If a Shell director does not run on petrol or diesel, what does that say? Do you really believe in it? How does this fit with the Shell strategy? How does hydrogen work? I get these kinds of questions. We also learn a lot in Germany. We have a partnership there to roll out four hundred hydrogen stations, we already have ten at Shell locations and another twenty are in the planning. ‘

Shell, together with Eneco, Van Oord and Mitsubishi, won the last tender for a large offshore wind farm in the Netherlands. The next tender for offshore wind will start on December 15, where for the first time only subsidy-free bids can be made. Are you going to register on that?

“I can not say anything about that, of course. But we are very interested in wind energy in the Netherlands and want to be a major player in that. I think it can be much more and much bigger. We are talking about the first five wind tenders, but besides these five wind farms we are also very busy thinking about how you can scale up, because that will be necessary. ‘


‘You can make electricity more sustainable, but that is only 20% of the energy that the world uses. If we want to make mobility, the built environment and industry more sustainable, we will need much more wind than the five tenders now. ‘

Last week was the kick-off for the negotiations on the new Energy Agreement. One of the focal points in the coalition agreement is the capture and storage of CO₂. Will that become an important part of the new agreement?

‘CO₂ storage is certainly needed to meet the Paris goals, but it is not a final destination. It is simply necessary, but as a society you want to try to prevent CO₂ emissions and CO zonder capture and storage in the future. ‘

Renovation head office

Shell is in transition. Literally. The stately head office of Shell on the Carel van Bylandtlaan in The Hague is under construction. The listed building from 1917 is one of the oldest Shell offices in the Netherlands and is thoroughly renovated and made more energy-efficient a century after construction.

The building was built at the time by the Batavian Petroleum Company (a forerunner of Shell) built by the Bataafsche Aanneming Maatschappij, a forerunner of the current BAM Group.

Shell has remained loyal all these years, because the current renovation is being carried out again by BAM.

In the meantime, the Shell branch in Rijswijk, where Projects & Technology is housed, will be dissolved and the employees will be divided over existing branches in The Hague and Amsterdam. Opposite the closure of Rijswijk is the arrival of a new building for the growing division New Energies in The Hague.

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