Shell was accused yesterday of
"selling suicide on the forecourt" by pressing ahead with
tar sands operations in Canada and continuing to flare off excess gas
in Nigeria while pulling out of renewable schemes such as the London
Array - the world's largest offshore wind scheme.
The accusation that Shell was irresponsibly adding to climate change
was made by an unnamed shareholder at its annual meeting in The Hague
after Shell chief executive Jeroen van der Veer insisted the company
was doing all it could to meet rising demands for energy while
reducing CO2 emissions. Shell would listen to all stakeholders but he
warned "ultimately it will not be possible to meet fully
Linda Cook, Shell's executive director of gas and power, defended the
decision to put its stake in the London Array up for sale. The
economics did not meet the group's "hurdles rate", she said.
In terms of unit costs it was "two and a half times cheaper to
build onshore projects in the US" than to pursue the scheme off
the Kent coast, she explained, insisting Shell remained committed to
Shell revealed two weeks ago that it was selling its 33% stake, much
to the frustration of green politicians, campaigners - and even its
partner E.ON, which signalled the retreat could kill off the
Caroline Lucas, Green MEP for the south-east of England, said the move
had been "further proof that its media-friendly greenspeak is
both dishonest and irresponsible", but Shell said costs had risen
by 45% partly due to a series of planning and other delays.
Van der Veer pointed out that "we are not just active in wind,
but also in hydrogen, thin-film solar and, of course, biofuels".
He did not convince everyone, with a representative from Friends of
the Earth Netherlands asking why Shell talked about sustainable fuels
while the oil lobby in Brussels continued to push for
"unsustainable" first-generation biofuels.
Malcolm Brinded, the
exploration director, gave no reassurances that Shell would meet its
commitment to end flaring in Nigeria next year, pointing out that the
company was facing government funding and local security problems
which had slowed down its work there.
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