Shell’s net-zero pledges laughable after Namibia oil discovery 

By Anders Lorenzen

Despite the climate crisis and the pledges made by global oil and gas companies to start moving their operations away from hydrocarbons and invest more heavily in low-carbon energy technologies, the reality is often different.

Last year, 798 exploration and appraisal wells were drilled worldwide by global companies, roughly the same number as 2020, though down by 37 from 1,256 in 2019, according to energy consultancy company wood Mackenzie. All whilst releasing net-zero strategies declaring their commitment to tackling the climate crisis.

Keep drilling

Shell, for example, is currently partnering with Qatar Petroleum, to unveil major oil and gas discoveries in Namibia, a southern African country with no history of oil production.  Estimations suggest there could be as much as $29 billion worth of oil.

Production is not slated to begin before 2026, a time when the world should be well underway phasing out fossil fuels and not starting new oil adventures.

Shell’s net-zero strategy indicated that production will never exceed its peak in 2019, but that they need to explore new oil and gas fields while they build its renewable energy and hydrogen arms of their business.

However, this is at odds with climate science and what the International Energy Agency (IEA) and climate experts say. They all argue that deep emissions cuts are required now if we are to have any hope of meeting the 1.5 C temperature goal.

Climate advocates are likely to be furious with oil and gas companies like Shell who continue to ignore warnings that we must drastically reduce oil and gas production while pointing out that the money that Shell and other companies spend on clean energy investments by far dwarf what they are still spending on oil and gas exploration. 

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