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French Minister Claims Oil Majors Must Transform To Survive

Oil companies do not stand a chance to survive if they do not transform, France’s Energy Transition Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher told a French radio program this weekend.

There is an urgent need to get out of fossil fuels, Pannier-Runacher told Radio France.

“If oil companies do not transform, they will not have a chance of survival in the coming years,” the French minister noted.    

Major oil and gas companies, including France’s TotalEnergies, have increased investments in their renewable energy businesses in recent years. TotalEnergies, for example, has boosted its solar and wind power portfolio, while it continues to bet on liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects and trading to meet global gas demand amid a major shift in the market after Russia cut off supply to most of Europe last year.

The other supermajors are also on a path to “transformation,” or “performing while transforming” as BP’s chief executive Bernard Looney says.

Last year’s energy crisis, however, prompted BP, as well as Shell, to invest in oil and gas more and to scrap some plans for reduction in fossil fuel production in the face of the energy trilemma—security, sustainability, and affordability.

In June, Shell raised its dividend by 15%, effective from the second quarter 2023 interim dividend, as the UK-based supermajor pledged to grow its gas business and extend its position in the upstream.

“It is critical that the world avoids dismantling the current energy system faster than we are able to build the clean energy system of the future. Oil and gas WILL continue to play a crucial role in the energy system for a long time to come with demand reducing only gradually over time,” Shell’s chief executive Wael Sawan said on Shell’s Capital Markets Day.

“Continued investment in oil and gas is critical to ensure a balanced energy transition,” Sawan added in the pivot to ensure today’s energy needs, similar to what BP announced in February this year.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on September 11 2023 said:
    The French Energy transition Minister must have a very short memory forgetting that his country and the EU as a whole are still suffering from an energy crisis they inflicted on themselves by hasty and flawed EU policies aimed at accelerating energy transition at the expense of fossil fuels.

    He should always remember that the notions of global energy transition and ne-zero emissions are myths. Oil and gas will continue to drive the global economy throughout the 21st century and probably far beyond.

    Therefore, the only practical energy policy is to continue investing in both oil and gas and also renewable energy. As the share of renewables rises in global electricity generation, less gas and coal will be used.

    The objective isn’t to reduce the production and use of oil and gas but instead reduce emissions during production.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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