‘I agree’ with climate protestors, Shell North Sea boss says

Shell UK upstream vice president Steve Phimister aboard the Shearwater platform.
Shell UK upstream vice president Steve Phimister aboard the Shearwater platform.

A Shell North Sea boss has said he “agrees” with many of the climate campaigners who took to the streets of the UK’s major cities in April.

Steve Phimister, Shell’s UK vice president for upstream, said yesterday during Oil and Gas UK’s (OGUK) industry conference that he thinks the country needs to take decisive action on the issue of climate change.

But he added that it did not include “abandoning” oil and gas.

Mr Phimister claimed he “agrees with the view from the climate protestors” of the need to move to a net zero carbon target “quickly”.

He added: “I understand why these activists were calling for this change, and it would be easy to assume that we all and those folk are on the opposite side of the conversation, but I don’t see it that way.

“I agree with the view from the climate protestors that we must move to a low carbon energy system quickly.

“I also believe that we maybe need to go faster than the current policy framework and the political agendas were designed for.”

Mr Phimister described the meeting of climate targets as “not impossible”, but that the sector needed to also generate energy that “enables living standards to rise”.

He said Shell wants to reduce the carbon in its products “and their use” by 20% by 2035, adding that the firm has recently invested in wind and solar.

But Mr Phimister added that “it does not mean abandoning oil and gas in the UK or the world, we still need it.”

He said there were “inevitably” some areas where Shell’s views and climate campaigners “would diverge” concerning the role of oil and gas and the speed of the energy transition.

He added: “From our perspective this isn’t going to be easy, and it won’t happen overnight, but it must happen.

“But in the meantime, producing oil and gas as well as low carbon energy we see as complementary not contradictory.”

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