Retooling, Retreat and Retrenchment

The green figleaf is well and truly fluttering off into the windy landscape for Royal Dutch Shell. They’re an oil and gas company, with some petrochemistry on the side, and to prove it, they announced on 17th March 2009 that they were pulling their last tiny percentage points out of Renewables :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/mar/26/fred-pearce-greenwash-shell-exxon
“Greenwash: Shell betrays ‘new energy future’ promises”


http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/natural_resources/article5927869.ece

“Anger as Shell reduces renewables investment”

Good on them. They’ve stopped pretending to have any shred of Environmental accountability. They intend to carry on polluting. At least we know where they stand now, honestly.

Now, technically, this is known as “retreat”. They’re going to focus on shaking their moneymakers in the traditional way, the way that’s always worked for them in the past, and I’m sure their shareholders and stakeholders and takehomepayers will be pleased. Oil and gas prices can only rise, on average, from where they are now.

But this is a very short-sighted plan. Maybe they know something we don’t know about what will happen in the future ? Maybe there will be huge new oil fields (almost impossible) ? Maybe there will be enormous new gas flows (improbable, unless you count methane from melting permafrost) ? Maybe they realise that their retreat will eventually turn into a retrenchment, before their business well and truly folds ?

Maybe they are secretly working on completely new business based on completely new technologies ? Maybe they are retooling in the back yard ? Here’s just one of the many ideas that are being touted :-

(Can we say “fart” ?)

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16902-bacterium-eats-electricity-farts-biogas.html

“Bug eats electricity, farts biogas : 06 April 2009 by Michael Marshall : Single-celled organisms that can convert electricity into methane could help solve one of the biggest problems with renewable energy – its unreliability compared to the steady output of polluting fossil-fuel power stations…”

Or maybe Shell has realised it’s a dinosaur Energy corporate, and that the meteor of Carbon pricing is about to wipe it out before it gets a chance to properly evolve, and they’re resigned to eventual doom ?

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