Image Source: Energy News
According to the oil giant, Shell, the head of gas and renewables will take over from current CEO Ben van Beurden at the end of the year.
Wael Sawan will succeed Mr. van Beurden after his resignation at the end of 2022.
Mr. Sawan, a dual Lebanese-Canadian national who once oversaw Shell’s oil and gas production sector, was thought to be the front-runner to become CEO. He now has responsibility for both Shell’s massive gas business and its expansion into low-carbon energy sources.
Mr. Sawan declared that he would seize the chances provided by the energy transition.
Sir Andrew Mackenzie, chairman of Shell, stated that Mr. van Beurden has “been in the vanguard for the transition of Shell to a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 and has become a prominent industry voice on some of the most significant issues affecting society.”
Mr. van Beurden oversaw the company’s headquarters move to London earlier this year and the Shell acquisition of the gas giant BG Group for £36 billion in 2015. In addition, he handled Shell’s pledge to reduce oil production and emissions by 2050.
Ben van Beurden served as Shell’s CEO for the final nine years of his career. His acquisition of the massive gas company BG Group for $52 billion (£36 billion) in 2015 will be his lasting legacy.
Shell petroleum ignores criticism in its steady drive towards renewable energy
This accelerated Shell’s gas and LNG business just as many countries determined that gas would be their transition fuel from coal to cleaner alternatives, generating bumper earnings for the company that delighted shareholders and outraged campaigners and some governments.
Additionally, Mr. van Beurden directed the oil giant’s transition from an oil and gas firm to an energy corporation, with a long-term goal of being a carbon-neutral business by 2050. But he was always very clear that the money for this transformation would come from a hydrocarbon company that the global economy would require for decades to come.
A few years ago, this position caused some shareholders to worry that he was off-message and out of step with the times, but the present crisis and the global rush for gas to replace Russian supplies have made him look right and put the company in a very good position.
Mr. Sawan’s hiring, according to Sophie Lund-Yates, a lead stock analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, is a “clear marker” that the business intends to overhaul its “rather ambiguous, though grand sounding” renewables strategy.
In Sophie’s opinion, change won’t come immediately, but it’s realistic to suppose that, at the very least, adjustments to the current renewable approach may be in the works.
However, for investors, dividends would take precedence over the renewables strategy because the public is currently very sensitive to profiteering and environmental harm claims.
The oil company has received criticism for its environmental track record under Mr. van Beurden. A Dutch court last year ordered Shell to limit its carbon dioxide emissions, stating that they must do so by 45% by 2030 compared to levels in 2019.
One of the environmental organizations that brought the lawsuit, Friends of the Earth, charged Shell with accelerating hazardous climate change and demanding that it be stopped right away.
In March of this year, Shell filed an appeal against the decision because, according to Mr. van Beurden, Shell shouldn’t be liable for its clients’ emissions.
Safety expert Caroline Dennett left her position with Shell in May of this year, claiming she was unable to continue working for a corporation that disregarded all warnings and downplayed the dangers of climate change and ecological collapse.
She continued by saying that Shell planned to explore and extract considerably more energy rather than slowing down its oil and gas operations.