Weekly News Review - 7th July 2023

Oil giant Shell warns cutting production ‘dangerous’

The head of oil giant Shell has drawn criticism for suggesting that it would be dangerous and irresponsible to reduce the world’s oil and gas production. Shell chief executive Wael Sawan said in an interview with BBC that cutting production risked worsening the cost of living crisis by limiting global energy supplies and pushing up bills.

Mr Sawan’s comments have angered climate scientists and campaigners as it is widely accepted that reducing fossil fuel production is crucial in limiting the rise in global temperatures. Last month Shell announced new plans to maintain its levels of oil and gas production until the end of the decade having previously pledging to cut oil extraction.

Head of the UN António Guterres recently said investment in new oil and gas production was “economic and moral madness”. However, Mr Sawan responded to these comments by saying:  “I respectfully disagree. What would be dangerous and irresponsible is cutting oil and gas production so that the cost of living, as we saw last year, starts to shoot up again.”

Head of climate at Friends of the Earth, Jamie Peters, said: “Let’s be clear, companies like Shell are fuelling both the climate crisis and the soaring cost of energy. They are profiting from the misery of ordinary people while destroying the planet, and they’re making a cynical case to continue locking us into the volatile fossil fuel markets that are the root cause of the energy crisis.”

Mr Sawan also said that as a result of last year’s record high global gas market prices, poorer countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh were unable to afford LNG shipments, which were instead diverted to Europe. He said: “They took away LNG from those countries, and children had to work and study by the light of candles. If we’re going to have a transition it needs to be a just transition that doesn’t just work for one part of the world.”

Claire Fyson, the co-head of climate policy at Climate Analytics, a global science and policy institute, said: “The idea that it’s a choice between our addiction to fossil fuels or working by candlelight is a gross misrepresentation of reality, when we know renewables are cleaner, cheaper and better for public health.”

High energy use businesses urged to claim extra discount on energy bills

The government have issued a reminder that energy intensive businesses only have one month remaining to apply for support through the Energy Bills Discount Scheme. Companies have until July 25 to apply, with discounts applied to their bills until April next year.

The Energy Bills Discount Scheme was introduced in April 2023 to replace the more generous Energy Bill Relief Scheme. The scheme was put in place to keep costs down by offering a higher rate of support for those using significant amounts of energy to deliver their services and goods – such as ceramic and textile firms.

Consumer Energy Minister Amanda Solloway also issued a reminder to heat network operators that they have a legal requirement to apply, to ensure a fair deal for their customers who would otherwise face higher energy bills compared to those covered by the energy price cap.  Companies could face a fine of up to £5,000 if no action is taken.

Solloway said: “Today marks one month to go for businesses and heat network operators to apply for support that could cut their energy bills by as much as a fifth – I would urge all of those who haven’t already to set time aside, check they are eligible, and get their details registered. Energy prices are falling but we will continue to stand by businesses and do all we can to help and make sure they remain competitive in a challenging market, as we have done over the winter.”

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