A former executive vice president at Shell, David Lawrence now heads energy advisory and investment firm Lawrence Energy Group LLC. Recently, David Lawrence lauded Shell’s ongoing move into global electricity generation.
Shell is currently positioning itself to be among the top power producers in the world by 2030. Already the second largest oil producer by market volume, Shell seeks to leverage strategic partnerships and investments to grow its electricity-generation portfolio. It has already acquired the UK’s largest electricity provider, First Utility, and the UK’s biggest car charging operator, New Motion. In addition, it has invested in US solar company Silicon Ranch Group and has announced a bid for the Dutch low-carbon power utility Eneco.
Interestingly, Shell’s foray into low-carbon electricity generation is still in its early stages, with only about 5 percent of its budget dedicated to new energies. In contrast, upstream oil and gas activities account for about 50 percent of Shell’s budget. According to Maarten Wetselaar, Shell’s director of integrated gas and new energies unit, the company is moving cautiously with a plan to first prove its hypotheses before scaling up.
Besides Shell, other oil companies like BP, Total, and Equinor are also making major investments in low-carbon fuels. These international oil companies have the resources, project management, operational, engineering, and supply chain capabilities to become leaders in the global power sector.