March saw Chevron Singapore Pte Ltd launching a carbon offset programme for its Singaporean Caltex brand. It’s a neat idea. Customers feeling queasy about their vehicle emissions can use their petrol pump loyalty points to offset their greenhouse gas footprints through investments in carbon reduction schemes approved by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), an independent verification programme. Offset schemes such as this hold considerable promise for companies that cannot immediately switch to zero-carbon operations.
Europe’s recently difficult relationship with Russia took a turn for the worse at the end of last month. Citing a failure to pay for supplies in roubles, Russian energy giant Gazprom halted all exports of gas to Poland and Bulgaria. That action, which the Financial Times described as part of the Putin administration’s “efforts to weaponise energy supplies over the invasion of Ukraine,” added urgency to Europe’s attempts to sever its dependence on Russian fossil fuels.
The invasion of Ukraine has shocked the world and, with it, energy markets. Commodity prices have increased sharply, sending consumer prices to politically unpalatable levels. The conflict has also increased the debate around energy security, especially in Europe, where action against the Putin administration has been hobbled by the need to carry on importing Russian gas (and to a certain extent oil).
Some things are certain in the quest for a low-carbon energy system. Wind and solar will have a major role to play, for example. Hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation and storage will be key for hard-to-abate sectors. But then there are areas where there is still a question mark. Nuclear energy is one of those.
It’s that time of year when we lay down plans for the next 12 months—and second-guess movements in an ever-changing market.
Much has been written about this year’s 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP26. A success or a failure, depends on who you listen to.
For oil and gas leaders, the challenge is how to go from villain to hero without resorting to self-immolation. A case in point: should we increase investment in natural gas when the European Investment Bank thinks “gas is over”?