for Tar Sands in the tank:
...buried deep in Shell analysts presentation is the fact that Shell’s new jewel in the crown – its carbon intensive tar sands operations – made a loss in the first quarter of 2009, compared to a profit of $249 million in the same quarter last year.
On a wider note the figures show that Shell is failing to cover its capital spending programme, which is the biggest amongst its peers. In a huge business gamble, Shell is betting on capital-intensive and climate intensive projects such as a gas-to-liquids plant in Qatar and the oil sands in Canada to boost production from 2010.
If however, the oil price stays low, Shell may not have the revenue to develop them quickly enough. Moreover, if the carbon intensity of these projects are deemed to be too high, Shell’s whole business strategy could be in trouble.
Just this week, Shell was facing calls to disclose future carbon liabilities from its tar sands operations. The UK Co-operative Financial Services and environmental charity WWF-UK are launching a campaign for a legal requirement for companies including Shell and BP to include this information in financial reporting.
I predict that talk of building firewalls will slowly go out of fashion, to be replaced by talk of making a nice stew out of dog-food.