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Citing climate differences, Shell quits US refining lobby

London

ROYAL Dutch Shell Plc on Tuesday became the first major oil and gas company to announce plans to leave a leading US refining lobby due to disagreement on climate policies, citing its support for the goals of the Paris climate agreement.

In its first review of its association with 19 key industry groups, Shell said it had found "material misalignment" over climate policy with the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and would quit the body in 2020.

The review is part of Shell's drive to increase transparency and show investors it is in line with the 2015 Paris climate agreement's goals to limit global warming by reducing carbon emissions to a net zero by the end of the century.

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It is the latest sign of how investor pressure on oil companies, particularly in Europe, is leading to changes in their behaviour around climate. Last year, Shell caved in to investor pressure over climate change, setting out plans to introduce industry-leading carbon emissions targets linked to executive pay.

Its chief executive, Ben van Beurden, has since repeatedly urged oil and gas producers to take action over climate and pollution, staking out a more radical position than the heads of other major oil companies.

"AFPM has not stated support for the goal of the Paris Agreement. Shell supports the goal of the Paris Agreement," the Anglo-Dutch company said in its decision.

"The need for urgent action in response to climate change has become ever more obvious since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015. As a result, society's expectations in this area have changed, and Shell's views have also evolved," Mr van Beurden said in the report.

The company has disagreed with AFPM on a number of issues for some time, according to two lobbying sources. Shell said it also disagreed with AFPM's opposition to a price on carbon and action on low-carbon technologies.

Shell and AFPM have also been at odds in recent months over regulation over the use of renewable fuels. While Shell and other large refiners invested in cleaner fuel technology, AFPM has fought hard against standards requiring refiners to blend or subsidise the blending of biofuels into the gasoline pool - saying it hurts independent refiners. REUTERS