David Prosser: Reprieve for tar sands
Outlook: When the industry began stepping up the development of tar sands, the oil price was at an all-time high
Tuesday 26 January 2010
Environmentalists will be pleased to hear that Royal Dutch Shell now plans to raise oil production at its tar sands assets in Canada more slowly. Peter Voser, the oil giant's new boss, has signalled that he intends instead to place greater emphasis on identifying and developing more conventional assets.
However, green campaigners should not assume that they are winning the argument on tar sands: though some activist investors have expressed their disquiet about tar sands to the oil companies in which they have shareholdings, Shell's strategic decision is born out of economic considerations.
When the oil industry really began stepping up the development of tar sands two years ago, the oil price was at an all-time high. That made the commercial decision about whether the very high development costs were justifiable much simpler. Since then, however, those costs have risen, while the oil price has halved. Hence the shift in emphasis at Shell, which mirrors the decision taken by many of its rivals.
Remember, however, that these companies still plan to expand tar sands production, just at a slower rate. And if the oil price rises again, there may yet be another change of strategic direction.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
iJobs Money & Business
$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer Office...
$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...
Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...