According to Shell’s new chief executive, America is much more attractive than Britain when it comes to energy investment.
Wael Sawan stated that the government should “take inspiration from the recent US actions through the Inflation Reduction Act”, which is a package of $369 billion of subsidies designed to encourage green investment in America.
Sawan stated that Shell was unable to meet its goal to invest up to PS25billion in the UK this decade due to windfall taxes, other ad-hoc intervention, delays in planning, and uncertainty about subsidies.
The Inflation Reduction Act in America provided “ten-year clarity” and “fixed incentives that people can bank on.” When asked how Britain ranks in terms of energy investment attractiveness, he replied that the US was “significantly ahead” of Britain and that Europe was also ahead.
Shell, the UK’s largest company, and the North Sea’s most important player, has record global profits last year of $40 billion.
Sawan stated that he would not consider investing in more oil in Britain as there are “more attractive locations” such as the US Gulf of Mexico.
The tax profits levy which increased the North Sea’s tax rate from 40 to 75% was “fundamentally disincentivising investment in new supplies, which are essential if you want energy security over the long-term.” The levy will result in Shell paying more than $500 million in tax in the UK.
Wael Sawan claims that windfall taxes have impacted the overall investment climate.
Three quarters of Shell’s UK potential investments are low-carbon, and Sawan stated that this was being hindered by a lack in incentives and permissions.
Shell is interested in building a carbon storage and capture project, but it has not been chosen to receive subsidies.
It also plans to build the first floating wind farm of commercial scale off Scotland, but it “will not be able entertain start-ups until the 2030s due to significant permits requirements”.
Sawan stated that the UK experienced more fiscal changes and windfall taxes during his 25-year tenure with Shell than any other country, which affected the overall investment climate.
He said that volatility can fundamentally undermine your confidence around your ability to see the returns required for an investment. Therefore, you shift your capital to areas that offer healthy returns and lower risk.
Although the UK government is pushing for US Act changes that it considers to be protectionist, there are many calls for increased investment incentives in Britain.
Net Zero spokeswoman, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, said that the UK is a leader in green investment and that the levy has “enabled us to fund significant cost-of-living support for families and business. . . While encouraging investment in the North Sea,