Reports suggest Shell is planning to invest up to £25bn in primarily low carbon infrastructure in the UK, as BP confirms £1bn EV charging spending plan
The UK’s two largest oil and gas majors have this week unveiled plans to drastically ramp up their investment in low carbon infrastructure, as calls grow for the UK to curb its fossil fuel imports in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
City AM this morning reported comments from Shell UK country chair David Bunch indicating the energy giant is planning to “invest between £20bn and £25bn into the UK energy system over the next decade”.
He added that 75 per cent of the investment would be in low and zero-carbon products and services, including offshore wind, hydrogen, and electric mobility.
The proposed investment, which is subject to board approval, comes as Shell faces growing calls to ramp up spending on domestic energy projects following its decision to exit Russian assets following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The oil and gas industry is also facing growing calls from the Labour opposition for a windfall tax on energy firms’ profits to help fund measures to support fuel poor households struggling with soaring bills.
Bunch said he would be setting out more details on the multi-billion pound investment plan in “the months ahead”, but he also stressed that fresh policy measures were required from government on a number of fronts to drive investment in new low carbon infrastructure.
“Shell cannot act alone,” he said. “Investing this money requires urgency of action across government to deliver the enabling policy and business case frameworks. These must address both the supply and demand side of the energy transition (in areas such as hydrogen and CCS, for example).”
The news comes in the same day as the Carbon Capture and Storage Association warned that unless the government urgently clarifies the policy framework for new CCS and hydrogen projects they will struggle to be delivered in time to help the UK’s meet its net zero targets.
Shell said the vast majority of its new investment plan would be focused on green energy sources such as offshore wind and hydrogen power, but the news also comes amidst reports that it is reconsidering its decision to exit the controversial Cambo oil field project, which could see a new field opened up off the coast of Shetland.
Separately, BP today announced plans to invest £1bn in electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure to accelerate the expansion of its BP Pulse network of fast chargers. Timed to coincide with the release of the government’s EV Infrastructure Strategy, the company said the investment would see BP deliver more rapid and ultra-fast chargers in key locations, expand fleet products and services, and launch new home charge digital products and services to enhance customer experience.
“This £1bn investment is vital to provide the charging infrastructure the UK needs,” said Richard Bartlett, senior vice president at BP Pulse. “We’re investing to build a world-class network. This investment allows us to deliver more. More high-speed charging in dedicated hubs and on existing fuel and convenience sites. More home charging services. And crucial enhancements to our digital technology that will make charging fast, easy and reliable.”
BP said the investment would allow it to approximately triple the number of public charging points in its UK network and accelerate the roll out of 300kW and 150kW ultra-fast charging points that are able to provide drivers up to 100 miles of range in around 10 minutes of charging, depending on the model of EV.
The move came as the government said it was working to increase the number of public charge points in the UK 10-fold by 2030, backed by £1.6bn of investment.
Separately, BP this week announced a new partnership with Japanese conglomerate Marubeni to explore a potential offshore wind development opportunity in Japan.
The two companies confirmed they have agreed to form a strategic partnership for offshore wind and potentially other decarbonisation projects in Japan, including hydrogen. The deal will initially see BP purchase a 49 per cent in a proposed offshore wind project, as a “first step towards building a market-leading offshore wind position in Japan”.
“We are unlocking new regions and new opportunities for BP,” said Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, BP’s executive vice president for gas and low carbon energy. “Combining our international energy expertise and technical capabilities with Marubeni’s track record of wind and energy development and first-class regional relationships, we can together build important new clean energy resources for Japan and Asia. We want to continue to build on BP’s offshore wind portfolio – and we can’t wait to get to work in Japan with Marubeni.”