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Shell: Britain Is Less Attractive Than The U.S. For Energy Investment

The UK is less attractive than the United States for energy investment, due to the high windfall taxes on energy producers in Britain and the lack of incentives for clean energy investments similar in scale to the American provisions to boost green energy, Shell’s CEO Wael Sawan told The Times in an interview published on Monday.

The UK government should “take a page from some of the things that the US have done recently, through the Inflation Reduction Act,” Sawan told the newspaper.  

The IRA has nearly $370 billion in climate and clean energy provisions, including investment and production credits for solar, wind, storage, critical minerals, funding for energy research, and credits for clean energy technology manufacturing such as wind turbines and solar panels.

The EU also seeks to bolster policies to support the EU’s clean technology manufacturing and preserve the bloc’s competitiveness in the face of the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act and massive subsidies in China.

The UK, for its part, is discouraging investments with sudden changes, regulatory permitting hurdles, and uncertainty over subsidies and windfall taxes, Shell’s Sawan told The Times.

The RenewableUK group called on the government last month to stop intervention and uncertainty and start looking at what the U.S. is doing in terms of supporting green energy investments.

“At a time when the USA has set up a much more positive policy and regulatory environment for investors, the UK is continuing to develop policies which would increase uncertainty and dampen investment,” RenewableUK said in a report.

Shell, which has planned to invest $30 billion (£25 billion) in the UK energy system over the next ten years, is now re-evaluating each project comprising the investment plan, after the UK raised the windfall tax, officially known as the Energy Profits Levy (EPL), to 35%.

Last year, Shell said it planned to invest £20-25 billion in the UK energy system over the next 10 years, with more than 75% of this intended for low and zero-carbon products and services, including offshore wind, hydrogen, carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS), and electric mobility.

The levy is “fundamentally disincentivizing the investment in new supplies which are critical if you want to build energy security for the long term,” Shell’s top executive told The Times.  

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on March 06 2023 said:
    Shell and other oil supermajors deserve to have their recent windfall taxed since they didn’t earn it. It fell into their laps like Manna from heaven.

    Moreover, Shell wouldn’t have promised to invest £20-£25 bn in the UK energy system over the next ten years if not to avoid a windfall tax. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that Shell will go ahead with the investment.

    Shell is now hinting at moving to the United States where it claims that it is more attractive than the UK for energy investment because of the high windfall taxes on energy producers in Britain and the lack of incentives for clean energy investments similar in scale to the American provisions to boost green energy under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

    Yet this very IRA has been slammed by the EU because it would adversely impact on European jobs in industries like car manufacturing and energy and could also lead to a fragmentation of the Western alliance according to French President Emanuel Macron.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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