The UK’s Guardian reported last year:
Shell and BP have been warned by investors that their involvement in unconventional energy production such as Canada’s oil sands could turn out to be the industry’s equivalent of the sub-prime lending that poisoned the banking sector and triggered the current financial crisis.
The criticism came as a report was released yesterday warning of the potential financial risks of tar sands, and members of the UK Social Investment Forum met in London to consider a Co-op Investments campaign on halting oil industry involvement in the carbon-intensive oil projects.
The report is available here. The story quotes Mark Hoskin, senior partner at the ethical investment advisers Holden & Partners, with this amazing (and depressing) factoid:
“Oil companies depend on oil reserves for their market values. BP and Shell are two of our most trusted UK stocks, but it is a shocking fact that 30% of Shell’s oil reserves are in tar sands.
“This report unveils how dangerous this approach is. There is a good chance that tar sands could be to the oil industry what sub-prime lending was to the banking sector.”
Hard to believe that Shell was once considered among the greenest of all oil companies (see “Royal Dutch Shell spanked for greenwashing ad“). The tar sands are, of course, the “biggest global warming crime ever seen”
The report lists trends moving against investment in this area, not least the decline in the price of oil at a time when the cost of developing tar sand schemes is rising, something highlighted recently by the boss of French oil group Total….
The report by the environmental campaigners also claims that low-carbon fuel standards under consideration by US presidential candidate Barack Obama and already implemented in California threaten to shut down sections of the American market to products derived from tar sands.
Hopefully Obama will take strong action to block imports of tar sand products and won’t be fooled by our neighbors to the north (see “Canada tries to tar-sandbag Obama on climate“).
Shame on both Shell and BP for trying to have it both ways — claiming to be green but actively pursuing the dirtiest forms of unconventional oil.
- The tar sands — Canada’s version of liquid coal
- The Energy Department’s Strategic Unconventional Fuels Fantasy
- Gates and Buffet to invest in tar sands and spawn more two-headed fish?
- Why electricity is the only alternative fuel that can lead to energy independence
- Peak Oil? Bring it on!
- Shell’s ironic vision of carbon capture
- Do NOT read this post on Canada’s climate ‘secret’ if you don’t have a security clearance!