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1 June 2023 | Energy crisis

Half of EU has no mandatory energy-saving measures for next winter – EEB 

The EU has tried to reduce its reliance on Russian gas since the start of the war in Ukraine. Credit: Alexander Zemlianichenko via Getty Images/Bloomberg.

Despite the ongoing energy crisis, only half of EU member states have mandatory energy-saving measures in place for next winter, with most of the measures remaining voluntary and only targeted at public buildings, finds new analysis from the non-profit European Environmental Bureau (EEB). 

The EEB’s research reveals significant disparities across the EU to reduce gas and electricity demand. Only 14 of the 27 EU countries have adopted mandatory measures to reduce energy use, with Poland, Lithuania, Cyprus and the Netherlands only having joined this group in the past six months. 

The most comprehensive gas-saving measures have come from countries previously importing large quantities of Russian gas, including Italy and Germany. Some less gas-dependent countries such as France and Spain have also brought in stringent measures.

Luxembourg, Austria, Malta, Nordic and Eastern European states tend to have weaker energy reduction measures in place and Bulgaria, Romania and Latvia have not introduced any national measures. Portugal is the only country reporting transparently on energy savings implementation and progress. 

30 May 2023 | Investment

ONGC announces $12bn in green project investment by 2030 

India’s largest oil explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has announced plans to invest ₹1tn ($12.1bn) by the end of 2030. The state-controlled driller, who produces more than half of India’s oil and gas, plans to significantly grow its renewable power portfolio to 10,000MW by 2030, up from 189MW at the end of March 2023. 

Speaking at a press briefing in Mumbai on Monday, ONGC chairman Arun Kumar Singh said the company’s green spending will focus on ammonia production and other non-variable renewable energies. 

The company plans to reach zero direct emissions by 2038b but will not include scope 3 emissions from the oil and gas it sells in these targets. 

ONGC plans to continue investing in fossil fuels. In its results for the fiscal year from July 2022 to June 2023, the company declared eight oil discoveries. Its capital spending plan of Rs301.25bn ($3.64bn) for the current fiscal year is almost all dedicated to the exploration and development of its oil and gas blocks.  

31 May 2023 | LNG

Indonesia considers limiting LNG exports to meet domestic demand 

Indonesia is considering imposing new limits on the export of liquified natural gas (LNG) as it seeks to balance local consumption with export obligations to secure a sufficient domestic gas supply. 

“We believe that this policy will have a positive impact in meeting domestic energy needs, encouraging domestic industry growth, and maintaining existing export commitments,” Indonesia’s Deputy Coordinating Minister for Maritime Sovereignty and Energy Jodi Mahardi was quoted as saying. The proposed policies do “not intend to reduce or stop gas exports as a whole,” he added.

Supply chain bottlenecks and a post-pandemic industrial resurgence led to a worldwide fuel supply crunch last year, and the nation has been striving to prioritise gas for its domestic market to support its economic growth.

In a media briefing, the country’s Coordinating Investment and Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said the government could ban new LNG export contracts or renewals of existing agreements to meet the domestic demand. Existing contracts would not be affected. 

30 May 2023 | Emissions

Shell expects continued emissions breaches despite $10m fine 

Shell has been fined $10m for emission limit breaches at its refinery in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, US, but expects further breaches.  

A press release from the office of Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro said: “Shell formally acknowledged that it exceeded total emission limitations for air contaminants, agreed to make repairs to reduce future exceedances, and agreed to pay nearly $10m to the Department of Environmental Protection and the local community.” 

Shell will pay a $4.9m civil penalty, 25% of which will be directed to local communities. It will also be required to spend $5m on environmental projects within the community. Shell will also pay monthly civil penalties for the rest of 2023. 

The company said that some of the emissions came from “malfunctions” and that it anticipates more annual emissions limit breaches until late 2023. This covers the commissioning phase of the plant, but the company expects lower emissions during normal operations.

Shell’s plant has been the subject of ongoing controversy since its opening. 

30 May 2023 | ESG

Norway’s wealth fund to support activist resolutions against Chevron and ExxonMobil 

Norway’s $1.4tn wealth fund, the largest sovereign fund in the world, said on Friday it would back activist resolutions calling for US oil giants Chevron and ExxonMobil to cut their emissions.

The resolutions will be put to Chevron and Exxon shareholders during their respective annual general meetings. The proposals, initially brought by activist shareholder group Follow This, call on the companies to include their Scope 3 emissions in their environmental and climate plans, which currently only consider emissions from production activities.

The Norwegian wealth fund also said it would vote against the appointments of Chevron and Exxon CEOs and other senior management. 

Carine Smith Ihenacho, the fund’s chief corporate governance officer, told the Financial Times: “Exxon doesn’t really believe in the value of setting Scope 3 targets. We think the company should do so. Chevron, we don’t think they are ambitious enough in their transition plans. Our job in the fund is to create value for future generations but in a responsible way.”