Don’t Demonise Oil and Gas.. We’ll Need it for 30 Years
Oil and gas is being demonised but the fact is we shall have to rely on it for years to come, says North Sea dealmaker Colin Welsh.
The international partner with equity firm SCF Partners, who was the keynote speaker at Insider’s Deals and Dealmakers Business Breakfast in Aberdeen today, said it would take 20 to 30 years for renewables to be fully developed.
He said: “Generally people think what we’re trying to do is trash oil and gas and simply just flick a switch and move to renewables.”
Welsh added: “Sadly oil and gas is being demonised not only by climate change activists but now by the media with a result that its fashionable for all sorts of people and organisations; banks, investment institutions and even the arts to turn away from oil and gas companies.”
He pointed to news reports today that Barclays was being pressurised by activists to stop lending to oil and gas,
“Unfortunately the industry has done a bad job of setting out why a thoughtful approach to what might be a better way forward. I hope it gets its act together in time for the big climate change conference that will probably be held in Glasgow later this year. That’s a job for Oil & Gas UK- they need to get their act together and pull something sensible together.”
But he said it was vital for people to be more informed. “Conventional wisdom is that cars are the poster child of environmental destruction but in fact livestock emissions make up between 15-18% of total greenhouse emissions compared to 14% for the transportation sector.
“Importantly though while transportation creates CO2, livestock farming creates methane which is 23 times more potent towards warming the planet.”
He went on: “Think about it – eating less meat is much more easily accomplished than the much costlier exercise of converting our entire infrastructure to rely on renewable energy. Similarly, we might think we’re doing our bit for the environment by driving an electric car but not if the electricity comes from a coal-fired power station. Bear in mind that coal-fired power stations release more than twice the greenhouse gas of a natural gas plant.”
He said: “Global warming is a subject we all need to take very seriously. For many years it’s been the elephant in the room, we all knew it was out there, we all knew you need to do something but it was never top of the agenda.
“But last year the tsunami of pressure that has emerged on ESG [environmental, social and governance] has changed all that.”
He said all of the companies in his company SCF’s portfolio were looking at ways to become greener themselves.
He said in Aberdeen there was a lot of effort being put into renewables through Sir Ian Wood’s Opportunity North East.
He said: “We’re putting in a lot of effort on this but it doesn’t stop people bashing the industry and a lot of that is unhelpful and it’s not particular thoughtful.”
The seventh annual Insider Deals and Dealmakers Business Breakfast, held with our partners law firm CMS, was attended by more than 200 people.
A full report on the Deals and Dealmakers Business Breakfast will appear on insider.co.uk tomorrow.