DOSSIER I Green Fleet Management is a team effort. “We talk with our customers. They ask how we can help them to reduce their CO2 emissions, and we work to give them options to reduce – because we see the future.” But longer term, oil companies are investing heavily in the alternative fuel infrastructure. Indeed, renewable energy generally is the fastest growing segment in global energy. Shell tells us they’ve been making bio-fuels for a generation. In a March 2013 promo video, Shell VP Mark Gainsborough said that because they’ve always made and blended liquid fuels well – bio-fuels is simply a logical extension of a winning business model. Thus Shell is a large distributor of bio-fuel and low-carbon bio-fuel processed via its Brazilian sugar-cane operation and claims the whole operation emits around 70 per-cent less CO2 than conventional petrol; from source to end. BP has also invested substantially in sugar cane ethanol production. BP processes up to 7.2 million tonnes of sugar cane a year for fuel harvest. They’ve also established proprietary bio-fuels research facilities in Louisiana and California including operations to extract sugars from the cell walls of cellulosic grasses and convert them into liquid fuels. Though Shell and BP are, for now, limiting their bio-fuel produce to the Americas, the innovation and practices mostly sounds like green-progress. Fossil Fuels – still king? Hydrogen and bio-fuels may lead the Fuel Race 2.0, but oil’s big boys aren’t turning their backs on fossil fuels just yet. Exxon, Shell and BP may be hedging bets with renewables, but in the short term, petrol is still king. “Our scientists say essentially that we – within the existing upstream drilling techniques and within the economic framework as we see it – will rely on fossil fuels for between another 50 and 70 years to come,” Eric Verleye of BP’s International Key Account Management team, told Fleet Europe, “I’ve never seen a statement from BP where we see the end of fossil fuels.” Indeed, BP’s recent Mobility of the Future report, compiled by BP Europa SE in Bochum, stated in its summary that: “Petrol and diesel fuels will not be on their way out for a long time to come, and will remain indispensable as energy sources on the road.” Exxon too proclaimed in 2011 that the world has enough oil to last 100 years. Even with a predicted 25 per-cent jump in consumption. It said even in 2040, 90 per-cent of the world’s transportation would still run on oil-based fuels. An Exxon press release from 2011 stated that ‘One out of every two cars will be either hybrids or some other alternative-fuel vehicle by 2040’, but that 90 per-cent of the world’s transportation would still run on oil-based fuels. In 2011, William Colton, Exxon’s strategic planning chief, said vehicle mileage standards may push people toward battery-powered cars, but a generation on, the cheapest hybrids will be those that still use gasoline.
FLEET EUROPE # 68
You just wouldn’t write off the oil barrens.
Hedging bets So oil companies believe petrol is king – at least for a while – but things are changing. A glance at their public relations rhetoric enforces that. With the hydrogen race wide open, those with the mans of farming it are erecting the energy infrastructure to manage it, and in the case of the oil companies, they’re more than happy to tell us about it – but they still see petrol and diesel dominance in the short-to-medium future. Petrol is still the order of today – but tomorrow, when hydrogen or bio-fuels are king, they want to be ready. ■ Alistair Millar
Sustainable development remains firmly at the core of our business strategy said Shell CEO Peter Voser in 2012
Sustainability underpins everything we do said Exxon Mobil’s Chemical Company president Stephen Pryor, at the 2013 the IHS World Petrochemical Conference.
Our mission is to provide smarter, more efficient fuel solutions for consumers said Jackie Fionda, BP’s VP for fuels marketing, in 2012.
Published on Jan 24, 2014