Ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to be here, in front of such a knowledgeable audience. This event brings together people from Asia, Europe and the Americas who are experts in the fuels and lubricants business. Together, we are leading the way on our industry’s technologies and trends that will shape the future of our industry. And where better to talk about the rapidly changing world than here, in Singapore? Singapore has long relied on innovation and forward-thinking to tackle changes head on.
I moved to Singapore 9 months ago for my current role heading the global supply chain for Shell’s lubricants business. It has been a delight living and making a home here with my family. Singapore is a small, open economy. It is a city that is constantly finding new ways and new opportunities to harness technology and innovations and deliver on our customers’ requirements and ambitions for a more sustainable energy future. And this is a pressing challenge that is not unique to Singapore. Indeed, this is a challenge faced by society, all over the world.
Today, oil, gas and coal make up around 80% of the world’s energy mix. The remaining fifth comes from biomass – including wood, peat and dung – and waste, nuclear, hydro, geothermal and renewables such as solar and wind.
More energy use from this current mix means more carbon dioxide, which in turn leads to climate change. It also means more air pollutants, such as nitrous oxide and sulphur oxide, which harm people’s health.
Society faces a dual challenge. How to make a transition to a low-carbon energy future to reduce the risks of climate change, while also extending the economic and social benefits of energy to everyone on the planet. This is an ambition that requires a change in the way energy is produced, used and made accessible to people all over the world. All while reducing emissions.
Already we can see how the global energy system has begun this transition to a lower-carbon energy future. The energy system was very different 30 years ago. And it will be very different in the future as well. What will drive this change? Many factors. Economic growth, evolving consumer habits, emerging technologies and government policies.
How did you get here today? Did you drive, or take the bus or train? Or did you fly in? Transport accounts for more than a quarter of the world’s energy use. There are a billion cars on the roads today and this is expected to double by 2040. Many of you here today live and work outside of Singapore. Wherever you live, you can see the significant changes taking place, at different paces in different countries. Customer behaviour and expectations are also changing. Already we can see this in the vehicles, fuels, lubricants and the transport ecosystem available not just to a select group, but increasingly to the masses. It is clear that the world will need different fuels and vehicles to meet growing demand for transport from customers, whilst reducing emissions.
We see that this change to a lower-carbon world as an opportunity. It is an opportunity to deliver what our customers need not only now, but in the future. For Shell, we will provide more efficient fuels and lubricants. We are also introducing lower-carbon alternatives.
Our customers are living through the energy transition. They are car manufacturers investing in new powertrains. They are airlines seeking to cut their carbon emissions. And they are local governments who want cleaner, more sustainable roads that will stand strong in 20-30 years’ time.
Our customers are operating in an increasingly uncertain environment. They are facing disruption from new competitors. They are seeing their customer expectations change as well. And they are experiencing shifting global, regional and local legislation.
So, what is it that will help us keep the world moving? I might not have one definitive answer, but I can give you a little of Shell’s perspective on what we doing to help our customers thrive through this energy transition.
We have the largest lubricants business in the world and have been market leaders for the past 12 years. We sell about five billion litres of lubricant every year. Roughly one third goes into passenger cars, while the remaining two-thirds into industrial and heavy-duty use.
Shell is working hard to make products from today’s technology as good as they can possibly be. This means making more efficient and reliable products. We expect demand for liquid fuels, such as petrol and diesel, to grow globally in the next two decades as the number of vehicles increases. Over that time, most vehicles will continue to be powered by internal combustion engines. Products like Shell V-Power and Shell Helix are helping people boost the efficiency of their engines by burning more cleanly, and reducing friction and wear.
Our scientists and engineers work with motorsports teams on innovations that can be transferred from the track to everyday drivers. Shell V-Power race fuel and Shell Helix Ultra race lubricant, which we co-engineer with Scuderia Ferrari, delivered more than 20% of the total efficiency gain of the racing team’s power unit over the last three seasons.
Shell Helix 0W, our premium ultra-low motor viscosity lubricant made from Shell’s GTL base oil from natural gas, makes internal combustion engines more efficient and cleaner, providing greater fuel efficiency and lower emissions. Shell Rimula, our lubricants for trucks, increased fuel efficiency for one of our customers’ fleets, Van der Lee. Across their entire fleet, they have saved around 250 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions per year compared to their previous lubricant.
Shell PurePlus Technology converts natural gas into a pure base oil – which forms up to 90% of a finished motor oil – to improve and protect an engine’s performance. The technology goes into the Shell Advance motorcycle oil range to minimise the build up of engine deposits, allowing for more efficient power transmission. This can lead to better fuel economy, with some bikes travelling up to 5 kilometres more per litre of fuel.
In the heavy duty segment, we collaborated with AirFlow Truck Company to build and test a hyper-efficient concept truck using a range of lightweight and energy-efficient materials and technologies. Using specially formulated Shell's lubricants that reduce energy loss through friction in the engine, the Starship Initiative truck explored what’s possible in truck design, fuel economy savings and CO2 reduction. On completion of a trial drive in the USA from the east coast to the west coast, the truck recorded a near 2.48 times improvement in freight tonne efficiency compared to the average North American truck. That’s a staggering achievement using today’s technology.
So, what lies ahead? The global energy system will take time to transform. Different fuels will co-exist. It’s not a case of backing one fuel for the future. All forms of drive train – the components which power a car – and energy sources will be required to meet the growing demand for mobility. This could be battery electric vehicle charging, or next-generation biofuels. Or it could be liquefied natural gas, or hydrogen as transport fuels.
Today, less than 1% of the global vehicle fleet is electric. Shell’s latest scenario, Sky, shows a fast rise in demand for electric vehicles in the next few decades. In a Sky world, every new passenger car in the world could be electric by 2050. Personally, I don’t have an electric vehicle but certainly plan to acquire one.
You will be interested to hear that Shell is increasing its involvement in electric vehicles. Shell Recharge is our rapid charging service. This allows drivers to charge a car in as little as half an hour. We have 18 sites in the United Kingdom, six in the Netherlands and two in China.
At the same time, Shell wants to work with others to make electric vehicles more efficient, and to extend their range. Many of our customers are evolving their car parc to create new electric vehicles. We are working with car manufacturers across the world, including Geely in China and Mahindra in India, on new transmission fluids, coolants and greases, designed specifically for electric vehicles. We have also recently announced our partnership with Nissan, working on Formula E. In the electric counterpart to Formula 1, the cars can reach up to 170mph. It is a whole new frontier for performance and innovation.
Now, battery electric cars and even light trucks will certainly have a significant part to play in reducing emissions. But they are not all that we need. We also need alternatives for heavy duty freight, for shipping and for aviation. And batteries, with their weight and range constraints, do not yet provide an obvious answer for these sectors.
Hydrogen is one possible option, with its potential for heavy freight, including rail. Hydrogen fuel cell electric cars still require transmission fluids and greases to keep the vehicle running efficiently.
Other solutions are liquefied natural gas and biofuels. LNG has advantages as a transport fuel in trucking and shipping. For Shell’s part, when it comes to trucks, we are working with partners to encourage the adoption of LNG as a road transport fuel. Biofuels have potential, and when used in vehicles, can be a cost-effective way to reduce CO2 emissions. Like combustion powered vehicles, LNG and biofueled vehicles will still need lubricants to improve fuel economy and all-round efficiency.
In moving to a lower-carbon energy future, it is critical that our business is responsible, safe and sustainable. For Shell, one focus area is transitioning to a circular economy. We believe doing so can help protect our environment and deliver positive change to society. This is about more responsible consumption and production of the world’s natural resources.
In our Lubricants business we are working to reduce, reuse and recycle packaging across our supply chains and look at different and more sustainable packaging. We are using more recycled content in our bottles, where possible, and we are selling products in larger packs or in dispensers to reduce how much packaging is required in the first place. We transport products in large containers that can be washed and used again. We are exploring different packaging concepts that are more sustainable and we continue to reduce the amount of material used in our packaging, for example, making our bottles and drums lighter in weight.
On a personal front, my wife and I are keen advocates of sustainable development. We have as a family reforested 15 hectares in Mexico with 18,000 trees to ensure our family is carbon neutral.
As I said, the energy system will be very different in the next 30 years. There are significant changes taking place, at different paces in different countries. And there are many solutions as we move to a low-carbon energy future. What works today in Singapore may not work as well in London, Beijing or New York.
Thriving through the energy transition requires big ideas, technological innovation and novel commercial opportunities. But all these can be achieved through greater collaboration. In Shell, we want to power progress together with more and cleaner energy solutions. That is why we partner with our customers and other key players.
So here in Singapore, I want to ask you this question. How will we as society make this transition to a low-carbon energy future successful? Collaboration is key. There is much we can all gain from working together.