Shell details plan to transition from oil

Royal Dutch Shell said its carbon emissions and oil production have peaked and will decline in the coming years as the company laid out a detailed plan for its transition to cleaner energy.

In a sign of how much the petroleum industry has shifted away from its mantra of growth and exploration, Shell said its oil production will fall by 1 percent to 2 percent a year. Assuming an annual reduction on the upper end of that range, the oil major’s production would fall by 18 percent by the end of the decade. Output of “traditional fuels” will be 55 percent lower by 2030.

In a wide-ranging strategy update published Thursday, the Anglo-Dutch company set new targets for electric-car charging, carbon capture and storage, and electricity sales. It also sought to reassure investors that it could maintain returns through the energy transition, reiterating its pledge for an annual dividend increase of about 4 percent and the resumption of share buybacks once its net-debt target has been achieved.

Shell’s measured approach to the energy transition stands apart from its peers BP and Total, which have announced large deals to rapidly boost their clean-energy capacity. BP has promised to slash its oil production by 40 percent and ramp up low-carbon spending to $5 billion annually by the end of the decade, prompting some to say the firm is overpaying for renewables. Meanwhile, Shell’s investments in the space will remain at $2 billion to $3 billion a year.

Critics at environmental groups Greenpeace and the Dutch arm of Friends of the Earth argued the oil and gas major is leaning too heavily on reforestation and carbon capture and storage.

— Bloomberg News


Bombardier to end Learjet production

The Learjet, which became synonymous with lifestyles of the rich and famous, is about to fade into aviation history.

Canada’s Bombardier announced Thursday that it will stop production of the Learjet later this year to focus on more profitable planes.

That means the elimination of 1,600 jobs in Canada and the United States, another blow to aircraft manufacturing, which has withered in the pandemic.

The iconic jet was among the first private luxury planes. William Lear based his design in part on military jets. The first Learjet flew in 1963, and more than 3,000 had been built since.

“It was sleek, and it had almost a fighter jet pedigree,” said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst for Teal Group. “For its time it symbolized personal executive transportation. Besides, Carly Simon put it into a fantastic song.”

Along with being a line in Simon’s 1972 hit “You’re So Vain,” the jet showed up elsewhere in pop culture, including the hit TV show “Mad Men.” Frank Sinatra let Elvis Presley borrow his Learjet to elope with Priscilla Beaulieu in 1967.

In recent years, production of the plane had slowed to about one a month. Thursday’s decision was foreshadowed in 2015, when Bombardier pulled the plug on an all-new model, the Learjet 85, citing weak demand.

“The only thing the pandemic did was accelerate a sad ending,” Aboulafia said.

— Associated Press

Also in Business

Kellogg has struggled to keep Frosted Flakes cereal on store shelves in recent months, recalling the production snags that plagued manufacturers earlier in the pandemic and left some pantry staples hard to find. The packaged-food maker has also been unable to meet demand for its MorningStar Farms meat alternatives and Corn Flakes cereal, the company said Thursday as it reported quarterly results. The supply challenges for some of Kellogg's marquee brands come as many retailers say the pandemic-driven pantry-loading trend is beginning to wane. Kellogg acknowledged that it was caught flat-footed by soaring demand for certain foods in 2020 after several "flattish to down" years for cereal.

Amsterdam has displaced London as Europe's biggest share-trading center after Britain left the European Union's single market, and picked up a chunk of British derivatives business along the way, according to data published Thursday. The City of London had long warned of the consequences of leaving the E.U. single market without adequate provisions for trade in services and notably finance, which accounted for more than 10 percent of British tax receipts before Brexit.

— From news services