Oil giants Total SA (NYSE:TOT) and Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSA) have decided to abandon coal mining and focus instead on ramping up production and trading of liquified natural gas as a cleaner alternative to cheap coal.
According to Bloomberg, Total aims to produce and trade about 32.5 million metric tons of LNG by 2020 compared with about 18.5 million tons it currently generates. The company, said CEO Patrick Pouyanne, also intends to charter a dozen LNG tankers for future trading, two of them currently under construction.
The move follows Shell CEO Ben Van Beurden’s comments at the Anglo-Dutch group’s annual meeting in The Hague last month, where he said the firm had changed from an “oil-and-gas company” to a “gas-and-oil” one.
Pouyanne and Van Beurden are joining BP boss Bob Dudley, Exxon chief Rex Tillerson, Statoil head Eldar Saetre and Chevron boss John Watson at the World Gas Conference, in Paris, this week to discuss ways to promote gas as the main fuel for a sustainable world.
In a joint statement these companies made a joint call for world leaders to introduce effective carbon pricing systems.
Speaking at the opening day of the event Tuesday, van Beurden reinforced the idea saying that a failure to properly price carbon dioxide emissions was allowing coal to maintain or grow its share in the energy mix alongside renewables, at the expense of gas.