Sustainability Blog

Shell and MSC Join Up to Decarbonize Shipping

By Simon Johns - Jul 22, 2021

Anglo-Dutch supermajor Shell and equally super-sized Swiss shipping company MSC will collaborate on developing technologies to decarbonize the global shipping sector and reach net-zero emissions, according to a press statement from the two companies.

More than 80% of globally traded goods is transported by ship and shipping contributes 2-3% of global carbon dioxide emissions, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics. Emissions from transport overall are growing and some forecasters predict that the marine industry could account for 17% by 2050.

Shell and MSC’s memorandum of understanding, announced at the end of last week, includes developing low- and zero-emission fuels, fuel cells and energy efficiency technologies such as digital services and platforms.

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“Shell wants to play a central role in the transition to net zero. Partnering with our customers to develop new technologies and fuels will help accelerate progress,” said Melissa Williams, president of Shell Marine.

A major shake up of marine fuel and lubrication took place at the start of last year, when the implementation of International Maritime Organization’s Marpol 2020 regulation slashed allowable levels of sulfur in fuels and kept lubricant engineers in the lab for long hours looking for new formulations.

Acquisitions and project announcements point to a move by Europe’s energy majors away from fossil-fuels. Companies such as Shell, BP, Eni, Equinor and Repsol are shelling out large sums on renewable energy assets and electric vehicle charging providers. Their U.S. counterparts are instead investing in carbon capture, a sign that they have little intention on exiting oil and time soon. As of June 2021, ExxonMobil had no renewable projects on the go.

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