Could Wael Sawan usher in a renewable revolution at Shell?

Ben van Beurden sat stony faced as climate activists sang “We will, we will stop you” to the tune of Queen’s We Will Rock You. If Wael Sawan was following the scenes at May’s Shell annual shareholder meeting in London, he will understand the scale of the task ahead when he takes over the top job at Europe’s largest energy company in January.

Sawan will have to tread a path van Beurden has struggled to navigate, trying to stave off criticism from investors who want him to push further into fossil fuels, and investors and environmental campaigners who call for a bigger green energy drive. Last month it was reported Shell had invested equivalent to 6.3% of its £17.1bn profits into low carbon energy in the first half of the year, investing nearly three times more in oil and gas.

Shell’s image problem hasn’t been helped by the awkward juxtaposition of posting bumper profits as a result of an energy crisis which has left millions facing fuel poverty, causing outrage.


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This article was written by Alex Lawson Energy correspondent and originally published on