BP may have pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, but Shell continues to bury its head in the sand over climate change, arguing that global demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) will double by 2040 — in order to support the growth of renewables.

“A combination of new policy, favourable economics and partnerships with renewables is driving the momentum for coal-to-gas switching,” Shell said in its annual outlook for the LNG market.

“Gas is a fuel for today and tomorrow. It can act as a partner for renewable sources to offer reliable, flexible and cost-effective access to more and cleaner energy at scale.”

But the report did concede: “Gas faces a challenge from those arguing to remove all fossil fuels from the global energy mix. However, the supply of reliable energy cannot all be met by renewables — at least not yet.”

Policymakers across Europe and other parts of the world are increasingly looking to replace their natural-gas use through renewable energy, electrification of heating, or with clean hydrogen produced either from renewables or natural gas with carbon capture and storage. And while oil & gas companies continue to promote gas peaker plants to provide back-up energy when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing, policymakers committed to the Paris Agreement are hoping that energy storage — in the shape of batteries, Baldies and clean hydrogen — will be able to fulfil that role.

According to the International Energy Agency, developed countries need to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 and developing countries by 2050 to hit the 1.5C temperature increase goal envisaged in the Paris Agreement, which Shell says it supports. The UK has pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, with the EU expected to follow suit this year.

Shell’s report comes a day after the Nature scientific journal reported that emissions of methane — which is 84 times more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2 over a 20-year period — had actually been underestimated by up to 40%.

A senior executive at Equinor told Recharge this week that methane leakage was a problem in the LNG industry.

Shell’s report did concede that future LNG growth is not expected in Europe due to the EU’s plans to phase out fossil fuels as soon as possible. Future growth is expected to come largely from Asia.