Richard Ginika Izuora
Oil major Shell Plc has warned that Europe may have to brace for a string of winters with exorbitant power bills and electricity rationing as Russia squeezes gas supplies.
“It may well be that we have a number of winters where we have to somehow find solutions through efficiency savings, through rationing and as a very, very quick build out of alternatives,” Chief Executive Officer Ben Van Beurden told reporters at a conference in Stavanger, Norway.
“That this is going to be somehow easy or over, I think is a fantasy we should put aside we should confront the reality.”
Europe is facing an energy crisis as Russia curbs gas flows following its invasion of Ukraine. That’s fueling a sixfold increase in prices from a year ago. While German gas stores are filling up faster than expected, the country risks not being able to go through the winter if Moscow halts flows to the region’s largest economy.
The European Union said it’s planning urgent steps to push down soaring power prices that are laying bare the limitations of the current electricity market design. Governments across the region have already set aside some 280 billion euros ($278 billion) in relief packages.
Last month, Shell’s CEO said energy markets are likely to remain tight, with supply to be constrained and prices volatile “not only for the remainder of this year but well into next year.”