Oil behemoth Royal Dutch Shell on Tuesday announced, after revising its long-term outlook for oil and gas prices, that it will write down the value of its assets by up to $22 billion in the second quarter.
The energy titan's move comes after it disclosed a goal in mid-April to cut down greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050. Shell also disclosed it planned to impose a stricter goal to cut the total emission footprint of its energy products by 30 percent by 2030, from a current 20 percent.
Carbon dioxide and methane emission from the process of extraction, refining, and burning of fossil fuels are among the main drivers of man-made global warming.
In a statement released to investors, Shell said it had evaluated a large portion of its operations considering the ill effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the continuing competitive market climate for key commodities.
Shell said it expects to make less money from the oil and gas that its current projects will deliver in the coming years and to abandon other discoveries and ventures that might not be viable anymore. The group stated this will depreciate its assets this quarter by moving from $15 billion to $22 billion, also referred to as impairments.
Shell follows competitor BP in telling stakeholders that the oil reserves are not worth as much as they once were. This month BP told investors its assets could be worth less than $17.5 billion. Nations across the world have advised people to remain indoors and not travel due to the ongoing health hazard, triggering a decrease in oil demand.
As a result, the cost of oil at the height of the crisis plummeted to less than $20 per barrel, less than a third of the $66 it cost at the beginning of 2020. Buyers were only compensated for a brief period of time to take delivery of crude oil despite a shortage of storage.
Supply of gas and oil was especially at their peaks when the outbreak started, setting up a proverbial perfect storm for the energy market. With storage plants filling up, the US price of oil dropped under zero in April for the first time in history.
Shell projected prices for Brent crude, the international oil standard, would be pegged at $50 dollars per barrel in two years, having earlier estimated a price of $60 per barrel. On Tuesday, it traded near the $41 per barrel mark. Shares of Shell plunged 2.5 percent on the news.