The Philadelphia Energy Solutions oil refinery owned by The Carlyle Group is seen at sunset in Philadelphia March 26, 2014. Picture taken March 26, 2014. REUTERS/David M. Parrott/File Photo

Maersk Accuses Big Oil Of Holding Back On Green Fuel

John Konrad
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November 6, 2022

by John Konrad (gCaptain) In an interview with the Financial Times (FT) last week Maersk warned that oil companies are holding back the shipping industry’s decarbonization efforts by not providing affordable green fuel.

Morten Bo Christiansen, head of decarbonization at AP Møller-Maersk, told the Financial Times that Maersk risked not having the green methanol supplies it needs to fuel zero-carbon ships.

“Today, we buy our fuel from the oil companies. But they have not offered us any green methanol at a price point we can accept,” he told the Financial Times. “You would have expected that your current supplier would help you find the new juice. But that has not been the case so far.”

The Danish shipping giant is investing heavily in building new ships that burn alternative fuels but these massive vessels will need a lot of it. Maersk already plans to put 19 vessels capable of running on e-methanol into service between 2023 and 2025, which will require around 750,000 tonnes of the fuel, Maersk said. The company will need roughly 6 million tonnes of e-methanol produced using renewable energy or biomass per year to reach its 2030 emissions target.

Maersk plans to produce up to two million tonnes of e-methanol a year in Spain by 2030 but that project will cost around 10 billion euros and may require Spain may enter as a strategic investor. Lots more is needed but energy companies are currently focused on replacing Russian gas and oil. They are also under attack from politicians for paying out dividends instead of lowering gas prices or investing in clean energy.

“Oil Company profits are a windfall of war,” said President Joe Biden at a press conference on October 31st “The windfall from the brutal conflict that’s ravaging Ukraine and hurting tens of millions of people around the globe.”.

But there is another reason why risk-adverse oil majors may be hesitant to produce alternative fuels. Christiansen admitted to FT that the toxicity of e-methanol poses a safety risk and he does not expect green ammonia to be scalable until the end of the decade.

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