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The role of oil and gas in the clean energy transition with Shell Ventures

The role of oil and gas in the clean energy transition with Shell Ventures

Today's guests are Geert van de Wouw and Vikas Gupta from Shell Ventures

Shell Ventures was established in 1996 as one of the first corporate venture funds in the oil and gas industry. Although we’ve published over 300 episodes to date, Geert and Vikas are actually the first guests we’ve had from the oil majors come on the show. Although tons of anger has been directed at the oil and gas industry, we also acknowledge that they are critical to the clean energy transition. Collaboration is ultimately key to unlocking our future potential. 

Listen on Spotify

In this discussion, we check Geert and Vikas’ Shell business cards aside and talk about their personal views on climate. We also discuss how they think about negative sentiments towards oil majors, as well as their role in the future. Then we cover Shell as a company, what percentage of its energy portfolio comes from fossil fuels versus renewables and other clean energy, and how those percentages will shift over time. Finally, we talk about Shell Ventures, how they invest, and how those investments fit into the bigger picture of what the company's trying to do. 

This conversation only scratches the surface of the role oil and gas will play in the clean energy transition, but it also begins building necessary bridges between the traditional climate world and our realistic future. We know climate touches every facet of our lives and appreciate Geert and Vikas’ time in helping to tease out the nuances of this complex crisis we’re facing. 

In this episode, we cover: 

  • [4:11] An overview of Shell Ventures

  • [5:58] How Geert found his way into Shell and his motivations 

  • [8:20] Vikas' background and climate journey 

  • [10:11] Their level of concern regarding climate change 

  • [13:18] Anger geared towards big oil and realistic expectations for the energy transition

  • [16:11] Shell's net zero commitments and investments on clean technologies 

  • [18:43] Strategic priorities for Shell vs. Shell Ventures

  • [23:16] How Shell Ventures thinks about general impact, strategic value, and financial returns

  • [26:45] Shell's level of collaboration with entrepreneurs and founders 

  • [29:01] The role of behavior change and consumer mentality

  • [32:44] Thoughts on if we've reached a tipping point and how they see the transition playing out

  • [35:17] Carbon removal and capture as one solution in the mix 

  • [38:49] The role of policy in Shell's investments 

  • [40:26] Reskilling oil and gas workers

  • [43:47] How collaboration with oil and gas can accelerate the transition

Visit our website for a full transcript of this episode.

Get connected: 
Jason's Twitter
Geert van de Wouw LinkedIn
Vikas Gupta LinkedIn
Shell LinkedIn / Twitter 
MCJ Podcast / Collective

*You can also reach us via email at, where we encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests.

Episode recorded on September 27, 2022

MCJ Newsletter
My Climate Journey
A growing body of knowledge about climate change and potential solutions. This series traverses disciplines, industries, and opinions with hundreds of deep-dive conversations with science, technology, and climate leaders.