Here comes the sun – even to Shell

Negara Brunei Darussalam (State of Brunei, abode of Peace) – or just Brunei – is blessed with many years of oil and gas reserves to support its tiny population of less than 0.5m citizens. Bruneians are born lucky, enjoying excellent free medical and healthcare from the benevolent state, and then paying no income tax.

Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) has been an important part of the country’s commercial history since discovery of the Seria field in 1929. A 50-50 JV between Royal Dutch Shell and the Brunei Government, BSP currently produces about 200,000 barrels per day of petroleum and is also the 4th-largest exporter of LNG in Asia-Pac behind Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia.

Yet even Shell in Brunei needs to move with the times, turning away (very slightly) from hydrocarbons towards solar energy. It has started construction of a 3.3MW utility-scale solar photovoltaic park to power the Brunei group’s Seria headquarters, generating power equivalent to consumption of a small town, from 7,000 new solar panels.

On the scale of Brunei and BSP’s huge energy production over the years, it’s a small start. But then so was that first well in Seria almost a century ago. If Shell can produce solar power in their back yard in oil-soaked Brunei, then we can produce it anywhere. Or, as George Harrison, put it for The Beatles in 1969:

“Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right.”

 



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