Understanding the Oil and Gas and Renewable Marriage: The Case of Royal Dutch Shell and its Renewable Energy Strategy

Title

Understanding the Oil and Gas and Renewable Marriage: The Case of Royal Dutch Shell and its Renewable Energy Strategy

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Research Question

Opportunities within Multinational Oil and Gas Corporations: The Case of Royal Dutch Shell and its Environmental Positionality

Award

CGS-SER Nielson International Internship/Fieldwork Grant

Significance

This thesis proposes to bridge the following paradox – fossil fuel companies as both providers of essential energy and modernization and yet motivate actors to address significant negative externalities that result from their business practices. This broader context for the project is to acknowledge that within the complex world in which we live, global energy needs will continue to rely on fossil fuels for quite some time and society will need to find ways to deal with the tradeoffs and mitigate environmental challenges derived from our energy use patterns. The overarching question for this project is to see how fossil fuel companies have chosen to navigate this contentious ground. This will be done through a historical timeline of the sustainability movement, discussion on corporate social responsibility, and implementation of these findings in a case study of Royal Dutch Shell.

Methods Used

The goal of this project is to interact with corporate level employees within Royal Dutch Shell to establish the transitions of their renewable movement, and to determine the potential opportunities for their revolutionized energy strategy. Furthermore, an interaction with journalists, civil society actors, NGO’s, and scholars will be conducted to understand the full spectrum on the strategies of Shell. To achieve this objective, the foundation of my research will comprise of two research methods: Semi-structured interviews and process tracing.

Conclusions/Outcomes

The project proposes to complete an in-depth case study analyzing Royal Dutch Shell and its development and implementation of its environmental positionality, investment in renewable technologies, and shifting corporate culture. My fieldwork will be conducted within the company’s headquarters, in The Hague, Netherlands. I will be spending 7 weeks’ total during the summer to conduct this research. I hope to discuss Shell’s energy strategy in comparison to an industry-wide trend, Corporate Social Responsibility, and global policies that affect the corporation’s decision making process. The goal of this research is to assess future trends of the energy market, along with the benefits that come with transitioning to renewable technology, formulate a historical timeline to discover how Royal Dutch Shell has evolved over time in conjunction to national/international regulations and their energy competitors, discuss energy availability, and analyze what forces are influencing the transition (market trends, public opinion, consumerism, energy availability, and international agreements).

Publication Date

2017

Disciplines

Environmental Studies | International and Area Studies

Understanding the Oil and Gas and Renewable Marriage: The Case of Royal Dutch Shell and its Renewable Energy Strategy

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