Shell criticises protesters after annual meeting disrupted

Oil company says demonstrators are not interested in 'constructive engagement'

A climate activist is removed from the ExCel Centre in London after disrupting Shell's annual meeting. Reuters
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Oil company Shell has criticised protesters who disrupted its annual shareholder meeting in London.

Security guards dragged away activists who tried to storm the stage at the event.

Shell chairman Andrew Mackenzie was unable to start the meeting for more than an hour as dozens of protesters stood up, chanting and singing “Shut down Shell” and “Go to hell, Shell.”

“We've heard this point many times now,” he told the protesters.

“Wouldn't it be nice to have this debate rather than saying the same thing over and over again?”

In a statement Shell criticised the demonstrators and accused them of not being interested in “constructive engagement”.

“We respect people’s right to express their point of view and welcome any constructive engagement on our strategy and the energy transition,” Shell said.

“However, yet again protesters have shown that they are not interested in constructive engagement.

“We agree that society needs to take action on climate change.

Protesters disrupt Shell's annual general meeting

Protesters disrupt Shell's annual general meeting
Protesters disrupt Shell's annual general meeting

“Shell has a clear target to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 and we believe our climate targets are aligned with the more ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement on climate change: to limit the increase in the global average temperature to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels.”

The activists, who included members of Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion, say Shell and other fossil fuel firms are making record profits at the cost of the environment.

Like other oil companies, Shell posted bumper profits this year as global oil and natural gas prices soared after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In February, Shell said its profit for 2022 was a record $39.9 billion.

Climate activists protest outside the Shell annual meeting in London. Hollie Adams / Bloomberg

“Shell is continuing to drill new oil and gasfields here in the UK and around the world in some of the most biodiverse regions in the Philippines and in the Niger Delta,” said Carina Manitius, 27, a protester from the group Fossil Free London.

“So we’re here to say business as usual cannot continue and we’re going to shut you down.”

Mr Mackenzie said he believed the company was aligned with the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

“I think we can be Paris-aligned, and we are. You glossed over in many ways the tremendous progress we’ve made with our scope one and two absolute emissions,” he said in response to an activist shareholder.

Protesters at the ExCel Centre in east London during oil giant Shell's annual meeting. PA

“And I would make the same points about the progress that we’ve made on cutting methane emissions. As you know, that’s a very important greenhouse gas as well.

“But the other part of being Paris-aligned is to enable the whole of society to change.

“And we enable the whole of society to change towards a lower carbon way of being by owning customers and by working with them and to offer them lower and lower carbon alternatives to the fuel that they require to go about their lives.”

The disruption at London's ExCel centre came after the police were called to a number of

Updated: May 23, 2023, 3:30 PM