Sponsored Content: Jose Bravo, Chief Scientist at Shell, on the Future of Energy

Q: What technologies is Shell using and developing to protect our natural resources in these areas and secure energy in a safe and environmentally sustainable way?

A: There are many things we do in a responsible way, from the inspiration start all the way to the actual project development and production. When it comes to monitoring where the oil is, we’re very careful to map it well. We use 3D and 4D seismic technology to take a live picture of where the oil is and how it flows so we can drill in the sweet spots of the reservoir and not in unproductive areas.

Also, more often we’re powering platforms with a combination of solar and wind power for our electrical needs during operation. And we’re using renewable resources to power oil production. If you do something in a way that protects natural resources, often it’s a more efficient and economical way, too.

Q: As energy diversity becomes more important, which sources will be the most important?

A: The world will need all possible sources of energy and emerging technologies to help us get to those sources and develop them responsibly. Oil and gas will still be very important. Wind and solar power are going to grow, and I think we’ll see a rebirth of nuclear—all to generate electricity. And biofuels and biomass will become a bigger part of the equation.

We need to be realistic about the role that alternative and renewable energy sources will play and how quickly they can make up a greater portion of the overall energy mix. At Shell, we see natural gas as an important component of any sustainable global energy mix, and it’s vital for meeting increased demand for clean electricity. But there’s no one silver bullet. We will need it all!

Q: Speaking of natural gas, what makes it so vital in the immediate future?

A: Shell’s scenario work shows that by the middle of this century, 30 percent of the world’s energy could come from wind, solar and other renewable sources. That means fossil fuels and nuclear will supply the remaining 70 percent. Natural gas is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel and since gas-generated electricity can come online quickly when we need it, it’s a natural ally of intermittent wind and solar electricity. At Shell, we expect by 2012 that natural gas will make up half of our upstream production and grow steadily.