Transitioning oil supermajor Shell is to begin supplying Microsoft with renewables-sourced power to help the IT giant reach its 2025 targets for 100% clean energy as part of a far-reaching “strategic alliance”, the two companies have announced.

The partnership, which aims to be a “model for how companies can work together to achieve their net-zero ambitions”, will see the pair developing a range of artificial intelligence (AI) software and digital tools to improve worker and onsite safety and curb Shell’s carbon emissions as well as that of it customers, and also advance progress on sustainable aviation fuels.

“Microsoft and Shell both have rich histories of innovation and bold ambitions to decarbonise,” said Huibert Vigeveno, Shell’s downstream director, pointing to collaboration between the two stretching back 30 year.


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“Our strategic alliance will enable us to push the boundaries of what can be achieved. We believe we can unlock tremendous progress for Shell, Microsoft, our customers and beyond.”

Judson Althoff, executive vice president of Microsoft’s worldwide commercial business, stated: “We are building on our work with Shell by establishing a deeper alliance to further accelerate innovation in support of decarbonisation and energy industry transition.

“Cross-industry collaborations like this are fundamental to help society reach net-zero emissions by 2050, and digital transformation is key to tackling this important issue, within the energy sector and beyond.”

Shell and Microsoft said they had “already achieved important results through their long-standing technology collaboration”, including a hatching almost 50 proprietary AI-powered proprietary across the oil company’s businesses, and technologies such as real-time production optimisation to reduce CO2 emissions in Shell’s liquefied natural gas operations.

Last week, Shell rival BP announced it would start supplying renewable power to Microsoft data centres as part of a new partnership designed to advance the green agendas at both companies.

(This article first appeared in Upstream's renewable energy sister publication Recharge on 23 September, 2020.)