ASX 200 energy shares in focus amid frightening global supply crisis

A dearth of new fossil fuel projects in recent years has opened the door to today’s global energy crisis.

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Key points

  • ASX 200 energy shares promise action to curb global supply crisis 
  • Scarcity of new oil and gas developments labelled 'frightening' 
  • The big producers are rolling out carbon capture and storage technology 

S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) energy shares are in focus as the companies’ management present their views at the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) industry conference today.

The burning topic, as you’d expect, is the global energy crisis. A crisis that saw Brent crude oil rocket to US$128 per barrel in March and continue to trade at US$113 per barrel today. Similar supply shortages amid resurgent demand sent LNG and coal prices to all-time highs this year.

Net zero ambitions collide with global conflicts

Environmentalists and activist investors have been pushing hard to stymie the development of new fossil fuel projects, eyeing a world with net-zero emissions by 2050.

While addressing global warming is obviously important, the lack of new exploration and development in recent years has left the world open to today’s crisis, according to managers of the ASX 200 energy shares.

And that’s really come to the forefront following oil-rich Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting embargos on Russian energy exports.

Global energy scarcity ‘frightening’

Addressing the APEA conference, Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) CEO Kevin Gallagher said (courtesy of The Australian):

We are watching an energy crisis play out in Europe right now, but we have on our doorstop a prime example of what happens if the energy transition is focused only on stopping new oil and gas projects.

We’ve had a decade of moratoriums, shutdowns and lockouts in resource-rich states and territories. And, as I have said for a number of years, the resulting scarcity of new developments today is frightening, with forecasts of tight supply over coming years.

Meg O’Neil, CEO of ASX 200 energy share Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL), said the world hasn’t experienced this level of energy crisis in 50 years:

I think Russia’s invasion of Ukraine really has catalysed the energy security conversation in a way that it’s not been done since the 1970s with the Arab oil embargo.

Nations and political leaders first and foremost think about their home patch before thinking about their role in the global world. And the short-term implication is that there are challenges on reliability and challenges on affordability.

APPEA chairman Ian Davies added that halting new oil and gas projects has had no impact on global emissions levels:

The focus of our opponents on stopping fossil fuel projects has had no effect on consumer demand, and no effect on emissions reduction. What it has done is to push fossil fuel developments to places such as the Middle East and Russia. This has created a supply crunch and has raised prices, hurting people and economies around the globe.

ASX 200 energy shares investing in carbon capture

While not everyone is convinced by the technology, Santos has carbon capture projects running at 27 locations across the world.

“The new focus on stopping oil and gas projects in environmentally responsible jurisdictions such as Australia is centred around discrediting a proven technology for low-cost, large-scale emissions reduction – carbon capture and storage,” Gallagher said (quoted by The Australian).

“Yet CCS has been done before. We are doing it now in 27 commercial projects around the world. And it works,” he added.

How have these ASX 200 energy shares been tracking

With some strong tailwinds thrown up by soaring energy prices, Santos shares have gained 25.4% year-to-date.

Rival ASX 200 energy share Woodside has performed even better, with shares up 36.6% in 2022.

That compares to a year-to-date loss of 5.6% posted by the ASX 200.

The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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