By Michael Kern
As uncertainty continues to wreak havoc on the global crude market, a surprising partnership between Amazon and one of Canada’s most controversial oil companies may be forming.
On May 13th, Amazon and TC Energy announced a deal that could end up being key in the completion of the embroiled Keystone XL pipeline. In a statement, Amazon noted that TC Energy was going “all-in” on Amazon Web Services, and that the company has “migrated almost 90 percent of its corporate and commercial applications.”
And the timing couldn’t be worse for Amazon’s public image.
Facing growing criticism over its treatment of front-line workers dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the announcement that the e-commerce giant and cloud developer will now be playing a vital role in building artificial intelligence and automation tools to help extract and deliver some of the world’s dirtiest oil undermines many of its previous commitments to going green. Amazon, while making significant strides towards its green commitments, still lags significantly behind some of its competitors. Despite CEO Jeff Bezos’ new $10 billion climate fund, Amazon still has no supply-chain emissions reduction goal, a renewable energy-matching deadline sitting a decade behind its competitors, and a heavy presence in the midstream and downstream oil and gas industry.
This puts the company at odds with other tech giants, such as Google.
Google, for its part, announced on May 19th that it will be backing off from the development of new technology that will aid in the extraction and delivery of oil and gas. Additionally, Google has already met its renewable goals and is actively phasing out its presence in the oil and gas industry.
A Greenpeace report notes, “Google has undergone personnel and structural changes that seem to show Google is deprioritizing these contracts, stating recently it will no longer develop custom AI/ML solutions to facilitate upstream extraction for oil and gas companies.”
Only time will tell which of these tech giants has made the right decision.