Shell shifts focus to chemicals, refining: Financieele Dagblad

Shell’s headquarters in The Hague. Photo:

Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch/Shell is shifting its focus toward downstream operations like refining and chemicals and away from traditional upstream activities like exploring for oil and gas, the Financieele Dagblad said on Wednesday.

This shift is likely to become even clearer when the company publishes its second quarter figures on Thursday, the paper said.

Shell’s investment in exploration slumped to $157m in the first quarter of 2017 from an annual quarterly average of between $500m to $600m in recent years, the paper points out.  This is partly due to the group’s recent acquisition of the BG Group which has large deep-sea reserves off the coast of Brazil.

‘Some people think demand for oil will continue to increase. But I do not agree. There will be a peak in demand for oil in the next 10 to 20 years, Shell chairman Ben van Beurden said earlier this year at a large petroleum conference in the US.

‘We have a large cash flow from our chemical operations,’ said Jessica Uhl, Shell’s new financial director, said at the presentation of the company’s Q1 earnings.

Shell expects to benefit from the projected large increase in global demand for chemical products. To this end, the group has expanded two existing chemical plants in the US and China and is building a new one near Pittsburgh in the US.

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