Interview with Shell's Ben van Beurden: A Sharper Focus On The Bottom Line

Shell has faced particular challenges in Alaska and won’t be resuming exploration activities this year. What are our plans for the future there?

There are three things that need to happen for us to resume exploration activities. First of all we need to be certain that we can carry our activities there exceptionally well – technically and environmentally. If we’re not convinced, we won’t do it. Then we need the full support of the US Government, in order to receive all the permits.

Thirdly, considering the time and effort it will take to achieve the two aspects I have just described, we will only commit to doing this if there are no further legal roadblocks. Given the uncertainty around the second and third elements, I can’t put any timeline on our plans.

As we mentioned, the security situation in Nigeria has remained volatile in the past year and Shell has sold some of its interests in the country. What is our long-term plan?

Nigeria is a very important country for us, but our focus is on reducing our exposure in some parts of the country. This does not mean we’re exiting; rather that we’re making sensible choices. We have a very strong deep-water business that we’d like to grow. We have a very strong liquefied natural gas (LNG) business – and some onshore gas – which we also want to develop.

We need to be part of the domestic gas business, given the footprint of our operations, and we are helping to serve the country’s energy needs. Our problems lie with onshore oil – and what does Shell really have to bring here? There might be other companies with the right technology who can also work well with local communities. Overall, however, we will be continuing to invest in our Nigeria operations.


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