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

While new projects are starting up, others are coming to the end of their life. The industry-wide issue of decommissioning large platforms, for example in the North Sea, is a complex one. How is Shell handling the challenges faced?

It’s a growing challenge for our industry. A lot of stock is reaching the end of its technical life. We’ve reserved a great deal of money to deal with this, and the amount is increasing. We have been doing a lot of work across our businesses and with partners, as well as competitors, to understand how we can best deal with these structures.

There will no doubt be a lot of public attention on this issue. We must continue engaging with the right people as we work to address the technical challenges. The NGOs and media will be taking a keen interest, of course.

HessThe Mars B Olympus platform
Prelude FLNG will produce liquefied natural gas at sea, more than enough to meet the annual natural gas needs of Hong Kong

While fossil fuels will still be needed to meet the bulk of energy demand for the coming decades, is there a role for companies such as ours in developing renewables? And if we continue to focus on oil and gas, how are we doing it responsibly?

We are in renewables: we are the biggest supplier of biofuels and produce ethanol from Brazilian sugar cane. We aim to grow our biofuels business, to make it more resilient.

When it comes to solar and wind, we’ve tried to be successful but it did not work for a company with our particular skills and expertise. We have not given up, however. Our future energies team, which reports directly to me, is looking at a range of renewable energy sources. We ask the question: how can we work commercially in these areas? We are actively investigating our role with partners: it could include logistics, trading or distribution.


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