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Shell gives profitable growth outlook as downstream business transforms

21st March 2018

Royal Dutch Shell plc (Shell) has updated investors on its downstream growth ambitions, underlining the important role they will play in delivering Shell’s world-class investment case.

Good times ahead for Shell
Good times ahead for Shell

“Our unique Downstream business is fundamental to delivering a world-class investment case,” said Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden. “Its unparalleled breadth, depth and the strength of our brand make our Downstream business highly competitive, helping to generate strong free cash flows and returns, while making Shell more resilient over the coming decades.”

John Abbott, Downstream Director, explained how the business will help Shell thrive through the energy transition. “We have a customer-centric mindset and the most integrated Downstream business in the world. We have a strong track record of delivery, a diversified portfolio and ambitious growth plans – underpinned by operational excellence – that all ensure our business remains resilient today and for the future,” he said.
“This business will continue to create value for shareholders and customers. We believe our Marketing business is the most profitable in the industry, and Chemicals had a record year in 2017. Meanwhile, our refining and trading teams make the most of our scale, global presence and customer reach. We have a unique strength in our brand and a fully integrated business model that our competitors find difficult to match,” Abbott said.

“Downstream is helping Shell to thrive during the global shift to a lower-carbon energy system. As the energy system evolves, our marketing businesses will provide agile platforms for meeting the changing needs of our customers. We are making products from today’s technologies as good as they can be, with better fuels and lubricants. We are also helping to deliver tomorrow’s products, services and technologies. From battery-electric vehicle charging to next generation biofuels; LNG for transport to hydrogen; and smartphone apps that enable more efficient driving. We are also working to reduce emissions from our own operations.”
Shell reiterated its expectation of $6-7 billion annual organic free cash flow from Downstream by 2020, at $60 per barrel (real terms 2016) and mid-cycle Downstream conditions, with $9-12 billion expected by 2025. The company plans to invest $7-9 billion a year across Downstream, and to deliver a return on average capital employed (ROACE) above 15%.

Delivery through a uniquely integrated approach
A customer-centric mindset and business integration are fundamental to our approach. Shell’s Downstream leadership position is based on the unrivalled strength of customer relationships across Retail, Global Commercial and Chemicals, built over decades. The integrated management of our businesses and the unique reach of our trading operation allows us to capture and maximise value across the value chain as market conditions change, enhancing the resilience of our business.

Across its Marketing businesses, Shell is leveraging its iconic global brand and technically differentiated fuels and lubricants, while growing in new markets and sectors that will be resilient through the energy transition.
Chemicals, a growth priority for Shell, has been through a transformational and profitable journey and proved robust across a range of crude oil and natural gas prices. Meanwhile, the reshaping of how Refining and Trading work, to focus on complex, highly integrated and competitive sites in the three main trading hubs – the US Gulf Coast, Singapore and Rotterdam – is nearing completion. The success of these businesses is enhanced by teams working constantly to capture maximum value in all our markets. We can make, buy or blend products – providing the right product, at the right cost, to the right market.

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