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Researching around the world
Top scientists and researchers are hard at work in our technology centres across the globe. Their expertise and creativity have led to technical breakthroughs: from advanced equipment that unlocks energy resources at extreme water depths or in freezing conditions to new, more efficient transport fuels and lubricants.
Technology is vital to delivering affordable energy with less environmental impact. Our network of scientists and technical staff across the globe is working to help meet this challenge. Shell is currently the largest investor in research and development among international oil firms. In 2012, we spent $1.3 billion on research and development (R&D), once again more than any other international oil and gas company.
We have three major technology centres, so-called hubs, located in cities in The Netherlands, India and the USA. They sit close to our customers in the heart of regions vital to our business. Our chosen locations also give us access to world class researchers, working across time zones to ensure research never stops. These hubs can link up through 3D virtual reality systems to work simultaneously, for example, on the design of wells.
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
In 1914 Shell first founded a laboratory in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Nearly a century later a new, redesigned technology centre took its place. This vast office complex houses around 1,300 people – yet its efficient design means that it adds almost no CO2 to the atmosphere.
Research in the centre has led to many tangible results. These include turning natural gas into transport fuel and other liquid products (gas-to-liquids or GTL); making sulphur concrete; and a more efficient chemical process for producing raw material that goes into everyday items. Shell scientists also partner with local universities to share expertise and resources.
Treasures of technology: delve into this exciting selection of Shell in Amsterdam’s achievements over 100 years
Houston, Texas, USA
Over 2,000 Shell scientists and engineers have come together in the new Shell Technology Centre Houston, Texas, USA. They include six of Shell’s Chief Scientists, who are each expert in an individual field such as catalyst technology or reservoir engineering.
In over 90,000 square metres (a million square feet) of laboratory and office space, these world- class researchers focus on developing and advancing technologies to unlock tightly trapped natural gas, developing catalysts to speed up chemical reactions, and researching opportunities to provide liquefied natural gas (LNG ) as a transport fuel. Specialised testing equipment includes, for example, a wave tank to test deep-water structures.
A third large technology centre is under construction on a 40-acre site in Bangalore. This new centre will replace two existing, smaller locations in Bangalore. These existing locations already provide support for major projects, such as the development of a floating liquefied natural gas vessel, Prelude FLNG, and the Sakhalin-2 integrated oil and gas project in Russia.
Around 1,500 technology specialists run experiments in the labs and manage research projects in the offices in Bangalore.
They work on range of technologies that will lead, for example, to more efficient ways of boosting oil production from existing fields, improved water management and more effective energy use in the future, thanks to smart grids.
A worldwide network
More smaller-scale technology centres across the world are located close to our customers and other partners. They provide tailored services, for example engine, gearbox and vehicle technology in Hamburg, Germany. Centres are also located in Canada, Norway, Beijing, Oman and Qatar. A new centre for developing lubricants is due to open in Shanghai, China in 2014.
We also have a network of offices across the world to support our research projects.