Meet the Scientists

Yuri Sebregts

Yuri Sebregts

Executive Vice President Technology and Chief Technology Officer

Yuri Sebregts was appointed Executive Vice President Technology in March 2018. He leads a global Technology organisation, which combines technical, scientific and commercial expertise. These teams are based at Shell’s major technology centres in Amsterdam, Houston and Bangalore, and at smaller technical centres located close to Shell’s customers and partners.

Yuri is responsible for Shell’s technology strategy and new technology development, as well as external technology commercialisation activities. These range from research and development (R&D) programmes delivered in-house and through collaborations with external partners, to deployment of technologies across Shell’s operations, as well as catalyst manufacturing and sales, and technology licensing and technical services to third parties. Yuri also oversees the company’s digitalisation activities to apply proven and new digital technology solutions to Shell’s existing businesses and emerging new business models.

Previously Yuri was Executive Vice President Innovation and R&D since January 2015. He has held several technical and commercial positions including in Shell’s Chemicals, Lubricants and Refining businesses.

He completed his MSc in chemistry at Leiden University in the Netherlands and joined Shell as a technologist at the Shell Moerdijk Chemical plant in 1991.

Yuri is married with two daughters and lives in the Netherlands.

Speeches and articles

4 February, 2020: Yuri Sebregts – Digitalisation and energy transition: thriving through times of unprecedented change

Birol Dindoruk

Birol Dindoruk

Chief Scientist Reservoir Physics

Birol Dindoruk holds a BSc degree from Istanbul Technical University, an MSc degree from The University of Alabama, a PhD degree (with a minor in mathematics) from Stanford University, all in petroleum engineering and an MBA degree from University of Houston.

Before joining Shell, he has worked at Amoco Tulsa Research Center on various compositional simulator development projects. Since joining Shell in 1997, he has held various scientific and technical roles, including a Principal Technical Expert and Team Leader in Reservoir Engineering working for Shell International Upstream, Exploration and Production.

He is adjunct faculty at the University of Houston, Department of Petroleum Engineering and a consulting professor at Stanford University Energy Resources Engineering Department. Birol is also a global consultant for Fluid Properties (PVT) & Miscible/Immiscible Gas Injection EOR & Reservoir Simulation.

Birol was elected as an incoming director of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and selected to be a member of the National Academy of Engineers (NAE) in 2017. He was a recipient of the SPE Cedric K. Ferguson Medal in 1994 and Lester C. Uren Award in 2014. He served the SPE in various capacities including as one of the Co-Executive Editors of SPE Formation Evaluation/Reservoir Engineering Journal (2004-2006) and as one of the SPE Distinguished Lecturers for 2010–2011.

In addition to his professional SPE activities, he served as Editor-in-Chief (EIC) for Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering (2006-2013) and started serving in January 2017 as an Editor in Chief for Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering.

Carl Mesters

Carl Mesters

Chief Scientist Chemistry and Catalysis

Catalysts have been the focus of Carl Mesters’ work for 30 years - leading to his appointment in 2005 as Shell Chief Scientist Chemistry and Catalysis.

Since joining Shell in 1984, Carl has been active in catalysis and process R&D across many areas, resulting in more than 60 patents filed. He is currently working on heavy oil conversion and is based at Shell Technology Center Houston. He previously spent two years there developing catalysts used to produce ethylene oxide, an essential building block for synthetic fabric, plastic bottles and anti-freeze.

He also developed a new catalyst to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from chemical plants. Carl has contributed significant knowledge to the Pearl GTL (gas-to-liquids) plant in the Middle East, where catalysts are central to the process of converting natural gas to liquid fuels and other products.

Carl is a former Chairman of the Catalysis Society of the Royal Dutch Chemical Society. He pursued a degree in physical and inorganic chemistry at the University of Utrecht in his native Netherlands, where he also completed a research PhD.

Detlef Hohl

Chief Scientist Head Shots The Netherlands STCA 2017

Chief Scientist Computation and Data Science

Detlef Hohl holds a Master's degree in chemistry from Technical University of Munich and a PhD in theoretical physics from Technical University of Aachen (Germany). Before joining Shell in 1997, he was senior scientist at the German National Laboratory Forschungszentrum Jülich.

Detlef started at Shell’s Bellaire Technology Center in seismic imaging research, then moved to Promise seismic inversion R&D, and became R&D team leader for Quantitative Reservoir Management in 2006. From 2010-2017 he was General Manager Computation and Modeling where he led a project portfolio in data analytics, computational engineering and materials science, geoscience and petroleum engineering.

Detlef is adjunct professor at Rice University (Computational and Applied Math) and University of Houston, and visiting scholar at the UK National data science laboratory Alan Turing Institute. He held various temporary and visiting positions at NCSA, SISSA Trieste, NIST and Stanford University. 

Dirk Smit

Dirk Smit

Chief Scientist Geophysics

Dirk obtained a PhD in mathematical physics before teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, USA. He joined Shell in 1992 and his roles have included chief geophysicist for Shell UK and technology manager for Global Exploration. Currently he is Vice President of Exploration Technology.

Dirk also holds a visiting faculty position in the Earth Science department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, and has a visiting professorship in Geoscience at the Chinese University of Petroleum in Beijing, China.

He was awarded the Ludwig Mintrop Award in geophysics by the European Association of Geophysicists and Engineers in 2002.

He is a member of the National Research Council on Solid Earth Observations in the USA, the National Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter, and the physics branch of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.

Jeremy Shears

Jeremy Shears

Chief Scientist Biosciences

Jeremy Shears was appointed Chief Scientist for Biosciences at Shell in 2018 to lead the company’s strategic thinking and innovation agenda in bioscience. He works with experts within Shell, as well as with researchers from top universities and institutes around the world, to help the company stay at the forefront of the energy transition. Focus areas include bioenergy, Nature Based Solutions (natural ecosystems as carbon sinks) and subsurface microbiology.

Prior to his current role, Jeremy was General Manager for the Biodomain R&D group in Shell Projects & Technology for 9 years. He led technology development from early stage research through to commercial deployment at Shell’s technology centres in Houston, Amsterdam and Bangalore.

Jeremy joined Shell in 1986 and has held various commercial and technology leadership positions in the UK, Belgium, United Arab Emirates, India and Singapore, spanning a variety of Shell’s businesses including New Energies, Chemicals, Lubricants, Biofuels and Product Safety & Risk Assessment.

He holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Bristol and is a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Biology and the Royal Society of Chemistry. He sits on a number of advisory boards, including the UK’s Innovation Strategy Board for the chemistry-using industries and the Industrial Biotechnology Leadership Forum, Genome Canada, the North-East Centre for Energy Materials, and the Solar Fuels Network.

Joe Powell

Joe Powell

Chief Scientist Chemical Engineering

Joe Powell is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and has been Shell’s Chief Scientist - Chemical Engineering since 2006. In 1988, he joined the Process Development Department at Shell Technology Center Houston where he has led R&D programs in new chemical processes, biofuels, and enhanced oil recovery, in addition to a Hunters innovation group.

Through his work in R&D, Joe has been granted almost 50 patents with 91 applications pending. He has received several industry awards including the Arthur D Little Award for Chemical Engineering Innovation (AIChE 1998) and American Chemical Society Team Innovation Award (2000).

He is co-editor and chapter author for the book Sustainable Development in the Process Industries: Cases and Impact, and has served AIChE in various roles before being elected to its Board of Directors in 2016.

Joe currently serves on the US National Academy Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology, the US Department of Energy Hydrogen Technical Advisory Committee and the Editorial Committee of Annual Review of Chemical and Biological Engineering. He obtained a PHD in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1984, following a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Virginia in 1978.

Joe is a proud father of three sons and lives with his wife in Houston, TX.

Wolfgang Warnecke

Wolfgang Warnecke

Chief Scientist Mobility

Dr Wolfgang Warnecke was appointed Shell’s Chief Scientist Mobility in May 2011. His expertise in all forms of mobility, vehicle technology, fuels and lubricants sees him advising on technology strategy, championing science, R&D and innovation, enhancing Shell’s technical reputation in the fast-changing area of mobility and looking ahead to future solutions.

Wolfgang studied mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Hannover, specialising in automotive combustion engines, and gained a PhD in automotive engineering from Hamburg Technical University in 1987.

Since joining Shell on graduation, Wolfgang has gained extensive experience in Germany and the UK as a scientist and business leader in the fields of lubricant development, engine testing and vehicle technology, technical services for lubricants, and fuels marketing.

In 2005, Wolfgang, together with Dr Wolfgang Steiger of Volkswagen, was awarded the “Professor Ferdinand Porsche Prize”, considered by many to be the world's most prestigious award for automotive engineers, for their work on synthetic fuels development.

Read Wolfgang’s Inside Energy interview: Driving into a low-carbon future

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