Our strategy

Our strategy: Thrive in the energy transition, world-class investment case, strong license to operate

Our strategy

Our strategy is to strengthen our position as a leading energy company, while positioning the company for growth as the world transitions to a low-carbon energy system. Safety and environmental and social responsibility underpin our business approach.

In February 2016, Shell completed the acquisition of BG Group, adding significantly to our activities in liquefied natural gas (LNG) worldwide and deep-water oil and gas production in Brazil.

Shell’s strategy is now centred on creating a simpler company, one that delivers higher, more predictable returns and growing free cash flow per share. By investing in compelling projects, driving down costs and selling non-core businesses, we will reshape Shell into a more resilient and focused company.

Shell ambition:

  • Thrive in the energy transition
  • World-class investment case
  • Strong license to operate

Our business

Our business

Shell’s business is divided into three areas: Upstream, Integrated Gas, and Downstream.

Upstream is responsible for Shell’s conventional oil and gas businesses around the world, deep-water and shale oil and gas. It explores for and extracts crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids.

Integrated Gas manages Shell’s manufacturing and distribution of LNG and gas-to-liquids products. New energies invests in low-carbon energy such as biofuels, hydrogen, wind and solar power.

Our Downstream business manages Shell’s refining & trading and marketing activities for oil products which are sold around the world for domestic, industrial and transport use. In addition, we produce and sell petrochemicals for industrial customers. 

Our Projects & Technology organisation manages the delivery of our major projects and drives research and innovation to develop new technology solutions. 

infographic taken from the 2016 Investors' Handbook, showing our business – please find below the text version/explanation

1. Exploration

  • Exploring for oil and gas: Onshore and Offshore

2. Development and extraction

  • Developing fields
  • Producing oil and gas
  • Extracting bitumen

3. Manufacturing and energy production

  • Refining oil into fuels and lubricants
  • Producing petrochemicals
  • Converting gas into liquid products (GTL)
  • Upgrading bitumen
  • Producing biofuels
  • Generating power

4. Transport and Trading

  • Shipping and Trading
  • Regasifying (LNG)
  • Supply and distribution
  • Liquefying gas by cooling (LNG)

5. Sales and marketing

  • Retail
  • Lubricants
  • Aviation

Strategic themes

Strategic themes

Shell manages its portfolio around 7 strategic themes, which are segmented into cash engines, growth priorities and future opportunities.

Icons of the strategic themes convention oil + gas, integrated gas, oil sands minding and oil products

Cash engines

We consider conventional oil and gas, Integrated Gas and Oil Products as cash engines. These are the activities that we expect to provide strong and stable returns and strong and stable free cash flow, and that should cover the dividends we pay to shareholders well into the next decade.

We continue to invest in selective growth opportunities in these areas.


Strategic theme icons of deep water and chemicals

Growth priorities

Deep-water oil and gas and Chemicals are Shell’s growth priorities. They should become the cash engines in the next decade, with expected improved returns and cash flow from around 2020 as growth investment flows through into production. We are developing deep-water fields in Brazil and the Gulf of Mexico, and Chemicals projects on the US Gulf Coast, Pennsylvania and in China.

Strategic theme icons of shales and new energies

Future opportunities

Finally, we see shale oil and gas and new energies as our future opportunities. We expect these to become significant growth areas for Shell after 2020. Today, our investment here is relatively low, as we focus on our current positions and potential opportunities.

Our shale portfolio is centred on the USA and Argentina. In new energies, we are building our portfolio around our existing activities in low-carbon biofuels and hydrogen, and exploring investments in solar and wind energy.

Financial framework

Financial framework

A disciplined approach to financial management aligned with our strategy is an integral part of the world class investment case.

Shell’s strategy and financial framework, are designed to succeed through multi-year price-cycles and multi-decade investment programmes.

We aim to generate sufficient free cash flow at the lower end of the price cycle to cover the entire dividend and generate excess free cash flow above the dividend at the mid to high point of the price cycle.

Key features

  • Maximising value for shareholders through cycle
  • Multi-year timescales
  • Surplus free cash flow in up-cycle and dividends fully covered in down-cycle
  • Gearing 0-30%; AA credit metrics

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Share prices

Share price information and charts, calculators and historical share prices.

Annual Reports and publications

The 2017 Annual Report and Form 20-F, 2017 Sustainability Report and the 2017 Investors' Handbook are now available for online reading and as PDF download.