Our strategy

Our strategy is to strengthen our position as a leading energy company by providing oil, gas and low-carbon energy as the world’s energy system changes. We will continue to sustain our Upstream businesses while growing our customer-facing businesses. Safety, ethical behaviours, compliance and social responsibility are fundamental to how we do business.

With the acquisition of BG Group in February 2016, we have created 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 have reshaped Shell into a more resilient and focused company.

We continue to transform our company, ensuring that our portfolio is well positioned for the future of energy. Our ambition is to reduce the Net Carbon Footprint of the energy products that we sell. Our strategy is set against several global trends. A growing population and rising living standards are likely to continue to significantly increase energy demand for years to come. While the world needs to find a way to meet this growing demand, CO2 emissions need to fall to counter climate change. We recognise that the pace and specific path forward is uncertain and so requires agile decision making.

Against this backdrop, we have three strategic ambitions guiding us in the pursuit of our purpose:

  • to provide a world-class investment case. This involves growing free cash flow and increasing returns generation, all built upon a strong financial framework and resilient portfolio;
  • to thrive in the energy transition by responding to society’s desire for more and cleaner, convenient and competitive energy; and
  • to sustain a strong societal licence to operate and make a positive contribution to society through our activities.

Shell ambition:

  • Thrive in the energy transition
  • World-class investment case
  • Strong licence to operate
Shell's strategic ambitions

Our businesses

Shell’s business is divided into four areas: Upstream, Integrated Gas (including New Energies), Downstream, and Projects & Technology.

Upstream is responsible for Shell’s Conventional Oil and Gas businesses around the world, Deep water and Shales. 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. It includes New Energies, invests in low-carbon energy such as biofuels, hydrogen, wind and solar power.

Our Downstream business manages different Oil Products and Chemicals activities, including trading and marketing activities. Our oil products are sold around the world for domestic, industrial and transport use and our petrochemicals are used by industrial customers.

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

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
  • Power
Our businesses

Strategic themes

Cash engines

Core Upstream themes

Core Upstream themes focus on delivery and financial performance and is expected to continue generating robust cash flow for decades to come. It has a strong development funnel of projects that offers long-life, resilient growth opportunities. Our Core Upstream themes are Deep Water, Shales and Conventional Oil and Gas.

Growth priorities

Leading Transition themes

Leading Transition themes are our market-facing businesses where we already have a leading position in the industry. We intend to extend this leadership as we see these businesses as cornerstones for Shell as we thrive through the Energy Transition. Our Leading Transition themes are Integrated Gas, Chemicals and Oil Products.

Cash engines

Emerging Power theme

Emerging Power theme will focus on creating business models to meet evolving customer demands as society transitions to much greater levels of electrification. We will plan our steps carefully, as we prove the investment case before scaling up.

Financial framework

A disciplined approach to financial management that is 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 macroeconomic cycles and multi-decade investment and returns programmes. We balance near-term affordability and cost trends with the fundamentally long-term nature of our industry.

Our priorities for cash flow are to sustain the business; paying interest, dividends, sustaining cash capex and reducing debt. Discretionary spend will be dedicated to growth cash capex and additional shareholder distributions.

Key features

  • Sustain and grow value
  • Financial resilience through the cycle
    • Gearing 15-25% through the cycle; AA credit metrics
  • Increase shareholder distributions
    • Fully committed to current and growing dividend per share
    • $125+ billion cash potential for shareholders over 2021-2025

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Annual Reports and publications

The 2019 Annual Report and Form 20-F are now available as PDF download. A printed copy of our 2019 Annual Report can be ordered free of charge.

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