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Exclusive: Shell’s CEO – Oil slide is “biggest blessing”

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Ben van Beurden’s rise to the top coincided with the oil price riding the crest of a wave.

But for a man who assumed Shell’s chief executive role just months before it all came crashing down, he sums up the last three years as “a blessing”.

“Less than a year into my new role, the oil price started going down and it’s been quite a journey, but if I look back on it I think this is probably the biggest blessing that I’ve had,” he said.

“It has done two things. First of all it provided a tremendous amount of focus on the things that needed doing. I mean, there’s nothing like a crisis to focus on cost efficiency.

“Can we afford all the capital? What about the portfolio? Where are the weaknesses in the portfolio et cetera?

“Upstream started feeling a sense of crisis because it was not living in the world of plus-$100 a barrel anymore. I think that helped with the focus.

“And the other thing it did, of course, is it brought BG in range.”

BG was on Shell’s radar for “several years”, but the sudden slip to sub-$50 oil helped pry that “window of opportunity” open even further.

“There were a few mishaps in BG that really hammered their share price and we saw them coming into this funny situation where the share price came down, but we could only see the value go up so we needed to take a hardened look at it again,” Mr van Beurden said. FULL ARTICLE

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