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Globe & Mail (Canada): Royal Dutch Shell keeps Calgary in its plans

NORVAL SCOTT

CALGARY — Calgary is set to remain a key hub for Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s North American exploration and production operations, contrary to speculation that the company plans to move most management to Houston after completing its takeover of Shell Canada Ltd.

According to accounts from a company meeting in late April, Adrian Loader, director of strategy and business development with Royal Dutch Shell, said both Calgary and Houston will be “business centres” for the energy giant’s exploration and production division. Mr. Loader will assume executive authority for Shell Canada on June 6, based in Calgary.

“We intend to invest in and grow the business, and a key to delivering our aspirations lies in combining the skills and expertise of Shell Canada with the strength of Royal Dutch Shell,” Mr. Loader told staff.

Last month, Royal Dutch won its battle to buy the shares in Shell Canada that it didn’t already own, effectively ending Shell Canada’s existence as an independently run business and removing the need for a separate chief executive officer and other senior management. Shell Canada CEO Clive Mather, chief financial officer Cathy Williams and Ian Kilgour, senior vice-president of exploration and production, have all said they will retire in June, leading to speculation that Calgary will no longer be a major headquarters for Royal Dutch.

However, the city will remain a centre for Royal Dutch’s Western Hemisphere exploration and production, a division that now incorporates Shell Canada’s in situ oil sands business, according to accounts from the town hall.

Brian Straub, Shell Canada’s senior vice-president for the oil sands, retains his position in Calgary in charge of oil sands mining and upgrading, and will report to Rob Routs, a Royal Dutch executive director based in The Hague. Mr. Routs also worked for Shell Canada for about two decades.

Shell Canada spokesman Jeff Mann said the company wasn’t revealing details of the integration with Royal Dutch Shell at present, while Royal Dutch Shell didn’t return phone calls seeking comment.

On Thursday, Royal Dutch Shell CFO Peter Voser said the company will concentrate on integrating Shell Canada into its international operations before potentially considering other acquisitions in Canada.

There has been speculation that the Shell Canada buyout is a precursor to more Royal Dutch deals.

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