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Former Shell Executive Paddy Briggs comments on the possibility of a BP Shell merger

Former Shell Executive Paddy Briggs

(Former Royal Dutch Shell Executive, Paddy Briggs)

There is a very strong logic indeed to a merger between BP and Shell, providing this merger is accompanied by a split between the (merged) upstream and the (merged) downstream businesses. A Shell/BP upstream company would be a phenomenal corporation – not just clear sector leader but also big enough pretty much to be fireproof to the risk of a hostile takeover by Russian or Middle East interests.

The new downstream corporation (entirely separate from the upstream) would focus on the customer (Hooray!) and the brand(s) (Double Hooray!!) and would become a proper marketing focused business rather than being the fag end of the upstream. Upstream folk haven’t a clue how to run marketing businesses as both Shell and (to a lesser extent) BP have shown for years!

An upstream/downstream split post merger would also help any monopoly/anti-trust worries. Some downstream consolidations or disposals would be necessary in some markets.

As a once employee of Shell-Mex and BP I would love to see Shell and BP merge – so long as there is then a rapid upstream/downstream demerger. Could it really happen? We shall see!

Paddy Briggs

Paddy worked for Shell for 37 years during the last fifteen of which he was responsible for Brand management in a number of appointments. He was the winner of the “Shell/Economist” writing prize (internal) in 2001. Paddy retired from Shell in 2002 to form the brand consultancy BrandAware ™ and to write and speak on brand and reputation matters. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

1 Comment on “Former Shell Executive Paddy Briggs comments on the possibility of a BP Shell merger”

  1. #1 Professor Alan J. Cohen, University of Louisiana-Lafayette, USA
    on Jul 5th, 2007 at 09:36

    Thank you for a thoughtful post.

    I worked at Shell in E&P in technical and leadership positions both in the USA and Europe for nearly 30 years. These days I am an invited speaker & consultant (& university professor in the geosciences) in the area of the impeding “great crew change.” Simply stated: There is a buildup of staff at around age 50 in certain exploration and production disciplines. These staff are your mentors, decision makers (or enablers to decision makers) & problem solvers. These are the staff you want to entice to stay longer at Shell, rather than jump ship or retire. A merger of the sort hypothesized here, between upstream RD and upstream BP, may cause great angst to this critical pool of staff. It will need to be handled very delicately, in my opinion. And preservation of employee and retiree benefits will be important as well.

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