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Shell leadership shake-up sends Australian boss to The Hague

Oct 4, 2019

Shell has opted to shake up its leadership ranks in Australia as it beds down the recent acquisition of ERM Power and faces key investment decisions on multibillion-dollar gas projects.

The shake-up will see Shell Australia chairman Zoe Yujnovich move to company headquarters at The Hague.

Ms Yujnovich said on Friday that Australia was central to Shell’s LNG business and for its plans to move into providing cleaner energy.

Her role in Australia will be filled by Tony Nunan, who currently heads up the oil and gas giant’s operations in eastern Australia.

Ms Yujnovich will take up a key role in shaping Shell’s future in conventional oil and gas across 18 countries, excluding Australia, from January.

She has led Shell Australia for the past three years and in that time the company commissioned the $US10 billion ($14.8 billion) Prelude floating LNG facility.

Shell also acquired business electricity retailer ERM Power in a $617 million deal in August that provided evidence it was serious about launching into the broader energy retailing market in the eastern states .

The deal was seen as a precursor to Shell eventually competing in the consumer space against the likes of Origin Energy and AGL.

Ms Yujnovich, who upset the Morrison government before the May federal election by suggesting Australia should consider re-introducing a price on carbon, said Shell’s business continued to evolve with a focus on cleaner energy.

“Around one-quarter of Shell’s global capital is invested in Australia, and it is integral to our global strategy to lead in LNG and move into power to provide more and cleaner energy as the system transitions from molecules to electrons in the decades ahead,” she said.

“Shell’s business in Australia has constantly evolved over the past 18 years, and I’ll pass on the baton to Tony inspired by the direction we’re heading to meet the changing needs of society.”

Mr Nunan’s appointment as her replacement was confirmed a day after Shell’s Queensland Gas Company (QGC) business celebrated the export of the 500th cargo LNG from its plant on Curtis Island.


The Toowoomba-born executive has a long history with QGC, which also supplies about 20 per cent of the east coast domestic gas market and was the world’s first plant to export LNG made from gas extracted from coal seams.

Mr Nunan joined QGC as legal counsel in 2008, was managing director after a takeover by BG Group and then returned to run the business when it passed into Shell hands in 2016.

Shell said Godson Njoku, currently executive vice-president of production support and excellence, would step into Mr Nunan’s role as vice-president east (Australia).

The changes at the top in Australia come with Shell facing key decisions in regard to Arrow Energy’s Surat Basin project and its commitment to backing Woodside Petroleum in the $US20.5 billion Browse LNG project off the WA coast.

Shell is Woodside’s biggest partner in the Browse project and both Woodside and Shell are facing pressure from the Morrison government to proceed.

Shell has said it has the best alignments across the Browse venture the company has ever seen, but Ms Yujnovich has also indicated several details needed to be thrashed out to avoid issues down the track.

She said in June that while there was agreement the Browse field would be the “anchor tenant” to provide replacement gas for the North West Shelf venture, there needed to be opportunities to “optimise” the timing of Browse and how to fill spare capacity at the LNG plant arising before Browse gas comes online.

Shell also indicated earlier this year that it wanted to make a final investment decision on the Surat Basin project but progress had been made more difficult by Queensland’s decision to lift state royalties.


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