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“Risk-taking Shell CEO Stays in Race” was the headline of the Wall Street Journal business section in late March.
This caught my attention because most E&P company executives seem to have abandoned risk over the past decade or so in favor of buying reserves through acquisition of other oil and gas companies. As I read the article, however, I learned that the risk Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer has taken involves investment in large, long-term, non-conventional energy projects. These include a $20 billion LNG (liquefied natural gas) project on Sakhalin Island (Russia) and an $18 billion gas-to-diesel plant in Qatar. In addition, Shell has acquired almost 100% of its subsidiary Shell Canada, at a cost of about $9 billion, in order to increase interest in another unconventional resource, the Athabasca oil sands. These combined unconventional investments amount to about 22% of Shell’s market capitalization . . .
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