Chief executive officer of Royal Dutch Shell, Ben van Beurden, has said the company would be investing between $1-2 billion on annual basis in new energies and buying back at least $25 billion in shares, while ramping up focus on improving safety performance of its facilities and doubling its returns.
Beurden said he was particularly troubled by declining safety operational standards in the company activities, stressing on plans to make improvements in 2018. Beurden, in an interview published on Shell’s official website, said, “The safety performance at our facilities has not been good enough and that gives me concern. We have to redouble our focus and continue to bring the number of incidents down. The tanker lorry tragedy in Pakistan was just terrible. It is a stark reminder for all of us that we must never forget the role that safety plays every day.”
The CEO also talked about the company’s plan on scrapping of scrip dividend and his own experience of using a hybrid car.
Beurden also stressed on the need to thrive through the global energy transition and the urgency to bring more bio-fuels, hydrogen and electric vehicle charging into the mix, including investments in renewable energy projects. Shell had on Monday announced its plan to buy 43.86 per cent stake in US-based solar company Silicon Ranch Corporation for $217 million.
The move comes at a time its British rival BP has just announced re-entering the solar sector with a $200 million investment in UK-based solar company Lightsource. While talking about Shell’s aim to become a world-class investment case, Beurden said, “If you look back on how we have been doing, in terms of total shareholder return, you could argue we are already number one in the industry. Now we need to sustain that for three years, ten years and beyond.
“Nothing in the bag yet, but I am very confident. We also said we need to be the leading company in terms of overall value. At the moment, we are number two and we are closing in on number one. We almost have the tiger by the tail. So, yes, I feel pretty good about progress towards our world-class investment case” the CEO noted.
However, he stressed that the company has a long way to go and needs to further streamline its operations by bringing down overall costs in operations, reducing debt, turning off scrip dividend from the fourth quarter and focus on posting double digit returns.
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