Royal Dutch Shell - as it is still known for now - is one of the world's three biggest independent (ie not state-controlled) oil and gas companies, jostling BP and ExxonMobil for leadership. In 2019, it was the second-largest by revenues. It is also the clear leader in liquefied natural gas (LNG) following the 2015 acquisition of UK rival BG Group, at one time the exploration and production division of British Gas. The company plans to abandon a long-established Anglo-Dutch corporate structure in 2022, and will become simply Shell. The group's "upstream" Exploration & Production unit searches for and extracts oil and gas around the world. It has operations in 37 countries, and currently produces fuels in around half of them, in most cases in a joint venture with another company. However the public face of the company, and its biggest source of revenue, is its "downstream" operations, primarily a vast global network of service stations. As a result of acquisitions including Texaco's US filling stations and Germany's DEA, it has around 45,000 Shell-branded retail outlets in almost 80 countries in every corner of the globe, making it the world's largest branded retailer. Most outlets are opeated by licensees. More than 30m people visit a Shell forecourt every day. Shell V-Power is its lead fuel brand. The group also produces a wide range of chemicals, engine oils and lubricants, including Pennzoil and Quaker State in the US, and owns the US-based Jiffy Lube oil change station network. Ben van Beurden, previously director of downstream operations, became group CEO in 2013. Like all companies in this sector, performance has been heavily dependent in recent years on the volatile rise and fall of oil prices. Revenues peaked in 2011 at over $470bn as a result of sky high oil prices, but have fallen back considerably since then. The figure for 2019 was $344.9bn, with net profits of $16.4bn. Integrated gas production accounted for more than half of profits. The group delivered almost 1.4bn barrels of oil or equivalent per day, and had proved reserves of 11.1bn barrels at the end of the year. However, 2020 has proved to be a deeply challenging year for the group as it struggles to adapt to the consumer demand for renewable energy over traditional oil and gas. That shift has been exacerbated by lower demand for energy products during the Covid pandemic and rising concerns over climate change. Shell's shares touched a 25-year-low in the Spring after its first dividend cut in 75 years.
Capsule checked 9th January 2021
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Historical profile information for Royal Dutch Shell
Adbrands Daily Update 16th Nov 2021: Royal Dutch Shell announced plans to abandon its cumbersome Anglo-Dutch corporate structure, moving its tax base from the Netherlands to the UK, where it already has its global headquarters. The move is being prompted by punitive Dutch tax laws as well as growing climate activism in the Netherlands which has put increasing pressure on Shell's local operations. Assuming the change goes ahead, the company will drop the "Royal Dutch" in its name, becoming simply Shell.
Adbrands Daily Update 28th Oct 2018: "Alive". Turn up the sound! This spectacular film for Maserati and Pennzoil automobile lubricants really deserves to be seen on a movie screen not your smartphone. PR agency Burson Cohn & Wolfe is behind the project, but the superb design and animation - the entire film was created in CG - is by creative team Shynola at Nexus Studios. They acknowledge the cinematic influence of Alien, Star Wars and Solaris; but you might also notice more than a few conceptual similarities to "Birth", an ad BBH did a few years ago for the Audi R8. Still, this is a stunning piece of work, thrilling in its power and intensity.
Adbrands Weekly Update 2nd Aug 2018: Shell confirmed the results of its global marketing services review, already leaked a couple of weeks ago on an unconfirmed basis. WPP retains the lion's share of the business. However, as had been expected J Walter Thompson will surrender its hold on the downstream business, which covers oils and lubricants as well as the company's global service station network. Most of that business transfers to VCCP - a big victory for the Chime-owned agency, but not a complete disaster for WPP, which still has a minority stake in Chime. JWT retains Shell's corporate branding business; Mediacom retains media; Wunderman gains a larger share of CRM and digital, aided by Geometry and JWT's digital arm Mirum, in a newly created "Agency of the Future" dedicated construct. The biggest non-WPP addition to the roster is Omnicom's Doremus, which will manage B2B marketing. Edelman remains Shell's lead PR agency, but WPP's H&K Strategies joins the roster as well.
Adbrands Weekly Update 14th Dec 2017: Ads of the Week: "On Top Of The World". Energy giant Shell burnishes its green credentials with this lovely musical film, a follow-up to 2016's equally impressive Best Day Of My Life. Once again, the film was devised by prodco Particle3, working with music development agency Cord and Colloquial, the content marketing division of Shell's long-time agency J Walter Thompson. Several of the same performers return for the new film, including our own Pixie Lott and US chanteuse Jennifer Hudson, with new addition Monali Thakur. Great music, lovely animation and an important message.
Adbrands Weekly Update 13th Oct 2016: Ads of the Week: "Best Day Of My Life". Shell is burnishing its green credentials with this impressive global campaign under the "Make The Future" banner. It's hard to get people's attention for six entrepreneurial clean energy projects as far afield as Brazil, China and the UK, so Shell signed up a different recording artist to represent each of the six countries involved for this joint music video. Among those appearing are Jennifer Hudson from the US and the UK's Pixie Lott. It's an extraordinarily complex endeavour but works beautifully. The video was conceived by creative agency Interlude and prodco Particle3, in association with Shell's global agency J Walter Thompson.
Adbrands Weekly Update 9th Apr 2015: In one of the biggest deals of the year so far, as well as the largest ever between two British companies, oil giant Shell agreed to acquire its UK rival BG Group for £47bn to expand its reach in the hard-pressed oil and gas industry, still struggling with the plunge in crude prices. BG is the exploration and production division of the old British Gas group, spun off as a separate business in 1997. The merged Shell/BG would become the world's biggest independent gas producer and the global leader by far in liquefied natural gas (LNG). The deal also boosts Shell's own proved oil reserves, because of BG's two huge new development fields in East Africa and Australia.
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