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Last Updated: August 2, 2017
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Singapore, 2 August - Vandana Hari has 22 years of experience providing intelligence on the global oil and gas markets to executives in the industry, allied services, government officials, and wealth managers. She is Founder and CEO of Vanda Insights, a provider of analysis and research on the global oil and gas markets. Vandana has previously served as Asia Editorial Director at S&P Global Platts, a leading information provider on the global energy, petrochemicals, metals and agricultural markets. In that role, she oversaw the regional commodities news and pricing operations and led the company’s business strategy and external stakeholder engagements. During her career with Platts, Vandana has assessed crude and refined product prices as well as written news, analysis and research reports on the oil and gas sector. Vandana has a bachelor’s degree in science from India’s MD University and post-graduate diplomas in communication and social journalism. She is a regular commentator for the print media as well as TV and radio channels including Bloomberg, CNBC, BBC, and Singapore's Channel News Asia.

Vandana’s invaluable experience in analyzing and reporting on the ever-changing Oil & Gas markets provides an excellent resource for members in the NrgEdge community. She will be sharing her analysis and insights of market and price developments as well as important business trends with our members in a succinct and easy-to-understand manner. “We are thrilled to welcome Vandana on our Advisory Board,” said Easwaran Kanason, Co-Founder and Director, NrgEdge. “With her hands-on experience in interpreting market data for over 20 years, we also get understand what is coming ahead in our industry.” Vandana is a great asset to the growing advisory board of NrgEdge, as she is equipped to separate the signal from the noise in the complex and often volatile oil markets for those dealing with it on a daily basis, and to demystify it for those looking in from outside for a macro-analysis of the major factors impacting prices, trade and trends.

About NrgEdge

NrgEdge is the leading professional networking platform for the Energy, Oil & Gas industry in the Asia Pacific region. It is aimed at creating a holistic environment that will empower members to excel at every point in their career journey and to assist companies grow their business more effectively. Focusing on the Asia-Pacific region, NrgEdge has amassed over 10,000 registered users from the Energy, Oil & Gas industry since launch in 2016.

NrgEdge Features:

  • NrgBuzz – News Feed where users can keep updated on the latest industry updates and analyses. Users can also submit their own articles, empowering thought leaders to share opinions and advice on complex issues
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  • Network – Members can connect and network with other industry professionals.

NrgEdge is available on the web (www.nrgedge.net) and via the NrgEdge native app on both iOS and Android platforms.

Media Enquiries contact:
[email protected]
+65 6741 9927
www.nrgedge.net


About Vanda Insights

Vanda Insights is a Singapore-based company providing macro-economic analysis of the global oil and gas markets with a focus on factors influencing prices. It also conducts bespoke corporate briefings and research on trends and developments in the industry.

Business and Media Enquiries contact:
[email protected]
www.vandainsights.com

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Royal Dutch Shell Poised To Become Just Shell

On 10 December 2021, if all goes to plan Royal Dutch Shell will become just Shell. The energy supermajor will move its headquarters from The Hague in The Netherlands to London, UK. At least three-quarters of the company’s shareholders must vote in favour of the change at the upcoming general meeting, which has been sold by Shell as a means of simplifying its corporate structure and better return value to shareholders, as well as be ‘better positioned to seize opportunities and play a leading role in the energy transition’. In doing so, it will no longer meet Dutch conditions for ‘royal’ designation, dropping a moniker that has defined the company through decades of evolution since 1907.

But why this and why now?

There is a complex web of reasons why, some internal and some external but the ultimate reason boils down to improving growth sustainability. Royal Dutch Shell was born through the merger of Shell Transport and Trading Company (based in the UK) and Royal Dutch (based in The Netherlands) in 1907, with both companies engaging in exploration activities ranging from seashells to crude oil. Unified across international borders, Royal Dutch Shell emerged as Europe’s answer to John D Rockefeller’s Standard Oil empire, as the race to exploit oil (and later natural gas) reserves spilled out over the world. Along the way, Royal Dutch Shell chalked up a number of achievements including establishing the iconic Brent field in the North Sea to striking the first commercial oil in Nigeria. Unlike Standard Oil which was dissolved into 34 smaller companies in 1911, Royal Dutch Shell remained intact, operating as two entities until 2005, when they were finally combined in a dual-nationality structure: incorporated in the UK, but residing in the Netherlands. This managed to satisfy the national claims both countries make on the supermajor, second only to ExxonMobil in revenue and profits but proved to be costly to maintain. In 2020, fellow Anglo-Dutch conglomerate Unilever also ditched its dual structure, opting to be based fully out of the City of London. In that sense, Shell is following the direction of the wind, as forces in its (soon to be former) home country turn sour.

There is a specific grievance that Royal Dutch Shell has with the Dutch government, the 15% dividend tax collected for Dutch-domiciled companies. It is the reason why Unilever abandoned Rotterdam and is now the reason why Shell is abandoning The Hague. And this point is particularly existentialist for Shell, since its share prices has been battered in recent years following the industry downturn since 2015, the global pandemic and being in the crosshairs of climate change activists as an emblem of why the world’s average temperatures are going haywire. The latter has already caused the largest Dutch state pension fund ABP to stop investing in fossil fuels, thereby divesting itself of Royal Dutch Shell. This was largely a symbolic move, but as religious figures will know, symbols themselves carry much power. To combat this, Shell has done two things. First, it has positioned itself to be at the forefront of energy transition, announcing ambitious emissions reductions plans in line with its European counterparts to become carbon neutral by 2050. Second, it is looking to bump up its dividend payouts after slashing them through the depths of the Covid-19 pandemic and accelerating share buybacks to remain the bluest of blue-chip stocks. But then, earlier this year, a Dutch court ruled that Shell’s emissions targets were ‘not ambitious enough’, ordering a stricter aim within a tighter timeframe. And the 15% dividend tax remains – even though Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s coalition government has been attempting to scrap it, with (it is presumed) some lobbying from Royal Dutch Shell and Unilever.

As simplistic it is to think that Shell is leaving for London believes the citizens of the Netherlands has turned its back on the company, the ultimate reason was the dividend tax. Reportedly, CEO Ben van Buerden called up Mark Rutte on Sunday informing him of the planned move. Rutte’s reaction, it is said was of dismay. And he embarked on a last-ditch effort to persuade Royal Dutch Shell to change its mind, by immediately lobbying his government’s coalition partners to back an abolition of the dividend tax. The reaction was perhaps not what he expected, with left-wing and green parties calling Shell’s threat ‘blackmail’. With democracy drawing a line, Shell decided to walk; or at least present an exit plan endorsed by its Board to be voted by shareholders. Many in the Netherlands see Shell’s exit and the loss of the moniker Royal Dutch – as a blow to national pride, especially since the country has been basking in the glow of expanded reputation as a result of post-Brexit migration of financial activities to Amsterdam from London. The UK, on the other hand, sees Shell’s decision and Unilever’s – as an endorsement of the country’s post-Brexit potential.

The move, if passed and in its initial stages, will be mainly structural, transferring the tax residence of Shell to London. Just ten top executives including van Buerden and CFO Jessica Uhl will be making the move to London. Three major arms – Projects and Technology, Global Upstream and Integrated Gas and Renewable Energies – will remain in The Hague. As will Shell’s massive physical reach on Dutch soil: the huge integrated refinery in Pernis, the biofuels hub in Rotterdam, the country’s first offshore wind farm and the mammoth Porthos carbon capture project that will funnel emissions from Rotterdam to be stored in empty North Sea gas fields. And Shell’s troubles with activists will still continue. British climate change activists are as, if not more aggressive as their Dutch counterpart, this being the country where Extinction Rebellion was born. Perhaps more of a threat is activist investor Third Point, which recently acquired a chunk of Shell shares and has been advocating splitting the company into two – a legacy business for fossil fuels and a futures-focused business for renewables.

So Shell’s business remains, even though its address has changed. In the grand scheme of things, never mind the small matter of Dutch national pride – Royal Dutch Shell’s roadmap to remain an investment icon and a major driver of energy transition will continue in its current form. This is a quibble about money or rather, tax – that will have little to no impact on Shell’s operations or on its ambitions. Royal Dutch Shell is poised to become just Shell. Different name and a different house, but the same contents. Unless, of course, Queen Elizabeth II decides to provide royal assent, in which case, Shell might one day become Royal British Shell.

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