Overall highlights in 2017
Underlying operating expenses
2017 was a year of strong financial performance for Shell. A year of transformation, in which we showed we have what it takes to deliver a world-class investment case.
Our relentless focus on value, performance and competitiveness meant we were able to deliver $39 billion of cash flow from operations, excluding working capital movements from our upgraded portfolio.
We strengthened our financial framework through a net repayment of debt of $11.8 billion, while our increased free cash flow generation gave us the confidence to cancel the Scrip Dividend Programme in the fourth quarter, in line with what we said previously.
We enter 2018 with continued discipline and confidence, committed to the delivery of strong returns and cash.
Key portfolio events in 2017 included the following:
- We took the final investment decision (FID) to execute Phase 1 of the Kaikias deep-water project in the USA. In April 2017, Phase 2 was also approved.
- In Nigeria, we announced first production at Phase 2 of the Gbaran-Ubie integrated oil and gas development in the Niger Delta region.
- In the Santos Basin in Brazil, we started up the Lula South floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel, and commerciality of the Libra field was declared, following an extended well test. Together, the Lula and Libra FPSOs represent 50 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (kboe/d) production capacity, Shell share.
- We opened our first service station in Mexico, with more sites due to start providing Mexican motorists with high-quality Shell fuels and retail services.
- We successfully achieved various exploration milestones. We won bids for three exploration blocks in the Santos Basin in Brazil, and nine in the deep-water Mexican Gulf of Mexico in January 2018. Also in January 2018, we announced what is expected to be one of our largest US Gulf of Mexico exploration finds in the past decade with the Whale deep-water well.
- At Management Day, we explained our ambition to accelerate the pace of our investment in New Energies. We also announced deals with NewMotion, IONITY and First Utility.
- Key operational milestones were the start-up by Chevron of Gorgon train 3 in Australia in March, and the return of the Pearl GTL plant to full production following a controlled shutdown.
We completed several large divestment transactions during the year, including the majority of our interests in oil sands in Canada, the separation of Motiva assets, a package of UK North Sea assets, our shareholding in Woodside, and our Gabon onshore assets. These divestments are all consistent with Shell’s strategy and portfolio ambitions and were completed at competitive valuations.
At the start of 2018, we were close to completing our $30 billion divestment programme, with $22 billion of divestments completed so far. This programme is a crucial part of the push to simplify our portfolio and deliver a world-class investment case.