The delivery of Shell’s business strategy depends on its ability to find oil and gas resources, to develop them into productive assets and to convert crude oil and natural gas into marketable products. The Projects & Technology (P&T) organisation is the centre for these capabilities within Shell. In addition, it drives the research and development (R&D) underlying the inventions and know-how that Shell scientists and engineers need – both today and tomorrow.
We have linked technology development to our strategic objectives and the needs of our customers and partners. A single, integrated R&D organisation drives it forward, bringing together our in-house know-how with that of external scientific, engineering and commercial entities – often involving off-the-shelf technologies from other industries. This “open innovation” helps to ensure a healthy influx of new ideas and speeds technology deployment.
Shell invests more than any other international oil and gas company to research and develop innovative technology – more than $1 billion annually since 2007. In 2013, R&D expenses were $1,318 million, compared with $1,307 million in 2012 and $1,123 million in 2011. [A]
This sustained investment has enabled us to advance technologies central to our strategic objectives. To name a few: seismic processing and visualisation software that reveals previously unseen geological details; drilling-rig equipment that delivers wells faster and safer; oil-recovery methods that increase production from existing fields; processes that refine crude oil and liquefy natural gas more efficiently, and fuel and lubricant formulations that perform better.
- R&D expenses for 2011 and 2012 are restated for the retrospective application of Revised IAS 19 Employee Benefits, adopted with effect from January 1, 2013.
P&T teams manage complex projects from design to commissioning, often in challenging environments. The Mars B field development is based on the Olympus tension-leg platform, whose major components were constructed at five locations across the globe and which delivered first oil in early 2014 – six months ahead of schedule. Or consider our massive Prelude floating LNG facility to be moored offshore Western Australia with 3.6 mtpa LNG and 1.7 mtpa of associated liquids production capacity. Its construction requires the coordination of engineering teams at multiple locations throughout the world.
Shell projects can be huge enterprises. They involve several years of design and engineering effort, thousands of construction workers, and billions of dollars’ worth of materials and equipment. In the face of such complexity, we constantly seek opportunities to simplify and standardise project execution to improve efficiency and reduce costs. We have created a global community of project managers to improve resourcing and build expertise by sharing best practices. The Shell Project Academy invigorates this global community with an accredited competence development programme to help our project staff deliver sustained top-quartile performance.
P&T executes projects in both Upstream and Downstream, and provides a range of technical services that maintain and foster operational excellence. Furthermore, it provides functional leadership in contracting and procurement as well as in safety. In total, more than 14,800 Shell people work in P&T in offices and laboratories across the globe. The main technology hubs and technical centres are located in Europe, North America and Asia.