CERAWeek: Shell CEO wraps it up

Some comments, Q&A with Van der Veer:
Van der Veer thinks Europe has essentially had a carbon tax for years in the form of duties on gasoline that have made fuels cost there much more costly than in the U.S. The net impact: car in Europe are as much at 40 percent more efficient.
Q: Your logic on remaining investment in down cycle is compelling but how do you deal with shareholder demands?
A: To explain long term how compelling energy investments are… the money we spend today we feel like it’s a better investment for shareholders than additional dividends today.
Q: Acquisitions?
A: If you look over the past year very few consolidations have happened. If you assume a certain oil or gas prices, you assume that for own operations or acquisitions. Have to monitor the balance, how do I spend my dollar the best way. If you go back in history when did consolidation happen? When they went down and were expected to stay down.
“I personally believe the long term demand will be there and the challenge is to make it to the other side of the valley.”
Q: When you look back on $147 oil, how do you explain it?
A:[paraphrase] I don’t know how many conferences I went to where when I left I didn’t see any lorries lined up outside of refineries, I didn’t see any ships lined up waiting to pick up oil, … so all the time the fundamentals of our industry were very normal. Two years ago saw many investors going into oil futures. The psychology of lack of spare capacity [and the reaction to small events was hard to explain]… but to blame the financial markets that they were speculating was the key driver, Shell’s experience doesn’t find that. So I leave that to whomever writes “The Prize” No. 2, he said, referring to Yergin’s award-winning book.

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