Marvin Odum: retirement does not signal Shell exit from shale

HOUSTON –Marvin Odum will leave the helm of Shell Oil Co. next month after 34 years with the company, part of a management reshuffle he says will not diminish the role of shale oil or North America for parent company Royal Dutch Shell.

“We’re simply moving that shale business into the globalized upstream business, but the substantial nature of those resources, the quality of that portfolio, none of that changes,” Odum said in an interview with Fuelfix.

Some have misinterpreted an earlier press release, he said, as a sign that Shell’s shale business or North America may be less of a priority following Shell’s acquisition of BG Group, which has substantial liquefied natural gas and deep-water production assets in Brazil.

Folding the shale business within Shell’s upstream unit is “not minimizing, it’s mainstreaming, more than anything,” he said. “We’re taking the next step to fully globalizing now that we have the BG piece to incorporate as well. But it still runs as basically an independent business.”

Odum has run Royal Dutch Shell’s U.S. business for more than seven years and is the company’s U.S. Country Chair. He also has served as the company’s director of unconventional resources, a position that will be eliminated as some Canadian oil projects and shale resources are folded into Shell’s downstream and upstream segments.

“He leaves our important business in the Americas well positioned for the next phase of their development, ”Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said in a written statement, thanking Odum for his “long and distinguished Shell career.”

Shell said it has tapped executive Bruce Culpepper to replace Odum as president of Shell Oil Co., effective April 1. Culpepper has also worked for Shell for 34 years and serves as executive vice president HR, unconventional resources and regional coordination.