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Shell to slash spending in US operations in first shake-up under new boss


Oil giant Shell is set to cut spending on US oil and gas production by a fifth this year and split its “downstream” operations in the country into separate businesses.

In the first shake-up since Ben van Beurden took over as chief executive from Peter Voser at the start of the year, Shell will reduce US onshore spending and redirect much of the remainder from shale gas into oil and “liquids rich” shale.

It will also separate the downstream operation into separate units covering areas such as chemicals, lubricants and biofuels.

The shake-up was announced as it unveiled its annual report, revealing that Voser took home €8.4 million (£7 million) for his work last year even though Shell issued a profits warning in January just after his departure.

However, the total salary and bonus payout package was less than half the €18.2 million that he pocketed in 2012.

Shell’s shock profit warning at the start of the year was swiftly followed by a 71 per cent drop in fourth-quarter profits to $2.1 billion  (£1.3 billion) as the group suffered impairment charges on its US shale oil and gas operations and costs relating to disruption in Nigeria.

Van Beurden said: “With sharper accountability in the company, this [new] approach will target growth investment more effectively, focus on areas of the business where performance improvement is most required, and drive assets sales from non-strategic positions.”