Market Overview

The Future Of Big Oil Isn't Necessarily Oil

The Future Of Big Oil Isn't Necessarily Oil

Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE: RDS-A) is an oil company, right? If you ask the company's CEO Ben van Beurden this question the answer is a straight up no.

According to a report by Bloomberg, Shell's CEO said the company that he oversees is more of a gas company than oil company. Near Australia's northeastern coast lies Shells' 667-acre liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in which gas from more than 2,500 wells move hundreds of miles by pipeline and then chilled and pumped into 10-story high tanks.

This may represent the new norm for oil companies that are scrambling to survive in a world that is moving towards new ways of producing and consuming energy while simultaneously lowering their carbon footprint.

"If you have to place bets, which we have to, I'd rather place them there," van Beursen told Bloomberg.

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Shell's large bet includes a massive $54 billion takeover of BG Group, a deal which closed in February and gives the company exposure to gas fields worldwide, including the United States.

Shell also commands a 20 percent market share in the global LNG market and its production capacity is nearly double of its closest competitor, Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM).

However, Shell faces many obstacles, including the high cost of production at a time when the market is flooded with cheap coal. Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency downgraded its gas growth forecast and noted the market will "struggle to absorb" new supplies.

Nevertheless, Shell isn't deterred and is actually expanding its production facility near Australia's coast that will increase capacity by 40 percent.

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