Photo: Shell CEO, Ben van Beurden; Source: Shell

Shell ditches Royal Dutch from its name

Oil and gas major Shell has officially changed its name to Shell plc, after deciding to simplify its share structure, move the headquarters from the Netherlands to the UK and, as a result, remove the Royal Dutch designation from its name.

The energy major on Friday confirmed its name had changed from Royal Dutch Shell plc to Shell plc. Shell moved to simplify the company’s share structure as part of a push to accelerate its transition to a net-zero company in November 2021. As a result, the company also said it would remove the Royal designation from its name.

Shell had been incorporated in the UK with Dutch tax residence and a dual share structure since the 2005 unification of Koninklijke Nederlandsche Petroleum Maatschappij and The Shell Transport and Trading Company under a single parent company.

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The energy major announced the board’s decision to change its name to Shell plc on 20 December 2021, much to the disappointment of Dutch authorities, and this change has now taken effect.

According to Shell, Euronext Amsterdam, the London Stock Exchange, and the New York Stock Exchange have been informed of this name change and it is anticipated that Euronext Amsterdam and the London Stock Exchange will reflect the change of name on Tuesday, 25 January 2022, while the New York Stock Exchange will follow on Monday, 31 January 2022.

As previously explained by Shell, its conventional single share structure would allow it to compete more effectively. It will allow for an acceleration in distributions by way of share buybacks, as there will be a larger single pool of ordinary shares that can be bought back.

Shell’s transition to remain dependent on society’s progress

Last week, Shell’s CEO, Ben van Beurden, spoke about the year to come and why Shell must speed up its transformation. As one of the low points of 2021, van Beurden listed the ruling by a court in the Netherlands that Shell should reduce its carbon emissions faster than planned.

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“I was listening at home as the judge gave her verdict. It felt like a body blow,” he said.

He further added: “I found it deeply troubling that Shell as a single business should be held accountable for how the world produces and uses energy. That goes against everything I believe in when it comes to climate change, namely that this is a societal problem, not a problem for a single company to solve. It’s also worrying that the ruling was met with so much approval in some places, as if this was indeed the solution society needed.”

In 2022, Shell plans to significantly step up investment in carbon capture and storage and to figure out how to design liquefied natural gas plants, and petrochemicals plants, so that they can be carbon neutral.

“But no matter how hard we work on reducing the emissions of our customers when they use our products, our progress will remain dependent on society’s progress with the energy transition. We cannot go faster than all our customers or we would have no customers to buy our products. And we would go out of business,” van Beurden said.

When asked about simplifying the company’s share structure and moving the headquarters from the Netherlands to the UK, van Beurden said that Shell needs to be able to move fast and do new things to accelerate the energy transition and the dual share structure was a real handicap in the process.

“I had personally worked on finding a solution with the Dutch government for all my eight years as CEO. Still there was no solution in sight, other than the solution to move the headquarters to the UK,” he said.