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UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
Form 20-F
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d)
OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
Commission file number 001-32575
Royal Dutch Shell plc
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
England and Wales
(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
Carel van Bylandtlaan 30, 2596 HR, The Hague, The Netherlands
Tel. no: 011 31 70 377 9111
royaldutchshell.shareholders@shell.com
(Address of principal executive offices)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act
Title of Each Class
Trading Symbols
Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
American Depositary Shares representing two A ordinary shares
of the issuer with a nominal value of €0.07 each
RDS.A
New York Stock Exchange
American Depositary Shares representing two B ordinary shares
of the issuer with a nominal value of €0.07 each
RDS.B
New York Stock Exchange
1.75% Guaranteed Notes due 2021
RDS/21
New York Stock Exchange
1.875% Guaranteed Notes due 2021
RDS.A/21
New York Stock Exchange
2.375% Guaranteed Notes due 2022
RDS/22
New York Stock Exchange
0.375% Guaranteed Notes due 2023RDS.A/23BNew York Stock Exchange
2.25% Guaranteed Notes due 2023
RDS/23
New York Stock Exchange
3.4% Guaranteed Notes due 2023
RDS/223A
New York Stock Exchange
3.5% Guaranteed Notes due 2023
RDS.A/23
New York Stock Exchange
Floating Rate Guaranteed Notes due 2023
RDS.A/23A
New York Stock Exchange
2% Guaranteed Notes due 2024
RDS.A/24
New York Stock Exchange
2.375% Guaranteed Notes due 2025RDS.A/25New York Stock Exchange
3.25% Guaranteed Notes due 2025
RDS/25
New York Stock Exchange
2.5% Guaranteed Notes due 2026
RDS/26
New York Stock Exchange
2.875% Guaranteed Notes due 2026
RDS.A/26
New York Stock Exchange
3.875% Guaranteed Notes due 2028
RDS.A/28
New York Stock Exchange
2.375% Guaranteed Notes due 2029
RDS.A/29
New York Stock Exchange
2.75% Guaranteed Notes due 2030RDS.A/30New York Stock Exchange
4.125% Guaranteed Notes due 2035
RDS/35
New York Stock Exchange
6.375% Guaranteed Notes due 2038
RDS.A/38
New York Stock Exchange
5.5% Guaranteed Notes due 2040
RDS/40
New York Stock Exchange
3.625% Guaranteed Notes due 2042
RDS/42
New York Stock Exchange
4.55% Guaranteed Notes due 2043
RDS/43
New York Stock Exchange
4.375% Guaranteed Notes due 2045
RDS/45
New York Stock Exchange
3.75% Guaranteed Notes due 2046
RDS/46
New York Stock Exchange
4.00% Guaranteed Notes due 2046
RDS.A/46
New York Stock Exchange
3.125% Guaranteed Notes due 2049
RDS.A/49
New York Stock Exchange
3.25% Guaranteed Notes due 2050RDS.A/50New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: none
Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act: none
Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report.
Outstanding as of December 31, 2020:
4,101,239,499 A ordinary shares with a nominal value of €0.07 each.
3,706,183,836 B ordinary shares with a nominal value of €0.07 each.
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
þ
Yes
No
If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
Yes
þ
No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
þ
Yes
No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).
þ
Yes
No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or an emerging growth company.
See definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer
þ
Accelerated filer
Non-accelerated filer
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.
† The term “new or revised financial accounting standards” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management's assessment on the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issues its audit report.
þ
Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:
U.S. GAAP
International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board.
þ
Other
If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.
Item 17
Item 18 
If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).
Yes
þ
No
Copies of notices and communications from the Securities and Exchange Commission should be sent to:
Royal Dutch Shell plc
Carel van Bylandtlaan 30
2596 HR, The Hague, The Netherlands
Attn: Linda M. Coulter
Tel. no: 011 31 70 377 9111



INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK




INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK



INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK



CROSS REFERENCE TO FORM 20-F
Part IPages
Item 1.Identity of Directors, Senior Management and AdvisersN/A
Item 2.Offer Statistics and Expected TimetableN/A
Item 3.Key Information
A.Selected financial data10, 236
B.Capitalization and indebtednessN/A
C.Reasons for the offer and use of proceedsN/A
D.Risk factors18-22
Item 4.Information on the Company
A.History and development of the company9, 11-17, 26-27, 30-42, 51-54, 57-65, 235, 240-242
B.Business overview11-27, 30-60, 65-72, 211-228, 239
C.Organizational structure11-13, Exhibit 8.1
D.Property, plants and equipment11-13, 18-22, 26-27, 30-60, 65-72, 211-228
Item 4A.Unresolved Staff CommentsN/A
Item 5.Operating and Financial Review and Prospects
A.Operating results18-22, 26-64, 197-201
B.Liquidity and capital resources12, 19, 26-27, 30-31, 36-37, 51-52, 57-58, 60-64, 174-176, 187-190, 198-202
C.Research and development, patents and licences, etc.13 
D.Trend information13, 18-43, 51-54, 57-59, 65-86
E.Off-balance sheet arrangements64 
F.Tabular disclosure of contractual obligations63-64
G.Safe harbor8-9
Item 6.Directors, Senior Management and Employees
A.Directors and senior management89-95, 150-153
B.Compensation146-147, 209
C.Board practices89-136, 149-157
D.Employees86-88, 208-209
E.Share ownership88, 129, 150, 203, 236
Item 7.Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions
A.Major shareholders236 
B.Related party transactions149, 173, 185-186, 209, 234
C.Interests of experts and counselN/A
Item 8.Financial Information
A.Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information61-64, 158-210, 229-234
B.Significant Changes210 
Item 9.The Offer and Listing
A.Offer and listing details150, 153-156, 235
B.Plan of distributionN/A
C.Markets235 
INTRODUCTION SHELL FORM 20-F 2020
2


D.Selling shareholdersN/A
E.DilutionN/A
F.Expenses of the issueN/A
Item 10.Additional Information
A.Share capitalN/A
B.Memorandum and articles of association151-156
C.Material contractsN/A
D.Exchange controls237 
E.Taxation237-238
F.Dividends and paying agentsN/A
G.Statement by expertsN/A
H.Documents on display
I.Subsidiary InformationN/A
Item 11.Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk61, 186, 198-202
Item 12.Description of Securities Other than Equity Securities
A.Debt SecuritiesExhibit 2.3
B.Warrants and RightsN/A
C.Other SecuritiesN/A
D.American Depositary Shares235, 237, Exhibit 2.3
Part II
Item 13.Defaults, Dividend Arrearages and DelinquenciesN/A
Item 14.Material Modifications to the Rights of Security Holders and Use of ProceedsN/A
Item 15.Controls and Procedures148, 161-162, 229-230
Item 16.[Reserved]
Item 16A.Audit committee financial expert94, 109, 151
Item 16B.Code of Ethics150
Item 16C.Principal Accountant Fees and Services115, 209, 234
Item 16D.Exemptions from the Listing Standards for Audit Committees151 
Item 16E.Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers63, 148-149
Item 16F.Change in Registrant’s Certifying AccountantN/A
Item 16G.Corporate Governance150-157
Item 16H.Mine Safety DisclosureN/A
Part III
Item 17.Financial StatementsN/A
Item 18.Financial Statements158-210, 229-234
Item 19.Exhibits243

INTRODUCTION SHELL FORM 20-F 2020
3


TERMS AND ABBREVIATIONS
Currencies
$US dollar
euro
£sterling
Units of measurement
acreapproximately 0.004 square kilometres
b(/d)barrels (per day)
boe(/d)barrels of oil equivalent (per day); natural gas volumes are converted into oil equivalent using a factor of 5,800 scf per barrel
kboe(/d)thousand barrels of oil equivalent (per day); natural gas volumes are converted into oil equivalent using a factor of 5,800 scf per barrel
MMBtumillion British thermal units
megajoulea unit of energy equal to one million joules
mtpamillion tonnes per annum
per dayvolumes are converted into a daily basis using a calendar year
scf(/d)standard cubic feet (per day)
Products
GTLgas-to-liquids
LNGliquefied natural gas
LPGliquefied petroleum gas
NGLnatural gas liquids
Miscellaneous
ADSAmerican Depositary Share
AGMAnnual General Meeting
APIAmerican Petroleum Institute
CCScarbon capture and storage
CCS earningsearnings on a current cost of supplies basis
CO2
carbon dioxide
EMTNEuro medium-term note
EPSearnings per share
FCFfree cash flow
FIDfinal investment decision
GAAPgenerally accepted accounting principles
GHGgreenhouse gas
HSSEhealth, safety, security and environment
IASInternational Accounting Standard
IEAInternational Energy Agency
IFRSInternational Financial Reporting Standard(s)
IOGPInternational Association of Oil & Gas Producers
IPIECAInternational Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues)
LTIPLong-term Incentive Plan
OECDOrganisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
OMLoil mining lease
OPECOrganization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries
OPLoil prospecting licence
PSCproduction-sharing contract
PSPPerformance Share Plan
REMCORemuneration Committee
SECUS Securities and Exchange Commission
TRCFtotal recordable case frequency
TSRtotal shareholder return
WTIWest Texas Intermediate


INTRODUCTION SHELL FORM 20-F 2020
4


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Cover
Cross reference to Form 20-F
Terms and abbreviations
About this report
Strategic Report
Selected financial data
Business overview
Strategy and outlook
Risk factors
Market overview
Summary of results
Performance indicators
Integrated gas
Upstream
Oil and gas information
Oil products
Chemicals
Corporate
Liquidity and capital resources
Environment and society
Climate change and energy transition
Our people
Governance
The Board of Royal Dutch Shell plc
Senior Management
Governance framework
Nomination and Succession Committee
Safety, Environment and Sustainability Committee
Audit Committee Report
Directors' Remuneration Report
Annual Report on Remuneration
Directors' Remuneration Policy
Governance
Financial Statements and Supplements
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
Consolidated Financial Statements
Consolidated Statement of Income
Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income
Consolidated Balance Sheet
Consolidated Statement of Change in Equity
Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows
Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements
INTRODUCTION SHELL FORM 20-F 2020
5


1.Basis of Preparation
2.Significant Accounting Policies, Judgements and Estimates
3.Changes to IFRS not yet adopted
4.Segment Information
5.Interest and Other Income
6.Interest Expense
7.Intangible Assets
8.Property, Plant and Equipment
9.Joint Ventures and Associates
10.Investments in Securities
11.Trade and Other Receivables
12.Inventories
13.Cash and Cash Equivalents
14.Debt and Lease Arrangements
15.Trade and Other Payables
16.Taxation
17.Retirement Benefits
18.Decommissioning and Other Provisions
19.Financial Instruments
20.Share Capital
21.Share-Based Compensation Plans and Share Held In Trust
22.Other Reserves
23.Dividends
24.Earnings Per Share
25.Legal Proceedings and Other Contingencies
26.Employees
27.Directors and Senior Management
28.Auditor's Remuneration
29.Emission Schemes and Related Environmental Plans
30. Post-Balance Sheet Events
Supplementary information - oil and gas
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
RDS Dividend Access Trust Financial Statements
Statement of Income
Statement of Comprehensive Income
Balance Sheet
Statement of Changes in Equity
Statement of Cash Flows
Notes to the RDS Dividend Access Trust Financial Statements
1.The Trust
2.The Basis of Preparation
3.Significant Accounting Policies
4.Unclaimed Dividends
5.Capital Account
INTRODUCTION SHELL FORM 20-F 2020
6


6.Distributions Made
7.Related Parties
8.Audit's Remuneration
Additional Information
Shareholder information
Section 13(r) of the US Securities Exchange Act of 1934 disclosure
Non-GAAP measures reconciliations
Index to the Exhibits
Signatures
Financial Calendar


INTRODUCTION SHELL FORM 20-F 2020
7


ABOUT THIS REPORT
This Form 20-F as filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for the year ended December 31, 2020 (this Report) presents the Consolidated Financial Statements of Royal Dutch Shell plc (the Company) and its subsidiaries (collectively referred to as Shell) (pages 163-210) and the Financial Statements of the Royal Dutch Shell Dividend Access Trust (pages 231-234). Except for these Financial Statements, the numbers presented throughout this Report may not sum precisely to the totals provided and percentages may not precisely reflect the absolute figures due to rounding. Cross-references to Form 20-F are set out on pages 2-3 of this Report.

The financial statements contained in this Report have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as issued by the IASB. IFRS as defined above includes interpretations issued by the IFRS Interpretations Committee. Financial reporting terms used in this Report are in accordance with IFRS.

This Report contains certain following forward-looking non-GAAP measures such as cash capital expenditure and divestments. We are unable to provide a reconciliation of these forward-looking Non-GAAP measures to the most comparable GAAP financial measures because certain information needed to reconcile those Non-GAAP measures to the most comparable GAAP financial measures is dependent on future events some of which are outside the control of the company, such as oil and gas prices, interest rates and exchange rates. Moreover, estimating such GAAP measures with the required precision necessary to provide a meaningful reconciliation is extremely difficult and could not be accomplished without unreasonable effort. Non-GAAP measures in respect of future periods which cannot be reconciled to the most comparable GAAP financial measure are calculated in a manner which is consistent with the accounting policies applied in Royal Dutch Shell plc’s consolidated financial statements.

The companies in which Royal Dutch Shell plc directly or indirectly owns investments are separate legal entities. In addition to the term “Shell”, in this Report “Shell Group”, “we”, “us” and “our” are also used to refer to the Company and its subsidiaries in general or to those who work for them. These terms are also used where no useful purpose is served by identifying the particular entity or entities. “Subsidiaries” and “Shell subsidiaries” refer to those entities over which the Company has control, either directly or indirectly. Entities and unincorporated arrangements over which Shell has joint control are generally referred to as “joint ventures” and “joint operations”, respectively. “Joint ventures” and “joint operations” are collectively referred to as “joint arrangements”. Entities over which Shell has significant influence but neither control nor joint control are referred to as “associates”. The term “Shell interest” is used for convenience to indicate the direct and/or indirect ownership interest held by Shell in an entity or unincorporated joint arrangement, after exclusion of all third-party interest. Shell subsidiaries’ data include their interests in joint operations.

As used in this Report, “Accountable” is intended to mean: required or expected to justify actions or decisions. The Accountable person does not necessarily implement the action or decision (implementation is usually carried out by the person who is Responsible) but must organise the implementation and verify that the action has been carried out as required. This includes obtaining requisite assurance from Shell companies that the framework is operating effectively. “Responsible” is intended to mean: required or expected to implement actions or decisions. Each Shell company and Shell operated venture is responsible for its operational performance and compliance with the Shell General Business Principles, Code of Conduct, Statement on Risk Management and Risk Manual, and Standards and Manuals. This includes responsibility for the operationalisation and implementation of Shell Group strategies and policies.

Shell’s operating plan, outlook and budgets are forecasted for a ten-year period and are updated every year. They reflect the current economic environment and what we can reasonably expect to see over the next ten years. Accordingly, Shell’s operating plans, outlooks, budgets and pricing assumptions do not reflect our net-zero emissions target. In the future, as society moves towards net-zero emissions, we expect Shell’s operating plans, outlooks, budgets and pricing assumptions to reflect this movement.

Shell’s “Net Carbon Footprint” referred to in this Report includes Shell’s carbon emissions from the production of our energy products, our suppliers’ carbon emissions in supplying energy for that production, and our customers’ carbon emissions associated with their use of the energy products we sell. Shell only controls its own emissions. The use of the term "Net Carbon Footprint” is for convenience only and not intended to suggest these emissions are those of Shell or its subsidiaries.

Except where indicated, the figures shown in the tables in this Report are in respect of subsidiaries only, without deduction of any non-controlling interest. However, the term “Shell share” is used for convenience to refer to the volumes of hydrocarbons that are produced, processed or sold through subsidiaries, joint ventures and associates. All of a subsidiary’s production, processing or sales volumes (including the share of joint operations) are included in the Shell share, even if Shell owns less than 100% of the subsidiary. In the case of joint ventures and associates, however, Shell-share figures are limited only to Shell’s entitlement. In all cases, royalty payments in kind are deducted from the Shell share.

Except where indicated, the figures shown in this Report are stated in US dollars. As used herein all references to “dollars” or “$” are to the US currency.

This Report contains forward-looking statements (within the meaning of the US Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995) concerning the financial condition, results of operations and businesses of Shell. All statements other than statements of historical fact are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are statements of future expectations that are based on management’s current expectations and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements. Forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements concerning the potential exposure of Shell to market risks and statements expressing management’s expectations, beliefs, estimates, forecasts, projections and assumptions. These forward-looking statements are identified by their use of terms and phrases such as “aim”, “ambition”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “could”, “estimate”, “expect”, “goals”, “intend”, “may”, “objectives”, “outlook”, “plan”, “probably”, “project”, “risks”, “schedule”, “seek”, “should”, “target”, “will” and similar terms and phrases. There are a number of factors that could affect the future operations of Shell and could cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements included in this Report, including (without limitation): (a) price fluctuations in crude oil and natural gas; (b) changes in demand for Shell’s products; (c) currency fluctuations; (d) drilling and production results; (e) reserves estimates; (f) loss of market share and industry competition; (g) environmental and physical risks; (h) risks associated with the identification of suitable potential acquisition properties and targets, and successful negotiation and completion of such transactions; (i) the risk of doing business in developing countries and countries subject to international sanctions; (j) legislative, fiscal and regulatory developments including regulatory measures addressing climate change; (k) economic and financial market conditions in various countries and regions; (l) political risks, including the risks of expropriation and renegotiation of the terms of contracts with governmental entities, delays or advancements in the approval of projects and delays in the reimbursement for shared costs; (m) risks associated with the impact of pandemics, such as the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak; and (n) changes in trading conditions. Also see “Risk factors” on pages 18-22 for additional risks and further discussion. No assurance is provided that future dividend payments will match or exceed previous dividend payments. All forward-looking statements contained in this Report are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements contained or referred to in this section. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Each forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date of this Report. Neither the Company nor any of its subsidiaries undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or other information. In light of these risks, results could differ materially
INTRODUCTION SHELL FORM 20-F 2020
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from those stated, implied or inferred from the forward-looking statements contained in this Report.

This Report contains references to Shell’s website, the Shell Sustainability Report, Tax Contribution Report, Industry Associations Climate Review and our report on Payments to Governments. These references are for the readers’ convenience only. Shell is not incorporating by reference into this report any information posted on www.shell.com or in the Shell Sustainability Report, Tax Contribution Report, Industry Associations Climate Review or our report on Payments to Governments.

Shell V-Power and Shell LiveWire are Shell trademarks.
DOCUMENTS ON DISPLAY

The SEC maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC. All of the SEC filings made electronically by Shell are available to the public on the SEC website at www.sec.gov (commission file number 001-32575).

This Report is also available, free of charge, at www.shell.com/investors/financial-reporting/sec-filings or at the offices of Shell in The Hague, the Netherlands and London, United Kingdom. Copies of this Report also may be obtained, free of charge, by mail.


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STRATEGIC REPORT
SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

The selected financial data set out below are derived, in part, from the “Consolidated Financial Statements”. These data should be read in conjunction with the “Consolidated Financial Statements” and related Notes, as well as with this Strategic Report.
Consolidated Statement of Income and of Comprehensive Income data
$ million
20202019201820172016
Revenue180,543 344,877 388,379 305,179 233,591 
(Loss)/income for the period(21,534)16,432 23,906 13,435 4,777 
Income attributable to non-controlling interest146 590 554 458 202 
(Loss)/income attributable to Royal Dutch Shell plc shareholders(21,680)15,842 23,352 12,977 4,575 
Comprehensive (loss)/income attributable to Royal Dutch Shell plc shareholders(23,512)13,773 24,475 18,828 (1,374)
Consolidated Balance Sheet data
$ million
20202019201820172016
Total assets379,268 404,336 399,194 407,097 411,275 
Total debt [A]
108,014 96,424 76,824 85,665 92,476 
Net debt [A]75,386 79,093 51,428 65,944 73,346 
Share capital651 657 685 696 683 
Equity attributable to Royal Dutch Shell plc shareholders155,310 186,476 198,646 194,356 186,646 
Non-controlling interest3,227 3,987 3,888 3,456 1,865 
[A] Total debt and net debt figures for 2018 and earlier periods are on an IAS 17 basis.
Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows data [A]
$ million
20202019201820172016
Cash flow from operating activities34,105 42,178 53,085 35,650 20,615 
Capital expenditure16,58522,97123,01120,845 22,116 
Cash flow from investing activities13,27815,77913,6598,029 30,963 
Cash dividends paid to Royal Dutch Shell plc shareholders7,42415,19815,67510,877 9,677 
Repurchases of shares1,70210,1883,947— — 
[A] With the exception of Cash flow from operating activities, which are cash inflows, all other items are cash outflows.
Earnings per share
$
20202019201820172016
Basic earnings per €0.07 ordinary share(2.78)1.97 2.82 1.58 0.58 
Diluted earnings per €0.07 ordinary share(2.78)1.95 2.80 1.56 0.58 
Dividend per share
$
20202019201820172016
Dividend per share0.65 1.88 1.88 1.88 1.88 
Shares
Million
20202019201820172016
Basic weighted average number of A and B shares7,795.6 8,058.3 8,282.8 8,223.4 7,833.7 
Diluted weighted average number of A and B shares7,795.6 8,112.5 8,348.7 8,299.0 7,891.7 

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BUSINESS OVERVIEW

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OUR ORGANISATION
We describe below how our activities are organised. Integrated Gas, Upstream and Downstream focus on our three business pillars (see “Strategy and outlook” on page 14). Our Projects & Technology organisation manages the delivery of Shell’s major projects and drives research and innovation to develop new technology solutions.

INTEGRATED GAS (INCLUDING NEW ENERGIES)



Integrated Gas manages LNG activities and the conversion of natural gas into GTL fuels and other products. It includes natural gas exploration and extraction, and the operation of upstream and midstream infrastructure
necessary to deliver gas to market. It markets and trades natural gas, LNG, electricity and carbon-emission rights and also markets and sells LNG as a fuel for heavy-duty vehicles and marine vessels.

In New Energies, which was rebranded to Renewables and Energy Solutions in 2021, we are exploring emerging opportunities and investing in those where we believe sufficient commercial value is available. We focus on new fuels for transport, such as advanced biofuels, hydrogen and charging for battery-electric vehicles; and power, including from natural gas and low-carbon sources such as wind and solar.

UPSTREAM

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Upstream manages the exploration for and extraction of crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids. It also markets and transports oil and gas, and operates infrastructure necessary to deliver them to market.

DOWNSTREAM

Downstream manages different Oil Products and Chemicals activities as part of an integrated value chain that trades and refines crude oil and other feedstocks into a range of products which are moved and marketed around the world for domestic, industrial and transport use. The products we sell include gasoline, diesel, heating oil, aviation fuel, marine fuel, biofuel, lubricants, bitumen and sulphur. We also produce and sell petrochemicals for industrial use worldwide. Our Downstream organisation also manages Oil Sands activities (the extraction of bitumen from mined oil sands and its conversion into synthetic crude oil).

PROJECTS & TECHNOLOGY
Our Projects & Technology organisation manages the delivery of our major projects and drives research and innovation to develop new technology solutions. It provides technical services and technology capability for our Integrated Gas, Upstream and Downstream activities. It is also responsible for providing functional leadership across Shell in the areas of safety and environment, contracting and procurement, wells activities and greenhouse gas management.

Our future hydrocarbon production depends on the delivery of large and integrated projects (see “Risk factors” on pages 18-22). Systematic management of life-cycle technical and non-technical risks is in place for each opportunity, with assurance and control activities embedded throughout the project life cycle. We focus on the cost-effective delivery of projects through commercial agreements, supply-chain management, and construction and engineering productivity through effective planning and simplification of delivery processes. Development of our employees’ project management competencies is underpinned by project principles, standards and processes. A dedicated competence framework, training, standards and processes exist for various technical disciplines. We also provide governance support for our non-Shell-operated ventures or projects.

SEGMENTAL REPORTING
Our reporting segments are Integrated Gas, Upstream, Oil Products, Chemicals and Corporate. Integrated Gas, Upstream, Oil Products and Chemicals include their respective elements of our Projects & Technology organisation. The Corporate segment comprises our holdings and treasury organisation, self-insurance activities, and headquarters and central functions. See Note 4 to the “Consolidated Financial Statements” on pages 177-180.

With effect from January 1, 2020, additional contracts were classified as held for trading purposes and consequently revenue is reported on a net rather than gross basis.
Revenue by business segment
(including inter-segment sales) [A]
$ million
202020192018
Integrated Gas
Third parties33,287 41,322 43,764 
Inter-segment3,410 4,280 5,031 
Total36,697 45,602 48,795 
Upstream
Third parties6,767 9,482 9,459 
Inter-segment21,564 35,735 37,125 
Total28,330 45,217 46,584 
Oil Products
Third parties128,717 280,460 316,409 
Inter-segment6,213 7,819 10,613 
Total134,930 288,279 327,022 
Chemicals
Third parties11,721 13,568 18,704 
Inter-segment2,850 3,917 4,864 
Total14,571 17,485 23,568 
Corporate
Third parties51 45 43 
Total51 45 43 
Revenue by geographical area (excluding inter-segment sales) [A]$ million
202020192018
Europe50,138 98,455 118,960 
Asia, Oceania, Africa65,139 139,916 153,716 
USA50,856 83,212 89,876 
Other Americas14,410 23,294 25,827 
Total180,543 344,877 388,379 
[A] Historical comparatives are based on prevailing foreign exchange rates for respective years.
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TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION
Technology and innovation are essential to our efforts to meet the world’s energy needs in a competitive way. If we do not develop the right technology, do not have access to it or do not deploy it effectively, this could have a material adverse effect on the delivery of our strategy and our licence to operate (see “Risk factors” on pages 18-22). We continually look for technologies and innovations of potential relevance to our business. Our Chief Technology Officer oversees the development and deployment of new and differentiating technologies and innovations across Shell, seeking to
align business and technology requirements throughout our technology maturation process.

In 2020, research and development expenses were $907 million, compared with $962 million in 2019, and $986 million in 2018. Our main technology centres are in India, the Netherlands and the USA, with other centres in Brazil, China, Germany, Oman, and Qatar. A strong patent portfolio underlies the technology that we employ in our various businesses. In total, we have around 8,480 granted patents and pending patent applications.


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STRATEGY AND OUTLOOK

OUR STRATEGY

In February 2021, Shell launched Powering Progress which sets out our strategy to accelerate the transition of our business to net-zero emissions, in step with society, purposefully and profitably.

CONTEXT
Our strategy is founded on our outlook for the energy sector and the chance to grasp opportunities arising from the substantial changes in the world around us. We believe the rising standard of living of a growing global population will continue to drive demand for energy for years to come. The world will need to find a way to meet this growing demand, while transitioning to a net-zero emissions energy system to counter climate change.

POWERING PROGRESS

In February 2021, Shell launched Powering Progress, which sets out our strategy to accelerate the transition of our business to net-zero emissions, in step with society, purposefully and profitably.

We will build a strong and resilient business by putting customers at the centre of our strategy, innovating the products and solutions customers need on their journey to net zero. This includes partnering with others to reduce carbon emissions, especially in sectors that are hard to decarbonise. We aim to deliver value through our integrated assets and supply chains, optimising value and managing risk for Shell and our customers as we produce, buy, trade, transport and sell energy products across the world. This is a strategy that combines our financial strength and discipline with a dynamic approach to our portfolio of assets and products, so that we are ready to seize the significant opportunities that exist for us in the energy transition.

Powering Progress generates value for our shareholders, customers and wider society. It has four main goals which integrate sustainability with our business strategy. These goals support Shell's purpose, to power progress together by providing more and cleaner energy solutions. They are underpinned by our core values of honesty, integrity and respect for people, and our focus on safety.

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Generating shareholder value: We aim to create the conditions for share price appreciation by preparing our business for the future and accessing the opportunities that the future of energy holds. We will do this while providing sustainable distributions today through our progressive dividend policy. The changing energy landscape means that Shell must take a dynamic approach to its portfolio of assets and products. That means continuing to provide the energy the world needs today, and increasing our investments in cleaner energy. We will keep a disciplined approach to capital investment, and a
strong balance sheet, so that our organisation remains strong and resilient. In this way, we will achieve our aim of being a compelling investment case for our shareholders.

Achieving net-zero emissions: Tackling climate change is an urgent challenge. That is why we have set a target to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, in step with society. We are transforming our
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business and finding new opportunities – selling more low-carbon products such as biofuels, electricity generated by solar and wind power, hydrogen and charging for electric vehicles. We are partnering with customers, businesses and governments to address the energy transition and reduce emissions sector by sector. This includes in sectors that are harder to decarbonise, such as aviation, shipping, commercial road freight, power, heating and certain parts of industry. We also support government policies to reduce carbon emissions in the economy, sector by sector.

Powering lives: Shell helps to power lives and livelihoods by providing vital energy for homes, businesses and transport. The supply of affordable, reliable and sustainable energy is also crucial for addressing global challenges, including those related to poverty and inequality. Our operations support livelihoods by providing employment and training in the communities where we operate. We are working to become one of the most diverse and inclusive companies in the world, a place where everyone feels valued and respected. We are focusing on four areas: gender, race and
ethnicity, LGBT+ and disability. We respect human rights in all parts of our business.

Respecting nature: We are stepping up our environmental ambitions, shaping them to reflect the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Our environmental ambitions include protecting and enhancing biodiversity. We are also focusing on using water and other resources more efficiently across all our activities, reusing as much of them as we can. We are reducing waste from our operations and increasing recycling of plastics. We are helping to improve air quality by reducing emissions from our operations and providing cleaner ways to power transport and industry.

Working with our partners and suppliers and developing new collaborations is key. We will join with others across industry, governments, our customers and supply chains to protect nature.

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BUSINESS PILLARS
Powering Progress is a strategy that combines our financial strength and discipline with a dynamic approach to our portfolio of assets and products, so that we are ready to seize the significant opportunities that exist for us in the energy transition. Shell will reshape its portfolio of assets and products to meet the cleaner energy needs of its customers in the coming decades. We will deliver our strategy through three business pillars: Growth, Transition, and Upstream.

Through these three areas, we are creating flexibility in investment opportunities while enabling growth in our customer-facing businesses. Our strategy delivers additional value through trading and optimisation.

Achieving our strategy depends on how we respond to competitive forces. We continually assess the external environment – the markets and the underlying economic, political, social and environmental drivers that shape them – to evaluate changes in competitive forces and business models. We use multiple future scenarios to assess the resilience of our strategy. We regularly review the markets where we operate, assessing our competitive
position by analysing trends, uncertainties, and the strengths and weaknesses of our traditional and non-traditional competitors.

To support the delivery of our strategy, we are redesigning Shell to put customers at the centre. That means organising ourselves to help economic sectors to decarbonise, by providing integrated, lower-carbon energy solutions, sector by sector.

We maintain business strategies and plans that focus on actions and capabilities to create and sustain competitive advantage. We maintain a risk management framework that regularly assesses our response to, and risk appetite for, identified risks.

See "Risk factors" on page 18 and "Governance" on page 89.

Our Executive Directors’ remuneration is linked to the successful delivery of our strategy, based on performance indicators that are aligned with shareholder interests. Long-term incentives form the majority of the Executive Directors’ remuneration for above-target performance. In 2020, the Long-term Incentive Plan (LTIP) included cash generation, capital
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discipline, value created for shareholders, and an energy transition condition. For 2021, the weighting of the energy transition condition in the LTIP has been increased to 20%.

See the “Directors’ Remuneration Report” on page 116

For more details on how the strategic pillars are embedded into our businesses, see “Business Overview” on pages 11-13

OUTLOOK FOR 2021 AND BEYOND
We believe that our integrated business model is key to driving our strategy. It means that our portfolio is greater than the sum of its parts. This competitive portfolio has a solid track record on cash generation, where Shell is leading its peer group. We intend to evolve our portfolio of assets and the mix of energy that we sell to meet the cleaner energy needs of our customers in the coming decades, while delivering value for our shareholders.

Delivering our strategy will require clear and deliberate capital allocation choices. We approach capital allocation at three levels: enterprise, portfolio and project. The enterprise level is about how we make choices between increasing distributions to our shareholders, investing in our business and/or strengthening our balance sheet. The portfolio level is about how we allocate capital between our three business pillars - Growth, Transition and
Upstream. The project level is about how we evaluate and prioritise investment opportunities.

At the enterprise level, we look to achieve the right balance between shareholder distributions today and investing for value-enhancing growth.

For cash capital expenditure, we plan to spend between $19 and 22 billion per annum in the near term. In addition, we expect operating costs to be no higher than $35 billion and to deliver a divestment programme totalling around $4 billion a year in this period. We remain committed to our progressive dividend policy and focused on targeting AA-equivalent credit metrics through the cycle.

Subject to Board approval, we aim to grow the dividend per share by around 4 percent every year. Once our net debt level has reached $65 billion, we will target the distribution of 20-30% of cash flow from operations to shareholders, and may choose to return cash to shareholders through a combination of dividends and share buybacks.

Once we have achieved this level of shareholder distributions, additional surplus cash will be allocated between further disciplined capital investments to deliver our strategy and further debt reduction to strengthen the balance sheet.
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We fully support the Paris Agreement’s goal to keep the rise in global average temperature this century to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. We announced a long-term target to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, in step with society. This includes a target to be net zero on all emissions from the manufacture of all our products – (our Scope 1 and 2 emissions) – by 2050, and also net zero from the end use of all the energy products we sell (Scope 3 emissions). We aim to reduce the net carbon intensity of energy sold by 6-8% by 2023, 20%
by 2030, 45% by 2035 and 100% by 2050, in comparison with 2016. We expect that our total carbon emissions from energy sold will stay below 2018 levels. Further details are in the "Climate change and energy transition" section on page 73.

As a result of COVID-19, there continues to be significant uncertainty in the macroeconomic conditions with an expected negative impact on demand for oil, gas and related products. Demand or regulatory requirements and/or constraints in infrastructure may cause Shell to take measures to curtail or reduce oil and/or gas production, LNG liquefaction and utilisation of
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refining and chemicals plants. Sales volumes could be similarly affected. Such measures could impact our earnings, cash flow and financial condition.

The statements in this “Strategy and outlook” section, including those related to our growth strategies and our expected or potential future cash flow from operations, organic free cash flow, share buybacks, capital investment, divestments, production and Net Carbon Footprint, are based on
management’s current expectations and certain material assumptions and, accordingly, involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied herein. See “About this Report” on pages 8-9 and “Risk factors” on pages 18-22.


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RISK FACTORS
The risks discussed below could have a material adverse effect separately, or in combination, on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition. Accordingly, investors should carefully consider these risks.

Further background and measures that we use when assessing various risks are set out in the relevant sections of this Report, indicated by way of cross-references under each risk factor.

The Board’s responsibility for identifying, evaluating and managing our significant and emerging risks is discussed in “Governance” on pages 99-101.

STRATEGIC RISKS

We are exposed to macroeconomic risks including fluctuating prices of crude oil, natural gas, oil products and chemicals.

The prices of crude oil, natural gas, oil products and chemicals are affected by supply and demand, both globally and regionally. Macroeconomic, geopolitical and technological uncertainties can also affect production costs and demand for our products. Government actions may also affect the prices of crude oil, natural gas, oil products and chemicals. This could happen, for example, if governments promote the sale of lower-carbon electric vehicles or even prohibit future sales of new diesel or gasoline vehicles, such as the prohibition in the United Kingdom (UK) that is expected to come into force in 2030. Oil and gas prices can also move independently of each other. Factors that influence supply and demand include operational issues, natural disasters, weather, pandemics such as COVID-19, political instability, conflicts, economic conditions and actions by major oil and gas producing countries. In a low oil and gas price environment, we would generate less revenue from our Upstream and Integrated Gas businesses, and parts of those businesses could become less profitable or incur losses. Low oil and gas prices have also resulted and could continue to result in the debooking of proved oil or gas reserves, if they become uneconomic in this type of price environment. Prolonged periods of low oil and gas prices, or rising costs, have resulted and could continue to result in projects being delayed or cancelled. Assets have been impaired in the past, (including in 2020), and there could be impairments in the future. Low oil and gas prices could also affect our ability to maintain our long-term capital investment programme and dividend payments. Prolonged periods of low oil and gas prices could adversely affect the financial, fiscal, legal, political and social stability of countries that rely significantly on oil and gas revenue. In a high oil and gas price environment, we could experience sharp increases in costs, and, under some production-sharing contracts, our entitlement to proved reserves would be reduced. Higher prices could also reduce demand for our products, which could result in lower profitability, particularly in our Oil Products and Chemicals business. Higher prices can also lead to more capacity being built, potentially resulting in an oversupply of products that can negatively affect our LNG and Chemicals businesses.
Accordingly, price fluctuations could have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

See “Market overview” on page 23.

Our ability to deliver competitive returns and pursue commercial opportunities depends in part on the accuracy of our price assumptions.

We use a range of oil and gas price assumptions, which we review on a periodic basis. These ranges help us to evaluate the robustness of our capital allocation for our evaluation of projects and commercial opportunities. If our assumptions prove to be incorrect, it could have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

See “Market overview” on page 24

Our ability to achieve our strategic objectives depends on how we react to competitive forces.

We face competition in all our businesses. In the crude oil, natural gas, Oil Products and Chemicals businesses we seek to differentiate our products, but many of them are competing in commodity-type markets. Accordingly, failure to manage our costs and our operational performance could result in a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition. We also compete with state-owned oil and gas entities with access to vast financial resources. State-owned entities could be motivated by political or other factors in making their business decisions. Accordingly, when bidding on new leases or projects, we could find ourselves at a competitive disadvantage because these state-owned entities may not require a competitive return. If we are unable to obtain competitive returns when bidding on new leases or projects, this could have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

See “Strategy and outlook” on page 15.

If we fail to stay in step with the pace and extent of society’s demands with regard to the energy transition to a low-carbon future, we could fail in sustaining and growing our business.

The pace and extent of the energy transition could pose a risk to Shell if our own transition towards decarbonisation moves at a different speed to society. If we are slower than society, customers may prefer a different supplier which would adversely impact our reputation and demand for our products. If we move much faster than society, we risk investing in technologies, markets or low-carbon products that are unsuccessful because there is limited demand for them. This could have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

See "Strategy and outlook" on page 16 and “Climate change and energy transition” on page 76.

Rising climate change concerns and the effects of the energy transition have led and could lead to a decrease in demand and potentially affect prices for fossil fuels. This may also lead to additional legal and/or regulatory measures which could result in project delays or cancellations, potential litigation, operational restrictions and additional compliance obligations.

Societal demand for urgent action has increased especially after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1.5°C special report of 2018 and the Paris Agreement’s goal to keep the rise in global average temperature this century to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Society's increasing focus on climate change and the effects of the energy transition has created a risk landscape that is changing rapidly in response to a wide range of stakeholder actions at global, local and business levels. The potential impact and likelihood of climate change effects on Shell could vary across different time horizons, depending on the specific components of the risk.

We expect that a growing share of our GHG emissions will be subject to regulation, resulting in increased compliance costs and operational restrictions. Regulators may seek to limit certain fossil fuel projects or make it more difficult to obtain required permits. Achieving our target to become net zero on all emissions from our operations will result in additional cost. We also expect that actions by customers to reduce their emissions will continue to lower demand and potentially affect prices for fossil fuels, as will GHG emissions regulation through taxes, fees and/or other incentives. This could be a factor contributing to additional provisions for our assets and result in lower earnings, cancelled projects and potential impairment of certain assets.

The physical effects of climate change such as, but not limited to, increases in temperature and sea levels and fluctuations in water levels could also adversely affect our operations and supply chains.
Some groups are putting pressure on certain investors to divest their investments in fossil fuel companies. If this were to continue, it could have a material adverse effect on the price of our securities and our ability to access capital markets. Groups are also putting pressure on commercial and investment banks to stop financing fossil fuel companies. According to press
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reports, some financial institutions have started to limit their exposure to certain fossil fuel projects. Accordingly, our ability to use financing for these types of future projects may be adversely affected. This could also adversely affect our potential partners’ ability to finance their portion of costs, either through equity or debt.

In some countries, governments, regulators, organisations and individuals have filed lawsuits seeking to hold fossil fuel companies liable for costs associated with climate change. While we believe these lawsuits to be without merit, losing any of them could have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

In summary, rising climate change concerns and effects of the energy transition have led and could lead to a decrease in demand and potentially affect prices for fossil fuels. If we are unable to find economically viable, publicly acceptable solutions that reduce our GHG emissions and/or GHG intensity for new and existing projects and for the products we sell, we could experience financial penalties or extra costs, delayed or cancelled projects, potential impairments of our assets, additional provisions and/or reduced production and product sales. This could have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.


We seek to execute divestments in pursuing our strategy. We may be unable to divest these assets successfully in line with our strategy.

We may be unable to divest assets at acceptable prices or within the timeline envisaged because of market conditions or credit risk. This would result in increased pressure on our cash position and potential impairments. In some cases, we have also retained certain liabilities following a divestment. Even in cases where we have not expressly retained certain liabilities, we may still be held liable for past acts, failures to act or liabilities that are different from those foreseen. We may also face liabilities if a purchaser fails to honour their commitments. Accordingly, if any of the above circumstances arise, this could have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

See “Strategy and outlook” on page 17.

We operate in more than 70 countries that have differing degrees of political, legal and fiscal stability. This exposes us to a wide range of political developments that could result in changes to contractual terms, laws and regulations. We and our joint arrangements and associates also face the risk of litigation and disputes worldwide.

Developments in politics, laws and regulations can and do affect our operations. Potential impacts include: forced divestment of assets; expropriation of property; cancellation or forced renegotiation of contract rights; additional taxes including windfall taxes, restrictions on deductions and retroactive tax claims; antitrust claims; changes to trade compliance regulations; price controls; local content requirements; foreign exchange controls; changes to environmental regulations; changes to regulatory interpretations and enforcement; and changes to disclosure requirements. Tensions between nation states can also affect our business. Any of these, individually or in aggregate, could have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

In 2020, many governments ran deficits to deal with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the ongoing nature of the pandemic, there will be uncertain long-term fiscal consequences, with possible subsequent effects on government policies that affect Shell’s business interests.

From time to time, social and political factors play a role in unprecedented and unanticipated judicial outcomes that could adversely affect Shell. Non‑compliance with policies and regulations could result in regulatory investigations, litigation and, ultimately, sanctions. Certain governments and regulatory bodies have, in Shell’s opinion, exceeded their constitutional authority by: attempting unilaterally to amend or cancel existing agreements or arrangements; failing to honour existing contractual commitments; and seeking to adjudicate disputes between private litigants. Certain governments have also adopted laws and regulations that could potentially conflict with other countries’ laws and regulations, potentially subjecting us to both
criminal and civil sanctions. Such developments and outcomes could have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

See “Governance” on page 99.

OPERATIONAL RISKS

Our future hydrocarbon production depends on the delivery of large and integrated projects, and our ability to replace proved oil and gas reserves.

We face numerous challenges in developing capital projects, especially those which are large and integrated. Challenges include: uncertain geology; frontier conditions; the existence and availability of necessary technology and engineering resources; the availability of skilled labour; the existence of transportation infrastructure; project delays; the expiration of licences; delays in obtaining required permits; potential cost overruns; and technical, fiscal, regulatory, political and other conditions. These challenges are particularly relevant in certain developing and emerging-market countries, in frontier areas and in deep-water fields, such as off the coast of Mexico. We may fail to assess or manage these and other risks properly. Such potential obstacles could impair our delivery of these projects, our ability to fulfil the full potential value of the project as assessed when the investment was approved, and/or our ability to fulfil related contractual commitments. This could lead to impairments and could have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

Future oil and gas production will depend on our access to new proved reserves through exploration, negotiations with governments and other owners of proved reserves and acquisitions, and through developing and applying new technologies and recovery processes to existing fields. Failure to replace proved reserves could result in an accelerated decrease of future production, potentially having a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

See “Shell story” on page 12
Oil and gas production available for sale
Million boe [A]
202020192018
Shell subsidiaries1,104 1,182 1,179 
Shell share of joint ventures and associates135 156 159 
Total1,239 1,338 1,338 
[A] Natural gas volumes are converted into oil equivalent using a factor of 5,800 scf per barrel.
Proved developed and undeveloped oil and gas reserves [A][B] (at December 31)
Million boe [C]
December 31, 2020December 31, 2019December 31, 2018
Shell subsidiaries8,222 9,980 10,294 
Shell share of joint ventures and associates902 1,116 1,285 
Total9,124 11,096 11,578 
Attributable to non-controlling interest in Shell subsidiaries322 304 331 
[A] We manage our total proved reserves base without distinguishing between proved reserves from subsidiaries and those from joint ventures and associates.
[B] Includes proved reserves associated with future production that will be consumed in operations.
[C] Natural gas volumes are converted into oil equivalent using a factor of 5,800 scf per barrel.

The estimation of proved oil and gas reserves involves subjective judgements based on available information and the application of complex rules. This means subsequent downward adjustments are possible.

The estimation of proved oil and gas reserves involves subjective judgements and determinations based on available geological, technical, contractual and economic information. Estimates can change over time due to new information from production or drilling activities, changes in economic factors, such as oil and gas prices, alterations in the regulatory
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policies of host governments, or other events. Estimates also change to reflect acquisitions, divestments, new discoveries, extensions of existing fields and mines, and improved recovery techniques. Published proved oil and gas reserves estimates could also be subject to correction because of errors in the application of published rules and changes in guidance. Downward adjustments could indicate lower future production volumes and could also lead to impairment of assets. This could have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

See “Supplementary information - oil and gas (unaudited)” on page 211.

The nature of our operations exposes us, and the communities in which we work, to a wide range of health, safety, security and environment risks.

The health, safety, security and environment (HSSE) risks to which we and the communities in which we work are potentially exposed cover a wide spectrum, given the geographic range, operational diversity and technical complexity of our operations. These risks include the effects of natural disasters (including weather events), earthquakes, social unrest, pandemic diseases, criminal actions by external parties, and safety lapses. If a major risk materialises, such as an explosion or hydrocarbon leak or spill, this could result in injuries, loss of life, environmental harm, disruption of business activities, loss or suspension of permits, loss of our licence to operate and loss of our ability to bid on mineral rights. Accordingly, this could have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

Our operations are subject to extensive HSSE regulatory requirements that often change and are likely to become more stringent over time. Governments could require operators to adjust their future production plans, as has occurred in the Netherlands, affecting production and costs. We could incur significant extra costs in the future because of the need to comply with such requirements. We could also incur significant extra costs due to violations of or liabilities under laws and regulations that involve elements such as fines, penalties, clean-up costs and third-party claims. Therefore, if HSSE risks materialise, they could have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

See “Environment and society” on page 66.

A further erosion of the business and operating environment in Nigeria could have a material adverse effect on us.

In our Nigerian operations, we face various risks and adverse conditions. These include: security issues affecting the safety of our people, host communities and operations; sabotage and theft; our ability to enforce existing contractual rights; litigation; limited infrastructure; potential legislation that could increase our taxes or operating costs; the effect of lower oil and gas prices on the government budget; and regional instability created by militant activities. These risks or adverse conditions could have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

See “Upstream” on page 40.

An erosion of our business reputation could have a material adverse effect on our brand, our ability to secure new resources or access capital markets, and on our licence to operate.

Our reputation is an important asset. The Shell General Business Principles (Principles) govern how Shell and its individual companies conduct their affairs, and the Shell Code of Conduct tells employees and contract staff how to behave in line with the Principles. Our challenge is to ensure that all employees and contract staff comply with the Principles and the Code of Conduct. Real or perceived failures of governance or regulatory compliance or a perceived lack of understanding of how our operations affect surrounding communities could harm our reputation.

Societal expectations of businesses are increasing, with a focus on business ethics, quality of products, contribution to society, safety and minimising damage to the environment. There is increasing focus on the role of oil and gas in the context of climate change and energy transition. This could negatively affect our brand, reputation and licence to operate, which could limit our ability to deliver our strategy, reduce consumer demand for our
branded and non-branded products, harm our ability to secure new resources and contracts, and restrict our ability to access capital markets or attract staff. Many other factors, including the materialisation of the risks discussed in several of the other risk factors, could negatively affect our reputation and could have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

See “Governance” on page 150 and "Our people" on page 87.

We rely heavily on information technology systems in our operations.

The operation of many of our business processes depends on reliable information technology (IT) systems. Our IT systems are increasingly concentrated in terms of geography and number of systems. They are dependent on key contractors supporting the delivery of IT services. During 2020, information and cyber-security risks developed and changed rapidly. Globally the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical tensions have altered the IT threat landscape, increasing the frequency and ingenuity of malware attacks and increasing the temptation to attack targets for financial gain. Also, the prevalence of remote working introduces additional risk because it expands the IT threat landscape. We have experienced breaches and disruptions to our critical IT services in the past. These factors continue to contribute to potential breaches and disruptions of critical IT services. Additionally, breaches can lead to data privacy issues. If the breaches are not detected early and responded to effectively, they could harm our reputation and have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

See “Corporate” on page 60.

Our business exposes us to risks of social instability, criminality, civil unrest, terrorism, piracy, cyber-disruption and acts of war that could have a material adverse effect on our operations.

As seen in recent years, these risks can manifest themselves in the countries where we operate and elsewhere. These risks affect people and assets. Potential risks include: acts of terrorism; acts of criminality including maritime piracy; cyber-espionage or disruptive cyber-attacks; conflicts including war, civil unrest and environmental and climate activism (including disruptions by non-governmental and political organisations).

The above risks can threaten the safe operation of our facilities and the transport of our products. They can harm the well-being of our people, inflict loss of life and injuries, damage the environment and disrupt our operational activities. These risks could have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

See “Environment and society” on pages 67.

Production from the Groningen field in the Netherlands causes earthquakes that affect local communities.

Shell and ExxonMobil are 50:50 shareholders in Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij B.V. (NAM). An important part of NAM’s gas production comes from the onshore Groningen gas field, in which EBN, a Dutch government entity, has a 40% interest and NAM a 60% interest. The gas field is in the process of being closed down due to earthquakes induced by gas production. Some of these earthquakes have damaged houses and other structures in the region, resulting in complaints and lawsuits from the local community. The government has announced it intends to accelerate the close-down, bringing the end of production forward from 2030 to possibly mid-2022. The exact shut-in date depends on security of supply considerations and is still to be decided. While we expect the earlier closing down of the Groningen gas field to further reduce the number and strength of earthquakes in the region, any additional earthquakes could have further adverse effects on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

See “Upstream” on page 38.

We are exposed to treasury and trading risks, including liquidity risk, interest rate risk, foreign exchange risk and credit risk. We are affected by the global macroeconomic environment and the conditions of financial and commodity markets.

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Our subsidiaries, joint arrangements and associates are subject to differing economic and financial market conditions around the world. Political or economic instability affects such markets.

We use debt instruments, such as bonds and commercial paper, to raise significant amounts of capital. Should our access to debt markets become more difficult, the potential impact on our liquidity could have a material adverse effect on our operations. Our financing costs could also be affected by interest rate fluctuations or any credit rating deterioration.

We are exposed to changes in currency values and to exchange controls as a result of our substantial international operations. Our reporting currency is the US dollar, although, to a material extent, we also hold assets and are exposed to liabilities in other currencies. While we undertake some foreign exchange hedging, we do not do so for all our activities. Even where hedging is in place, it may not function as expected.

We are exposed to credit risk; our counterparties could fail or be unable to meet their payment and/or performance obligations under contractual arrangements. Although we do not have significant direct exposure to sovereign debt, it is possible that our partners and customers may have exposure which could impair their ability to meet their obligations. Our pension plans invest in government bonds, and could therefore be affected by a sovereign debt downgrade or other default.

If any of the above risks materialise, they could have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

See “Liquidity and capital resources” on page 61 and Note 19 to the “Consolidated Financial Statements” on pages 198-202.

Our future performance depends on the successful development and deployment of new technologies and new products.

Technology and innovation are essential to our efforts to meet the world’s energy demands competitively. If we fail to continue developing or deploying technology and new products, or fail to make full, effective use of our data in a timely and cost-effective manner, there could be a material adverse effect on the delivery of our strategy and our licence to operate. We operate in environments where advanced technologies are used. In developing new technologies and new products, unknown or unforeseeable technological failures or environmental and health effects could harm our reputation and licence to operate or expose us to litigation or sanctions. The associated costs of new technology are sometimes underestimated. Sometimes the development of new technology is subject to delays. If we are unable to develop the right technology and products in a timely and cost-effective manner, or if we develop technologies and products that harm the environment or people's health, there could be a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

See “Shell story” on page 13.

We have substantial pension commitments, the funding of which is subject to capital market risks and other factors.

Liabilities associated with defined benefit pension plans are significant, and the cash funding requirement of such plans can also involve significant liabilities. They both depend on various assumptions. Volatility in capital markets or government policies could affect investment performance and interest rates, causing significant changes to the funding level of future liabilities. Changes in assumptions for mortality, retirement age or pensionable remuneration at retirement could also cause significant changes to the funding level of future liabilities. We operate a number of defined benefit pension plans and, in case of a shortfall, we could be required to make substantial cash contributions (depending on the applicable local regulations). This could result in a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

See “Liquidity and capital resources” on page 61.
We mainly self-insure our risk exposure. We could incur significant losses from different types of risks that are not covered by insurance from third-party insurers.

Our insurance subsidiaries provide hazard insurance coverage to other Shell entities, who may insure a portion of their risk exposures with third parties. Such insurance would not provide any material coverage in the event of a large-scale safety or environmental incident. Accordingly, in the event of a material incident, we would have to meet our obligations without access to material proceeds from third-party insurance companies. Therefore, we may incur significant losses from different types of risks that are not covered by insurance from third-party insurers, potentially resulting in a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

See “Corporate” on page 60.

Many of our major projects and operations are conducted in joint arrangements or with associates. This could reduce our degree of control and our ability to identify and manage risks.

When we are not the operator, we have less influence and control over the behaviour, performance and operating costs of joint arrangements or associates. Despite having less control, we could still be exposed to the risks associated with these operations, including reputational, litigation (where joint and several liability could apply) and government sanction risks. For example, our partners or members of a joint arrangement or an associate, (particularly local partners in developing countries), may be unable to meet their financial or other obligations to projects, threatening the viability of a given project. Where we are the operator of a joint arrangement, the other partner(s) could still be able to veto or block certain decisions, which could be to our overall detriment. Accordingly, where we have limited influence, we are exposed to operational risks that could have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

See “Governance” on page 99.

CONDUCT RISKS

We are exposed to commodity trading risks, including market and operational risks.

Commodity trading is an important component of our Upstream, Integrated Gas, Oil Products and Chemicals businesses and is integrated with our supply business. Processing, managing and monitoring many trading transactions across the world, some of them complex, exposes us to operational and market risks, including commodity price risks which saw significant levels of volatility in 2020. We use derivative instruments such as futures and contracts for differences to hedge market risks. We do not hedge all our activities and where hedging is in place, it may not function as expected. The risk of ineffective controls and oversight of trading activities, and the risk that traders could deliberately act outside limits and controls, either individually or as a group, could have material adverse effects on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

See “Liquidity and capital resources” on page 61 and Note 19 to the “Consolidated Financial Statements” on pages 198-202

Violations of antitrust and competition laws carry fines and expose us and/or our employees to criminal sanctions and civil suits.

Antitrust and competition laws apply to Shell and its joint arrangements and associates in the vast majority of countries where we do business. Shell and its joint arrangements and associates have been fined for violations of antitrust and competition laws in the past. This includes a number of fines by the European Commission Directorate-General for Competition (DG COMP). Because of DG COMP’s fining guidelines, any future conviction of Shell or any of its joint arrangements or associates for violation of EU competition law could potentially result in significantly larger fines and have a material adverse effect on us. Violation of antitrust laws is a criminal offence in many countries, and individuals can be imprisoned or fined. In certain circumstances, directors may receive director disqualification orders. It is also now common for persons or corporations allegedly injured by antitrust violations to sue for damages. Any violation of these laws can harm our reputation and could have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

See “Governance” on pages 150.
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Violations of anti-bribery, tax-evasion and anti-money laundering laws carry fines and expose us and/or our employees to criminal sanctions, civil suits and ancillary consequences (such as debarment and the revocation of licences).

Anti-bribery, tax-evasion and anti-money laundering laws apply to Shell, its joint arrangements and associates in all countries where we do business. Shell and its joint arrangements and associates have in the past settled with the US Securities and Exchange Commission regarding violations of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Any violation of anti-bribery, tax-evasion or anti-money laundering laws, including those potential violations associated with Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited's investment in Nigerian oil block OPL 245 and the 2011 settlement of litigation pertaining to that block, could harm our reputation or have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

See “Our people” on pages 87, “Governance” on page 150 and Note 25 to the “Consolidated Financial Statements” on pages 206-208.

Violations of data protection laws carry fines and expose us and/or our employees to criminal sanctions and civil suits.

Data protection laws apply to Shell and its joint arrangements and associates in the vast majority of countries where we do business. Most of the countries we operate in have data protection laws and regulations. In some countries that are key to Shell’s business operations, legislation continues to be amended or introduced. Shell must be able to adapt dynamically to such legislative changes and be capable of updating our internal programmes if necessary. The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into effect in May 2018, imposed increased financial penalties of up to a maximum of 4% of global annual turnover. It requires mandatory breach notification in certain situations, the standard which is also followed outside the EU (particularly in Asia). Non-compliance with data protection laws could expose us to regulatory investigations, which could result in fines, penalties and harm to our reputation. With regard to data breaches, we have breached the GDPR in the past and some investigations are still ongoing with European regulators. To date, no material fines have been imposed, but no assurance can be provided that future breaches would have similar outcomes. In addition to imposing fines, regulators may also issue orders to stop processing personal data, which could disrupt operations. We could also be subject to litigation from persons or entities allegedly affected by data protection violations.
With data privacy legislation now in force in the USA, the risk of class actions is increased. Class actions after large-scale data breaches are increasingly common in the UK.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the level of processing of personal data to track employees, suppliers or other visitors to our premises. Some governments require immediate disclosure of information, including sensitive personal data, to identify infected individuals, with some mandating technologies such as tracing applications on all devices, including corporate mobile phones.
Violation of data protection laws is a criminal offence in some countries, and individuals can be imprisoned or fined. Any violation of these laws or harm to our reputation could have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

See “Governance” on page 150.

Violations of trade compliance laws and regulations, including sanctions, carry fines and expose us and our employees to criminal sanctions and civil suits.

We use “trade compliance” as an umbrella term for various national and international laws designed to regulate the movement of items across national boundaries and restrict or prohibit trade and other dealings with certain parties. The number and breadth of such laws continue to expand. For example, the EU and the USA continue to impose restrictions and prohibitions on certain transactions involving countries such as Syria, Venezuela, Russia and Cuba. The USA continues to impose comprehensive sanctions against Iran, while the EU and other nations continue to maintain targeted sanctions. The EU and the USA imposed restrictions and controls on defined oil and gas activities in Russia in 2014, and these remain in force.
The USA introduced further restrictions regarding Russia in 2017, expanding them in 2018. The EU and the USA introduced sectoral sanctions against Venezuela in 2017, with the USA expanding them in 2018 and 2019. The US sanctions primarily target the government of Venezuela and the oil industry. Many other nations are also adopting trade-control programmes similar to those administered by the EU and the USA. The expansion of sanctions, the frequent additions of prohibited parties, the number of markets in which we operate and the large number of transactions we process, make compliance with all sanctions complex and sometimes challenging. Shell has voluntarily self-disclosed potential violations of sanctions in the past. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased trade compliance risks, due to factors such as growing state involvement in business dealings, the need to maintain and develop business opportunities and cross-border movement of goods and technologies, and the increasing likelihood that counterparties will change ownership as the economic crisis continues.

Any violation of sanctions could lead to loss of import or export privileges and significant penalties on or prosecution of Shell or its employees. This could harm our reputation and have a material adverse effect on our earnings, cash flows and financial condition

See “Governance” on page 150.

Investors should also consider the following, which could limit shareholder remedies.

OTHER (generally applicable to an investment in securities)

The Company’s Articles of Association determine the jurisdiction for shareholder disputes. This could limit shareholder remedies.

Our Articles of Association generally require that all disputes between our shareholders in such capacity and the Company or our subsidiaries (or our Directors or former Directors), or between the Company and our Directors or former Directors, be exclusively resolved by arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands, under the Rules of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce. Our Articles of Association also provide that, if this provision is to be determined invalid or unenforceable for any reason, the dispute could only be brought before the courts of England and Wales. Accordingly, the ability of shareholders to obtain monetary or other relief, including in respect of securities law claims, could be determined in accordance with these provisions.

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MARKET OVERVIEW
We maintain a large business portfolio across an integrated value chain and are exposed to crude oil, natural gas, hydrocarbon product and chemical prices (see “Risk factors” on page 18). This diversified portfolio helps us mitigate the impact of price volatility. Our annual planning cycle and periodic portfolio reviews aim to ensure that our levels of capital investment and operating expenses are appropriate in the context of a volatile price environment. We test the resilience of our projects and other opportunities against a range of crude oil, natural gas, oil product and chemical prices and costs. We also aim to maintain a strong balance sheet to provide resilience against weak market prices.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC GROWTH
The COVID-19 pandemic has delivered an enormous global economic shock, leading to steep recessions in many countries. In the World Economic Outlook of January 2021, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that despite unprecedented policy support, global GDP contracted by 3.5% in 2020, one of the deepest global recessions in history. The most severe economic downturns occurred in India, Western Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. China was the only major economy that recorded economic growth.

Developed countries were particularly vulnerable to lockdown measures, because of their economic structure. Services and consumption, which account for a higher share of GDP in developed countries, were disproportionately affected by restrictions on movement and closures of hospitality and leisure facilities. Developing economies suffered from collapses in capital inflows and commodity prices, and from a sharp compression in consumption and investment.
Massive fiscal and monetary support measures were deployed in the major economies. In China, the authorities funded infrastructure investments. In the USA and Europe, government transfers supplemented incomes and supported businesses, in order to prevent deeper declines in employment and disposable income.

Led by mainland China, the Asia-Pacific region led the recovery during the year, as public health measures helped to contain community transmission of COVID-19. In other countries, the pandemic proved more difficult to control. European countries experienced renewed rises in infection rates during the fourth quarter of 2020. They responded by reinstating restrictions on activities that have a high risk of transmitting COVID-19.

Encouraging news on vaccines and improvements in therapeutics have increased the chances of a recovery in 2021, but the global economic outlook remains precarious, because markets fear that more virulent variants of COVID-19 could trigger additional waves of infections. The deep recessions triggered by the pandemic could leave lasting scars in the form of: lower investment by companies; high unemployment; increased global debt; and a potential retreat from global trade and supply linkages. There is concern that these effects may well restrict growth in the medium term.

GLOBAL PRICES, DEMAND AND SUPPLY
The following table provides an overview of the main crude oil and natural gas price markers to which we are exposed:
Oil and gas average industry prices [A]
202020192018
Brent ($/b)42 64 71 
West Texas Intermediate ($/b)39 57 65 
Henry Hub ($/MMBtu)2.0 2.5 3.1 
UK National Balancing Point (pence/therm)
25 35 60 
Japan Customs-cleared Crude ($/b)46 67 73 
[A] Yearly average prices are based on daily spot prices. The 2020 average price for Japan Customs-cleared Crude excludes December data.


CRUDE OIL
On a daily average basis, Brent crude oil, an international benchmark, traded between $13 per barrel (/b) and $70/b in 2020, ending the year around $50/b. Brent crude oil prices averaged $42/b for the year, 34% (or $22/b ) lower than in 2019.
In 2020, oil markets experienced unprecedented developments in demand driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the start of 2020, global oil demand for the year was expected to grow by 1.2 million barrels per day (b/d). Then in January, oil demand started to contract because demand fell in China as lockdown was imposed to contain the virus outbreak. In subsequent months, oil demand contracted further as the outbreak in China evolved into a global pandemic and lockdowns were introduced across the world. In April, oil demand fell to its lowest level, around 22 million b/d below year-average demand in 2019, according to an estimate of the International Energy Agency (IEA). Contraction of such magnitude has never been recorded before. Country lockdowns deeply impacted transportation sectors, especially passenger road and passenger air in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) economies. In subsequent months, oil demand started recovering, but only partially, because resurgences of COVID-19 triggered re-imposition of social distancing and travel restrictions. By the fourth quarter, global oil demand was still estimated to be around 5.5 million b/d below the 2019 level, according to the Oil Market Report published by the IEA in January 2021. Averaged for the full year, oil demand contracted by around 9 million b/d, or 9%, to 91.2 million b/d. Oil demand fell by 5.7 million b/d in OECD economies, and by 3.2 million b/d in non-OECD economies. By contrast, oil demand in 2019 was 0.8 million b/d higher than in 2018.

In 2020, oil markets also experienced unprecedented developments in supply. In March, there was a serious disagreement within the OPEC+ alliance, which consists of OPEC members and co-operating non-OPEC resource holders such as Russia. Saudi Arabia and Russia failed to agree on what to do about falling demand for oil. Saudi Arabia responded to the disagreement by boosting its production to almost 12 million b/d, a monthly record. By April, storage capacity was filling up quickly and oil prices were falling rapidly. On April 12, the OPEC+ alliance agreed to jointly reduce production by an unprecedented 9.7 million b/d for May and June. For the month of June, Saudi Arabia voluntarily cut production further, by around 1 million b/d. For the rest of the year, the OPEC+ alliance agreed on and complied with a production cut of 7.7 million b/d.

In April, supply from outside the OPEC+ alliance also started to fall, most notably in the USA. The US Energy Information Administration reported a supply contraction of around 2 million b/d by the end of May, from a level of around 13 million b/d at the start of the year. US producers cut budgets, leading to an unprecedented fall in the number of oil drill rigs to around 26% of the total at the start of the year. Supply from the USA occasionally fell even further to around 10 million b/d because of production shut-ins during the hurricane season.

In aggregate, production of oil supply in 2020 is estimated in the Oil Market Report at 93.9 million b/d, which is 6.7 million b/d lower than in 2019. OPEC production is estimated to have fallen by 3.8 million b/d. Supply from the USA fell by 0.8 million b/d from 2019. By contrast, global oil supply in 2019 was 0.1 million b/d higher than in 2018.

Daily average oil prices reached a low at the end of April before the OPEC+ supply curtailments came into effect. Brent crude oil prices fell to around $14/b. Contract prices of some crude grades, such as West Texas Intermediate (WTI), even traded well below $0/b for a short period. Brent crude oil prices started to recover from May and traded in a price range of around $35-45/b from June. Towards the end of 2020, announcements of promising COVID-19 vaccines supported Brent crude oil prices, allowing them to break through the upper end of this range.

On a yearly average basis, WTI crude oil traded at a discount of about $2.5/b to Brent crude oil in 2020, compared with $7/b in 2019. The discount narrowed from 2019 because falling US supply prevented bottlenecks in
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pipeline capacity from the landlocked Cushing storage hub to the US Gulf Coast. According to the US Energy Information Administration, US crude oil exports increased further to a yearly average of around 3.1 million b/d in 2020, up by 0.1 million b/d from 2019. This helped to ensure a narrow price differential between Brent and WTI.

Looking ahead, the IMF’s global economic outlook indicates some increase in global economic growth, which should support oil demand growth.

Demand growth could accelerate further if vaccines can help contain COVID-19 and allow a return to pre-pandemic demand patterns in perhaps two or three years. According to the IEA, global oil demand is projected to increase by around 5.4 million b/d for 2021 to reach 96.6 million b/d. This is still 3.4 million b/d less than in 2019. OPEC+ members may have to carefully balance supply growth with sustained production curtailments in order to achieve price stability. In the near term, once demand has recovered to 2019 levels, the need for OPEC+ cuts may diminish. If there is further demand growth, tightness of supply could even develop. This is because any supply growth from the US shale basins could be limited, since US operators have shifted their focus from volume to value. We expect this shift to be permanent.

The supply growth potential from outside OPEC+ and the USA could be limited by industry-wide lack of investment in new supply projects which also tend to have a long lead time.

In the near term, prices could rise if demand is quicker to recover and OPEC+ members successfully constrain supply. On the other hand, the price environment could weaken if the impact of COVID-19 prevents full demand recovery, and/or OPEC and the non-OPEC resource holders relax their production agreement. The price environment could also weaken if there is an increase in supply from other non-OPEC producers, such as US shale producers.

NATURAL GAS
Global gas demand is estimated to have declined by around 2.4% in 2020, in contrast with the 2.5% annual growth rate observed since the start of the century. The deterioration in gas demand for power generation and in industry was mainly caused by lockdowns related to COVID-19. Resilient gas demand for heating helped offset the overall decline. Demand declined across all regions except non-OECD Asia. In non-OECD Asia, demand grew in China, which experienced a robust recovery after mitigating the impacts of COVID-19. Outside China, aggregate gas demand in non-OECD Asia remained flat year-on-year.

In 2020, global LNG imports were almost unchanged from 2019, rising by about 2 million tonnes year-on-year to 360 million tonnes. Growth in LNG supply capacity was mostly limited to the USA, where 21 million tonnes of new liquefaction started commercial operations in 2020. Liquefaction plants already in operation in the USA responded to the weak gas price environment by significantly curtailing production in the middle of the year. Supply from major LNG-exporting countries such as Egypt, Malaysia and Norway was also lower year-on-year because of operational disruptions and shut-ins to prevent economic losses.

Natural gas prices can vary from region to region.

In the USA, the natural gas price at the Henry Hub averaged $2.0 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2020, 21% lower than in 2019. It traded in a range of $1.5 to 3.2/MMBtu. In the earlier part of 2020, there was downward pressure on prices because of decreased demand from a mild winter, lower LNG exports and a weak domestic market caused by COVID-19. Supply fell because activity declined as producers cut investments and because lower oil production meant there was less associated gas. During the summer, prices found support from growing demand for gas that could generate power for cooling during the hotter months of the year. Later in 2020, demand strengthened because of storage ahead of the winter season and increasing US LNG exports.

In Europe, the average price at the UK National Balancing Point (NBP) in 2020 was 28% lower than in 2019. At the main continental gas trading hubs – in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany – prices were also lower, as reflected by weaker Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF) prices. European gas prices were lower because of: the slump in demand in power generation and
industry; robust supply of pipeline gas; well-filled gas storage inventories at the start of the year; and competition with renewables in power.

We also produce and sell natural gas in regions where supply, demand and regulatory circumstances differ markedly from those in the USA or Europe.
Long-term contracted LNG prices in the Asia-Pacific region in 2020 were lower than in 2019 because they are predominantly indexed to oil prices, particularly the Japan Customs-cleared Crude (JCC) index which dropped by an 32% year-on-year, tracking Brent crude prices. Meanwhile, delivered North Asia spot prices, reflected by the Japan Korea Marker, declined by 20% compared with 2019, because of oversupply in the global LNG market and weak demand.

Looking ahead, we expect gas markets in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific to find support from markets recovering from the pandemic. Price developments are very uncertain and dependent on many factors.

In the USA, Henry Hub gas prices are expected to increase over the next few years. This is because while production of gas is expected to recover by perhaps late 2021, it could lag behind demand, which may grow earlier, to supply LNG exports and exports to Mexico by pipeline, and to supply residential and industrial users. The Henry Hub gas price could rise more than expected if oil prices stay low, leading to the Permian Basin producing less oil and supplying less associated gas as a result.

On the other hand, if producers increase investments substantially, the extra supply could exert downward pressure on prices.

In Europe, we believe gas prices will be increasingly influenced by the cost of LNG imports from the USA. In the Asia-Pacific region, long-term gas prices are expected to continue to be strongly influenced by oil prices. Spot prices are expected to be increasingly influenced by gas supply and demand fundamentals.

CRUDE OIL AND NATURAL GAS PRICE ASSUMPTIONS
Our ability to deliver competitive returns and pursue commercial opportunities ultimately depends on the accuracy of our price assumptions (see “Risk factors” on page 18). We use a rigorous assessment of short-, medium- and long-term market uncertainties to determine what ranges of future crude oil and natural gas prices to use in project and portfolio evaluations. Market uncertainties include, for example, future economic conditions, geopolitics, actions by major resource holders, production costs, technological progress and the balance of supply and demand. See also Note 8 to the “Consolidated Financial Statements” on pages 182-185.

REFINING MARGINS
Refining marker average industry gross margins$/b
202020192018
US West Coast8.5 13.5 11.5 
US Gulf Coast Coking2.3 4.9 7.0 
Rotterdam Complex0.4 2.3 2.5 
Singapore(0.5)(0.6)1.4 
Industry gross refining margins weakened in 2020 because demand for oil products was significantly reduced by the fall in economic activity and increase in travel restrictions caused by COVID-19. Demand for transportation fuels such as gasoline for passenger cars and kerosene for air transportation was hit particularly hard. During most of the second half of the year, mobility and the resulting demand for transportation fuels improved in some parts of the world, especially in China and South-east Asia. At the end of the year, new waves of COVID-19 infections in Europe and the Americas severely limited any global increase in demand for transportation fuels.

On January 1, 2020, the new International Maritime Organization low-sulphur shipping fuel specification came into effect, limiting the sulphur content of maritime fuel to 0.5%. This had a limited effect on margins because of the economic slowdown in 2020 and because companies had prepared for the new regulations by building inventory in the second half of 2019
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The destruction of demand caused by COVID-19 led to industry idling some refinery capacity. Permanent refinery closures were also announced in 2020, but construction of new capacity did occur during the year, especially in the Middle East and Asia.

The outlook for refining margins for the next few years will be influenced by the uncertainty around the pace of economic and demand recovery from the pandemic, and by the continued addition of new refinery capacity in the Middle East and Asia, often integrated with chemicals production. On balance, refining marker margins are expected to remain under pressure for 2021.

PETROCHEMICAL MARGINS
Cracker industry margins [A]
$/tonne
202020192018
North East/South East Asia naphtha362 302 594 
Western Europe naphtha513 528 562 
US ethane433 440 412 
[A] ICIS data is quoted. Cracker margins have been revised from the fourth quarter 2019 onwards due to updated cracker margin calculation methodology by ICIS. Further revisions based on available market information to external industry data provider up to the end of the period.

Cracker margins were volatile during 2020 because of how COVID-19 affected demand. Overall margins, however, were broadly similar to those in 2019. The effect on chemicals depended on end use. Some sectors, such as automotive, were hit particularly hard, while others, such as packaging, showed robust demand. Chinese demand recovered relatively quickly because the virus was swiftly brought under control. Overall chemicals demand was not hit as hard as GDP. West European cracker margins were supported by the sudden fall in the price of crude oil in March and April. The fact that crude oil was at a lower price than in 2019 reduced naphtha feedstock costs, which reduced product prices. This in turn put pressure on US ethane cracker margins, although plentiful ethane supply helped counter the impact.

The outlook for petrochemical margins in 2021 and beyond depends on feedstock costs and supply and demand balances. Demand for petrochemicals will be affected by the speed and extent of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Supply of petrochemicals will depend on the net capacity effect of new builds and plant closures (taking into account any delays or cancellations in building new plants or closing old ones). Product prices reflect the prices of raw materials, which are closely linked to crude oil and natural gas prices. The balance of all these factors will drive margins.

The statements in this “Market overview” section, including those related to our price forecasts, are forward-looking statements based on management’s current expectations and certain material assumptions and, accordingly, involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied herein. See “About this Report” on pages 8-9 and “Risk factors” on pages 18-22.

STRATEGIC REPORT SHELL FORM 20-F 2020