Research and development

Shell continues to invest in research and development to improve the efficiency of our products, processes and operations, and to commercialise new technologies for the transition to a low-carbon energy future.

Highlights in 2017

  • We invested $922 million in research and development.
  • In the USA, we agreed to support the Energy Biosciences Institute’s research into using biochemical processes to store or deliver energy.
  • We signed an agreement with Brazil's industry association SENAI to collaborate on technology innovations in the oil and gas sector.
  • We extended our support for the largest clean-tech incubator in the USA, Greentown Labs, where start-ups build their prototypes.

We develop and deploy technology to increase the value or reduce the cost of our projects or otherwise enhance the performance and profitability of our own and our customers’ businesses.

We operate a global network of technology centres, with major hubs in Houston, USA; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and Bangalore, India. Thousands of employees across the network work on research and development (R&D) projects including turning natural gas into more efficient and cleaner fuels, unlocking oil from rock layers thousands of metres below the sea surface, and reducing Shell’s net carbon footprint.

projects often involve collaborations with public or private entities, including universities, government laboratories, technology start-ups and incubators.

We invested $922 million in R&D in 2017 compared with $1,014 million in 2016.

Aerial view of the Shell Technology Centre Bangalore, India. March 2017 (photo)

In 2017, we completed construction of our Shell Technology Centre Bangalore, India.

The majority of our research focuses on the near term, to help our existing businesses to reduce capital and operating costs, and to enhance customer products and services. This research also focuses on ways to lower energy consumption. For the long term, we aim to quickly acquire deeper insights into the science and engineering that underpins new energy technologies that can help create a lower-carbon future.

Shell GameChanger

Shell GameChanger works with start-ups and businesses on unproven early-stage ideas with the potential to impact the future of energy.  We provide companies with support, expertise and seed funding, while they maintain independence to make their own decisions.

Shell Technology Ventures

This is our corporate venturing arm. It invests in companies that are developing promising technologies that complement Shell’s businesses – mainly in oil and gas, new energies and information technology.

Shell TechWorks

Based in Massachusetts, USA, Shell TechWorks accelerates the adoption of proven technologies from other industries and applies them to the oil and gas sector. Founded in 2013, the programme has collaborated with companies, universities, research institutes and start-ups to help develop and deploy technology quickly and cost-effectively.

For more details on how we innovate through R&D, see

research and development
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