Our business strategy

Shell’s purpose is to power progress together by providing more and cleaner energy solutions.

Our strategy is to strengthen our position as a leading energy company by providing oil, gas and low-carbon energy products and services as the world’s energy system transforms. Safety and social responsibility are fundamental to our business approach. Shell will only succeed by working collaboratively with customers, governments, business partners, investors and other stakeholders.

Our strategy is founded on our outlook for the energy sector and the chance to grasp the opportunities arising from the substantial changes in the world around us. The rising standard of living of a growing global population is likely to 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 lower-carbon energy system to counter climate change. While liquid and gaseous fuels, including biofuels and hydrogen, will continue to be an important part of the energy mix, over time electricity needs to play a bigger part in the world if it is to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Technological advances and the need to tackle climate change mean there is a transition under way to a lower-carbon, multi-source energy system with increasing customer choice. We recognise that the pace and the path forward are uncertain and so require agile decision-making.

For more details on our business strategy, see the Strategy and outlook section in our Annual Report.

Strategic ambitions

We have the following strategic ambitions to guide us in pursuing our purpose:

  • to thrive in the energy transition by responding to society’s desire for more and cleaner, convenient and competitive energy;
  • to provide a world-class investment case. This involves growing free cash flow and increasing returns, all built upon a strong financial framework and resilient portfolio; and
  • to sustain a strong societal licence to operate and make a positive contribution to society through our activities.

Shell business activities


  • 1. Exploring for oil and gas onshore and offshore

Development and extraction

  • 2. Developing onshore and offshore fields
  • 3. Producing conventional, deep-water and shale oil and gas
  • 4. Capturing carbon dioxide and storing it safely underground
  • 5. Extracting bitumen

Manufacturing and energy production

  • 6. Upgrading bitumen
  • 7. Refining oil into fuels and lubricants
  • 8.Producing gas-to-liquids (GTL) products
  • 9. Producing petrochemicals
  • 10. Producing biofuels
  • 11. Generating renewable power
  • 12.Producing liquefied natural gas (LNG)

Transport and trading

  • 13. Shipping gas to where it is needed
  • 14. Shipping oil to where it is needed
  • 15. Trading oil and gas
  • 16. Supply and distribution of LNG for transport applications
  • 17. Regasifying LNG
  • 18. Trading power

Sales and marketing

  • 19. Supplying domestic electricity
  • 20. Supplying products to businesses, including gas for cooking, heating and electrical power
  • 21. Progressing electric vehicle and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure
  • 22. Providing mobility solutions for customers, including fuels and lubricants
  • 23. Supplying aviation fuel

Technical and business services

  • 24. Researching and developing new technology solutions
  • 25. Managing the delivery of major projects
  • 26. Providing technical and supporting services

Shell business activities

Overview of Shell business activities: Exploration, Development and extraction, Manufacturing and energy production, Transport and trading, Sales and marketing, Technical and business services (infographic)

Our business strategy


Barrel oil with flame (icon)

approximately of the world’s oil provided by Shell


Building with Shell logo (icon)
30 million

customers served at our retail sites on average every day

Capital invested

Coins stapled (icon)
$28.8 billion

in 2019

Natural gas

Flame (icon)

approximately of the world’s natural gas provided by Shell


Three barrels oil with flame (icon)
3.7 million

barrels of crude oil equivalent a day in 2019

Research and development

Test tube (icon)
$962 million

invested in research and development in 2019