Shell names new European head of IR

Mar 18, 2013
<p>Peter van Driel takes the IR reins at oil giant</p>

Royal Dutch Shell has brought in Peter van Driel as vice president of investor relations for its Europe business, taking over from Tjerk Huysinga, who has moved into the company’s upstream business – which covers exploration and production – as vice president, controller.

Van Driel, who started his new position on March 1, has been at the company for more than two decades and held various finance roles in downstream, trading and upstream. Before taking on his current role, he was based in the UK, the Philippines, Russia and the US.

The English, Dutch and German-speaking Van Driel will now lead Shell’s seven-strong European IR team.

One talking point for Van Driel will be Shell’s plans for drilling off the coast of Alaska. The company has paused exploration in the region following a year beset by problems, including a rig running aground on January 1, 2013.

In the company’s 2012 annual review, released last week, chairman Jorma Ollila discussed the failed foray into Alaska. ‘In 2012, we took the first steps in exploring for new resources off the coast of Alaska,’ he writes. ‘Later events involving our drilling ships were most regrettable. We have since decided to pause exploration drilling in 2013, to prepare plans and equipment for activity at a later stage. Alaska remains an area of high potential for Shell in the long term.’

Announcing the findings of a government review on Friday, outgoing US interior secretary Ken Salazar said Shell had ‘screwed up’ drilling in the Arctic, according to media reports. ‘Shell will not be able to move forward into the Arctic to do any kind of exploration unless they have this integrated management plan put in place,’ he told reporters on a conference call.

The report says that Shell failed to take into account the short drilling season in the Arctic, the harsh weather conditions and that its equipment was not able to cope with the extreme environment. It also highlighted ‘serious deficiencies in Shell’s management of contractors’.

Although the company has spent years and billions of dollars securing permits to drill the Arctic, Peter Voser, CEO, says in the annual review that Shell has 30 other new projects lined up for 2013 and is now ‘more constrained by capital than by opportunities’.

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