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Shell boss taking 'a good look' at North Sea assets

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Media captionShell boss 'taking a good look' at North Sea assets

Royal Dutch Shell's chief executive has told the BBC he is taking "a good look" at the company's North Sea assets, in the light of weak oil prices.

Ben van Beurden said that some older fields might be sold and others decommissioned.

He also said the company's dividend payout was "safe and secure", despite tough conditions for oil companies.

With an annual payout of $15bn (£11bn), Shell is the biggest payer of dividends among UK companies.

But some have questioned whether Shell can maintain that payout if oil prices remain low.

In January, North Sea Brent Crude fell below $28 per barrel, the lowest level since 2003.

Since then, it has recovered to around $50 a barrel, but that is still well below June 2014, when a barrel was fetching $115.

In response last year, Shell announced that it would sell $30bn worth of assets and announced thousands of job cuts.

Image copyright Reuters

North Sea options

On Friday, Mr van Beurden told the BBC that Shell would "have to take a good look at the more mature assets in the North Sea".

"Some of them are in decommissioning mode, like Brent. Some of them are very late in their life, maybe therefore better owned by companies that can run that kind of business better and more efficiently than we can.

"And in other cases, we'll probably have to reconsider reinvesting in it, or maybe giving them another lease of life."

In January, Royal Dutch Shell shareholders approved the company's $49bn takeover of BG Group.

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