In his remarks, Van Beurden said Shell has supported implementation of the Paris accord — Pruitt called it a "bad deal" on Thursday, even though Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has defended it. While some governments are moving faster than others, the Shell CEO believes governments should speed up regulation of carbon emissions and put a price on carbon.
Carbon was a regular topic of conversation among other oil companies attending the CERAWeek conference, but perhaps none were as vocal on the topic as Shell's CEO. Van Beurden said the commitment is important since he views public support as going away from the energy industry, and that will be a long-term problem.
"Trust has been eroded to the point where it is an issue for our long-term future," he said.
Van Beurden said an important part of the Shell bet on a future defined by a broader mix is liquefied natural gas, which he says was an important factor in reducing the carbon impact from U.S. power generation, as it replaced coal. He is optimistic about the market for LNG , which he says is the fastest-growing energy resource, growing four times faster than oil. Demand for it is expected to double in 15 years, he said.
Shell is also increasing spending in shale drilling, making it a bigger part of its spending plan. The company is able to break even at $40 per barrel crude in the Permian Basin, currently the hottest U.S. shale play.
Van Beurden said the company is not abandoning megaprojects but just "taking a breather." He said Shell has a big project in the Gulf of Mexico, and it has a new major petrochemical plant coming in Pennsylvania.
Shell is selling its oil sands interests to Canadian Natural Resources. Shell will continue to operate the Scotford upgrader, which converts heavy oil for transport, as well as the Quest carbon capture and storage project.