Shell assets may take up to $22B hit due to coronavirus

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Royal Dutch Shell expects to slash the value of its assets by as much as $22 billion as the coronavirus crisis roils energy markets.

The oil and gas giant announced the massive write-down Tuesday as it cut its energy price forecasts to account for the pandemic, which has led to worldwide lockdowns that have restricted travel and depressed demand for fuel.

Shell plans to lop up to $9 billion off the value of its integrated gas operations, which include the world’s largest floating liquefied natural gas facility in Australia. The Netherlands-based company will also write down its oil refining portfolio by as much as $7 billion while its oil and gas production assets will take a hit as large as $6 billion.

“Given the impact of COVID-19 and the ongoing challenging commodity price environment, Shell continues to adapt to ensure the business remains resilient,” Shell said in a news release.

The world’s biggest fuel retailer predicts that benchmark Brent crude oil will go for $35 a barrel on average this year, which will tick up to $40 next year and $50 in 2022. Those new projections mark a significant cut from Shell’s previous forecast of $60 a barrel for each of the three years.

Shell also expects its second-quarter sales volumes for oil products to drop to 3.5 to 4.5 million barrels per day from about 5.3 million in the first quarter, “driven by a significant drop in demand related to the impact of COVID-19.” That’s still better than its previous forecast of 3 to 4 million barrels a day.

Shell’s announcement came on the heels of rival BP’s move to slash the value of its assets by up to $17.5 billion after predicting the pandemic will depress energy prices for years to come. Both companies are also working to move away from fossil fuels and reduce their emissions to “net zero” by 2050.

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