Shell's Global Climate Strategy Starts on U.S. Soil

Last Updated Jun 2, 2009 12:19 PM EDT

Amidst all of the hullabaloo surrounding Royal Dutch Shell's corporate restructuring and senior management job cuts, the Hague-based oil and gas company has announced a newly created position right here in the good ol' U.S. of A.

Shell has created a new position-- executive vice president of global government relations -- that will be based in Washington D.C. Roxanne Decyk, formerly head of corporate affairs, was appointed to the post and will serve as the company's chief diplomat aka pseudo-lobbying job.

I thought this part of the press release was interesting:

"The position is based in D.C. because Shell believes that the United States will have a major role in addressing global energy and climate change policies." Granted this is not a "stop-the-presses" story. But it's indicative of how much importance big business is placing on the federal government's energy policy as well as the Waxman-Markey climate bill.

Cap-and-trade legislation contained within the Waxman-Markey bill will have a substantial impact on a number of Shell's operations, including its investment in the Canadian oil sands, an area that many worry will be thrown off course under stricter energy policies.

The Waxman-Markey bill is moving through as many as 11 House committees and other federal government agencies are reviewing a number of environmental and energy policies. Some decisions such as new federal fuel economy standards, have already been made.

There are already Shell government relations (lobbying) folks working inside the beltway. For example, in a report filed in April 2009, Shell's government relations people spent $800,000 lobbying on a number of energy and agriculture issuesincluding the earliest draft stages of the Waxman-Markey bill. That filing represents a small amount of Shell's overall lobbying expense. And Shell's not alone. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, climate change lobby expenses were above $90 million.

Decyk's move simply brings more fire power to Washington.

In other recent Shell news:

  • An Amsterdam court of appeal ruling has cleared the way for $352.6 million in compensation to be paid to non-U.S. shareholders after Shell overstated its oil reserves back in 2004.
  • Shell plans to cut 350 to 450 senior management jobs as part of CEO Peter Voser's restructuring plan. The cuts account for 30 percent of Shell's senior executive group.