(MT Newswires) - Shell CEO Wael Sawan reveals that the company has redistributed 42% of its operating cash flow to shareholders. For 2024, the company plans to continue this strategy, while generating more free cash flow per share.

On M&A, Sawan says the company is focused on executing its current strategy rather than making major acquisitions. Shell plans to maintain its capital expenditure at between $22 and $25 billion and intends to focus on share buybacks as the most sensible investment in the industry today.

Sawan also notes that the oil market is well supplied and that demand has been resilient in 2023 despite various challenges (tensions in the Middle East). He points out that factors likely to affect the market include the impact of international sanctions on oil-producing countries such as Venezuela, Iran and Russia, and the slowdown in growth in the shale industry.

In gas trading, Shell had an excellent quarter thanks to opportunities created by price differentials between East and West and seasonal demand. However, at the start of the year, market spreads have narrowed and prices have fallen, partly due to a rebalancing of storage levels and a milder winter.

Sawan adds that future demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) will be strongly influenced by China, which although it has not yet achieved the growth rates expected after the COVID-19 pandemic, continues to grow, driven by currently lower LNG prices. He also points out that demand is likely to remain strong, not least because of the lack of new sources of supply.

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