Shell Marks 40 Years of Scenario Planning

HOUSTON -- Shell Scenarios planners are marking a milestone this year, 40 years after work began on the first such document. The Scenarios planners have become the heart of Shell's business, developing senior leadership's understanding of critical factors in the business environment and possible directions which economic, geopolitical and social systems could decades down the road.

According to The Netherlands-based oil company, Shell Scenarios planners have highlighted key world trends and discontinuities, giving Shell an opportunity to plan for several eventualities and maintain business continuity through even the most turbulent times. For example, the original Scenarios helped Shell's leaders to prepare for the possibility of an oil price shock -- a prescient move given the Yom Kippur war, which broke out in October 1973, the company said.

"Ever since our Scenarios program began 40 years ago, we have been creating and applying many different scenarios to anticipate global and local economic, social and political changes and how they could affect our business," said Jeremy Bentham, Shell's vice president, global business environment. "Looking to the future, our Scenario planners are now developing a new angle to their work, which recognizes the even more complex nature of the modern world. It will provide clarity and insights by zooming in on specific details, then zooming out to give a broader perspective."

The next Shell Scenarios will be published in early 2013, and will focus on areas that are fundamental to the development of energy and environmental systems in the 21st century. These include the connection between energy, water and food systems and the impact of growing global urbanization, according to Shell.

To mark the milestone, Shell is publishing “40 Years of Shell Scenarios,” a look back of Scenarios work through the years with illustrations of how scenario planning has had a positive impact on the world in a variety of areas. The booklet is set to launch today, Nov, 19.

"Shell has a long and distinguished history of scenario planning, and the intelligence and innovation that our Scenarios teams have contributed over many decades has proved hugely beneficial to our business," said Simon Henry, Shell's CFO. "By providing unique insights and detailed analysis into the ever-changing global landscape, and projecting forward possible outcomes, the Scenarios team helps Shell's senior leadership make better informed decisions about our current and future operations."


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