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Shell Unveils $45 Billion Plan

AMSTERDAM -- Anglo-Dutch energy giant Shell announced plans on Wednesday to invest $45 billion (EUR 37 billion) in oil and gas exploration in a bid to increase its reserves and restore investor confidence, reported

Shell chairman Jeroen van der Veer said the firm will invest $15 billion over each of the next three years, mainly on gas and oil projects. He also promised to sell non-strategic assets valued at EUR 8 billion in the same period.

The move comes after Shell shocked investors by cutting reserves by 20 percent in January. Additional cuts followed and, under investigation by regulators, Shell agreed to pay penalties amounting to $150 million (EUR 117 million).

The scandal cost the jobs in March of CEO Sir Philip Watts and the exploration and production division chief, Dutchman Walter van de Vijver. A third executive, CFO Judy Boynton, quit in April.

Under the new leadership of Van der Veer, Shell has been trying to restore investor confidence, Dutch daily newspaper NRC reported.

Van der Veer told BBC on Wednesday that the company was focused on improving its competitive position, cash generation and shareholder return. Replacing reserves was "a priority to support future growth."

Shell will concentrate on wells where it hopes to pump out more than 100 million barrels of oil. New investment will target areas with potential for growth and rising prices.
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