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Speech by Simon P. Henry, Global Executive Director, Royal Dutch Shell, at the 9th IRMCL





Vice-Chairman Zheng Wantong, Chairman Li Yizhong, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,


Thank you. It’s truly an honor to be with you again and also a great honor to stand before you as Vice-President of the China International Council for the Promotion of Multinational Corporations. It feels right to be talking about the Belt and Road initiative at this 9th Roundtable meeting after all the Chinese association between the number nine and the concept of all things long lasting does feel especially significant today. I think of all the long lasting relationships, this gathering has encouraged the long lasting success that cooperation has enabled and particularly when we consider “One Belt One Road” and the importance of that long lasting vision.


To share China’s long term vision is the first of three things that multinationals can contribute to the Belt and Road initiative. Multinationals such as Shell can also offer the benefit of the international scope of operations and the third potential contributions comes hand in hand with having long term vision partnerships and collaborations. So please let me say a little about each of these three things starting with the long term vision that China knows of course all about the link between long term vision and collaboration. This has been very clear in the important thought and work China has done over the energy transition. It was obvious in the global leadership that President Xi gave at the Climate Change talks in Paris last year. COP 21 is continuing to give. Perhaps it’s China’s history of many thousands of years as old as the history of mankind itself that allows it to look so far into the future. Shell too also likes to look into the future. My company makes investments with maybe a forty-year lifespan. We seek to be present in and to benefit the communities for generations. We do scenario planning that looks forward to the end of the century. So perhaps our natural tendency to look towards that long term helps to explain the deep partnerships that we’ve been able to establish in China over many years.


If “One Belt One Road” is impressive in the length of its vision, it is just as impressive in the geographical breadth of its vision. Seventy countries and this is the second area where multinationals such as us can contribute. Shell for example also operates in just over seventy countries. Across Asia, the Middle East and into Europe, there are very few countries that Shell does not have a presence in. Those operations, those relationships in all those countries can help open doors. They can make connections and they can help projects to happen.


The third area I’d like to talk about is the spirit of collaboration and without that, I doubt any company could ever have become a multinational in the first place. Shell itself is the child of two parents that collaborated for ninety seven years. So we’re very used to collaborating across borders, across industries, and across cultures. And there’s no better example of our collaboration around the world than here in China and the relationships that we have with colleagues in CNPC and with CNOOC. They are equal parties and our old friends. So it’s significant that what has been a pretty tough year for oil and gas companies that we’ve only made two large new final investment decisions. And one of those was here in China and that was the decision to expand the CSPC petrochemical facility in Guangdong Province and that is a joint venture with CNOOC. We are also very proud of the work that we have been able to do, that we have been invited to do with the State Council of China’s Development Research Center. That work, that collaboration has now entered our third phase and it’s been a great privilege for Shell to have been invited to do that cooperation with the DRC. And we’ve been looking in depth of the Chinese energy landscape and we’ve been extremely impressed by the depth of thought and the vision that China has in terms of managing that energy transaction. Now we’re always finding new ways, fresh collaboration in China, new relationships with Chinese partners looking to invest overseas in particular.


Every time I visit this country, I come away with new ideas, new connections, and new friends. So there you have the three things, three things that Shell as a multinational can bring to the Belt and Road initiative to ensure its success. A long term vision established international business network and the spirit of collaboration and partnership. Together, we can achieve great things. May the work of this 9th Roundtable meeting be long lasting and to the benefits of all. Thank you very much.