Shell-BG sweat as LNG sales plummet

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Shell gas station

Credit: Coolcaesar / CC BY 3.0 SG

In April of 2015, Royal Dutch Shell, more commonly referred to as Shell, began its acquisition of the United Kingdom-based natural gas company BG Group. Investors were a bit anxious when the gas and oil company announced its $70 billion deal to take over the BG Group. With the merger of BG and Shell, the company aimed to hold a majority of the global market for liquefied natural gas at around 14%. In fact, when Shell pitched the acquisition to their investors, this was the main selling point. However, with LNG sales on a steep decline, the merger is looking like a bad decision.

BG released its third-quarter results on October 30 only to show a major decline in LNG’s marketing and shipment. This was a huge scare to Shell as LNG was a large reason they bought the Netherlands based company. In numbers, revenue fell year on year at around 65 %. BG had even raised its earnings expectations for that time period of 2015. Despite the uneasy circumstances, BG is still sure that LNG will earn them around $1.4 billion for the year.

An over-supply of gas reserves and a decrease in gas consumption, especially in Asia, are to blame for the large sales downturn in the LNG market. As if things couldn’t be any worse, BG and Shell also have to deal with weak crude oil prices. With Shell struggling already, this recent merger with BG seems to have only given them more problems to deal with. However, despite their position, Shell and BG remain confident that the LNG market will turn around in their favour. The BG group estimates that LNG’s total global supply will grow by 50% by the year 2020. For now, the combination of Shell and BG seem only to be bringing more problems.

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