Shell provides around 10% of the UK’s oil and gas
What we do
Shell has played a vital role in powering the UK’s industry, transport systems and homes since the founding of Shell Transport and Trading over 120 years ago.
We began as a small trading company in London, importing seashells to cater for the growing trend of using shells in interior design. Today, we are one of the world’s largest independent energy companies, operating in more than 70 countries. Central to our success for more than a century has been our ability to innovate and adapt to changing customer needs.
This same spirit of innovation will be just as important over the course of the coming decades, as the UK seeks to make the move towards a lower carbon energy system.
Our aim is to thrive through this energy transition by reshaping our company to provide the mix of lower carbon products that our customers will need in the future, while continuing to supply the oil and gas that society needs today and for years to come.
Oil and gas production
For more than 50 years, Shell has explored for and produced oil and gas in the North Sea. Today, we are one of the region’s biggest producers and supply around 10% of the UK’s total oil and gas needs. We have recently restructured our North Sea portfolio to give it profitable life for years to come. We now own, or part own, more than 50 North Sea fields and operate 30 oil and gas installations.
Importing oil and gas
Shell is not only a substantial energy producer in the UK. We also contribute to energy security by importing oil and gas. Our gas plants (at Bacton, Fife and St Fergus), pipeline systems and import terminals deliver more than 20% of the UK’s gas supply, including substantial volumes piped from Norway.
Shell is also a shareholder in the Dragon Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal in Wales which provides a critical link between the UK and overseas gas suppliers, bringing in LNG from 19 different countries.
Growing our power business
Electricity, including from renewable sources, will be a large part of Shell’s global future as the world moves towards lower carbon energy. This will include supplying electricity direct to the customer, buying and selling it, and producing the electricity.
In 2017 we acquired First Utility, one of the UK’s leading independent household energy providers. In 2019 we rebranded First Utility as Shell Energy, and are now supplying 100% renewable electricity, as standard, directly to British homes.
New transport fuels
Shell is investing in lower carbon fuels for transport, to sit alongside petrol and diesel. We are encouraging take-up of Electric Vehicles (EVs) by providing rapid charging points at some of our forecourts. And we acquired NewMotion which provides charging for EVs in homes and workplaces.
We see potential for hydrogen to be part of the transport fuel mix, so we are piloting hydrogen refuelling stations. And we have started to supply Gas-to-Liquids fuel for heavy-goods vehicles to help improve local air quality.
Fuels, lubricants and petrochemicals
Aside from producing and supplying oil and gas, we also supply, trade and market products made from oil and gas. These include fuels and lubricants for hundreds of commercial customers, including airlines.
At our Mossmorran petrochemicals joint venture facility in Scotland, we extract ethane from North Sea gas which is then processed into ethylene. This, in turn, is converted into the chemical building blocks needed to make everyday items such as phone cases, car parts and shampoo.
Service station network
Perhaps the most recognisable face of Shell is our network of over 1,000 service stations. Here, we welcome around five million customers every week. We are the number one provider of premium fuels in the UK by market share* and a leading convenience retailer through our forecourt shops. One-in-three transactions at our forecourts is for drinks, snacks or groceries and does not include fuel.
More in About us
Tackling climate change while meeting the world’s energy needs is one of the greatest challenges faced by society. Shell fully supports the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UK Government’s ambitious target of net zero emissions by 2050.
As the world changes and customer needs change, Shell is adapting too. We aim to make electricity a significant business for Shell, one that in the future could sit alongside oil, gas and chemicals.
Shell wants to be a leading player in the transport system of tomorrow. That is why we are taking action today, investing in a range of new transport fuels with low or no carbon emissions, and helping our customers to offset the transport emissions that are less easy to avoid.
We contribute to the communities where we operate in a number of ways. Learn more about Shell activities that support skills, community, and enterprise.
When oil and gas fields end production, their facilities need to be dismantled and disposed of - or "decommissioned". Learn about decommissioning at Shell.