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Shell boss says swoop for BG not just about collapse in the oil price – but admitted cheaper crude played a part

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Shell boss Ben van Beurden

Shell boss Ben van Beurden

The boss of Royal Dutch Shell said his £47bn swoop for BG Group was not just about the collapse in the oil price – but admitted cheaper crude did play a part.

Ben van Beurden insisted the deal was an opportunity for Shell to beef up its operations – particularly through greater exposure to liquefied natural gas (LNG) where BG is a major player.

But he added that the fall in the oil price – from around $115 a barrel last summer to less than $60 last night – and the subsequent fall in the BG share price was a factor.

‘It’s fair to say the changing macro environment has made the deal – apart from being a very good fit and a logical deal – of course a very compelling one from a financial perspective,’ said van Beurden.

Analysts said the fall in the oil price could trigger a wave of consolidation in the sector.

Marc Kimsey, senior trader at Accendo Markets, said: ‘The decline in the oil price over the past year has battered some stocks which are now looking attractive.’

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