Harsh climate: why Shell is divorcing the Netherlands after 114 ...

World

Harsh climate: why Shell is divorcing the Netherlands after 114 years

The relationship between the oil firm and its home country had been under strain for some time

Laura Hurst, Diederik Baazil and Fred Pals

A 20-minute stroll through The Hague — the pretty but low-key city that houses the Netherlands’ government — takes you from the prime minister’s office to the workplace of someone who’s arguably even more powerful: the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell.

But when Ben van Beurden, who’s worked at Shell since he graduated from nearby Delft University in 1983, called Mark Rutte on Sunday afternoon, the conversation was anything but close. He rang to tell the prime minister that Europe’s biggest oil company was moving its headquarters to London, a step that would simplify its corporate structure and cut taxes for investors. 

What’s more, the company would drop Royal Dutch from its name, discarding a link to the ruling House of Orange that goes back to its founding in the 19th century...

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