Trade name of the Anglo-Dutch oil and gas concern Royal Dutch/Shell Group, one of the largest private sector energy corporations in the world, formed in 1907. The company's corporate headquarters are in the Hague, Netherlands, and its registered office is in London, England. Operating in over 140 countries, Shell's core business is the exploration for, and the production, processing, transportation, and marketing of, oil and gas. It also has a significant petrochemicals business and a renewable energy development programme. In 2006 Shell made gross profits of $26 billion making it the second most profitable company (after ExxonMobil) in the world. In 2005 a major corporate structural reorganization saw the ending of a century of dual ownership and the unification of the British and Dutch arms of the group into a single company.
During the mid 1990s, the company drew widespread protests from environmentalists over its plans, ultimately abandoned, to dump a disused oil-storage platform in the north Atlantic Ocean. It was also accused of environmental despoliation in the Nigerian region of Ogoniland and of acquiescing in government repression of the Ogoni tribal minority demanding a fair share of federal revenues from oil.
The business originated in the early 19th century with a curio shop in East London that sold shell ornaments; by 1830 the dealer, Marcus Samuel, had built up an international trade in copra and oriental artefacts. From 1897 the company dealt in oil and kerosene (paraffin oil) and was consolidated as the Shell Transport and Trading Company, amalgamating with the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company in 1907.
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