SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Shell expects Asia to be a key growth region in the long term, accounting for a huge part of the company's oil and gas investments as it expands, CEO Peter Voser on Monday.
"Asia Pacific for us is the key growth region in the portfolio of Shell. We see a lot of growth and hopefully enough growth that it can actually drive the worldwide economy," Voser told reporters at the Singapore International Energy Week.
"That's where huge parts of our investments actually go."
Shell is looking at a variety of projects in Asia, ranging from a liquefied natural gas (LNG) venture in Indonesia to upgrading its refinery in the Philippines to selling LNG to Southeast Asian countries, Voser said.
The company is working on expanding gas output at the Malampaya field offshore Philippines and is looking at investing in its 110,000 barrels-per-day refinery at Tabangao, Batangas near Manila, to meet new fuel standards, he added.
"We just would like the government to give us time to make those investments," he said.
In July, the Philippine government said it would move forward with a $1.5 billion expansion of the Malampaya project with its partners Shell and Chevron.
Philippines Energy Undersecretary Jose Layug said it plans to begin importing LNG in the next four to five years and is in talks with U.S., Canadian and Australian suppliers.
In Indonesia, Shell is waiting for government approval to buy a 30 percent stake in the Masela gas block in the Timor Sea from Inpex Corp (1605.T), Voser said.
The company is also keen to work across the whole chain in Vietnam, from supplying LNG in the long term to entering the oil retail business, he said.
Outside Asia, the company aims to start exploration drilling in Alaska by the middle of next year, and is in discussions with the authorities to resume work on two exploration wells in Libya, he said.
Graphic on world oil demand r.reuters.com/pad79r
Graphic on Australia LNG link.reuters.com/nub33
Shell is also examining how it will tap the vast shale gas resources in North America and may apply the same technologies in China in the long run, Voser said.
Shale gas could be converted to chemicals or to transportation fuels for consumption by trucks in Canada or for exports, Voser said.
Shell could also export LNG from Canada to top Asian consumers such as Korea, Japan and China, he said.
"That's the way we look at optimising shale gas principally in North America and potentially long term in China," Voser said.
Voser told Reuters in March that Shell aims spend $1 billion a year over the next five years on shale gas in China if its explorations works under way prove a success.
The company is drilling 17 wells in China, including for tight gas and shale gas, in regions such as southwestern Sichuan, China's most prolific gas province.
Shell, Europe's largest oil company by market capitalisation, reported last week a big jump in third-quarter profit last week, driven mainly by higher oil and gas prices with help from increased production.
Reporting by Francis Kan and Florence Tan; Editing by Miral Fahmy