Shell is looking toward the BG Group merger for future progress while cutting spending in the near term in response to oil price declines.

Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said “... we are making good progress with the recommended combination with BG, which should enhance our free cash flow, create an IOC leader in LNG and deepwater innovation, and be a springboard to change Shell into a simpler and more profitable company.

“We will re-shape the company once this transaction is complete. This will include reduced exploration spend, a fresh look at capital allocation in longer-term plays, and asset sales spanning upstream and downstream.”

For 2015, van Beurden said Shell’s opex would decline more than $4 billion, and further cost reductions are anticipated in 2016.

In one move for 2015, Shell plans 6,500 staff and direct contractor reductions. Capex is expected to be around $30 billion, a cut of $7 billion from 2014. Asset sales in the 2014-2015 period are expected to total $20 billion.

In the 2016-2018 span, presuming the BG combination takes place, Shell expects to sell $30 billion in assets as the combined portfolios are restructured.

Further, a share buy-back of at least $25 billion is expected during 2017 to 2020, again providing the BG combination succeeds.