Shell could quadruple the scale of its hydrogen interests in the next few months, said CEO Ben van Beurden as he claimed the oil supermajor is “making most progress on the ground” of any player in the sector.

UK-based Shell is “very close to making a few major investment decisions on hydrogen in Northwest Europe”, Van Beurden said on Thursday as he was quizzed by financial analysts over its plans that span both blue H2 from abated fossil gas and the green variety powered by renewables.

The Shell chief said the company was making “very good progress” with Dutch authorities over plans for a 200MW green hydrogen electrolyser in Rotterdam, noting that the group had recently switched on a 20MW system in China to supply fuel cell vehicles at the Winter Olympics.

“We are probably the ones who are making most progress on the ground,” claimed Van Beurden.

“Our lead position we currently have may well triple or quadruple in the next few months or quarters to come.”

The supermajor – which booked a record $9.1bn first-quarter profit thanks to soaring fossil fuel prices – has made H2 a key plank of its plans to turn into an integrated energy group that includes power generation, storage and trading, as well as a major ongoing role for its gas business.

Last month it agreed to pay $1.5bn for renewables group Sprng Energy, which is already exploring opportunities for green hydrogen in India.

Van Beurden did not specify whether he was referring to green or blue hydrogen in terms of the company’s short-term growth prospects.

Van Beurden’s counterpart at TotalEnergies, CEO Patrick Pouyanné, last week said the French supermajor was set for a big move in green hydrogen, but made it clear that would be outside Europe and at large scale.