Growing oil and gas production from shale fields will act as a “balance” for deepwater projects, the new head of Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s (NYSE: RDS.A) U.S. business said, as the energy major strives for flexibility in the transition to cleaner fuels.

Gretchen Watkins said drilling far beneath oceans in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and Nigeria secured revenues for the longer-term, but tapping shale reserves in the U.S., Canada and Argentina enabled nimble decision-making.

“The role that [the shale business] plays in Shell’s portfolio is one of being a good balance for deepwater,” Watkins said in her first interview since she joined the Anglo-Dutch major in May.

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