Shell is enjoying excessive free cash flows, which are approximately double the amount of annual dividends. As a result, the oil giant can resume growing its dividend. It has not raised its dividend so far because it is reducing its debt load at a fast pace. As the amount of debt has now decreased to an easily manageable level, the company can begin growing its dividend in the near future.
Nevertheless, as management still prefers to keep reducing the debt and implement appreciable share repurchases, Shell will probably maintain an essentially flat dividend for at least another 2-3 years. On the other hand, thanks to its exceptional 6.1% yield and its strong free cash flows, the stock remains one of the best choices for income-oriented investors who seek exposure to the energy sector.