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Posts from ‘April, 2006’

The Observer: New oil shock ahead as $100 spike looms

New oil shock ahead as $100 spike looms

Oliver Morgan and Heather Stewart
Sunday April 30, 2006
The Observer

The growing international crisis over Iran's nuclear programme could trigger a catastrophic oil price spike, sending crude prices over $100 a barrel, senior Wall Street analysts are warning.

With prices already at around $72 a barrel, such an increase could mean drivers facing prices of 110p a litre on forecourts, according the the Petrol Retailers Association. Last week Lord Browne, chief executive of BP, warned that prices could rise to £1 as he unveiled bumper $5.27bn profits for the first quarter.

Shell is also expected to announce close to record numbers next week, with analysts expecting profits around $5.57bn, driven largely by the oil price. read more

THE NEW YORK TIMES: Experts: Natural Gas Economy Losing Steam

Experts: Natural Gas Economy Losing Steam


Published: April 30, 2006

Filed at 9:40 a.m. ET

BOSTON (AP) — On the brink of the 21st century, a group of energy experts peered into the future of natural gas, and what they saw was quite rosy — and quite wrong.

To satisfy growing demand, producers could crank out a third more natural gas over the next decade at ''competitive prices.'' It could ''power our economy'' for decades beyond. Or so said the National Petroleum Council in its 1999 report. read more

Petroleum News: Shell: Mars repairs ahead of schedule

Shell: Mars repairs ahead of schedule

The Gulf of Mexico’s largest producing oil platform knocked off-line by Hurricane Katrina could be running again in May, just before the start of this year’s hurricane season.

Shell Exploration & Production Co., a unit of Britain’s Royal Dutch Shell PLC, said April 20 repairs to its Mars platform will be finished in April, with partial production restored in late May. Hurricane season starts June 1.

The platform represents about 5 percent of the Gulf’s daily oil and gas production, which before the hurricane stood at 140,000 barrels of oil and 150 million cubic feet of gas a day. read more

Petroleum News: Agrium to decide on coal project in July

Agrium to decide on coal project in July

Company is close to finishing first phase of feasibility study that’s likely to decide the fate of huge Nikiski fertilizer plant

Allen Baker

For Petroleum News

This coming summer will provide a crucial “litmus test” on whether Agrium Inc. and other potential investors pony up well north of a billion dollars to convert coal into feedstock for the Canadian company’s giant Alaska fertilizer plant.

That’s what Bill Boycott, general manager of Agrium Kenai nitrogen operations, told Alaska legislators April 19. read more

Petroleum News: BP sells Gulf of Mexico shelf properties

BP sells Gulf of Mexico shelf properties

Apache buys BP’s last producing GOM continental shelf properties; $1.3B purchase second it has made from British giant

Ray Tyson

For Petroleum News

BP says it decided to sell the last of its producing properties on the Gulf of Mexico’s continental shelf because they no longer muster up to BP’s investment standards, not because of an increasing threat of hurricanes, which is said to be causing some producers to rethink their future on the shelf following last year’s devastating storms. read more

Petroleum News: Alberta aboriginals and Shell team up

Alberta aboriginals and Shell team up

Gary Park

For Petroleum News

From a whirlwind of events in the Alberta oil sands there was a ground-breaking deal between Shell Canada and a northern Alberta aboriginal community to jointly develop leases.

The pact significantly advances plans by the Fort McKay First Nation to enter the commercial oil sands world in a way that could spell untold riches for its 500 residents.

A complex exchange of options and a possible land swap culminates a decade of talks involving 8,200 acres and a possible 500 million barrels of recoverable bitumen worth US$35 billion at today’s prices. read more

Petroleum News: All for one, one for all

All for one, one for all

Mackenzie explorers want gathering and main pipelines under one regulator

Gary Park

For Petroleum News

The pace of future natural gas development in the Mackenzie Delta-Beaufort Sea region may hang on whether Canada’s National Energy Board agrees in June to assume jurisdiction of both the gathering system and main line, submissions to the board have warned.

Having already missed a deadline to contract for firm capacity on the two systems, six members of the Mackenzie Explorer Group have told the federal regulator there is an “urgent need” to resolve an impasse in negotiations with Imperial Oil, the lead partner in the Mackenzie Gas Project. read more

Petroleum News: Setting the stage for Arctic offshore oil, gas exploration

Setting the stage for Arctic offshore oil, gas exploration

Alan Bailey

Petroleum News

With oil prices at record levels and companies champing at the bit to find more oil reserves, plans to shoot seismic offshore Alaska’s Arctic are picking up speed. Shell, ConocoPhillips and Houston-based GX Technology Corp. all plan to shoot seismic this summer in the Chukchi Sea, ahead of a Chukchi lease sale planned for 2007 by the U.S. Minerals Management Service. And Shell also plans to shoot seismic on leases it purchased in MMS’ 2005 Beaufort Sea lease sale. read more

The Sunday Telegraph:'Nonsense, nonsense, nonsense: the myths about high oil prices

Nonsense, nonsense, nonsense: the myths about high oil prices
By Niall Ferguson
(Filed: 30/04/2006)

The British call it petrol, Americans prefer gasoline. But whatever you call it, prices at the pump are soaring. Last week gas hit $3 a gallon in some parts of the United States. To which British motorists can only reply: Diddums.

Driving down the M40 on Friday, I passed petrol stations selling regular unleaded at 97.9 pence per litre. That works out at $6.62 a gallon. If a British outlet offered petrol at American prices – 44 pence a litre – there would be a queue from Beaconsfield to Birmingham. read more

The Sunday Telegraph: 'We've got 2 trillion barrels of the stuff left'

'We've got 2 trillion barrels of the stuff left'(Filed: 30/04/2006)

Sylvia Pfeifer finds that the doomsayers who have been predicting that we'll soon be running out of oil are far too pessimistic

When Jeroen van der Veer, the chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, unveils a strategy update this Thursday, investors will want to know one thing: is Shell finding more oil?

With oil at $73 a barrel, nobody can pump the stuff fast enough. But in order to keep pumping it, oil companies also need to find new reserves. Unfortunately, most western oil majors aren't getting any better at finding oil, let alone at building their reserves. The last discovery of more than 5bn barrels was the Kashagan field in Kazakhstan in 2000. read more

The Sunday Times: Shell’s pipes ‘rusting away’

The Sunday Times April 30, 2006

Shell’s pipes ‘rusting away’

Aine Ryan

AS if Shell did not have enough problems already with the Corrib gas field, it has now emerged that the pipes it plans to use to pump gas ashore in north Mayo are rusting away in Killybegs.

Work on the €900m Corrib gas project is suspended, and while Shell waits for a breakthrough in the stand-off with locals, more than 7,000 pipes that it bought four years ago are being battered by the Atlantic elements in Donegal. The oil company has already spent about €3m having them cleaned and preserved.


Experts say that “shot-blasting” is the only way to ensure “the integrity and wall thickness of corroded pipes”, but it appears that Shell has not used this method so far.

Shell to Sea, a protest group campaigning for the gas to be refined offshore, claims a significant number of the pipes are now corroded by rust and are not protected by plastic caps.

The anti-Shell protesters were tipped off about the condition of the pipes recently in an anonymous letter from a Killybegs fisherman who says that he was employed to clean them last year. read more

The Independent: Shell gas field protesters threaten to turn Ireland into a new Nigeria

The Independent: Shell gas field protesters threaten to turn Ireland into a new Nigeria

'Rossport Five' warn that more local people are ready to go to jail over plans to pipe raw gas across their land


By Tim Webb

Published: 30 April 2006


The Rossport Five, who went to jail last year for their protests against a planned Shell gas pipeline in Ireland, have warned that the company will need army protection if it does not change its plans.


Vincent McGrath spent 94 days in jail with four other County Mayo landowners over their campaign against the Corrib gas project. He told The Independent on Sunday that more protesters, including women and children, would be prepared to go to jail to try to stop the pipeline going ahead. read more

Houston Chronicle: Ethanol switch cited for outages at some Houston-area gas stations

Ethanol switch cited for outages at some Houston-area gas stations

By PURVA PATELCopyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

Scores of gas stations in Houston were out of at least one grade of gasoline today as the conversion to ethanol-blended gasoline presented logistical problems, fuel suppliers and station owners said.

Experts say the problem is not a general lack of supply, but bottlenecks in delivery as companies convert to a new gasoline formula. This could mean scattered outages through the weekend.

“It’s been a total nightmare,” said Mohammed Ali Dhanani, who distributes gasoline to retailers and owns dozens of gas stations in the Houston area. He noted that 60 percent of his locations were out of gasoline by late today. “Many terminals where we get our gas have been down because of the ethanol transition.” Valero reported problems at 80 Houston-area stations today, while Shell had about nine stations with outages. read more

IrelandOn-Line: Shell refinery blamed for 'aluminium water pollution'

Shell refinery blamed for 'aluminium water pollution'28/04/2006 – 15:58:31

The local water supply in North Mayo is being polluted by aluminium run-offs from a Shell gas refinery, it was claimed today.

Around 100,000 tonnes of peat had been removed to create a site for the Corrib gas field in Bellanaboy and activists claimed it has led to the exposure of aluminium deposits.

'Shell to Sea' spokesman John Monaghan said the aluminium was running into the local river and on to Carrowmore Lake, which is the main source of water for the Erris region. read more

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: 'Wake-Up Call': Gas-Price Uproar Is Likely To Shift U.S. Energy Policy

'Wake-Up Call'
Gas-Price Uproar Is Likely
To Shift U.S. Energy Policy

Anxious Congress WeighsTougher Fuel Standards,Ethanol and Hybrid Cars Little Short-Term Impact Seen By JOHN J. FIALKA and LAURA MECKLER in Washington, and STEVE LEVINE in Dallas Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNALApril 29, 2006; Page A1

The surging price of oil and gasoline has sparked a wave of jockeying in Washington that could presage the biggest change in federal energy policy since the 1970s.

Suddenly, ideas that have languished on various wish lists for years have a realistic chance of becoming policy, as motorists in many parts of the country face $3-a-gallon gasoline even before the summer driving season starts. Among those getting serious consideration for cutting gasoline costs and reducing foreign-oil dependence: higher fuel-economy standards for cars, new incentives to shift cars away from gasoline, a crackdown on energy-price manipulation and inducements to encourage more refining. read more

The Guardian: From traders to tankers: who makes a mint out of $70-barrel oil

From traders to tankers: who makes a mint out of $70-barrel oil

This week petrol prices broke new records in Britain and the US, creating political fallout for President Bush and pushing UK fuel towards £1 a litre. But who is getting rich? We offer a dollar-by-dollar guide to a $2.4trillion global oil industry

Saturday April 29, 2006
The Guardian

Oil production Oil companies Companies such as make the bulk of their money from the “upstream” business: the exploration and production of oil. BP reported earlier this week that it had earned $6.8bn upstream out of a total profit of $8.5bn in the three months to March 31. Saudi Arabia is the biggest oil exporter in the world and rising oil prices have swollen government coffers. Exploiting oil is relatively cheap in Saudi – less than $3 for a $70 per barrel price, and it's all controlled by the state. Last year the country made $133.5bn out of oil and spent $74.8bn on things like education ($18.7bn) and health ($7.2bn), according to figures from the Centre for Global Energy Studies. It also spent on defence: $38.5bn, some of which goes to Britain to pay for BAE systems jets. Some of the $57.1bn surplus in 2005 went to pay off the enormous Gulf War One debt Saudi ran up. The rest? US Treasury bonds and other capital markets including shares of UK stock-listed companies. The princes take personal commissions on big trade deals and their money – estimated in total at $1trillion – is invested in all sorts of assets including London property. Dubai, like other members of the UAE, has put its money into becoming a centre of finance, trade and tourism. Dubai Ports World recently bought one of Britain's best-known companies, P&O. Nigeria has become the first African nation to pay off its outstanding debts using oil revenues: it paid $4.5bn to Paris Club creditors last week. In Nigeria, private oil companies such as Shell pay for the cost of finding oil and then pay a royalty tax to the government. Venezuela is using its newfound wealth in quite different ways. Hugo Chavez, the left-wing president of Venezuela, is promoting a massive new social reform programme. He is also selling oil at knock-down rates to Latin American neighbours in a bid to separate them from Washington's political orbit.$5.9 billion, Value of oil produced globally in a day

Massive demand for oil around the world has helped fuel the biggest shipping boom in history. Noone has yet secured the recognition of the former maritime magnates such as Onassis and Niarchos but Greeks – and Norwegians – still control the bulk of the world's tankers. The new figures of Greek shipping are men such as Loucas Haji-Iaonnou (father of easyJet founder Stelios), plus the Angelicoussis and Livanos families. Norwegian shipowner John Fredriksen is probably the nearest thing nowadays to Aristotle Onassis but he favours a low profile and is not someone who likes to be seen at society gatherings. Fredriksen has been spending some of his millions in Britain – he did once own London's most expensive property in Chelsea. Shipowners like the usual millionaire baubles such as fast cars, yachts and Impressionist paintings.But many love shipping and historically pile much of their money into even more vessels, fuelling over-capacity and bringing boom cycles to the inevitable bust. Overordering is happening right now. Owners – including and the other oil companies – can make $6m on one cargo carried on a typical longhaul journey from Saudi Arabia to the US east coast. The price of vessels has shot up due to heavy demand and it can cost up to $140m now to build a new one. A typical supertanker can carry 2m barrels of oil and at $70 per barrel this means a ship is moving a cargo worth $140m. Big insurance premiums have to be paid to cover the ships and cargos meaning large revenues for Lloyd's of London.
$84 million, Daily cost of oil transportation read more