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Posts on ‘September 16th, 2006’

Sunday Telegraph: Oil majors fear Russia wants deals rewritten

By Sylvia Pfeifer
(Filed: 17/09/2006)

Russia’s natural resources ministry has stepped up its pressure on foreign oil companies amid increasing signs of the state’s tightening grip on the country’s energy industry.

The ministry has written to Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil and France’s Total to demand the original texts of production-sharing agreements (PSAs) signed in the 1990s, as well as amendments and forecasts. The agreements, which include two huge projects on Sakhalin island in the far east of Russia, were signed at a time when oil prices were low and Russia was eager for foreign capital to invest in its energy reserves.

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UpstreamOnline: Senate for royalty relief cut

THE US Senate has voted to end deep-water royalty relief for oil and gas companies working in the Gulf of Mexico when commodities price hit certain high levels, writes Blake Wright.

The royalty language was added as part of the large $460 billion-plus defense spending bill, which passed on a 98-0 vote late last week.

Under the provision, the Interior Department would be required to put language in federal drilling leases that voids royalty relief in high energy price environments.

The move by the Senate was in response to leases from 1998 and 1999 that were mistakenly awarded without the oil and gas price thresholds that would have suspended royalty relief.

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UpstreamOnline: Heavy-oil upgrader in Alberta leak alert

SHELL’S heavy-oil upgrader in Scotford, Alberta, near the provincial capital of Edmonton, has leaked potentially deadly sour gas for the second time in less than a week, writes Dann Rogers.

Alberta’s Energy & Utilities Board said small quantities of hydrogen sulphide, also known as sour gas, and sulphur dioxide leaked from a hydrogen cracking unit at the plant.

The leaky unit had to be depressurised, and during that time Shell sprayed the unit with water to keep it cool and prevent the hydrogen sulphide, which is highly flammable, from catching fire.

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UpstreamOnline: Shell boost in oil sands

SHELL has added to its new acreage position in Canada’s oil sands with a C$101 million (US$92 million) acquisition of leases in Northern Alberta.

Shell unit SURE Northern Energy said it was the successful bidder for five parcels of land in the latest Alberta government sale. The acreage is adjacent to 10 parcels the com¬pany picked up in February for a record C$465 million.

It acquired another parcel in July for C$5.1 million through a land agent, the company said.

The Shell unit has already started drilling on its lands to gauge how an oil sands project may be structured, it said.

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UpstreamOnline: Shell creates new post to boost safety: Safety tsar: Kieron McFadyen

Kieron McFadyen appointed to improve company’s performance

SHELL has moved to improve the safety performance of its oil and gas operations with the appointment of Kieron McFadyen to the newly created post of global health and safety chief.

McFadyen is currently European technical director for Shell Exploration & Production, a post he has held since 2003. He joined Shell in 1985 as a trainee petroleum engineer and rose to a succession of senior roles, several overseas.

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AP Worldstream: Dutch windmill industry begins moving unsightly turbines offshore to quiet complaints

By: TOBY STERLING, AP Worldstream
Published: Sep 15, 2006

For centuries, Dutch windmills have pumped water out of the low-lying country, and old-fashioned wooden mills are as closely linked with the Netherlands’ international image as its dikes and bikes.

But in the face of a large and growing lobby against the windmill’s modern electricity-generating counterpart _ the wind turbine _ the country has started moving them offshore and out of sight.

The Egmond aan Zee wind farm, the first major offshore Dutch project, is nearing completion 8 miles (13 kilometers) from Haarlem and is scheduled to go on line this fall. It has 36 turbines, each with arms reaching higher than a football field, capable of producing a combined 108 megawatts an hour _ enough to power roughly 100,000 households.

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Petroleum News: BP audit: Corrosion job vacant for months

Need to develop succession in job group cited; size and qualification of pipeline-corrosion monitoring division also needs review

Brad Foss
Associated Press Business Writer

By the time a massive oil-pipeline spill was discovered in March on Alaska’s North Slope, the job of BP’s senior corrosion engineer had been left unfilled for more than a year, according to an internal company audit.

This vacancy, and others, hindered BP’s ability to maintain a “strategic view” of its corrosion prevention activities, the audit found. A BP spokesman said Sept. 8 that a replacement for the senior corrosion engineer has yet to be found.

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Madison County Record: Vapor defendants agree to settlement and to go after other polluters

Friday, September 15, 2006
By Steve Korris

Premcor Refining Group and Shell Oil affiliate Equilon Enterprises have agreed to pay $8 million to Hartford residents living above an underground petroleum lake that formed from the operation of the community’s big oil refinery.

In settling a proposed Madison County class action suit, Premcor and Equilon have also agreed to cooperate with local residents in suing other oil companies.

Hartford residents and property owners suffer on account of the lake because rainfall pushes vapors into homes and other buildings.

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Petroleum News: They may be sticky, but they move: Royal Dutch Shell in Canada

Burst of activity around Alberta oil sands as more players enlarge their portfolios, but Talisman prepares to exit the scene

Gary Park
For Petroleum News

Royal Dutch Shell is in (big time), Petro-Canada is also in (adding to its landholdings), Chevron Canada is almost in (as an operator), Talisman Energy is out (in all likelihood) and EnCana is neither in nor out (when it comes to upgrading).

And that’s just one week of activities in the Alberta oil sands.

To better explain:


Shell — The global giant, dealing through subsidiaries, is fast taking on the role of a mega-player in northern Alberta. From its 60 percent base as operator of the 155,000 barrel-per-day Athabasca project (which could grow to 500,000 bpd over the next decade), Shell is spreading across all phases of the oil sands regions, laying some heavy bets that its Canadian future rests largely in the sticky bitumen deposits.

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Sakhalin II: Who is going to screw who?


Royal Dutch Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer and President Vladimir Putin of Russia discuss terms on an informal basis…  


The Wall Street Journal: Oil News Roundup: September 15, 2006 4:33 p.m.

September 15, 2006 4:33 p.m.

Crude-oil futures rose for just the second time in the past 10 sessions on the New York Mercantile Exchange, settling at $63.33 a barrel after dropping as low as $62.05 in earlier trading. Here is Friday’s roundup of oil and energy news.

* * *
YEMEN FOILS ATTACKS: Suicide bombers tried to strike two oil facilities in Yemen with explosives-packed cars, but authorities foiled the attacks. Four bombers and a security guard were killed, the Interior Ministry said. The attempts came days before the country’s presidential elections, in which President Ali Abdullah Saleh faces a serious challenge for the first time since he became head of state in 1978. They also came days after al Qaeda’s No. 2 issued a videotaped threat of attacks on Persian Gulf oil facilities.

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The Times: Oil giants line up for exploration auction in India

The scamble for India's oil

September 16, 2006
By Carl Mortished and David Robertson
Natural resources
THE world’s largest oil multinationals, including BP, Shell and ExxonMobil, are among a throng of investors seeking rights to explore for oil and gas on India’s continental shelf.

Bids were submitted yesterday from more than 60 companies, including 34 foreign firms, for 55 exploration blocks covering a total area of 30,000 square kilometres, the largest auction of oil and gas acreage to be held in India. 
Interest in the licensing has been high after recent finds in the sub-continent, notably Cairn Energy’s billion-barrel Mangala discovery. Fifteen bids were submitted for one deep-water block in the Krishna Godavari basin off India’s east coast, Murli Deora, India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, said.

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Daily Telegraph: BP loses its place at the front of the queue

16 September 2006

As a measure of value, it is pretty clumsy. But it shows how far the stock of BP has fallen in the eyes of the City. Shell, which only two years ago was ravaged by its own reserves scandal, is now a bigger company than its arch rival.

Admittedly, there isn’t much in it (Shell’s £114bn against BP’s £113bn), but this measure matters to the inhabitants at BP’s plush St James’ Square offices as much as it matters to the fund managers who met at the Association of British Insurers on Monday.

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Daily Telegraph: Investors seek clarity on BP’s US troubles

Lord Brwone of BP

(BP CEO Lord Browne)

By Christopher Hope, Industry Editor
(Filed: 16/09/2006)

Major investors in BP want to meet the oil and gas giant’s chairman Peter Sutherland in the next few weeks to discuss its difficulties in America. The Daily Telegraph has learned that the concerns about BP were raised at a meeting of the investors’ committee of the Association of British Insurers on Monday.

It is understood that investors including Royal London and Insight Investment Management supported a move for the ABI to meet the BP chairman in the next few weeks. Two other shareholders – Morley Fund Management and Foreign & Colonial Asset Management – are understood to be seeking individual meetings with BP.

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The Dallas Morning News: Big Oil countries hold upper hand

11:24 AM EDT on Friday, September 15, 2006
By Jim Landers 

The oil kings gathered Wednesday in the Hofburg Palace of Vienna. It was a clear, sunny day in the Austrian capital, but a storm darkened the palace chambers.

Exxon Mobil Corp. chairman Rex Tillerson warned his audience of OPEC ministers and guests that high passions of nationalism could leave the world short of the energy it needs for economic growth.

“It is precisely at times such as these that we must strive to strengthen our energy interdependence by fortifying our partnerships, freeing market forces, expanding access, and sustaining investment,” he said.

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AFX News Limited: Russia requests production sharing project data from Total, Exxon, Shell

09.15.2006, 10:28 AM

MOSCOW (AFX) – Russian authorities have requested that foreign energy majors in production sharing agreements with the Russian government turn over their technical and financial data.

The request from the Russian natural resources ministry was addressed to the Russian offices of Total, Exxon and Royal Dutch Shell, which are all working on major energy projects in Siberia.

The requested data should include ‘the text of the production sharing agreement with all changes and additions, forecasts of main technical and economic data, and the history of the figures from the start of the project,’ the ministry said in a statement.

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Financial Times: Woodside says will not raise bid for EPL

By Raphael Minder in Sydney
Published: September 15 2006 09:40 | Last updated: September 15 2006 09:40

Woodside, Australia‘s leading oil and gas group, said Friday it did not plan to raise its takeover offer for Energy Partners after the US oil producer rejected the bid and said it was likely to proceed with its planned $1.4bn merger with Stone Energy.

EPL rejected Woodside’s $883m takeover offer on Thursday night as too low and ”opportunistic”, saying that it would instead combine with Stone Energy or continue as a stand-alone company, as both options offered greater value to investors.

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Financial Times: Security costs threaten oil contractors in Nigeria

By Dino Mahtani in Lagos
Published: September 16 2006 03:00 | Last updated: September 16 2006 03:00

Oil servicing companies in Nigeria’s violent delta region are having to shoulder rising security costs or consider walking away from essential engineering and drilling work with oil and gas multinationals.

Executives say the extra costs for companies that undertake exploration, drilling and engineering operations in the oil and gas industry could slow the completion of projects and affect oil and gas production targets.

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Financial Times: Shell on the hunt for big ideas

By Gordon Smith

Published: September 16 2006 03:00 | Last updated: September 16 2006 03:00

Shell is on the hunt for small businesses with big ideas on the environment.

The oil group this week launched its annual search for innovative product ideas that lead to a reduction in greenhouse gasses. The winner of last year’s inaugural £40,000 award was Scotrenewables, an Orkney-based tidal power company that developed a free floating, rotar-based tidal current energy converter.

Runner-up Mantle Panel, created a new material for the building trade with high insulation and load-bearing properties.

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Financial Times: BP safety under fresh US attack

By Sheila McNulty in Houston
Published: September 16 2006 00:01 | Last updated: September 16 2006 00:01

BP mistakenly told state regulators in a 2003 application for an emissions permit that it had installed the updated equipment which investigators said would have prevented last year’s fatal explosion at its Texas City refinery, the Financial Times has learned.

In the application, a copy of which has been seen by the FT, BP said: “Relief valves are routed to a flare; therefore, 100 per cent control credit is applied.” A flare is a closed tank in which liquid emissions are received and the vapour burned off. But BP only applied to replace the outdated blowdown stack on the refinery’s ISOM unit with a flare after the refinery exploded, killing 15 and injuring an estimated 500.

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AFP: Russia pushes foreign energy firms to hand over data

Web posted at: 9/16/2006 3:52:8
Source :AFP

MOSCOW • Russian authorities requested yesterday that foreign energy majors in production sharing agreements with the Russian government turn over their technical and financial data.

The request from the Russian natural resources ministry was addressed to the Russian offices of Total, Exxon and Royal Dutch Shell, which are all working on major energy projects in Siberia.

The requested data should include “the text of the production sharing agreement with all changes and additions, forecasts of main technical and economic data, and the history of the figures from the start of the project,” the ministry said in a statement.

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Financial Tmes: BP investors push for spending rise on safety

16 September 2006

EXTRACTS: In fact it has been Royal Dutch Shell, BP’s closest European competitor, which has had to increase its capital expenditure the most of its peers in the past five years as its production and reserves profiles have faltered. Shell spent much less than its peers in the late 1990s because Mark Moody-Stuart, the company’s chairman at the time, believed oil prices would remain low.

Jeroen van der Veer, Shell’s chief executive, said in a recent interview: “The public is very concerned every time something happens in our industry. The bar of having to have your operations very reliable is always going up. Shell puts a lot of emphasis on maintenance management.”

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