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Posts on ‘September 23rd, 2006’

Sunday Telegraph: BP and Shell need help

Business comment
By Dan Roberts, Business Editor

(Filed: 24/09/2006)

My colleague Robert Watts shows how the DTI could be dismantled relatively painlessly elsewhere, but one function that urgently needs to be reinvented is a Department for Energy.

Proper government support for business should be about creating an internationally competitive environment, and there is no more competitive international challenge or environmentally sensitive issue than energy security.

Passing energy to an enlarged environment department would inevitably mean getting this balance wrong on important issues such as nuclear generation and gas supply.

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The Business Online: Royal Dutch Shell hit as Kremlin cans agreement

By Leia Parker Dow Jones Newswires
Sunday 24 September 2006
THE Kremlin and NGOs make strange bedfellows. But this new pairing suggests life is going to get tougher for Western oil companies in Russia as Gazprom’s grasp over the Russian energy sector tightens.

The Ministry of Natural Resources yanked a key environmental permit on Tuesday from the Royal Dutch Shell-led Sakhalin-2 project – effectively mothballing its huge second development phase to try to extract greater benefits from a production-sharing agreement with a Western company.

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UpstreamOnline: Changing rules on Sakhalin…

Is the Kremlin’s environmental blocking move a concealed attempt to shift the tax goalposts?

THE onslaught by Russia’s Natural Resources Ministry and technical compliance watchdog Ros-tekhnadzor that threatens to derail the second phase of the Shell-led Sakhalin 2 project may have an environmental guise — but all the signs are that it is really about hard cash and political control.

On Tuesday, the ministry cancelled its own order dated 15 July 2003 that approved the environmental endorsement of the Russian far east project’s Phase 2 expansion. The original endorsement was delivered by Russian scientists and scholars who studied construction blueprints, technical decisions and documentation prepared by the operating company, Sakhalin Energy.

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UpstreamOnline: Two-edge sword of resource nationalism

THERE is little doubt that “resource nationalism” as a state ideology is on a roll, whether in Bolivia, Chad or Russia.

It offers local politicians a high-profile way of courting popularity and in theory offers a burst of wealth and economic independence. What could be a more welcoming sight to impoverished Latin American peasants than seeing on television their national army seizing control of the country’s oilfields from supposedly money-grabbing foreign-owned multinationals? What a sense of empowerment for a nation dependent on one commodity for the bulk of its income.

read more Shell’s Threat to Re-start Work in Mayo

Saturday September 23, 2006
By Terry – [email protected]

Latest news from Erris: New police presence, Shell misinformation on technical difficulties of refining Corrib gas at sea, new Shell boss announces attempt to resume work next week.

A number of grilled paddy wagons were seen patrolling the highways and by-ways of northwest Mayo between Crossmolina and Belmullet Friday evening. This can be interpreted as a feeble attempt at intimidation or as reinforcements being drawn in for Shell’s apparent resumption of work at the refinery next week.

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UpstreamOnline: Shell-led Sakhalin II: Pipeline work ‘wreaked environmental damage’

RUSSIAN pipeline contractor Starstroi, a joint venture between the country’s Lukoil-
Neftegazstroi and Italy’s Saipem, has denied that it inflicted irreparable damage to the environment of Sakhalin Island during building of onshore oil and gas pipelines for the Shell-led Sakhalin 2 development, writes Vladimir Afanasiev.

According to a September report from Russia’s technical compliance watchdog
Rostekhnadzor, a copy of which was obtained by Upstream, Starstroi committed various environmental violations during the construction work.

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Petroleum News: Exxon raises stakes in Russia standoff

Several projects impacted in battle between Western majors, Russian government, including Sakhalin 1 and 2, Kharyaga and Kovykta

The Associated Press

Exxon Mobil Corp. said Sept. 21 that the cost of Sakhalin-1 oil project it is leading has increased by 30 percent, an announcement that could raise the stakes in a growing industry standoff with the Russian government.

An Exxon spokesman told Dow Jones Newswires that the increase at the Sakhalin-1 project on the Pacific island of Sakhalin was due to inflation and currency, and added that the company had not yet submitted the change to the government for approval.

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Petroleum News: Shell stopped Chukchi operations Sept. 19

Shell has said that it has no interest in the lawsuit filed by ConocoPhillips over the 120-decibel monitoring zone for bowhead whale cow/calf pairs.

“We do not think it’s in Shell’s interests to pursue litigation,” Rick Fox, Shell’s asset manager for Alaska, told Petroleum News on Sept. 20.

Fox said that the company instead ended its Chukchi seismic program on Sept. 19, to avoid infringing the IHA stipulations.

He said that the operation of the required aerial surveys for the 120-decibel monitoring zone in a huge region without any support infrastructure would entail an unacceptably high safety risk for people. Shell has also not yet determined that passive acoustic monitoring would be practical in the Alaska seas.

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Petroleum News: Chukchi Sea seismic a go: Temporary injunction granted on Conoco lawsuit

Temporary injunction granted on need for 120-dB monitoring zone in Conoco lawsuit

Alan Bailey

When ConocoPhillips, Shell and GX Technologies embarked on their summer 2006 seismic programs in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas it seemed that the various stakeholders in the Arctic offshore environment had reached acceptable agreements on the issues relating to the potential impact of seismic on marine wildlife. The companies had signed a conflict avoidance agreement with the Eskimo Whaling Commission, the Minerals Management Service had issued geophysical permits and the National Marine Fisheries Service had issued incidental harassment authorizations (referred to as IHAs) for the seismic work.

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UpstreamOnline: Shell and BP build for future

TWO oil and gas supermajors have cut the ribbon on ambitious campus expansions in Houston to house their growing exploration & production businesses, writes Blake Wright.

BP has launched a major three-phase growth at its Westlake complex in west Houston designed to accommodate an employee and contractor population that could grow by 2000 to about 8000 by 2010.

A seven-storey building and a new parking garage are part of phase one of the expansion work to be carried out by BP.

A ground breaking for the initial phase is slated for early 2007 with targeted completion in the fourth quarter of 2008.

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UpstreamOnline: France monitoring Total in Russia

President Chirac

By Upstream staff

France is following closely the status of French oil company Total in Russia, a spokesman for French President Jacques Chirac said.

“The situation with Total is that we are looking at things with vigilance with the concern that French investments should enjoy all necessary legal security,” Chirac’s spokesman told reporters at a briefing.

He was speaking ahead of a meeting between Chirac and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Paris.

The meetings come as Moscow has sparked concern by flexing its economic muscles with firms like Royal Dutch Shell over huge oil and gas projects in the remote Sakhalin region.

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UpstreamOnline: Sakhalin 2 hit by broadside

(with corrected headline)

Building work is carrying on for Phase 2 despite ministry ruling

SHELL-led Sakhalin Energy is refusing to halt construction work on Phase 2 of its operated Sakhalin 2 oil and gas development project off Sakhalin Island in Russia’s far east until it receives a legally binding copy of the Natural Resources Ministry’s order that it does so, according to a Sakhalin Energy spokesman in Moscow.

The ministry released a statement this week saying that Russia’s Natural Resources Minister Yuri Trutnev had cancelled an earlier ruling by the ministry dated 15 July 2003 that backed an environmental endorsement of Phase 2 of Sakhalin 2.

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