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Posts from ‘October, 2006’

Financial Times: Front Page: BP knew of safety problems, says report

By Sheila McNulty in Houston: Published: October 31 2006 02:00 | Last updated: October 31 2006 02:00

BP knew it had “significant safety problems” at its Texas City refinery and 34 other locations around the world well before last year’s deadly explosion at the Texas plant, US investigators said in a damning report yesterday.

The US Chemical Safety Board also said cost-cutting helped compromise safety at the Texas refinery, BP’s biggest, where a March 2005 blast killed 15 and injured 500 people in the worst US industrial accident in more than a decade. read more

New Zealand Herald: Oil: Price keeps on falling

8.40am Wednesday November 1, 2006
 
Oil fell below US$58 a barrel on Tuesday, deepening sharp losses from the previous session on easing tensions in Nigeria, ample US fuel stocks and lingering doubts over Opec output cuts.
 
US light crude fell 78 cents to US$57.58 a barrel by 1812 GMT, after trading down to US$57.05 earlier, the lowest level since Oct. 20. The drop followed losses of US$2.39, nearly 4 per cent, on Monday. Brent crude traded 83 cents lower to US$57.85.
 
Traders waited to see if Opec producers will adhere to an agreement to cut 1.2 million barrels per day from Wednesday.
 
“The dominant speculative sentiment remains overwhelmingly bearish,” Barclays Capital said. “Those on the short side who are expecting global economic weakness … and weak Opec cohesion are unlikely to change those core views in a hurry.”
 
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, and the United Arab Emirates have told customers of supply cuts, but other Opec members such as Kuwait and Libya have yet to do so.
 
But Nigeria, which was the first to instigate the voluntary cuts, was expected to raise oil exports in December. Easing tensions in the Opec nation also added to bearish sentiment.
 
Western oil companies in Nigeria were free to resume production of 62,000 bpd at four oil pumping stations after striking a deal with protesters late on Monday. Villagers invaded the stations last Wednesday demanding contracts from the operators, Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron .
 
But as one problem subsided, another dispute was brewing.
 
Nigerian unions threatened to shut all oil fields operated by Italian oil company Agip, which produces 200,000 bpd in the country, unless it paid staff a security bonus. Attacks have cut Nigerian output by 500,000 bpd since February.
 
Analysts also attributed oil’s decline to slowing US economic growth and swelling fuel stocks.
 
“The US macro picture is the big elephant in the room, and left to grow could single-handedly sink many of the commodity bull markets that are still in place,” Man Financial said.
 
Oil’s 26 per cent slide since mid-July’s peak of US$78.40 has prompted funds to shift their money into other commodities in search of better returns. Gold prices hit a seven-week high and zinc in London touched a record on Monday.
 
US crude supplies were expected to have risen 2.6 million barrels last week, analysts said in a preliminary Reuters poll ahead of Wednesday’s inventory data.
 
Domestic distillate stocks, which include heating oil, were seen falling 1.3 million barrels, while petrol fell 1 million barrels.
 
– REUTERS read more

allAfrica.com: Niger Delta Impacted by 1.5 Million Tons of Oil Spill, Among Five Most Polluted Spots on Earth

Vanguard (Lagos)
NEWS
October 31, 2006
Posted to the web October 31, 2006

By Hector Igbikiowubo With Agency Report

THE Niger Delta has been impacted by 1.5 million tons of crude oil spill over the last 50 years threatening rare species including primate fish, turtles, bird and damaging crops while destroying the livelihood of many of the 20 million people living there and fuelling the upsurge in violence.

Experts have also listed the Niger Delta among the five most polluted spots on the face of the earth with dire consequences for the health of inhabitants of the area. read more

RIA Novosti: Russian Audit Chamber, UK ambassador discuss Sakhalin II

20:14 | 31/ 10/ 2006 

MOSCOW, October 31 (RIA Novosti) – The head of Russia’s Audit Chamber and the British ambassador to Russia held talks Tuesday to discuss Sakhalin II, a huge oil and gas project in Russia’s Far East led by British-Dutch oil major Shell.

The multibillion-dollar Sakhalin II project has been accused of inflicting large-scale damage to the ecosystem on Sakhalin, including illegal deforestation, the dumping of toxic waste, and soil erosion.

The Audit Chamber’s press service said that Sergei Stepashin had informed Anthony Brenton about the chamber’s inspections of the project. read more

DemocratandChronicle.com: University of Rochester won’t invest in Sudan

EXTRACT: UR’s board of trustees investment committee agreed earlier this month “to prohibit direct investments in companies identified as supporting the Sudanese government’s activities in Darfur,” according to its new policy. The policy comes with a list of 28 firms, such as Siemens AG, Royal Dutch Shell and Sudan Telecom, that UR no longer will invest in as part of the policy.

THE ARTICLE

University, citing Darfur, to steer clear of firms working there

Matthew Daneman
Staff writer read more

HindustanTimes: Deora invites Russians for oil projects in India

EXTRACT: Another project, Sakhalin-2, which is headed by Royal Dutch Shell, has run into ecological controversies that caused the Russian Natural Resources Ministry to suspend its environmental operating license in September… Russian Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev said on Sunday that an environmental probe of the Sakhalin-1 project has been delayed, while the ministry deals with the allegations of massive ecological violations on Sakhalin-2.

THE ARTICLE

Fred Weir
Moscow, October 31, 2006
 
India will permit Russian companies take stakes in Indian refineries in exchange for greater opportunities to invest in Russia’s oil and gas sector, Indian Petroleum Minister Murli Deora told his counterpart in Moscow on October 30. read more

cnn.com: Protesting villagers leave Shell facilities in Nigeria

POSTED: 1417 GMT (2217 HKT), October 31, 2006

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria (AP) — Angry villagers who took over three Shell oil installations in Nigeria’s troubled southern delta region vacated the facilities Tuesday after a six-day occupation, a community spokesman said.

Elsewhere, however, a group of villagers who occupied a facility run by the Agip oil company on Saturday remained at the site for a third day.

Members of the Kula community living near Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s Ekulama 1, Ekulama 2 and Belema oil pumping stations took over the facilities October 25, accusing the oil giant of failing to meet the terms of an agreement to give them preferential contracts to provide boats and some supplies used at installations. read more

MarketWatch: Japan trading houses Mitsubishi, Mitsui benefit from commodities boom

Last Update: 5:34 AM ET Oct 31, 2006

(Updates with details of other trading companies’ earnings, possible problems for firms.)

TOKYO (MarketWatch) — Japanese trading companies Mitsubishi Corp. (8058.TO) and Mitsui & Co. (8031.TO) Tuesday posted sharp increases in fiscal first-half net profit and raised their outlooks amid booming commodities prices.

Mitsubishi Corp., Japan’s biggest trading company by revenue, posted group net profit of Y234.83 billion for the six months ended Sept. 30, up 37% from Y178.31 billion in the year-earlier period, on strong earnings from metals trading and its coal business in Australia. read more

MarketWatch: Over C$110 Billion of New Oil Sands Developments Have Been Proposed In Northern Alberta Canada

Last Update: 10:30 AM ET Oct 31, 2006

DUBLIN, Ireland, Oct 31, 2006 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Research and Markets ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c44285) has announced the addition of Alberta Oil Sands: Projects, Production and Cost to their offering.

In one (large) page, we summarize over 70 projects at various stages of development for Canadian oil sands operators. Project cost, Capital expenditure per flowing barrel, production (heavy and upgraded), and (proposed) operation dates are included. read more

ShellNews.net: Stephanie Boyd or Stephanie Boyde?

By John Donovan

On 23 October we published a leaked email from a senior Shell manager, Stephanie Boyde. It therefore took my eye when a Shell insider brought the following article to my attention. It just goes to show what a difference an “e” can make. This article may have relevance to postings made today on our Live Chat facility.

THE ARTICLE

New Internationalist magazine: Shell Game

by Stephanie Boyd
November 2000
 
Transnationals everywhere are attempting to recast themselves as eco-friendly. But, as Stephanie Boyd discovers, sometimes it’s not the way companies behave but the nature of the business itself which is at issue. read more

New York Times: U.S. Drops Bid Over Royalties From Chevron

By EDMUND L. ANDREWS
October 31, 2006

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 — The Interior Department has dropped claims that the Chevron Corporation systematically underpaid the government for natural gas produced in the Gulf of Mexico, a decision that could allow energy companies to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties.

The agency had ordered Chevron to pay $6 million in additional royalties but could have sought tens of millions more had it prevailed. The decision also sets a precedent that could make it easier for oil and gas companies to lower the value of what they pump each year from federal property and thus their payments to the government. read more

UpstreamOnline: Nigerian workers threaten to down tools

By Upstream staff

Nigerian unions today threatened to shut all oilfields operated by Italian oil company Agip unless it paid staff a security bonus reflecting the rising risks of working in the Niger Delta.

The strike threat came as protesters left two of the four oil pumping stations they were occupying in Rivers State, and news emerged of another oil facility invasion in neighbouring Bayelsa.

Unions threatened to close all 200,000 barrels per day of crude oil produced by Agip, a unit of Italy’s Eni, from tomorrow unless the company agreed to the extra pay. read more

The Moscow Times: EU Seeks Clarity on Energy Projects

Tuesday, October 31, 2006. Issue 3530. Page 1.
By Miriam Elder
Staff Writer  
 
EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs urged Russia on Monday to improve its investment climate and cautioned that the country needed a lot of cash quickly if it hoped to meet the growing European demand for natural gas.

A senior U.S. official, meanwhile, criticized increasing energy cooperation between Europe and Russia.

Piebalgs’ remarks came during a Moscow conference aimed at bolstering energy dialogue between the European Union and Russia. In contrast, the United States has all but abandoned energy talks after the 2003 arrest of Yukos founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the leading proponent of cooperation between U.S. and Russian companies. read more

The Times: Stern warning: The review on climate change marks a turning point

The Times

October 31, 2006

There is much talk, some of it vacuous, about a “tipping point” for the global climate. But the debate has certainly reached a tipping point. The Treasury has published Sir Nicholas Stern’s review when public concern is mounting and all three main political parties are scrambling to claim a green mantle.

Sir Nicholas acknowledges that no one can predict the consequences of climate change with complete certainty. There is no need, after all, to extrapolate into fantasy catastrophe, as far too many “forecasters” are wont to do. But Sir Nicholas believes that enough is now known to take a very sober and sobering view of the risks — and that these make action a necessity. His calculations are certainly compelling: he estimates that spending 1 per cent of GDP each year to tackle climate change would save potential costs of between 5 to 20 per cent of GDP by the end of the century. 
 
The report is absolutely right to take a rigorous look at the potential costs of adaptation and mitigation. Too often this part of the analysis has been missing from the breathless depictions of climate change in the style of The Day after Tomorrow (in which an icy tidal wave engulfs New York). Global warming clearly represents an enormous challenge to human ingenuity, and to some wasteful human habits. But we need as much objectivity as possible about the risks. read more

The Times: BP had a “checkbook mentality” towards safety

Natural resources 
October 31, 2006
Need to Know

BP had a “checkbook mentality” towards safety and was aware of maintenance backlogs and unsafe equipment at Texas City years before the fire that killed 15 workers in 2005, said US safety officials. 

US crude oil futures fell more than $2, dropping under $59 a barrel, as concerns eased about a threat to Saudi Arabia infrastructure. Industry sources also pointed to a report of slower China demand growth and fund selling.

Shell said it returned to service the smaller of two crude units at its joint-venture refinery in Deer Park, Texas, as scheduled. The unit, which can process 70,000 barrels per day of crude oil, was shut down for 21 days of planned work. read more

Daily Telegraph: BP ‘ignored safety risks over refinery disaster’

Lord Browne BP

(Lord Browne: facing demands to testify in a Texas court)

By Russell Hotten, Industry Editor Last Updated: 1:11am GMT 31/10/2006

An interim report into a fatal oil refinery explosion accuses BP of ignoring “catastrophic safety risks” and of knowing about “significant safety problems” at another 34 facilities around the world.
 
The US Chemical Safety Board (CSB), which publishes the damning findings today, believes that BP may have been aware for years of major problems at its Texas City refinery, which exploded in March last year killing 15 workers and injuring 180. read more

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