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Posts on ‘October 5th, 2006’ The Oil Conspiracy: Is Bush manipulating oil prices to win elections?


Is the Bush administration manipulating oil prices to win elections?
By Daniel Gross

Updated Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2006, at 4:03 PM ET

These days, gas prices interest political consultants as much as they do truckers. Politicos believe there is a direct relationship between the price of a gallon of gas and the fortunes of Democrats at the polls. High gas prices during the fall campaign season? Hello Speaker Pelosi. Falling gas prices in the post-Labor Day period? Crank up the Karl Rove Political Genius Machine again. Before the Foley scandal broke, Matt Drudge was tracking the falling price of a gallon of gas in Iowa on his site.

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UpstreamOnline: Russian watchdog targets Eni

By Upstream staff

Russia’s environmental agency said today it is set to start investigating a unit of Italian energy player Eni which has contracted to work on Shell’s Sakhalin 2 development.

The move came a day after Eni chief Paolo Scaroni said rising pressure on Western energy companies in Russia had delayed an asset swap deal between Eni and Russia’s gas monopoly Gazprom.

Today Scaroni backtracked, saying talks were going well and were on track.

The environmental agency Rosprirodnadzor said in a statement it had submitted documents about illegal deforestation by the contractor to prosecutors.

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PRNewswire: MarketWatch: Couche-Tard Acquires 236 Sites from Shell

Last Update: 9:22 AM ET Oct 5, 2006

LAVAL, QC, Oct 05, 2006 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ — Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. announces that it has, through an indirect wholly owned subsidiary, Circle K Stores Inc., signed agreements to purchase 236 sites from Shell Oil Products US and its affiliate Motiva Enterprises LLC.

Should the transaction close as expected, the company evaluates that these assets would add approximately 340 million gallons in motor fuel volume sales and approximately US$120 million in merchandise sales and contribute to its earnings on an annualized basis.

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RIA Novosti: Russian environmental watchdog mounts pressure on Sakhalin II

17:35 | 05/ 10/ 2006 

MOSCOW, October 5 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s environmental watchdog has submitted details to prosecutors on illegal deforestation being carried out through the Sakhalin II oil and gas project in the country’s Far East, the Natural Resources Ministry said Thursday.

The vast hydrocarbon project, led by Anglo-Dutch oil major Shell, has met with strong opposition from environmental groups and authorities over accusations of inadequate safety, massive volumes of waste disposal, seismic threats, erosion, and threats to marine life. The Ministry of Natural Resources withdrew a key permit for the project in September.

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Bloomberg: Russia’s Mitvol, Prosecutors Meet Over Sakhalin Contractors

By Torrey Clark

Oct. 5 (Bloomberg) — Russian Natural Resource Ministry official Oleg Mitvol met with the Prosecutor General’s Office as they investigate Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Sakhalin-2 contractors for illegal felling of trees to build oil and gas pipelines.

Mitvol gave the prosecutors evidence that Starstroi, a unit of Eni SpA, violated environmental laws by felling trees without permits and destroying the topsoil along the route of pipelines they’re building for the Shell project in Russia’s Far East, the ministry in Moscow said in an e-mailed statement today.

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Bloomberg: Shell CEO Wants Gazprom as Sakhalin-2 Partner; Stake Undecided

By Stephen Voss and Brian Sullivan

Oct. 5 (Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc would welcome state-run OAO Gazprom as a partner in its Sakhalin-2 project in eastern Russia, Shell Chief Executive Officer Jeroen van der Veer said. Gazprom’s equity share has yet to be decided.

“At this moment, all the partners are foreign partners, so we think it is quite sensible to have Gazprom as a partner in the project,” Van der Veer said in an interview in Irving, Texas, today. “We have been very consistent; we really welcome Gazprom as a partner in the Sakhalin project, we think that is the logical way.”

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Aberdeen Press & Journal: Safety the dialogue of the deaf: *Touch Fuck All – the Brent Bravo Scandal

Published October 2006

EXTRACT: Two young men were killed on Brent Bravo on September 11, 2003, asphyxiated while working in the utilities shaft 70m below deck level. They had been sent down to fix a leaking hydrocarbon line to which a neoprene patch had been affixed by bulldog grips. A leak of oily water soon transformed into a torrent of gas and condensate following the failure upstream of non-return and emergency shutdown valves.

Radio communication failure, due to shelved maintenance work (cost-cutting), contributed to the delay in attempting evacuation. The volume of gas released, had it ignited, was sufficient to cause failure of the concrete leg. An engineering analysis has since confirmed the likelihood that the top-sides in which 156 persons were resident would have toppled to the seabed. Possible sources of ignition, supposedly EX-rated, but damaged, battery connections and loose light fittings were subsequently found adjacent to where the condensate had escaped.

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The Times: Russians give Shell Sakhalin-2 ultimatum: Kremlin says renegotiate PSA terms, or sell up and go

October 05, 2006
By Julian Evans in Moscow, and Michael Binyon
THE Kremlin yesterday gave an ultimatum to Shell and ExxonMobil over their multibillion- dollar cost overruns on the $20 billion (£10.6 billion) Sakhalin-2 oil and gasfield project.

Russia is demanding that Shell and Exxon either stick to original cost agreements, return to the Kremlin and renegotiate the deal’s terms, or sell up and go. 
Arkadi Dvorkovich, adviser to President Putin, told The Times: “As far as Sakhalin-2 goes, you know which side started changing the terms and who asked for expenditure to be doubled. It was clear . . . that the Russian side would never agree to this.”

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REGNUM (RUSSIA): “The Government is not working properly”: expert comments on the situation over Sakhalin-2 project

5 October 2006

The chairwoman of the State Duma Committee on Natural Resources and Ecology Natalia Komarova says that “the government is not working properly” for ensuring constant control over the implementation of the Sakhalin 2 project, reports a REGNUM correspondent.

While speaking to reporters at the Far East Economic Forum in Khabarovsk on October 5, Komarova expressed regret at the “row” over the project. As a party to the contract, the Russian Government should constantly see that the terms of the project be observed, while the participants in the project should comply with the Russian laws and “should not forget about conscience.”

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New York Times: Nigeria Kidnappers Demand Ransom, Fighting Subsides

Published: October 5, 2006
Filed at 5:40 a.m. ET

ABUJA (Reuters) – Seven expatriate oil workers abducted in Nigeria are in good health and their kidnappers have demanded a ransom, a diplomat said on Thursday.

Fighting between militants and troops in a different part of the Niger Delta subsided overnight but Royal Dutch Shell suspended supply convoys in some creeks after militants said they killed 17 soldiers in gun battles on Wednesday.

“They’ve been in contact so we know they’re OK,” said a diplomat from one of the countries whose nationals were kidnapped on Tuesday night from a residential compound for contractors to ExxonMobil in Akwa Ibom state.

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The Independent: Shell

By: Steve McCormack, – United Kingdom
Published: Oct 05, 2006

What does it do?

The company’s global clout is based on oil and gas. But these days, with the burning of fossil fuels widely accepted to be behind global warming, no business can survive without green credentials as well. So Shell, in addition to the hydrocarbons bit, boasts “a broad portfolio of hydrogen, biofuels, wind- and solar-power interests,” consistent with aims that are “economically, socially and environmentally sustainable”.

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Irish Times: Further protests at Shell terminal

By: Lorna Siggins and Tom Shiel,
Published: Oct 05, 2006

About 200 people staged an early morning protest yesterday on the second day of work at the Shell Corrib gas terminal in north Mayo.

A force of 170 gardaI escorted Shell staff and contractors on to the site early yesterday.

“We will remain here as long as is necessary to keep the peace and ensure that people can get to their places of work unhindered as well as to ensure the safety of protesters,” Insp Ray McHugh of the Garda Press Office said. The situation would be reviewed at the weekend, he added.

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AP Worlstream: Oil prices rebound as Nigerian unrest renews concerns of supply disruption

By: TANALEE SMITH, AP Worldstream
Published: Oct 05, 2006

Oil prices rallied Thursday after an attack against Nigerian oil workers and facilities renewed concerns of supply disruptions.

Prices hit a seven-month low this week and continued to fall Wednesday after U.S. government data showed rising inventories of crude, gasoline and heating oil. But the news of violence in Nigeria’s oil-rich southeastern delta brought buyers back into the market, and some worried that OPEC would make cuts to control prices.

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Financial Times: Large caps prove attractive

By Ellen Kelleher in London

Published: October 5 2006 03:00 | Last updated: October 5 2006 03:00

The story in the UK equity market at the moment is that large-cap stocks are looking cheap for the first time in decades, according to Martin Walker, manager of Invesco Perpetual’s UK Equity fund.

Why? FTSE 100 stocks have been de-rated as fund managers have opted to switch out of equities and put money into sexier sectors such as bonds, commodities and hedge funds.

“That has been a big factor which has pushed down the valuation of stocks such as Glaxo, Shell, BP and HSBC,” Mr Walker says. Another trend that has contributed to the devaluation of large caps is the surge in bidding activity in themid-cap sector. Mr Walker is uncertain whether this will continue.

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Financial Times: Oil steadies as pressure for Opec cut grows

By Chris Flood
Published: October 5 2006 10:58

The weak tone for commodity markets continued on Thursday as oil showed little sign of rallying after recent weakness in spite of growing speculation that the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will cut output by at least 1m barrels a day in the near future.

Crude oil in a narrow range, steadying after recent falls, amid renewed concern about supply disruptions in Nigeria. Militants and Nigerian troops engaged in a major firefight near an oil pumping station operated by Shell on Wednesday.

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Bloomberg: Extra costs delay Eni’s $29bn Kazakh oil project

Published: Thursday, 5 October, 2006
LONDON/MOSCOW: Eni SpA and partners in the Kashagan oil field in Kazakhstan, the biggest discovery in three decades, risk years of delays because of design changes and extra costs.

The $29bn project will miss its target of pumping oil in 2008 and the development will run over budget, the venture partners and Kazakh officials said.
Kazakhstan, which is among the top 10 countries in terms of oil reserves, needs to tap the field to meet its goal of almost tripling production by 2015.

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5 October 2006

FEARS grew last night for four British oil workers kidnapped in Nigeria after a deadly attack on their living quarters.

They were among seven people working for oil firms seized at gunpoint in the Niger Delta a day after rebels freed 25 Nigerians captured 24 hours earlier.

Among those forced from their beds after a firefight which left two security guards dead was crane maintainer Paul Smith of Peterhead, near Aberdeen.

The father-of-two was one of three British staff of Aberdeen-based Sparrows taken. His dad John said: “This is our worst nightmare.” Others abducted were from Romania, Indonesia and Malaysia.

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Reuters: Foreign Managers Praise Russian Investment Climate Despite Problems with Energy Projects

Created: 05.10.2006 11:20 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 11:24 MSK
Investors in Russia pulling in record profits in areas ranging from banking to retail were defiantly upbeat about their prospects at a conference on Wednesday, Oct. 4, despite the souring atmosphere for big energy deals.

Paul Melling, managing partner in Russia for international consultancy firm Baker & McKenzie, said things had never been better in his 18 years of working in Russia.

“There are issues for those involved in major oil and gas projects but that happens in other countries too when politics coincides with business,” he told a conference in Moscow organized by the Russian-British Chamber of Commerce.

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Reuters: Kremlin official turns up pressure on Shell

Thu Oct 5, 2006 3:01 AM BST

LONDON (Reuters) – A Kremlin official turned up the pressure on Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research) over its Sakhalin oil and gas project in an interview with the Times newspaper, published on Thursday.

Russia wants Shell either to keep its original cost agreement, renegotiate the terms of its deal with Moscow or sell up and leave, the newspaper said.

Arkady Dvorkovich, head of the Kremlin’s economic research department, told the Times: “As far as Sakhalin-2 goes, you know which side started changing the terms and who asked for expenditure to be doubled. It was clear … that the Russian side would never agree to this.”

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The Times: Shell needs to oil its Kremlin diplomacy


October 05, 2006

WHILE BP’s mishandling of public opinion and the political process in the US has badly damaged its reputation in the short term, Shell’s misreading of government relations in Russia threatens to do it more lasting damage. For the economics of its $20 billion Sakhalin-2 gasfield are in doubt. And while Russia’s treatment of Shell may have been arbitrary, highhanded and duplicitous, it has not been surprising.

Vladimir Putin views energy assets as his predecessors once regarded nuclear warheads. They are the means of advancing Russia’s strategic ambitions in the world. (Ironically, George W. Bush, the first MBA president, has not used Corporate America but the Pentagon to define his foreign policy; Mr Putin, the former KGB agent, has sought to advance his international agenda by relying on the soft power of Russia’s big business and natural wealth.) President Putin seems to want Russia to maintain majority control of its oil and gas industry. Such economic nationalism is not new. What has changed is that, courtesy of a higher oil price, Russia is no longer as reliant as it once was on foreign investors to explore and develop oil and gasfields.
Shell is not the only one that will have to deal with this new reality. ExxonMobil has been sent the same message on its Sakhalin investment: scale back costs or sell out. BP may find it comes under pressure to renegotiate terms of the BP-TNK joint venture.

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The Desert Sun: County settles Shell lawsuit

Debra Gruszecki
October 4, 2006

Riverside County on Tuesday announced a $6.5 million settlement involving a civil lawsuit against Equilon Enterprises and Shell Oil Co. for alleged failure to report leaking underground storage tanks at three gasoline stations in the Coachella Valley.

The leaks – discovered in June 2003 by county environmental investigators in the Equilon owned and operated stations – are located at 34-021 Date Palm Dr., Cathedral City; 43-411 Monroe St., Indio; and 4875 Ramon Road East, Palm Springs. Similar violations were uncovered at two other Equilon stations in the western end of Riverside County.

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The Times: Money at the root of Kremlin’s dislike of Shell deal

October 05, 2006
By Carl Mortished

FORGET whales, salmon and the preservation of the Siberian wilderness. The stand-off between Shell and the Kremlin over the giant liquefied gas project on Sakhalin Island is about dollars and cents, and not environmental permits.

A huge increase in the cost of the project, announced in July last year, has upset the Kremlin’s hopes of cashflow from gas sales, and a senior adviser to President Putin yesterday made clear that the overrun was unacceptable. “We want to keep the existing cost structure,” said Arkady Dvorkovich. 
The dispute between Shell and the Kremlin has been hugely damaging. It has poisoned the atmosphere for foreign investment and created huge anxiety in Japan and Korea, which have agreed to take most of the Sakhalin-2 gas. Several leading power companies, including Tokyo Electric and Kogas, are in a state of high anxiety over the risk that the first tankers of frozen fuel might not set sail as planned from Sakhalin in 2008.

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Deutsche Presse-Agentur: Shell strikes 42-million dollar exploration deals in Syria

Damascus – The Syrian oil ministry on Wednesday signed two 20-year contracts worth 42 million dollars with Royal Dutch Shell, giving the firm the right to explore for oil and gas in northeastern Syria.

Under a 20-million-dollar contract, Shell will be able to explore and excavate southwest of Deir El-Zour some 450 kilometres northeast of Damascus to the Iraqi border.

Another 22-million-dollar contract allows Shell to explore for oil south of Palmyra, which is 256 kilometres north of Damascus.

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Itar-Tass: Kremlin aide says Sakhalin Energy must transfer to Russian tax rules

04.10.2006, 20.56
MOSCOW, October 4 (Itar-Tass) – Sakhalin Energy company that develops offshore oil fields under the Sakhalin II energy project, should make an offer on changing over to Russia’s national system of taxation, Arkady Dvorkovich, the director of the Kremlin’s expert analysis department said Wednesday.

This is necessary in the conditions of growing costs of oilfields development, he said while taking the floor at an investment conference dedicated to the 90th anniversary of Russo-British Chamber of Commerce.

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The Times: Russians give Shell Sakhalin-2 ultimatum: Kremlin says renegotiate PSA terms, or sell up and go

October 05, 2006
By Julian Evans in Moscow, and Michael Binyon
THE Kremlin yesterday gave an ultimatum to Shell and ExxonMobil over their multibillion- dollar cost overruns on the $20 billion (£10.6 billion) Sakhalin-2 oil and gasfield project.

Russia is demanding that Shell and Exxon either stick to original cost agreements, return to the Kremlin and renegotiate the deal’s terms, or sell up and go. 
Arkadi Dvorkovich, adviser to President Putin, told The Times: “As far as Sakhalin-2 goes, you know which side started changing the terms and who asked for expenditure to be doubled. It was clear . . . that the Russian side would never agree to this.”

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The Mayo News: Abuse claim by Shell worker

Tuesday, 03 October 2006 
Anton McNulty

A BANGOR businessman, who supplies machinery and equipment to Shell, has claimed he was blocked from leaving the Bellanaboy terminal site and was verbally abused by Shell to Sea supporters.

Mr TJ Carey, who employs ten people through his plant and tool hire business, told The Mayo News he was blocked from leaving the Shell site at 10.20pm on a Friday night recently by up to 30 Shell to Sea supporters. He claimed he was verbally abused and was only let out after the Gardaí arrived. He described the Shell to Sea supporters as ‘a law unto themselves’.

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