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Posts on ‘October 18th, 2006’

Financial Times: Menu du jour

Thursday 19 October 2006

Russian president Vladimir Putin may have a rather uncomfortable dinner with EU leaders in Finland on Friday. Since the booking was made in Lahti, there has been a dispute over Shell’s operations in Sakhalin and a spate of apparently politically-motivated murders, culminating in the shooting of journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

Finnish president Tarja Halonen, who invited her Russian counterpart, may be too polite to mention it. But Putin will not be able to avoid Politkovskaya. The Liberal group in the European parliament have paid to put an open letter in two Russian papers today, including Novaya Gazeta, where she worked. It will also appear in the Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat on Friday.

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The Moscow Times: Police Seize Sakhalin-2 Probe Papers

Russian Police

(A police car on Wedesday passing the offices of the Federal Service for the Inspection of Natural Resources Use, where officers carried out a search.)

Thursday, October 19, 2006. Page 1.
By Miriam Elder
Staff Writer  
Denis Sinyakov / Reuters
The campaign against Sakhalin-2 appeared to hit a stumbling block Wednesday, with organized crime police seizing documents related to the investigation from the Natural Resources Ministry’s environmental agency.

Police officers spent three hours examining documents relating to the issue of a license for the Yuzhno-Tambeyskoye field in July, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry’s organized crime unit said.

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U.S. EPA settles with Shell Oil and GSA over $1.2 million in cleanup costs at the Del Amo Superfund site

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Release date: 10/17/2006

Contact Information: Francisco Arcaute, 213 244 1815

LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has signed an agreement valued at approximately $1.2 million with the Shell Oil Company and the United States General Services Administration for recovery of response costs at the Del Amo Superfund Waste Pits located in Los Angeles County, Calif.

The past costs to be paid by the settling parties are: Shell Oil Company, $398,821.91; General Services Administration $809,729.34.

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Sakhalin II: Apocalypse Now? A potential environmental calamity on a scale never before witnessed by humanity!

Global CatastopheI confirm for the record that we are in contact with Oleg Mitvol, the Deputy Head of RosPrirodNadzor. Mitvol is the senior Russian Environmental Official unkindly described in a recent Guardian newspaper article as a “Kremlin attack dog” – “6ft 2in and dressed in a black coat.”

Information from our Shell insider sources about Sakhalin II issues has been flowing for some time. We cannot reveal details as a third party organisation, working with Oleg Mitvol in Russia, requested confidentiality. However, we have supplied directly to Oleg Mitvol leaked Shell internal emails between senior Shell managers. The emails, which reached us via a third party Shell insider, reveal potentially calamitous flaws at the Sakhalin II project which go beyond environmental issues currently under Russian government scrutiny. Extracts from these emails were referred to in a MarketWatch article published earlier this week: –

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Reuters: Russia probes environment agency, scourge of Shell

Wed Oct 18, 2006 12:24 PM BST
Mikhail Yenukov

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian criminal investigators removed documents on Wednesday from the state environmental agency that has put pressure on Royal Dutch Shell and other foreign oil firms, but officials said the probe was not linked to the agency’s own investigations.

Oleg Mitvol, the outspoken deputy head of the RosPrirodNadzor environmental watchdog, said inspectors arrived unannounced early on Wednesday.

“Two investigators from the Interior Ministry’s organised crime department came to RosPrirodNadzor to remove documents from our accountant’s office,” Mitvol told Reuters.

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Business Week: Russia regulator’s documents confiscated

The Associated Press/MOSCOW

OCT. 18 2006: ET Russian organized crime police confiscated documents from an environmental regulatory agency Wednesday, but denied the search was connected with the agency’s ongoing probes at a Royal Dutch Shell PLC-led development or other energy projects.

Russian news agencies quoted the Interior Ministry’s organized crime department as saying that documents had been confiscated at Rosprirodnadzor in connection with an investigation into the Yuzhno-Tambeisk gas field, where state-controlled gas monopoly OAO Gazprom is in a dispute with a local company over licensing.

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RIA Novosti: Russian police seize documents from environment watchdog

Russian Police

15:12 | 18/ 10/ 2006

MOSCOW, October 18 (RIA Novosti) – Police are seizing documents from Russia’s Service for the Oversight of Natural Resources as part of an ongoing investigation that has nothing to do with the environmental watchdog, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday.

“This is part of a criminal case against a group of persons who attempted to [illegally] acquire a stake in Gazprombank-Investa and in this way to reduce the company’s share in Tambeineftegaz, which holds a license to develop the South Tambei [gas condensate] field,” a police spokesman said.

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18 October 2006
Shell is reviewing the number of people it employs in the North Sea, the energy giant’s UK subsidiary revealed last night.

A spokesman for Aberdeen-based Shell UK stressed the exercise was routine and part of worldwide reviews that were carried out periodically to ensure maximum efficiency.

Shell’s spokesman said: “We can confirm that (Shell) Europe is participating in a global benchmarking study being carried out on staff deployment in a range of technical disciplines.

read more Shell attorneys in Ogoni human rights case fined by U.S. Judge for conduct which degrades legal profession

By Alfred Donovan

Three attorneys from a leading New York law firm, Cravath, Swaine & Moore, LLP, representing Shell in a human rights case brought by Ogoni plaintiffs resident in the USA, have been fined $5,000 each by a U.S. Judge, Henry Pitman. The sanctions were imposed for making unseemly and unfair accusations against opposing counsel which degrade the legal profession and disserve justice.

The attorneys in question, Rory O. Milson, Thomas G. Rafferty and Michael T. Reynolds, were personally sanctioned for $5,000 each by Judge Pitman and directed to reimburse plaintiffs counsel for one-third of the attorneys fees relating to the improper allegations.  The conduct was deemed particularly inappropriate because it impugned the integrity of opposing counsel by suggesting plaintiffs’ counsel tacitly participated in conduct which violated the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and constituted perjury.

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MarketWatch: U.S. court orders fine against Shell lawyers in Nigeria case

Last Update: 5:26 AM ET Oct 18, 2006

LONDON (MarketWatch) — A New York court has fined Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s (RDSB.LN) lawyers $5,000 each after it ruled they had broke legal rules when alleging their colleagues had knowingly let Nigerian witnesses lie.

The decision was taken on Sept. 29, but obtained this week by Dow Jones Newswires, and relates to a case where, the same day, the court also rejected a Shell motion to have counts of “crimes against humanity” and “torture” dismissed. The lawsuit alleged the company was complicit in human rights violations in Nigeria’s Ogoniland in the mid 1990s.

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Reuters: Shell Awaits More Sakhalin Environment Claims

RUSSIA: October 18, 2006

MOSCOW – Royal Dutch Shell said on Tuesday that Russian officials may hit its US$20 billion Sakhalin-2 oil and gas project with a slew of new environmental claims just as it resolves a list of existing complaints. 

Chris Finlayson, head of Shell in Russia, said the company had dealt with 97 percent of the alleged breaches found by an environmental audit conducted in mid-September and hoped to have resolved all of them by the end of the week.

“We are confident that we see a way forward to resolve the issues,” Finlayson told Reuters.

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The Wall Street Journal: Oil News Roundup: October 17, 2006 4:19 p.m.

October 17, 2006 4:19 p.m.

Crude-oil futures fell to a close of less than $59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on the eve of the release of U.S. data that are expected to show a rise in crude inventories and ahead of a special meeting of OPEC, which will likely result in a production cut from some of the world’s key oil producers. Here is Tuesday’s roundup of oil and energy news:

HYBRIDS TOP FUEL-EFFICIENCY LIST: The Environmental Protection Agency issued its annual gas mileage estimates for the 2007 model year, Washington Wire reports, and the overall leaders in fuel economy were gas-electric hybrids. The Toyota Prius scored 60 miles per gallon on the highway and 51 mpg in city driving. Toyota and Honda took seven of the top 10 overall spots.Vehicles on the lowest overall mileage list might be attracting buyers who don’t worry much about the price of gas. Among them: the Lamborghini L-147/148, the Aston Martin DB9 Coupe and the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti.

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Daily Telegraph: Database: Wednesday 18 October 2006

• Royal Dutch Shell, which has the world’s biggest gas station network, plans to spend about $50m on outlets in Russia’s two largest cities amid rising car ownership in the country.

• Royal Dutch Shell’s operator for the Sakhalin-2 oil and gas project filed a complaint against the Russian Natural Resources Ministry’s environmental inspectorate for “excess” in its reviewing the project.

• Langeled, a new natural-gas pipeline linking Norway and Britain, may be filled to capacity this winter because of higher prices for the fuel in the UK than in mainland Europe, according to Statoil, one of the pipeline’s owners.

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The Guardian: British Energy recovers but FTSE 100 slips

EXTRACT: Shell also benefited from hopes it was close to solving the dispute surrounding its Sakhalin-2 project in Russia.


Nick Fletcher
Wednesday October 18, 2006

Power companies were in the spotlight again yesterday, with British Energy and International Power the top two risers in the FTSE 100 index.

International Power added 3.5p to 342p on vague talk of a bid from German utility RWE, which has just sold Thames Water to the Australian bank Macquarie for £8bn. Traders noted that RWE said it had sold Thames because it wanted to concentrate on the converging European electricity and gas markets.

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Published: Oct 18, 2006

TOKYO, Oct 18 Asia Pulse – Showa Shell Sekiyu KK (TSE:5002) has announced a plan to increase the volume of petroleum products that it procures from Fuji Oil Co.’s Sodegaura refinery as of fiscal 2007.

Showa Shell will most likely raise the volume to an annual 4.2 million kiloliters, about 40 per cent greater that the current volume it obtains from Fuji Oil, a unit of AOC Holdings Inc. (TSE:5017).

Showa Shell will strengthen its partnership with Fuji Oil, with which it began full-scale transactions this year, and improve product supply capacity in the Tokyo area. The company plans to boost sales volume of products including gasoline.

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Irish Independent: Death threats to Dempsey over comment on gas protest

Published: Oct 18, 2006

GARDAI have launched an investigation into “death threat” phone calls to the office of Marine and Natural Resources Minister Noel Dempsey.

Staff at the minister’s office were left “pretty shaken” after two phone calls containing explicit death threats were received just after Mr Dempsey had given a radio interview about the ongoing Corrib Gas terminal protest in Co Mayo.

In that interview, the minister said some of the protesters who were opposing the Shell gas terminal and pipeline made the likes of Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley look like reasonable men.

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Irish Independent: A gauntlet of intimidation

Published: Oct 18, 2006

Was there ever a more senseless name for a campaign than Shell-to-Sea? Shell are at sea in the Corrib Field and have been for ten years.

All the hard and extremely hazardous work has been completed and, in keeping with a company obsessed with safety, all works were carried out without incident or accident.

The work that remains to be completed in Bellanaboy is a simple terminal (not a refinery) in which to receive the product from offshore for onward transmission to the Irish energy market in the same safe fashion.

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Financial Times: Putin dinner ‘risks’ exposing EU splits

By George Parker in Brussels and Daniel Dombeyin Luxembourg
Published: October 18 2006 03:00 | Last updated: October 18 2006 03:00

Finland’s prime minister yesterday admitted it was a “risk” to sit 25 European leaders around a dinner table this Friday with Vladimir Putin, Russian president, in the hope they could present Moscow with a united EU position.

But Matti Vanhanen said it was essential that Mr Putin heard first-hand that Europe was serious about an equal energy partnership with Russia, including the fair treatment of EU energy companies operating there.

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Nigerian Tribune: Ibori commends Shell

SYLVESTER IDOWU, Warri – 18.10.2006

Governor James Ibori of Delta State has commended Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) for setting examples for other multi-national companies operating in the state.

The governor made the commendation yesterday during the inauguration of a N55 million health centre built by the oil company in Egbo-Uhurie community in Ughelli North Local Government Area of the slate.

The governor, represented by his deputy, Sir Benjamin Elue, said that such meaningful projects would complement the efforts of the government in healthcare delivery to the rural people.

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Houston Chronicle: Gasoline basics remain the same

John Hofmeister, President Shell Oil Co

(“The supply and demand relationships that took us to $3 a gallon are the exact same supply and demand relationships that are ever present,” said John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Co., who spoke to reporters Tuesday before a speech to the Consumer Energy Alliance in Houston.

Oct. 17, 2006, 11:11PM

Shell president says cut demand, increase supply to lower prices

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

The price of gasoline may have plummeted in recent weeks, but the days of $3 gas probably aren’t gone for good, Royal Dutch Shell’s top U.S. executive said Tuesday.

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Itar-Tass: Resistance mounting to Sakhalin Energy inspectors – Mitvol

17.10.2006, 21.31
MOSCOW, October 17 (Itar-Tass) – The attempt to protect nature in the Sakhalin-2 project has entered a vital phase, as inspectors from the Federal Nature Usage Supervisory Services encounter mounting resistance, service deputy head Oleg Mitvol told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

Acting head of the Sakhalin department of the Federal Nature Usage Supervisory Service Dmitry Belanovich has been summoned to the Sakhalin environmental prosecutor’s office for interrogation on October 18.

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