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Posts from ‘March, 2007’

Sunday Telegraph: Investors to quiz BP over Yukos bid

By Sylvia Pfeifer,
Last Updated: 12:13am BST 01/04/2007

Some of BP’s largest shareholders have expressed grave misgivings over the role of the British oil giant in the controversial auction of the remaining assets of Yukos, the bankrupt Russian oil group, last week.

At least two of BP’s top 20 shareholders are understood to be planning to raise the issue with the company in the next few weeks. They fear that BP’s reputation has suffered after TNK-BP, its Russian joint venture, took part in the auction of a stake in Rosneft, the state-controlled oil group, which belonged to Yukos.

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Sunday Telegraph: Dancing with the Kremlin

Sunday 1 April 2007

You could almost feel sorry for Tony Hayward, BP’s chief executive in waiting. Before even starting the job he was catapulted into a diplomatic dilemma this month that makes Tony Blair’s efforts to negotiate with Tehran look like a walk in the desert.

The intimidating venue was the Kremlin, where Hayward was introduced to president Putin by BP’s outgoing chief executive Lord Browne. Four years ago when Browne first took BP into Russia with an audacious bid for TNK, the balance of power looked rather more even: Russia desperately needed Western industry expertise to kick-start its moribund energy sector. Political cover from Downing Street promised BP a fair crack at the whip.

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TheAge.com.au: British oil worker abducted off Nigeria

April 1, 2007

A British oil worker was kidnapped from an offshore drilling rig in Nigeria yesterday, officials and industry sources said.

“We can confirm there was an incident in the early hours of this morning in which a British national was taken hostage,” a spokeswoman for Britain’s Foreign Office in London said. “We are in touch with the Nigerian authorities to try to secure a swift and peaceful resolution.”

She confirmed the kidnapped person was an oil worker but said his name was not being released.

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The Washington Post: British oil worker abducted off Nigeria

By Tom Ashby
Reuters
Saturday, March 31, 2007; 10:05 AM

LAGOS (Reuters) – Gunmen in two speedboats abducted a British oil worker in a pre-dawn raid on a drilling rig 40 miles off the coast of Nigeria on Saturday, officials and industry sources said.

The gunmen first targeted a support vessel moored to the Bulford Dolphin rig, overpowered the crew, then climbed on to the rig and seized the Briton, a security expert working for a Western oil major said.

The Foreign Office in London confirmed the abduction.

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Petroleum News: Shell eyes bigger quarters in Anchorage

Week of April 01, 2007: Vol. 12, No. 13 
Oil Patch Insider

Shell is said to be scouting commercial office space in Alaska on the lookout for at least 35,000 square feet to house a substantially expanded in-state exploration team.

The Houston, Texas-based company currently maintains a small office in Anchorage, but has become increasingly busy with Alaska projects offshore the North Slope and in the Bristol Bay area.

Shell officials are eyeing the Anchorage market and hoping to negotiate a lease for one of at least three suitable locations, according to one knowledgeable Petroleum News source.

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Petroleum News: Shell wins NOIA 2007 Safety in Seas Award

Week of April 01, 2007: Vol. 12, No. 13 

Shell Exploration & Production Co. was awarded the 2006 National Ocean Industries Association Safety in Seas Award on March 29, recognizing the company’s “outstanding contribution to the safety of life offshore for energy workers,” NOIA said in a statement.

Shell received the award for its “exceptional efforts” to recover the Mars tension leg platform and pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico after Hurricane Katrina.

A panel of judges from the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Minerals Management Service and the National Academy of Science’s Marine Board selected the company.

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UPI Energy Watch: Gazprom unable to join Sakhalin-2 by deadline

By ANDREA R. MIHAILESCU
UPI Energy Correspondent

Russian natural gas giant Gazprom is short of time to join the oil and gas project Sakhalin-2 by the end of March, ITAR-TASS reported Friday.

Gazprom had hoped to complete the deal by March 31.

“Sakhalin-2 is a very large project, and a great amount of details that need to be agreed upon is present here, and this is very difficult technically,” Maxim Shub, Shell spokesman, told ITAR-TASS.

Shub said that intense talks on the completion of the deal were carried on, but a snag was a huge amount of documents to be coordinated.

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Financial Times: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Paint sector stripped almost to the base

EXTRACT: The location of Shell’s headquarters in the Netherlands away from the world’s top financial centre may be emulated by Barclays/ABN Amro if those two banks merge, showing that we favour cutting our nose to spite our prospects.

THE ARTICLE

By Martin Simons
Published: March 31 2007 03:00 | Last updated: March 31 2007 03:00

From Mr Martin W. Simons.

Sir, Lombard’s comment in support of the impending takeover of E Wood Holdings by 3M (“A history lesson”, March 23) should be questioned. The agreed takeover of this specialist high-performance coatings company follows recent US takeovers of Tor Coatings and Farrow and Ball, a decorative paint company. These three have comfortably the highest operating margins among their UK peers.

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Borneo Bulletin: New Vessel For Brunei Shell

Bandar Seri Begawan – Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP) has added another workhorse in support of the oil and gas industry.

Last Monday saw the successful launching of the “MV Belait Aishah” in Port Kiang, Malaysia. The vessel is a Well Service Support/Offshore Maintenance Vessel (WSS/OM Vessel) and it is the very first WSS/OM Vessel to be locally owned, registered, flagged and operated in Brunei Darussalam.

The Belait Aishah is the latest third generation Workboat and will be entering service with BSP in May 2007.

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The Wall Street Journal: Exxon Forms $5 Billion Joint Venture In China With Sinopec, Saudi Aramco

By SHAI OSTER
March 30, 2007 4:53 a.m.

BEIJING — In one of the biggest deals of its kind, U.S. oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp. Friday signed a deal with Saudi Aramco and China Petroleum and Chemical Corp., better known as Sinopec, to expand an oil refinery in China’s rich southern province of Fujian and add on a vast chemicals facility for completion by 2009.

With China still tightly regulating fuel prices, big oil is increasingly looking at the country’s surging demand for chemicals.

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The Wall Street Journal: Farmers Play Ethanol Roulette (includes commentary about Jeroen van der Veer)

If you’re hungry for WSJ energy news, but too busy to flip through the entire paper to find it, here’s a quick roundup:

Across the U.S. plains, farmers are placing big bets on where the price of corn will go in 2007. They are preparing to plant more corn than they have in decades, spending more on seed and fertilizer, investing in new equipment and buying crop insurance against the possibility of bad weather. Some are signing futures contracts to lock in prices now; some are holding off in the hope that prices will climb higher.

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UpstreamOnline: Ex-Shell boss to spearhead Delta

Van de Vijver shakes off reserves scandal to form investment outfit

CHRISTOPHER HOPSON
London

ROYAL Dutch Shell’s former upstream chief executive Walter van de Vijver is returning to the oil and gas industry, raising about $1 billion of private equity to form a new company called Delta Hydrocarbons.

Van de Vijver has founded the new company with Maarten Scholten, formerly head of Schlumberger’s mergers and acquisitions team. They have been joined by Jeri Eagan, formerly chief financial officer for Shell’s gas and power business and Frederik Rijkens, previously a Total project director.

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Bloomberg: Gazprom, Shell Expect to Close Sakhalin-2 Deal By Year’s End

By Torrey Clark

March 30 (Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc expects to cede control of the Sakhalin-2 project in Russia’s Far East to state-run OAO Gazprom by the end of the year as the two sides hash out the details of the $7.45 billion deal.

“Work is progressing well on the details,” said Maxim Shoob, a spokesman for Shell in Moscow. “We always expected the deal to be closed by the end of 2007.”

Gazprom Deputy Chief Executive Officer Alexander Medvedev said in December the company would join the project in February and pay for the stake by the end of the first quarter of 2007.

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Royal Dutch Shell Plc: Shell and Alliance to establish retail joint venture

30 March 2007

Shell International Petroleum Company Ltd (Shell) and OJSC Alliance Group (Alliance) announce a commitment to establishing a joint venture to operate a network of more than 150 Shell-branded retail sites in the Ukraine.  This deal will provide Ukrainian customers with access to high quality fuels at competitive prices and with an emphasis on customer service.
 
“With this joint venture we are delivering our strategy to invest in growing markets,” said Rob Routs, Executive Director of Shell’s Downstream business.  “Ukraine’s large population, projected GDP and its strategic location in Eastern Europe make it attractive and an important part of our future retail business in Europe. We welcome the opportunity to work with a company such as Alliance, a respected organisation with expertise in Ukraine, and look forward to developing our cooperation.”

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Kommersant: Russian Authorities Pull Out of Dispute with Sakhalin Energy

Russia is not going to sue Sakhalin Energy for environmental violations in the Sakhalin-2 project, a natural resources official said Thursday.

Deputy Head of the Federal Resource Management Agency Oleg Mitvol earlier announced that the agency was planning to go to Russian, European and “all possible courts” to appeal the violations.

Mr. Mitvol, however, mentioned Thursday that the agency won’t to go to any courts, and Sakhalin Energy is willing to solve the problems. In addition, Gazprom, which is become a major shareholder in the project soon, has already submitted a plan to amend the breaches, according to the official. Federal authorities are now studying the proposals. Gazprom will be asked to pay for the unsolved problems, according to Oleg Mitvol.

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Lloyds List: Shell scraps its plans for Gulf Landing

Published: Mar 30, 2007

Oil major Shell has scrapped plans to build a liquefied natural gas terminal in the Gulf of Mexico, writes Tony Gray .

Shell said the Gulf Landing project was not needed because import capacity would be enough without it.

‘It is just an assessment of the market,’ said project manager Greg Koehler.

He stressed that Shell was not abandoning the LNG business. ‘Our plans are to continue to increase volumes of LNG into the US,’ Mr Koehler said.

Shell is, for example, a partner in the Altamira terminal Mexico’s northeast coast, and has capacity at existing US terminals at Cove Point, Maryland, and Elba Island, Georgia.

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Irish Independent: Corrib gas firms to resume peat transfer next week

Published: Mar 30, 2007

THE companies involved in the extraction of natural gas from the Corrib Gasfield said yesterday that they plan to resume the peat haulage operation next week.

This will involve the transfer of 350,000 tonnes of peat from the site of the proposed onshore terminal at Bellanaboy to a Bord na Mona cut-over site at Srahmore, 11km away.

The operation will be completed by October, when construction of the onshore gas processing plant will begin, the Corrib gas partners said.

There are currently almost 200 people working on the Corrib Gas project and this figure will rise to approximately 350 in the coming weeks, once peat haulage is underway, Shell said. By next autumn, 700 jobs will have been created by the project with the construction of the onshore terminal.

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Daily Telegraph: Database: Friday 30 March 2007

A round-up of headlines from across the financial sectors, provided by Bloomberg News

ENERGY

Royal Dutch Shell scrapped a plan to build a liquefied natural gas import terminal on the US Gulf Coast, citing adequate capacity to meet requirements among other terminals under construction or planned in the region.

• Sterling Energy, an oil and gas explorer, said it completed the purchase of Houston-based Whittier Energy for $145m (£73.8m), doubling reserves and production.

• Egdon Resources, a oil and natural-gas explorer, applied for planning approval to develop a gas storage site to supply as much as 5pc of daily demand during the heating season.

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The Times: ‘All Britain has to do is to admit they made a mistake’

EXTRACT: Shell would be one of the biggest losers if diplomatic relations between Britain and Iran were to break down further. The company is part of a £5 billion project to export liquefied natural gas from Iran, which is the world’s fourth-big-gest oil exporter.

THE ARTICLE

March 30, 2007
By Michael Theodoulou and David Robertson

Many Iranians have yet to see the footage of Faye Turney that has caused such outrage in Britain, but few who did shared the sense of revulsion and shock.

“The interview was definitely staged but that doesn’t mean her confession isn’t true,” a well-travelled 59-year-old businessman in Tehran said.

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Calgary Herald: China oil find deemed biggest in years

BLOOMBERG

PetroChina Co. made a discovery in an offshore field in eastern Bohai Bay that that may be the largest in East Asia in 33 years.

The field may hold as much as 2.2 billion barrels of oil, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported on its website, citing officials at the Beijingbased company it didn’t identify.

The field might produce 200,800 barrels of oil a day in three years, Xinhua said, enough to meet 95 per cent of the needs of PetroChina’s largest refinery in Dalian.

“That’s a pretty big field,” said Ian Cross, vice-president of business intelligence at Inc., an Englewood, Colo.-based research company. “We only get a few discoveries a year in that range worldwide.”

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Galgary Herald: Shell beefs up its Gulf platform

Royal Dutch Shell PLC installed tougher clamps on its Mars platform, the biggest oil producer in the Gulf of Mexico, to protect the $1-billion US structure from hurricane damage.

Shell finished installing a drilling rig aboard Mars Tuesday that buckled under the force of waves and wind during hurricane Katrina in August 2005, spokeswoman Darci Sinclair said. The work included stronger deck clamps to prevent the 1,000-tonne rig from collapsing onto other equipment during storms, Sinclair said.

Oil production from the platform 209 kilometres southeast of New Orleans was shut down for nine months after Katrina swept through the Gulf. The drilling rig fell onto the deck and a 12-tonne anchor slashed through subsea pipelines.

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Reuters: Shell to form Ukraine retail venture

Thu Mar 29, 2007 3:03 PM BST

LONDON, March 29 (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile , Research) said on Thursday it planned to establish a joint venture with OJSC Alliance Group to operate a network of more than 150 Shell-branded retail sites in the Ukraine.

Rob Routs, Executive Director of Shell’s downstream business, said in a statement the new venture would capitalise on Ukraine’s large population, growing GDP and its strategic location.

The new venture, in which Shell will have a 51 percent share and Alliance a 49 percent share, comes as Shell has scaled backed retail operations in some other countries where the company has deemed these to be too small to be strategic.

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The Independent: Shareholders urge Browne to stand down from Goldman Sachs

EXTRACT: Tom Borelli, fund manager at Feaf, said Lord Browne had spent too much time burnishing BP’s green credentials, with its “Beyond Petroleum” campaign, and not enough time paying attention to safety. 

THE ARTICLE

By Stephen Foley in New York
Published: 28 March 2007

Lord Browne of Madingley, the outgoing chief executive of BP, came under fire from shareholders at Goldman Sachs at the bank’s annual meeting.

The peer has sat on the Goldman Sachs board since its flotation in 1999, but yesterday he faced calls for his resignation because of what some investors said was his poor management record at BP.

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RIA Novosti: No court action for Sakhalin II environmental damage – Mitvol

15:07 | 29/ 03/ 2007 

MOSCOW, March 29 (RIA Novosti) – No court action will be initiated against the Sakhalin II operator for environmental damage incurred during the implementation of the major oil and gas project in Russia’s Far East, an environmental regulator said Thursday.

The ambitious project, formerly led by Anglo-Dutch oil major Shell, was subjected to months of intense pressure last year from Russian authorities, who accused it of causing serious environmental damage to Sakhalin Island, including deforestation, toxic waste dumping and soil erosion.

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Barbados Advocate: Senator Lowe makes a plea for small farmers

Web Posted – Thu Mar 29 2007

Opposition Senator Dr. Denis Lowe, wants Government to pay more attention to the plight of small farmers.

While speaking in the Upper House yesterday morning during debate of the Appropriation Bill, 2007, Senator Lowe made a call for the country’s import food bill to be reduced, and for Government to pave the way for small farmers, to enable them to run sustainable businesses. It is time that healthier eating is encouraged, and persons living in the country should be aided in doing so, by being encouraged to eat what they grow. Many food outlets he said, should pay more attention to giving these small farmers a chance and should partner with them, so that they are able to produce consistently, some of the agricultural commodities needed in supermarkets across the country.

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Los Angeles Times: 5 gasoline retailers face price suit

 

March 29, 2007
Bloomberg

Exxon Mobil Corp. and four other U.S. gasoline retailers must face a lawsuit accusing them of conspiring to drive up the price of the fuel, a federal judge ruled.

Exxon, Marathon Oil Corp., Citgo Petroleum Corp. and U.S. affiliates of Royal Dutch Shell and BP are accused in the complaint of intentionally limiting the available gasoline supply, driving up prices and boosting profits, U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve in Chicago said Monday.

“Facts consistent with these allegations could establish that defendants unjustly enriched themselves or acted deceptively or unfairly,” St. Eve said, rejecting the companies’ request that she dismiss the lawsuit, which seeks class-action status on behalf of all affected Illinois consumers. Some claims in the complaint were dismissed.

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AFX News Limited: Shell, ConocoPhillips win more UK North Sea licenses – DTI

03.29.07, 8:53 AM ET
 
LONDON – Royal Dutch Shell PLC and ConocoPhillips have secured the licenses to develop the Caravel, Shamrock and Kelvin fields in the North Sea, said Alistair Darling, the UK’s trade and industry secretary.

Shell, along with partner ExxonMobil Corp (nyse: XOM – news – people ), will be developing Caravel, which will pump its first oil in December. It will also be operating the nearby Shamrock field.

ConocoPhillips (nyse: COP – news – people ), meanwhile, will be developing the Kelvin discovery with partners GDF Britain Ltd and Tullow Oil PLC.

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The Business Online: Spineless Britain faces its greatest humiliation since the Suez crisis

AN ancient Persian proverb, much beloved of the ayatollahs in Tehran, urges Iranians to “be lions at home and foxes abroad”. This is exactly the strategy being pursued by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, and his hardline Revolutionary Guards, with the result that Great Britain is suffering its greatest foreign policy humiliation since the Suez crisis of 1956.

British military personnel have been abducted by a foreign power; yet a British nation shell-shocked by its disastrous Iraqi adventure doesn’t want to know. The Iranians, long convinced that the West is now too decadent, weak and crippled by self-doubt to react to even the most egregious of provocations, are jubilant.

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The Mirror: TD anger at ‘phone tapping’: Corrib gas project ‘alleged undercover operation’

TOM GILLESPIE
Published: Mar 29, 2007

A TD is at the centre of an alleged phone tapping scandal involving rivals of the Corrib gas project, it emerged yesterday.

Dr Jerry Cowley wants a probe into claims his phone line in north Mayo has been under Garda surveillance for several months, along with senior figures within the Shell To Sea group.

The independent TD revealed he was alerted to the alleged undercover operation “by a series of unusual coincidences”.

In an interview with the Connaught Telegraph he said: “I am not the only one to hold these fears.

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Irish Times: TD to ask judge to investigate alleged bugging

Lorna Siggins & Tom Shiel
Published: Mar 29, 2007

Independent Mayo TD Dr Jerry Cowley says he intends to ask the Circuit Court judge who acts as the State’s complaints referee in relation to phone tapping, to investigate alleged surveillance of telephones held by himself and six prominent members of the Shell to Sea campaign.

This follows a Dail reply to Dr Cowley by Minister for Justice Michael McDowell yesterday in which Mr McDowell said it was “not the practice” and would be “contrary to public interest” to disclose if authorisation for such surveillance had been granted.

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New York Times: Shell Drops Gulf LNG Port

By REUTERS
Published: March 28, 2007
Filed at 8:59 p.m. ET

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Shell U.S. Gas and Power (RDSa.L) is discontinuing plans to build a liquefied natural gasterminal offshore of Louisiana because import capacity will be sufficient without it, the company said Wednesday.

“It’s just an assessment of the market,” said project manager Greg Koehler in announcing cancellation of the terminal that had been dubbed Gulf Landing.

When Shell proposed Gulf Landing for a site 38 miles (61 km) south of Cameron, La., in 2003, there was one LNG terminal in the Gulf of Mexico. Now, including Mexico, there are seven either operating or under construction and more are planned.

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The Guardian: Van der Veer – a safe pair of hands? (Bill Campbell will be interested in this article)

Julia Finch
Thursday March 29, 2007

Jeroen van der Veer deserves the chance to continue much of the good work he has put in at Shell since taking over from Sir Philip Watts in 2004.

Memories of the reserves scandal will stay with many investors for a long time but the oil major has seen its reputation hugely enhanced since its humiliation at the hands of the US regulator.

Mr van der Veer can take much of the credit for that, although the restructuring of the dual-company structure that has also helped modernise the group, was the result of a wider board decision.

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The Guardian: Shell chief to stay an extra year beyond company retirement age

Terry Macalister
Thursday March 29, 2007

Jeroen van der Veer has won a victory over his more lauded rival Lord Browne by being allowed to stay on as chief executive of Shell a year after the company’s retirement date. The Dutchman will retire on June 30, 2009, aged 61, whereas the BP boss will have to go this summer at 60, after losing his internal battle to stay.

“There has been great progress in our company in recent years. Jeroen’s decision today provides clarity, and I am most pleased that he will stay on longer, providing valuable continuity and leadership in Shell over the next years,” said Jorma Ollila, Shell’s chairman.

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The Times: Shell chief sets date to leave and starts the race to replace him

March 29, 2007
Steve Hawkes

Shell, the £125 billion oil giant, may break with a century-old tradition and recruit a new chief executive from outside either the Netherlands or Britain, industry experts said.

The prediction came yesterday after it fired the starting gun for a succession battle by announcing that Jeroen van der Veer, the chief executive, would retire on June 30, 2009.

The Dutchman could have stepped down next summer after turning 60 this October. However, Shell’s board has persuaded him to sign a 12-month extension and continue the recovery plan that he put in place on taking over after the 2004 reserves scandal.

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UPI: Shell defends operations against Nigeria

By CARMEN J. GENTILE
UPI Energy Correspondent

LAGOS, Nigeria, (UPI) — Royal Dutch Shell in Nigeria defended its operations Wednesday amid a bevy of government allegations that the company illegally transported and dumped radioactive material in the Niger Delta.

In a statement sent to United Press International Wednesday, Shell officials denied the allegations of any misbehavior on the part of Shell Petroleum Development Co. of Nigeria Ltd., known locally as SPDC, put forth by the Nigerian government earlier this week.

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Malaysia Star: Shell: Smart Fields the way to go

Thursday March 29, 2007

PETALING JAYA: The increasing demand for energy and the challenge to produce better oil makes it essential to use Smart Fields oil recovery technology, said Shell Smart Fields programme manager Jaap van Ballegooijen.

Van Ballegooijen projected the world’s consumption at 120 million barrels per day by 2025, but added that remote and complex developments could mean heavier or poorer quality oil could be produced.

Speaking via webcast yesterday, he said there was also a need to develop oil in a more environmentally responsible way, but the positive side was Shell already knew “where most of the oil is” and was producing it.

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Reuters: Shell says Italy should ease energy permits regime

RAVENNA, Italy, (Reuters) – Italy should ease its permit regime for energy projects and boost domestic oil and gas exploration to diversify energy supplies, a senior executive at Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile , Research) said on Wednesday.

Italy depends heavily on energy imports to meet growing internal demand and needs to import gas to cover about 85 percent of its needs. But international energy company Shell said it has undeveloped oil and gas reserves.

“Italy needs to move forward, it needs a more flexible legal framework,” Tom Botts, Shell’s executive vice-president for European exploration and production said at an energy conference in Ravenna, northern Italy.

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Daily Telegraph: Shell not ready to retire van der Veer: Could it be that he fancies one last deal? That much-speculated merger with BP perhaps?

By Russell Hotten
Last Updated: 12:17am BST 29/03/2007

Royal Dutch Shell, Europe’s biggest oil company, has announced that Jeroen van der Veer will remain as chief executive beyond the normal retirement date, a move welcomed by investors but which still sparked speculation about the company’s succession plans.

Mr van der Veer, 60 in October, had been due to retire on 30 June 2008, but will now leave 12 months later in order “to further progress our delivery and growth agenda,” he said yesterday.

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The Independent: Shell chief executive to stay at helm for extra year

By Michael Harrison, Business Editor
Published: 29 March 2007

The chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, Jeroen van der Veer, has succeeded where his opposite number at BP, Lord Browne, failed by getting a one-year extension to his contract.

Shell announced yesterday that Mr Van der Veer would now stay on at the helm until July, 2009, when he will be three months short of his 62nd birthday.

Under Shell’s old rules, he would have had to retire in July next year after reaching 60 this coming October. But last year Shell said that it intended to amend its retirement rules to allow executive directors to continue beyond 60, partly because of changes in Dutch employment law.

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The Wall Street Journal: Risk-Taking Shell CEO Stays in Race

WSJ image Jeroen van der Veer

Risk-Taking Shell CEO Stays in Race
With Unusual Strategies,
Big Investments in Staff,

Van der Veer Battles Rivals
By CHIP CUMMINS and GUY CHAZAN
March 29, 2007; Page B1

LONDON — When Jeroen van der Veer, a low-key chemicals executive and marathon ice skater, took the top job at Royal Dutch Shell PLC in 2004, industry watchers wondered how long it would be before the Dutchman took a tumble at the scandal-tarred energy titan.

Three years later, he’s not only still in the race, but he’s also starting to outpace BP PLC, his biggest European rival. Since taking over Shell amid a scandal over how it accounted for its energy reserves, Mr. van der Veer has ridden the oil-price boom to higher profit. At the same time, though, high costs and diminished access to fresh reserves have been squeezing Big Oil, so he has pushed a bunch of large-but-risky development projects.
 
In the long oil-patch rivalry between European giants Shell and BP, Mr. van der Veer’s company is back on top. Shell’s shares outperformed BP’s last year, as BP floundered from a series of operational blunders and scandals in the U.S., including a handful of safety probes stemming from a refinery blast and pipeline problems in Alaska. For the first time in years, Shell’s market capitalization is bigger than BP’s, at $215 billion to $209 billion. Among non-state-controlled oil companies, only Exxon Mobil Corp. is larger.

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Financial Times: Van der Veer extends Shell tenure

By Ed Crooks in London
Published: March 28 2007 14:10 | Last updated: March 28 2007 22:04

Jeroen van der Veer, chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, will stay in office a year longer than had been planned and step down in June 2009, the company said.

Mr Van der Veer, who took over in 2004 as the company was reeling from a reserves misreporting scandal, had intended to leave in June next year, when he will be 60. But the company said he agreed with the board that a year later would be “an appropriate period for the succession”.

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Financial Times: Reforming Shell’s culture

Published: March 29 2007

Lord Browne must be envious. When he announced that he would leave the helm of BP earlier than expected, the oil major’s market capitalisation jumped by almost £2bn. On Wednesday, when his counterpart at Royal Dutch Shell, Jeroen Van der Veer, said he would, in contrast, stay on a bit longer, shares in BP’s arch rival rose.

To be fair, the latter had more to do with an oil price spike. Mr Van der Veer turns 60 in October, so he would normally retire in June 2008. He will leave 12 months later instead, so the extension is pretty small. Still, it is a measure of how far Shell has come from the dark days of 2004 that investors can take any tinkering with governance in their stride. After all, Mr Van der Veer was tasked with rebuilding trust in Shell after a reserves scandal that lifted the lid on a decrepit corporate culture.

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Times Online Comment: Beachcombing

March 28, 2007
Steve Hawkes

Jeroen van der Veer took over a poisoned chalice in 2004 when he stepped into the breach at Royal Dutch Shell.

Since then he has done all that could have been expected of him.

He has restored the group’s reputation and positioned it for growth.

His problem is the legacy of the reserves scandal that led to his elevation in the first place.

Shell simply needs to find more oil and gas around the world, or risk falling behind its fierce rivals BP and Exxon.

Malcolm Brinded is the clear favourite to take over in 2009, but mainly because there is no apparent alternative.

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Houston Chronicle: Regulators Clear Sale of Shell Assets

March 28, 2007
© 2007 The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Federal antitrust regulators have cleared the sale of a Los Angeles-area oil refinery and 250 retail sites in Southern California by a division of Royal Dutch Shell PLC to independent oil company Tesoro Corp.

According to a notice issued by the Federal Trade Commission, the government has completed its investigation of the sale and ended a waiting period on the transaction.

Tesoro and Shell Oil Products USA announced the sale, valued at $1.63 billion, Jan. 29. In addition to the refinery and stores, Tesoro will acquire an oil storage terminal.

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WorldEnergySource.com: From Russia with Oil

By Robert A. Mosbacher Sr., Chairman
Mosbacher Energy Company
and Kiril Stefan Alexandrov, Executive Director
U.S.-Russian Investment Symposium

This Symposium is helping American leaders in government, business and education learn more about the Russian business environment and encouraging partnerships between American and Russian businesses. Your efforts not only are strengthening our countries’ relationship but also are injecting new vitality into the global economy.

(President George W. Bush in his letter to the seventh U.S.-Russian Investment Symposium, November 10, 2003)

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London Evening Standard: Next Shell chief could be female

Jeroen van der Veer

(STEPPING ASIDE: 59-year-old van der Veer will retire in June 2009)

Robert Lea,
28 March 2007

Britain’s biggest company could get a female chief executive after the boss of Shell today announced plans to quit. 

The £125bn oil supermajor today sounded the starting gun for a succession battle to see who will take over from chief executive Jeroen van der Veer.

Just weeks after arch-rival BP settled its own damaging succession – Tony Hayward, 49, is replacing Lord Browne – Shell said today that 59-year-old van der Veer will retire in June 2009.

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Financial Post: Consortium’s drilling plans hit by delays

F

rom page P1
Financial Post [email protected]
Exxon Mobil Corp., one of the well’s partners, said it is redeploying the rig, the Eirik Raude, to the Gulf of Mexico to drill one of its own prospects.
The consortium, which also includes Imperial Oil Ltd. and Shell Canada Ltd., had planned to drill two more wells this year in the Orphan Basin, an uncharted area estimated to contain between six and eight billion barrels of oil.
But drilling of Great Barasway, which started last August, took twice as long as expected.
The well, drilled in nearly 2,400 metres of water and aiming for a total depth of about 7,200 metres, was supposed to be finished before Christmas.
Instead, it’s only now wrapping up, partly due to a flurry of mechanical problems at the rig, including a leak that required it to be moved to Marystown for repairs.
The delay boosted the cost of the well to US$200-million, industry sources said yesterday, from an earlier US$140-million estimate, which itself would have been a Canadian record.
The Eirik Raude, one of the world’s largest rigs specializing in deep-water drilling, costs about US$1.5-million a day.
“Our experience reinforces the high-risk, high-cost nature of exploration in that area,” said ExxonMobil spokesman Alan Jeffers. “It really does require high levels of technical and financial capability to explore for and produce in those harsh environments.”A spokesman for Chevron, the lead partner with a 50% stake, said the well is a “tight hole” and wouldn’t reveal whether it found oil. The company also wouldn’t reveal the well’s costs, saying the information is proprietary.
Drilling in the basin may resume in 2008 or 2009, but there are no firm plans at this point.
“We are optimistic and hopeful that we will get to do more exploration work in the Orphan Basin, but now we need to sort out some things in terms of [finding] a rig and when,” said Chevron spokesman Dave Pommer.
Last fall, a Shell Canada executive said a single well could not tell the whole story of the basin, but also that Great Barasway would either be encouraging or discouraging.
The prospect is 390 kilometres northeast of St. John’s and 250 kilometres north of the Hibernia oil project. It is so remote it can only be reached by long-range helicopters.
The delay means there won’t be any more exploration drilling in Newfoundland’s offshore this year.
ConocoPhillips, which was expected to explore in the Laurentian Basin, postponed its plans until next year because it was unable to line up a rig, of which there is a shortage worldwide. Husky Energy Inc. isn’t drilling an exploratory well in the Jeanne d’Arc basin this year, as had been speculated.
In addition, the sector recently lost the development of Hibernia South, which would have extended the life of the Hibernia field, and Hebron Ben Nevis, a new heavy-oil development. The projects are on hold following disagreements between some of the same oil companies and the provincial government.
“The mood is pretty negative,” said Paul Barnes, spokesman for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers in St. John’s. “It’s a year since Hebron failed to go ahead, and it’s a few months since Hibernia South didn’t get approved. And coupled with that we have a [proposed] energy plan, and a lot of people are concerned about what that may contain.”
The plan is expected to be released this spring and involve higher royalties and greater provincial control over the industry.
Mr. Barnes said exploration plans are being pushed back because of the availability of rigs, not the investment climate in Newfoundland.

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Calgary Herald: Shell charged with losing toxic tools

28 March 2007

Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell in Nigeria on Tuesday confirmed the federal government had charged it with the alleged loss of some “radioactive tools” belonging to one of its contractors.

And it denied reports that it had been involved in any dumping of toxic waste in Nigeria.

The company said in a statement it was “aware that the federal government has filed some charges at the Federal High Court in Abuja against SPDC and some other corporate organizations.”

Shell is officially known as the Shell Petroleum Development Corp. (SPDC).

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Edmonton Journal: Shell probes public on new refinery

Environmental concerns raised over Sarnia location

The Canadian Press
TORONTO

Weeks after Ontario was engulfed in a gasoline shortage of epic proportions, Shell Canada is asking the public whether it would support construction of a new Sarnia-area oil refinery.

The company is to hold an open house Wednesday afternoon at a hotel in Wallaceburg, Ont., north of Chatham, to outline plans for a multibillion dollar refinery that would process heavy crude oil from Alberta.

The facility would be built alongside Shell’s existing refinery in St. Clair Township, said Leigh Anne Richardson, a spokesperson for Shell Canada.

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San Antonio Express-News: FTC clears Tesoro to buy refinery, outlets from Royal Dutch Shell

Business Briefs
Web Posted: 03/28/2007 12:56 AM CDT

San Antonio-based refiner Tesoro Corp. on Tuesday got the go-ahead from the Federal Trade Commission to proceed with its $1.63 billion purchase of a refinery near Los Angeles, along with 250 retail stations from Royal Dutch Shell.

Tesoro still must get approval from the California attorney general, Tesoro spokeswoman Natalie Silva said.

Also, as announced earlier, Tesoro will not complete the purchase of the refinery until regular maintenance on the plant is finished, Silva said. Also Tuesday, the FTC gave Tesoro antitrust clearance on its $277 million purchase of 140 USA Petroleum retail stations, most of them in California, along with a terminal in New Mexico. Tesoro announced the Shell and the USA Petroleum deals Jan. 29.When completed, the acquisitions would make Tesoro the second-largest refiner on the West Coast after Chevron Corp. and would give the company its first retail presence in the vast California market.

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