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Posts on ‘July 24th, 2007’

International Herald Tribune: Gunmen attack Nigeria oil official’s house, killing two family members

The Associated Press
Tuesday, July 24, 2007

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria: Gunmen on motorbikes stormed the house of a newly appointed energy official in oil-rich southern Nigeria late Monday and killed two of his family members, police said.

Felix Ogbaudu, police commissioner for Rivers state, said Billy Braide had been holding a celebration following his appointment as energy commissioner for Nigeria’s biggest oil-producing state.

Minutes after Braide left the party, gunmen arrived and sprayed the house with bullets, killing Braide’s younger brother and cousin, while others were wounded, Ogbaudu said.

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Money Guzzlers: Big Oil Prepares to Announce Profits: Rhetoric and Reality Don’t Align When it Comes to Big Oil’s Investments

Center for American Progress Chart

Published by Center for American Progress
By Daniel J. Weiss, Anne Wingate

July 23, 2007
This week the big five oil companies will release their second-quarter 2007 profit figures.[1] Due to near-record gasoline prices and persistently high crude oil prices, these net earnings will be like Christmas in July for senior executives and shareholders of ExxonMobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Group, BP PLC, Chevron Corp., and Conoco Phillips Co.

Cramped refinery capacity has in part made gasoline more expensive.[2] A report released July 23 by calls for government investigations into oil companies’ refinery operations—both the nature and duration of outages and the suppression of inventory, which combined to spike prices and profits.

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IRIN AFRICA: NIGERIA: Guns, gangs, drugs feed growing delta violence

PORT HARCOURT, 24 July 2007 (IRIN) – Youths armed with pistols and Kalashnikovs barricaded all approaches to Victoria Street in Port Harcourt, the main city in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta, when a funeral took place there recently. With bandanas tied across their foreheads they searched people for weapons before letting them through. The funeral passed off without incident.

“Their action was meant to deter possible attacks by rival gangs,” said Benibo Alabo-Jack, a resident of adjoining Aggrey Road, who watched the scene warily from his balcony.

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Hello Bill

The draft email just fits within the 4000 characters (including spaces) limit for sending email via The Houses of Parliament website to MP’s.

We will have to supply your email address, your name, home address and phone number on the standard form for sending mail (not included within the character/spaces limit). This means you will receive directly any responses by email and letter. If past experience is any guide, you will receive many replies, including some from relevant government and shadow ministers.

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Anchorage Daily News: Beaufort freeze has Shell on its toes

COURT RULING: Company will talk to critics and try to save the drilling season.

[email protected]

Published: July 24, 2007
Last Modified: July 24, 2007 at 01:38 AM

Dutch oil giant Shell is fighting to salvage its ambitious plan to drill for oil this year in Alaska’s remote Beaufort Sea.

On one front, the company must overcome a court challenge that, for now, has frozen the drilling plan. And the company still must secure key government permits for the campaign.

On another front, the Beaufort will start icing up in fall, ending the drilling season.

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London Evening Standard: New BP chief’s anger as profits slip

Robert Lea, Evening Standard
24 July 2007, 8:16am

BP boss Tony Hayward has given his new production and refining chiefs a rocket as he today admitted to the City that the oil major is failing to perform.

With profits down at the half year, production levels stagnant and refineries failing to take advantage of soaring prices, Hayward said: ‘My message today is simple: BP’s current operational performance is not good enough.’

Hayward, 50, was making his City debut after being catapulted in as chief executive earlier than expected following the shock May Day resignation of Lord Browne, who had admitted lying to the High Court over his gay lover.

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CALGARY HERALD: Ottawa offers $25M to Dene for pipeline

24 July 2007

Hurdles remain for natural gas project

Ottawa will pay $25 million to the Dene Tha’ First Nation to settle concerns over the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline, but hurdles still remain for the natural gas project.

Under an agreement announced Monday, the Dene Tha’ will drop court action against the pipeline in exchange for the funding that will help address socio-economic impacts resulting from the pipeline.

The agreement also sets out a timeframe for the federal government’s review of the aboriginal band’s land claim and outlines how the group is to be consulted on the pipeline and future projects.

read more 2ND UPDATE: BP Manages Small Profit Rise Despite Disruptions

July 24, 2007: 07:15 AM EST

LONDON (Dow Jones) — BP on Tuesday reported a surprise rise in second-quarter profit, as the British oil giant said gains from the sale of assets offset disruptions at a U.S. refinery.

BP (BP) said its quarterly profit rose 1.5% to $7.38 billion, or 38.18 cents a share, with revenue virtually flat at $73.08 billion.

Adjusted for the impact of energy price changes on inventories as well as $741 million in one-off gains, and its profit decline of 13% to $5.35 billion wasn’t as bad as the $5 billion in profit that analysts had forecast.

read more BP CEO sees ‘progress’ by end-2007, CFO to stay on until 2009

LONDON (Thomson Financial) – Tony Hayward, chief executive of BP PLC, is expecting progress in achieving a recovery in the oil major’s performance following a turbulent two years, marked by project delays and outages at its major US refineries.

‘I am determined that we should see progress by the end of the year and that the momentum will build steadily through 2008,’ Hayward told reporters at a news conference following the group’s second quarter results.

However in the near term, Hayward said he expects to see further pressure on earnings and cash flow from cost inflation and higher depreciation charges.

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Reuters: BP CEO says not in merger talks with Shell

Tue Jul 24, 2007 10:30 AM BST

LONDON, July 24 (Reuters) – Oil giant BP Plc said on Tuesday it was not in merger talks with rival Royal Dutch Shell, denying a perennial market rumour which resurfaced a few weeks ago.

Chief Executive Tony Hayward also told reporters that BP had no plans to merge with Gazprom, although it could contribute mid-stream gas assets to a joint venture with the Russian gas monopoly.

© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved. 

Times Online: Tony Hayward attacks BP performance

July 24, 2007

Despite a surging oil price, production problems and refining outtages cut BP’s profits to $6bn between March and June: Steve Hawkes

Tony Hayward admitted today that BP was falling behind its rivals as he delivered a profits fall in his first set of results since taking over as chief executive of the oil giant.

Mr Hayward, who replaced Lord Browne of Madingley in May, said BP’s current operating performance was “not good enough” given a slump in production and continuing problems at its refineries in the US.

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July 24, 2007 — More than $28 billion in state pension funds have been invested in companies doing business with terrorist nations Iran, Syria, Sudan and North Korea, The Post has learned.

A breakdown issued by state Sen. Jeff Klein shows about 14 percent – or $10.4 billion – of the state’s $75 billion in equity assets has gone to firms that deal with Iran’s natural-gas and oil industries.

Another $17.4 billion is tied up in conglomerates that invest in Syria and Sudan. And North Korean investments account for about 1 percent – nearly $1 million – of the state’s pension portfolio, Klein said.

read more Malcolm Brinded in a spin

Email to Royal Dutch Shell Plc Company Secretary, Michiel Brandjes: 23 July 2007

Dear Mr Brandjes

We have today received information from a trusted Shell insider source which relates to the integrity of Shell management and to Mr Malcolm Brinded in particular.  We intend to publish this information tomorrow. We will publish unedited any comments Shell or Mr Brinded wish to make. If you need more time on this matter you only have to ask. If Shell does not dispute the accuracy of what is stated below, then there is no need to comment.

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Lloyds List: Small is beautiful for new IM Skaugen LNG project

Tony Gray, Lloyds List
Published: Jul 24, 2007

NORWEGIAN shipowner IM Skaugen and compatriot utility Lyse Gass are pushing ahead with a liquefied natural gas project which will involve unusually small vessels.

They have established Nordic LNG, a joint venture which aims to become a market leader in the small-scale distribution of LNG in north Europe.

Lyse and Celsius Invest will construct a liquefaction plant with an annual production capacity of 300,000 tonnes at Risavika, just outside Stavanger.

A contract was signed last week with German engineering company Linde for the construction of the plant, which will cost €120m and is expected to come onstream in 2010.

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Lloyds List: Court halts Beaufort Sea exploration

Published: Jul 24, 2007

ROYAL Dutch Shell has been forced to suspend its much anticipated Beaufort Sea exploration campaign by the US federal court, writes Martyn Wingrove.

Environmental groups and whalers have successfully stopped the Anglo-Dutch group from using drilling rigs in the Arctic seas offshore Alaska until mid-August, when the court sessions begin in San Francisco.

Shell planned to drill four exploration wells over the Sivulliq area of the Beaufort Sea, where oil was found in the 1980s, over summer to late-October.

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Financial Times: Falkland Oil leads surge

By Robert Orr and Neil Hume
Published: July 24 2007 03:00 | Last updated: July 24 2007 03:00

Falkland Oil & Gas spearheaded a surge in shares of companies operating in and around the South Atlantic islands as the exploration group said it was near to a deal with a resource company. The potential partner remains unknown, although Shell of the UK and Brazil’s Petrobras have shown interest in the area.

While Falkland jumped 52 per cent to 123p, Borders & Southern Petroleum rose 22.5 per cent to 34p, Rockhopper Exploration added 15 per cent to 46p and Desire Petroleum gained 14.2 per cent to 32¼p. Falkland Islands, a holding company that owns a 16 per cent stake in Falkland, rose26.2 per cent to 385p.

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Financial Times: BP seeks growth in joint ventures

By Ed Crooks
Published: July 24 2007 03:00 | Last updated: July 24 2007 03:00

BP, one of the three biggest western oil companies, is seeking more joint ventures with Russia and other resource-rich countries as a way to deliver growth.

The company today kicks off the reporting season for the international oil groups and is expected to report a drop of about 16 per cent in second-quarter profits, compared with the equivalent period of last year.

On Thursday, Royal Dutch Shell reports, with Citigroup expecting an 11 per cent rise in second quarter profits to about $6.75bn (£3.3bn), and ExxonMobil could post an increase in profits from last year’s $10.4bn second quarter record. However, Eni of Italy also reports on that day, and Citigroup is expecting a drop in its profits of 10 per cent.

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Financial Times: Cosy in Bangalore

EXTRACT: Shell last year set up a technology centre in India delivering high-end technical studies, projects and services for the group’s global businesses.

By Joe Leahy
Published: July 24 2007 03:00 | Last updated: July 24 2007 03:00

Most people know that India’s talent crunch is driving up the wage bills of the country’s computer services outsourcing companies. But less well-known is the impact the rapid growth of the IT industry is having on more traditional sectors in the country’s domestic economy. As India develops, its own demand for civil, mechanical, construction and other types of engineers is soaring.

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Financial Times: BP faces sea change on way to recovery

By Ed Crooks
Published: July 24 2007 03:00 | Last updated: July 24 2007 03:00

Today’s half-year results for BP, presented by Tony Hayward for the first time since he took over as chief executive in May, are expected to be a stark reminder of the challenge the company faces.

Analysts think profits for the second quarter will be about $5bn (£2.4bn), roughly $1.5bn behind those of BP’s great rival Royal Dutch Shell, which reports on Thursday.

The company still has many strengths. It has good assets in places such as Angola and Azerbaijan and with the resolution of the dispute over the Kovykta gas field in eastern Siberia, it appears to have stabilised its position in Russia, albeit at the cost of losing control of the field at a knock-down price. The potentially significant exploration deal signed with Libya has raised hopes about BP’s future.

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Financial Times: Hayward has to deal with a classic successor conundrum

By Ed Crooks
Published: July 24 2007 03:00 | Last updated: July 24 2007 03:00

Tony Hayward faces the classic conundrum of all leaders promoted internally after a long period of dominance by their predecessor: how to signal change without denigrating the previous leadership.

In Mr Hayward’s case, the challenge is greater because – unlike Gordon Brown, for example – he has been unable to build much of an external profile.

When a US oil man famously dubbed Lord Browne “the Sun King” in an FT profile five years ago, he meant that like Louis XIV of France, Lord Browne was the source of all power and favour at BP. In that environment, it was hard for Mr Hayward to establish himself as his own man.

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Financial Times: Business leaders wary of Buncefield proposal

By Rebecca Bream
Published: July 24 2007 03:14 | Last updated: July 24 2007 03:14

BP’s plan to resume storage of petrol and diesel at the Buncefield oil depot in Hertfordshire has been met by stiff opposition from business and council leaders in the area.

The Buncefield depot near Hemel Hempstead was the site of the largest explosion in peacetime Europe in December 2005 when a leak of petrol vapour caught fire. The blast injured 43 people, forced 2,000 from their homes and shut dozens of businesses.

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Financial Times: Sanctions fail to fuel dissent on Iran’s streets

By Gareth Smyth in Tehran
Published: July 24 2007 04:47 | Last updated: July 24 2007 04:47

When angry motorists torched petrol stations as Tehran introduced rationing last month, Iran’s opponents scented success. Ehud Olmert, Israeli prime minister, said it showed “economic sanctions are working increasingly well”.

But after three weeks of rationing, riots have given way to grumbling. Tehran’s streets are less congested, its air more breathable, and the government says it is on target to reduce a bill for imported petrol that was due to hit $7bn this year.

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The Globe & Mail: Dene Tha get $25-million from Ottawa

Will help settle failure to consult first nations group over Mackenzie Valley pipeline project

July 24, 2007

CALGARY — Ottawa will pay $25-million to help settle a court dispute over its failure to consult with aboriginals over the proposed Mackenzie Valley natural gas pipeline, and the lawyer who represents the native group said a similar issue is developing with another one over a proposed oil sands project.

The government announced yesterday it was paying the Dene Tha First Nation after the Federal Court ruled last November that it had not properly consulted with the Dene Tha over their concerns about the pipeline, which would carry gas south from the Arctic and terminate on their traditional lands in northern Alberta.

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Bloomberg News
July 24, 2007

Shares of Noble Corp. and other oil and gas drillers rose after news broke of the Transocean and GlobalSantaFe deal, raising speculation that the merger will spur more takeovers in the industry.

Noble, based near Houston, climbed $3.82 to close at $106.28 on the New York Stock Exchange. Dallas-based Ensco International Inc. closed at $65.90, up $2.64, and Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. of Houston jumped $4.64 to $113.04. “The drillers have had a tremendous boom the last several quarters,” said Scott Keller, president of New York-based, which provides data to institutional investors. “Behemoths like Transocean are trying to fill in niches in their portfolios.”

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The Globe & Mail: Rumour mongers focus on Western Oil Sands spinoff

EXTRACT: Looming large over all this speculation on Western’s future are the company’s two partners on the Athabasca project; Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron. Both are seen as potential buyers, with little reason to commit their money unless another outside bidder makes a play for Western.



July 24, 2007

There’s a new variation on one of the oil patch’s favourite rumours, as perennial takeover target Western Oil Sands is expected to gussy itself up by spinning off a portion of its controversial Iraq oil properties.

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Vanguard (Nigeria): Warri kerosine explosions: Death toll rises

By Emma Amaize & Emma Arubi
Posted to the Web: Tuesday, July 24, 2007

WARRI — death toll in the kerosine fire explosion in Delta State rose yesterday as another victim gave up the ghost, bringing the total number of deaths to 11.

Vanguard learnt that the killer kerosine is condensate stolen by pipeline vandals and sold to roadside retailers of the product.

The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) recently raised an alarm on the activities of the illegal condensate bunkerers, while the Joint Task Force on the Niger Delta arrested no fewer than eight suspects with five tankers used in siphoning condensate from oil pipelines.

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Daily Telegraph: BP profits drop on production declines

By Richard Blackden
Last Updated: 7:48am BST 24/07/2007

A decline in production has hit profits at oil giant BP despite an increase in crude oil prices during the second quarter.

Profits dropped to $6.08bn in the second quarter from $6.11bn in the same period in 2006.

BP, whose results kick off the reporting season for the oil majors, lost production capacity at plants in Indiana and Texas. Production was also disrupted at its refinery in Whiting, the largest in the midwest of America, because of maintenance work.

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The Wall Street Journal: Pension Funds Weigh In on Iran

July 24, 2007; Page A3

With states around the country working on bills to force their public pension funds to unload shares of foreign companies doing business in Iran, a coalition of large public funds has begun pressuring companies to reconsider their ties to that nation.

The coalition is composed of pension funds in California, New York, Illinois and North Carolina. It collectively controls $570 billion in assets — or nearly a fifth of all public pension fund assets nationwide — including $3.7 billion invested in energy companies doing business in Iran.

read more Royal Dutch Shell and the struggle for Iraqi oil

By Jörg Victor
24 July 2007

Despite growing popular opposition, the Dutch government coalition of the Christian Democrats (CDA), Social Democrats (PvdA) and Christian Union (CU), under Christian Democratic Prime Minister Jan Pieter Balkenende, continues to provide military support to US imperialism in the Middle East and Central Asia.

One of the greatest beneficiaries of this support for American militarism is the oil multinational Royal Dutch Shell. The company was driven out of Iraq by the nationalisation of the oil industry in the 1970s under Saddam Hussein. Now, this Anglo-Dutch company is again preparing to exploit the most profitable oil fields in Iraq.

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Bloomberg: Sarkozy, U.S. Lawyers Shift Class-Actions to Europe (Update1)

EXTRACT: Shell’s $353 million settlement with non-U.S. shareholders was good for both the company and investors, Hess and lawyers for the plaintiffs say. If the Hague-based Shell can settle with European shareholders, the oil company may avoid the risk of a worldwide action brought before a U.S. jury with the power to award even more money, Hess said.

By Caroline Byrne and Cary O’Reilly
July 24 (Bloomberg) — French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Deutsche Telekom AG shareholders and American lawyers are laying the groundwork to make Europe the next battleground for U.S-style class-action lawsuits.

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