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Posts from ‘May, 2008’

U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission investigate oil price manipulation

An investigation of oil trading by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission will likely target evidence that traders intended to manipulate markets rather than just schemed to make money, former officials of the agency said.

Shell U.K. Refinery Drivers May Strike, Shields Gazette Says

More than 500 truck drivers who work at Royal Dutch Shell Plc terminals across Britain may go on strike…

UPDATE 1-Putin says warned BP about Russian risks

PARIS, May 31 (Reuters) – Russia’s Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, said he had warned BP about the risks of setting up a venture with a group of Russian billionaires when he blessed its creation as Russian president in 2003.

France looks at ways to curb ‘fat cat’ salaries across the EU

The proposed “fat cat tax” has provoked anguished protests from large Dutch companies, who say that it will ruin their ability to compete on the European, and international, market. Some companies, including Royal Dutch Shell, have warned that they might move their headquarters to another country.

No sign yet of tide of shareholder discontent abating

HSBC’s stormy annual meeting is the latest high water mark in the tide of shareholder discontent. Add it to the experiences of Royal Dutch Shell, BP and GlaxoSmithKline over recent weeks and the message is clear: investors are fed up with being seen as weak. The French government is threatening to curb “perfectly scandalous” pay packets for executives in underperforming companies, while the Dutch want to tax executive bonuses and severance packages.

At Exxon’s Can’t-Miss Meeting

Last year was another fabulous year for Exxon Mobil. It made a record $40.6 billion in profits. It replaced its reserves, no easy task with oil so hard to find and extract these days. Its safety record was stellar. Its return on capital was an astounding 32 percent, another record. It spent $21 billion in capital investments while also paying out $36 billion on a combination of dividends and stock buy backs. It share price rose 22 percent.

Rift Develops Among Investors in Russian Gas Venture

In 2006,Royal Dutch Shell was pressured into selling a controlling stake in its $20 billion Sakhalin-2 oil project to Gazprom at a below-market price after environmental regulators threatened it with billions of dollars in fines.

FSA joins western watchdogs in search for oil price rigging

Oil prices ended a volatile week almost $10 below their record $135 levels as the Financial Services Authority joined a worldwide investigation into the price manipulation of crude.

Shocked! How the oil crisis has hit the world

All around the world, in a multitude of ways, the soaring price of oil is hurting rich and poor alike. For the lucky ones, it is simply a matter of changing their lifestyle. But those most vulnerable to the price of oil have been driven on to the streets in angry protests, which raise a fundamental question: what can we do to survive in a world where a barrel of oil costs $127 (£64)?

As TNK-BP director Jean-Luc Vermeulen quits, spy allegations fly in Moscow

The Kremlin’s campaign against foreign ownership of Russian energy resources forced Shell to cede control of the $20 billion (£10 billion) Sakhalin-2 oil and gas project to Gazprom last year. As the only big energy company not under Russian control, TNK-BP is firmly in its sights.

Origin Energy rejects improved offer by BG Group

Yesterday shares in Arrow Energy, Australia’s number four producer of coal-seam gas, were still halted as it worked on an agreement to sell an interest in its projects. Shell was rumoured to be the likely partner.

Australia strikes it rich as oil majors scent big potential of coal-seam gas

Yesterday, Arrow Energy the fourth-largest producer was in a trading halt as energy majors, rumoured to include Shell, circled. Analysts say that BP, ENI and Total are interested.

Shell Oil spent more than $587K lobbying in 1Q

WASHINGTON – A U.S. unit of Royal Dutch Shell PLC spent more than $587,000 to lobby the federal government on chemical site security, energy taxes and other issues in the first quarter of the year.

Origin spurns BG’s A$13.6bn takeover bid

The UK company said it was “considering its next move”, and there is growing speculation that others are talking to Origin, including Royal Dutch Shell.

Dominican Republic buys out Shell refinery stake

May 30, 2008: 4:41 PM EDTSANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — The Dominican Republic has bought out Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s share of a jointly owned oil refinery in a bid to stabilize fuel prices, the government said Friday.

Global Demand Squeezing Natural Gas Supply

CAMERON PARISH, La. — The cost of a gallon of gas gets all the headlines, but the natural gas that will heat many American homes next winter is going up in price as fast or faster.

TNK-BP board member quits over shareholders’ row

Mounting state pressure on the firm, including the arrest of an employee on an industrial espionage charge, a raid on its Moscow offices and a court injunction to stop it using BP specialists, are signs the time to sell is approaching, analysts say.

Geese covered in oil; Four birds shunned by other fowl

Until you get close enough to notice these Canada geese are covered with a black, oil-like discolouration. “It’s a sad sight,” said Shell Sarnia refinery spokesperson Kristina Zimmer.

“I Was Shot by Soldiers Bought and Paid for by Chevron”

Editor’s note: this is a statement given to Chevron’s annual shareholders’ meeting by Larry Bowoto, a lead plaintiff in Bowoto v. Chevron, which will come to trial in federal court in San Francisco in September. See here for background.

Shell to Take 33% Stake in Turkish Oil Pipeline, MEES Reports

Shell would use the link to transport crude from the Kashagan field in Kazakhstan, the Cyprus-based weekly newsletter said, without saying where it got the information. Shell and Eni are major shareholders in the Kashagan development, due to come on stream in 2012 or 2013, according to MEE

U.S. Probes Crude Oil Trading for Price Manipulation (Update3)

May 30 (Bloomberg) — The U.S.Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the watchdog for commodity transactions, is investigating U.S. crude oil trading to determine whether the surge to record prices is the result of manipulation or fraud.

Nigeria to Regulate its Oil Industry, President Yar’Adua Says

“The law states that that money belongs to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation,” Yar’Adua said, adding that he had found out that the oil firms had reached agreements with previous governments that exempted them from paying tax in breach of the law.

Five kestrel chicks at top of chimney stack delaying work on £350m Shell gas terminal

Shell is undertaking a major refit at the site and work on the column is being delayed until the chicks leave. It could be another three months before they fly the nest.

Buenos Aires Citizens Seek Cleanup of Shell Refinery

The complaint calls for immediate action by the company to redress the social and environmental harms caused to the community and to the local environment by the refinery at the Polo Petroquímico Dock Sud during decades of abuse and irresponsible corporate behavior.

Regulators Step Up Probes Of Trading in Oil Markets

The move Thursday by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, including its unusual announcement of an investigation in progress, comes after crude-oil prices topped $130 a barrel last week and tested all-time highs.

Oil Majors Say U.S. Restrictions Delay Iran Projects

Despite an urgent need to replenish reserves, Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Spanish-Argentine Repsol YPF said they wouldn’t sign a $10 billion contract to enter South Pars, the Iranian side of a giant natural-gas field shared with Qatar. Instead, the two oil giants are considering entering later phases of the project.

Intrigue in Russia Ensnares BP Venture

In 2006, Shell sold control of a major project in Russia to Gazprom after Russian environmental regulators threatened to shut it down. The regulatory problems, which were widely seen as a pressure tactic by the Kremlin, cleared up within weeks after Gazprom took over.

TNK-BP Russian shareholders scupper meeting

Crucial talks between BP and its Russian partners in TNK-BP, the Russian oil venture, broke down as the Russian billionaire shareholders failed to attend a scheduled board meeting in Cyprus amid a stand-off for control of the company, two people familiar with the situation said.

Petronas backs Santos LNG project

Groups that had expressed an interest in the Gladstone project included Royal Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips of the US, Eni of Italy, Repsol of Spain, andSempra, owner of the largest US natural gas utility.

U.S. oil probe focusing on price manipulation: report

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. regulatory probe into potential oil-market trading abuses is focusing on possible short-term manipulation of benchmark crude prices and the use of information related to important oil storage tanks to influence prices, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Energy boss with the wind in his sails

Shell has pulled out of the world’s biggest offshore wind farm, the London Array, off the Kent and Essex coasts, amid soaring costs;

He does accept that Shell’s decision to concentrate on the US, where the biggest and most attractive opportunities in the wind business exist, is part of a wider trend.

Burning food: why oil is the real villain in the food crisis

The rising cost of foods is widely being blamed on the use of grains for biofuels, and the case for the prosecution is simply made.

Oil prices to be probed by US regulator CFTC

America’s leading commodities regulator has launched an unprecedented investigation into possible market manipulation in the US crude oil market amid record prices which continue to cripple various parts of the global economy.

HSBC £120m directors’ package set for protest

Royal Dutch Shell recently had to acknowledge a large protest vote, after a third of investors opposed plans to give three directors €1m (£785,000).

Nigeria: Shell – Pengassan Threatens Mass Action

Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) yesterday warned that, it would mobilise the 15,000 workforce in the oil and gas industry for a prolonged mass action against Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) if it should go ahead with its plan to sack 2000 of its 7000 workers.

Colo. gets $35 million from Army, Shell for arsenal cleanup

Shell Oil Co., which made pesticides and other chemicals at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, will provide $21 million in cash and land under an agreement announced Thursday to settle a 25-year-old state lawsuit. The Army and the federal government are providing the rest.

Shell, Army OK $35M arsenal-pollution settlement

Shell Oil and the U.S. Army — which produced all manner of nasty chemicals from 1942 until 1982 at the arsenal, northeast of downtown Denver — have agreed to pay the state $35 million in damages for polluting groundwater at the arsenal, state Attorney General John Suthers said today.

Shell, Army reach $35M Arsenal settlement with state

Shell Oil Co. and the federal government have agreed to a $35 million payout to settle the state of Colorado’s quarter-century-old lawsuit over pollution at the Army’s former Rocky Mountain Arsenal on the outskirts of Denver.

The Nigerian Rebel Who ‘Taxes’ Your Gasoline

Okah may be in prison, but the organization he leads, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) continues to wreak havoc on international oil companies operating in the Niger Delta, sabotaging facilities and kidnapping personnel. And that limits Nigeria’s output, and keeps global oil prices climbing.

BP’s rough ride in Russia

Those with long memories will recall that in December 2006, Gazprom secured a majority stake in the Sakhalin-2 Russian oil and gas field formerly led by Royal Dutch Shell; at the time, Medvedev was chairman of Gazprom’s board of directors. Sakhalin-2 contains estimated reserves of 1.1 billion barrels of oil and 500 billion cubic meters of natural gas; the “friendly” buyout left Royal Dutch Shell with a 27.5-percent stake.

Can ExxonMobil Get Back to Business Now?

To achieve its success, ExxonMobil has been forced to do business with a less-than-hospitable Russian government, which has strong-armed Royal Dutch Shell and BP. It must also contend with Venezuelan wild man Hugo Chavez, who last year helped himself to the assets of half a dozen big oil companies. So Exxon’s core business clearly involves something more than casually nibbling on bon-bons.

Saudi Aramco at 75

I take special pride in mentioning that Motiva – our joint venture with Shell here in the U.S. – broke ground in December 2007 on a $7 billion project to expand its refinery in Port Arthur, Texas. Upon completion in 2010, this investment will provide 325,000 barrels per day of additional gasoline and other petroleum products to U.S. domestic markets. The expansion will increase the refinery’s crude throughput capacity to 600,000 barrels per day, making it the largest U.S. refinery. In addition, the project is expected to generate over 4,500 construction jobs and as many as 300 new permanent jobs upon completion.

Corporate Europe must improve compliance

The tough enforcement climate that European companies now face is nothing new in the US. It has been 30 years since its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act made the payment of foreign bribes illegal (compared with less than nine for Europe). To be sure, more than a few global companies headquartered in Europe maintain sophisticated processes to support compliance, often as a result of past regulatory disputes. Akzo-Nobel and Shell are two examples.

Gazprom Russian Energy Report available from Research and Markets Ltd

The new study draws results of Gazprom’s work under Putin the president and estimates future development of the main Russian company under Putin the prime minister and Medvedev the president.

Oil back above $US131 on supply risks

A militant attack over the weekend on a Royal Dutch Shell oil facility knocked out about 130,000 barrels in Nigeria’s daily oil production, the country’s oil minister said earlier

Blame Congress for High Oil Prices

Gasoline prices are through the roof and Americans are angry. Someone must be to blame and the obvious villain is “Big Oil” with its alleged ability to gouge consumers and achieve unconscionable, “windfall” profits. Congress is in a vile mood, and has dragged oil industry executives before its committees for show trials, issuing predictable threats of punishment, e.g. a “windfall profits tax.” But if there is a villain in all of this, it is Congress itself.

Oil Exporters Are Unable To Keep Up With Demand

“The sense in the market is that peak oil is here and that things will only get worse,”…

Frank Chapman: Adventurous in his pursuits

Ever since Shell hit reserve troubles five years ago, he has been dogged by speculation that he will return to run the oil group.

Green goals hit by rise in offshore wind cost

Shell recently highlighted problems in the sector when it pulled out of what was designed as the world’s biggest offshore wind farm – the London Array in the Thames estuary. The company said it could get more value by investing in onshore wind farms in the US, where the wind market is growing rapidly after a slow start compared with Europe.

Exxon Rejects Proposals Backed by Rockefellers

“Exxon Mobil is acting like a dinosaur now, not adopting to a changing environment,” a New York shareholder, Stephen Viederman, said.