Royal Dutch Shell’s Bonga field, the biggest deep offshore field in Africa and holding more than 1 billion barrels of crude reserves, thus became a showpiece of success in the Gulf of Guinea. Other oil majors such as Chevron Corp, Exxon Mobil Corp and Total also followed with huge offshore oil discoveries that helped make the waters offshore Nigeria a leading global oil exploration hotspot.
However, the aura of invincibility that surrounded the deep-water oilfields in Nigeria is no more. It was shattered on 19 June when the main guerrilla group in the oil region, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), launched an overnight raid on the Bonga oilfield’s floating, storage, production and offloading vessel, forcing it to shut down.
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In August 2004, the SEC fined Royal Dutch/Shell Group $120 million one of the largest penalties against a company in an accounting case in connection with the overstatement of oil and gas reserves. The Anglo-Dutch oil giants disclosure that year of reserve inflation stunned shareholders and the oil industry, and led to the dismissal of several top executives.
Mr Grieve owns at least £240,000 worth of shares in companies operating in the southern African country such as Shell, mining firms Rio Tinto and Anglo American and the Standard Chartered bank. Mr Cameron, speaking last week, warned that businesses and individuals “must not make investments that prop up the regime”.
Anthony Steen said he did not know that Unilever or Shell was involved in Zimbabwe.
Mr Cameron has called on all companies and individuals with “any dealings” in Zimbabwe to examine their consciences and ensure that they are not keeping Mr Mugabe in power.
The companies include Anglo American, the mining giant rebuked last week for pushing ahead with a new £200m platinum mine in Zimbabwe, Rio Tinto, Standard Chartered, Barclays, Shell and BP. Between them, Shell and BP control 40 per cent of Zimbabwe’s petrol market, distributing fuel to more than 200 sites around the country through BP/Shell Marketing Services Ltd
The oil ministry is expected within days to award six two-year service contracts to develop six giant fields to Shell, BP, ExxonMobil and Total.
The US Congress… is on the point of introducing measures to limit speculation in oil futures…
So far, the federal government has reacted by sending more troops to the Niger Delta. Shell has also resumed operations at the said station but under the watchful eyes of two naval frigates as guards.