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Posts from ‘June, 2010’

Vultures circle BP over fears its days are numbered in US

guardian.co.uk home

Oil firm’s shares surge 9% after speculation prompts takeover talk

Terry Macalister: Wednesday 30 June 2010 18.57 BST

A protester demonstrates at a BP petrol station in Manhattan. The company has been vilified in the US. Photograph: Mary Altaffer/AP

In the past an almost double-digit percentage increase in the BP share price would have signalled a spectacular oil strike. It is a measure of the decline in the company’s fortunes that such a surge was triggered by hopes of a takeover or break-up.

The company’s stock soared 9% to 331p at one point as a growing list of companies from China to Russia were linked with potential mega-mergers that could see the end of independence for what was once Britain’s biggest firm.

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A warning about Aviva car insurance

By John Donovan

A couple of days ago I made a telephone call to Aviva to notify the company I was switching to another car insurer.

I had discovered that similar, although not identical comprehensive cover, could be obtained from a competitor at a lot less than half of the comprehensive insurance premium I was paying. Basically both policies allowed me to drive my car under comprehensive cover.

I had not bothered to check comparable prices for may years.  I had left myself in the hands of a major insurer, Aviva, formally known as Norwich Union Direct, trusting they would remain competitive. Huge mistake on my part.

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Exxon or Shell should buy BP for £88bn, says analyst

Daily Telegraph: BP’S share price fell by a further 2pc, after a prominent City expert suggested it should be bought by US rival Exxon Mobil in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

By Rowena Mason, Energy Correspondent
30 June 2010

A sea turtle covered in oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill swimming off the Grand Terre Island.

Fred Lucas, an energy analyst at JP Morgan Cazenove, speculated that Exxon or Shell could swoop on the beleagured British oil giant for approximately £88bn. Exxon is the most financially strong oil company, he said, adding that it could make a cash and stock offer while spinning off $50bn (£33bn) of refining and marketing assets.

“We must emphasise,” Mr Lucas adds in the note, “that this is our idea and it is only an idea.”

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Will BP be bought by a US rival? I doubt it

Daily Telegraph

Given America’s dislike, nay hatred, of BP it would be ironic if a US company ended up buying it.

By Damian Reece, Head of Business
Published: 7:00AM BST 30 Jun 2010

US oil company Exxon Mobil has been touted as a possible buyer of BP

But that’s exactly what analysts at JP Morgan Cazenove have been postulating in a research note published on Tuesday. They describe a $133bn (£90bn) bid versus BP’s current value of $89bn (£60bn). The suitor? Exxon Mobil.

I’m sure Exxon’s boss, Rex Tillerson, has been watching events in the Gulf more closely than most. Likewise Peter Voser, his opposite number at Royal Dutch Shell. The value on offer at BP’s current stockmarket price is as obvious to them as it is to JP Morgan Cazenove.

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BP takeover talk resumes, bolstering shares

"In theory, either Exxon Mobil or RD Shell could consider a bid for BP" the analyst added. "They have similar business models and similar global asset structures. They also bear the lowest political risk to a potential combination with BP."

Shell Brazil Unit Finds Oil In Campos Basin Presalt Well

RIO DE JANEIRO (Dow Jones)--The Brazilian unit of Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA, RDSA.LN) discovered oil in the Campos Basin's presalt region, the company said Tuesday.

Exxon, Shell May Consider Possible Bid for BP, JPMorgan Says

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By Fred Pals

June 29 (Bloomberg) — Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc may consider bidding for BP Plc after the London-based oil company lost more than half of its market value in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, JPMorgan Cazenove Ltd. said.

Exxon Mobil has the stronger balance sheet and proven ability to integrate a large transaction, according to Fred Lucas, a London-based analyst at JP Morgan. It could make a cash and share offer, valuing BP at 473 pence a share compared with yesterday’s close of 308.25 pence, and including a $50 billion spin-off of BP’s downstream assets, according to JPMorgan.

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Iraq Cabinet Approves Shell Gas Deal In S Iraq-Official

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

JUNE 29, 2010

By Hassan Hafidh Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

The Iraqi cabinet Tuesday approved a deal with Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) and Mitsubishi Corp. (8058.TO) to develop a gas-structure project in southern Iraq, paving the way for a final signature of the multibillion deal, a government spokesman.

Ali al-Dabbagh said that Shell and Mitsubishi Corp. would hold 49% stake in the venture while Iraq’s state-owned South Gas Co. would hold 51%.

The decision was taken at the cabinet’s weekly meeting, Dabbagh said in a statement, a copy of which emailed to Dow Jones Newswires,

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BP, Arts sponsorship – and the fat cats…

Paddy Briggs’ letter, published in “The Guardian” 28th June 2010

It is understandable that, as you report, many artists and green groups are protesting against arts institutions receiving sponsorship from BP – but it is important to describe what such corporate charitable donations are – and what they are not. They are not in any way ever a meaningful contributor in a company’s overall obligations to its stakeholders. The amounts are collectively too small and the selection of recipients is far too random for the largesse to be anything than incidental in the context of a big company’s finances.null

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Deepwater Horizon – an independent assessment

My compliments to Panorama and your programme “How on earth did this happen”

Please see the attached analysis sent to the US investigators and Professor Robert Bea who according to CBS News 60 minutes has a role in collating survivors testimony and the Chemical Safety and Investigation Board (CSB) tasked I understand to investigate the disaster.

I have no connections whatsoever with BP, your people in Aberdeen are aware of who I am and I took part in 2006 in the BBC Frontline Scotland Programme the Human Price of Oil.  I have from time to time supplied Channel 4 with technical input on questions re offshore safety also.

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Shell declines to comment on alleged industrial espionage targeting U.S. Navy Dept

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 09.22.43By John Donovan

Printed below is email correspondence with Mr Richard Wiseman, Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. I am grateful to him for his response.

It seems reasonable to conclude in view of his response, that there is substance to astonishing allegations of Shell industrial espionage in the USA directed at the US Navy Department, involving classified military information.

Mr Wiseman must have checked with his American colleagues before replying, yet has been unable to issue the requested denial – see below – which would have resulted in non-publication.

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Shell protects interests in drilling rig takeover

Daily Telegraph

Shell has protected crucial oil drilling interests in a deal involving two of the biggest companies in the business.

By Roland Gribben
Published: 5:30AM BST 29 Jun 2010

Noble, the most important in the market after Transocean, is paying $2.16bn (£1.43bn) cash for Frontier, a Norwegian rival which has been developing a powerful new drilling vessel for operations in deep water and the Arctic in conjunction with Shell.

The deal comes against the background of the BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and the freeze on further offshore US drilling development imposed by President Obama in the immediate aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

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New York Fed probes Wall Street exposure to BP: sources

REUTERS

Joshua Schneyer and Kristina Cooke NEW YORK Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:59pm EDT

(Reuters) – The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has been probing major financial firms’ exposure to BP Plc to ensure that if the oil giant buckles under the costs of the Gulf oil spill, it won’t put Wall Street or the global financial system at risk, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

After poring over documents and asking banks about their exposure to BP over the past two weeks, the Fed found no systemic risk, and hasn’t asked firms to alter their credit relationships with BP, the sources told Reuters.

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Spain’s Repsol pulls out of Iran gas project

REUTERS

MADRID June 28 (Reuters) – Spain’s largest oil company Repsol (REP.MC: Quote) has pulled out of a contract it won with Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote) to develop part of the South Pars gas field in Iran, a spokesman said on Monday.

A spokesman for Shell declined to confirm whether the company will remain to develop phases 13 and 14 of the South Pars project, but noted that Shell will comply with any international trade restrictions which are placed on Iran.

A growing number of oil companies, trading houses and other international companies have stopped doing business with Iran this year amid a U.S. drive to isolate Tehran and international efforts to impose tougher sanctions.

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Stock and bond markets nervous about a possible BP bankruptcy

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BP’s Corner-Cutting Extends to Its Finances: Alice Schroeder

Commentary by Alice Schroeder

June 28 (Bloomberg) — Once perceived as a fortress built on low leverage and strong cash flows, BP Plc seems to have managed its balance sheet much the way it ran exploration projects — dangerously. Projections the company is feeding investors about how much cash it will have to pay claims are finally getting the skepticism they deserve.

It’s obvious why the stock and bond markets are nervous about a possible BP bankruptcy. Last week BP abandoned its no- worries stance that its cash reserves would cover cleanup costs and announced that it had put together a war chest of $20 billion, including lending commitments from banks. This shift didn’t occur because cleanup costs are rising. BP didn’t have enough funds in the first place.

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Total joins petrol embargo of Iran as sanctions loom

Financial Times

By Carola Hoyos and Javier Blas in London and Daniel,Dombey in Washington

Published: June 28 2010 03:00 | Last updated: June 28 2010 03:00

Total has become the latest big oil company to halt petrol sales to Iran, just days before Barack Obama, the US president, signs into law sanctions targeted at Tehran’s reliance on imported petroleum.

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Shell: deep-water oil drilling will go on

guardian.co.uk home

• Voser says rising demand forces search for new sites
• Storm threatens clean-up operation of BP’s Gulf spill

Graeme Wearden: Sunday 27 June 2010 19.09 BST

A heavily-oiled bird is rescued from the waters of Barataria Bay, which are laden with oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill. Photograph: Gerald Herbert/AP

Royal Dutch Shell‘s boss, Peter Voser, insisted that today it was not possible to satisfy the world’s growing energy demands without drilling for oil in deep-water reserves, despite the ongoing environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

At a conference in South Africa, Voser defended the oil industry’s push into deeper oil reserves and said Shell would continue to play its part, even as a tropical storm threatened to disrupt BP‘s efforts to clean up oil off the coast of Louisiana.

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Shell Corrib protester Maura Harrington jailed again

Maura Harrington (right), a local Shell to Sea campaigner was arrested on her way home yesterday from a funeral in Mayo, and taken to prison for refusing to pay fines relating to ‘offences’ while engaged in protests against Shell’s experimental raw gas pipeline and inland refinery.

Shell to Sea is a campaign based in Erris, County Mayo, Ireland which opposes the construction of a natural gas pipeline through Rossport, and also opposes the ongoing construction by Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil and Marathon Oil of a refinery at Bellanaboy intended to refine the natural gas from the Corrib gas field. The stated aim of the campaign is that the gas be refined at sea, rather than inland, as is done with Ireland’s only other producing gas field off County Cork. They maintain the proximity of a natural gas pipeline is a risk to local residents.

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Royal Dutch Shell: deep drilling must continue

Associated Press. 06.27.10, 12:30 PM EDT

CAPE TOWN, South AfricaRoyal Dutch Shell says rising demand means deep-water drilling must continue, but that competitor British Petroleum’s massive Gulf of Mexico spill offers lessons.

At a business and political forum in Cape Town, Royal Dutch Shell PLC ( RDSA news people ) chief executive Peter Voser said Sunday: “Given the rise in the population and rise in developing world of energy needs, we will have to develop those resources in deep waters ….”

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Shell employee kidnapped in Nigeria: army

(AFP) – Sunday 27 June 2010

LAGOS — Nigerian kidnappers have seized a local employee of Anglo-Dutch oil group Shell in the country’s oil hub of Port Harcourt, a military spokesman said Sunday.

“I heard that a Shell worker has been kidnapped in Port Harcourt. But I don’t have the details,” Colonel Timothy Antigha, spokesman for the military Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta told AFP.

Shell spokesman Tony Okonedo declined to comment on the incident, saying “the company does not speak on security issues”.

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Deep waters obscure case for oil investment

Financial Times

By Neil Hume

Published: June 25 2010 18:47 | Last updated: June 25 2010 18:47

Extracts:

At the very least investors should now be more wary of investing in a sector where a company the size of BP can see its share price halve in a little over two months and come under such political pressure that it feels the need to halt dividend payments and set up a $20bn compensation fund.

Shell has a more diversified portfolio and most of its important developments – the Pearl gas to liquids plant in Qatar and Canadian oil sands – do not involve deepwater drilling. Even so, it still has material operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

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My pipe dream that was a big nightmare

THE SUNDAY TIMES

Shell chief Terry Nolan is confident that despite being a decade late and three times over budget, Corrib will win over its critics

Mark Paul Published: 20 June 2010

Like another oil firm in big trouble at the moment, Shell caused a lot of upset, which Nolan accepts. ‘If I was doing it all again, we would put more effort into understanding the community,’ he says

Terry Nolan, the managing director of Shell Exploration and Production (E&P) Ireland, picks up the microphone and addresses the 700 construction workers gathered at Shell’s Bellanaboy gas refinery, near Rossport on the wild northern Mayo coast.

The refinery will serve the contentious Corrib gas field, located 83km out in the Atlantic Ocean.

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Royal Dutch Shell holds board meeting in Doha

Saturday, 26 June 2010 22:09

DOHA: The Board of Directors of Royal Dutch Shell plc has met in Doha, underlining the importance of the country as a new heartland for Shell.

Chairman Jorma Ollila, Chief Executive Officer Peter Voser and other senior Board members were received during their visit by Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Industry, H E Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah.

The Board of Directors which consists of three Executive Directors, nine Non-Executive Directors and the Company Secretary meets around eight times a year, usually in Shell’s headquarters in The Hague, to discuss Shell’s business and plans. Once a year the Board visits a key location for Shell’s global business and in 2010 they decided to come to Qatar.

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SHELL DOWNSTREAM MI SYSTEM

Posting on Shell Blog by IT4me on Jun 26th, 2010 at 8:50 pm

THE CHANGE CONTROL DIKTAT

To make any change to a Downstream MI system today you start by filling-in a stack of forms. Each contains a multitude of questions, including some risible ones of the “are you a terrorist?” variety. You collect signatures, pass the forms to your resident Kremlinologist, then wait for a verdict from the “CAB” (Change Approval Board). This takes a minimum of 10 days, more usually 1 MONTH.

Some emphasis on CONTROL is understandable in the wake of the scandals of the last decade (Enron, RDS Reserves, SocGen…). But look more closely. No EXCEPTIONS are allowed, so a 1-HOUR change now takes 1 MONTH. This is MI, so we are dealing only with HISTORICAL transactions with no scope for a “SocGen”. MI uses lightweight/disposable engineering, not “production grade” stuff, so it simply doesn’t warrant this level of asset protection. A “one size fits all” approach to Change Control has effectively been dumped on MI without the slightest regard for the consequences.

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BP has hired bankruptcy attorneys in New Orleans?

Class Derides BP’s ‘Culture of Safety’

By SABRINA CANFIELD

NEW ORLEANS (CN) – While BP’s top U.S. official said he stands by BP’s “culture of safety” and said BP’s practices are the same as those “deployed by the other companies out there,” a federal class action claims that BP refineries in Texas and Ohio have accounted for 97 percent of the “egregious, willful” citations from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the past 3 years.

BP was cited for 760 such violations, while Sunoco and Conoco-Phillips had 8 apiece, Citgo had 2 and Exxon had 1 comparable citation, according to the complaint.

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BP turns down Shell cleanup vessel for Gulf of Mexico spill

msnbc.com

by Ted Land
Friday, June 25, 2010

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Some people are disappointed that BP is passing up an important tool in its response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Shell Oil’s sophisticated cleanup vessel, the Nanuq, could be on its way to the gulf — but instead it’s docked in Seward, waiting for its next assignment.

Shell built the ship in 2007, and says it’s one of the most advanced skimming vessels of its kind in the world.

“She’s definitely the largest that we know of,” said Shell Alaska’s Susan Moore. “She’s got 12,000 barrels of storage, which is above and beyond what most other oil spill response vessels around the world have.”

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BP’s Eventual Bankruptcy Is Certain

What they’re still touting as the “worst environmental disaster in US history” is quickly growing up into the worst environmental disaster in the history of humanity.

Seeking Alpha

June 25, 2010

There is no doubt that BP (BP) will not emerge from this oil spill disaster intact. Make no mistake – this is the fatal black swan event in BP’s life that is going to take investors by the hundreds down with the ship. Its not going to happen immediately. Much like the slow initial fall and eventual breakneck pace of collapse of a giant tree, the giant oil leak is the event that will catalyze the fall of this far flung and storied company.

Here’s some food for thought in support of my prediction. I also caveat that statement with the possibility that a ‘merger’ or ‘buyout’ will be forced and negotiated out of public view to offset political carnage. Either way, shareholders and taxpayers alike will burn.

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Iran Says Door Still Open To Shell But Repsol Pulled Out

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

JUNE 26, 2010

LONDON (Dow Jones)–Iran is leaving the door open to Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA, RDSB, RDSA.LN, RDSB.LN) to join a giant gas project but Repsol YPF (REP, REP.MC) has completely pulled out, a top government official said Friday.

The statement comes after state-owned Pars Oil and Gas Co. awarded contracts to develop phases 13 and 14 of the South Pars field to domestic companies after talks with Shell and Repsol came to no avail.

Speaking to Dow Jones Newswires, Hojatollah Ghanimifard, vice president in charge of investment affairs at the National Iranian Oil Co., said the Anglo-Dutch company has been told to contact POGC so “they will be introduced to contractors” with whom they could work. Shell declined to comment.

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Oil Companies Stock Up On Cash Ahead Of An Uncertain Future

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

JUNE 25, 2010

By Chris Dieterich Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)–Oil giants are ramping up their borrowing, braving higher interest rates in order to lock down funding as a hedge against further turmoil in their industry or in credit markets, traders and analysts said.

Facing possible further legislative or market turmoil from the ramifications of BP PLC’s (BP, BP.LN) efforts to deal with an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the need to refinance current bond offerings when they come due later this year, companies in the energy sector are trying to get their balance sheets in order now in case credit markets tighten further in the future.

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BP oil spill: shares slump further as hurricane fears rise

Telegraph.co.uk: BP shares slumped to their lowest level in 14 years on Friday on concerns that a hurricane next week could worsen the impact of the spill as it hampers clean-up work.

Published: 25 Jun 2010

The shares were down more than 7pc at just over 300p in early trading and have now fallen more than 50pc since BP’s well in the Gulf of Mexico ruptured 67 days ago, creating the biggest oil spill in US history.

Shares in BP, which has lost its status as Europe’s largest oil company, have fallen as the company’s efforts to prevent the oil gushing from the well consistently fail.

Added to investors’ existing fears over the cost of the clean-up and potential liabilities, is the prospect of the first tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season forming this weekend. A collection of thunderstorms was intensifying in the Caribbean off Honduras and Nicaragua, the US National Hurricane Center said late last night.

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Garage card scammer jailed

TheRegister

35,000 card details snaffled

By John Oates 23rd June 2010 12:37 GMT

Theogenes De Montford, 29, of Blandford Way, Hayes has been sentenced to four and a half years for his role in one of the UK’s biggest chip and pin scams.

The gang put card cloning equipment on pin entry handsets at petrol stations around the country.

De Montford was caught with 35,000 card details when arrested.

An amazing 7,000 of these came from one garage – a Shell garage on Bluebell Hill in Maidstone, Kent.

A spokesman for Shell UK said the impact of all card fraud, not just this gang’s, resulted in a 25 per cent drop in its business. Actual losses worked out at £725,000 between January and September, PA reports.

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UAE wants Shell for Shah after Conoco exit-sources

DUBAI, June 23 (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates' would like Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) to step in as its partner at the $10 billion Shah gas project after U.S. major ConocoPhillips (COP.N) withdrew, industry sources in the UAE said on Wednesday.

Global gas demand to rise 25 pct by 2020 -Shell exec

REUTERS

June 24 (Reuters) – Global gas demand is still set to increase by one quarter by 2020, despite uncertainty about the recovery of industrial demand for the cleanest-burning hydrocarbon, a Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) executive said on Thursday.

“Gas industry conditions remain tough. The recovery is still fragile,” De la Rey Venter, Shell’s global head of liquefied natural gas (LNG), told the National Oil Companies Congress in London.

“(But) global gas demand will rise by one quarter by 2020… Of all primary sources of energy, natural gas is clearly the most attractive hydrocarbon.”

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Shell: Saudi Arabia May Benefit From LNG Imports

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

JUNE 24, 2010

LONDON (Dow Jones)–Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest energy producer, may benefit from importing liquefied natural gas to boost domestic supply and maximize profits from oil exports, a Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB) executive said Thursday.

“In an environment where much crude and fuel oil is being burnt up for power, there’s a strong case to bring in more gas and free up some of that [oil] for export,” De la Rey Venter, Shell’s global head of LNG, said at the National Oil Companies congress in London.

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Before Rig Explosion in Gulf, Scant Difference Between BP and Other Drillers on Safety

By MIKE SORAGHAN of Greenwire Published: June 24, 2010

To look at the safety records of the offshore drilling companies before the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank on April 20, there was little difference between BP America Inc. and its peers in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

According to a Greenwire analysis of Interior Department records, BP ranked a close third in penalties for safety violations. And statistics compiled on injuries and fires show that BP’s records were comparable to those of other deepwater drilling companies.

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Russia’s oil exploration threatens gray whales

Postponing seismic work may help the whales recover, say scientists

BBC NEWS

Oil exploration plans in eastern Russia are a serious threat to gray whales in the area, say scientists with the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

The Rosneft company is due to begin a seismic survey around Sakhalin island within the next few weeks.

The IWC’s Scientific Committee is “extremely concerned” about the plans and is calling for a postponement.

The gray whale population is critically endangered, with only about 130 animals left and only 20 breeding females.

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Relief wells may not stop Deepwater Horizon oil leak

examiner.com: Experts agree BP oil well casing has failed: Relief wells may not stop Deepwater Horizon oil leak

June 23, 9:41 PMPolitical Spin ExaminerMaryann Tobin

There is an increasingly real possibility that we may never be able to stop the gushing hole left in the Gulf sea floor unleashed by the Deepwater Horizon.

Former president of Shell oil and founder of Citizens for Affordable Energy, John Hofmeister, told Hardball’s Chris Matthews that the casing that leads to the oil reservoir may be so badly damaged from wear under the extreme pressure, the relief wells will not be able to stop the flow.

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U.S. judge rules against White House on drilling ban

REUTERS

* A victory for drillers, White House to challenge ruling

* Interior Dept to issue new order for moratorium

* Offshore operators say they await appeal outcome

By Mary Rickard

NEW ORLEANS, June 22 (Reuters) – A U.S. judge ruled on Tuesday against the six-month moratorium that President Barack Obama’s administration imposed on deepwater drilling over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, prompting officials to vow to appeal and retool the ban.

The order, in a New Orleans federal court, was a blow to the White House which had insisted a ban on offshore drilling below 500 feet (152 meters) would allow enough time to ensure other exploratory drilling was proceeding safely.

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US Gulf oil drilling ban overturned by federal judge

Rig drilling relief well in the Gulf of Mexico A ban on drilling was imposed following the BP oil rig explosion

BBC NEWS

A US federal court judge has blocked President Barack Obama’s six-month moratorium on deep water oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

The moratorium was put in place in the wake of the massive oil spill triggered by an explosion at a rig in April.

The judge said the lengthy ban was “invalid” and could not be justified, as the negative impact on local businesses was simply too great.

The White House said it would be appealing against the decision.

“An invalid agency decision to suspend drilling of wells in the depths over 500ft simply cannot justify the immeasurable effect on the plaintiffs, the local economy, the Gulf region and the critical present-day aspect of the availability of domestic energy in this country,” judge Martin Feldman said.

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Pennsylvania votes to divest firms tied to Iran

Inquirer

PhillyDeals: Pa. House votes to divest firms tied to Iran

By Joseph N. DiStefano

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted unanimously Tuesday to make the state Treasury and pension funds dump stock worth more than $400 million in Royal Dutch Shell and dozens of other foreign companies.”If they want to do business with Pennsylvania’s pension funds, they’ll have to cut their ties to Iran,” the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Josh Shapiro, a Democrat who represents Abington and Upper Dublin, told me.

State pension funds would be barred from buying into companies that make significant investments in Iran and Sudan under the law, which Gov. Rendell is likely to sign once state lawyers review it, his spokesman, Gary Tuma, told me.

Pennsylvania’s pension funds resisted past

attempts to divest companies in Northern Ireland and South Africa amid concerns that politicizing the underfunded pension plans would hurt investment returns.

Indeed, Shapiro’s proposal “was met with very stiff oppositions from the pension funds and from their sympathizers” when he pressed it in his first term five years ago, Shapiro told me.

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Oil Spills in Nigeria

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

“Half a World From the Gulf, a Spill Scourge 5 Decades Old” (front page, June 17), reporting that spills are a major problem in the Niger Delta, misses crucial context that explains why they happen.

You make a comparison between the Exxon Valdez spill and Nigeria. The two are completely different. The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria is the largest oil producer in the Niger Delta. In terms of volume, spills due to human error or equipment failure from its facilities over the last 10 years amounted to about 5 percent of the Exxon Valdez spill volume annually.

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Well design may be hampering spill efforts

Chron.com

Deepwater Horizon

Reduction in thickness of casing raises concern about well’s integrity

By TOM FOWLER and ERIC NALDER
HOUSTON CHRONICLE

June 21, 2010, 10:59PM

Kari Gooodnough Bloomberg: Seaweed covered in oil from the Macondo well sits on a public beach in Gulf Shores, Ala., earlier this month.

Money-saving measures BP took while designing the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico appear to have dogged efforts to bring the massive oil spill under control.

Documents released by congressional investigators show that modifications to the well design BP made last year included a reduction in the thickness of a section of the casing — steel piping in the wellbore

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East Timor Proposes $3.8 Billion Gas Hub on its Soil

Australia’s second-largest oil and gas producer and its partners, including Royal Dutch Shell Plc, have opted to rely on floating liquefied natural gas technology for the development, saying that it will deliver the most revenue to both Australia and East Timor. The government of East Timor objects to any plan that doesn’t include a gas processing plant in the country.

Shell Tarred by Gulf Spill Pays Up in Bond Sale: Credit Markets

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By Tim Catts and John Detrixhe

June 22 (Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc was penalized by the bond market in a $2.75 billion debt offering and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. notes tumbled on concern the worst oil spill in U.S. history will depress profits across the industry.

Investors demanded an extra 110 basis points in yield over U.S. Treasuries to buy the five-year notes from Shell, compared with 89 basis points for existing debt of similar maturity from the company, which is based in The Hague. Debt of Anadarko, owner of a 25 percent stake in BP Plc’s leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico, fell the most since June 9.

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Shell and PIB: blackmail is the game

As the oil industry across the globe focused on the Gulf of Mexico and the remediation efforts mounted to contain the massive spill caused by the explosion of BP’s oil rig on April 20, Shell, Nigeria’s Anglo-Dutch oil operator, was back on the campaign trail to get the federal government either to water down or back off from going ahead with the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) currently before the National Assembly.

To demonstrate its crass insensitivity, it “dangled” a $40 billion investment carrot which its Nigerian Managing Director Mutiu Sunmonu claims stands imperilled in the event of the PIB sailing through.

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Chevron and Shell facing hefty fines for price fixing in South Africa

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The Associated Press  June 21, 2010, 1:57PM ET

SAfrican watchdog fines oil firms on price-fixing

JOHANNESBURG

South Africa’s anti-competition watchdog says that a number of international oil giants, including Chevron and Shell, are facing hefty fines for price collusion, a punishable offense in South Africa.

South Africa’s Competition Tribunal, which investigates companies’ competition conduct, said Monday that between 2000 and 2009 oil companies Chevron, Shell, Engen, Total, Masana, Sasol and Tosas colluded in fixing their products’ prices.

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Oil firms challenge U.S. deepwater drilling ban

REUTERS

Mary Rickard and Ernest Scheyder NEW ORLEANS/LAFITTE

Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:17pm ED

Louisiana (Reuters) – Oil services companies went to court on Monday seeking to overturn President Barack Obama’s six-month ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico after the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman said he would decide by Wednesday whether to temporarily lift the ban while the case is heard. More than a dozen companies involved in offshore drilling operations filed the lawsuit, calling the ban “arbitrary and capricious.”

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BP Spills Coffee

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AAa0gd7ClM

Failure of Rig’s Last Line of Defense Tied to Myriad Factors

It was the last line of defense, the final barrier between the rushing volcanic fury of oil and gas and one of the worst environmental disasters in United States history.Its very name — the blind shear ram — suggested its blunt purpose. When all else failed, if the crew of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig lost control of a well, if a dreaded blowout came, the blind shear ram’s two tough blades were poised to slice through the drill pipe, seal the well and save the day. Everything else could go wrong, just so long as “the pinchers” went right. All it took was one mighty stroke. On the night of April 20, minutes after an enormous blowout ripped through the Deepwater Horizon, the rig’s desperate crew pinned all hope on this last line of defense. But the line did not hold.

Anger grows across the world at the real price of ‘frontier oil’

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Far from the Gulf of Mexico, campaigners are accusing energy companies of destroying land and livelihoods in the search for increasingly scarce resources

A woman hurries away from the heat of a gas flare near a flow station belonging to Shell in Warri, Nigeria. Photograph: George Osodi/AP

Richard Wachman and John Stibbs Sunday 20 June 2010

The eyes of the world are on BP after the disaster that left oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico at the rate of 50,000 gallons a day. But campaigners accuse Big Oil of an appalling track record elsewhere in the world, saying it leaves a trail of devastation in its wake.

From Nigeria to Kazakhstan in Central Asia, and Colombia and Ecuador in South America, the oil majors stand accused of a blatant disregard for local communities and the environments in which they operate.

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