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Posts from ‘July, 2010’

Strong men at Shell

Article by a former employee of Shell Oil Co.

John,

I was reading some of your references to ‘strong men’ at the helm of Shell and the negative impacts they have had on the company.

In the States, the 1980’s were the decade of ‘Bookout’. This was when I worked for Shell.

At Shell USA John Bookout (right)was at the helm of the company from 1978 to 1986. He took the company down the road into heavy oil and the Belridge acquisition and moved away from a heavy emphasis on exploring for new reserves.

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SHELL CERTAIN IT CAN RIDE OUT GULF STORM

Express.co.uk - Home of the Daily and Sunday Express Express - Breaking news, sport and showbiz from the World's Greatest Newspaper

By Andrew Johnson: Friday July 30, 2010

ROYAL Dutch Shell yesterday expressed confidence in its safety standards in the wake of BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill as it unveiled a near doubling in profits to $4.5billion (£2.9billion) for the second quarter to June.

Chief executive Peter Voser (right) said the disaster was a “tragedy” that would have “far-reaching implications” for the whole industry.
Stricter rules are expected to drive up costs. However, he said Shell already complied with or exceeded most of the changes to safety regulations now being proposed, before adding: “At the end of the day, you will not be in a position to say it will never happen, because accidents do happen.”

Shell took a $56million hit from the deep water drilling ban imposed by the US government after the spill, which is expected to cost three million barrels of oil this year in production. Voser did not rule out trying to reclaim the money from BP.

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Latest Corrib delay exposes monumental folly of Bellanaboy plan

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Western People

EDITORIAL: Latest Corrib delay exposes monumental folly of Bellanaboy plan

It is almost ten years since plans were unveiled for a gas processing facility at Bellanaboy in North Mayo.  When permission was initially sought from Mayo Co Council for the gas terminal, the promoters of the Corrib project  confidently predicted that gas would flow by late 2003.  Last week’s revelations confirm that Corrib is now a decade behind its initial schedule and millions of euro over budget.

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BP spill cases head to court as Shell counts cost

Potentially adding its name to the line of claimants, Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) idled seven rigs and took a $56 million charge related to the drilling ban on Thursday. Saying the ban would reduce its production by almost 3 million barrels this year, the company did not rule out reclaiming the cash from BP. Shell, one of the biggest oil producers in the Gulf of Mexico, said it had idled rigs rather than move them elsewhere because the ban's six-month duration meant it was not profitable to redeploy them to other areas.

Obama Turns to China, Mideast to Bid to Get Iran Sanctions `Globalized’

Shell is among companies that have said they’re still considering whether to continue their investments, he said. New sanctions adopted this month by the European Union probably will accelerate Shell’s decision, he said.

Shell defends deep water drilling as cuts boost profits

Telegraph.co.uk

Royal Dutch Shell has defended the safety record of deepwater drilling, as cost-cutting helped it to make $4.4bn of profits in the last quarter.

By Rowena Mason
Published: 6:30AM BST 30 Jul 2010

The oil giant slashed its spending by $3.5bn over the last 18 months by shedding 7,000 staff and making operational savings. It saw a 15pc increase in profits – on a cost of supply basis stripping out inventory changes – and 49pc rise in pre-tax profits to $8.7bn.

Peter Voser, the chief executive, insisted that safety budgets and asset integrity had been ring-fenced from the cuts. US politicians have blamed cost-cutting for contributing to the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil leak – an allegation that BP denies.

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US gas stations: Stay BP or change name to Amoco?

NEW ORLEANS — BP gas station owners across the country are divided over whether the oil giant stained by its handling of the Gulf spill should rebrand U.S. outlets as Amoco or another name as part of its effort to repair the company's badly damaged reputation.

Exxon Mobil sponsors Australian Journalism conference

The PR Report

“What’s the story?” is the title for the Australian Journalists 2010 annual conference. It’s a good theme; the core of excellent journalism is to ask the question “what’s the story?”

Which leads nicely to this question: what’s the story with the Australian Journalists union accepting sponsorship from Exxon Mobil?

See the details on the Walkley/MEAA website here:
http://www.walkleyconference.com.au/supporters

Why is Exxon Mobil the GOLD Sponsor of the Australian Journalism conference? Given the recent public relations disasters by oil giant BP, and allegations of oil companies funding specific academics and conferences, (link to Clive Hamilton’s blog on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s commentary website, The Drum), is this the image the Australian Journalist’s peak body is after?

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Shell chemical fallout

For obvious reasons, “SHELLTOX”, is not a brand name Shell would adopt these days. The “flykiller” was launched in the USA in the late 20’s. Aptly named, it contained a mixture of toxic chemicals deadly to flies and humans. An indiscriminate killer.


Shell Chemical also had to take its “No-Pest-Strip” off the market… the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was finding hundreds of other cases of poisoning by DDVP–the cancer-causing stuff in Shell’s strip that kills pests . . . and some people.

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Shell: New Perdido Field Shut By US Drilling Moratorium

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

JULY 29, 2010

LONDON (Dow Jones)–Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s (RDSB) new Perdido field in the Gulf of Mexico was shut down in April by the U.S. drilling moratorium less than a month after starting up and won’t resume production until October, said the company’s Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry Thursday.

The six-month ban on deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico in response to the BP PLC (BP) blowout and oil spill prevented essential development drilling on the field, said Henry. When work resumes in October, the field will ramp up to its peak production of 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day more slowly than previously expected, he said.

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Royal Dutch Shell profits almost double

Second-quarter profits at oil giant Royal Dutch Shell have almost doubled after the firm completed a year-long corporate restructuring programme.

The firm reported profits of $4.5bn (£2.9bn) on a current cost of supplies basis, up from $2.3bn a year ago.

But it marked a drop from the $4.9bn it made in the first three months of the year as it continued to see “mixed signals” in the world economy.

Earlier this week, rival BP reported a record $17bn loss.

That included a provision of $32bn to cover the costs of its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In contrast to BP, who suspended dividends for the rest of the year, Shell said it would pay a second quarter dividend of $0.42 per share.

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Problem loading up the royaldutchshellplc.com website

A number of people in Europe and the USA have reported a problem loading up this website.

They say that the right hand columns do not appear.

That problem has hopefully now been resolved.

Shell Posts Higher Profit on Oil Prices, Production

Bloomberg

By Fred Pals – Jul 29, 2010 7:14 AM GMT+0100

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, posted a 15 percent increase in second- quarter profit on higher oil prices and production.

Net income rose to $4.39 billion from $3.82 billion a year earlier, The Hague-based Shell said today in a statement. Excluding one-time items and inventory changes, earnings beat analyst estimates.

Peter Voser, in his second year as chief executive officer, has merged units, pledged as much as $8 billion of asset sales in 2010 to 2011. The U.S. ban on deepwater drilling following BP Plc’s oil spill will hold back development of Shell reserves in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska.

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Ray Fox allegations against Royal Dutch Shell

Forum for Stable Currencies Advocating Economic Democracy through Freedom from National Debt

Convenor: Lord Sudeley FSA; Host: Lord Ahmed; Chairman: Austin Mitchell MP

Sponsors: James Gibb Stuart, Ossian Publishers; Barbara A. Panvel, New Era Coalition

Organiser: Sabine K McNeill, Director, 3D Metrics; Facilitator: Brad Meyer, Collaboration Ltd

NEWS RELEASE
28th July 2010

Homeless UK man with nuclear induced illness seeks legal redress

Despite receiving a judgement in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in his favour (2008), former successful Reading businessman, Raymond Fox did not receive compensation for the loss of his health and home, on top of having been made an “indefinite bankrupt” since 2001 for an alleged debt of £7,000.  He has now been made homeless and like many others who have been declared bankrupt/lost their properties, he intends to seek that UK law be upheld to deal with his multifaceted problems.

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On the Surface, Gulf Oil Spill Is Vanishing Fast; Concerns Stay

THE NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in print on July 28, 2010, on page A1 of the New York edition.

By JUSTIN GILLIS and CAMPBELL ROBERTSON

The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be dissolving far more rapidly than anyone expected, a piece of good news that raises tricky new questions about how fast the government should scale back its response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The immense patches of surface oil that covered thousands of square miles of the gulf after the April 20 oil rig explosion are largely gone, though sightings of tar balls and emulsified oil continue here and there.

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BP Spill Thwarts Shell, Statoil in Arctic Oil Drilling Delay

Bloomberg

By Kari Lundgren – Jul 28, 2010

BP Plc’s disaster in the Gulf of Mexico will keep the planet’s biggest pot of untapped oil and gas under the Arctic ice for now as regulators toughen drilling rules and demand better ways to handle spills.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc has had plans to explore off Alaska halted by both U.S. authorities and a federal court ruling last week. Norway’s Statoil ASA faces government restrictions on drilling in Arctic waters, while BP, responsible for the Gulf spill that prompted scrutiny of offshore drilling, has put off developing its Liberty prospect in the Beaumont Sea until 2011.

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Not much tolerance for criticism within Shell

There is not much tolerance for criticism within Shell. The biggest mistake I made in my short and soon to end Shell career was identifying genuine problems and trying to be honest with those senior to me. This doesn’t pay. It pays to tow the company line no matter how ridiculous that is.

OSTING ON SHELL BLOG BY “jg6” IN RESPONSE TO ANOTHER CONTRIBUTOR, “USCITIZEN”

Just thought I’d post a couple of my thoughts. Firstly the use of the word “chiefs” seems to of upset you. I apologise if this is the case. I didn’t mean it as a prescriptive term for all managers.

Unfortunately my manager is not as open as you seem to be.

He unfortunately seems to be indicative of the kind of manager that Shell has these days. A few factual examples as follows:

1. He refused to greet any staff members within our division for an extended period of time. He has since rectified this after several complaints from a number of staff.
2. He routinely attempts to extend people’s 3-4 years windows with zero consultation by stealth on the flimsy HR systems.
3. Once staff make it clear that their future lies within another division of Shell he consistently gives them very low scores on their performance reviews. This has happened on a number of occasions.
4. Despite appalling results in the widely encouraged Shell Survey and strong encouragement from management above him he has flatly ignored the survey results. Sadly the division seems to be heading for another extremely poor, even by Shell standards, set of survey results.
5. He carved out a “dream team” within the team to surround him to work on special jobs. These people have all subsequently quit for other large oil companies. He described this failed venture as an experiment which he was happy failed.
6. He has a healthy level of disrespect for people undertaking post graduate studies as he took the school of hard knocks straight out of Shell.

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Shell 1995 blowout and 2006 loss of control (both Shell Syria)

Boots & Coots specialists among 5 killed in blast during battle with Syrian blowout.

Shell CEO Voser claims technology is key to energy security

LONDON, July 27 (UPI) — The world is facing drastic energy shortages unless investors back technological advancements in all forms of energy, executives said in London.

Peter Voser, the chief executive officer at Royal Dutch Shell, told an audience in London that the global community needed to look for new ways to exploit renewable and fossil fuels.

“Even assuming heroic steps to use energy more efficiently, the world will need to develop all energy types,” he said.

Scientists at Shell said that without new ways to increase energy supplies, the world could face looming energy shortages in the coming decades even as new sources of energy such as Iraqi oil come on stream.

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Shell Bay Marchand 1970 Well Blowout in the Gulf of Mexico

The entire platform burned. It was at the time the biggest production disaster in the history of the Gulf of Mexico. Shell let it burn rather than pollute the nearby delta. It took 9 months to drill all the relief wells to kill 23 boreholes.

By John Donovan

As a result of the current oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, reference has been made in some news articles to a major past tragedy in the Gulf. It also involved the deaths of offshore workers.

A massive offshore blaze on Platform “B”in the Bay Marchand field in the shallow offshore of the Louisiana coast ignited on Dec. 1, 1970.  The platform was located about 65 miles south of New Orleans, in an area of considerable oil and gas activity, both offshore and in the bays.

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A close call for Shell on North Sea platform

On 11 May 2010, just weeks after the Gulf of Mexico disaster, Shell had a very narrow escape on the NAM-L13-FE North Sea platform that could have killed many people. There were 71 persons present at the time of the incident. Fortunately, none were injured. There was however significant damage to the platform.

Article by John Donovan including current related email correspondence with Royal Dutch Shell Plc

On 20 April 2010 an explosion and fire took place on the BP-licensed Transocean drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, located in the Gulf of Mexico. As we all know, the fall out from the explosion has been earthshaking in its ramifications in many directions.

On 27 June 2010, the Guardian published a related article “Shell: deep-water oil drilling will go on” featuring an interview with Peter Voser, the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. It contained this boast attributed to Mr Voser:

We would not have drilled the well in the same way. We have got other safety procedures across the globe. But I think for some companies there will be some learning from this as well…

In other words, Shell has nothing to learn from the BP disaster.

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Hayward Fell Short of Modern CEO Demands

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

JULY 26, 2010

By PAUL SONNE

LONDON—In three short months, BP PLC Chief Executive Tony Hayward learned what it meant to become the face of disaster.

Until this spring, Mr. Hayward was a brainy geologist leading a seemingly successful turnaround of BP’s sluggish operations and positioning it to compete more effectively with rivals such as Royal Dutch Shell.

But that fell by the wayside on April 20, when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, drilling a well for BP, exploded, eventually sending hundreds of millions of gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven workers died in the catastrophe.

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Shell CEO speaks out on safety and reputation

By John Donovan

Printed below is a leaked 2007 Shell internal email from the then CEO with a bike, Jeroen van der Veer. He sent it to all Shell employees in an attempt to burnish and promote Shell’s reputation just a few years after his involvement in the Shell securities fraud, which put more nails in Shell’s atrocious reputation. Must have been hoping Shell employees had a short memory about his own track record of covering up management misdeeds. No wonder one high level insider branded him “demented and delusional”.

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The Arctic and Shell

Updated August 5, 2010, with extensive related links.

What makes the oil companies think they can produce oil and gas safely in the very harsh world of the Arctic oceans? They cannot do in the Gulf of Mexico, or the Niger River delta, or anywhere else for that matter.

This article is authored by a former employee of Shell Oil. His identify and background is known to us.

Back in the early mid-1980’s Shell Oil began to take a serious look at the hydrocarbon production potential of the Chukchi Sea. They formed an operating division and staffed it with management, albeit with no staff, except secretarial support for the managers. (These guys were referred to ‘managers without portfolio’).

Shell’s exploration and production research division began to investigate the regions of the Chukchi Sea where potential lease sales were likely to occur. Of interest were the basic oceanographic parameters; water depths, under topography, sea floor surface geology, ice pack characteristics, etc. The basic surveys revealed some interesting results. The sea flow was basically covered fairly deeply with soft sediment (marine mud) but the topography was highly unusual. Acoustic mapping revealed an ocean bottom that was scarred by all sorts of crisscrossing trenches from a meter or so in depth, to almost 20 meters in depth.

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America’s petro-state

EXTRACTS:

Americans may be torn up by the BP oil spill and its destruction of the Gulf of Mexico’s natural habitat – and torn up we should be – but that habitat has not been pristine for decades. In many ways, Louisiana made its deal with the devil long ago.

“big oil plays an unnatural role in our politics. … Oil elects presidents, drives our foreign policy, our domestic policy, our climate change policy. … It’s led us to terrible energy policies and a breakdown of regulation. We look to the Niger Delta as an example of what an oil state does to its own environment, but it’s precisely what we’re doing to our own environment.”

Louisiana has paid a steep price for its bargain with the oil industry

By STEVEN MUFSON
Washington Post

July 24, 2010, 3:54PM

Huey Long, the famous Louisiana populist, launched his political career by waging war on the big oil companies, especially what he called Standard Oil’s “invisible empire.”

“I would rather go down to a thousand impeachments than to admit that I am the governor of the state that does not dare to call the Standard Oil Company to account,” he declared in a 1929 campaign circular.

But the threat of a thousand impeachments notwithstanding, Long later built his own invisible oil empire: In 1934, while he was a senator, he and his political associates formed the Win or Lose Corp. The company — which had a reputation of never losing – bought up state mineral leases and resold them to oil companies at a healthy profit, while keeping a share for itself. Although Long died in 1935, his family and friends received royalties for decades.

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‘The Well From Hell’

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Published: July 24, 2010

Derick E. Hingle/Bloomberg News

LOCKED DOWN TIGHT

The News BP and the government decided to leave the cap closed on the company’s stricken oil well on the Gulf of Mexico’s floor, preventing any oil or gas from escaping the well.

Behind the News Initially, the cap’s valves were closed as a test to see if the well was intact below the sea floor, and the plan was to reopen them afterward to relieve the pressure, with escaping oil collected at the surface. Methane gas was found seeping up two miles away, but scientists concluded it was a natural occurrence. With the well apparently holding tight under the pressure, Thad W. Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral in charge of the federal response, approved keeping the cap closed.

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RETIRED SHELL OFFSHORE EXPERT SPEAKS OUT AGAIN ON GULF OF MEXICO DISASTER

I believe you are seeing the early unravelling of this affair pointing more and more towards the owner and operator Transocean, the US legislators, and the US Oil Industry.

EMAIL TO JOHN DONOVAN FROM BILL CAMPBELL, RETIRED HSE GROUP AUDITOR, SHELL INTERNATIONAL, AN EXPERT ON OFFSHORE PLATFORM SAFETY ISSUES

John

It appears I was right in my analysis, your website was the first to present this data – its a pity that your journalist friends did not pick it up.

It was the 25th June that I passed the analysis to Professor Bea, and the 28th June to the Chemical Safety Board. They have indirectly at least thanked me for that input via my friend Raymond Holroyd.

My analysis raised concerns that platform alarms and gas detection alarms appeared to be inhibited according to testimony by the survivor Mike Williams (CBS 60 minutes).  – you covered this on your website.

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Shell toxic chemical legacy in USA

By a Former Shell Employee

The articles and comments below pertain to Shell’s role and subsequent liabilities arising from deadly contamination at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal in Colorado.

The Washington Post: Shell Oil Found Liable for Pollution Cleanup; Insurers Win; Rocky Mountain Arsenal Project May Cost $2 Billion: December 20, 1988

Shell Oil Co. is responsible for cleaning up three decades worth of pesticide pollution at Rocky Mountain Arsenal, a San Mateo County Superior Court jury decided today. The project could cost as much as $2 billion.

The verdict was a victory for 250 insurance companies, which argued that Shell knew of the pollution at the facility northeast of Denver and so was not covered by its 800 different policies any more than a homeowner who set fire to his own home.

The trial, which began in October 1987, was held in a makeshift courtroom at a high school to allow room for dozens of …

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Toxic Shell

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 22.24.14By a Former Shell Employee

We have already discussed failed Shell Gasoline brands Formula Shell and Shell SU 2000.

Do you recall ‘Shell Pest Strips’? These were insecticide laced things you hung in your house, kitchen, etc., and they were very popular in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The FDA forced the recall of those things. It turns out the stuff they were putting in those things could be about as harmful to humans as they were to the bugs.

Extracts from a related article published in 1993:

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Shell gasoline debacles

By Former Shell Employee

Formula Shell was not the only failed Shell gasoline.

Here in the States Shell marketed ‘Shell SU 2000’, at the same time they marketed that ‘other’ failed formula. It too was pulled from the market when it was discovered to degrade engine oil.

As I recall, Shell also marketed it in the Scandinavian countries, and that is where the problems with the stuff began showing up first.

Shortly after it was pulled from those markets it was pulled from the US market. I also think there was a ‘cold weather’ issue associated with the stuff. That is why it first showed up in Northern Europe.

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Technician: Deepwater Horizon warning system disabled

washingtonpost.com By David S. Hilzenrath

Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, July 23, 2010; 10:56 AM Video Engineer: Deepwater Horizon alarm ‘inhibited’ The chief engineer on the Deepwater Horizon tells a government panel that warning systems on the drilling rig were inhibited because the crew did not want to be disturbed in the middle of the night. » LAUNCH VIDEO PLAYER
By David S. Hilzenrath

Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 23, 2010; 10:56 AM

KENNER, LA. — Long before an eruption of gas turned the Deepwater Horizon oil rig into a fireball, an alarm system designed to alert the crew and prevent combustible gases from reaching potential sources of ignition had been deliberately disabled, the former chief electronics technician on the rig testified Friday.

Michael Williams said he understood that the rig had been operating with the system in “inhibited” mode for a year to prevent false alarms from disturbing the crew.

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Bees round the BP honeypot

By Wilt Staph

It’s all happening in the utmost secrecy, but it is now clear that determined efforts are underway to keep BP out of American hands. That ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips all have the financial resources to launch a hostile bid is not in doubt and the acquisition of BP’s huge assets would be a coup for any one of the three largest American oil companies. The move would also be very welcome to the White House – the President could characterise it as bringing American assets back into American hands. A substantial part of BP was previously Amoco – and there was no more American company than that. The submergence of Amoco into BP was seen as something of a  national humiliation by some Houston oil men and they would love to fly the stars and stripes over Amoco’s’ once assets again.

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Shutting Down Offshore Drilling in the Arctic

Posted by Bryan Walsh Thursday, July 22, 2010 at 4:41 pm

While the White House, Congress and the oil industry fight over the controversial deepwater drilling moratorium, a federal judge quietly made a significant decision on the next frontier of offshore oil and gas exploration: the Arctic seas. Yesterday U.S. District judge Ralph Beistline blocked energy companies from developing oil and gas leases worth billions of dollars in the Chukchi Sea in northwest Alaska. Beistline ruled that the agency formerly known as the Minerals Management Service had failed to properly assess the environmental impact of natural gas development on the region—even though there are trillions of cubic ft. of natural gas in Alaska’s offshore deposits and energy companies who bid on the leases like Shell have talked about their desire to develop gas. (The $2.7 billion, 2.76 million acre leases were sold in February 2008 under former President George W. Bush, despite fierce opposition from environmentalists and some Alaskan native groups—and were kept active under President Obama.) Though Beistline didn’t invalidate the original lease sales, as some environmental groups had hoped, the ruling stops all activity under the lease and requires the government to perform additional environmental reviews. “This ruling acknowledges the lack of information that [MMS] had about what drilling could do to the Chukchi Sea,” says Layla Hughes, the senior program officer for Arctic oil and gas policy at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). “It’s pretty amazing the way this turned out.”

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Shell FuelSave reminiscent of Formula Shell debacle

By John Donovan

Here we are again in the midst of a major Shell advertising campaign with huge colour adverts in the UK national press for a new Shell wonder fuel, this time invented by “Shell Fuel Scientists”: Its called Shell FuelSave

Its like a walk down memory lane for those of us who remember the launch of another wonder fuel by Shell in 1986, Formula Shell, based on new technology and with a scientific image deliberately conjured up by Shell.

There was only one small problem. The new wonder fuel ruined many car engines and it did so on an international basis.

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Tight Relationship of Oil Industry and Foreign-Exchange Market

By Cesar Zambrano

22 July 2010

In our current economic age of globalization, asset classes are becoming increasingly correlated.  Movements in the equity markets affect currency values, which affect economic growth in corresponding countries, which affects other assets such as real estate, and the correlations go on and on.  One of the most clear asset correlations that currently exists in financial markets is the relationship between the oil industry and the foreign-exchange market.

The price of oil is extremely volatile.  Its price movements are subject to a vast range of factors including economic growth, geopolitical events, supply and demand, and host of other factors.  The volatility in oil prices can wreak havoc on oil industry leaders such as refineries and producers, but it is a haven for speculators.  Individual traders and hedge funds alike have been speculating on the price volatility of oil for decades.

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Leaked Shell internal emails reveal concern over Corrib subsea wells

By John Donovan

Published below is my self-explanatory correspondence with Royal Dutch Shell ethics boss Richard Wiseman, over the latest installment of leaked Shell internal emails, this time relating to the highly sensitive topic of the Corrib Gas Project in Ireland. More will follow.

The project has been dogged by controversy, including the jailing at Shell’s behest of the “Rossport Five” – members of the local population who have deep concern over safety and other issues.

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BP’s changing lobbying disclosure amount? It figures

washingtonpost.com

By T.W. Farnam

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 22, 2010

What good is being a multinational corporation if you don’t know how to make the most of loopholes in the law?

BP filed a lobbying report shortly before the second quarter deadline on Tuesday night, saying it spent $1.7 million influencing the government last quarter, an increase of 8 percent from the previous quarter.

That’s hardly surprising — but what’s more notable is the fact that it also reported its first-quarter lobbying decreased by 55 percent. Back in April, when the first-quarter report was due, BP said it had spent $3.5 million. On Tuesday, it filed an amendment saying it really only spent $1.6 million.

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Judge halts oil, gas development on Chukchi Sea

The decision comes after the massive oil spill from a BP PLC well in the Gulf of Mexico and is a blow to the unit of Royal Dutch Shell PLC, which had hoped to drill three exploratory wells this summer in the Chukchi Sea.

By DAN JOLING (AP) 22 July 2010

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A federal judge on Wednesday stopped companies from developing oil and gas wells on billions of dollars in leases off Alaska’s northwest coast, saying the federal government failed to follow environmental law before it sold the drilling rights.

The lease sale in February 2008 brought in nearly $2.7 billion for the federal government from the sale of 2.76 million acres in the Arctic waters of the Chukchi Sea, including $2.1 billion in high bids submitted by Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc.

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Gulf oil spill: Oil companies to form emergency response system for future disasters

latimes.com

July 21, 2010 |  6:23 pm Four of the world’s biggest oil companies are expected to announce Thursday the formation of a rapid-deployment response system that will be made available to capture and contain future deep-water well blowouts, according to a document detailing the proposal.

The announcement from Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, Chevron Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell did not specifically mention BP or the oil rig explosion and disaster in the gulf that has become the biggest offshore oil disaster in U.S. history.

But the clear implication was that the industry had a need to demonstrate that it would have emergency equipment in place along with trained personnel who would be ready to move within 24 hours of an accident.

“The oil and gas industry has long been recognized as a technological leader, and the American public expects us to improve our ability to respond immediately to offshore incidents,”  Jim Mulva, ConocoPhillips chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. “The creation and development of this sophisticated system will greatly enhance industry’s ability to ensure a quick and effective response.”

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Report: $1 billion venture will fight Gulf spills

msnbc.com

Four of the world’s biggest oil companies involved, but not BP

msnbc.com staff and news service reports 21 July 2010

A new joint venture formed by four of the world’s biggest oil companies will develop a deepwater oil spill response and containment system for the Gulf of Mexico, according to reports in the financial press on Thursday.

Exxon, Shell, Chevron and ConocoPhillips are expected to announce Thursday that they will each contribute 25 percent to a $1 billion pool of money to fund a new deepwater spill response strike force, called the Marine Well Containment Company.

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Vitol and Helios exclusive negotiations to buy Shell’s downstream businesses in 19 African countries

Vitol and Helios Investment Partners confirm they are in exclusive negotiations with Shell for the potential acquisition of equity in Shell’s downstream businesses in 19 countries in Africa

Geneva, 21st July, 2010

Today the Vitol Group (“Vitol”) confirmed that it is in exclusive negotiations with Shell Oil Products Africa (Shell) for the potential acquisition of equity in their downstream businesses in 19 countries in Africa, subject to final negotiations and any necessary regulatory and final company approvals. Vitol’s potential acquisition of equity will be in partnership with Helios Investment Partners (“ Helios”), a major investment firm focusing on Africa and one of the few independent pan-African private equity investment firms to be founded and managed by Africans.

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Corrib gas to be delayed by three years

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Corrib gas to be delayed by three years
BY MARIAN HARRISON

THE Corrib gas project has been delayed by at least another three years with gas now not expected to be brought ashore before 2013 at the earliest.

The Western People has learned that Shell’s tunnel through Sruwaddacon Bay will take up to two years to construct. The tunnel is a key component in the revised plans submitted by the exploration company to An Bord Pleanála in response to concerns about the safety of its preferred pipeline route from the landfall at Glengad to the terminal at Bellanaboy.

Before it was forced to seek a new route though Sruwaddacon Bay, Shell had hoped to have gas flowing by 2011.

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BP oil spill: BP says Tony Hayward to stay as chief executive

Telegraph.co.uk

BP has denied reports that chief executive Tony Hayward is to step down, as the company prepares to sell off assets to pay for the oil spill clean-up.

By Conrad Quilty-Harper
Published: 1:26PM BST 21 Jul 2010

Link to this video

A BP spokesman said Mr Hayward “remains in place and has the support of the management and the board”.

BP’s share price rose 3pc to just over 400p by lunchtime.

The Times reported that Mr Hayward would leave by October 1 if the spill had been sealed.

An insider familiar with the situation was quoted as saying: “[…] you would be hard pushed to find anyone within the company who does not think he is irreparably damaged – both by his own performance and the event himself”.

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Cameron: ‘Don’t blame BP for Megrahi release’

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLnLVKI_cx0&feature=player_embedded#!

BP’s altered photo distorts spill center activity

BP acknowledges it posted on its website an altered photo that exaggerates the activity at its Gulf oil spill command center in Houston.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

By DAVID DISHNEAU (AP) – 21 July 2010

NEW ORLEANS — BP acknowledges it posted on its website an altered photo that exaggerates the activity at its Gulf oil spill command center in Houston.

The picture posted over the weekend showed workers monitoring a bank of 10 giant video screens displaying underwater images.

Spokesman Scott Dean says Tuesday that two screens were blank in the original picture and a staff photographer used Photoshop software to add images.

Dean says the company put the unaltered picture up Monday after a blogger for the website Americablog wrote about telltale discrepancies.

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BP’s Tony Hayward ‘set to step down’

Quoting sources close to BP, the Times reported that his exit is expected before 1 October if the ruptured well is sealed and his exit could be announced alongside a new strategy being hammered out for the group called Future BP. An insider said Hayward’s departure formed part of the group’s defence against any attempted buyout by ExxonMobil or Royal Dutch Shell.

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• Chief executive expected to leave before 1 October
• BP plans to sell $7bn of assets for clean-up fund
• Fears oil still leaking despite containment cap
• Oil spill discussed by Barack Obama and David Cameron

Dan Milmo: Wednesday 21 July 2010 08.23 BST

BP chief executive Tony Hayward is set to step down by 1 October, the Times reports. Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

BP chief executive Tony Hayward is preparing to step down within the next 10 weeks, according to a report this morning, as the embattled oil giant announced plans to sell $7bn (£4.6bn) of gas assets for its Gulf of Mexico clean-up fund.

Hayward was heavily criticised for his reaction to the Deepwater Horizon disaster including the statement, “I want my life back”, that led to accusations of insensitivity. The beleaguered chief executive may get his wish soon, amid a growing expectation that the 53 year-old will announce his departure in late August or September.

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Exodus of Rigs Hasn’t Happened

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

JULY 21, 2010

By ANGEL GONZALEZ

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images: An undated photo of a drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

The recent transfer of two deepwater drilling rigs from the Gulf of Mexico to waters elsewhere prompted critics of a government drilling ban to repeat predictions of a mass flight that would wreck the region’s economy and severely curtail U.S. energy production.

But nearly eight weeks after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling, 31 of the 33 rigs that were operating in the Gulf when the Deepwater Horizon exploded remain there.

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Kempthorne, Norton tell Congress major oil spill in Gulf beyond what anyone expected

Gale Norton “sent a clear message: the priority was more drilling first, safety second,” Waxman said.

Associated Press

Published July 20, 2010

WASHINGTON

Two former Interior secretaries told Congress Tuesday they did not anticipate an accident as large as the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

But Gale Norton and Dirk Kempthorne say no one else did either — including members of Congress who are now blaming the Bush administration for failing to prevent the tragedy.

Kempthorne, who served as Interior secretary from 2006 to January 2009, while George W. Bush was president, said he did not recall being asked at his confirmation hearing or in later congressional testimony about major oil spills.

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U.S. goverment was repeatedly warned blowout preventers (BOPs) used on offshore wells were unreliable

On multiple occasions, reports prepared for the Minerals Management Service (MMS) warned that the blowout preventers (BOPs) used on offshore wells were unreliable. The Department never acted on these warnings.

THE HUFFINGTON POST

Interior Secretaries Under Bush And Obama Exposed By House Panel For Lax Oversight Of Oil Drilling

07-20-10

A tough new memo from a House committee probing the Gulf oil spill exposes the Interior Department under Presidents Bush and Obama for its failure to properly oversee offshore oil drilling operations. The three most recent Interior Secretaries — Gale Norton (2002-2006), Dirk Kempthorne (2006-2009), and Ken Salazar (2009-present) — all come in for withering criticism and are due to testify at congressional hearing on Tuesday, where they are sure to be asked tough questions about their tenure.

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BP announces asset sales

REUTERS

By Anna Driver and Matt Spetalnick

Tue Jul 20, 2010 5:24pm EDT

HOUSTON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – British energy giant BP Plc said on Tuesday it reached a $7 billion deal with Apache Corp as part of a series of asset sales to raise money to pay for the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

BP said Apache would pay a $5 billion cash deposit on July 30 as part of the deal for upstream assets in North America and Egypt. The company said the deal, worth a total of $7 billion, would include Permian Basin assets in New Mexico, natural gas in western Canada and concessions in Egypt.

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