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Posts from ‘December, 2011’

Hunt for Gas Hits Fragile Soil, and South Africans Fear Risks

In July, the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa, an independent agency that sets guidelines for media companies, ruled that several of Shell’s advertised claims — including one that said fracking had never led to groundwater contamination — were misleading or unsubstantiated and should be withdrawn.

Chris Hayward, a South African farmer, says, “If our government lets these companies touch even a drop of our water, we’re ruined.”: Photo Credit: Liaan Pretorius for The New York Times

A version of this article appeared in print on December 31, 2011, on page A1 of the New York edition

By

KAROO, South Africa — When a drought dried up their wells last year, hundreds of farmers and their families flocked to local fairgrounds here to pray for rain, and a call went out on the regional radio station imploring South Africans to donate bottled water.

Covering much of the roughly 800 miles between Johannesburg and Cape Town, this arid expanse — its name means “thirsty land” — sees less rain in some parts than the Mojave Desert.

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BP to End Sakhalin Venture With Rosneft

By ALEXIS FLYNN

LONDON—BP PLC said it will end its 13-year alliance with Russian state-owned oil company OAO Rosneft to explore for oil and gas in Sakhalin, due in part to the economics of the Far East project.

The U.K.-based energy producer said that in recent meetings with the shareholders and board of ZAO Elvary Neftegaz it confirmed its intention to exit the joint venture. “There are many reasons for this decision, including the challenging economics of the discovered resource in the KV [Kaigansky-Vasuykansky] block,” BP said Friday.

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Deep Gulf drilling thrives 18 mos. after BP spill

By JONATHAN FAHEY, AP Energy Writer: 30 December 2011

ALAMINOS CANYON BLOCK 857, GULF OF MEXICO (AP) — Two hundred miles off the coast of Texas, ribbons of pipe are reaching for oil and natural gas deeper below the ocean’s surface than ever before.

These pipes, which run nearly two miles deep, are connected to a floating Shell platform that is so remote they named it Perdido, which means “lost” in Spanish. What attracted Shell to this location is a geologic formation found throughout the Gulf of Mexico that may contain enough oil to satisfy U.S. demand for two years.

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Shell Oil Spills Spread to Delta Communities

allAfrica.com

Sopuruchi Onwuka And Napoleon Ehiremen: 28 December 2011

Warri — The crude oil volumes that spilled from Bonga deepwater field has started arriving the coastal communities in Niger Delta, sparking off a spate of public outcry over the dreaded impact on the fragile environment.

Consequently, people of Delta state communities have called on the federal government and Shell to take immediate steps to halt the spill to avoid further damage to their land and sources of water.

The development came as officials of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) arrived at the area yesterday to verify the claims and take samples of the sludgy surge to the coasts.

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Shale Spurs U.S. States to Vie for Chemical Projects, WSJ Says

By Joe Carroll

Dec. 27 (Bloomberg) — A surge in U.S. natural-gas production from shale rock is spurring states to compete for companies to produce chemicals from the fuel, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia are vying to attract a plant that will turn gas into ethylene proposed by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the Journal reported today. Shell intends to announce a site early next year, the newspaper said. Ethylene is a building block of plastics and other materials used to make pipes, paint and antifreeze.

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Royal Dutch Shell says Nigeria spill contained

By JON GAMBRELL, Associated Press 26 December 2011

ABOARD THE BONGA FLOATING OIL VESSEL (AP) — The worst Nigeria offshore oil spill in more than a decade has been contained before reaching the West African nation’s coast, officials with Royal Dutch Shell PLC said Monday, less than a week after one of its lines bled crude into the Atlantic Ocean.

An investigation into how the spill of less than 40,000 barrels — or 1.68 million gallons — happened remains ongoing, though company officials acknowledged workers only discovered the leak after seeing a sheen of crude in water surrounding its Bonga offshore oil field.

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Rosneft: BP To Exit Sakhalin-5 Project – Report

MOSCOW -(Dow Jones)- BP PLC (BP, BP.LN) is to exit the Sakhalin-5 gas project, and Russian state oil company OAO Rosneft (ROSN.RS) will continue working on it on its own, Interfax news agency reported Monday, citing Rosneft Chief Executive Eduard Khudainatov.

BP is not interested in this project and we have made no secret of that…” Khudainatov was quoted as saying. “We are very interested. And we will not offer this project to anyone else.”

Rosneft agreed in January with BP to a $16-billion share swap and development of three Arctic offshore licenses, but that deal was blocked by BP‘s partners in the TNK-BP Ltd. joint venture. Rosneft later announced a global partnership with Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM).

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Ogoni Establishes Environmental Protection Agency

Graphics from Guardian newspaper article: Unloveable Shell, the Goddess of Oil

PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED BY MOSOP: 26 December 2011

A measure to make sure that Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Royal Dutch/Shell and others face compelling action to hold them accountable for environmental crimes in Ogoni.

MOSOP President and Spokesman, Dr. Goodluck Diigbo said that the Ogoni people have learnt the hardest lesson that it was not the wisest thing to do, to allow petroleum operations in Ogoni without a formal Environmental Impact Assessment Study (EIAS).

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Boasts over Shell avoidance of oil spills come back to haunt its CEO

By John Donovan

In October 2010, the Daily Mail published an article reporting claims by Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive, Peter Voser, that Shell would never have made the mistakes that led to the BP Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, which resulted in a huge oil spill.

The claims have come back to haunt Mr Voser.

Royal Dutch Shell wades in with attack on BP over spill (Daily Mail 13 October 2010)

We subsequently learned of a “near miss” which had taken place in December 2009 on Shell’s Sedco 711 North Sea platform, with an uncanny similarity to issues surrounding the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

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Nigerian Oil Spill Stretches 900 Square Kilometers, says Environmental Group

December 24, 2011

An environmental group says an oil spill off the coast of Nigeria this past week could stretch across more than 900 square kilometers of ocean.

The U.S.-based group, SkyTruth, says it estimates from satellite images it has obtained that the slick is 70 kilometers long and spans 17 kilometers at its widest point.

Royal Dutch Shell discovered the spill Tuesday about 120 kilometers off the southern coast of Nigeria.

Shell estimates the amount of leaked oil at less than 40,000 barrels and says the spill has been stopped.

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Shell Says Oil From Bonga Facility Leak ‘Continues to Thin’

By Mike Harrison – Dec 24, 2011 7:56 AM GMT

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) said oil that leaked from its 200,000 barrel-a-day Bonga field in Nigeria “continues to thin.”

“Surveillance and aerial photos show the spill is breaking up into patches surrounded by clear water,” Shell said in a statement on its website. “The spill remains offshore. We continue to monitor its movement using satellite imagery and vessels in the zone.”

Bonga, located 75 miles off Nigeria’s coastline, pumps about 10 percent of the West African nation’s oil.

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Shell’s Nigeria oil spill gets muted response

By Alex Lawler

LONDON | Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:41pm EST

(Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell’s Nigerian oil spill, the largest in the African nation since 1998, highlights the different world responses to oil spills.

Nigerian authorities on Thursday put emergency measures in place to prevent the spill of less than 40,000 barrels from the Shell facility, the biggest leak in Nigeria for more than 13 years, washing up on its coast.

The spill is small compared to last year’s much documented rupture of BP’s Macondo well off the United States but critics say the fact it happened in Nigeria means little attention has been paid to it.

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Huge slick from Shell’s 1.68 million gallon Atlantic Ocean oil spill

By Associated Press, Updated: Friday, December 23, 4:20 PM

LAGOS, Nigeria — A faulty pipe from an offshore oil field run by Royal Dutch Shell PLC near Nigeria’s coast spewed crude oil into the ocean for as much as 25 hours as workers loaded a waiting tanker, the company acknowledged Friday.

While Shell continues to investigate the cause of what likely is the worst offshore spill in more than a decade near oil-rich Nigeria, the nation’s beleaguered government remains largely reliant on the oil firm to clean up the spill. While the huge slick remains offshore, it still poses a danger to wildlife and plants in a region where spills already stain the environment.

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Russian oil rig sinking casts doubt on Arctic plan

By NATALIYA VASILYEVA, AP Business Writer: 23 December 2011

Click on image to enlarge

MOSCOW (AP) — The sinking of a floating oil rig that left more than 50 crew dead or missing is intensifying fears that Russian companies searching for oil in remote areas are unprepared for emergencies — and could cause a disastrous spill in the pristine waters of the Arctic.

Only four months ago, Russian energy giant Gazprom sent Russia’s first oil platform to the environmentally sensitive region, and industry experts and environmentalists warned it is unfit for the harsh conditions and is too far from rescue crews to be reached quickly in case of an accident. They are demanding Russia put Arctic oil projects on hold.

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Shell Confirms Source of Nigerian Oil Leak as Cleanup Continues

By Eduard Gismatullin and Elisha Bala-Gbogbo – Dec 23, 2011 9:13 AM GMT

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), Europe’s largest oil company, confirmed the source of what could be Nigeria’s worst offshore spill in more than a decade to a leak in a flexible export line to a tanker.

Cleanup operations continued to the leak in the line between the tanker and production facility, The Hague-based Shell said in an update on its website. The company shut its 200,000 barrel-a-day Bonga offshore field after it leaked less than 40,000 barrels earlier this week.

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Chevron, Conoco Entrapped in Post-BP Crackdown on Oil Slicks

By Joe Carroll, Juan Pablo Spinetto and Edward Klump – Dec 23, 2011 10:15 AM GMT

Brazil’s threatened indictment of Chevron Corp. (CVX) and Transocean Ltd. (RIG) executives after offshore oil leaks shows that regulators from the North Sea to the Indian Ocean are stepping up scrutiny after BP Plc’s 2010 disaster.

Brazilian authorities have said they may prosecute employees, shut operations and exact more than $10 billion in fines after the leaks at the Frade field 230 miles (370 kilometers) off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. The spill occurred 19 months after an explosion in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 workers and triggered the biggest offshore U.S. oil spill.

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When Shell flushed 100,000 tonnes of Forcados crude into the Sea

“After flushing the lot into the sea, it all disappeared within weeks. Not a trace to be seen… It all was possible because there was a military government suppressing the press and life was good for Shell!”

“Old Nigeria Hand” posting on Shell Blog (A trustworthy source)

The Bonga spill obviously is unforgiveable. A relatively young facility should not leak oil. But the disaster as mentioned by many journalists will be minute. It is light oil and most will evaporate and disappear before hitting the beach.

In 1979 there was a spill of another magnitude: the bottom of tank 6 had dropped out in Forcados. There was 1 meter oil in the terminal and Bert Ockeloen, the General Operations Manager flew over it the next day and stated: I may lose my terminal so break the wall and flush it into the sea.

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Chevron, Transocean Face Brazil Indictment Over Oil Leak

December 22, 2011, 11:33 AM EST

By Joe Carroll and Juan Pablo Spinetto

Dec. 22 (Bloomberg) — Chevron Corp., the operator of the Brazilian offshore well that triggered oil leaks, and rig owner Transocean Ltd. will defend executives threatened with criminal indictments in the South American nation.

Chevron learned that Brazil’s federal police intend to indict employees involved in the drilling that led to the Nov. 7 leaks from seafloor fissures near the $3.6 billion Frade development, Kurt Glaubitz, a spokesman for the San Ramon, California-based company, said in a statement late yesterday. Transocean, in a separate statement late yesterday, said it will “vigorously defend the company and its collaborators.”

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Rush to clean major Shell oil spill off Nigeria

By Sophie Mongalvy (AFP) 22 December 2011

LAGOS — Authorities rushed to prevent one of Nigeria’s worst recent oil spills from reaching the West African nation’s shoreline on Thursday, with production from a major Shell field also shut due to the leak.

Shell, which said the leak has been stopped, has estimated that less than 40,000 barrels of crude have spilled into the sea and was deploying ships with dispersants to attack the slick. Planes were also being mobilised.

It was Nigeria’s worst offshore spill since a 1998 Mobil incident, officials said, though onshore leaks have been estimated at levels far worse since that time in the oil-producing Niger Delta.

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News Shell oil spill off Nigeria likely worst in decade

By JON GAMBRELL, Associated Press 22 December 2011

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — An oil spill near the coast of Nigeria is likely the worst to hit those waters in a decade, a government official said Thursday, as slicks from the Royal Dutch Shell PLC spill approached the country’s southern shoreline.

The slick from Shell’s Bonga field has affected 115 miles (185 kilometers) of ocean near Nigeria’s coast, Peter Idabor, who leads the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, told The Associated Press. Idabor said officials expect the slick to reach beaches by Thursday afternoon.

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New ConocoPhillips and Shell Arctic Oil Permits Raising Alarms

By Pierre Bertrand | December 22, 2011 2:07 AM GMT


Alaskan environmentalists are sounding the alarm bells this week, responding to two major oil industry victories in a state that has been a recurring flash point between environmental groups, legislators and the giants of petroleum exploration.

The latest news to stir the seas came Monday, when ConocoPhillips reported it will have access to the Alaskan National Petroleum Reserve. That followed Royal Dutch Shell’s announcement last Friday that its plan to drill for oil in the Chukchi Sea was conditionally approved by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

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Shell shuts offshore Nigerian oilfield after leak

Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:55am EST

* “Less than 40,000 barrels of oil” leaked – Shell

* Field produces 10 pct of Nigerian oil exports

* Shell says oil flow now halted

By Emma Farge

LONDON, Dec 21 (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell is shutting down its huge 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) Bonga oilfield off the Nigerian coast after a leak occurred while loading a tanker on Tuesday, the firm said in a statement.

The Anglo-Dutch oil major said “less than 40,000 barrels of oil” had leaked into the ocean. The flow of oil had now halted, a spokesman said.

The leak occurred while a tanker was loading oil from Shell’s Bonga facility, about 120 kilometres off the coast of the West African nation, according to the statement.

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Shell Shuts Nigeria’s Bonga Field After Leak During Loading

December 21, 2011, 5:39 AM EST

By Eduard Gismatullin

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, shut its 200,000 barrel-a-day Bonga field off Nigeria after oil leaked during a tanker loading.

An export line from the field’s floating production, storage and offloading vessel was the likely cause of the leak, estimated at less than 40,000 barrels of crude, Shell said in a statement today. The oil flow has been halted.

“We are sorry this leak has happened,” Mutiu Sunmonu, the company’s Nigerian chairman, said in the statement. “It is important to stress that this was not a well-control incident of any sort, and to make clear that no-one has been injured.”

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Shell Gulf of Mexico Spill: Oops these sort of things only happen to BP!

John

Oops these sort of things only happen to BP!

Our dear friend Mr Voser will no doubt be miffed that in the Gulf even a well designed to his`Utopian‘ Shell standards can dare to leak.  The report today on your website states that Shell wasn’t involved in the Deepwater Horizon spill last year in the Gulf of Mexico.

But the Deepwater Nautilus rig it is currently using has the exact same design and is considered a “sister” rig of the Deepwater Horizon.

This so called sister rig that Shell is using will by implication have the same design flaws as the Deepwater Horizon. Nothing has been done by the Industry as far as I am aware to remedy this situation.

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Supreme Court To Decide If 1789 Law Applies To Shell Today

Daniel Fisher

Daniel Fisher, Forbes Staff

12/20/2011

For nearly 200 years, the Alien Tort Claims Act lay dormant, a one-sentence law passed by the first Congress that gave federal courts jurisdiction to hear any lawsuit brought by “an alien” for torts committed “in violation of the law of nations.” Then around 1980 inventive lawyers rediscovered it as a tool for international human-rights enforcement. One judge dubbed the long-neglected law a “legal Lohengrin,” after the knight in the Richard Wagner opera who magically appears in a boat drawn by a swan.

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Shell Says U.S. Drilling Rig to Stay Shut for Weeks After Leak

By Eduard Gismatullin – Dec 20, 2011 3:23 PM GMT

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), Europe’s largest oil company, said a rig will stay shut for weeks after spilling 319 barrels of drilling fluid into the Gulf of Mexico.

The company suspended work at the Appomattox discovery, which leaked synthetic and biodegradable drilling mud from a booster line, Shell said. The leak was isolated, stopped and remedial action has been approved by the regulator, it said. The company temporarily abandoned the well.

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Shell Reports Gulf Drilling Spill

By DANIEL GILBERT

HOUSTON—Royal Dutch Shell PLC on Monday said it had temporarily abandoned a deepwater well in the Gulf of Mexico after it spilled 319 barrels of fluid used to drill the well.

A company spokeswoman said the leak on its Deepwater Nautilus rig occurred Sunday while drilling the well in about 7,200 feet of water southeast of New Orleans.

Shell has stopped the leak and will temporarily abandon the well while it makes repairs, said spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh. She didn’t have an estimate of how long the repairs would take.

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Spill reported at Shell Gulf of Mexico drill site

HOUSTON | Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:13pm EST

(Reuters) – The U.S. Coast Guard was investigating a 13,000-gallon spill from an oil rig leased to Shell, operating about 26 miles southeast of last year’s BP Plc Macondo oil well disaster, a Coast Guard spokesman said on Monday.

The spill of either drilling fluid or oil mixed with drilling fluid was reported Sunday by Transocean Ltd’s Deepwater Nautilus rig, which was drilling a well at Shell’s Appomattox discovery.

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Royal Dutch Shell shuts rig after leak of drilling fluid

First Posted: December 19, 2011

NEW ORLEANS — Royal Dutch Shell says it has shut down an offshore drilling rig off the coast of Alabama following a leak of drilling fluid.

Shell says 319 barrels of the synthetic and biodegradable fluid leaked from a booster line. The Coast Guard says the leak was reported Sunday and that the line was connected to a vessel supplying the drilling fluid.

The Southern Environmental Law Center says the drilling is part of an exploration plan challenged in federal court by several environmental groups.

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Lessons of the Deepwater Horizon

A version of this editorial appeared in print on December 19, 2011, on page A28 of the New York edition

The latest investigative report on the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, released Wednesday, is an important reminder of industry’s past carelessness and a summons to vigilance in the future. It could not have been more timely, coming just as the Interior Department was concluding its first auction of new drilling leases in the gulf since the spill.

The report was prepared by the National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council. It concluded — as had an earlier study by a presidential commission — that the explosion resulted from a series of poor decisions by BP and others, including a major miscalculation involving the ability of the well to withstand sudden increases in pressure. The study criticized both the industry and federal regulators for “misplaced trust” in the ability of blowout preventers to seal off wells in an emergency, and called for industry to redesign these devices to make them more reliable in the future.

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Shell gets off on a technicality after U.S. jury finds Shell committed fraud

By John Donovan

Printed below is a Texas Supreme Court judgement dated 16 December 2011 overturning, on a technicality, a jury finding that Shell Oil Company knowingly committed royalty payment fraud. Texas Supreme Court Judges have taken the view that the plaintiff family should have discovered the fraud. They concluded that the “alleged” fraud “could” have been discovered by the family through the exercise of reasonable diligence. The reversal appears to disregard the decision of the jury that Shell deliberately committed fraud.

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Integrity of Wikipedia corporate articles corrupted by editing scandal

On 12th October 2010, I published an article containing the warning: “…it is only a matter of time before the culture of subterfuge and deception at Wikipedia results in a scandal.” My prediction has come to pass…

By John Donovan

Jimmy Wales is to be congratulated on being the joint founder of Wikipedia and for the non-profit basis on which the organization is operated. He is obviously a man of integrity deserving of the highest praise.

Unfortunately, many contributors to Wikipedia do not share his high ethical standards and take full advantage of the fact that it is possible to edit Wikipedia corporate articles completely anonymously for financial reward, removing or suppressing negative information. Parties can completely hide any trace of their identity and motive, even their ISP addresses.

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Four dead, 49 missing as Russian oil rig overturns off Sakhalin

At least four people have died and 49 are still missing after an oil rig overturned in the Sea of Okhotsk in the Russian Far East, the regional emergencies service reported on Sunday.

The Kolskaya drilling rig with 67 people aboard was being towed in a severe storm, when it overturned and sank some 200 km (125 miles) off Russia’s Sakhalin Island early on Sunday.

Fourteen people have been rescued, the emergencies service said.

Russia’s Transport Ministry told Prime news agency that “of the 67 people aboard the Kolskaya rig, 53 are crewmembers and 14 are workers and support staff.”

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Royal Dutch Shell’s Interest indicates Major Shift for Low Energy Nuclear Reactions

Shell also seeks oil deal with Libyan NATO-rebels.

From: New Energy Times Blog
By Steven B. Krivit

Royal Dutch Shell, plc, one of the largest energy companies in the world, is interested in exploring low-energy nuclear reaction research as a possible game-changer in the energy business.

Two Shell scientists, Anitha Sarkar and Gilles Buchs, with the backing of the Shell GameChanger program, are looking for opportunities to work actively with Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) experts, according to a brief introduction the researchers prepared.

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Conditional OK for Shell’s Alaska offshore oil plan

HOUSTON | Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:38pm EST

(Reuters) – The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on Friday conditionally approved Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc’s revised plan to drill six oil exploration wells in the Chukchi Sea offshore of Alaska next year, the agency said in a news release.

The conditional approval does not authorize drilling to start. Shell Gulf of Mexico, a unit of Royal Dutch Shell, must obtain separate drilling permits for each well.

BOEM’s approval also requires the company to undertake a range of safety and environmental protection measures prior to starting work, including winning approval of its well capping and containment system and its oil spill response plan.

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Shell Wins Conditional U.S. Backing for Chukchi Sea Oil Plan

December 16, 2011, 5:06 PM EST

By Jim Snyder

Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc won conditional U.S. approval for a plan to drill as many as six exploration wells in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea next year, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said.

Final approval requires Shell to meet safety and environmental-protection measures, according to an e-mailed statement today from the Interior Department bureau. Shell will have to stop drilling 38 days before ice appears in the Arctic, to avoid an end-of-the season spill when cleanup is difficult, the agency said. The U.S. projects ice will form by Nov. 1.

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Gulf Gasoline Rises Amid Problems at Shell, Delek Refineries

December 16, 2011, 3:11 PM EST

By Paul Burkhardt

Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) — Gulf Coast gasoline rose for a fifth straight session as Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Delek US Holdings Inc. reported refinery problems in Texas and Louisiana.

Shell reported an “operations upset” at the Norco, Louisiana, refinery when furnaces were swapped yesterday, according to a filing with the National Response Center. Delek had emissions at its Tyler, Texas, plant, according to a filing with state regulators.

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Shell Plans to Seek Commitments on Westward Ho Pipeline Project

By Paul Burkhardt

Dec. 16, 2011 (Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc plans to seek binding commitments to transport oil on its proposed Westward Ho pipeline after receiving enough interest from shippers, the company said in a statement.

Shell plans to conduct an open season for commitments in early 2012 to ship on the 30-inch line that would run from St. James, Louisiana, to the Port Neches/Nederland, Texas, area, the company said.

The Westward Ho line, which would ship around 600,000 barrels a day, may be completed and commissioned by early 2015, according to Shell.

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Shell investing billions in Alaska to chase ‘giant’ offshore opportunity

By Lisa Demer, McClatchy Newspapers December 16, 2011 11:05 AM

NEW ORLEANS — Standing in front of a brightly coloured, 3-D image of the geology far below the floor of the Chukchi Sea, Steve Phelps pointed to the “giant opportunity” that has prompted Shell to pour billions of dollars into the Alaska Arctic.

“Burger — that’s the name you are going to get to know,” Phelps recently told reporters gathered here to learn about the huge oil company’s plans and promises for Alaska.

Phelps is Shell’s Alaska exploration manager, a geologist whose job it is to find big oil. The Burger field, part of a Shell naming theme that revolved around junk food, has been eyed by various oil companies for years. But it’s more than 110 kilometres offshore in the Chukchi Sea — between Siberia and the northwest coast of Alaska — and until recently was thought to be too expensive to develop. Now Shell — for the second time — holds the leases.

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Senator seeks DOI oversight for Arctic OCS air

The Associated Press December 15, 2011, 5:46PM ET

By DAN JOLING

ANCHORAGE, Alaska

Pollution emitted from drilling ships and support vessels in Arctic waters would be regulated by the Interior Department instead of the Environmental Protection Agency under language inserted into a spending bill by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

The Alaska Republican announced the move Thursday and said it will address systemic problems in the EPA permitting process for offshore oil and natural gas exploration.

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Shell’s Arrow Energy Cleared by Australia, China to Purchase Bow

December 16, 2011, 2:21 AM EST

By James Paton

Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) — Arrow Energy Ltd., the natural gas producer owned by Royal Dutch Shell Plc and PetroChina Co., won approval from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board to buy Bow Energy Ltd. for A$535 million ($534 million).

The transaction was also cleared by Chinese authorities, Brisbane-based Bow said today in a statement. The decisions follow approval earlier this month by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.

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Huffingtonpost.com: Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum

Mike Sacks

Mike Sacks [email protected]

First Posted: 12/15/11 12:53 PM ET Updated: 12/15/11 01:25 PM ET

WASHINGTON — A multinational oil company will be coming to the Supreme Court this winter to argue that corporations are not “natural persons” and therefore cannot be held liable for committing international human rights violations such as torture, extrajudicial killings and crimes against humanity.

The case, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, began far from Washington in the Ogoni region of the Niger Delta. About a dozen Nigerians contend that Shell Oil’s parent company aided and abetted the Nigerian government in its violent suppression of environmental and human rights protesters resisting Shell’s operations there in the 1990s. In September 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit accepted the oil company’s argument that as a corporation it’s immune from being sued in the United States for the overseas conduct. Since then, three other appeals courts, looking at the same law, have held otherwise — in cases brought against Exxon, Firestone and Rio Tinto for similar alleged atrocities.

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Shell enters shale oil and gas project in Argentina

Shell has agreed to partner with Argentina's Medanito on a shale oil and natural gas project in southwestern Argentina, with plans to invest at least $200 million over the next five years, a person involved in the deal said Thursday.

GOP seeks to strip EPA offshore drilling oversight

Dec. 15, 2011, 1:12 p.m. EST

By Tennille Tracy

WASHINGTON -(MarketWatch)- House Republicans are trying to sideline the role of the Environmental Protection Agency in overseeing offshore oil drilling, after Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA, RDSA.LN) complained about the amount of time it is taking the company to secure air-quality permits for drilling in the Arctic Ocean.

In an important piece of spending legislation Thursday, Republicans included a measure that strips the EPA’s authority to issue air-quality permits in the Arctic and shifts it to the Interior Department.

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Shell’s Brazil Venture Reaches Accord With BP on Jet-Fuel Assets

By Arnaldo Galvao and Lucia Kassai – Dec 15, 2011 4:38 PM GMT

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and Cosan Industria & Comercio SA’s joint venture in Brazil has reached a preliminary accord to sell its jet-fuel unit to BP Plc, the nation’s antitrust regulator said today.

The venture, called Raizen, was granted an additional five days to present the agreement to the regulator before being fined, Olavo Chinaglia, interim president of the agency, said at a meeting in Brasilia today. Cade, as the regulator is known, ordered the sale after Shell and Cosan combined some assets in Brazil, including service stations and the jet-fuel unit that Cosan had bought from Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM)

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Shell Wins Emissions Reduction Advertising Battle

December 15, 2011

The U.K.’s advertising watchdog has ruled in favor of oil giant Shell over claims it made in a magazine advert that its biofuels reduced CO2 emissions.

Nonprofit ActionAid UK had challenged that the advert, which called the fuels “one of the most effective ways of reducing CO2 from cars and trucks today,” was misleading. ActionAid said that evidence showed that biofuels did not reduce CO2 emissions from vehicles when the full life-cycle of the fuel was taken into account.

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Shell Canada sells 250 Gas Stations

Sobeys buys Shell gas stations in Atlantic Canada, Que.

The Canadian Press:  Thu Dec. 15 2011 2:44:52 PM

STELLARTON, N.S. — The Sobeys grocery store chain is expanding its gasoline retailing business with the purchase of 250 gas stations in Atlantic Canada and Quebec from Shell Canada.

Canada’s second-biggest grocery chain already has gas bars at some of its Atlantic stores. However, this deal will give the company a strong presence in the Quebec market as well, Sobeys’ parent company Empire Company Ltd. (TSX:EMP.A) said Thursday.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us to grow our existing retail gas operations while leveraging our significant wholesale and convenience business to better serve our customers and support our affiliates and dealer operations,” Sobeys president and chief executive Bill McEwan said.

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Cuadrilla admits drilling caused Blackpool earthquakes

Private company Cuadrilla Resources has admitted that its activities probably caused two “seismic events” that occured in Blackpool earlier this year.

By 12:36PM GMT 02 Nov 2011

In April, a tremor measuring 2.3 on the Richter scale was felt in the Lancashire seaside resort, followed by an event in May that measured 1.5 on the scale.

“It is highly probable that the hydraulic fracturing of Cuadrilla’s Preese Hall-1 well did trigger a number of minor seismic events,” Cuadrilla admitted. The report also said there was no threat to people and property in the local area caused by the drilling.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involved pumping a solution at high pressure through shale to crack the rock formation. This allows trapped gas to be released and collected.

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Add Quakes to Rumblings Over Gas Rush

By

A version of this article appeared in print on December 13, 2011, on page D1 of the New York edition

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Until this year, this Rust Belt city and surrounding Mahoning County had been about as dead, seismically, as a place can be, without even a hint of an earthquake since Scots-Irish settlers arrived in the 18th century.

But on March 17, two minor quakes briefly shook the city. And in the following eight months there have been seven more — like the first two, too weak to cause damage or even be felt by many people, but strong enough to rattle some nerves.

“It felt like someone was kicking in the front door. It scared the stuffing out of me,” said Steve Moritz, a cook who lives on the city’s west side, describing the seventh quake, which occurred in late September. It was the strongest one, with a magnitude of 2.7.

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Could Chinese Shale Mean the End of U.S. Shale Gas Boom?

By Pierre Bertrand | December 12, 2011 5:47 PM EST

China‘s natural gas industry is still developing, but already it is showing signs that worry some players in the U.S.

Last week, Royal Dutch Shell and Chinese officials announced the company found shale gas in two wells in the Shichuan province, and that production was overall positive. That was coupled with reports that China‘s state-run PetroChina was producing more than 10,000 cubic meters of gas from 20 wells in the province, according to the Business Monitor International.

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