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Posts from ‘May, 2013’

A taxing time for Shell

Screen Shot 2013-01-11 at 20.09.51By John Donovan

After Shell’s Arctic ambitions hit the rocks at the end of December 2012, Shell initially conceded that the ill-fated Kulluk drilling rig had left port under tow to avoid taxes. Shell then backtracked. Shell chief executive Peter Voser rejected accusations that tax issues were a factor in the move. Now we have confirmation from Sean Churchfield, Shell’s operations manager in Alaska, that the first admission was correct. The Kulluk left port in order to avoid “millions” in annual state taxes. That admission has damaged the credibility and reputation of Shell and Peter Voser, who is conveniently taking early retirement, as did the original fall guy, Lawrence of Alaska. Shell reserved its position in respect of an analysis by retired Shell International Group HSE Auditor, Bill Campbell, of the fall out from the Arctic shambles, that we published on this website. See below: “Shell Misadventures in the Arctic Region in Alaskan waters” read more

Nigerian way of life under threat from pollution

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Oil pollution is a continuing problem in the Niger Delta, with thousands of oil spills polluting farmland as well as lakes and rivers.

The damage to natural resources has forced many communities to relocate, in order to find the means to make a living.

But what was life like before the multi-national oil companies moved in?

Nigeria correspondent Will Ross reports from the Niger Delta.


Shell under the skin, 10 years after crisis

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LONDON | Wed May 29, 2013 7:31pm EDT

(Reuters) – A decade ago, Royal Dutch/Shell’s (RDSa.L) boss was fighting to close the gap between the truth about his company’s oil and gas reserves and the much larger figure in its accounts.

He lost the fight, and his job. Scandal engulfed one of the world’s biggest companies, exposing years of neglect.

Fast forward to May 2013, and the surprise news that chief executive Peter Voser will retire next year caused barely a ripple. Shell has recovered shareholder confidence. But while the risks may all be in the open now, they remain big. read more

An Apology

Screen Shot 2013-05-30 at 06.47.44By John Donovan

Many of our visitors will have encountered problems accessing this website in recent days.

Since Saturday night the site has once again been under exceptional traffic loads as a result of further denial of service attacks by an unknown party – and has repeatedly been forced offline. 

As a consequence, we are currently upgrading the server and at the same time also adding new features.

Please bear with us while this work is underway.

The Shell Blog is not working at the moment and postings made yesterday, including a posting by an irate “uscitizen” and my unreserved apology to him for wrongly accusing him of making postings using multiple aliases, are not shown, but will be republished in full, as soon as the Shell Blog and the website is fully functional. read more

Shell To Start Drilling In Benin, Gabon For First Time

28 May 2013

VENTURES AFRICA – Oil and gas giant, Royal Dutch Shell (Shell), is set to prepare a newly-repaired oilrig to start drilling for the first time off the coast of Benin and Gabon, Dow Jones Newswires reported late on Monday.

According to the newswire, the company has also targeted South Africa’s northwestern coast to start drilling in 2014.

It is understood this is part of Shell’s plan to reappear in West Africa and other parts of Africa after its initial plan to establish a base in the East African coast was botched. read more

Discovery ongoing in discrimination suit against Motiva


By David Yates:

With a trial slated for September, discovery is still ongoing in litigation brought against Motiva Enterprises, which alleges the company discriminated against a black Port Arthur woman by allowing a white male certain privileges. EDTX-seal

As previously reported, Carolyn Warwick filed a lawsuit July 10 in Jefferson County District Court against Motiva Enterprises.

Court records show that a certificate of written discovery was filed on April 2, serving upon all counsel Motiva’s first set of interrogatories and first request for production of documents. read more

Shell Admits Kulluk Rig was Moved to Avoid Taxes

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By Charles Kennedy | Mon, 27 May 2013 21:47

Screen Shot 2012-12-07 at 01.26.25On 7th December 2012 Shell decided to move the Kulluk floating drill platform from its berth in Dutch Harbour, south to a Seattle shipyard where it would receive major repairs and general maintenance during the off-season. Shell claimed that they had assessed the possibility of making the repairs in Alaska, but it was deemed that a larger shipyard was needed.

The Kulluk, under tow from the Aiviq, departed Dutch Harbour on 21st December. On 27th December the main towing gear failed, just as an Arctic storm approached and the seas began to pick up. Repeated attempts to connect the Kulluk to a number of different vessels that had come to help, all failed, and the rig finally drifted off and ran aground on New Year’s Eve. read more

Shell Admits Real Reason Coast Guard Had To Rescue Its Arctic Drilling Rig: Failed Tax Avoidance Scheme

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Screen Shot 2012-12-07 at 01.26.25By Ryan Koronowski on May 28, 2013 at 6:17 pm

The main reason an offshore oil rig ran aground off the coast of Alaska late last year was because oil company Royal Dutch Shell was trying to depart state waters to avoid paying millions in taxes.

Sean Churchfield, operations manager for Royal Dutch Shell in Alaska, testified to the Coast Guard over the weekend that the Kulluk, an Arctic offshore drilling rig, left Dutch Harbor in December “driven by the economic factors.” When the Coast Guard’s legal advisor Lt. Cmdr. Brian McNamara asked why leaving by the end of the year was such a concern, Churchfield said: read more

Shell contractor testifies tow setup for Kulluk was modified

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By LISA DEMER — [email protected]: Published May 28, 2013

An employee for a Shell contractor testified Tuesday that a heavy chain — which investigators indicated can be used to absorb the force of rough weather — was eliminated from the towing setup for Shell’s drilling rig, the Kulluk, because of concerns about handling the gear.

William Hebert works for Delmar, a Louisiana offshore oil field services company, and was sent to Alaska to serve as “rig move coordinator” for the Kulluk. He testified on Day 7 of a Coast Guard hearing investigating the Kulluk’s Dec. 31 grounding in a fierce Gulf of Alaska storm. read more

Oil Probe That EU Says Mirrors Libor May Reveal Huge Damage

Oil-price manipulation may have wrought “huge” damage to consumers, the European Union’s antitrust chief said today, as he drew comparisons with EU investigations into rigging of bank rates including Libor.

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EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said, “If de facto the manipulation is confirmed, indeed, huge damages for consumers and users would have been originated by this.” Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

By Stephanie Bodoni May 28, 2013

Oil-price manipulation may have wrought “huge” damage to consumers, the European Union’s antitrust chief said today, as he drew comparisons with EU investigations into rigging of bank rates including Libor.

While it’s too soon to draw conclusions from the May 14 raids on Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), BP Plc (BP/), Statoil ASA (STL) and Platts, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said both sets of probe target price manipulation through a reporting system. read more

BP & Shell Fixed North Sea Oil Prices for a Decade, Trader Says

Ship towing Kulluk had slime in fuel

Shell says to invest $30 billion in Australia over five years

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BRISBANE | Mon May 27, 2013 3:19am BST

(Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell plans to invest $30 billion in Australia over the next five years, the firm’s outgoing chief executive Peter Voser said in a speech at an industry conference on Monday.

Voser, who built the oil company into a leader in liquefied natural gas, announced his retirement earlier this month.

Shell has invested in gas projects in Australia and its Arrow LNG project is one of four gas export plants that was planned for Queensland’s Curtis Island, but the project is widely expected to be abandoned in favour of selling its gas resources to rival projects. read more

Jeroen van der Veer: Hypocrite Supreme

Screen Shot 2013-05-18 at 23.12.50Mr Van der Veer (shown right) is no fan of this website. In January 2008, as was reported in The Times, we published a leaked email from him in which he forecast that world demand for oil and gas would outstrip supply within 7 years. Events has shown that he was talking nonsense on that occasion as well.

By John Donovan

The fuelfix headline encapsulated the theme of the speech given last Thursday by former Royal Dutch Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer at the KPMG Global Energy Conference in Houston:

Former Shell CEO: Safety must come first. And second. And third.

This qualifies as sheer hypocrisy on his part.

On his watch, Shell had an absolutely atrocious safety track record for which he was publicly criticised.

(Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer “hurt” by criticism: 3 Sept 2007)

On his watch, even lifeboats serving Shell North Sea platforms were found to be unseaworthy. read more

Concerns over Kulluk tax bill factored into Shell’s winter Gulf of Alaska crossing

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Suzanna Caldwell: May 25, 2013

Millions of dollars in potential taxes were a primary reason Royal Dutch Shell decided to move the Arctic-ready conical drilling unit Kulluk from Dutch Harbor before the end of the year, according to the company’s Alaska operations manager.

The taxes were part of a hierarchy of issues the Shell Alaska venture considered before moving the Kulluk — the centerpiece of Shell’s $4-billion-plus Arctic drilling program — Sean Churchfield, Shell’s Alaska operations manager, told a US Coast Guard marine casualty investigation Saturday. read more

The Biggest Criminal Enterprise in History

Article recommended by Esther Kiobel

The Biggest Criminal Enterprise in History

Terracide and the Terrarists Destroying the Planet for Record Profits

by Tom Engelhardt Call it irony, if you will, or call it a nightmare, but Big Oil evidently has no qualms about making its next set of profits directly off melting the planet. We have a word for the conscious slaughter of a racial or ethnic group: genocide.  And one for the conscious destruction of aspects of the environment: ecocide.  But we don’t have a word for the conscious act of destroying the planet we live on, the world as humanity had known it until, historically speaking, late last night.  A possibility might be “terracide” from the Latin word for earth.  It has the right ring, given its similarity to the commonplace danger word of our era: terrorist.The truth is, whatever we call them, it’s time to talk bluntly about the terrarists of our world.  Yes, I know, 9/11 was horrific.  Almost 3,000 dead, massive towers down, apocalyptic scenes.  And yes, when it comes to terror attacks, the Boston Marathon bombings weren’t pretty either.  But in both cases, those who committed the acts paid for or will pay for their crimes.In the case of the terrarists — and here I’m referring in particular to the men who run what may be the most profitable corporations on the planet, giant energy companies like ExxonMobilChevronConocoPhillipsBP, and Shell — you’re the one who’s going to pay, especially your children and grandchildren. You can take one thing for granted: not a single terrarist will ever go to jail, and yet they certainly knew what they were doing. FULL ARTICLE
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