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Son of Nigeria’s Ken Saro-Wiwa dies

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screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-10-26-1719 October 2016

The son of renowned Nigerian environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was executed more than 20 years ago, has died in London.

Ken Saro-Wiwa Jr, 47, passed away after suffering a stroke, his family say.

He was a journalist who became a presidential adviser.

The 1995 execution of his father by a military government for leading protests against environmental degradation caused by the oil industry sparked global outrage.

Saro-Wiwa Sr led the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (Mosop), which accused oil multinational Shell of destroying the environment in his home region of Ogoniland in south-eastern Nigeria.

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Offshore workers strike talks end without agreement

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Unite and the RMT union are representing about 350 workers involved in a dispute over pay and conditions with oil services company Wood Group.

Some workers claim they are facing cuts of up to 30%. Wood Group denies this.

The Aberdeen-based firm provides maintenance and construction to Shell and signed a three-year extension to its contract earlier this year.

Unite said the unions offered to suspend industrial action if Wood Group removed the current proposal for changes to pay and conditions in full, to allow further talks.

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Oil price drops to three-month low on oversupply fears

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25 July 2016

Oil prices have fallen to a three-month low, hit by rising concerns that a global oversupply of both crude and natural gas will dampen prices.

US oil fell 2.4% to $43.11 (£32.72) a barrel, its lowest level since April, meaning it has now fallen by 12% so far this month.

Brent crude dropped 2.1% to $44.75, its lowest level since 10 May.

Shares in oil and firms also lost ground, with Exxon Mobil shares down 1.8% and Chevron down 2.6%.

“Crude oil markets have been under pressure as oil supplies have started growing with the resumption of output from the capacity lost due to wildfires in the Canadian oil sands,” said EY energy analyst Sanjeev Gupta.

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How do you hold a strike on a North Sea oil platform?

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Hundreds of RMT and Unite union members who work for Wood Group are set to stage the 24-hour industrial action on Tuesday in a dispute over pay.

It will be the first industrial action of its kind in the offshore oil and gas industry in almost 30 years.

But how do you actually conduct a strike on a North Sea oil platform?

Those union members involved on the seven Shell platforms will go to designated areas – but will respond should there be an emergency situation.

There will not be the traditional high-profile picket lines that people associate with strikes on land.

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Offshore workers vote backs strike action

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13 July 2016

Members of two unions at oil and gas company Wood Group have voted in favour of going on strike.

Unite and the RMT have been in dispute with the firm over what the trade unions have described as a “swingeing” proposed pay cut.

Unite’s ballot had a turnout of 86.6% and 99.1% voted for strike action, while 98.5% of the RMT’s turnout of 67% also backed taking the same action.

Wood Group said it was “extremely disappointed” by the results.

It said it has addressed every significant concern and a resolution to the dispute would safeguard jobs.

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Shell boss taking ‘a good look’ at North Sea assets

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Friday, 1 July 2016

Royal Dutch Shell’s chief executive has told the BBC he is taking “a good look” at the company’s North Sea assets, in the light of weak oil prices.

Ben van Beurden said that some older fields might be sold and others decommissioned.

He also said the company’s dividend payout was “safe and secure”, despite tough conditions for oil companies.

With an annual payout of $15bn (£11bn), Shell is the biggest payer of dividends among UK companies.

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Dividends higher than pension deficits at FTSE firms

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By Simon Read: Personal finance reporter: 15 June 2016

Some 35 of the biggest UK firms with pension deficits pay more in dividends than their shortfalls, analysis shows.

Pension firm AJ Bell calculated that 54 FTSE 100 companies had paid out £48bn to shareholders a year in the past two years.

That’s almost equal to the total £52bn recorded deficit of their combined pension schemes in 2014.

“The plights of BHS and Tata Steel have brought this into focus,” said Russ Mould, investment director of AJ Bell.

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Shell to cut another 2,200 jobs

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The cuts are mainly due to Shell’s takeover of oil and gas exploration firm BG Group and prolonged low oil prices, it said.

Shell has announced more than 10,000 job losses over the past two years.

In February, the firm posted its steepest fall in full-year earnings for 13 years.

“Despite the improvements that we have made to our business, current market conditions remain challenging,” said Shell UK and Ireland vice president Paul Goodfellow.

“Our integration with BG provides an opportunity to accelerate our performance in this ‘lower for longer’ environment.

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Shell cuts spending as profits fall

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The oil firm said it would reduce investment to $30bn from a planned $33bn, after coming under pressure from shareholders to cut costs.

Shell also said profits in the three months to March had fallen to $800m from $4.8bn a year earlier.

Oil prices have fallen sharply over the past 18 months.

On average, in the first three months of 2016 oil prices stood at about $35 a barrel, down from a peak of $115 a barrel in June 2014.

Excluding one-off items, Shell’s preferred measure of profit, earnings fell to $1.6bn from $3.8bn in the quarter.

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Shell announces major office changes after BG takeover

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The company is cutting more than 10,000 jobs across the world, with 2,800 of those connected with the BG deal.

Shell plans to close the Thames Valley Park campus by the end of the year.

All Aberdeen-based onshore operations will move to Tullos, with BG’s offices at Albyn Place closing, as will Shell’s Brabazon House office in Manchester.

Shell said the decisions were subject to the outcome of staff consultation.

The company is also planning to open a voluntary redundancy arrangement at Thames Valley Park.

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BP shareholders reject chief Bob Dudley’s £14m pay deal

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14 April 2016

BP shareholders have rejected a pay package of almost £14m for chief executive Bob Dudley at the oil company’s annual general meeting.

Just over 59% of investors rejected Mr Dudley’s 20% increase, one of the largest rejections to date of a corporate pay deal in the UK.

The vote is non-binding on BP, but earlier, chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg promised to review future pay terms.

Mr Dudley received the rise despite BP’s falling profits and job cuts.

The final voting figures will be released later, with some major investors abstaining.

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Carbon capture: Collaboration needed says Shell head

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By John McManus: BBC News: 14 April 2016

The head of energy giant Shell’s UK and Ireland operations has said the UK government should have continued to support a scheme to develop carbon capture technology.

The technology – to store carbon emissions from fossil fuels underground – was being developed at Peterhead power station with the help of Shell.

Chancellor George Osborne cancelled the competition in his Autumn Statement.

Shell’s Paul Goodfellow said the technology needed more development.

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