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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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Shell Nigeria deal probed in Italy

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The oil giant said it was cooperating with the authorities.

The probe is connected to the 2011 $1.3bn purchase of Nigeria’s OPL-245 offshore oil block by Eni and Shell.

As part of the investigation, Shell headquarters in The Hague were searched in February by Dutch police and prosecutors, a spokesman added.

“We can confirm we have received notice of proceedings from the public prosecutor in Italy,” the Shell spokesman said.

In 2014 a Milan court starting probing Italian oil giant Eni over allegations of corruption connected to the OPL-245 offshore oil block acquisition.

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Nigeria’s NNPC ‘failed to pay’ $16bn in oil revenues

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Tuesday 15 March 2016

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Nigeria’s state-owned oil company has failed to pay the government $16bn (£11bn) in a suspected fraud, according to an official audit.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) provided no explanation for the missing funds, the auditor general told MPs.

Oil revenue accounts for two-thirds of the government’s funding.

President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to crack down on corruption since coming to office last May.

The NNPC has not commented on the auditor general’s findings.

The state oil giant has been mired in corruption allegations and losing money for many years.

Last month, the government announced that the NNPC would be broken up into seven different companies.

Nigeria’s former central bank governor Lamido Sanusi, now the Emir of Kano, was dismissed by the previous administration after saying that $20bn (£12bn) in oil revenue had gone missing in 2013.

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Shell being sued in two claims over oil spills in Nigeria

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Two communities are claiming compensation and want Shell to clean up their land.

Shell said it is at an “early stage” in reviewing the claims and that the case should be heard in Nigeria.

The Ogale community of about 40,000 people in Rivers State, on the coast of Nigeria, who are mainly farmers or fishermen, are some of the claimants.

Their case is being handled by law firm Leigh Day.

Spills since 1989 have meant they don’t have clean drinking water, farmland or rivers, their claim says.

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Oil and gas investment ‘collapsing’ despite cost-cutting

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23 FEB 2016

Investment in new offshore oil and gas projects is collapsing despite cost-cutting efforts, according to a report.

Industry Body Oil and Gas UK said that less than £1bn was expected to be spent on new projects this year, compared to a typical £8bn per year in the last five years.

Its new 2016 activity survey said this was despite costs dropping.

Oil and Gas UK said exploration remained at an all-time low with no sign of improving.

The survey said the industry’s drive to improve efficiency, reduce operating costs and increase production has had “marked success”.

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Shell confirms 10,000 job cuts and a steep profits fall

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Royal Dutch Shell has confirmed it is cutting 10,000 jobs amid its steepest fall in annual profits for 13 years.

It made $1.8bn (£1.23bn) for the fourth quarter of the year, compared with a $4.2bn profit for the same period the year before.

Full-year 2015 earnings, excluding identified items, were $10.7bn, compared with $22.6 billion in 2014.

The oil firm indicated it would report a massive drop in profits two weeks ago.

The company reports earnings on a current cost of supplies (CCS) basis.

Last week, shareholders in Shell, which is Europe’s largest oil company, voted in favour of its takeover of smaller rival BG Group.

The company cut back hard on investment.

Its capital spending for the year was slashed to $28.9bn, $8.4bn lower than in 2014.

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Oil prices in reverse amid Opec call

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Oil prices tumbled again on Monday, eroding last week’s gains, as Opec called for co-operation from oil-producing nations outside the cartel.

Brent crude fell 4.1% to $30.86 a barrel following a 10% rise on Friday, while US oil shed 4.7% to $30.68.

The slide came as the head of Opec called for all oil-producing nations to work together.

Abdullah al-Badri said both Opec and non-Opec oil producers needed to tackle oversupply to help prices rise.

“It is vital the market addresses the issue of the stock overhang. As you can see from previous cycles, once this overhang starts falling then prices start to rise,” he told a conference in London.

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Shell’s profits dive ahead of BG deal shareholder vote

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20 JAN 2016

Royal Dutch Shell has reported a sharp drop in profits just a week before shareholders vote on its planned takeover of smaller rival BG Group.

For the fourth quarter it expects profits of $1.6bn to $1.9bn, less than half the $4.2bn it made a year ago.

It expects full year profits of $10.4bn to $10.7bn, below its $10.8bn guidance.

The oil firm has issued the preliminary results to enable investors to have up-to-date information on its performance ahead of the vote on 27 January.

Its shares fell 3.7% in early trading.

But chief executive Ben van Beurden said he was “pleased” with the results.

“The completion of the BG transaction, which we are expecting in a matter of weeks, will mark the start of a new chapter in Shell, to rejuvenate the company, and improve shareholder returns,” he added.

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Shell the company most criticised by campaigners

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Sunday 17 JAN 2016

German carmaker Volkswagen was one of the “most disliked” companies for pressure groups last year following its emissions scandal, a survey has found.

Shell was the most criticised by campaigners, followed by Monsanto, which makes genetically modified food.

Half of the top-10 most criticised companies on Sigwatch’s list were energy firms, because of “the elephant in the room – climate change,” Mr Blood said.

Top was Shell, but TransCanada, ExxonMobil, EDF and BP also featured.

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Share markets rattled as oil price slide continues

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The main stock markets in London, Frankfurt and Paris sank by about 2%, tracking steep overnight losses on Wall Street and on Asian indexes.

The Brent crude oil benchmark fell another 0.4% to $30.15 a barrel, having briefly drifted below $30.

The pound hovered close to five-and-half-year lows against the dollar.

The FTSE 100 index was about 1.9% lower two hours into trading, with only four stocks in the index making gains.

“This market is in contraction and I expect this contraction to continue for the next six months,” Beaufort Securities’ sales trader Basil Petrides told Reuters.

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Standard Life says it will vote against Shell BG tie-up

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It said a weak outlook for oil prices plus risks for BG in Brazil could make the deal “value destructive for Shell shareholders.”

Few investors or analysts have openly challenged the deal’s strategic benefits for the firm.

Shell said it remained confident of winning the vote.

A Shell spokesman said: “We continue to believe we have the broad base of shareholder support we need for the deal to complete.”

Shell has also won the support of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), an influential advisory firm, which recommended that Shell shareholders support the deal.

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Oil price tumbles to below $33

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 13.37.25Brent crude fell 4.7% while US West Texas Intermediate was down 3.9%.

For US oil, that was its lowest point since touching $32.40 in December 2008 during the global financial crisis.

But the price of Brent crude was seen falling to fresh 11-year lows. The last time Brent was so low was April 2004.

Huge oversupply and near-record outputs have continued to drag on oil prices, which are now 70% lower in value than when the downturn began in June 2014.

Companies and governments that rely heavily on oil revenues have been suffering as a result.

Adding to the continuing fall in oil prices, China depreciated the yuan on Thursday, sending regional currencies and stock markets tumbling.

Demand for crude tends to fall when the US dollar is stronger against currencies of purchasing countries and China remains the world’s biggest energy consumer.

China’s stock markets were suspended for the rest of the day, less than half an hour into trading, after falling 7% and triggering a new circuit-breaking mechanism for the second time this week.

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US Gulf oil spill nearly ruined BP, says chief Bob Dudley

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Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 20.08.32Saturday 2 Jan 2016

The giant oil spill from a BP rig off the US coast in 2010 nearly ruined the company, its chief executive has said.

Bob Dudley described the fire on the Deepwater Horizon and its aftermath as “a near death experience” for the firm.

It was one of the worst environmental disasters in the US and saw BP pay fines and compensation and sell off more than £30bn ($45bn) in assets.

Mr Dudley told ex-BP boss Lord Browne – a guest editor on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme – it was a “tragic accident”.

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Shell to face Nigeria oil spill lawsuit

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A Dutch judge has ruled that a court in the Netherlands should hear a case against Royal Dutch Shell brought by four Nigerian farmers.

The farmers and fishermen want Shell to clean up oil spills in four villages in the Niger Delta and pay compensation.

The latest ruling overturns a decision that was made two years ago by a lower court.

The oil giant said it was disappointed with decision made by appeals court judge Hans van der Klooster.

He ruled that Dutch courts had jurisdiction in the case against Shell and its Nigerian subsidiary.

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Royal Dutch Shell plans 2,800 extra job cuts after BG deal

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Royal Dutch Shell has said it will cut 2,800 jobs if its planned takeover of BG Group goes ahead, about 3% of the combined group’s workforce.

The proposed job cuts are in addition to the 7,500 job losses Shell announced in July.

The tie-up between Shell and BG deal is due to be completed early next year.

However, an institutional investor has told the BBC that the deal does not make “financial sense” at current oil price levels.

David Cumming, head of equities at Standard Life Investments, told the BBC it was “very difficult to make the deal work” with oil below $40 a barrel, saying oil prices needed to be $60-$70 a barrel.

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11 December 2015

The oil price has fallen to a new seven-year low after the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast a slowdown in growth in demand for oil.

The price of Brent crude oil fell below $39 a barrel at one point, its lowest since December 2008.

The IEA said demand in the current quarter was growing by 1.3 million barrels a day, down from 2.2 million barrels in the previous quarter.

The IEA predicts that will slip back to 1.2 million barrels a day next year.

The price of Brent crude fell to $38.90 a barrel at one point, before recovering slightly to $39.13 – still down 60 cents in the trading session. US crude oil also fell, down 50 cents to $36.12 a barrel.

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UK government carbon capture £1bn grant dropped

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Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 08.55.47A Shell spokesman said: “Shell is disappointed at the withdrawal of funding for the CCS Commercialisation Competition…

25 November 2015

The UK government has announced it is axing a £1bn grant for developing new carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.

Peterhead power station and the White Rose scheme in North Yorkshire were the bidders in the competition.

Shell and SSE are behind the Aberdeenshire plans.

The energy company Drax had announced in September it was abandoning plans to introduce CCS technology in North Yorkshire.

‘Engage on implications’

In stock exchange announcement, the government said: “Today, following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, HM Government confirms that the £1bn ring-fenced capital budget for the Carbon Capture and Storage Competition is no longer available.

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Shell charged over Gannet Alpha leak in 2011

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Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 07.55.40Friday 20 November 2015

Oil giant Shell has been charged after an investigation into a leak at a North Sea platform in 2011, the BBC Scotland news website has learned.

It involved the Gannet Alpha platform, 113 miles (180km) from Aberdeen.

It was reported that the pipeline leaked more than 200 tonnes of oil.

The case against Shell UK is due to call at Aberdeen Sheriff Court next week. The charges cover oil pollution, pipeline safety and health and safety regulations.

The pipeline involved was about 300ft (91m) below the surface.

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US curbs Arctic offshore oil and gas drilling

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The US government has announced new curbs on oil and gas exploration in Arctic waters off Alaska’s northern coast.

It comes after oil giant Royal Dutch Shell last month stopped its Arctic activity citing “disappointing” tests.

The US interior department said it was cancelling two potential Arctic offshore lease sales and would not extend current leases.

The announcement has been welcomed by environmentalists.

Miyoko Sakashita, of the Center for Biological Diversity, said the decision was “great for the Arctic and its polar bears”.

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Alaska mulls extra oil drilling to cope with climate change

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By Matt McGrath: Environment correspondent, BBC News, Alaska: 12 Oct 2015

Expanding the search for oil is necessary to pay for the damage caused by climate change, the Governor of Alaska has told the BBC.

The state is suffering significant climate impacts from rising seas forcing the relocation of remote villages.

Governor Bill Walker says that coping with these changes is hugely expensive.

He wants to “urgently” drill in the protected lands of the Arctic National Wilderness Refuge to fund them.

Alaska has been severely hit by the dramatic drop in the price of oil over the past two years.

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Nigeria’s ex-oil minister ‘arrested in London’

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Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 07.55.40…one of five people as part of an investigation into suspected bribery and money laundering. $20bn of oil money had gone missing…

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Nigeria’s former oil minister Diezani Alison-Madueke has been arrested in London, her family has said.

She is believed to be one of five people the UK National Crime Agency said it had arrested, but did not name, as part of an investigation into suspected bribery and money laundering.

Ms Alison-Madueke was oil minister between 2010 and 2015.

She denied wrongdoing when it was alleged that $20bn of oil money had gone missing when she was in office.

That accusation was made by Nigeria’s central bank governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi in February 2014. Mr Sanusi was sacked soon after, accused of financial recklessness himself.

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Shell has made a costly call to abandon Alaska

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Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 14.19.16Kamal AhmedBusiness editor: 28 Sept 2015

It could have been Hillary Clinton’s tweet that did it.

Just after the US government had given the go-ahead for Shell to restart its exploration in Alaska, the Democratic presidential candidate took to the social media site.

“The Arctic is a unique treasure,” Mrs Clinton said on Twitter. “Given what we know now, it’s not worth the risk of drilling.”

Which seemed to ignore the fact that drilling has been taking place in the Arctic for decades – for example oil was first discovered in one of the main basins, Prudhoe Bay, in 1968.

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Shell will not sanction Arctic exploration until at least 2020

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Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 07.55.40Kamal AhmedBusiness editor: 17 Sept 2015

As it moves, gingerly, through the first stages of exploration 70 miles off the Alaskan coast, Royal Dutch Shell has revealed its commitment to drilling in the Arctic.

And how long it will be before any oil or gas actually comes out of the ground – if at all.

Despite environmental concerns and the low oil price, Ben van Beurden, Shell’s chief executive, told me that as the world’s energy demands increased, the hunt for new resources was as important as ever.

The Arctic, he points out, has long been a source of oil and gas production. Environmental safety would be the priority, he insisted.

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Volatile’ oil price hard to predict, says Shell boss

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Royal Dutch Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden has told the BBC a recovery in the price of oil is hard to foresee.

“It is a very, very volatile business in terms of supply and demand. The oil price responds to very small mismatches between supply and demand,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

The price of oil has roughly halved in the past year, to just under $50 (£32) per barrel.

Goldman Sachs predicted earlier this month it could fall as low as $20.

When asked where oil prices may go next, he told the BBC: “The honest answer to that is I don’t know.”

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Shell gets final permit for Arctic oil drilling

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Oil and gas giant Shell has been granted the final permit it needs to begin drilling below the ocean floor for oil in the Arctic.

Shell began work last month, but was allowed to drill just the top sections of two wells, off the coast of Alaska.

Environmental campaigners are against the drilling which they say could harm the region.

But the US government said it was monitoring Shell’s work “around the clock” to ensure the “utmost safety”.

“Activities conducted offshore Alaska are being held to the highest safety, environmental protection, and emergency response standards,” added Brian Salerno, director of The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), which issued the final permit.

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Shell Arctic drilling ‘risky’ – ex-BP boss Lord Browne

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By Roger Harrabin: BBC environment analyst: 12 August 2015

Drilling for oil in the Arctic may harm Shell’s reputation and cost it dear, the former BP boss Lord Browne has said.

Shell has just started preliminary drilling in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea after several setbacks.

The firm’s CEO Ben van Beurden said he had gone on a “personal journey” before deciding the risks were containable.

But Lord Browne urged caution, saying the company’s long-term reputation could be affected.

Both men have given interviews to the BBC for a Radio 4 documentary series in the autumn – Climate change: Are we feeling lucky?

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US Coast Guard ends Shell icebreaker bridge protest

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Environmental activists have been removed from a bridge in Portland, Oregon, allowing an icebreaker to join a US Arctic oil-drilling operation.

Police lowered the Greenpeace campaigners dangling on ropes from St John’s Bridge into boats, while the Coast Guard cleared dozens of kayaks.

The icebreaker, chartered by Royal Dutch Shell, had been prevented from leaving port for hours.

A judge has ordered Greenpeace to pay $2,500 (£1,600) per hour of blockage.

The Fennica icebreaker was in Portland for repairs. At one point it had to retreat before the activists refused to move.

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Royal Dutch Shell to cut 6,500 jobs

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Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 08.23.47Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has announced it is to shed 6,500 jobs as part of cost cutting plans.

30 July 2015

The company said the cost cutting was to help “mitigate the impact” on profits amidst a drop in oil prices.

Its “prudent approach” included a reduction in operating costs of $4bn and reduced oil exploration operations.

The company announced profits of $3.4bn in the three months to 30 June, a 35% decrease compared with last year.

Shell also said that it was “planning for a prolonged downturn” in oil prices.

Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden said: “We have to be resilient in a world where oil prices remain low for some time, whilst keeping an eye on recovery.

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Shell to move to new shift pattern

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Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 08.34.47Written by Harriet Brace – 28/07/2015 8:06 am

A major oil firm has confirmed its offshore workers will be the latest to move over to a new three weeks on shift pattern.

Oil giant Shell today confirmed the company will be moving to the new working pattern for offshore employees.

Offshore workers at Shell are currently on a two weeks on, three weeks off rotation.

However, the firm’s representatives have yet to confirm the arrangement for its employees’ off time, which is still under consultation.

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Shell cleared to lift Brent Delta topside in one go

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 20.32.37Worlds biggest ship, Pioneering Spirit, formerly a Nazi named vessel, the Pieter Schelte, is cleared to lift Brent Delta topside in one go

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Oil giant Shell is to press ahead with plans to remove the topside of the Brent Delta platform in a single lift after its decommissioning project was cleared by the UK government.

Shell will use a heavy-lift vessel to remove the 24,200-tonne structure once preparations have been completed.

Work has already started on strengthening the topside in anticipation of a 2016 lift.

UK ministers cleared the project following a 30-day public consultation.

The lift will be carried out by the Korean-built vessel Pioneering Spirit after “thorough preparations and weather assessments”, Shell said.

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Shell Arctic oil drilling to commence within weeks

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By Richard Anderson: Business reporter, BBC News: 3 July 2015

Oil and gas giant Shell is expected to begin drilling for oil in the Arctic within the next two weeks.

Thirty ships left Dutch Harbor in Alaska on Thursday for the Arctic to support two initial exploratory wells.

The company has already committed about $7bn (£4.5bn) to the controversial project, and is confident it will find huge quantities of oil in the region.

But if the initial wells do not find oil, Shell will contemplate walking away from the region entirely.

The US Department of the Interior gave the green light to Shell to commence Arctic oil exploration in May this year, and the Anglo-Dutch group clearly believes it will get the remaining necessary permits in the next week or two.

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Oil giant Shell fined over Brent Bravo leak

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Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 19.31.15Oil giant Shell fined over Brent Bravo leak

Oil giant Shell has been fined thousands of pounds after a diesel leak on board a North Sea platform.

Between 13 and 15 tonnes spilled into the sea from the Brent Bravo, 116 miles north east of Lerwick, in May 2013.

Senior management from Shell were at Aberdeen Sheriff Court where the company admitted the release of fuel.

Sheriff Kenneth Stewart fined the company £6,650, reduced from the maximum possible due to the early stage of the guilty plea.

A Shell UK spokeswoman said: “We regret that the release occurred – no spill is acceptable.

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UK fracking application rejected

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An application to start fracking at a site on the Fylde coast in Lancashire has been rejected by councillors.

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Energy firm Cuadrilla wanted to extract shale gas at the Little Plumpton site between Preston and Blackpool.

Lancashire County Council rejected the bid on the grounds of “unacceptable noise impact” and the “adverse urbanising effect on the landscape”.

Cuadrilla said it was “surprised and disappointed” and would consider its “options” regarding an appeal.

A spokesman added: “We remain committed to the responsible exploration of the huge quantity of natural gas locked up in the shale rock deep underneath Lancashire.”

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Gearing up for the big lift in the North Sea

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Extracts

How do you go about removing a massive piece of infrastructure from a hostile environment like the North Sea?

Oil giant Shell has come up with one answer which could be put to the test next year – using a mega-ship to remove the topside of an oil platform in a single lift.

The oil firm hopes Pioneering Spirit – originally called Pieter Schelte – will prove a game-changer by successfully removing the main structure in one go.

Allseas also has a contract from Shell to remove the topsides of two of the other three platforms in the field – Bravo and Alpha (along with Alpha’s steel jacket) – subject to consultation and UK government approval. It has an option to do the same with the fourth platform, Charlie.

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Offshore decommissioning ‘a new beginning for North Sea industry’

Offshore decommissioning ‘a new beginning for North Sea industry’

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Brent Delta is among the most iconic platforms

By Ken Banks: BBC Scotland North East reporter

As a growing number of North Sea oil and gas fields head towards the end of their production lives, industry leaders are waking up to the challenges – and opportunities – that lie ahead. Hundreds of business figures attended a conference in Aberdeen this week to learn more about where the decommissioning process is heading.

There’s a growing realisation that offshore decommissioning is now really happening.

Over the next 25 years or so, the process of retiring North Sea oil and gas facilities could cost tens of billions of pounds, according to projections.

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Climate change a serious security threat, warns Obama

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President Obama has called climate change “a serious threat to global security” and heavily criticised climate change deniers.

In his strongest remarks on the issue yet, Mr Obama said climate change would “impact every country on the planet”.

The US president made his comments in a speech to students at the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut.

He has previously identified climate change as a central issue for the remainder of his time in office.

Faced with strong opposition on the issue from Republicans and industry, Mr Obama used his speech to frame the threat in terms of national security.

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Salym Shell development in Siberia

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 21.26.38By Olga Ivshina, BBC News, Western Siberia, published 27 Nov 2014 under the headline:

Russian oil industry facing deep freeze

Without visiting a well in Western Siberia, you would never realise just how hard it is to extract oil in Russia.

Two hours’ drive from the nearest village of Salym, the snow banks are huge and the closest airport is over 300km (185 miles) away.

The temperature is down to -26C, but locals say winter temperatures normally drop to -40C, and Russia’s oil industry has more serious challenges than the cold.

Oil prices are falling and the cost of extraction is rising as resources are becoming exhausted. And then there are the Western sanctions imposed on oil companies as a result of Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

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Another nail in the coffin of tar sands

BBC NEWS: Obama vetoes Keystone oil pipeline bill: 24 Feb 2015

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US President Barack Obama has vetoed a bill that would have approved construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The Republican-led Congress sent the bill to the president on Tuesday.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama vetoed the bill “without any drama or fanfare or delay”.

The 875-mile (1,400km) pipeline would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to the US state of Nebraska where it joins pipes running to Texas.

The project has pitted Republicans and other supporters, who say it will create much needed jobs, against many Democrats and environmentalists, who warn the pipeline will add to carbon emissions and contribute to global warming.

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Oil and gas industry in ‘bleak’ 2014, finds survey

Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 08.53.48FROM A BBC ARTICLE PUBLISHED 24 FEB 2015

Oil and gas industry in ‘bleak’ 2014, finds survey

The UK offshore oil and gas industry has reported its worst annual performance for four decades.

Industry body Oil & Gas UK said falling oil prices and rising costs meant the sector spent and invested £5.3bn more than it earned from sales during 2014.

That outflow of cash was the biggest since massive investment in platforms in the 1970s preceded the flow of oil.

The body’s annual survey also indicated that investment in the industry is set to fall this year, as well as drilling.

Oil & Gas UK said the “bleak” findings emphasised the urgency of government action to secure the industry’s long-term future.

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Shell’s Arctic Dilemma

CONTRIBUTOR COMMENT

In the context of BvB’s comments about the Arctic, it is perhaps worth noting that in the absence of an intention to pursue their Arctic prospects, Shell would be obliged to write off/write down their past expenditure… And that would have resulted in a very miserable result for 2014. The problem has at least been delayed, but it won’t go away.

RELATED: Bad idea: Shell’s gearing up to start drilling in the Arctic again: salon.com

Extract

Neither risk of an oil spill nor global climate change nor the falling price of oil will keep Shell from exploiting the Arctic’s oil.

After suspending its Arctic program for years following the grounding of one of its drilling rigs, the company announced Thursday that it plans to start drilling this summer in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea.

“Will we go ahead?” CEO Ben van Beurden said during the company’s fourth quarter results conference. “Yes if we can. I’d be so disappointed if we wouldn’t.”

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Shell resumes Arctic drilling but cuts $15bn from global investment

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 15.57.27Royal Dutch Shell is reviving plans to drill for oil in Arctic in a move likely to intensify its battle with environmentalists.

The Anglo-Dutch giant’s chief executive Ben van Beurden accepted that Arctic drilling “divides society”, but said the world needs new sources of oil.

Greenpeace said Shell was taking a “massive risk” in a “pristine” region.

Shell also announced a $15bn (£9.9bn) cut in global spending, and profit figures that disappointed investors.

The cut in investment – spread over three years – comes after a fall in the oil price. Although the price is expected to remain lower in the medium term, Mr van Beurden said: “We are taking a prudent approach here and we must be careful not to over-react to the recent fall in oil prices.

“Shell is taking structured decisions to balance growth and returns.”

Shell also said profits for the last three months of 2014 had risen to $4.2bn compared with $2.2bn in the same period a year earlier.

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