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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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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”. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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