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The Panama Shortcut

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Jon Asmundsson: August 15, 2016

When the sun rose over the Caribbean Sea on July 25, the Maran Gas Apollonia was churning toward the new Panama Canal with a shipment of U.S. liquefied natural gas that it had loaded at Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana. Tugs guided the 90,434-ton tanker into the first of the Panama Canal’s new Agua Clara Locks. The gates closed, and water filled the first chamber. That night the vessel passed through Gatun Lake and the new Cocoli Locks and entered the Pacific Ocean, becoming the first LNG tanker to transit the expanded shipping lane that opened in June. Built in 2014, the Royal Dutch Shell-chartered tanker is about 13 meters (43 feet) wider than the largest ships the old locks could handle. The expansion opens the Panama Canal to about 90 percent of the world’s LNG fleet, up from less than 10 percent, allowing these football-field-size tankers to shave 11 days and one-third the cost of the typical round trip to Asia. In July the U.S. Department of Energy predicted 550 tankers could be crossing each year by 2021.

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Shell Calls Force Majeure on Nigeria Gas Supply After Leak

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Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 09.29.20By Paul Burkhardt and Elisha Bala-Gbogbo: August 10, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell Plc said its local unit has declared force majeure on supplies to a liquefied natural gas plant in Nigeria because of a leak in a pipeline as the OPEC member suffers from militant attacks on energy infrastructure that are hurting exports.

“The pipeline has been shut down for a joint investigation visit into the cause of the leak and repairs,” Natasha Obank, a Shell spokeswoman, said in a statement. The leak occurred on the Eastern Gas Gathering System, or EGGS-1, pipeline which supplies the bulk of Shell’s gas to the Nigeria LNG plant on Bonny Island. Some supply continues through other pipelines, Shell said.

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Crude Slump Sees Oil Majors’ Debt Burden Double to $138 Billion

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Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 16.46.22“On the debt, it may go up before it comes back down,” Shell Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry told investors last week. “And the major factor is the oil price.”

By Javier Blas: August 5, 2016

When commodity prices crashed in late 2014, oil executives could look at their mining counterparts with a sense of superiority.

Back then, the world’s biggest oil companies enjoyed relatively strong balance sheets, with little borrowing relative to the value of their assets. Miners entered the slump in a very different state and some of the world’s largest — Rio Tinto Plc, Anglo American Plc and Glencore Plc — had to reduce dividends and employ draconian spending cuts to bring their debt under control.

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Idemitsu Family Buys Showa Shell Stake in Bid to Stop Merger

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By Tsuyoshi Inajima, Stephen Stapczynski and Shigeru Sato: August 3, 2016 — 7:09 AM BST Updated on August 3, 2016 — 8:37 AM BST

Idemitsu Kosan Co. founding family descendant Shosuke Idemitsu has begun buying up shares in rival Japanese oil refiner Showa Shell Sekiyu KK in a bid to block a proposed merger between the two companies.

The Idemitsu founder’s son purchased 400,000 Showa Shell shares and may buy more until his namesake company gives up on the deal, according to a statement distributed to reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday. Showa Shell rose as much as 12 percent to 1,014 yen, the biggest intraday gain in more than a year, and closed 3.8 percent higher. Idemitsu fell 3.9 percent to 1,984 yen.

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Oil Giants Find There’s Nowhere to Hide From Doomsday Market

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By Joe CarrollJuly 29, 2016 — 1:02 PM BST: Updated on July 30, 2016 — 5:01 AM BST

Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc this week reported their lowest quarterly profits since 1999 and 2005, respectively. Chevron Corp.’s third straight loss marked the longest slump in 27 years, and BP Plc lodged its lowest refining margins in six years.

Welcome to year two of a supply overhang so persistent it’s upsetting industry expectations that the market would return to a state of balance between production and demand. It’s left analysts befuddled and investors running to the doorways as the crude market threatened to tip into yet another bear market, dashing hopes that a slump that began in mid 2014 would show signs of abating.

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Shell: Paradise Postponed

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PHOTOGRAPHER: ANDREY RUDAKOV

By Chris Hughes: July 28, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell has delivered a shock.

Weeks after cheering investors with a big plan for living within its means, the oil major’s second-quarter earnings plummeted from $3.4 billion to $239 million. Paradise — a cash-generative company driven by February’s $64 billion acquisition of BG Group — has been postponed.

So much for the benefits of BG. This was the first set of numbers to include a full contribution for the acquisition, and so far the deal has pushed indebtedness higher while introducing a raft of one-off integration costs.

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Next Week Is as Good as It Gets for Big Oil

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ByRakteem Katakey and Joe Carroll: 22 July 2016

Several majors expected to post highest earnings in 3 quarters

Strong performance may not last as oil seen easing back to $40

For oil companies, the second quarter might be as good as it gets.

Shares gained more than in any other industry, thanks to crude rising from a 12-year low. Profits were the best in at least three quarters for majors including Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Chevron Corp. and BP Plc, helped by cost cuts, analysts say. The rest of the year might not be as rosy as supply holds near record levels.

The combined market value of the world’s oil companies shrank by $2 trillion in the past two years following crude’s collapse. While analysts agree the worst of the oversupply is over, BNP Paribas SA and JBC Energy GmbH are among those forecasting a slide back to $40 a barrel as output rebounds in Canada, Iran, Nigeria and the U.S., hurting producers whose investment cuts have put future growth in doubt.

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The Future of Big Oil? At Shell, It’s Not Oil

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Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 07.42.44The energy giant is shifting to gas as the industry adapts to climate change.

By Matthew CampbellRakteem Katakey and James Paton: 20 July 2016

At Australia’s Curtis Island, you can see Big Oil morphing into Big Gas. Just off the continent’s rugged northeastern coast lies a 667-acre liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal owned by Royal Dutch Shell, an engineering feat of staggering complexity. Gas from more than 2,500 wells travels hundreds of miles by pipeline to the island, where it’s chilled and pumped into 10-story-high tanks before being loaded onto massive ships. “We’re more a gas company than an oil company,” says Ben van Beurden, Shell’s chief executive officer. “If you have to place bets, which we have to, I’d rather place them there.”

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How Lower Oil Prices, Brexit Are Impacting North Sea Operations

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By Muhammad Ali Khawar on Jul 19, 2016 at 7:35 am EST

Thanks to Brexit vote, the oil and gas markets are experiencing significant level of uncertainties. With UK now stepping out of the European Union, many oil and gas companies have reduced operations as they feel that demand may not be as robust as it used to be.

The North Sea is one of the highest cost regions in the world. With the recent development in the UK market, companies fear higher costs, which can derail operations in the region. As reported by Bloomberg, Wood Mackenzie, a consulting firm, has indicated that around 30% of the fields in the region are operating at a loss.

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American Gas Will Be First to Pass Through Expanded Panama Canal

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Naureen Malik: July 19, 2016

Shell set to send tanker carrying U.S. LNG through canal

BP scheduled to send second tanker through the following day

The first cargo of liquefied natural gas set to pass through the newly expanded Panama Canal locks will be American.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Maran Gas Apollonia vessel is scheduled to pass through the canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans on July 25 after loading LNG from the U.S. Gulf Coast, according to the Panama Canal Authority, which oversees the locks’ operations. BP Plc’s British Merchant LNG tanker is expected to become the second to pass through the canal the following day and a third tanker is slated for early August, the agency said in a statement late Monday.

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Getting Ready for Another Round of Commodity Market Downturn

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By Staff Writer on Jul 18, 2016 at 7:30 am EST

Crude oil prices have dropped below the $50 per barrel mark yet again after hitting their highest level in 2016 last month. US crude benchmark, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is trading at $45.97 per barrel while Brent is trading at $47.69 per barrel in European Markets today. The global crude oil benchmark reached as high as $52.51 per barrel earlier in June.

Although oil prices have recovered some momentum after touching 12-year lows of $27 per barrel earlier in 2016, it still has a lot of ground to gain before reaching summer-2014 levels. Oil market showed some positive gains in June when oil prices crossed the psychological barrier of $50 per barrel. However, it was short-lived as it is currently trading below $48 per barrel.

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Uncertainty in the oil price war

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By Ed Crooks: JULY 15. 2016

“War is the realm of uncertainty,” wrote the great Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz. “Three quarters of the factors on which action in war is based are wrapped in a fog of greater or lesser uncertainty.”

That applies to price wars every much as it does to the real kind. Almost from the moment crude began falling in 2014, news outlets started running confident-sounding claims that one side or another was winning the battle often depicted as a struggle between Saudi Arabia on one side and US shale producers on the other.

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Shell-Led Group Delays Decision on Canada Gas Export Plan

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By Natalie Obiko Pearson and Rebecca Penty: July 11, 2016

LNG Canada cites industry challenges, capital constraints

Project says it can’t confirm when it plans final decision

Royal Dutch Shell Plc and its partners delayed for the second time this year a final investment decision on a terminal to export liquefied natural gas from Canada’s Pacific Coast to Asian markets.

LNG Canada, which is also backed by Mitsubishi Corp., PetroChina Co. and Korea Gas Corp., cited “global industry challenges, including capital constraints” in announcing the postponement in a statement on Monday.

“Participants have determined they need more time prior to taking a final investment decision,” the joint venture said. “At this time, we cannot confirm when this decision will be made.”

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Einstein Never Knew He’d Help Shell Discover Oil

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By Eric Roston: July 7, 2016

Albert Einstein suggested a century ago that large-scale cosmic violence—two black holes colliding, for example—might send gravitational ripples through the universe like a stone disturbing the surface of a pond. In September physicists in the U.S. conclusively detected gravitational waves for the first time, again proving Einstein right. While it’s a safe assumption he wasn’t thinking about how building a wave observatory might lead to finding oil and gas, two physicists in Amsterdam have started a company betting they can.

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Iraq Inquiry Shows Oil Was a Consideration for U.K. Before War

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British officials held talks with BP and Shell about Iraqi oil

Blair said high oil price was his big “domestic worry”

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By Javier BlasJuly 6, 2016 — 4:27 PM BST

The U.K. government held talks with Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc to ensure British energy companies were “well-placed to pick up contracts in the aftermath” of the invasion of Iraq, according to declassified documents released as part of an official inquiry.

Although the report, overseen by former civil servant John Chilcot, doesn’t explicitly say oil played a role in the war, documents publish on Wednesday show British officials discussed how to obtain “substantial business for U.K. companies” in the energy sector.

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Oil Is Still Heading to $10 a Barrel

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By A. Gary Shilling:JUNE 28, 2016 12:00 PM EDT

Back in February 2015, the price of West Texas Intermediate stood at about $52 per barrel, half of its 2014 peak. I argued then that a renewed decline was coming that could drive it below $20, a scenario regarded by oil bulls as unthinkable. But prices did fall further, dropping all the way to a low of $26 in February. Since then, crude rallied to spend several weeks flirting with $50 per barrel, a level not seen since last year. But it won’t last; I’m sticking to my call for prices to decline anew to $10 to $20 per barrel.

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Brexit impact fades

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Gary Shilling for Bloomberg View suggested oil could drop to $10.

By Ed Crooks: Friday, July 1, 2016

Oil was one of the markets where the initial shock of the UK’s Brexit vote quickly faded. Brent crude was about $51 per barrel as the voters went to the polls last week, and today was trading at about $49.50. 

The 34 per cent rise in oil so far in 2016 has been its best start to a year since 2009, and helped commodities outperform other asset classes over the past six months.

The rise in prices has brightened the mood in Texas, according to a new survey carried out by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. It looks like being a good data source to watch in future.

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Saudi-Iran Conflict ‘Minefield’ for Japan Oil Refiner Merger

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By Tsuyoshi Inajima,  Emi Urabe and Shigeru Sato: Updated on July 1, 2016 

  • Idemitsu founding family says shouldn’t hold stake in rival

  • Co. agreed to buy share of Japanese refiner Showa Shell

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 18.15.43The conflict between Middle East oil suppliers Iran and Saudi Arabia is playing out between the founding family of one of Japan’s largest refiners and its board.

Idemitsu Kosan Co. agreed last July to buy a stake with 33.3 percent voting rights in Showa Shell Sekiyu KK from Royal Dutch Shell Plc for 169 billion yen ($1.64 billion). Idemitsu has close ties with Iran and shouldn’t be associated with Showa Shell, in which state-run Saudi Arabian Oil Co. owns a stake, said a lawyer for Idemitsu’s founding family, which “wants the company to let go of the stake.”

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Shell CEO Urges European Governments to Keep Economy Steady After Brexit

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Ben Van Beurden, chief executive officer of Royal Dutch Shell PLC, is seen here in Perth, Australia in April 2016. Mr. Van Beurden urged Europe’s governments to keep the economy steady despite the turbulence created by the U.K.’s referendum. PHOTO: AARON BUNCH/BLOOMBERG NEWS

By SARAH KENT: June 30, 2016 5:49 a.m. ET

Speaking at a conference in London, Ben Van Beurden emphasized the benefits of a single market and free movement of people. “I hope that the future relationship between the U.K. and the rest of Europe will continue to provide conditions for economic growth,” he said.

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Royal Dutch Shell’s Recovery Will Strengthen The Rally

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Jun. 29, 2016 4:22 PM ET|

Summary

Royal Dutch Shell’s upstream business has struggled on account of lower oil price realizations, but this is about to change going forward.

With Brent now hovering around $50, the average price of oil has improved in the second quarter and this will help Shell improve its realizations in the upstream.

Shell’s upstream performance could improve further as higher inventory drawdown on the back of weakening production and stronger demand will lead to higher prices.

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Idemitsu, Showa Shell Fall as Merger at Risk Amid Opposition

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By Tsuyoshi Inajima: Emi Urabe and Stephen Stapczynski: June 29. 2016

  • Idemitsu founding family opposes merger with Showa Shell

  • Family owns 33.9% stake in Japan refiner Idemitsu: statement

Japanese refiners Idemitsu Kosan Co. and Showa Shell Sekiyu KK fell one day after descendants of Idemitsu’s founder said they oppose a merger between the two companies because of Showa Shell’s ties with Saudi Arabia.

Idemitsu in Tokyo fell as much as 10.4 percent to 2,063 yen as of 11:59 a.m. local time, the biggest intraday drop since March 2011. Showa Shell fell as much as 6.6 percent, extending a 10 percent decline on Tuesday after the family announced its opposition.

Idemitsu has maintained a close relationship with Iran and descendants of the company’s founder oppose a deal in part because of heightened tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, according to a statement from the Daiichi-Chuo Law Office, which is representing the family. The descendants own 33.9 percent of Idemitsu, which means they may be able to use veto power on the merger at a special shareholder meeting.

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Shell’s Ambitious Plan To Topple Exxon

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By Rakesh Upadhyay – Jun 22, 2016, 5:17 PM CDT

Ben Van Beurden, Chief Executive Officer of Royal Dutch Shell has laid out an ambitious plan to overtake ExxonMobil as the number one oil company in the world.

Prior to the 1990s, Shell was the leader in total shareholder returns, however, its rivals went on a deal-making spree to gain the lead, while Shell shied away from making any acquisitions. Now, Mr. Beurden believes that Shell will be able to regain its lost glory post the acquisition of the BG group.

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Dutch Winter Gas Rises to Six-Month High Before Output Decision

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Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 10.28.33Netherlands may decide on Groningen field production on Friday

By Rob VerdonckFred Pals: June 22, 2016 – 11:17 AM BST

Dutch natural gas advanced to the highest since December before a government decision on production from Europe’s biggest field expected on Friday.

The winter contract, for the six months from October, gained as much as 5.1 percent, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg. Dutch Economy Minister Henk Kamp expects the government to decide on output from the Groningen field on Friday, the ANP news agency reported late Tuesday after De Telegraaf newspaper said gas extraction linked to earthquakes would be curbed by another 11 percent.

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Oil Explorers Embrace the Sharing Economy to Drill Cheaper Wells

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Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 23.34.38By Rakteem KatakeyJune 22, 2016 — 12:01 AM BST

The biggest oil-industry downturn in a generation has companies collaborating in ways they never thought possible.

In this global effort, one of the world’s most expensive oil regions intends to lead the way. Last month companies operating in the North Sea started pooling spare parts and tools, and they are even sharing plans on how to drill wells so they can work faster and cheaper, said Paul Goodfellow, Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s vice president for the U.K. and Ireland.

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This is a big change from oil’s boom, when costs weren’t such an issue as long as $100-a-barrel crude kept flowing. As companies focus on adapting to prices closer to $50 by making their spending less wasteful, they also aim to boost profitability for years to come by keeping costs low as markets recover.

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Short term strength

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By Ed Crooks: June 17, 2016

This week has brought evidence of contrasting short-term and long-term trends in the oil market. In the short term, demand and supply are both turning out to be stronger than many had expected. The IEA revised up its forecast for oil demand growth this year in its monthly oil market report, but added that rising production would mean global oversupply could persist into 2017.

There are early indications of an upturn in activity in the US shale industry, still faint so far, but ominous for anyone relying on a sharp rebound in crude. And Iran said its oil production had reached 3.8m barrels per day, confirming the strong growth following the lifting of sanctions that was already visible last month. Iran’s oil exports have tripled since late 2015.

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Shell CEO Faces Long Haul in Bid to Pass Exxon as Top Oil Major

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By Rakteem Katakey: June 15, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive Officer Ben Van Beurden spelled out his main goal last week — surpass Exxon Mobil Corp. to become the best-performing oil major. 

“I am determined to get us to that number one place,” he said after outlining the company’s long-term strategy in London. “I want to create a world class investment case for Shell and our shareholders.” 

There are signs Van Beurden is winning over some investors following his record $54 billion acquisition of BG Group Plc. Shell has closed the gap on Exxon for total shareholder returns, which accounts for share prices, dividend payouts and buybacks, after lagging behind for five years. Still, the Anglo-Dutch explorer trails its U.S. rival on a range of other metrics from return on capital and assets to cash flow.

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Shell Gas Director Says World Isn’t Oversupplied With LNG Yet

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By Lynn Doan: June 10, 2016 – 10.52 PM BST

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 10.26.15For months, banks including Citigroup Inc. have talked about a massive oversupply in the global market for liquefied natural gas. The head of natural gas at Royal Dutch Shell Plc, one of the world’s biggest producers of the fuel, would beg to differ.

“There isn’t really yet the kind of oversupply that people talk about,” Maarten Wetselaar, Shell’s integrated gas and new energies director, said on Friday in an interview in Palo Alto, California. For proof, he said, look at Europe, where natural gas demand gained last year and LNG imports from overseas were little changed.

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Shell Follows Total in Buying Iranian Crude After Sanctions End

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  • Vessel with 1 million-barrel crude cargo booked for Europe

  • Total was first oil major to buy Iranian crude for region

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 19.11.36By Rupert Rowling, Angelina Rascouet and Julian Lee: June 8, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell Plc is set to ship a cargo of Iranian crude to Europe next month, becoming the second major oil company in the region after Total SA to resume oil trade after some sanctions on the Persian nation’s nuclear program were lifted in January.

Shell booked the Delta Hellas tanker to carry one million barrels of Iranian crude to Europe, loading July 1, according to lists of charters compiled by Bloomberg. Shell declined to comment on the booking.

Among oil majors, Total was the first to resume purchases of Iranian crude after the French oil company chartered a cargo in February. The first shipment to arrive in Europe was for the independent Spanish refiner Cia. Espanola de Petroleos, which unloaded on March 6.

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Royal Dutch Shell Carries Out Repair Works in Nigeria Despite Security Threats

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By Micheal KaufmanJun 8, 2016 at 10:50 am EST

Although Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) is carrying out repair-work at two sites in Nigeria, the company said it could not “operate or repair” the facilities in the Niger Delta if its employees are not safe. The militant group, Niger Delta Avengers, has attacked Shell’s Nigerian facilities thrice in the past five months.

Attacks

First, the militants attacked Shell Forcados terminal and an under-water pipeline in February. The pipeline links offshore port with the onshore crude oil storage tanks. This was the first time that the group carried out an attack in public.

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Shell-Operated Nigeria Pipeline Said to Be Under Repair

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Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 23.34.38Javier Blas: June 7, 2016

Repair work on a key Nigerian crude oil pipeline operated by Royal Dutch Shell Plc is ongoing under very tight security, according to a person familiar with the operations.

The repairs were being carried out in two different sites of the Forcados export pipeline, which was hit by explosions in February and again last week, said the person, who asked not to be named because of security concerns. Earlier Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry said the company had to withdraw repair crews last week after a second attack against the 48-inch Forcados pipeline that links onshore storage tanks with an offshore port.

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Shell’s Big Find

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Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 10.26.15By Chris Hughes: June 7, 2016

Shell is learning not to waste a crisis.

The Anglo-Dutch oil major is pulling on every lever to deal with the consequences of agreeing a takeover of rival BG Group just before the oil price collapsed last year. Shareholders can only hope that the zeal it now shows for running a tight ship will endure once the company is on a surer footing.

The $54 billion cash-and-shares purchase of BG was completed in the first quarter, just as the oil price hit rock bottom. As of March 31, Shell’s net borrowings had shot up from $27 billion to $70 billion. Operating cash flow on a 12-month rolling basis was $23 billion — too low for a company then targeting $33 billion of annual capital expenditure and accustomed to paying $10 billion of cash dividends annually, even allowing for a contribution from BG. No wonder analysts have been penciling in dividend cuts.

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Shell Deepens Spending Cuts, Promises More Savings From BG

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By Rakteem Katakey and Ryan Chilcote: June 7, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell Plc cut spending plans further and promised increased savings following its record purchase of BG Group Plc, as Europe’s largest oil company continues to adjust to the slump in energy prices.

Shell will spend $29 billion this year, it said Tuesday. That compares with a May forecast for capital expenditure “trending toward” $30 billion, which was itself down from an earlier projection of $33 billion. Synergies from the BG acquisition will provide $4.5 billion in savings in 2018, up from an earlier estimate of $3.5 billion.

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The death of Opec?

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By Ed Crooks: 27 May 2016

“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” That widely-misattributed line, first published by the novelist Rita Mae Brown, has apparently been taken to heart in the oil market at last.

After a succession of Opec meetings that were preceded by fevered speculation about action to support crude prices – mostly recently the much-discussed plan for a production “freeze” that fell apart in Doha in April – no-one has any great expectations for the ministerial gathering in Vienna next week. “The freeze is finished,” one Opec delegate said.

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Shell Cuts 2,200 More Jobs to Withstand Lower-For-Longer Oil

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Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 10.18.28By Rakteem KatakeyMay 25, 2016 — 11:19 AM BST

Royal Dutch Shell Plc will cut 2,200 more jobs, taking the total tally of losses to 12,500 from 2015 to 2016 as the world’s second-biggest oil company continues to adjust to the slump in prices. 

At least 5,000 jobs will be cut this year, the company said in an e-mailed statement. These reductions are in response to oil prices staying “lower for longer,” and as a result of the acquisition of BG Group Plc earlier this year, said Paul Goodfellow, Shell’s vice president for the U.K. and Ireland. 

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Royal Dutch Shell Merger Completion Results in Serious Debt Woes

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By Micheal KaufmanMay 20, 2016 at 2:09 pm EST

The energy sector has been badly affected due to substantial decline in oil and gas price. This has forced companies to implement counter steps such as capital expenditure reduction and asset disposals.

Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A), a major oil company, is reportedly looking for buyers for its North Sea assets. The assets had been mainly bought during its multibillion takeover of BG Group.

According to a report by Bloomberg, the company is in talks with chemical producers including privately owned Neptune Oil and Gas and Ineos Group AG, established by former CEO of Centrica Sam Laidlaw. Shell could look to sell a package of assets and want to gauge buyers’ sentiments before formal assets disposals process is launched. With no final decision been made yet, there is also a possibility that the assets might be retained.

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Shell, Exxon Seen as Oil Majors Most Exposed to Nigeria Violence

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Shell may be losing almost 50,000 barrels of oil a day: Rystad

Exxon fields linked to Qua Iboe terminal also vulnerable

By Angelina Rascouet: May 20, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp. are the international oil companies most exposed to the explosion of violence in the Niger River delta that has cut Nigeria’s output and fueled a rally in global crude prices, according to Rystad Energy.

Shell and Exxon have the most production in vulnerable parts of the oil-rich region — onshore or near the coast, according to Per Magnus Nysveen, senior partner and head of analysis at the Oslo-based consultant. Shell is losing almost all of the 50,000 barrels a day it pumped in the delta last year, he said. That’s about a quarter of its output in the country. Exxon pumped 145,000 barrels a day last year — about half its Nigeria total — from shallow-water fields that could also be targeted, Nysveen said.

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Shell Said to Start Talks With Buyers for North Sea Asset Sales

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Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 13.50.03By Dinesh Nair and Rakteem Katakey: May 19, 2016 – 1.24PM BST

Royal Dutch Shell Plc is in talks with potential buyers for some North Sea assets, mostly fields it got this year as part of the record acquisition of BG Group Plc, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Anglo-Dutch energy giant has been in talks with companies including privately held chemical producer Ineos Group AG and Neptune Oil & Gas, set up by former Centrica Plc chief Sam Laidlaw, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Shell is seeking to sell a package of assets and is talking with companies to gauge their interest before a formal sale process is launched, the people said. No final decision has been made and Shell may decide to retain the properties, they said.

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Dutch Take On Gazprom in Battle Over Europe’s Oil-Linked Gas

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Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 10.52.28The legal action coincides with government curbs on output after earthquakes in the Netherlands…

By Kelly Gilblom: May 18, 2016

In its new role as a natural gas importer, the Netherlands wants to make sure it doesn’t overpay.

GasTerra BV, the nation’s biggest buyer and seller of gas, initiated arbitration against Gazprom PJSC’s export unit, the Russian company said Monday. It is seeking a price review for fuel purchased from Europe’s largest supplier under a long-term contract linked to oil, which has rallied this year as the price on gas hubs extended declines.

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The legal action coincides with government curbs on output after earthquakes in the Netherlands, home to the European Union’s largest gas field, which turned it into a net importer of the fuel. Utilities from Germany’s RWE AG to Turkey’s Botas Boru Hatlari Ile Petrol Tasima AS filed arbitration claims against Gazprom PJSC’s export unit after market prices fell below contract rates, with EON SE and Engie SA settling cases with Europe’s biggest gas supplier this year.

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Shell Faces Opposition on CEO’s Pay as Bonus Seen as Excessive

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Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 11.17.55Rakteem Katakey: May 17, 2016

Two shareholder-advisory firms recommended investors vote against the Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive Officer Ben Van Beurden’s pay, saying his bonus is “excessive.” A third adviser said shareholders should give “qualified support.”

Van Beurden’s annual bonus, equivalent to 245 percent of his salary last year, was not acceptable, Pensions & Investment Research Consultants Ltd. said in an e-mail on Tuesday. Advisory firm Glass Lewis also said shareholders should oppose the pay deal.

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Shell’s manipulation in the spot market

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By Jonathan Crawford: May 13, 2016

Sixteen years after California experienced rolling blackouts and soaring power prices, two of the last companies accused of taking advantage of the shortage are facing a decision by federal regulators.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Iberdrola SA have until May 27 to respond to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission judge’s initial ruling last month that they sold electricity at inflated prices during the California power crisis of 2000-2001. While other companies that sold power under long-term contracts in the state have long since settled charges, Shell and Iberdrola elected to fight the case.

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Shell’s Saudi Aramco Option

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Cheap oil crimping your spending plans? Sitting on a bunch of valuable upstream oil assets that could be monetized? How about a mammoth IPO? No, not Saudi Arabia. I’m talking about Royal Dutch Shell.

Shell is Europe’s third-biggest company by market value. But after the $54 billion acquisition of BG Group, its net debt is by far the largest: an eye-watering $70 billion.

Big Borrowers

Shell’s net debt is the largest of any company in western Europe

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The Anglo-Dutch company says debt is likely “to go up before it goes down” and its reduction is “priority number one”. With credit-rating agencies on its case, Shell has to deliver on a pledge to divest $30 billion of non-core assets within three years.

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Big Oil Abandons $2.5 Billion in U.S. Arctic Drilling Rights

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Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 08.42.36Jennifer A Dlouhy: May 10, 2016

Drillers forfeit millions of acres amid slump in oil prices

Royal Dutch Shell still holding on to one lease in Chukchi Sea

After plunking down more than $2.5 billion for drilling rights in U.S. Arctic waters, Royal Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips and other companies have quietly relinquished claims they once hoped would net the next big oil discovery.

The pullout comes as crude oil prices have plummeted to less than half their June 2014 levels, forcing oil companies to slash spending. For Shell and ConocoPhillips, the decision to abandon Arctic acreage was formalized just before a May 1 due date to pay the U.S. government millions of dollars in rent to keep holdings in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska.

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Canadian Crude Prices Surge as Fire Hits Shell, Suncor Output

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  • Oil-sands output may be down by 1 million barrels a day: RBC

  • Suncor, Shell, Husky, ConocoPhillips cut production amid blaze

By Robert Tuttle and Rebecca Penty: May 6, 2016

The worst wildfire in Alberta history is boosting Canadian crude prices as oil companies evacuate workers and shut in as much as 1 million barrels a day of output.

Western Canadian Select, the benchmark for oil sands production, strengthened $1 to an $11.85-a-barrel discount to U.S. West Texas Intermediate on Thursday, the narrowest spread since July, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The absolute price rose $1.54 to $32.47 a barrel.

Suncor Energy Inc., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Husky Energy Inc. are among companies that shut plants or reduced production. Cnooc Ltd.’s Nexen, ConocoPhillips, Imperial Oil Ltd. and Statoil ASA were also affected. The shutdowns follow supply disruptions in places like Nigeria and Iraq earlier this year that have helped global prices rebound from a 12-year low.

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Shell’s BG Risk Starts to Pay as Output Added, Costs Slashed

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By Rakteem Katakey: May 4, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s record $54 billion acquisition of BG Group Plc is starting to pay off as the assets give it higher production and cash flow, helping it beat analysts’ earnings estimates when it reported quarterly results Wednesday. 

While Europe’s biggest oil company benefits from BG’s assets, it’s cutting expenses quickly enough to ensure the takeover isn’t adding any new costs. Shell’s forecasts for capital spending and operating expenses this year are now at the same level they would have been even if it hadn’t bought BG, Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry said. A majority of the 16 percent increase in oil and gas output came from the acquisition.

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Samsung Heavy loses $4.6-billion FLNG order from Shell on oil drop

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Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 13.50.03By KYUNGHEE PARK on 4/28/2016

SUNGNAM, South Korea (Bloomberg) — Samsung Heavy Industries Co., the world’s third-largest shipbuilder, said an order to build three floating LNG production facilities was canceled after the energy development project was scrapped amid a plunge in oil prices.

The contract, valued at 5.27 trillion won ($4.6 billion), from Royal Dutch Shell was voided because of the current difficult market conditions, the Sungnam, South Korea-based company said in a regulatory filing Thursday. The shipbuilder won the deal in June on the condition that the project will start only after the client is ready to proceed.

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Shell Outlines BG Consolidation Plans

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April 25, 2016 7:24 a.m. ET

LONDON— Royal Dutch Shell PLC will offer a new voluntary severance program for employees and plans to close a number of U.K. offices in the wake of its roughly $50 billion acquisition of BG Group PLC, the company said Monday.

The Anglo-Dutch oil giant has proposed plans to consolidate its London operations in central London and close its Thames Valley Park campus by the end of the year. The company also intends to close BG’s offices in Aberdeen by the end of 2016 and Shell’s Manchester offices by the end of 2017.

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Oil prices drop faster than companies can cut costs

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Bloomberg News: SATURDAY, APRIL 23, 2016

The world’s biggest oil companies, set to report their worst quarterly earnings in more than a decade, are finding that their cost-cutting efforts haven’t matched the decline in crude prices over the past two years.

While producers have been deferring projects, eliminating jobs and freezing salaries, the process will take three years to complete, according to Barclays oil sector analyst Lydia Rainforth. In the meantime, profits are being hammered.

“A lot of work still needs to be done on costs,” she said. “It’s a reflection of how much costs had piled up and how long a process this is.”

For producers from Royal Dutch Shell to Chevron, reeling under the threat of credit-rating downgrades, slashing costs is the surest way of protecting balance sheets. Still, reversing course is proving painful after $100 oil persuaded companies to pump money into expensive areas in search of new deposits, hire more people and rent rigs and services at record rates. Productivity suffered.

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Oil washout

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 21.42.31Ed Crooks: 22 April 2016

They wanted a freeze, but all they got was a wash-out. The 18 oil-producing countries that met in Doha on Sunday were supposed to finalise an agreement to hold production at January’s levels, but instead the meeting broke up in acrimony and recriminations. John Kemp at Reuters suggested Saudi Arabia was turning the “oil weapon” on its rival Iran.

The FT’s Roula Khalaf wrote that the failure of the talks highlighted the rise of Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s 30 year-old deputy crown prince. His growing influence and the waning authority of veteran oil minister Ali al-Naimi add a new element of unpredictability to Saudi policy.  Bloomberg Business Week had a long and fascinating interview with Prince Mohammed. As President Barack Obama visited Saudi Arabia, David Gardner wrote that the kingdom’s 70-year bargain with the US, promising security in return for a steady flow of oil, was becoming frayed.

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Shell Could Save $4.5 Billion by Matching BP Productivity: Chart

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Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 10.34.57By Rakteem Katakey: April 12, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell Plc could reduce operating costs by as much as $4.5 billion a year if its employees matched the productivity of BP Plc, according to Morgan Stanley.

Shell’s output per employee in oil and gas exploration and production was 26 percent lower than BP’s last year, meaning Europe’s biggest oil company has scope to cut about 9,000 jobs in that division, Morgan Stanley analysts including Martijn Rats wrote in a report dated April 8.

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Shell to Chevron Awaiting Demand From LNG Market in `Pause Mode’

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James PatonRebecca Keenan and Dan Murtaugh: April 12, 2016

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The over-supplied LNG market is in hiatus as energy giants from Chevron Corp. to Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Woodside Petroleum Corp. await a surge of demand from countries seeking access to energy.

Liquefied natural gas producers are in “pause mode” as low prices have stalled development of new projects, Woodside Chief Executive Officer Peter Coleman said today at the LNG18 conference in Perth. That respite means that coming years demand will exceed supply, causing prices to rise back to higher levels, Shell CEO Ben Van Beurden said.

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