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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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Saudi Aramco, Shell to Break Up 18-Year U.S. Refining Marriage

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Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 22.36.32By Joe Carroll and Wael Mahdi: Bloomberg.com: March 16, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Saudi Arabian Oil Co. are ending an 18-year refining partnership as the Anglo-Dutch crude titan prepares to sell billions of dollars of assets and as Saudi Arabia’s national oil company eyes a possible initial public offering.

Shell will assume control of two Louisiana refineries operated by the Motiva Enterprises LLC joint venture, as well as nine fuel terminals and rights to Shell-branded markets in Florida, Louisiana and the U.S. Northeast, the companies said Wednesday in a statement. Aramco will retain the Motiva name and take ownership of the largest U.S. refinery, in Port Arthur, Texas, along with 26 terminals and exclusive license to sell fuel under the Shell brand across Texas and much of the U.S. Midwest and Southeast.

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Shell Seen as Best Oil Major Wager by Analysts After BG Deal

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Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 08.47.47By Rakteem Katakey: Bloomberg.comMarch 9, 2016

Ben Van Beurden staked his reputation on Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s $53 billion acquisition of BG Group Plc as crude slumped. Analysts are rewarding the chief executive officer by putting the enlarged company in pole position to exploit a market upturn. 

Shell’s shares will rise about 12.2 percent in the next 12 months, the most among the world’s six biggest non-state oil companies, according to the target prices of analysts compiled by Bloomberg. More than 65 percent of analysts who cover Europe’s largest oil producer recommend buying the stock, the highest share among its peers.

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Shell Hopes To Sell $30 Billion In Assets, But Timing Is Terrible

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Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 08.47.47By Irina Slav: 06 March 2016

Royal Dutch Shell is planning to sell assets worth a staggering $30 billion in a bid to prop up its balance sheet, after completing the $53-billion acquisition of BG Group last month. The majority of these soon-to-be-offloaded assets are in the midstream and downstream operations of the company.

The plans were first mentioned by Shell’s chief executive during a conference call at the beginning of February. Two anonymous Bloomberg sources familiar with the divestment program stated that this divestment may include pipelines in the U.S., a stake in a gas project in Trinidad and Tobago, and interests that Shell holds in oil and gas fields in India.

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Cash Can’t Fix the Village Ruined by Shell’s Oil

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Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 15.03.25By Chris Kay and Ed Kiernan: Bloomberg.com

3 March 2016

As canoes glide past mangroves blackened by oil in the Niger River delta, two dozen children splash around in a creek covered by a sheen of crude while families take shelter from the punishing midday sun in half-built houses.

Once a bustling farming and fishing town in the region of Ogoniland, Bodo has become a poster child in Nigeria for the devastating impact on local communities caused by the leakage of about 240,000 barrels of crude a year in the delta, close to the amount that spilled in 1989 when the Exxon Valdez tanker ran aground off Alaska.

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Shell Said to Mull Sales From U.S. to India in $30 Billion Plan

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By Dinesh NairMatthew Campbell and Rakteem Katakey: Bloomberg.com: 2 March 2016

Royal Dutch Shell Plc is lining up assets for a $30 billion divestment program that may extend from the U.S. and Trinidad to India following its record takeover of BG Group Plc, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Assets linked to Shell’s interests in Trinidad & Tobago and stakes in oil and gas fields in India may be on the block, two of the people said, asking not to be identified because the plans are confidential. Pipelines in the U.S. are also high on the list, they said, adding that disposal plans aren’t final and will depend on demand.

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Nigeria Groups Take Oil Spill Complaints Against Shell to Court

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Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 15.03.25Sarah McGregor and Chris Kay: March 1, 2016

Two Nigerian communities have filed cases in a London court alleging Royal Dutch Shell Plc is responsible for oil spills that have contaminated the Niger River delta, according to the legal team representing them both.

The first hearing for both claims against Shell and its local unit, Shell Petroleum Development Co., will begin on Wednesday in a London court, according to the statement. The action is being led by Leigh Day, the law firm that handled a similar case that Shell settled last year by agreeing to pay 55 million pounds ($77 million) to compensate more than 15,000 residents of the Nigerian Bodo community for oil spills in 2008. Shell Petroleum Development is “at an early stage” of reviewing the claims, the company said in a statement.

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Scant hope of an imminent rebound in prices

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The Davos of energy

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By Ed Crooks: February 26, 2016

This week many of the biggest names in the worlds of oil, gas and power were gathered at IHS CeraWeek in Houston, the annual conference that is regularly  – and accurately – described as “the Davos of energy” or  – more questionably – as “the Burning Man of energy”. It should come as no surprise that it was this event that generated most of the week’s big stories.

The star of the show was Ali al-Naimi, Saudi Arabia’s formidable oil minister, who was making his first appearance at the conference since 2009. It might have been expected to be a case of Daniel in the lions’ den. Saudi Arabia is seen by many in the industry as the architect of their troubles, because of Mr Naimi’s refusal to cut production to attempt to support prices. As it turned out, though, he won over the crowd very quickly, delivering a speech that included both a convincing explanation of his strategy, and a few pretty decent jokes.

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Arctic Was a Bet That Didn’t Pay Off, Departing Shell Chief Says

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Jennifer A Dlouhy: Bloomberg.com: 24 FEB 2016

The departing chief of Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s U.S. division, who presided over its failed quest to find crude in Arctic waters off Alaska, said the effort was still a point of pride because it demonstrated the company’s technical expertise.

Marvin Odum, 57, is leaving the company in a reorganization announced Wednesday. He has been with the company for 34 years and held the post atop its U.S. division, Shell Oil Co., since oil prices were at record highs.

The Arctic was “a big bet,” Odum said in a telephone interview Wednesday. 

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Another Oil Crash Is Coming, and There May Be No Recovery

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Tom Randall: Bloomberg.com: 24 FEB 2016

It’s time for oil investors to start taking electric cars seriously.

In the next two years, Tesla and Chevy plan to start selling electric cars with a range of more than 200 miles priced in the $30,000 range. Ford is investing billions, Volkswagen is investing billions, and Nissan and BMW are investing billions. Nearly every major carmaker—as well as Apple and Google—is working on the next generation of plug-in cars.

This is a problem for oil markets. OPEC still contends that electric vehicles will make up just 1 percent of global car sales in 2040. Exxon’s forecast is similarly dismissive. 

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Royal Dutch Shell’s U.S. Chief Leaving in Leadership Shuffle

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The president of Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s U.S. division is leaving the company as part of a reorganization announced Wednesday, and Executive Vice President Bruce Culpepper was named as his successor.

Marvin Odum, 57, has been with the company for 34 years and held the post at its U.S. division, Shell Oil Co., since oil prices were at record highs. He also was in charge during Shell’s failed Arctic drilling bid. Culpepper, who will become the U.S. country chairman and the president of Shell Oil on April 1, has been overseeing human resources in the Americas.

“Marvin has had a long and distinguished Shell career and I’m grateful to him for the central role he’s played in the company’s success,” said Ben van Beurden, chief executive officer of Royal Dutch Shell, in a news release Wednesday. “He leaves our important businesses in the Americas well positioned for the next phase of their development.”

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OPEC’s Freeze Backfires

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The punchline? The joke’s on OPEC.

There are several glaring problems inherent to the freeze, whereby members of OPEC and other large producers such as Russia are supposed to not raise their oil output from current levels, not least that they are already producing too much oil for the market to absorb.

But there is a more subtle effect that actually works against the likes of Saudi Arabia: The freeze raises hope. In particular, it raises hope in the otherwise largely despondent world of energy financing.

Monday night, before those oil ministers iced the freeze, Cabot Oil & Gas, a U.S. exploration and production company, announced it had sold an upsized offering of new shares that should ultimately raise roughly $1 billion.

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For Exxon and Shell, Age of Ultramajors Comes at the Wrong Time

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As oil and gas prices have tumbled, Exxon and Shell have been forced to retreat. With oil barely above $30 a barrel, they’re cutting spending, including some costly, high-risk mega-projects. Photographer: George Osodi/Bloomberg

By Javier Blas: Bloomberg.com: 24 FEB 2016

Despite their size, both companies suffering with cheap oil

Exxon and Shell cutting spending as fast as everyone else

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 07.54.19This may not be the best time to be bigger than big.

The $64 billion tie-up of Royal Dutch Shell Plc with BG Group Plc and the steady growth of Exxon Mobil Corp. are creating a new league of two: the ultramajors. Executives at smaller companies are even starting to joke that Chevron Corp., Total SA, BP Plc, ConocoPhillips and ENI SpA are merely the mid-cap sector of Big Oil.

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BG Group, Gas-Shipping Pioneer, Trades Final Time Before Merger

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Rakteem Katakey: Bloomberg.com: February 11, 2016

BG Group Plc, pioneer of natural-gas shipping, will trade on stock exchanges for the last time on Friday, 19 years after it was created.

The shares will delist Monday as BG becomes a fully owned unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc following the industry’s biggest acquisition in more than a decade. The stock has increased ninefold since 1997, when former state monopoly British Gas Plc split its exploration and production arm from retail. Shell gained just 15 percent in the period, while BP Plc declined 4.4 percent.

The BG takeover will catapult Shell into second place among the world’s most valuable public oil companies, behind Exxon Mobil Corp. Shell plans to run BG as a subsidiary initially, merging the two companies over the course of a year, according to two officials with direct knowledge of the matter. BG’s assets, including gas projects from Australia to Kazakhstan, will help the Anglo-Dutch energy giant ride out the oil-price slump.

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For Oil Companies, It’s a Year of Slashing Costs and Jobs

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This year will be another hard one for the oil majors as they cut spending.

Over the past several weeks, the world’s biggest oil companies have posted earnings that show just how brutal it is these days to be an oil major. The industry is going through the biggest downturn since the 1990’s.

Following a dramatic 60% plunge in oil prices over the past 18 months, oil companies are desperately slashing costs by cutting jobs, decommissioning rigs, halting the purchase of new oil gear, and pulling back from exploring new fields.

On Tuesday morning, BP BP -8.45% reported its worst annual loss in over 20 years. The company, which is the sixth largest in the world, says it will cut 7,000 jobs by 2017, or almost 9% of its workers.

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S&P Lowers Shell’s Rating, Puts Other Oil Majors on Watch

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Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 08.55.47David Marino: Bloomberg.com:

1 February 2016

Standard & Poor’s lowered its rating on Royal Dutch Shell Plc and sees a significant likelihood of downgrades for several Europe-based integrated oil and gas majors in the next weeks.

“We lowered our ratings on Royal Dutch Shell Plc to ’A+/A-1’ from ’AA-/A-1+’ and placed the long-term rating on CreditWatch with negative implications,” S&P said in an e-mailed statement. “We also placed on CreditWatch negative our ratings on BP Plc, Eni SpA, Repsol S.A., Statoil ASA, Statoil Forsikring AS, Statoil US Holdings Inc., and Total S.A.”

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Shell’s BG Arbitrage Fades as Investors Look Set to Back Deal

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Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 09.03.45By Rakteem Katakey and Ryan ChilcoteBloomberg.com: 25 JAN 2016

Royal Dutch Shell Plc is on the brink of completing its biggest acquisition as shareholders look set to back its purchase of BG Group Plc.

Risks to the deal completing have almost disappeared. The discount of BG’s shares to the offer price narrowed to a record low of 2.2 percent on Monday after some of Shell’s top shareholders and advisory firms backed the transaction this month. It was at 12.5 percent on Dec. 21.

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Shell’s acquisition, the industry’s biggest in at least a decade, came under scrutiny after oil prices fell by half from about $60 a barrel the day before it was announced in April. The slump, which Shell Chief Executive Officer Ben Van Beurden expects to be prolonged, previously kept BG’s discount to the offer from narrowing as some investors questioned whether Europe’s biggest oil company was paying too much. That’s changing as shareholders come round to Shell’s view on the long-term rationale of the purchase.

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Oil Rout Prompts Moody’s to Consider Shell, Total for Downgrade

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Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 12.08.33Moody’s will also review the ratings of two U.S. refining joint ventures linked to Shell, Motiva Enterprises LLC and Deer Park Refining LP.

By Mikael Holter and Rakteem Katakey: Bloomberg.com: 22 JAN 2016

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total SA and Statoil ASA, three of Europe’s biggest oil producers, were among more than 100 energy companies whose credit ratings were placed on review for possible downgrade by Moody’s Investors Service.

The reviews come after the rating company cut its oil-price forecasts and should for the most part be completed this quarter, Moody’s said in a statement on Friday. Prices may recover more slowly than companies expect and there is a risk they may fall further, it said.

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Oil’s Nightmare Scenario Dominates Davos

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Global Stocks on Brink of Bear Market as Oil Slides; Ruble Sinks

By Javier Blas, Grant Smith: Bloomberg.com: 20 JAN 2016

The first mantra of the oil crisis was “lower for longer.” Then “lower for even longer.” Now in Davos, oil executives are starting to talk — or rather, whisper — about a new nightmare scenario: “A lot lower for a lot longer.”

Oil executives, policy makers and banks said in the first days of the World Economic Forum that a recovery will remain elusive in 2016 as major producers keep pumping and China’s fuel appetite slackens. And they fret that prices could take another hit as Iranian crude freed from sanctions flows back on to world markets.

More from Bloomberg.com: The North Dakota Crude Oil That’s Worth Almost Nothing

“It is the third year in a row we have more supply than demand,” Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, told Francine Lacqua in a Bloomberg Television interview. “Prices will be still under pressure. I don’t see any reason why we have a surprise increase in the price in 2016.”

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Shell Fourth-Quarter Profit Plunges as Oil’s Slump Deepens

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Rakteem Katakey: Bloomberg.comJanuary 20, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell Plc said fourth-quarter profit plunged as the rout in crude prices deepened. 

The company sees profit adjusted for one-time items and inventory changes of $1.6 billion to $1.9 billion, The Hague-based Shell said Wednesday in a preliminary earnings statement. That compares with the $1.8 billion average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, and profit of $3.3 billion a year earlier.

Shell, which is buying BG Group Plc in the industry’s largest deal in a decade, has cut jobs and reduced spending as Chief Executive Officer Ben Van Beurden prepares for a prolonged downturn. Crude’s slump below $30 a barrel has driven down Shell’s market value to the lowest in almost seven years and prompted concern it may be overpaying for BG’s production and cash flow.

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Oil Giants Start Losing Safety Net as Refining Margins Squeezed

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Rakteem Katakey and Firat Kayakiran: Bloomberg.com: 19 JAN 2016

Refining profits that buttressed earnings for Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc as crude prices plunged are now slumping, further pressuring all of the world’s biggest oil companies as they move into 2016.

Global refining margins, the estimated profit from turning oil into gasoline and diesel, fell 34 percent in the fourth quarter, the steepest decline in eight years, to $13.20 a barrel, data on BP Plc’s website show. Every $1 drop cuts BP’s pretax adjusted earnings by $500 million a year, according to its website.

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Shell’s Earnings to Show Depth of Rout as Oil Extends Losses

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 14.27.35Shell will on Wednesday become the first major oil producer to announce annual earnings as it enters the final stages of its plan to buy BG Group Plc in the industry’s biggest deal in years. Investors will scrutinize those preliminary numbers for signs Europe’s largest oil company is doing enough to justify the acquisition as crude drops below $30 a barrel. 

Shell has cut thousands of jobs and reduced spending as Chief Executive Officer Ben Van Beurden prepares the company for a prolonged downturn while looking to BG to add production and cash flow. The 18-month slump in crude, the longest since the mid-1980s, has delayed $380 billion of investments in the industry, driven down profits and erased more than $2.7 trillion of oil companies’ market value.

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The North Dakota Crude Oil That’s Worth Less Than Nothing

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Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 14.15.28Dan Murtaugh and Javier Blas: 18 JAN 2016

Oil is so plentiful and cheap in the U.S. that at least one buyer says it would need to be paid to take a certain type of low-quality crude.

Flint Hills Resources LLC, the refining arm of billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch’s industrial empire, said it would pay -$0.50 a barrel Friday for North Dakota Sour, a high-sulfur grade of crude, according to a list price posted on its website. That’s down from $13.50 a barrel a year ago and $47.60 in January 2014.

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Deal or No Deal? The Numbers That Matter for Shell’s BG Takeover

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Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 09.03.45…investors have questioned whether Shell is paying too much after oil prices slumped to the lowest in almost 12 years.

By Rakteem Katakey: JAN 11, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell Plc is a month away from completing its biggest acquisition, which would vault it over Chevron Corp. to become the world’s second-biggest non-state oil company.

The takeover of BG Group Plc would raise Shell’s market value close to $175 billion, boost flagging reserves and production, add to cash flow and bolster its ability to pay dividends, the company says. Yet investors have questioned whether Shell is paying too much after oil prices slumped to the lowest in almost 12 years.

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Shell’s BG Deal Gets Backing of Shareholder Advisory Firm

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By Rakteem Katakey: Jan 8, 2016: Bloomberg.com 

Royal Dutch Shell Plc has won the backing for its takeover of BG Group Plc from a body that advises many of its largest shareholders.

Shell’s biggest ever deal has “compelling strategic rationale” and “significant positive economics to be realized within a relatively short time frame,” Institutional Shareholder Services said in a report dated Thursday. “Support for this transaction is warranted.”

Shell is on the brink of pulling off its biggest acquisition, but oil’s collapse to less than $35 a barrel from about $55 on the day the deal was announced in April has prompted some investors to question whether the company is paying too much. The energy producer has justified the deal by saying it would boost its ability to maintain dividends, make it the world’s largest LNG producer and give it new assets from Australia to Brazil.

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Shell Opens Natural Gas Wells Off Irish Coast

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A wall of steel protects the workers at the entrance to the Corrib gas terminal site, which opened on Wednesday in Bellanaboy Bridge, Ireland. Credit Paul McErlane/Bloomberg News

LONDON — Two decades after being discovered, natural gas began flowing on Wednesday from wells off Ireland’s northwest coast. Royal Dutch Shell, the oil company, said it had begun producing gas from undersea wells, part of an effort for Ireland to produce more of its own resources.

Opening the taps in the Corrib field, more than 50 miles offshore, is a breakthrough for the oil and gas industry in Ireland, which had mostly disappointing results in recent years while encountering resistance from environmental groups.

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UK awash with oil as tankers forced to turn around

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Unseasonably warm winter weather has left the UK with its highest October stockpiles of oil for the past five years, according to Government figures

By John Ficenec, and Agency: 2:46PM GMT 22 Dec 2015

Record high temperatures in December have left the UK with the highest stocks of oil for five years as Europe-bound fuel tankers are forced into mid-Atlantic U-turns.

An unseasonably balmy period means the UK is on track for the warmest December in more than 100 years, and stocks of oil and gas are piling up as households turn down the heating.

Oil stocks in the UK have risen to almost 15m tonnes, which is 9pc above the same stage last year, according to the latest figures released by the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

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Shell-BG Deal Not Yet in the Bag Amid Fears of Further Oil Slump

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“..if there’s another sharp spike down in oil prices — crack through $30 towards $25 — there has to be a pain threshold beyond which the board would have to turn around.”

By Rakteem Katakey: Bloomberg.com: December 21, 2015 -2.42PM GMT

Royal Dutch Shell Plc is on the brink of pulling off its biggest acquisition. Yet the widening discount of target BG Group Plc to the offer price shows that a further steep drop in oil prices could still put the deal in doubt.

BG traded 12.5 percent below Shell’s bid price on Dec. 18, the biggest discount since early September, compared with a 6.4 percent gap on Dec. 4. While BG shares soared when news of the deal broke eight months ago, they’ve since tumbled more than 20 percent as oil prices slumped.

If benchmark Brent crude sinks to the mid-$20s a barrel, the transaction may fall through, said Philip Lawlor, a strategist at Smith & Williamson Investment Management LLP in London, which owns shares in both Shell and BG. Trz Trading BV’s Niels Lammerts Van Bueren said it “all depends on the oil price.”

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Shell and BG Shareholders to Vote on Deal at End of January

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The takeover, valued at about $70 billion when it was announced in April, has come under scrutiny as crude prices slumped below $40 a barrel amid a global oversupply.

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By Amanda Jordan: December 21, 2015

Shareholders of Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BG Group Plc are expected to vote on Jan. 27 and Jan. 28 on the companies’ planned combination announced eight months ago.

Shell and BG plan to publish shareholder documents as soon as Tuesday, the companies said Monday in a regulatory statement. In BG’s case, votes in favor must represent at least 75 percent of the total value of BG shares. Shell requires 50 percent backing.

Shell, Europe’s biggest oil company, won Chinese antitrust approval for its purchase of Reading, England-based BG this month, clearing the last regulatory hurdle for the deal.

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Shell, Gazprom’s Russian LNG Venture Readying Export Boost Plans

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Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 08.13.03By Stephen Stapczynski and Ichiro Suzuki: Bloomberg.com: Dec 18, 2015

Sakhalin Energy Investment Co., the only liquefied natural gas exporter in Russia, has agreed to begin design work on an expansion, the joint venture said Friday.

The partners — Gazprom PJSC, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mitsui & Co. and Mitsubishi Corp. — will add a third production unit at the Sakhalin-2 LNG export terminal to raise capacity by 4.8 million metric tons to 14.4 million metric tons a year, Miyuki Shiga, a Mitsui spokeswoman, said by phone. The design process will take about a year and the first cargo from the new unit is expected to ship early next decade, Shiga said.

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Shell to Expand CNOOC Petrochemical Venture in Southern China

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Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 08.55.47By Bloomberg News: December 15, 2015

Royal Dutch Shell Plc. is expanding its petrochemical venture in southern China with China National Offshore Oil Corp.

The two companies signed an agreement Tuesday to double the capacity of their equally held ethylene-cracking facility in Guangdong province to 2 million metric tons a year and add other chemicals units, Shell said in an e-mailed statement. The new facilities are expected to start operation in two years, it said, without providing a figure on the cost of the expansion.

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Shell Bid Aims to Preserve U.S. Drilling Rights in Arctic Ocean

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 16.53.51Jennifer A Dlouhy: December 15, 2015: Bloomberg.com

  • Oil company files appeal challenging rejection by Interior

  • Clock now ticking on oil and gas leases expiring in 2020

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 08.42.45Royal Dutch Shell Plc is fighting to preserve U.S. drilling rights in Arctic waters three months after halting exploration indefinitely there because it failed to find meaningful oil or natural gas deposits.

Europe’s largest oil company filed a notice of appeal Tuesday challenging the U.S. Interior Department’s Oct. 29 rejection of the company’s requests to stop the clock on Arctic oil and gas leases that otherwise expire between 2017 and 2020. The dispute is expected to undergo an administrative review, possibly delaying a final judgment until after a new U.S. president takes office.

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Big Oil Let Off Hook

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Royal Dutch Shell Plc, BP Plc and Statoil ASA no longer face an European Union investigation into potential manipulation of fuel benchmarks, the regulator indicated on Monday. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

By Aoife WhiteStephanie BodoniPeter Levring and Gaspard Sebag: Bloomberg.com: 7 December 2015

  • EU’s Vestager shows willingness to dump cases going nowhere
  • Commission retreats from high-profile oil investigation

Days after dropping a high-profile probe into some of Wall Street’s top banks, the European Commission quietly sounded the retreat from an antitrust case that’s embroiled some of the world’s biggest oil producers since 2013.

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Oil Firms Dropped From EU Probe Into Fuel-Price Manipulation

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By Aoife White: December 7, 2015

  • Crude oil sector no longer under investigation in case

  • EU steps up case focusing on ethanol benchmarks rigging

Oil companies, including Royal Dutch Shell Plc, BP Plc and Statoil ASA, no longer face a European Union investigation into potential manipulation of crude oil benchmarks.

The European Commission “is currently not investigating further behaviors in price benchmarks for the crude oil sector,” Ricardo Cardoso, a spokesman for regulator said in an e-mail. He said the EU’s current probe focuses “on price benchmarks for the ethanol sector.”

Raids on Shell, BP, Statoil and price publisher Platts in May 2013 over suspected benchmark-rigging echoed probes into banks for trying to fix the London Interbank Offered Rate and foreign exchange markets. EU antitrust regulators levied 1.7 billion euros ($1.8 billion) in fines later that year over Libor manipulation.

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OPEC ‘dead’ as oil countries go it alone on price and production

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December 7, 2015

OPEC has abandoned all pretence of acting as a cartel. It’s now every member for itself.

At a chaotic meeting Friday in Vienna that was expected to last four hours but extended to nearly seven, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries tossed aside the idea of limiting production to control prices. Instead, it went all in for the one-year-old Saudi Arabia-led policy of pumping, pumping, pumping until rivals – external, such as Russian and US shale drillers, as well as internal – are squeezed out of market share.

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Biggest Oil Deal’s Risk Narrows to Record as Shell Pushes Ahead

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By Rakteem Katakey: 30 November 2015

  • BG’s shares are at smallest discount to Shell’s offer price

  • Takeover received Australia antitrust approval this month

BG Group Plc’s discount to Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s takeover offer is the narrowest since the transaction was announced in April as the likelihood increases that the biggest oil deal of the decade will go through.

BG shares were 7.8 percent lower Monday than the price implied by Shell’s offer to buy the company, about half the discount reached in August. Shell has received approvals for three of the five preconditions to the acquisition, including one this month from Australia’s antitrust authority, meaning the window for some investors to cash in on the discount is starting to close, according to William Hares, a London-based oil analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. 

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Oil Majors Queue in Iran as $30 Billion of Projects in Play

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by Golnar MotevalliAnthony Dipaola and Hashem Kalantari: November 28, 2015: Bloomberg.com

  • Shell, Total, Lukoil interested in specific Iranian fields

  • Iran seeks to sign first oil development deal in March, April

Total SA, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Lukoil PJSC are among international companies that have selected oil and natural gas deposits to develop in Iran as the holder of the world’s fourth-largest crude reserves presents $30 billion worth of projects to investors.

Total is one of the companies that have been in the forefront of discussions and Eni SpA is also looking to invest, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said. Shell, Total and Lukoil all specified fields they would be interested in developing in Iran, Ali Kardor, deputy director of investment and financing at National Iranian Oil Co. said in an interview in Tehran.

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Shell’s BG Deal Cleared by Australian Competition Regulator

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By James Paton: November 18, 2015: Bloomberg.com

  • Agreement on track to be completed in early 2016, Shell says

  • Shell’s plan had faced concerns over gas supply in Australia

Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s $70 billion deal to buy BG Group Plc was cleared by Australia’s competition watchdog despite concerns it could reduce natural-gas supply to local customers and boost prices.

“The proposed acquisition would be unlikely to substantially lessen competition in the wholesale natural gas market,” Rod Sims, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, said in a statement on Thursday.

Shell’s takeover has already won key regulatory approvals from the U.S., the European Union and Brazil. Shell on Thursday called the Australian decision a “major step forward” for the transaction, which still requires clearance from China’s antitrust regulators and is on track to be completed in early 2016.

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Exxon’s Dutch Gas Gag

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Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 09.13.40Liam Denning: November 18, 2015

If you’ve never been to Groningen, it’s a pleasant college town in the northern Netherlands. It also happens to share its name with one of the world’s largest natural gas fields. Tourists are best advised to focus on the scenic bicycling routes. Exxon Mobil is more attuned to what lies beneath.

The region around Groningen has a problem that is becoming familiar in places like Oklahoma: earthquakes brought on by gas production. On Wednesday, a Dutch court ruled that the production cap on the giant field should be reduced temporarily by another 18 percent, to about 950 billion cubic feet for the year that started October 1. Altogether, the cap has been cut by about a third since 2014.

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Dutch Court to Rule on Gas Output From Europe’s Biggest Field

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Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 09.13.40Anna Shiryaevskaya, Fred Pals and Kelly Gilblom: 18 November 2015: Bloomberg.com

  • Final ruling Wednesday on output from EU’s biggest gas field

  • Government plans to decide on future production in December

A Dutch court will Wednesday decide on the future of Europe’s largest natural gas field as local residents seek to stop tremor-inducing production that’s damaging their houses.

The Council of State will rule on whether production from the Groningen gas field should be limited after in September hearing appeals from about 40 individuals, housing corporations and environmental groups. That comes before the government plans to next month outline future output at the field, which generated about 10.7 billion euros ($11.4 billion) in revenue last year and also supplies Germany, Belgium and France.

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Shell plans to retain four senior BG executives after merger – memo

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Business News | London Mon Nov 16, 2015

Royal Dutch Shell plans to retain four members of BG Group’s executive team after the companies’ planned merger next year, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters on Monday.

The memo indicates that the planned $70 billion takeover of BG by Shell remains on track. Shell this month sought to ease investor concerns over the deal by announcing costs cuts and benefits that would make it work despite lower oil prices.

According to the Shell document, BG’s Chief Operating Officer Sami Iskander will become executive vice president for joint ventures. Executive Vice President for Global Energy Marketing and Shipping Steve Hill will be named executive vice president for gas and energy marketing and trading while BG General Counsel Tom Melbye Eide will become general counsel for upstream.

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Shell Plans to Retain Four Senior BG Executives After Merger

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By Javier Blas: November 16, 2015

  • BG COO Sami Iskander to join Shell as head of joint ventures

  • Shell to retain head of BG trading business Steve Hill

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Royal Dutch Shell Plc plans to retain four senior executives from BG Group Plc after the merger between the two oil and gas groups completes next year, according to an internal memo sent on Monday.

The announcement comes less than two weeks after Shell revealed organizational changes as it prepares for its biggest ever takeover, valued at $70 billion when it was first disclosed in April.

In the internal memo, Shell said BG Chief Operating Officer Sami Iskander will become executive vice president for joint ventures once the merger completes. Steve Hill, currently BG’s head of trading, will become executive vice-president for gas and energy marketing and trading at the combined group, while Tom Melbye Eide, BG’s general counsel, will be Shell’s general counsel for upstream.

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Shell share price: Company not giving up on oil sands

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by Veselin ValchevWednesday, 11 Nov 2015

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (LON:RDSA) boss Ben van Beurden said last week that the withdrawal from the Carmon Creek thermal oil sands project in Alberta, Canada, does not mean that the Anglo-Dutch oil major has given up on oil sands in general.

Shell’s chief executive noted that the company rates investment opportunities on a project-by-project basis. In contrast to Carmon Creek needing oil prices at about $70 per barrel to break even, van Beurden remarked that Shell’s Fort McMurray oil sands project has operational costs of only $25 per barrel.

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Plan for equality on Shell merger

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Plan for equality on Shell merger

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Jane Harper: Herald Sun: November 8, 2015 

A PEAK manufacturing group has urged the competition watchdog to place conditions on Royal Dutch Shell’s multibillion-dollar buyout of oil and gas heavyweight BG Group.

The proposed $US70 billion ($99 billion) deal would be one of the biggest in the oil and gas sector’s history.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is due to announce its decision on November 19, but has raised concerns about the potential impact on gas supply.

Manufacturing Australia has made fresh calls for the ACCC to lay down parameters to ensure gas is made available to domestic and international customers in a “transparent and equal” manner.

Manufacturing Australia said it feared the merger would undermine efforts to reform what it said was presently a dysfunctional gas market.

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Shell Steams Ahead With BG Takeover With Promise of More Savings

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Rakteem Katakey: November 3, 2015: Bloomberg.com

  • Raises estimates of savings after combination to $3.5 billion

  • Gas business becomes stand-alone unit under Maarten Wetselaar

Royal Dutch Shell Plc said its record takeover of BG Group Plc will still deliver value to investors even in a prolonged oil-industry downturn and reshaped its business in preparation for the acquisition.

Europe’s biggest oil company will save an addition $1 billion in operating costs from the combination with BG, bringing the total estimate of synergies from the deal to $3.5 billion, Shell said in a statement on Tuesday. The takeover will still add to the company’s earnings per share and cash flow from operations even after the outlook for Brent crude prices to 2018 dropped by $10 to $15 a barrel since the deal was announced in April.

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