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The dramatic consequences of plunging oil prices

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 09.03.51“Brent futures are set to fall to as low as $31 a barrel by the end of the first quarter from about $48 now.”; “People know these prices are unsustainable,” he said, and they will lead to large-scale layoffs and cuts in maintenance spending, which will eventually sharply reduce overall output. BP’s announcement of layoffs was just the start…; “Just a few months ago, analysts predicted the price would bottom out at $70 a barrel, and then $60. Now it’s at $46, and many have given up trying to guess when the bottom will come.”

From an article by Will Kennedy and Firat Kayakiran published on 16 January 2015 by BloombergBusinessweek under the headline:

“Big Oil Companies Get Serious With Cost Cuts on Worst Slump Since 1986”

Major oil companies are awaking from their slumber and facing up to the magnitude of the crash in crude prices.

From Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) canceling a $6.5 billion project in Qatar to Schlumberger Ltd. firing about 9,000 people and Statoil ASA (STL) giving up exploration in Greenland, the oil industry this week concluded that the slump is no blip. 

And there’s certainly more unwinding to come. For most of this month, crude oil has traded below $50 a barrel, a level few predicted even two months ago when OPEC signaled it wouldn’t cut production to defend prices. If the market stays this depressed, global spending on exploration and production could fall more than 30 percent this year, the biggest drop since 1986, according to forecasts from Cowen & Co.

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Shell, Total Lead Energy Shares Lower – $45 a barrel

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From an article by Alan Soughley published by BloombergBusinessweek 13 Jan 2015 under the headline: 

“European Stocks Decline; Shell, Total Lead Energy Shares Lower”

Extracts

Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA led energy-related companies lower…

A gauge of energy stocks slid 1 percent today, for the worst performance of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx 600. Oil extended losses to trade below $45 a barrel amid speculation that U.S. crude stockpiles will increase, exacerbating a global supply glut that’s driven prices to the lowest in more than 5 1/2 years.

FULL ARTICLE

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 09.23.28From an article by Clifford Krauss published by The New York Times (NY edition) 13 Jan 2015 under the headline:

“Oil Prices Fall to Lowest Since 2009”

Extracts

HOUSTON — Oil prices took another sharp turn downward on Monday to levels not seen since the depths of the 2009 recession. Several international banks predicted even lower prices later this year because of an oversupplied global crude market.

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Market Collapse: 5 percent of Shell’s capital invested in money-losing projects?

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 11.59.38From an article by Joe Carroll and Tara Patel published 6 Jan 2015 by BloombergBusinessweek under the headline:

“Oilfield Writedowns Loom as Market Collapse Guts Drilling Values” 

Shell, Europe’s largest energy producer, may have as much as 5 percent of its capital tied up in money-losing projects.

Extracts

Tumbling crude prices will trigger a flood of oilfield writedowns starting this month after industry returns slumped to a 16-year low, calling into question half a decade of exploration.

With crude prices down more than 50 percent from their 2014 peak, fields as far-flung as Kazakhstan and Australia are no longer worth pumping, said a team of Citigroup Inc. (C:US) analysts led by Alastair Syme. Companies on the hook for risky, high-cost projects that don’t make sense in a $50-a-barrel market include international titans such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc and small wildcatters like Sanchez Energy Corp.

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Shell hypocrisy on climate issues

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 17.18.55“I didn’t know Shell was sponsoring this conference when I agreed to do it, but I’m glad for the chance to say in public that Shell is among the most irresponsible companies on earth. When they write the history of our time, the fact that Shell executives watched the Arctic melt and then led the rush to go drill for oil in that thawing north will provide the iconic example of the shortsighted greed that marks the richest people on our planet.”

FROM A REGULAR CONTRIBUTOR

A Bloomberg  Businessweek article by Ben Elgin has identified the blatant and self-serving hypocrisy by Royal Dutch Shell regarding climate change. Shell says one thing for public and media consumption, while quietly doing the exact opposite.

Extracts

Shell, on paper, may be one of the most progressive oil giants on climate issues. Last month, it joined a group of businesses calling on European leaders to target a 40-percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. And in April, Shell signed the Trillion Tonne Communique, which urges governments worldwide to significantly cut carbon emissions in order to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

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Earthquakes shake NAM, the Shell/Exxon joint venture 

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 20.37.24Earthquakes linked to extraction in the area have led to a public backlash and a new production plan for the field will be presented by July 1, 2016. The venture has set aside 100 million euros for claims and has paid out about 50 million euros so far.

Extracts from a BloombergBusinessweek article

The Slochteren field is operated by the Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij BV, or NAM, the Dutch gas-production venture of Royal Dutch Shell Plc and ExxonMobil Corp.

Earthquakes linked to extraction in the area have led to a public backlash and a new production plan for the field will be presented by July 1, 2016.

The venture has set aside 100 million euros for claims and has paid out about 50 million euros so far.

The government will also need to spend about 1.2 billion euros to compensate for houses and buildings damaged by temblors in the area of the field.

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Royal Dutch Shell News Thursday 11 Sept 2014

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 00.56.29By John Donovan

The US and EU are ready to impose new sanctions on Russia arising from events in Ukraine. See extract from a fuelfix.com article published under the headline: “Sanctions threaten Putin’s oil deals with Exxon Mobil, Shell”

Other vulnerable international operators include Royal Dutch Shell, the world’s second-largest energy company by market value. Multiple investments by The Hague-based company in Russia include ventures to use advanced reservoir-management techniques to revive and increase crude output from Soviet-era fields and to explore some of the nation’s vast, untapped shale formations. “We are continuing to review the latest sanctions to assess the potential impacts on our business, and engaging with the respective authorities to gain further clarity,” Kayla Macke, a Shell spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. “We are taking action to ensure we comply with all applicable sanctions or related measures. We’re keeping the situation under close review.”

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Royal Dutch Shell Shareholders Beware

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 21.06.55The news that BP may be fined up to $18bn for the oil spill in the Gulf-of-Mexico as a result of a ruling by a US federal court that BP acted with “conscious disregard of known risks” and that BP’s “conduct was reckless,” may have very serious implications for other oil companies.

By John Donovan

The news that BP may be fined up to $18bn for the oil spill in the Gulf-of-Mexico as a result of a ruling by a US federal court that BP acted with “conscious disregard of known risks” and that BP’s “conduct was reckless,” may have very serious implications for other oil companies.

Extract from a New York Times article:

The ruling stands as a milestone in environmental law given that this was the biggest offshore oil spill in American history, legal experts said, and serves as a warning for the oil companies that continue to drill in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, where high pressures and temperatures in the wells test the most modern drilling technologies.

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Royal Dutch Shell Plc News Roundup Sat 4 Sept 2014

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 15.28.04Royal Dutch Shell Plc CEO Ben van Beurden says he can’t deny returns are too low

By John Donovan

Mixed fortunes for Shell in the last few days. 

Ben van Beurden says he can’t deny returns are too low

Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden has admitted to the Wall Street Journal that he cannot deny that investor returns are too low. He has also reportedly stated: “We don’t have a [production] volume or capital-employed target. What I want to show is that we can grow free cash flow.”

Shell ending JV with Saudi Aramco for Kidan Gas project

According to Oil and Gas Insight, Royal Dutch Shell is ending its joint venture (JV) with Saudi Aramco for the Kidan gas development project in the Empty Quarter. This continues a string of disappointments following the opening of Saudi Arabia’s upstream to foreign participation in a bid to boost domestic gas exploration and production. Now, with Shell’s looming exit, Aramco’s ambitious efforts to draw foreign players into development of the Kingdom’s gas reserves seem set to fail.

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Woodside Chairman Defends $2.7 Billion Buyback Deal With Shell

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 16.29.29Extracts from a BloombergBusinessweek article by James Paton and Rebecca Keenan published 23 July 2014

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL), Australia’s second-largest oil and gas producer, defended a plan to buyback about $2.7 billion of stock from Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) amid concern investors may reject the deal.

Woodside’s buyback is part of last month’s $5 billion deal in which Shell, Europe’s largest oil company, will trim its 23 percent stake in the Australian company. It’s possible that Woodside investors voting on the transaction Aug. 1 will block the buyback, according to Macquarie Group Ltd.

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Death of 193 Dutch Strains Russian Relations for Shell, Heineken

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At one point the largest foreign investor in Russia, Shell declined to comment on whether its business would be affected after the downing of the plane. The company lost four employees in the incident, it said yesterday.

BloombergBusinessweek article by Celeste Perri, Maud van Gaal and Fred Pals published 22 July 2014

For centuries, the fortunes of the Netherlands, the wind-swept country carved out of North Sea wetlands, have relied on preserving the peace with its global trading partners. Last week’s downing of an airliner carrying 193 Dutch nationals is testing one of its most important relationships, involving companies from Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) to Heineken NV. (HEIA)

The Netherlands was Russia’s third-biggest trading partner last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The Dutch, home to the busiest container port in Europe and the region’s biggest energy company, send dairy products, meat and machinery to Russia, which the U.S. says is complicit in the attack.

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A Horrified Netherlands May Rethink Its Economic Ties With Russia

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Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 16.29.29Extract from a BloombergBusinessweek article by Carol Matlack published 21 July 2014

The Netherlands, a nation of traders, generally doesn’t like to let politics interfere with business. The death of 193 Dutch nationals in the Malaysia Airlines  jet crash could change that.

Major Dutch companies with business interests in Russia also are drawing fire for their relations with President Vladimir Putin. “In April of this year, when the crisis over Crimea was at its height, [Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Officer] Ben van Beurden made a point of visiting Putin and saying that no matter the political situation, Shell and Russia had great plans for the future…”

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Shell Says Wins U.K. Court Ruling in Nigerian Oil Spills Case

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BloombergBusinessweek article by Jeremy Hodge published Friday 20 June 2014

A Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) subsidiary said it won a preliminary ruling in a U.K. court against thousands of Nigerians who say their land, rivers and wetlands were spoiled by two oil spills in the Niger River delta in 2008.

Judge Robert Akenhead ruled today that a Nigerian law, the Oil Pipelines Act, is adequate for compensating for spills, limiting the scope of the U.K. litigation to an assessment of actual damages caused, the company said in a statement today.

The lawsuit against Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary was filed by residents of the coastal Bodo community in 2012 after two spills on the Bomu-Bonny Pipeline in 2008, Shell said.

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Ukraine Crisis Forces Shell to Halt Shale Wells in Restive East

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 16.29.29Extract from a Bloomberg/Businessweek article by Ladka Bauerova and Will Kennedy published 3 June 2014

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) has halted drilling for shale gas in eastern Ukraine to protect its personnel from clashes between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian army. Shell is taking a “time-out” on exploration work after drilling two wells since the Hague-based explorer signed a production-sharing agreement last year, Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in London.  “We obviously need to assess the future security situation as it develops because the safety of our own people is our first priority,” Henry said. “There’s no pulling out, but we take a time out on the actual drilling activity on the ground.”

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Woodside Scraps $2.6 Billion Israeli Gas Deal as Talks Fail

Extract from a BloombergBusinessweek article by James Paton published 20 May 2014

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL), Australia’s second-biggest oil and gas producer, scrapped an agreement to buy a quarter of Israel’s largest natural gas field for as much as $2.6 billion after talks to complete the deal collapsed.

FULL ARTICLE

Shell Considers Martinez Refinery Cutback Amid Shale-Oil Boom

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 16.29.29Extracts from a BloombergBusinessweek article by Lynn Doan published 19 May 2014 under the headline: “Shell Considers Permanent Coker Shutdown Amid Shale-Oil Boom”

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), Europe’s biggest oil company, is considering retiring one of two coking units at its only refinery in California as the company seeks to run lighter crude at the plant. Shell is considering the shutdown as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling unleash record volumes of light oil from shale formations… “The reality is that we are looking at each individual refinery and making economic decisions as to what is the most optimal feedstock,” John Abbott, downstream director for The Hague-based Shell, said in an interview…

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International outcry as Brunei introduces sharia law and takes country back to the dark ages

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 00.27.28Royal Dutch Shell, an Anglo-Dutch multinational, runs two major operations in Brunei as a joint venture with the Brunei government. A spokesman, Jonathan French, said the company would not comment on the possible impact on its employees.

Extracts from an article by Andrew Buncombe published 30 April 2014 by The Independent

The Sultan of Brunei, an absolute monarch who pays for a garrison of British troops to be stationed is his oil rich nation, will on Thursday dismiss the concerns of human rights campaigners and start imposing sharia law. Many of the laws, which include the dismemberment of limbs and stoning to death, will apply to both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Royal Dutch Shell, an Anglo-Dutch multinational, runs two major operations in Brunei as a joint venture with the Brunei government. A spokesman, Jonathan French, said the company would not comment on the possible impact on its employees.

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Putin, Ukraine and Royal Dutch Shell

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Sir Henri was fanatically anti-Soviet as a result of the confiscation of Shell oil fields in Russia. Might be best if Ben does not mention this past history to his new chum, Vlad the Bad, who is rather keen to restore the Soviet empire. “Had Putin asked ‘and now you kiss my ass’, I am sure van Beurden would have complied.”

18 April 2014

By John Donovan

There are a number of news reports about a meeting earlier today between President Putin and Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden, in which the sensitive subject of Ukraine was discussed.

Interesting to note that the same subject was also discussed at a high level by Shell in the 1930’s, on that occasion with Hitler, who like Putin, also had territorial ambitions. 

Printed below are extracts from a book, “Hitler As Frankenstein” by Johannes Steel (born Herbert Stahl,1908-1988), the son of a German-Dutch landowner. When the Nazis took power in Germany he fled to the USA working as a journalist for the New York Post. Because of his prescience, which included predicting World War 2, he became widely followed as a popular radio commentator in the U.S. during the war. (Information taken from Wikipedia)

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Phillips 66, Shell Purchase Majority of U.S. Reserve Oil Sale

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 16.29.29Extracts from an article by Dan Murtaugh published 17 March 2014 by BloombergBusinessweek

Phillips 66 and Royal Dutch Shell Plc walked away with about 3.3 million barrels of the 5 million that the Energy Department sold in what will be the first release from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve since 2012. Phillips 66 purchased 2.04 million barrels at an average price of $100.23 a barrel. Shell bought 1.22 million for $97.53.

FULL ARTICLE

Seplat Sees No Oil Theft in Nigeria, Where Shell Lost $1 Billion

Extracts from a Bloomberg article by

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 16.29.29Seplat Petroleum Development Co., the Nigerian oil producer raising $500 million from investors, said it had “absolutely no” theft in Nigeria, where Royal Dutch Shell Plc lost almost $1 billion due to sabotage in 2013. Seplat in July 2010 bought three licenses from Shell onshore Niger Delta, which had been idled for about 18 months, and is bidding for stakes in two more, said Chairman A.B.C. Orjiako. The company developed the “Seplat model” of engagement with communities by hiring locals to provide services and oilfield security, he said. “We haven’t employed the thieves and criminals, but we made things difficult for them to operate in the area,” Orjiako said in a phone interview March 11. “Today we are very happy to see that Seplat has absolutely no incidents or disruptions due to community unrest.”

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Glencore-Macquarie Said to Exit Race for Shell Australia Assets

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February 12, 2014

Screen Shot 2013-12-22 at 19.09.52Macquarie Group Ltd. (MQG) and Glencore Xstrata Plc (GLEN) dropped out of bidding for Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA)’s Australian oil refinery and filling stations, according to four people with knowledge of the matter. The assets Shell is selling include storage terminals, filling stations and an oil refinery in Geelong, south of Melbourne. Shell is stepping up asset sales after new Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden promised last month to cut capital spending following the company’s first profit warning in a decade.

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BP Fourth-Quarter Profit Drops

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February 04, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 00.47.49BP follows Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and Exxon Mobil Corp., the two biggest oil companies by market value, in reporting lower earnings as the cost of drilling rises, refining profits slump and oil prices stagnate.

Shell and BG Group Plc (BG/) both issued profit warnings for the fourth quarter. BG today reported the first loss since 2000 on output disruptions from Egypt and higher exploration costs. Shell said last week it will accelerate asset sales to offset investment after capital spending reached a record in 2013.

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Shell Said to Seek Buyers for $1 Billion Stake in Ho-Ho Pipeline

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 07.38.22Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) is seeking to sell a stake in its Houston-to-Houma crude oil pipeline, which Europe’s largest oil company recently reversed and renamed, people familiar with the matter said. Shell is working with Barclays Plc (BARC) to solicit offers for a stake of as much as $1 billion…  Shell on Jan. 17 warned fourth-quarter earnings fell to the lowest level since 2009 due to rising losses in the Americas and deteriorating refining markets.

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By Matthew Monks January 27, 2014

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) is seeking to sell a stake in its Houston-to-Houma crude oil pipeline, which Europe’s largest oil company recently reversed and renamed, people familiar with the matter said.

Shell is working with Barclays Plc (BARC) to solicit offers for a stake of as much as $1 billion in the conduit, which is known as the Ho-Ho system and valued at about $3 billion in its entirety, said one of the people, asking not to identified because the matter is not public.

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Alaska Coastal Oil Drilling Challenge Revived by U.S. Court

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 09.31.18Alaskan coastal drilling by oil companies including ConocoPhillips (COP:US) and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) may be further delayed after a U.S. court revived conservation group claims that the government acted illegally in opening almost 30 million acres on the continental shelf to energy exploration.

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By Karen Gullo January 22, 2014

Alaskan coastal drilling by oil companies including ConocoPhillips (COP:US) and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) may be further delayed after a U.S. court revived conservation group claims that the government acted illegally in opening almost 30 million acres on the continental shelf to energy exploration.

Sierra Club and other organizations sued the government after the $2.6 billion sale of development leases for the Chukchi Sea off the northwest coast of Alaska in 2008, saying the amount of oil from the leases was far higher than the 1 billion barrels the U.S. Interior Department had estimated in an an environmental review.

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Shell Profit Slumps

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Friday January 17, 2014

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) said profit plunged because of deteriorating refining markets and mounting losses in the Americas, surprising investors with an early earnings report that wiped out $10 billion in shareholder value.

“It’s a shock,” Jason Kenney, an analyst at Banco Santander SA in Edinburgh, said today by telephone. Shell had “to pre-announce to get the market to reality, but even so it’s a very weak set of results.”

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Highlights of Marcellus Shale news in 2013

The biggest question mark for 2014 is whether Shell Oil Co. will continue to explore the possibility of building a huge natural gas processing plant in western Pennsylvania. In March 2012, Shell chose a possible site about 35 miles north of Pittsburgh for the so-called ethane cracking, or cracker, plant. Shell’s option to buy the site expires at the end of the year, but it could easily be renewed. Shell spokesperson Kimberly Windon said last week there’s no update on the plant.

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PITTSBURGH (AP) — The natural gas industry and environmentalists in Pennsylvania both had reasons to cheer and jeer in 2013 over the boom in Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling.

Environmentalists were heartened by a state Supreme Court ruling at the end of the year that rejected significant portions of industry-friendly legislation. The state’s highest court ruled that Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration had gone too far in passing a law that gives the industry the right to operate almost anywhere it wants to, even if local municipalities object.

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Oil Probe Document Disclosure Won’t Be Delayed

Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 01.06.41Crude oil traders including Morgan Stanley and Royal Dutch Shell Plc lost a bid to temporarily block disclosure of millions of trading records and other documents from a six-year U.S. probe while an appeals court hears the case. The files include e-mails, depositions, trading records and audio files.

Screen Shot 2012-11-19 at 09.32.24 By Bob Van Voris: December 10, 2013 Crude oil traders including Morgan Stanley (MS:US) and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) lost a bid to temporarily block disclosure of millions of trading records and other documents from a six-year U.S. probe while an appeals court hears the case.The federal appeals court in New York today denied the request, lifting a temporary stay on the disclosure entered Nov. 20. The court today also denied the oil traders’ request that it hear their appeal on an expedited basis.U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley on Oct. 25 ordered the documents, originally gathered by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission as part of a probe begun in December 2007, to be given to a group of private plaintiffs claiming price-fixing in the crude-oil market. Pauley restricted access to the most sensitive material.The files include e-mails, depositions, trading records and audio files.The CFTC on May 24, 2011, accused Parnon Energy Inc., which is controlled by billionaire John Fredriksen, of manipulating the prices of West Texas Intermediate crude. Two days later, a private plaintiff sued Parnon, seeking to represent a class of everyone who traded in WTI derivative contracts from Dec. 1, 2007, until at least May 31, 2008.

Pauley hasn’t yet ruled whether he’ll let the case proceed as a class action.

The case is In Re Crude Oil Commodity Futures Litigation, 11-cv-03600. The CFTC case is U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Parnon Energy Inc., 11-cv-3543, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The appeal is U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Parnon Energy Inc., 13-04206, Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Van Voris in federal court in Manhattan at [email protected]

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Raizen Energia Ethanol Sales Hurt by U.S. Cuts: Corporate Brazil

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December 04, 2013

Raizen Energia SA, Brazil’s biggest ethanol exporter, is the sugar-cane processor most at risk from a U.S. plan to cut biofuel mandates, threatening the South American country’s $6.4 billion export market.

The joint venture between oil producer Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and Cosan SA Industria & Comercio produced 2.32 billion liters (612.1 million gallons) of ethanol in the 12 months through March. More than half was exported and most of that was shipped to the U.S., according to Salim Morsy, a New York-based analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

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Canada’s Tar Sands Oil Boom Yields Toxic Wastewater Lakes

Companies including Syncrude Canada, Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil affiliate Imperial Oil are running out of room to store the contaminated water that is a byproduct of the process used to turn bitumen—a highly viscous form of petroleum—into diesel and other fuels. By 2022 they will be producing so much of the stuff that a month’s output of wastewater could turn New York’s Central Park into a toxic reservoir 11 feet deep…

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 By  

Canada is blessed with 3 million lakes, more than any country on earth—and it may soon start manufacturing new ones. The oil sands industry is in the throes of a major expansion, powered by C$20 billion ($19 billion) a year in investments. Companies including Syncrude Canada, Royal Dutch Shell (RDS/A), and ExxonMobil (XOM) affiliate Imperial Oil are running out of room to store the contaminated water that is a byproduct of the process used to turn bitumen—a highly viscous form of petroleum—into diesel and other fuels. By 2022 they will be producing so much of the stuff that a month’s output of wastewater could turn New York’s Central Park into a toxic reservoir 11 feet deep, according to the Pembina Institute, a nonprofit in Calgary that promotes sustainable energy.

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Shell’s LNG-Producing Monster Ship, Prelude

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On Geoje Island, off the coast of South Korea, as many as 5,000 workers have been building the largest vessel ever constructed. With a deck the size of seven football fields and containing three times as much steel as the Golden Gate Bridge, the Prelude will spend years anchored above a natural gas field off Australia, pumping fuel from under the seabed and turning it into a liquid that can be shipped to Asian customers.

Led by Royal Dutch Shell (RDS/A), the project could transform the global gas industry. Until now, liquefied natural gas projects, which chill the fuel until it turns into a liquid that can be transported on tankers, have relied on giant onshore plants. Putting an LNG facility on top of a ship will open up dozens of fields once considered too remote or too small to be viable. “It’s a very crucial technology,” says Shell Chief Executive Officer Peter Voser, who rates approving the project as the single most important decision he’s made while running the Anglo-Dutch company. “This will be a solution that works for many, many fields.”

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Platts System Could Be ‘Prone’ to Collusion, EU Official Says

Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 01.06.41Platts’s oil-price reporting system “could be prone to collusion or distortion,” according to the European Union official in charge of the benchmark probe that led to raids on the premises of BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Statoil ASA. The EU probe is still examining two areas of concern — abuse of dominance and unlawful collusion, Gauer said.

Shell Said to Seek $6 Billion Credit Line Amid Lower Loan Costs

Jonathan French, a London-based spokesman for Shell, confirmed the company’s existing credit line expires in 2015. He declined to comment on the new debt facility.

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November 14, 2013

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) is seeking a $6 billion credit line to replace an existing loan as banks cut borrowing costs for Europe’s largest companies to the lowest in more than five years.

Europe’s largest oil and gas producer is offering to pay an interest margin of 12.5 basis points, or 0.125 percentage point, more than the benchmark rates on the five-year loan, according to three people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the terms are private. Barclays Plc is helping to arrange the financing for the company based in The Hague.

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Voser Says Shell to Quicken Disposals to Offset Spending: Energy

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 07.38.22Royal Dutch Shell Plc is gearing up to sell about $15 billion of assets as Europe’s largest oil company accelerates disposals to offset the cost of projects from Australia to Canada. While Voser didn’t put a figure on disposals, Shell needs to raise at least $15 billion over the next two years to meet its financial targets, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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November 12, 2013

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) is gearing up to sell about $15 billion of assets as Europe’s largest oil company accelerates disposals to offset the cost of projects from Australia to Canada.

Asset sales will allow Shell’s net capital investment, spending on projects adjusted for acquisitions and disposals, to fall from this year’s record $45 billion, Chief Executive Officer Peter Voser said in an interview. A raft of new projects coming on stream gives room to sell oil and natural gas fields, he said.

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Shell to Suspend French Guiana Drilling Until 2015, Partner Says

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) will suspend exploration drilling off French Guiana until 2015 after three unsuccessful wells…; Kirsten Smart, a spokeswoman in London at Shell, declined to comment…

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September 25, 2013

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) will suspend exploration drilling off French Guiana until 2015 after three unsuccessful wells, according to a partner in the project.

A Shell-led venture is still drilling the GM-ES-5 well, due to be completed in November, Keith Bush, chief executive officer at partner Northern Petroleum Plc (NOP), said yesterday by phone. The partners may design a new drilling program in 2015, he said.

“Post this, there is going to be a lot of work done on the integration from the well data,” Bush said. “Whether this well is a discovery or not, we will need to look at where we want to be once the work program’s being conducted next year.”

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Montepeque of Platts Caught in Battle Over Oil Assessments

Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 01.06.41The oil-market investigation became public in May when European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, who is also pursuing price-fixing allegations related to the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, sent investigators to seize computer records and documents from Platts offices, and raided BP Plc (BP/), Statoil ASA and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), three of Europe’s largest oil companies,

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By the time Jorge Montepeque came to London in January 2002 to revamp Platts energy-price benchmarks amid a series of manipulation scandals, he’d already earned a reputation as the company’s troubleshooter.

During a decade in Singapore leading the company’s Asian editorial operations, Montepeque brought more transparency to the $6 trillion global energy market. He ordered reporters to stop using anonymous tips to determine fair values of fuels, pushed traders into a system that sent bids and offers to subscribers around the world and made it more difficult to manipulate prices of Dubai crude.

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Wildcatter Hunch Unlocks $1.5 Trillion Oil Offshore U.S.

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September 12, 2013

Texaco Inc. geologist Robert Ryan didn’t suspect he was helping change the energy future of the Gulf of Mexico when he gave the go-ahead for a well that would break the world record for deep-water drilling.

The project known as BAHA, undertaken in 1996 by Texaco and its partners, Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), Amoco Corp. and Mobil Corp., was a dry hole. That normally would’ve made it a flop. Instead, BAHA’s discovery of oil-rich sands where none were thought to exist was the first step in unlocking a $1.5 trillion trove of crude that’s revived the prospects of a body of water many thought had long ago given up most of its fossil-fuel riches.

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Critics say fines show Shell not ready for Arctic

Screen Shot 2013-01-11 at 20.09.51Critics of offshore Arctic drilling say $1.1 million in fines levied against Royal Dutch Shell for air pollution violations show that the petroleum giant is not ready to safely drill off Alaska’s northern coast. A Shell spokesman says the fines are part of learning how to operate complex equipment in a harsh environment.

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By Dan Joling September 06, 2013

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Critics of offshore Arctic drilling say $1.1 million in fines levied against Royal Dutch Shell for air pollution violations show that the petroleum giant is not ready to safely drill off Alaska’s northern coast.

A Shell spokesman says the fines are part of learning how to operate complex equipment in a harsh environment.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that Shell subsidiaries agreed to pay fines as part of a settlement for air quality violations last year from two drill vessels or their support fleet. The Noble Discoverer worked in the Chukchi Sea and the Kulluk drilled in the Beaufort Sea for nearly two months starting in September 2012.

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Woodside’s Partners Back Plan for Browse Gas Project With Shell

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By James Paton: September 02, 2013

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL), Australia’s second-largest oil producer, said its partners in the Browse project support a plan to use Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA)’s floating liquefied natural gas technology.

Woodside expects to consider starting engineering and design work on the LNG venture in 2014, the Perth-based company said today in a statement. PetroChina Co., BP Plc (BP/), Shell, Mitsui & Co. and Mitsubishi Corp. (8058) are partners.

The offshore option will cost an estimated $46 billion over the life of the Browse project, compared with about $70 billion for an onshore development on the coast of Western Australia, Mark Greenwood, a Sydney-based analyst at Citigroup Inc., said today by phone.

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Woodside Awaits Israel Court Decision Before Completing Gas Deal

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By James Paton: August 21, 2013

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL), Australia’s second-biggest oil producer, is waiting for an Israeli court decision later this year before completing a deal to invest in the Leviathan natural gas project.

Israeli’s high court is expected Sept. 17 to consider whether the cabinet’s gas export plan, which affects the Leviathan project, needs to be approved by the parliament, Woodside Chief Executive Officer Peter Coleman told analysts today on a call. A court decision after the hearing is expected in the second half of 2013, he said.

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EU Plans to Wrap Up Oil-Benchmarks Probe as Quickly as Possible

European Union regulators aim to finish their antitrust probe into alleged manipulation of oil prices by companies from BP Plc (BP/) to Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) “as quickly as possible,” the bloc’s antitrust chief said.

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By Stephanie Bodoni: August 06, 2013

European Union regulators aim to finish their antitrust probe into alleged manipulation of oil prices by companies from BP Plc (BP/) to Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) “as quickly as possible,” the bloc’s antitrust chief said.

The length of the investigation “depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of the case, the extent to which the undertakings concerned cooperate with the commission and the exercise of the rights of defense,” EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a written response to a European Parliament lawmaker.

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Shell Defeats Challenge to Drilling in Beaufort and Chukchi Seas

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA)’s oil spill plans for drilling in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas don’t violate environmental laws, a federal judge in Anchorage ruled in rejecting a challenge by conservation groups.

Screen Shot 2013-03-05 at 14.17.28 By Karen Gullo: August 06, 2013

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA)’s oil spill plans for drilling in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas don’t violate environmental laws, a federal judge in Anchorage ruled in rejecting a challenge by conservation groups.

The U.S. Interior Department’s approval process wasn’t flawed or based on erroneous assumptions and the approvals don’t violate the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act or other environmental laws, U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline ruled yesterday.

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China Fracking Quake-Prone Province Shows Zeal for Gas

China won’t let earthquakes hinder its quest for energy.

Companies such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and China National Petroleum Corp. are starting to drill for gas and oil in shale rock in Sichuan, the nation’s most seismically active province, a process geologists say raises the risk of triggering quakes.

“For the Sichuan basin, earthquakes are a problem for shale gas and shale oil production because of the tectonic conditions,” said Shu Jiang, a professor at the University of Utah’s Energy & Geoscience Institute in Salt Lake City. “The siting of the wells could cause some artificial earthquakes.”

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Platts Says Commodity-Price Transparency at Risk From Regulation

European antitrust authorities raided Platts’ offices, along with those of Statoil ASA, BP Plc (BP/) and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, in May as part of an investigation into alleged manipulation of oil prices. Regulatory probes are expanding after banks rigged the London interbank offered rate, a benchmark for $300 trillion of global interest-rate contracts.

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By Isaac Arnsdorf: July 31, 2013

Increased regulation of methods used to establish commodities prices could backfire by reducing transparency as market participants may stop giving information, according to Platts, a price publisher.

“Commodity-price discovery depends on the voluntary participation of traders, producers and other market players,” the unit of McGraw Hill Financial Inc. (MHFI:US) said in an e-mailed response to questions. “Regulation could have the inadvertent consequence of inhibiting participation in the price-assessment process which would, in turn, decrease transparency, thus having the opposite effect of regulators’ intentions.”

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Shell to Chevron Move Offshore as Nigerian Risks Mount: Energy

At Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s (RDSA) compound in the Nigerian city of Warri, the gate is locked, the grounds are empty and grass has overgrown since Europe’s biggest oil company closed its operations in March after more than 40 years.

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At Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s (RDSA) compound in the Nigerian city of Warri, the gate is locked, the grounds are empty and grass has overgrown since Europe’s biggest oil company closed its operations in March after more than 40 years.

After Warri saw some of the nation’s worst unrest in two decades, Shell has sold land-based fields that pumped about 400,000 barrels a day in the 1990s, valued at $1.2 billion a month at today’s crude prices, and is buying fields offshore.

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The smell of corruption surrounding Shell

Nigeria should revoke oil rights for which Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Eni SpA paid $1.1 billion, a parliamentary committee said, alleging that the acquisition process was “highly flawed.” Shell and Eni jointly bought Oil Prospecting License 245 from Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd., controlled by Dan Etete, a former oil minister, in 2011. Located in the deep offshore waters of the Gulf of Guinea, it is estimated to hold at least 9 billion barrels of crude reserves worth $1 trillion…

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By Elisha Bala-Gbogbo: July 19, 2013

Nigeria should revoke oil rights for which Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and Eni SpA (ENI) paid $1.1 billion, a parliamentary committee said, alleging that the acquisition process was “highly flawed.”

Shell and Eni jointly bought Oil Prospecting License 245 from Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd., controlled by Dan Etete, a former oil minister, in 2011. Located in the deep offshore waters of the Gulf of Guinea, it is estimated to hold at least 9 billion barrels of crude reserves worth $1 trillion, according to a probe report by a House of Representatives committee filed as a public record and provided to Bloomberg yesterday.

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U.K. Regulators Reviewing Criminal Probe Over Oil Benchmarks

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Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 16.05.05July 15, 2013: The U.K. antitrust regulator said it was reviewing whether there is enough evidence to start a criminal probe into manipulation of oil benchmarks while European Union officials conduct a civil investigation.

The U.K. Office of Fair Trading said it was working with prosecutors and regulators to determine which agency should take a lead role. The EU in May raided Platts, Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), BP Plc (BP/), and Statoil ASA (STL) as part of a civil investigation into the possible rigging of benchmark energy assessments.

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How BP Got Screwed on Gulf Oil Spill Claims

Screen Shot 2013-07-01 at 08.32.57INTRO BY JOHN DONOVAN: THIS BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK ARTICLE PROVIDES A CAUTIONARY TALE OF THE POTENTIAL BANKRUPTING CONSEQUENCES FOR A FOREIGN OWNED OIL COMPANY THAT MESSES UP SPECTACULARLY WHEN DRILLING IN US WATERS. ROYAL DUTCH SHELL SENIOR MANAGEMENT WAS WELL AWARE OF THE POTENTIAL DIRE CONSEQUENCES WHEN IT SENT AN ANTIQUATED ILL-PREPARED DRILLING FLEET INTO ALASKAN/ARCTIC WATERS, CULMINATING IN ANOTHER PR DISASTER, FORTUNATELY WITHOUT ANY FATALITIES. 

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By Paul M. Barrett: June 27, 2013

Until this year, Tampa attorney Kevin McLean specialized in suing nursing homes for neglecting patients. In January he switched the focus of his practice to a fund BP (BP) established to compensate business losses from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In its attempt to dilute a legal and public-relations mess of epic proportions, BP began paying claims within weeks of the disaster and has so far spent more than $25 billion for cleanup and compensation. That hasn’t stemmed demands for more. The installation last year of a particularly generous claims administrator prompted scores of additional plaintiffs’ attorneys to swarm onto the scene, signing up a new wave of clients, many located far from the once-sullied shoreline. Just five months after his pivot, McLean’s three-attorney firm has 260 clients with claims ranging from $20,000 to $4 million apiece. “The craziest thing about the settlement,” he wrote in a solicitation letter, “is that you can be compensated for losses that are UNRELATED to the spill.

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Oil Benchmarks Go From Trusted to Tainted as EU Missed Warning

The European Union’s top energy official ignored a warning delivered in 2009 about potential manipulation of Platts oil benchmarks “because markets trusted” them. The warning went unheeded until May, when EU antitrust officials raided Platts, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, BP Plc, and Statoil ASA as part of an investigation into the possible rigging of benchmark energy assessments.

Screen Shot 2012-11-19 at 09.32.24 By Gaspard Sebag: June 30, 2013

The European Union’s top energy official ignored a warning delivered in 2009 about potential manipulation of Platts oil benchmarks “because markets trusted” them.

Andris Piebalgs, who was EU energy commissioner from 2004 to 2010, cited the confidence traders had in the pricing system when a lawmaker questioned the reliability of Platts’ prices more than three years ago. The warning went unheeded until May, when EU antitrust officials raided Platts, Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), BP Plc (BP/), and Statoil ASA (STL) as part of an investigation into the possible rigging of benchmark energy assessments.

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Shell to spend $3.9 billion in Nigeria

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June 21, 2013

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Royal Dutch Shell PLC says it will spend $3.9 billion on investments in Nigeria, including an effort to strengthen the Trans-Niger Pipeline that was shut down this week after it was damaged in a theft attack.

In a statement Friday, the company said it plans to spend $1.5 billion on the pipeline, which carries 150,000 barrels of crude per day and is located in the eastern Niger Delta. Shell operates in Nigeria via a joint venture that is majority-owned by the country’s state oil company.

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Carbon Capture ‘Vital’ to Meet Climate Goals, Shell Adviser Says

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By Sally Bakewell June 18, 2013

Carbon capture and storage, a way of cutting emissions from industry by burying them underground, needs more state support for the European Union to meet clean-energy goals, a Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) adviser said.

“We’ve got to be clear that the EU’s climate goals in the long run cannot be met without clear policy intervention and that CCS is vital for the delivery of that,” Graeme Sweeney, who advises Shell on carbon-dioxide strategy, said by telephone.

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Pena Nieto Confident 75-Year Pemex Oil Monopoly to End This Year

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By Eric Martin, Carlos Manuel Rodriguez and Helder Marinho: June 18, 2013

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said he’s confident Congress will end the state oil monopoly this year, opening the way for companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) to tap the nation’s reserves.

In the model envisioned by Pena Nieto, state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos would develop some fields, while others are tapped by foreign and private companies. He declined to discuss more details of the proposal, or whether it would require a change in the constitution.

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