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FT Energy Source: Saudi Reform

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By Ed Crooks: April 29, 2016

When Saudi Arabia’s oil minister raises an eyebrow, the world pays attention. So when the kingdom launched a hugely ambitious economic reform programme this week, it naturally attracted enormous interest.

The FT in an editorial praised what it described as “a bold bid to transform Saudi Arabia’s economy”, but highlighted the challenges Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman would face in making his vision a reality. Simeon Kerr and Anjli Raval described the plans as “highly ambitious – some would say unrealistic”.

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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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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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As Big Oil shrinks, boards plot different paths out of crisis

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Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 09.14.51* Companies seek to safeguard growth for when market recovers

* U.S. firms abandon deepwater projects for shale oil fields

* Britain’s BP bets on Egyptian gas, Shell on major acquisition

By Ron Bousso and Terry Wade

LONDON/HOUSTON, Feb 7 As oil and gas companies cut ever-deeper into the bone to weather their worst downturn in decades, boards have adopted contrasting strategies to lead them out of the crisis.

Crude prices have tumbled around 70 percent over the past 18 months to around $35 a barrel, leading to five of the world’s top oil companies reporting sharp declines in profits in recent days.

Executives at energy firms face a tough balancing act: they must cut spending to stay financially afloat while preserving the production infrastructure and capacity that will allow them to compete and grow when the market recovers.

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Corporate earthquakes

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By Ed Crooks: February 5, 2016

Earnings reports from the largest listed oil companies have this week given a series of seismograph readings on the upheaval in the crude market. The implications for investors, employees and suppliers are grim. Worse, those earnings were all recorded in a period when oil and gas prices were significantly higher than they are now.

In a run of generally grim reports, BP’s was perhaps the worst: in 2015 it made a $5.2bn loss, the largest in its history. ConocoPhillips of the US, which after spinning off its refining business in 2012 became the world’s largest pure exploration and production company, was another standout, cutting its dividend by 66 per cent just two months after promising that the payout would be its “highest priority”.

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OPEC Won’t Cut Drilling, and Prices Plunge 5%

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By CLIFFORD KRAUSSA version of this article appears in print on December 8, 2015, on page B1 of the New York edition

HOUSTON — Crude oil prices slid a further 5 percent on Monday to fall to their lowest levels since the 2009 global recession, pummeled by the fading chance that Saudi Arabia would cut production to halt the commodity’s yearlong slide.

In only 16 months global oil prices have collapsed from over $110 a barrel to less than half that, and the oil industry in the United States and around the world is reeling from its worst crisis since the late 1990s. On Monday, the American benchmark broke the $38-a-barrel mark, a price that makes drilling and completing wells a losing proposition in almost all oil fields around the country.

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Even as it walks away from Arctic drilling, Shell keeps door open for future work

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Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 14.03.31Posted on October 29, 2015 | By Jennifer A. Dlouhy

WASHINGTON — Shell is walking away from oil exploration in Arctic waters north of Alaska, but it isn’t ready to close the door completely.

Disappointing results from a critical test well at the company’s Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea, combined with the high costs of developing the region and an “unpredictable regulatory environment” have prompted Royal Dutch Shell “to cease further exploration activity offshore Alaska for the foreseeable future,” CEO Ben van Beurden told reporters Thursday.

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Shell had to write-down some of its shale assets in the U.S., after spending $24 billion on a bet that failed to pay off, with company executives regretting ever having made the investment.

By James Stafford: Wed, 14 October 2015

A new report finds that the largest oil companies are set to cut spending on exploration by at least half, potentially leading to very few new oil discoveries in the years ahead.

The report from investment bank Tudor, Pickering, Hold & Co., and reported by Fuel Fix, estimates that exploration budgets among the oil majors will drop to $25 billion in 2016, down from $50 billion from just a few years ago. Obviously, low oil prices are taking their toll, forcing deep spending cuts in a desperate attempt to shore up profitability. But the cuts have large implications for the energy sector, increasing the chances that some large oil fields remain undeveloped for years.

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IF SHELL FINDS OIL IN CHUKCHI SEA, WHAT NEXT?

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Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 09.26.5318 September 2015

The short drilling season for oil exploration in U.S. Arctic offshore waters will reach one stopping point Sept. 28 and a complete halt Oct. 31 for Royal Dutch Shell Plc. The company has been drilling since July 30 at the Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska. If oil is discovered, it will require some very interesting and complicated development decisions and regulatory considerations.

Shell has come a long way to get this far. It acquired a set of leases over the Burger prospect in 2008 and has spent about $7 billion on trying to develop the leases. Shell, operating through its subsidiary Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc., did not report a discovery from the well it drilled in 2012, and no one has ever yet discovered oil in the Chukchi — not oil in commercial quantities, at any rate. A dry hole is always a possibility.

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Emma Thompson broke a legal injunction at Shell Centre

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  • The actress broke a legal injunction aimed at stopping Greenpeace activists from crossing a line drawn around the South Bank building 
  • She stuck a giant paw print on the offices with the names of opponents of drilling in the Arctic
  • Shell has been given permission by the US government to drill for oil and gas in Arctic waters off Alaska 
  • Greenpeace a giant model polar bear and placed it outside Shell’s HQ
  • The envoronmentalists aim to keep it there for 27 days, which will mark the end of the window for drilling in the Arctic

By ANTHONY JOSEPH FOR MAILONLINE: 2 September 2015

Emma Thompson and a roaring giant model polar bear led the protests against Shell’s plans to drill in the Arctic outside its London headquarters.

The actress broke a legal injunction, aimed at stopping Greenpeace activists from crossing a line drawn around the South Bank building, to stick a giant paw print on the offices with the names of opponents of drilling in the Arctic.

The paw carries thousands of names which make up some of the seven million people worldwide, including 600,000 signatures from the UK, who have pledged support to save the Arctic from drilling for oil and gas.

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Inside Shell’s Extreme Plan to Drill for Oil in the Arctic

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by Paul Barrett and Benjamin Elgin: 5 August 2015: BLOOMBERG.COM

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Protesters near the Polar Pioneer.: Photographer: Keri Coles/Greenpeace

Ann Pickard

Ann Pickard – Shell VP Arctic Drilling

In a windowless conference room in Anchorage, a dozen Royal Dutch Shell employees report on the highest-profile oil project in the multinational’s vast global portfolio. Warmed by mid-July temperatures, Arctic ice in the Chukchi Sea, northwest of the Alaskan mainland, is receding. Storms are easing; helicopter flights will soon resume. Underwater volcanoes—yes, volcanoes—are dormant. “That’s good news for us,” Ann Pickard, Shell’s top executive for the Arctic, whispers to a visitor.

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Shell Cleared For Exploration Off Nova Scotia

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Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 19.31.15By Andy TullyPosted on Wed, 17 June 2015

Shell Canada Ltd. is ready to begin exploratory drilling off the coast of Nova Scotia now that it has received conditional approval for the project from the country’s environmental minister.

Canada’s Environmental Assessment Agency issued the decision the night of June 15 after the environmental minister, Leona Aglukkaq, found that the project in the Shelburne Basin, 125 miles south of Nova Scotia’s southwestern coast, would not have a major impact on the local environment.

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Shell gets environmental ok for Canada offshore drilling project

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Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 19.31.15Shell gets environmental ok for Canada offshore drilling project

Markets | Mon Jun 15, 2015 

Canada’s environment ministry on Monday said it had approved an East Coast offshore drilling project led by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, saying the exploration project was “not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.”

The approval is contingent on the company meeting numerous conditions, including mitigating the potential impact on fish and marine habitats, among other things, the government said in a statement.

The Shelburne Basin Venture Exploration Drilling project, which is operated by Shell, consists of up to seven exploration wells located some 250 kilometers (155 miles) off the coast of the province of Nova Scotia, on Canada’s East Coast.

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Oil companies reach $345 million settlement with Quebec train crash victims

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Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 21.47.32Victoria Young; 11 June 2015

A group of oil companies has come to an agreement with victims of the 2013 oil train derailment in Quebec, Canada.

The train had been carrying 7.7 million litres of crude oil when it crashed, resulting in a massive spill and an explosion that killed 47 people.

Royal Dutch Shell, Marathon Oil Corp, Conoco Phillips and Irving Oil were all named by The Wall Street Journal as contributing. It is not clear how much each company will contribute.

It has been reported the settlement was reached in bankruptcy court to avoid costly and lengthy court processes.

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Saudi Arabia Lets The World Drown In Oil

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Article by Nathan Vardi: Forbes Staff: Friday 5 June 2015

To the surprise of nobody, Saudi Arabia and the other OPEC member states decided in Vienna on Friday to maintain production targets of 30 million barrels a day, making sure the world remains flooded with oil. The fact that OPEC—particularly the core countries of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates—have refused to play their traditional stabilizing role and cut oil production makes it less likely that oil prices will rebound to the $115 a barrel level that was reached about one year ago.

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BG deal disguises a hole in Shell’s financial projections

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Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 13.56.07The market is having one of its periodic anxiety attacks about Big Oil. 

BG deal disguises a hole in Shell’s financial projections and the dividend is not sustainable.

Shell shares have slumped by 14%.

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FULL FT ARTICLE:  5 June 2015 (WITH WORKING LINKS)

Oil industry rebuts proposed Arctic drilling mandates

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Oil industry rebuts proposed Arctic drilling mandates

May 28 2015, 18:58 ET | By: Carl Surran, SA News Editor

  • Oil companies and industry trade groups lash out against the Obama administration plan to require rigs and time to drill relief wells in case of emergencies at their operations in U.S. Arctic waters, claiming the proposed rules would shorten an already brief window for exploratory drilling while dramatically boosting the costs of the operations.
  • The group also says the proposal would lock in the “same-season relief well” requirement even though rapidly evolving technologies might be a better solution when companies lose control of an Arctic well.
  • Similar arguments were delivered today by Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) and Statoil (NYSE:STO), which both hold active leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas north of Alaska; ConocoPhilllips (NYSE:COP), another leaseholder in the area, filed comments that are not yet available.
  • A key sticking point is the same-season relief well requirement – not just the proposed rules for it, but whether it should be allowed in the first place; Shell is asking the Interior Department to replace the requirement with a mandate that oil companies demonstrate they have “assets that can address a source-control event.”

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We May Not See Arctic Oil For Decades

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Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 18.39.24We May Not See Arctic Oil For Decades

SHELL MAY END UP WITH NOTHING

By Nick CunninghamPosted on Wed, 27 May 2015

Shell’s Arctic campaign this year will be pivotal. If the company cannot find large reserves of oil, it will likely set back Arctic oil development for a generation.

The Financial Times reported that Royal Dutch Shell will not see Arctic oil come online anytime soon, even in the best of scenarios. Even Shell officials think that the oil major will not be able to see Arctic oil hit the market until sometime in the 2030s.

Related: Shell Approval May Trigger Resource Race In The Arctic

There are a few reasons for this. Finding and developing offshore oil can typically take around a decade. First there is a long lead time before any drills hit the waters – analyzing data, purchasing acreage, planning, doing seismic surveys, getting permits, moving equipment into place, and finally deploying rigs. Shell first started buying up Arctic leases in 2007. After years of preparation (and huge setbacks), Shell has done most of this pre-drilling work.

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Energy groups ax $100B in total spending after oil rout

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Article by: Carl Surran, SA News Editor, Seeking Alpha: 18 May 2015

Energy groups ax $100B in total spending after oil rout

  • More than $100B of spending on at least 26 major projects by the world’s energy companies has been slowed, postponed or canceled in the wake of plunging oil prices, including Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B), BP, ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) and Statoil (NYSE:STO), according to a Financial Times analysis.
  • One of the biggest developments to be shelved, Shell’s Arrow liquefied natural gas plant in Australia, accounted for almost a quarter of the planned spending reduction.
  • Western Canada is suffering the most from the retrenchment, with nine Canadian oil sands projects pulled back, each ranging from $1B-$10B in planned expenditure, the analysis says.
  • According to Morgan Stanley, which looked at capex guidance for 2015 from more than 120 companies, investment is expected to drop by a quarter this year to $389B from $520B.

SOURCE

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Shell oil rig arriving Thursday is just the start of Arctic drilling fleet

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 21.09.23By Coral Garnick and Hal Bernton: Seattle Times staff reporters: Published 13 May 2015

Shell oil rig arriving Thursday is just the start of Arctic drilling fleet

The Polar Pioneer oil rig expected to arrive in Seattle on Thursday is the biggest piece of a 25-vessel fleet Shell Oil has mustered to resume its oil exploration effort in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska.

The Polar Pioneer oil rig expected to arrive in Seattle on Thursday is the biggest piece of a muscular fleet Shell Oil has mustered in the Pacific Northwest to resume its controversial high-stakes oil-exploration effort in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s North Slope.

The company will have 25 vessels in and out of the Pacific Northwest in preparation for the season, according to spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh, but Shell has been tight-lipped about detailing its plans.

At Terminal 5 — now the center of a legal and political standoff between the city and the Port of Seattle — Shell contractor Foss Maritime plans to load drilling equipment and supplies for the two main vessels, the Polar Pioneer and the Noble Discoverer.

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Energy earnings run dry in Americas

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By Ed Crooks, Christopher Adams and David Crouch

ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips of the US on Thursday reported that they lost money on oil and gas production in their home country in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell disclosed a $1.1bn loss at its upstream exploration and production business in the Americas, and suggested that came mostly from its shale oil and gas operations.

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FULL FT ARTICLE

Oil firms face further cuts as low prices linger

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Oil firms face further cuts as low prices linger

Commodities | Fri Apr 24, 2015 12:23pm BST

* Big oil using spending cuts to increase efficiency

* Q1 earnings set to drop by more than 50 pct, tracking oil price

* Strong refining margins set to continue

By Ron Bousso

LONDON, April 24 (Reuters) – Oil majors may need deeper cuts to oil and gas exploration and production spending as they grapple with an extended period of low crude prices.

The industry is expected to reveal another set of grim earnings for the first quarter when benchmark Brent prices averaged $55 a barrel, almost half the level of a year ago.

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How The Majors Are Playing The Oil Price Slump

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Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 14.48.37Article by Nick Cunningham published 22 April 2015 by OilPrice.com

How The Majors Are Playing The Oil Price Slump

The largest oil and gas companies are employing different strategies to weather the downturn and plan for the future. Each strategy has its risks, and not all may work out. Which companies will emerge stronger after an oil price rebound and which will fall further behind because of bad decisions?

There are different ways to play a down cycle. With oil prices half of what they were in 2014, revenues are significantly lower for everyone across the board. As a result, the oil industry has collectively implemented an estimated $114 billion in spending cuts. But oil executives are also trying to figure out how to grow over the next five or ten years.

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‘Big Oil’ poring over troubled waters

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‘Big Oil’ poring over troubled waters

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 09.23.28By Mark Robinson, 17 April 2015

The severity of crude oil’s collapse meant that its effects were always likely to be felt far beyond petrol station forecourts. Reduced assumptions on future pricing convinced oil and gas majors, already given over to renewed capital discipline, to also accelerate the reduction in exploration and appraisal commitments.

The effect on valuations for oil companies and their ancillary industries has been well documented by the Investors Chronicle, but the trouble doesn’t end there. The fall-away in valuations across the wider industry has also made tertiary finance more difficult to attain for mid-tier and smaller oil companies. It also means that secondary capital issues are more expensive to complete – even for oil companies with existing production. The end result is that there are a lot of distressed energy assets up for grabs at knockdown prices.

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Oil price down, coffers full: now Big Petroleum is in the mood for mergers

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The energy sector looks set for a round of mergers and acquisitions. Illustration: David Simonds for the Observer

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The world of Big Oil looks set for another round of mega-mergers and acquisitions after Shell set the ball rolling this week with its $70bn agreement to take over BG.

FULL ARTICLE

Iran riches coveted by big oil after decades of conflict

Extracts from a Bloomberg article published 31 March 2015

Iran riches coveted by big oil after decades of conflict

Now, as Iran and the US enter 11th hour negotiations to reach a nuclear deal and ease sanctions, the West Asian country is emerging again as a potential prize for western oil companies such as BP, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Eni SpA and Total SA.

The restoration of Western oil investment appears to be a priority for Iran in its nuclear talks with the U.S., U.K, France, Germany, Russia and China. A year ago, the new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani used a speech during the World Economic Forum in Davos to court the European oil majors.

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Why Stocks Of Chevron Corporation, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, And ConocoPhillips Should Be Avoided

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Why Stocks Of Chevron Corporation, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, And ConocoPhillips Should Be Avoided

Bidness Etc looks at why Barron’s Asia advises new investors against buying stocks of the four Big Oil companies, namely, Exxon, Chevron, Shell, and ConocoPhillips

By: MICHEAL KAUFMAN

Published: Feb 18, 2015 at 6:36 am EST

Extracts

Crude oil price have dramatically decreased more than 50% since June 2014. Amid the low-price scenario, Barron’s Asia believes that new investors should avoid placing their bets on the four Big Oil companies, comprising, Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A), Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP).

Barrion’s Asia terms these stocks as the most defensive energy stocks mainly due to minor changes in the value of these stocks since mid-October. The West Texas Intermediate has fallen more than 35% over the same period.

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Big Oil Unable To Increase Reserves To Counter Declining Production

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Bidness Etc discusses why major oil firms have been unable to replace their new reserves, despite crude production level falling since last year amid tumbling crude price

By: MICHEAL KAUFMANPublished: Feb 8, 2015 at 8:40 am EST

According to the quarterly results announced during the past few weeks, major oil companies have reported a mediocre performance for last year, as far as exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas reserves is concerned. At the same time, companies have also reduced their capital spending budgets for this year, which might exacerbate their lower production problem.

Over the last decade, some of the biggest oil companies have seen their production drop and their growth of reserves stutter, even though oil price was going up for the most part. Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A), BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP), ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), and Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) are five of the biggest global oil and gas companies, which saw their production drop 3.25% year-over-year (YoY) on average last year, while failing to replace the crude oil and natural gas – they extracted last year – with new reserves.

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BIG OIL: Who will blink first to set the M&A scramble in motion

Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 08.53.48With more than $110 billion of oil and gas assets on the block as companies big and small count the cost of the collapse in oil prices, it is now a question of who will blink first to set the M&A scramble in motion.

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Article published by Reuters 30 Jan 2015 under the headline:

Buyers bide their time in $110 bln oil asset sell-off

* Half of the assets on sale are in North America

* North Sea could prove a hard sell

* Potential buyers holding out for further price falls

* Wave of deals expected within three to six months

By Ron Bousso

LONDON, Jan 30 (Reuters) – With more than $110 billion of oil and gas assets on the block as companies big and small count the cost of the collapse in oil prices, it is now a question of who will blink first to set the M&A scramble in motion.

Energy groups with spare cash, venture capital funds and multinational and state oil companies are eyeing assets with valuations that have largely tracked the halving of the oil price to less than $50 a barrel since last June.

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Oil rout gives Exxon and Shell reason to buy rival ‘sisters’

Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 08.53.48…a major deal over the next year that will bring together two of the super majors, or see one of their smaller rivals swallowed up, is highly likely – and almost a certainty if historical precedent is anything to go by. Certainly, if the oil rout of the late 90s is anything to go by, a major deal among the industries big “sisters” is just around the corner.

Article By Andrew Critchlow, Commodities editor, The Telegraph, published 30 Jan 2015 under the headline:

Oil rout gives Exxon and Shell reason to buy rival ‘sisters’

First there were the “Seven Sisters”, a term coined in the 1950s to describe a cabal of the world’s biggest international oil companies (IOCs), which at that time controlled the supply of fossil fuels with a vice-like grip.

Then came the Yom Kippur war of 1973 and the subsequent Middle East oil crisis, which would gradually see their power over more than three-quarters of the world’s crude wrestled back by newly independent states in the Persian Gulf.

By the late 1990s – with oil prices at around $20 (£13.20) per barrel – the original seven had grown much bigger and been morphed into new giants, which consumed their smaller rivals in a race to acquire what little of the world’s oil and gas reserves still remained open to them.

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U.S. Seen Limiting Oil Drilling in Arctic, May Open Atlantic

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26 JAN 2015

(Bloomberg) — The U.S. Interior Department will lay a framework as soon as Tuesday for oil exploration in the nation’s coastal waters in a five-year plan that is expected to withdraw areas off Alaska while possibly adding parts of the Atlantic.

Republican Lisa Murkowski said the head of the offshore energy office told her the agency will place areas of the energy-rich U.S. Arctic off limits. Those areas had been previously deferred from new leasing. Current leases in the Arctic, such as those held by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, won’t be affected.

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Oil crashes below $50 – Big Oil loses $200 billion

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Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 18.34.00The meltdown in oil prices has wiped out more than $200 billion in market valuation among the 10 largest oil and natural gas companies in the S&P 500. To combat depressed prices, oil companies are hitting the brakes on spending and laying off workers. Investors are saying “enough.” They are dumping their energy stocks as the outlook for profits and dividends has diminished significantly.

From a BBC News article published 7 Jan 2015 under the headline:

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 23.11.04“Brent crude oil price dips below $50 a barrel”

The price of Brent crude oil has fallen below $50 a barrel for the first time since May 2009.

It fell more than a dollar to $49.92 a barrel in early trading on Wednesday before edging back above the $50 mark.

Slowing global growth and increased supply of oil and gas have pushed prices sharply lower in recent weeks.

The price of oil traded in the United States, known as West Texas Intermediate crude, has already fallen below $50.

Many observers expect the price of oil to fall further as North American shale producers continue to supply increasing quantities of oil and gas, and the oil-producing group Opec resists calls for cuts in production to support prices.

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Shell’s future in the Arctic looks doubtful

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By: MICHEAL KAUFMAN
Published: Dec 23, 2014 at 12:38 pm EST

There is a large question mark on whether Royal Dutch Shell (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) will continue a new round of drilling in the Chukchi Sea and the Beufort Sea in the Arctic or not. The company earlier filed a lawsuit against a group of environmentalists to avoid any legal challenges in the future. The lawsuit sparked criticism from authorities and posed several problems for the Dutch oil giant.

Shell acquired the leases in 2008, after receiving approval from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). But a lawsuit was filed blaming BOEM for taking arbitrary estimates which were not reliable. BOEM as a result revised its assessment and issued a supplementary environmental statement, which revealed that around 4.4 billion barrels of crude oil could be pumped compared to the previous estimate of one billion barrels.

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Tumbling crude prices will lay waste to countries and companies alike

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Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 09.22.26By John Donovan

The oil industry is leaving 2014 on a low note as far as oil prices are concerned. 

A financial earthquake has hit ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Chevron, Conocophillips and Total. 

The Sunday Times devoted a whole page article by Danny Fortson to the turmoil resulting from the collapse in the price of crude oil.

According to his article on page 5 of the Business Section of The Sunday Times published on 21 Dec 2014:

“Tumbling crude prices will lay waste to countries and companies alike”

…and tens of thousands of British jobs are at risk. 

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Why Shell Is Facing Problems In The Arctic

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By: MICHEAL KAUFMAN
Published: Dec 19, 2014 at 11:21 am EST

Royal Dutch Shell Plc. (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) is uncertain over its plans to drill in the US Arctic. The final decision regarding the company is expected to come in March, 2015. During this time the company is likely to consider various factors before taking a decision.

How crude oil prices have moved in the last six months seems will be a factor in any decision taken by management. Oil exploration and production (E&P) activities have fallen globally because of the dip in prices.

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Shell may abandon Arctic drilling indefinitely

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 15.36.47By John Donovan

Royal Dutch Shell is expected to announce by March if it will go forward with plans to drill for oil in Arctic waters offshore Alaska in 2015, a decision which may have more to do with the outcome of court cases and U.S. government reviews than global market fundamentals.

Shell’s decision is widely seen as a potential turning point for the company’s long-range Arctic plans, with billions already spent and rival companies putting their own Arctic drilling plans on hold; if Shell does not pursue drilling off north Alaska in 2015, it may abandon the region indefinitely.

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Talk of Shell BP tie-up to create £200bn world leader

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After a solid 10 hours locked in secret briefings at the Langham Hotel in London this week, 100 of BP’s top investors emerged into the crisp winter evening air to the grim news that oil prices had sunk to a new five-year low.

From an article in The Sunday Telegraph 14 December 2014 by Andrew Critchlow

UK oil giants fight for control in a current of falling prices

Investors in BP and Royal Dutch Shell – Britain’s biggest international oil companies – now find themselves caught in the crossfire of a much bigger game

After a solid 10 hours locked in secret briefings at the Langham Hotel in London this week, 100 of BP’s top investors emerged into the crisp winter evening air to the grim news that oil prices had sunk to a new five-year low.

Given the challenges facing big oil producers, the mood at the briefing, led by BP’s upstream chief executive Lamar McKay, was described as being “serious” by those present. However, the thought of US crude crashing below $60 (£38) per barrel, a baseline level that most oil majors use to stress test the profitability of their future projects, will have pushed sentiment to a new low.

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Oil majors BP and Shell may be ready for more mergers

Some of Shell’s big shareholders are said to be frustrated by the company’s continued spending on expensive far-flung projects that fail to yield healthy returns. Alongside its profit warning at the start of this year, Shell announced that it was halting a controversial exploration programme off the coast of Alaska because the costs had far outweighed the results. Some $4.5bn had been ploughed into exploring in the region since 2005. Rumours continue to swirl that an activist investor is circling Shell with a view to taking a stake and forcing it adopt a more radical strategy.

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Judge suspends Arctic drilling, orders new environmental report

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 09.49.25Extracts from a Los Angeles Times article by Paresh Dave published 24 April 2014

In the ongoing battle over offshore drilling, a federal judge in Alaska told regulators Thursday to redo an environmental impact study that underestimated the amount of recoverable oil and, potentially, the risks to delicate Arctic habitat. The decision by U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline stopped short of scrapping the $2.6 billion in leases, however. In light of the new analysis, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will have to decide whether to move forward with or cancel the agreed-upon leases with Royal Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips and other companies.

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Oil firms’ cost cuts may jeopardise worker safety – Norway watchdog

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Shell oil rig Kulluk seen grounded off the coast of an Alaskan island.

Extract from a Reuters article by Gwladys Fouche published 24 April 2014

OSLO, April 24 (Reuters) – Cost-cutting by oil companies could jeopardise the safety of workers in the future, Norway’s safety watchdog warned on Thursday. The regulator said it was concerned that as a result safety standards could be compromised in Norway, where the world’s biggest oil companies drill offshore, including BP, Royal Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips, Total, Statoil and Exxon Mobil.

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Shell Discovers Oil at Limbayong Field in Offshore Sabah

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 16.29.29Extract from an article by Petroliam Nasional Berhad published by RIGZONE on Monday 17 March 2014

Malaysia’s national oil and gas company Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) and Royal Dutch Shell plc announced Monday an oil discovery offshore Sabah, Malaysia. The drilling of the Limbayong-2 appraisal well was carried out by the consortium of Shell Malaysia (35 percent), ConocoPhillips (35 percent) and Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd (30 percent).

FULL ARTICLE

Petroliam Nasional Berhad | Petroliam Nasional Berhad |

Big Oil’s troubles

Big Oil’s troubles will lead to the next huge advance in energy technology

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By Steve LeVine

They spent too much

And they discovered that their technology was inferior

Survival and industry culture will trigger a big leap

FULL ARTICLE

Why Royal Dutch Shell’s Fire Sale May be Cause for Concern

Screen Shot 2013-12-22 at 19.09.52…both BP’s and ConocoPhillips’ asset sales look downright modest in comparison to the outright fire sale Royal Dutch Shell will soon embark on. Royal Dutch Shell unloaded billions last year, with even greater amounts to be sold off over the next two years. That’s why investors may have legitimate cause for concern about the fate of Shell’s future growth trajectory.

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by Bob Ciura

Royal Dutch Shell plans to sell off several billion dollars worth of assets over the next two years. Should investors be worried?

The last year was a tough one for integrated oil majors. Thinning refining margins put a serious dent in downstream earnings, and upstream profitability failed to impress despite cooperative energy prices. As a result, it’s not entirely surprising to see members of Big Oil such as (NYSE: BP) sell off non-critical assets.

Even independent exploration and production major ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP), which isn’t nearly as integrated as its peers after spinning off its downstream and midstream business, got in on the asset sale game last year.

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Oil Profits Slump as Higher Spending Fails to Lift Output

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 07.56.54Investors are shunning the world’s biggest oil companies as drilling costs surge, major projects are delayed and energy prices stagnate. Shell, the second-largest oil company by market value, will report its lowest fourth-quarter profit since 2009 after The Hague-based explorer was socked with cost overruns on some of its most important new fields. Ben van Beurden, who took the helm at Shell at the start of the year, said Jan. 17, in Shell’s first profit-warning in a decade, that disruptions in Nigeria, weak refining margins and lower U.S. natural gas production brought down earnings.

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Jan 29, 2014 12:00 AM GMT

Investors are shunning the world’s biggest oil companies as drilling costs surge, major projects are delayed and energy prices stagnate.

Crude and natural gas producers from Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) to ConocoPhillips began issuing profit warnings three weeks ago as they tallied the extent of fourth-quarter disappointments. Shareholders have punished the stocks, making the energy sector the worst performer in the MSCI World Index this year, in anticipation of bleak earnings disclosures later this week.

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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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Selection of article links relating to Royal Dutch Shell 17 Jan 2014

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 07.56.54Selection of article links relating to Royal Dutch Shell kindly provided by a regular contributor

How Royal Dutch Shell Will Soon Become a Major Player in Natural  DailyFinance-2013 was a difficult year for integrated major Royal Dutch Shell due to … disruptions in Nigeria, one of its major oil-producting geographies.

Federal Reserve: Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Is What Scares Us …: Huffington Post-Jan 14, 2014: That expansion, plus recent catastrophes like the BP oil spill, has ….

Shell shock: Oil giant warns of ‘significantly lower’ profitCNBC.com

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Western energy companies flocking to China to unlock shale reserves

FINANCIAL TIMES

ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips of the US, and Royal Dutch Shell, Total and Eni from Europe, are among the international oil companies that have signed deals to explore shale resources in China. Yet for all the excitement, the future of China’s shale remains cloudy. 

FULL FT ARTICLE

Greenland explores Arctic mineral riches amid fears for pristine region

The move comes as BP and Shell join others exploring for oil and gas in the pristine waters off Greenland, as concerns grow that the wave of industrialisation in the region will damage the pristine environment.Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 22.39.30

London Mining’s £1.5bn iron ore mine and new oil drilling licences for BP and Shell spark concern for environment

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 20.04.13 Site of London Mining’s iron ore mine at Isua, Greenland. Photograph: London Mining

London Mining, a British mineral company, is trying to attract Chinese and other international investors to build a £1.5bn iron ore mine just outside the Arctic Circle in Greenland.

The move comes as BP and Shell join others exploring for oil and gas in the pristine waters off Greenland, as concerns grow that the wave of industrialisation in the region will damage the pristine environment.

Greenland and the wider Arctic is seen as one of the new frontiers for exploiting mineral wealth, but uncertain national boundaries have also opened up potential political, if not military, conflicts.

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Big Oil sits out lobbying on Iran as Congress stands firm

The companies that have lobbied Congress this year have largely been U.S. divisions of larger international oil companies, such as BP America, part of London-based BP Plc and Shell Oil Co, the U.S. unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

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By Timothy Gardner and Andy Sullivan: WASHINGTON Sun Dec 22, 2013 7:24am EST

(Reuters) – As debate rises in Washington over the first thaw in relations between Iran and the United States in decades, powerful oil companies are opting for an unusual tactic: silence.

Oil companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp and ConocoPhillips could earn huge profits if the United States loosened economic sanctions on Iran, allowing access to its oil and natural gas fields, some of the world’s largest and least costly to produce.

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Taylor: Will SEC give oil companies the green light on secrecy?

In the event that Shell and Eni’s handling of the deal is found to be in breach of U.S. anti-bribery laws, investors, who were not given the opportunity to assess these payments, could also be on the hook for penalties that could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

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By Simon Taylor | December 7, 2013

Lack of new disclosure rules for foreign government access puts investors at risk

Conspicuously missing from the Securities and Exchange Commission’s annual update on regulatory activity released last week is a rule requiring companies to disclose what they pay foreign governments for access to natural resources. The agency needs to put an immediate end to these secret payments if it is to do its job of protecting investors.

When the SEC proposed disclosure rules in August 2012 as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law, the American Petroleum Institute (which represents companies such as Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron) sued the SEC to keep their deals – and the public – in the dark. In July, a federal court supported the institute’s case and ordered the SEC to revise its original payment disclosure rule. The SEC needs to make the rewrite a top priority so that a new version of the rules is released in early 2014.

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