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Shell boss Ben Van Beurden spared shareholder pay revolt

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Jillian Ambrose24 MAY 2016 • 3:17PM

Shell shareholders have approved plans to pay boss Ben Van Beurden £4.3m despite calls from top proxy advisors to vote against his bonus ahead of the oil major’s AGM.

Investors voted 85.83pc in favour of the payout at the meeting in The Hague today.

Mr Van Beurden’s pay packet includes a salary of £1.4m, a bonus of £3.5m, and a pension of £441,000 for 2015, despite Shell reporting its steepest losses in 13 years and a planned job cull of 10,000. He has also received shares worth £9.7m, which vest in three years if he meets key performance targets.

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Shell braced for shareholder pay revolt

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Jillian Ambrose21 MAY 2016 • 7:47PM

Shell executives are braced for a shareholder backlash this week after influential retail advisor ShareSoc joined the growing rebellion against its multi-million pound executive pay.

The UK’s largest individual investor group will urge its 4,000 members to follow the lead of major Shell investor Royal London Asset Management and proxy institutional advisors in opposing Shell’s rising pay packet for boss Ben Van Beurden.

Mr Van Beurden is in line for a salary of £1.4m, a bonus of £3.5m, and a pension of £441,000 for 2015, despite reporting its steepest losses in 13 years and a planned job cull of 10,000. He has also received shares worth £9.7m, which vest in three years if he meets key performance targets.

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Shell eyes $40bn non-core asset spin-off to cut its huge debt pile

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By Tara Cunningham, business reporter: 14 MAY 2016

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell is eyeing a possible $40bn spin-off of non-core assets around the globe as it grapples with a $70bn debt pile following a takeover of BG Group earlier this year. 

Chief financial officer Simon Henry told analysts last week that a float of Shell’s non-core assets is “very much on the agenda”.  

The comments were made after the Anglo-Dutch multinational announced its intention to sell off assets totalling $30bn over the next three years in an attempt to protect its dividend, after the merger with BG left it with a stretched balance sheet.

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Top Shell investor vents anger at boss pay

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 11.33.40“The peer group of four companies that Shell uses to benchmark its long-term incentive plans (L-tips) is too narrow and we remain concerned about the overly generous senior management pension plans.”

However, Royal London, which owns nearly £1bn of shares in Shell, said it acknowledged that the company had notched up several successes, including the completion of its £35bn takeover of BG.

Mr van Beurden stands to take home a salary of £1.4m, bonus of £3.5m, and pension of £441,000 for 2015. He also received shares worth £9.7m, which vest in three years if he hits a series of targets.

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Shell profits tumble following BG merger

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By Jillian Ambrose4 MAY 2016 • 8:32AM

Shell posted a sharp fall in profits in its first set of results since merging with global gas giant BG Group, but nevertheless beat expectations against a backdrop of low oil prices.

The oil major reported first quarter profit of $455m, less than half the $942m posted in its results for the last three months of 2015 and a fraction of its $4.5bn for the same period last year.

On a cost of supplies basis, which the oil industry uses to account for fluctuations in the price of oil, Shell made $1.6bn over the first quarter of the year. This was better than analyst expectations of just over $1bn but still well below the $3.7bn in the first quarter of 2015.

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North Sea worker strikes loom as contracts tighten

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Jillian Ambrose: 1 MAY 2016

The North Sea sector could face the first wave of workers strikes in a generation as union tensions rise in response to longer hours and lower pay for the embattled workforce.

This weekend members of Unite are weighing up whether to accept tougher contract terms from Wood Group, one of the North Sea’s largest oilfield services firms, after the group met with unions on Friday.

A strike across Wood Group’s workforce could impact projects across the North Sea including decommissioning work on the giant Brent oilfield operated by oil giant Shell, where workers have already threatened to down tools over Wood Group’s plans for tougher contracts.

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Former Centrica boss in talks to buy Shell oil assets

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By Jillian Ambrose, business reporter: 27 MARCH 2016

A $5bn investment fund, led by former Centrica boss Sam Laidlaw, is in talks to snap up assets from Shell’s $30bn oil and gas divestment drive.

Neptune Oil and Gas was launched last summer to hunt for oil and gas bargains, and has confirmed that it is in talks with Bank of America Merrill Lynch to take advantage of Shell’s ambitious sales plans.

A spokesman for the fund said that Shell’s assets are being considered as part of its wider strategy to target large-scale investment in distressed assets in the North Sea, North Africa and South East Asia.

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Shell faces $30bn battle to sell assets after BG takeover

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Shell completes its much-anticipated takeover of BG Group on Monday, facing a fresh battle to dispose of $30bn of assets in the next three years as the oil market downturn drags on.

The £35bn mega merger was proposed before the full brunt of the oil market’s 70pc collapse slashed value across the sector, and Shell is under pressure to push through the disposals to maintain shareholder dividends even as profits plummet.

Shell’s reported its sharpest decline in income in 13 years for 2015 as sales collapsed by 97pc to cut profits by 56pc compared to the year before.

But with the oil rout wiping value from across the embattled oil and gas sector analysts say Shell will struggle to spin-off assets at the price it once expected to.

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Oil market spiral threatens to prick global debt bubble, warns BIS

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By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard6:33PM GMT 05 Feb 2016

The global oil industry is caught in a self-feeding downward spiral as falling prices cause producers to boost output even further in a scramble to service $3 trillion of dollar debt, the world’s top watchdog has warned.

The Bank for International Settlements fears that a perverse dynamic is at work where energy companies in Brazil, Russia, China and parts of the US shale belt are increasing production in defiance of normal market logic, leading to a bad “feedback-loop” that is sucking the whole sector into a destructive vortex.

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BG Group posts profit ahead of Shell takeover

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By Tara Cunningham, Business Reporter: 9:16AM GMT 05 Feb 2016

In its final results ahead of its landmark merger with Shell, BG Group has reported a pre-tax profit of $2.98bn, compared with a $2.3bn loss the previous year.

FTSE 100-listed BG is due to be absorbed into the Anglo-Dutch giant by the middle of the month after its shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of a £40bn takeover.

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 11.21.44In its last year as standalone company, BG managed to limit the impact from plunging oil prices to a 16pc drop in revenue for the year, racking up sales of $16.2bn.

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Shell backs out of Malaysian refinery business

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By Jillian AmbroseFeb 2016

Royal Dutch Shell will sell a majority stake in its Malaysian refining business as part of a strategy overhaul to combat plummeting profits.

The Anglo-Dutch firm said it has agreed to sell a 51pc stake in the business for $66.3m to engineering group Malaysian Hengyuan International.

The latest retreat comes alongside plans to sell its marketing business in Denmark and Norway, its LPG businesses in France and a 33.24pc stake in Showa Shell Sekiyu KK.

Shell’s latest financial report due out on Thursday is expected to make clear the heavy toll the ongoing oil price rout has taken on the firm, with full-year profits expected to be 48pc lower than the year before.

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Shell shares won’t run better just because BG’s been added to the tank

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Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 08.30.26Shell shares won’t run better just because BG’s been added to the tank

By Ian McVeigh: 31 Jan 2016

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 08.31.55Shell’s bid for BG received an 83pc vote in favour from its shareholders.

For some time it has been apparent that Shell was irrevocably set on this course in spite of the collapse of the oil price. The image of a supertanker unable to stop inevitably springs to mind. I am sure BG shareholders can’t believe their luck. Their shares would be around half the current level without Shell’s bid.

For the fund management industry the vote in favour is hardly likely to go down as one of its finest moments, though a 17pc “no” vote is relatively large in such circumstances.

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Final green light for Shell-BG takeover

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By Jillian Ambrose: 2:19PM GMT 28 Jan 2016

BG Group shareholders have voted through Shell’s £40bn takeover bid by an overwhelming majority.

The widely expected final nod for the landmark energy merger was voted through with 99.55pc of BG investors in favour, ending a controversial nine month campaign by Shell to cement its new strategic direction.

The tie-up received an 83pc approval vote from Shell shareholders on Wednesday, despite early fears that the deal was overpriced due to the collapse of oil prices since the bid was made last April.

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Why the Shell-BG mega-deal was risky for the City as well as the oil giants

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By Ashley Armstrong7:17PM GMT 27 Jan 2016

It has taken nearly 10 months, five competition regulators and 40 approvals from other global authorities. But Shell’s chief executive Ben van Beurden’s white-knuckle ride is finally drawing to a close.

On Wedensday, van Beurden won overwhelming support for the £40bn takeover from his shareholders. However, his celebrations may well be drowned out by raucous hedge funds who are cheering what one called “a very profitable trade”.

At Shell’s highly-anticipated shareholder vote in The Hague, the mood was serene, with van Beurden and chairman Charles Holliday warmly greeting shareholders, safe in the knowledge that the level of proxy vote support meant the decision was never in doubt.

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Shell shareholders vote in favour of £40bn BG takeover

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By Jillian Ambrose: 12:35PM GMT 27 Jan 2016

Shell shareholders have given the nod to the £40bn takeover of BG Group by a strong majority.

The 83pc vote in favour of the plans paves the way for the creation of Britain’s largest public company, pending a separate vote by BG shareholders on Thursday which is widely expected back the plans.

The vote, at an extraordinary meeting in the Hague, concludes a nine month gauntlet of global regulatory hurdles, since when plunging oil prices have raised serious concerns that Shell’s offer was overpriced.

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Shell confident of backing for BG takeover as crucial vote looms

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 20.43.08By Jillian Ambrose, Ben Martin: 7:00PM GMT 23 Jan 2016

A host of the world’s largest investors are expected to back Shell’s troubled multi-billion pound takeover of BG Group this week.

Shell and BG shareholders will vote on Wednesday and Thursday to approve the deal, which has been called into question by the plunge in the oil price. David Cumming, head of equities at Standard Life Investments, has been the most vocal opponent of the takeover, branding it “value destructive for Shell shareholders”.

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Shell-BG merger gains support ahead of vote

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Shell’s business gamble, supported by oil prices at near record highs, is on the brink of paying off Photo: Newscast

By Jillian Ambrose: 21 Jan 2016

Key investment funds have voiced growing support for the planned £47bn merger of energy giants Shell and BG Group ahead of crucial shareholder votes next week.

Shell’s fifth biggest investor, Norges Bank Investment Management, said on Wednesday that it will vote in favour of the plan at the shareholder meeting on January 27.

The $790bn fund joins a growing group of shareholders in support of the deal, including smaller investment funds and investment advisory firms.

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Shell investors: all they need to know, the crucial documents, and how to vote

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By John Ficenec, Ficenec: 1:26PM GMT 17 Jan 2016

Royal Dutch Shell shareholders have less than two weeks to cast their vote on the proposed takeover of BG Group. We provide all the crucial dates, how to vote, and where the additional information can be found.

How to vote

The most important thing is for retail investors to use their shareholder rights and vote.

Importantly only “Members” of the company who appear on the shareholder register, and personal CREST account holders, have an automatic right to vote. The majority of investors with shares in SIPPs and ISAs will be held through nominee accounts, and as such have no automatic right to vote.

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Oil price crash means petrol could become cheaper than bottled water

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By Mehreen Khan: 14 Jan 2016

Petrol will soon cost less than bottled water as the relentless decline in oil prices sends fuel down to 86p a litre, it has been claimed.

Brent crude fell to below $30 a barrel for the first time since 2004 on Wednesday evening – and has fallen by more 73pc since reaching highs of $115 last summer.

Motoring group RAC said pump prices now could fall back to levels last seen in the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2009, if the commodity plunges to as low as $10, a forecast made by Standard Chartered bank earlier this week.

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Oil could crash to $10 a barrel, warn investment bank bears

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 08.37.51By Mehreen Khan: Telegraph Newspaper: 13 JAN 2016

Oil prices have crashed to below $30-a-barrel amid warnings the rout could reach as low as $10 and bring down petrol prices to levels last seen in 2009.

Standard Chartered became the latest major bank to downgrade its oil outlook to $10, joining the likes of Goldman Sachs, RBS and Morgan Stanley in making ultra-bearish calls as prices have collapsed by 15pc this year.

Brent crude has now slipped to a fresh 12-year low of $30.41 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate – the US benchmark – is trading at $29.93 – a level last seen in December 2013. Analysts warned the oil market remains fundamentally out of balance as record over-supply and stagnant demand weighs on traders.

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Shell and BG investor who attacked £40bn tie-up will also back deal

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By Andrew Trotman: 12 Jan 2016

Standard Life Investments is to use its stake in BG Group to back the oil company’s £40bn merger with Royal Dutch Shell, just days after calling the deal “value destructive”.

The investment firm, which owns 2.1pc of Shell and 1.3pc of BG, plans to support the proposal at the latter’s annual general meeting on January 28,

It comes less than a week after David Cumming, head of equities at Standard Life Investments, vowed to vote against the deal using the Shell stake because the low oil price would not make it worthwhile.

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Major Shell investor vows to vote against £40bn BG Group takeover

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 21.04.58Standard Life Investments, the 16th largest shareholder in Shell with a 2.1pc stake, has voiced doubts that the oil price will bounce back sufficiently to make the tie-up worthwhile.

Brent crude fell again on Friday to trade at $33.55, having slumped more than 70pc since July 2014. It is believed investors feel the price needs to be around $60-$65 in order to support the deal.

Standard Life Investments also has concerns over BG’s assets in Brazil, which is at risk of heft tax bills in th struggling South American economy.

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Investor halves BG Group stake as doubts grow over Shell deal

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By Ben Martin, and Ben Marlow, THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: 3 JAN 2016

One of the world’s largest investors has more than halved its stake in BG Group, sparking fresh speculation that some of the oil explorer’s top shareholders are sceptical about the prospects for its proposed tie-up with rival Royal Dutch Shell.

Capital Group, which is also one of the biggest investors in Shell, offloaded £417m of BG shares over the course of December, slashing its shareholding in the FTSE 100 giant from 2.2pc to 0.9pc, stock exchange filings show.

The American fund management firm continued to reduce its stake even after Shell published the prospectus for the blockbuster BG takeover on December 22, in which it sought to convince shareholders of the merits of the deal by outlining additional capital spending cuts.

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Fund management industry’s credibility on show in planned BG-Shell merger

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Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 09.03.45By Ian McVeigh: 3:35PM GMT 02 Jan 2016

Shell bid for BG in April last year, after the oil price had halved. It is impossible to say what the price of BG would be without the bid, far lower for sure and most calculations suggest that a premium of around $20bn to $25bn is being paid to the shareholders of BG.

I am not suggesting that the board and management of Shell are thinking “I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone”.

The people at Shell take a more long-term view than those on the trading desks of the banks might take, but when you consider the CFO’s comment not to worry about the price paid, this sounds like a classic case of a deal made using other people’s money to me.

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UK awash with oil as tankers forced to turn around

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

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

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

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

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

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BG investor sells £100m of shares

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By Ben Martin, and Ben Marlow: 20 Dec 2015

One of the biggest investors in BG Group has sold almost £100m of shares in the oil and gas business in the past week, raising questions about its view of the company’s £55bn takeover by Royal Dutch Shell.

Investment giant Capital Group offloaded stock worth approximately £76.4m on Thursday and about £21.1m the day before, as well as smaller disposals earlier in the week. The sales by Capital, which is also a major investor in Shell, came during a week in which another big shareholder in both energy companies voiced concerns about the BG takeover.

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Shell merger with BG Group gets green light from China

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By Rebecca Burn-Callander8:01AM GMT 14 Dec 2015

Shell’s £55bn takeover of BG has been cleared by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), giving the deal the green light to go ahead.

This was the final regulatory hurdle standing in the way of the deal. China’s blessing follows success with regulators in Australia, the US, EU and Brazil.

Shareholders at the two companies will now decide whether the tie-up will go ahead, and the deal could complete in early 2016.

The takeover, which will create Britain’s biggest public company, has been under mounting scrutiny in recent weeks as the City questions whether Shell can justify pushing ahead, with oil prices remaining so suppressed.

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Paralysed Opec pleads for allies as oil price crumbles

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By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: 04 Dec 2015

The Opec cartel is to continue flooding the world with crude oil despite a chronic glut and the desperate plight of its own members, demanding that Russia, Kazakhstan and other producers join forces before there can be output cuts.

Brent prices tumbled almost $2 a barrel to $42.90 as traders tried to make sense of the fractious Opec gathering in Vienna, which ended with no production target and no guidance on policy. It reeked of paralysis.

Prices are poised to test lows last seen at the depths of the financial crisis in early 2009. The shares of oil companies plummeted in London, and US shale drillers went into freefall on Wall Street.

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Shell wins final Australian approval for BG Group takeover

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By Ashley Armstrong: 03 Dec 2015

Shell’s £55bn takeover of BG has been cleared by Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board, handing the deal its penultimate approval from global regulators.

The green light from FIRB for the deal comes after Australia’s competition authorities also approved the deal last month, and follows success with regulators in the US, EU and Brazil.

There has been mounting scrutiny of the rationale for pressing ahead with the takeover while oil prices remain so supressed.

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Shell-BG deal to win green light

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Questions have been raised about the growing gulf between the price of BG shares and Shell’s cash and stock offer, while some market sources have argued that the low oil price could force Shell to renegotiate the deal and reduce its bid.

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Regulators in China and Australia likely to support move to create Britain’s biggest company

Chinese and Australian regulators are expected to give their blessing to Shell’s £55bn mega takeover of BG before Christmas, leaving the future of the deal resting squarely in shareholders’ hands.

The tie-up, which will create Britain’s biggest public company, has been under mounting scrutiny in recent weeks as the City questions whether Shell can justify pushing ahead, with oil prices remaining so suppressed.

However, the takeover will advance a major step towards completion in the coming weeks with the two sides anticipating clearance from China’s Mofcom regulator after the deal was passed into the final phase of its review process.

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Questor delivers a damning verdict of the proposed Shell BG merger

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An Opec meeting on December 5 could send oil price even lower and sound the ‘death knell’ for the deal.

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‘If oil prices remain at these deeply depressed levels, then it could bring nothing but disaster. The famous Shell dividend could be cut, investors will be diluted and the shares would become a riskier prospect,’ writes John Ficenec in the Sunday Telegraph

He argues that while the deal makes sense on paper – as it bolsters Shell’s prospects in the dash for gas – the success rests on one factor ‘price’. 

The price here is not right, says Questor, and there is a risk that Shell is overpaying at £47 billion. 

Shell will fund the deal with 30 per cent cash and 70 per cent new Shell shares – that means selling some $30 billion (£19 billion) of assets during the three years from 2016 and a £25 billion share buy-back from 2017 to reverse dilution effects. 

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Questor share tip: Shell should walk away from BG

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The FTSE 100 oil major has endured a turbulent year after announcing its offer for rival BG, says Questor.

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By John Ficenec, Questor Editor: 22 Nov 2015

SHELL’S [LON:RDSB] deal to buy gas group BG makes perfect sense on paper. But if oil prices remain at these deeply depressed levels, then it could bring nothing but disaster.

The famous Shell dividend could be cut, investors will be diluted and the shares would become a riskier prospect.

Deal logic

Shell is suffering from declining reserves and some well publicised exploration failures such as in Alaska. BG has had its problems, but is just about to greatly increase production at one of the largest natural gas fields in the world off the coast of Brazil. There is a dash for gas around the world as governments increasingly shun coal-fired power stations.

In one fell swoop Shell can use its cash and balance sheet strength to return its dwindling reserves to growth, and underpin its dividend payments for the foreseeable future.

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Goldman eyes $20 oil as glut overwhelms storage sites

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By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: 20 Nov 2015

The world is running out of storage facilities for surging supplies of oil and may soon exhaust tanker space offshore, raising the chances of a violent plunge in crude prices over coming weeks, experts have warned.

Goldman Sachs told clients that the increasing glut of oil on the global market has combined with mild weather from a freak El Nino this winter. The twin-effect could send prices plummeting to $20 a barrel, the so-called ‘cash cost’ that forces drillers to abandon production. “Risks of a sharp leg lower remain elevated,” it said.

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Fresh doubts over Shell and BG merger as Qatar sells £1bn stake

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The Qatar Investment Authority has sold 43m shares in BG Group and a further 24m shares in Shell

By Ben Marlow 7:45PM GMT 14 Nov 2015

The Qatar Investment Authority has offloaded shares in Shell and BG worth nearly £1bn in recent weeks, raising fresh questions over whether the oil­giants’ proposed mega-merger has the support of major shareholders.

The sovereign wealth fund, led by Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed AlThani, a member of the Qatari royal family, has sold around 43m shares in BG Group, worth roughly £550m, and a further 24m shares in Shell, with a value of approximately £421m.

The sell-off, over a period of less than three weeks between the end of October and the first week of November, will be a blow to Shell’s chief executive, Ben van Beurden.

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Shell shareholders should think carefully about BG takeover

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Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 16.01.23By Ian McVeigh: 12:36PM GMT 07 Nov 2015

Investors watching the takeover boom and wondering whether it is the start or the end of a period of high investment returns may want to have a look at Shell’s proposed takeover of BG.

Megadeals often tell us that the buyer is far more challenged than we know or he admits. Companies with good, reliable prospects almost never take such risks. Prospects for a dividend may play a large role in this deal.

When looking at the proposed purchase of BG, I note a striking similarity with RBS’s purchase of ABN Amro (ABN) in 2007.

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Shell’s £43bn gamble of a deal for BG is sliding out of reach

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Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 16.01.23The big question facing Mr van Beurden, is whether he can pull off such an ambitious move. If not, his time at the helm will be shortlived.

By Ben Marlow: 31 Oct 2015

Ben van Beurden must be sick of answering the same question but unless there is an unlikely sudden surge in the oil price – and therefore the fortunes of the world’s energy giants –the boss of Shell is likely to be quizzed on the same issue many more times in the coming months.

What people want to know is, will the UK oil major press ahead with its mammoth £43bn takeover bid for BG Group despite the dramatic slump in the oil price?

• BG Group profits drop as it nears merger with Shell

The fall from highs of more than $100 a barrel in mid-2014 to as low as $43 has unleashed havoc across the energy industry, forcing the majors to rein in costs at lightning speed as they desperately try to prop up profits and keep paying dividends to investors.

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BG Group profits drop as it nears merger with Shell

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By Jon Yeomans: 30 Oct 2015

BG Group, which is due to be taken over by Shell early next year, has reported a slump in profits as the low oil price continues to take a toll on producers.

Net income at the Reading-based company fell 63pc to $280m (£182m) in the third quarter from $759m a year earlier. Nonetheless, this beat expectations, with some analysts pencilling in a result closer to $200.5m.

Including impairments, disposals and foreign exchange movements caused by the falling value of the dollar, BG recorded a loss of £101m.

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Shell and BP prepare for further cost-cutting as oil prices stay low

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Results this week could give more detail on savings to protect dividend payments

By Marion Dakers: 24 Oct 2015

Britain’s oil giants are preparing to make further cuts to their investment plans in the face of plummeting crude prices.

Shell, like many oil explorers, has already slashed spending and jobs to counteract the effects of a 40pc slump in oil prices in the past year, with the price sliding as low as $43 a barrel from highs of more than $110 in 2014.

However, Shell is this week expected to unveil a new round of cuts alongside its third quarter results, which are set to show a 38pc slump in sales to $67bn (£43.7bn) and a 54pc drop in adjusted earnings.

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Russia abandons hope of oil price recovery and turns to the plough

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Russia has abandoned hopes for a lasting recovery in oil prices, bracing for a new era of abundant crude as US shale production transforms the global energy market.

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President Vladimir Putin answers questions during an interview for Russian television

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: 14 Oct 2015

The Kremlin has launched a radical shift in strategy, rationing funds for the once-sacrosanct oil and gas industry and relying instead on a revival of manufacturing and farming, driven by a much more competitive rouble.

“We have to have prudent forecasts. Our budget is based very conservative assumptions of oil at around $50 a barrel,” said Vladimir Putin, the Russian president.

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Shell pledges to keep dividend despite slump in oil prices

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If the oil price stays low, Shell’s van Beurden may have to eat his words Photo: AFP

By Andrew Critchlow, Commodities editor: 06 Oct 2015

Royal Dutch Shell has reassured investors that it will maintain its dividends regardless of a prolonged slump in oil prices below $50 per barrel.

Chief executive Ben van Beurden, speaking at the Oil and Money conference in London, said: “Shell is pulling out all the stops to safeguard our dividends and buy-back programme, and to keep our investment programme steady for the future.”

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First Utility launches in Germany – branded as Shell

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Energy supplier will sell gas and electricity in Germany using global oil giant’s branding under new joint venture

First Utility and Royal Dutch Shell are to launch a new venture in Germany selling households gas and electricity under Shell’s branding.

The deal marks First Utility’s first foray abroad after establishing itself as Britain’s biggest ‘challenger’ supplier to the Big Six.

It is also thought to be the first time Shell, the global oil and gas giant, has struck a major household energy supplier partnership to sell electricity and gas in its name in Europe.

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Emma Thompson joins Greenpeace to celebrate Shell scrapping Arctic drilling

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Emma Thompson joins Greenpeace to celebrate Shell scrapping Arctic drilling

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By Charlotte Krol, and PA, video source YouTube / Greenpeace29 Sep 2015

Actress Emma Thompson has joined activists outside the headquarters of Shell to celebrate news that the oil giant is pulling out of drilling in the Arctic.

Greenpeace has been protesting against the company’s attempts to explore for fossil fuels off the coast of Alaska, including parking a double-decker bus-sized polar bear puppet outside the company’s London HQ for the last month.

The company said it would cease exploration in the region for the foreseeable future after failing to find sufficient signs of oil and gas to make further exploration worthwhile, blaming high costs and a “challenging and unpredictable regulatory environment”.

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Shell’s dividend gusher can survive a prolonged siege

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If the oil price stays low, Shell’s van Beurden may have to eat his words Photo: AFP

Sunday Telegraph: Jeremy Warner: 20 Sep 2015

Ben van Beurden, chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, is on a charm offensive to convince investors – and the press – that both the dividend is safe and the pending £45bn takeover of BG Group will proceed as planned. These promises attempt to address what is in essence the same underlying worry – the low oil price and its prospects for recovery.

In each case, the markets are plainly sceptical. Shares in Shell are on a barely believable yield of more than 7 per cent, indicating a high probability of a dividend cut to come, while BG shares trade on a discount of more than 10 per cent to the see through value of Shell’s offer.

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Shelling out too much

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Mr van Beurden – who ill-advisedly said the deal only really sings once the oil price recovers to $90 a barrel – would be unwise to count on it. He’s on the hook for a £750m break fee if he pulls out, a pay-out he’d be hard pressed to survive.

By Jeremy Warner: Sunday Telegraph 30 Aug 2015

It would be wrong to say City investors are on the point of insurrection over Royal Dutch Shell’s blockbuster takeover bid for BG Group. Most big investors in Shell will also be major shareholders in BG, so if the stock and cash offer goes through, what they lose on the Shell roundabout they will gain on the BG swings.

None the less, it is ever more obvious Shell’s Ben van Beurden is overpaying for BG, as reflected in the fact that BG shares languish at a whopping great discount to the see-through value of Shell’s offer – 981p per share against 1134p.

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Opec powerless to halt oil price slide, warns former group president

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Opec veteran says that current oil prices slump has exceeded the worst expectations of the group

By Andrew Critchlow, Commodities editor: 24 Aug 2015

Opec is powerless to arrest the slide in oil prices unless producers outside the group such as Russia match any cuts in output, according to a former president of the group.

‘Black Monday’: £91bn wiped off FTSE 100 as China fears spark global markets crash

With oil prices plummeting due to global oversupply, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) would be unable to stabilise the market on its own, Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah told The Telegraph on Monday. The group – which is mainly comprised of Middle Eastern and South American oil producers – would need agreement from other oil-producing nations.

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Oil slump highlights pressure on dividend payouts

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Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 22.49.59Extracts from an article by Garry White: 22 Aug 2015

Some in the City are concerned that distributions to shareholders at some major dividend payers are too high. This is particularly true for the oil sector.

Opec is being eaten alive and needs to meet to heal its wounds

Low oil prices bite as Premier Oil waits to tap Shetland field

Based on current forecasts, the prospective yield in 2016 for BP is about 6.9pc and for Shell it stands at 6.7pc. These unusually high yields are often an indicator of an impending cut in the payout.

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Shell faces huge risks and potential rewards with an Arctic adventure

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Shell has been given the green light to drill in the Arctic but as well as the opportunity for huge rewards, the inhospitable region brings huge risks

By Ben Marlow: 18 Aug 2015

In James Cameron’s epic science fiction film Avatar, humans travel to the moon Pandora in search of a highly valuable mineral that will help save the Earth from an energy crisis, and ultimately from extinction.

To extract the mineral, the explorers must destroy the lush tropical rainforest that envelopes Pandora, and ultimately the homes of the native Na’vi people.

It’s a sacrifice Parker Selfridge, the greedy head of The Resources Development Administration is willing to make, but ultimately the humans are defeated and sent packing. The name of the mineral they fail to get their hands on? Unobtainium.

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Big oil to sharpen focus on costs after $200bn of cuts

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Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 08.40.27Europe’s biggest oil companies have to find deeper cuts as oil prices expected to weigh on earnings

By Andrew Critchlow, Commodities editor: 27 July 2015

Three of Europe’s biggest oil companies will report weaker earnings this week and the City is looking for guidance on how to mitigate a sustained slump in Brent crude prices beyond the cost cuts already in motion.

In a market defined by oil prices 60pc lower than they were a year ago, energy giants are running out of options to protect their bottom line and all-important progressive dividends.

The brakes have already been put on 45 oil and gas development projects worth $200bn (£129bn) since prices started to fall towards the end of last year, according to a new report from Edinburgh-based consultancy Wood Mackenzie. Combined, these projects account for around 20bn barrels of reserves. The danger is that international oil companies will reveal this week that even deeper cuts are planned, tipping the industry into a form of atrophy.

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Shell banned from Arctic oil drilling without emergency equipment

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Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 18.39.24Icebreaker that holds the required equipment has been sent for repairs, which could take weeks

Royal Dutch Shell has been granted two final permits to explore for crude in the Arctic this summer, but the US has banned the company from drilling for oil until emergency equipment arrives in the region.

The US Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) conditionally granted Shell permits for exploration in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska, in a season which sea ice limits from July until October.

However, Shell must have emergency equipment to contain a potential blown-out well deployable within 24 hours before drilling into the oil zone, the BSEE said.

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Shell’s Arctic oil drilling plans hit by polar bears and walruses

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Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 10.08.46Shell’s Arctic oil drilling plans hit by polar bears and walruses

By Reuters: 12:32AM BST 01 July 2015

The Obama administration has dealt a setback to Royal Dutch Shell’s Arctic oil exploration plans, saying established walrus and polar bear protections prevent the company from drilling with two rigs simultaneously at a close range, as it had planned.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service issued Shell a permit which emphasized that under federal wildlife protections issued in 2013, companies must maintain a 15-mile buffer between two rigs drilling simultaneously.

The rule is meant to protect populations of animals sensitive to the sounds and activities of drilling. Walruses have been known to plunge off rocks into the sea during drilling, putting their populations at risk. The animals are already at risk from reduced habitat areas due to global warming. Drilling with only one rig at a time could slash the amount of work Shell had hoped to accomplish.

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