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Posts under ‘Exxon Mobil’

ExxonMobil CEO: ending oil production ‘not acceptable for humanity’

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Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 09.54.10Rupert Neate in Dallas: Wednesday 25 May 2016 20.25 BST

Rex Tillerson, the boss of oil giant ExxonMobil, said cutting oil production was “not acceptable for humanity” as he fought off shareholders’ and activists’ attempts to force the company to fully acknowledge the impact of climate change on the environment and Exxon’s future profits.

During a long and fractious annual meeting in Dallas on Wednesday, Tillerson, who serves as Exxon’s chairman and chief executive, beat back several proposals to force the company to take more action on climate change.

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Exxon Investors Seek Assurance as Climate Shifts, Along With Attitudes

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By CLIFFORD KRAUSS and JOHN SCHWARTZA version of this article appears in print on May 24, 2016, on page A1 of the New York edition

HOUSTON — Exxon Mobil has been under pressure for over a year to explain its handling of climate change issues in the past. Now the company faces new pressure to explain its future, particularly how it will change in response to a warming world.

At the company’s planned annual meeting on Wednesday in Dallas, shareholders will vote on a resolution to prod Exxon Mobil to disclose the risks of climate change to its business.

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Green really is the new black as Big Oil gets a taste for renewables

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Terry MacalisterSaturday 21 May 2016

The world’s largest oil companies have in recent weeks announced a series of “green” investments – in wind farms, electric battery storage systems and carbon capture and storage (CCS). These unexpected moves come hot on the heels of revelations by Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, that it plans to sell off parts of its national oil company and diversify its economy away from petroleum.

They also come in the aftermath of a United Nations climate change agreement and before annual general meetings for Shell and Exxon Mobil this week, meetings at which shareholders will demand that more be done to tackle climate change.

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Shell cutting back manpower sharply at Iraq’s Majnoon oilfield

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Anthony McAuleyMay 21, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell is cutting its workforce sharply at the Majnoon oilfield near Basra in southern Iraq as the government’s financial woes deepen.

Majnoon is one of the five “supergiant” (containing more than 5 billion barrels) oilfields located in southern Iraq, with estimated recoverable reserves of nearly 13 billion barrels, and it has been a major provider of additional funds for the Iraqi government since it started exporting two years ago.

The field employed more than 3,000 at peak construction – three-quarters of whom were Iraqis. But the expatriate workforce had dwindled to 400 amid cutbacks as the government has struggled with both the collapse in oil prices over the past 18 months and the costs of the war with militants in the west of the country.

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

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

Exxon fields linked to Qua Iboe terminal also vulnerable

By Angelina Rascouet: May 20, 2016

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

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

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Royal Dutch Shell Clings To Its Dividend

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Casey Hoerth: May 18, 2016 

Summary

  • Management decreased operating expenses 20% year on year in the first quarter.
  • However, record low oil and gas prices have caused a large cash flow gap in Q1.
  • Results should improve in coming quarters, but I still do not expect Shell to become cash flow neutral.
  • I believe the dividend’s days are numbered, even with crude at $49 per barrel.

Upstream energy companies have taken quite a beating over the first quarter of 2016, thanks to record low crude oil prices. Brent Crude hit its $31 low back in January, and as earnings results came in over the last couple weeks, it became readily obvious to me that the carnage was widespread. Even the big integrated names took it on the chin, financially.

Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) is no exception. Shell has adamantly clung to its dividend since the downturn started, and the company’s balance sheet has suffered as a result. On April 15th Moody’s downgraded Shell from Aa1 to Aa2, and outlook remains negative. It’s not too hard to see why that is.

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

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

By Kelly Gilblom: May 18, 2016

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

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

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

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Shell Looks for a Hedge Against Climate Change

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Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 13.50.03BGeoffrey Smith: MAY 16, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell is creating a new unit specially for renewables and alternative energy, but it continues to insist that its current business of burning hydrocarbons is under no threat from global policies to mitigate climate change.

The company told investors last week that it will combine its modest operations in green energy—biofuels, wind and solar technologies—into a business unit called “new energies” under its natural gas business. It will go public with the idea in June, according to The Guardian.

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Shell and Exxon secured ‘secret deal’ on Groningen gas production

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Friday 13 May 2016

Oil companies Shell and Exxon held secret talks with the economic affairs ministry in 2005 to set levels of production in the Groningen gas field up to and beyond 2020, according to documents obtained by NOS.

The documents show that the two companies exerted pressure on the ministry not to scale back gas extraction despite increasing concern over the increased frequency of earthquakes in the region.

The Dutch parliament was informed of the talks, which took place in 2005, but only knew of an agreement to set production levels for the next 10 years. The documents obtained under freedom of information legislation show that the deal also covered the years up to 2020, when the gas field is expected to go into decline, and afterwards.

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Philippines investigates Shell and Exxon over climate change

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Emma Howard in Manila: Saturday 7 May 2016

Can Chevron, ExxonMobil and BP be held accountable for the vulnerable communities most affected by climate change?

It’s a question a legal case in the Philippines could answer.

Last month, lawyers for the petitioners met with the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHR), a constitutional body tasked with investigating human rights violations. Their goal was to identify expert witnesses for a hearing into the liability of 50 of the biggest fossil fuel companies for violating the human rights of Filipinos as a result of catastrophic climate change.

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Fort McMurray reflections by Ed Crooks of the FT

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By Ed Crooks: May 6, 2016

The thoughts of everyone in the energy industry were with Fort McMurray, the heart of Canada’s oil sands industry, which was devastated by wildfires this week. The town was evacuated, and more than a fifth of the region’s oil production was halted. There was a lot of great reporting from the local and national press. The National Post particularly stood out with features such as this live map of the areas affected by fire. Maclean’s brought the scale of the fires to people outside Alberta using comparisons with other cities in Canada, the US and Britain. NBC News carried some powerful photographs of the disaster.

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Not-so-Big Oil

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May 7th 2016

IT HAS been a grim decade for investors in international oil firms—among them, many of the world’s biggest pension funds. Even before oil prices started to fall in 2014, the supermajors threw money away on grandiose schemes: drilling in the Arctic and building giant gas terminals. Their returns have trailed those of other industry-leading firms by a huge margin since 2009.

In the past 18 months things have gone from bad to worse. The Boston Consulting Group, a consultancy, calls it the industry’s “worst peacetime crisis”. That is evident in first-quarter results released in the past week by Exxon Mobil and Chevron of America, and European rivals, Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Total, which bear the scars of a collapse in oil prices to below $30 a barrel in mid-February (see chart).

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Oil giants should ditch high-cost projects, thinktank says

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Terry Macalister Energy editor: Thursday 5 May 2016

These leading energy companies including Exxon Mobil should ditch high-cost projects in deep water and Canadian tar sands to concentrate on cheaper schemes that make money at low crude prices, says the report, Sense and Sensitivity, by the Carbon Tracker Initiative.

The report follows shareholder resolutions calling on oil companies to undertake “stress tests” on operations in the face of stronger carbon regulation and weakening fossil fuel demand as countries move to lower-carbon economies.

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

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By Rakteem Katakey: May 4, 2016

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

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

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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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Oil prices drop faster than companies can cut costs

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Bloomberg News: SATURDAY, APRIL 23, 2016

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

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

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

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

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Exxon Mobil Corporation, Chevron Corporation: Oil Slump Persists, Compensation Packages Take a Nosedive

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By Micheal Kaufman on Apr 14, 2016

The oil slump has persisted for over 18 months now and it’s not surprising that several small and mid-sized companies have yielded to bankruptcy and debt pressures. Previously, the Street analysts were optimistic about the future outlook and the profitability of the oil giants; however, those expectations were reversed when the market situation took a turn for the worse in January.

The oil majors undertook several measures to tackle the slump. For starters, they lowered their capital and operating expenditures, went forth with mergers and acquisitions and debt and equity financing. They have taken the decision to reduce top executives’ pay amid one of the worst commodity downturns in the industry.

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Royal Dutch Shell plc: Reasons Behind Moody’s Downgrade

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By Micheal Kaufman on Apr 11, 2016

Moody’s Investor Service reduced Shell’s issuer rating and rating of its guaranteed debt from “Aa1” to “Aa2”, and affirmed company’s Prime-1 commercial paper. Both ratings were under review for a potential downgrade, which was initiated on January, 22, 2016. Since January, the firm expected that the global oil prices will remain weak over the medium term and hinted several downgrades in the upcoming few months.

Shell Finance Netherlands Bv, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell – formed for the sole purpose of issuing debt – also had its issuer rating cut from “Aa1” to “Aa2”. Moreover, Shell’s US-based subsidiary, Shell Oil Company, also got its issuer rating cut from “Aa2” to “Aa3” and has been assigned a Negative outlook.

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Exxon and Shell Double Down to Defeat Climate Change Legislation

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Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 15.55.29Nika Knight, Common Dreams: April 8, 2016

The dark channels through which corporations influence legislation are notoriously hard to trace, but a new detailed report estimates that the world’s largest fossil fuel companies are spending upwards of $500 million per year to obstruct climate laws.

Published Thursday by the UK-based non-profit InfluenceMap, the report looked at two fossil fuel giants (ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell) and three trade lobbying groups, discovering that all together the five companies spend $114 million dollars a year to defeat climate change legislation.

More significantly, InfluenceMap says, “Extrapolated over the entire fossil fuel and other industrial sectors beyond, it is not hard to consider that this obstructive climate policy lobbying spending may be in the order of $500m annually.”

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Shell under pressure to reduce spending

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Markets | Fri Apr 8, 2016 3:05am EDT

By Ron Bousso

LONDON, April 8 Royal Dutch Shell is under pressure from shareholders to cut annual spending below $30 billion after buying BG Group to ensure it can maintain its dividend given the slow oil price recovery.

Shell and other large oil companies slashed budgets, scrapped huge projects and cut tens of thousands of jobs last year in the face of a slump in oil prices from a June 2014 peak of nearly $116 a barrel to below $40.

Shell reduced spending by $8.4 billion to $28.9 billion last year and for the first time in more than three decades global capital spending in the oil and gas industry, known as capex, is set to fall for a second year in a row.

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Shell is streamlining its operations in Malaysia and Norway following its merger with BG Group

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By Micheal Kaufman on Apr 6, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) has shipped a cargo of Bintulu condensate from Malaysia to New Orleans, Louisiana, Reuters reported citing a trade source familiar with the matter. This is the first time that the US is importing this type of a condensate from Malaysia.

According to news sources, the Polaris, vessel containing 200,000 barrels of the offshore oil produced by the Malaysian state oil giant, Petronas, left the Malaysian terminal in February. The tanker stopped at Singaporean port, before heading towards Louisiana.

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Shell Ukraine head moves on after challenging tour of duty in Ukraine

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Shell Ukraine head moves on after challenging tour of duty in Ukraine

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Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 10.34.57Apr. 02, 2016

After four years in Kyiv, Graham Tiley, Shell’s country chairman in Ukraine, is moving on to a new post in London.

Peter Kerekgyarto, Shell’s operations manager for Central and Eastern Europe, will assume the post of Ukraine country head as well as general manager of the retail business as of April 1.

Tiley was also the chairman of the board of the American Chamber of Commerce, and was replaced by Steven Fisher, CEO of Citibank Ukraine, on March 31.

Before the EuroMaidan Revolution in 2013, Ukraine was poised to become the world’s next exploration success story. Some of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, Shell, Chevron, Eni and ExxonMobil, entered the market, committing to invest millions of dollars into the industry.

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Oil giants replace 75pc of production in 2015

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 11.18.24By SARAH KENT: March 27, 2016

LONDON—The world’s biggest oil companies are draining their petroleum reserves faster than they are replacing them—a symptom of how a deep oil-price decline is reshaping the energy industry’s priorities.

In 2015, the seven biggest publicly traded Western energy companies, including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, replaced just 75% of the oil and natural gas they pumped, on average, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of company data. It was the biggest combined drop in inventory that companies have reported in at least a decade.

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Shell worries about climate change, but decides to continue making it worse

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Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 08.47.47By Katie Herzog on 14 Mar 2016

Shell Oil released its 2015 annual review last week, and the most surprising thing in it may be how concerned the company is with climate change. It’s hardly what you’d expect from Big Oil, and yet the words “climate change” occur 15 times in the 228 page report. While this may seem minor, it’s a hell of a lot more than climate change is discussed by most other oil monsters (Looking at you, Exxon). Shell, unlike many oil giants, actively acknowledges and even embraces climate action — at least, on paper. “It was encouraging to see governments reach a global climate agreement in Paris in December,” the report reads. “The agreement should now encourage countries to develop policies that balance environmental concerns with enabling a decent quality of life for more people.”

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Time to End ‘Blood Oil’ Disaster in the Niger Delta

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By Richard SteinerProfessor and conservation biologist, Oasis Earth (www.oasis-earth.com): 10 MARCH 2016

The Niger Delta’s legendary “blood oil” disaster has persisted for decades, and is now deepening. Oil in the Delta fuels a dangerous mix of environmental devastation, a violent militancy that has killed thousands, human rights abuses, corporate greed and exploitation, epidemic corruption, massive oil theft, sabotage, repression, poverty, anger and despair. It is time to put an end to this ongoing atrocity, once and for all.

The 30,000 square mile Niger Delta — including rich coastal waters, islands, mangroves swamps, and rainforests — was once one of the most productive and diverse ecological habitats on Earth. But today, after 60 years of oil extraction, the region’s environment and society are devastated — a textbook example of the “oil curse.

The Delta is arguably the most severely oil-damaged environment anywhere in the world. A decade ago, our team of scientists conducting an oil damage assessment in the Delta estimated that each year, some 250,000 barrels (10 million gallons) of oil spill there, an amount comparable to that of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska — each year for 50 years. Oil operations have also caused extensive habitat degradation from road building, forest clearing, dredging and filling, thousands miles of pipelines, and chronic pollution from gas flaring and drilling wastes.

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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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Did Shell’s Failure to Disclose Climate Risks Break the Law?

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Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 08.47.47Congressmen who have asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate Exxon now request a similar probe of Shell.

BY DAVID HASEMYER, INSIDECLIMATE NEWSMAR 7, 2016

Three members of Congress have asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether Shell Oil Co. violated securities laws by failing to adequately disclose material business risks from climate change.

Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by California Democrat Ted Lieu, said in a letter to the SEC that Shell understood the consequences of climate change and made business decisions based on that knowledge. 

“Yet, Shell funded and publicly engaged in a campaign to deceive the American people about the known risks of fossil fuels in causing climate change,” the lawmakers said in their letter to SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White.

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Shell/Exxon NAM JV Simulated Groningen Gas Field Earthquakes

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By John Donovan

EUcentre, the Italian research institute is carrying out simulated earthquake vibration tests on a house built in Italy to resemble a workers house in the province of Groningen in the Netherlands.

The test property is exposed to vibration similar to the vibration from an earthquake. This allows the EU centre to examine how the house behaves during an earthquake.

The researchers carry out the vibration intensity, also called ground acceleration, up until the time that the structure is no longer stable. It is claimed that the strength of the vibration is much heavier than earthquakes that have occurred thus far in Groningen.

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Woodside Appoints Former Shell Senior Executive Ann Pickard as Director

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Monday, February 29, 2016

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. announced Monday that its Board has appointed Ann Pickard as a non-executive director effective Feb. 29. Pickard joins Woodside as an independent director.

Woodside Chairman Michael Chaney said that Pickard had significant international business experience.

“The directors are delighted that we have been able to attract a person of Ms Pickard’s background and experience to the company’s Board,” Chaney said.

On Feb. 1 Pickard retired from Royal Dutch Shell plc, where she held numerous positions during her 15-year tenure with the company. Before her retirement from Shell, Pickard served as executive vice president, Arctic and was responsible for Shell’s Arctic exploration efforts. This followed three years as Executive Vice President of Shell’s Exploration and Production business and Country Chair of Shell in Australia, and five years as Executive Vice President, Africa. Pickard joined Shell in 2000 after an 11-year tenure with Mobil prior to its merger with Exxon.

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Are BP and Royal Dutch Shell Refinery Segments in Trouble?

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By Muhammad Ali Khawar on Feb 26, 2016

The oil and gas companies have been severely hit by a more than 70% crash in crude oil prices over the past one and a half year. Their only saving grace, however, is the high refinery margin. In 2015, the falling revenue of oil giants from the upstream segment — the likes of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), Shell, and BP — was offset by the high margins from the refinery segment.

Bidness Etc here discusses whether in 2016, the energy companies will continue to enjoy the oil refinery boom, or the glut in the downstream segment would weigh down the energy companies’ performance.

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

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Tom Randall: Bloomberg.com: 24 FEB 2016

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

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

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

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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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Members of Congress call for investigation of Shell over climate change

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Ivan Penn: 18 FEB 2016

A Southern California congressman and two other representatives are calling for an investigation of Shell Oil over whether it deceived the public on climate change at the same time it was preparing its business operations for rising sea levels. 

In a Feb. 17 letter to U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch, the three members of Congress said growing evidence suggests there may have been “a conspiracy between Shell, Exxon Mobil and potentially other companies in the fossil fuel industry.”

U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) sent the letter along with Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont and Rep. Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania, both Democrats.

Their letter cites an investigation published by the Los Angeles Times that reported that in 1989 Shell Oil announced it was redesigning a long-term, $3-billion natural gas platform in the North Sea to deal with rising sea levels from global warming. Despite this and other incidents, the congressmen noted, “Shell apparently decided to fund climate deniers.”

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Shell Passes Chevron To Become No. 2 Oil Giant

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Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 08.12.50Tuesday 16 February 2016

London-listed Royal Dutch Shell has overtaken California-based Chevron to become the world’s second biggest non-state owned oil company.

The move comes after Shell completed the acquisition of BG Group which nudges its value to £133bn – now in excess of Chevron £112bn market capitalisation.

The £36bn acquisition of BG group by the Anglo dutch company was completed on February 15 having first been mooted in April 2015.

The deal – the industry’s biggest this decade – comes against a backdrop of falling oil prices.

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Shell pursues transition plan after sealing $53 billion BG deal

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LONDO | BY RON BOUSSO: Monday Feb 15, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) on Monday sealed the $53 billion (36 billion pounds) acquisition of British rival BG Group to form the world’s top liquefied natural gas company, even as slumping oil prices cast a shadow on the upcoming years of transition.

The success or otherwise of the complex merger will define the legacy of Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden, seeking to transform Shell into a more specialized group focused on the rapidly growing LNG market and deepwater oil production.

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Oil majors’ business model under increasing pressure

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Ed Crooks in New York and Chris Adams in London: 14 FEB 2016

Gorgon, a massive liquefied natural gas project off the north-west coast of Australia, is one of the wonders of the modern age. Its $54bn price tag makes it — in nominal terms at least — one of the most expensive engineering projects ever completed. It could also be a monument to a fading era, the last hurrah of Big Oil. In this view of the world, the price crash has been like an asteroid strike: agile shale producers can survive, but the lumbering dinosaurs of big oil are doomed.

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Stung by Low Oil Prices, Companies Face a Reckoning on Debts

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The oil industry regularly undergoes booms and busts. But the downside of this cycle may prove more extreme…

By CLIFFORD KRAUSS and MICHAEL CORKERYA version of this article appears in print on February 10, 2016, on page A1 of the New York edition

MIDLAND, Tex. — On the 15th floor of an office tower in Midland looms a five-foot-long trophy black bear, shot by the son of an executive at Caza Oil & Gas. But it is Caza that has recently fallen prey to a different kind of predator stalking the Texas oil patch: too much debt.

While crude prices have dropped more than 70 percent over the last 20 months, a reckoning in the nation’s vast oil industry has only just begun. Until recently, companies were able to ride out the slump using hedges to sell their oil for higher than the low market prices.

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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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Royal Dutch Shell plc and BG Group plc merger

Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 08.47.20By Brett Owens: Forbes.com: 6 Feb 2016

The Royal Dutch Shell plc ADR (RDS.A) and BG Group plc ADR (BRGYY) merger, which looked liked such a win-win for everyone has grown a bit complicated as the deal nears completion. The premium has shrunk, as have the benefits of the merger with prices under $90 a barrel.

However, there are still some takeaways for investors to breathe easier about. First, Shell has never cut or suspended its dividend in 40 years. That includes the late 1980s when oil was at $10. And despite a 56% drop in fourth quarter profits, the firm has reiterated it will maintain its dividend for 2016.

The firm has delayed capital expenditures and cut spending. It plans to slash another 3% of its employees this year after the merger.

The Shell BG merger increases Shell’s reserves by 25% and its output by 20%. More importantly, it makes Shell a well positioned producer of LNG – a segment that is growing internationally as oil declines. The merger takes Shell from third to the second largest public oil producer by capitalization after Exxon.

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The world’s most hated company: can NGOs help turn Shell’s reputation around?

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While Shell’s plummeting profits are partially due to the falling price of oil, the years of negative publicity surrounding the company have likely also had an effect…

Alison MoodieSaturday 6 February 2016 14.00 GMT

In mid-2015, Shell realized its project in the Chukchi Sea, off the coast of Alaska, was in trouble. After nearly a decade of expensive drilling, it still hadn’t yielded results and increasingly strict regulations were making it harder to operate. Plus, there was the small issue of public opinion, which, inspired by an aggressive campaign by Greenpeace, was turning against the company. 

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

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

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

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

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

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Will 2016 Be Royal Dutch Shell’s Worst Year Yet?

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There is a lot of pessimism regarding shares of Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS-A) (NYSE:RDS-B). Despite strong cash flow results behind its less-than-stellar earnings results, shares of Shell have been sinking faster than its Arctic drilling rigs (too soon?).

Over the past 18 months, the company has lost more than half of its market capitalization while its largest peers, ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX), have seen more modest declines.

Unlike ExxonMobil and Chevron, which are continuing with business as usual with their development plans and slowing capital budgets, Shell is also in the middle of a transformative acquisition that could shape the company’s future for decades. With that added uncertainty of what Shell will look like post BG Group merger, and oil prices in the $30 per barrel range, some investors may be wondering if 2016 will be a rough one to be a shareholder.

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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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Oil Giants Start Losing Safety Net as Refining Margins Squeezed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Shell the company most criticised by campaigners

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Sunday 17 JAN 2016

German carmaker Volkswagen was one of the “most disliked” companies for pressure groups last year following its emissions scandal, a survey has found.

Shell was the most criticised by campaigners, followed by Monsanto, which makes genetically modified food.

Half of the top-10 most criticised companies on Sigwatch’s list were energy firms, because of “the elephant in the room – climate change,” Mr Blood said.

Top was Shell, but TransCanada, ExxonMobil, EDF and BP also featured.

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Is Royal Dutch Shell A Buy At 52-Week Lows?

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Extracts from an article by Mihir Mehta: 11 Jan 2016

Summary

Shell has had a bad start to 2016 and is trading close to its 52-week low, but investors should not consider this as an opportunity despite a strong balance sheet.

Shell’s strong balance sheet is overshadowed by the fact that its gross margin has declined and leverage has increased as compared to big oil players such as Exxon and Chevron.

Shell’s leverage growth of 32% is almost four times higher than BP’s leverage growth, indicating that its interest burden has increased at a faster pace than rivals.

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Big Oil braced for global warming while it fought regulations

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Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 21.23.40As many of the world’s major oil companies — including Exxon, Mobil and Shell — joined a multimillion-dollar industry effort to stave off new regulations to address climate change, they were quietly safeguarding billion-dollar infrastructure projects from rising sea levels, warming temperatures and increasing storm severity.

By AMY LIEBERMAN AND SUSANNE RUST: DEC. 31, 2015

A few weeks before seminal climate change talks in Kyoto back in 1997, Mobil Oil took out a bluntly worded advertisement in the New York Times and Washington Post.

“Let’s face it: The science of climate change is too uncertain to mandate a plan of action that could plunge economies into turmoil,” the ad said. “Scientists cannot predict with certainty if temperatures will increase, by how much and where changes will occur.”

One year earlier, though, engineers at Mobil Oil were concerned enough about climate change to design and build a collection of exploration and production facilities along the Nova Scotia coast that made structural allowances for rising temperatures and sea levels.

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Royal Dutch Shell Looks To Curtail Capital Spending On Current Down Cycle In Global Oil Prices

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Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 08.55.47Trefis Team Contributor: DEC 30, 2015 

Oil & Gas companies across the globe are choosing to curtail capital expenditures even though it might mean the loss of growth in future production. Royal Dutch Shell Plc. is also adopting this strategy and recently announced that it is revising its capital spending estimates for 2016. This announcement is the latest in a spate of cost cutting decisions the company has taken in the wake of the extended period of low crude oil prices. We believe that this is the right way forward for Royal Dutch Shell in the near term, and these measures will be beneficial in maintaining the company’s cash profit margins till oil prices begin to recover in the long run.

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Royal Dutch Shell makes deeper cuts

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By Daniel J. Graeber: Dec. 23, 2015

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Dec. 23 (UPI) — With the company expecting improved efficiency after merging with BG Group, Royal Dutch Shell said it plans to cut spending for next year more than expected.

Shell published a prospectus and circular related to its $7 billion tie-up with BG Group, one of the largest mergers of its kind since Exxon and Mobil joined in the 1990s.

“The combination with BG is a strong platform to refocus the company, to create a simpler and more competitive Shell,” Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said in a statement. “At the same time, Shell is pulling multiple levers to manage through the current oil price downturn.”

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