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Fracking realities

BP and Shell are globally known, many would think, not for responsible management and regulation of the oil industry but rather for huge oil pollution in the USA and Africa…

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Thursday 19th December 2013

From (Prof) Andrew
Watterson

Your illuminating report on the fracking map for Scotland (18 December) highlights a number of major issues.

AMEC, the consultancy firm chosen by the UK government to assess the effects of fracking, is one that has done much work for oil companies such as BP and Shell.

BP and Shell are globally known, many would think, not for responsible management and regulation of the oil industry but rather for huge oil pollution in the USA and Africa and, in the former company, for ­lethal health and safety failures. Former BP staff are at the centre of the move to develop fracking.

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Marchers protest against fracking

Screen Shot 2012-07-12 at 16.32.59More than 200 people marched almost 3km in strong winds to the Shell offices on Cape Town’s Foreshore yesterday to register their objections to fracking in South Africa. Shell’s Karoo fracking plans have sparked a battle between the government and farmers, as well as conservationists.

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By PAIGE SUTHERLAND: October 19 2013 at 02:51pm

More than 200 people marched almost 3km in strong winds to the Shell offices on Cape Town’s Foreshore yesterday to register their objections to fracking in South Africa.

Treasure Karoo Action Group chief executive Jonathan Deal said the march was to show the government that people would not let fracking destroy the environment.

The Treasure Karoo Action Group co-hosted the march with AfriForum and other NGOs.

“The people of South Africa need to understand the threat of fracking,” Deal said.

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Shell train wreck in sight?

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 07.03.50TIME TO PUT ON THE HARD HATS?

Overall, Shell’s strategy now seems to involve stopping capex and unloading assets in something resembling a fire sale – perhaps to cover the losses in the US, perhaps because it sees a need to fight off a hostile takeover, or perhaps because of the potential liabilities if it is found to have been manipulating the oil price.

ARTICLE BY A SHELL RELATED SOURCE

John

The issue of the licence to operate the Corrib plant should be no more than a formality, but it seems that the EU has become involved in the matter. Giving approval to operate the plant prior to the environmental impact assessment is not very clever, as it implies that the EIA is a formality. On its own, this would be less significant but taken with the warning from the Norwegian government that Shell is in danger of being removed from their list of approved investments, the recent refusal by the UK government to agree to the planning approvals for Shell Centre, and the cancellation of the Chinese project suggests that something more serious is going on.
 
Of course it may be the potential liabilities associated with the EU price fixing investigation (and the EU has shown repeatedly that it is not beholden to Shell in the same way as the UK and Dutch governments) and it may also be the scale of the US shale gas and Arctic losses. The costs of these losses will fall partly on shareholders, but also to a large extent on the Dutch and UK  governments in the form of reduced tax receipts.
 
Shell (Voser) has admitted that its investments in unconventionals are not performing and will be sold – although Shell have acknowledged “impairments” of about $2bn this would represent less than 10% of the amount invested: it should be fairly obvious to anyone that after Voser’s comments a much larger loss should be anticipated. Added to the $5bn spent in Alaska, the losses are comparable in magnitude to BP’s losses on Macondo… The difference seems to be that the stock market (but presumably not sovereign wealth funds) does not realise that there is a train wreck coming, or is deluded by Shell’s maintenance of its share price by its continuous stock repurchases. Shell may actually have been operating at a loss for the past couple of years as a result of the Odum/Lawrence US projects.
 
Total has made no secret of its desire to break free from its franco-centric roots, and has announced that it will be moving some of its operations from Paris to London. Total also complained to the EU about the oil price issue, initiating the current investigation. Could a merger be on the horizon? Perhaps headquartered in London? There is space available! Normally any merger of this nature would involve disposal of some assets, and perhaps Corrib is now on the block along with the Nigerian assets – Chevron might also be interested, but with their ongoing problems in Ecuador and their own disposals in Nigeria, it should not be a surprise that they would not want to take on Shell’s Niger Delta assets.
 
Overall, Shell’s strategy now seems to involve stopping capex and unloading assets in something resembling a fire sale – perhaps to cover the losses in the US, perhaps because it sees a need to fight off a hostile takeover, or perhaps because of the potential liabilities if it is found to have been manipulating the oil price.
 
All of this is summed up quite well in the series of articles from the Daily Telegraph, together with your links at the end of the article. What a mess….

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At least 40 in Canadian Shale gas protest

Screen Shot 2013-10-18 at 10.15.40At least 40 people were arrested after a protest at a shale gas development in the Canadian province of New Brunswick turned violent, say police, BBC News reported. A shot was fired, petrol bombs were tossed and police cars torched at the blockade near the town of Rexton. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said arrests were made for firearms violations, threats and intimidation.

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October 18, 2013 – 09:33 AMT

PanARMENIAN.Net – At least 40 people were arrested after a protest at a shale gas development in the Canadian province of New Brunswick turned violent, say police, BBC News reported.

A shot was fired, petrol bombs were tossed and police cars torched at the blockade near the town of Rexton.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said arrests were made for firearms violations, threats and intimidation.

Protesters have blockaded a staging area where an energy firm stores its equipment since 30 September.

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U.S. ‘over-fracked and over-drilled,’ Shell technology official says: Hype ‘dangerous’

The United States’ oil and gas industry has “over-fracked and overdrilled”, according to Matthias Bichsel, projects and technology director at Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

Screen Shot 2013-10-18 at 10.02.38 By Yadullah Hussain, Financial Post October 17, 2013 11:00 PMThe United States’ oil and gas industry has “over-fracked and overdrilled”, according to Matthias Bichsel, projects and technology director at Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

“The reservoirs don’t need that many wells. The reservoirs don’t need that many stages of fracks, because not all the pieces of the rocks are as good,” Mr. Bichsel said in a telephone interview from Vancouver last week, where he was speaking at a company event.

The United States is on course to become the world’s largest oil supplier, according to PIRA Energy Group, a New York-based energy consultancy.

“The U.S. shale liquids growth of 3.2 million barrels per day over the last four years has been nearly unparalleled in the history of world oil; only Saudi Arabia in 1970-74 raised its production faster,” PIRA said in a statement.

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South Africa Says Fracking Fluids Must Be Disclosed by Explorers

Royal Dutch Shell Plc and other explorers have applied for permits to explore the semi-desert Karoo region. South Africa, which in 2012 ended a ban on the practice known as fracking, estimates shale gas may generate 1 trillion rand ($100 billion) of sales in 30 years.

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South Africa proposed regulations for hydraulic fracturing that would require disclosure of chemicals used and meet standards set by the American Petroleum Institute, a year after lifting a moratorium on the technique.

“Equipment used in hydraulic fracturing operations must be fit for purpose and must meet relevant API standards,” the government said today on the website of its national gazette. “Fluids and their status as hazardous/non-hazardous substances” must be submitted as part of an impact assessment, it said.

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Free 20% state stake in South Africa oil and gas projects

*IRISH CITIZENS BEING RIPPED OFF BY SHELL, PLEASE NOTE!

All new oil and gas projects in South Africa will have to cede a 20 per cent free stake to the state under new legislation approved by government… In addition, the state can increase its shareholding in such exploitation projects up to 50 per cent…

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State can increase shareholding up to 50 per cent

Bill Corcoran: Fri, Oct 11, 2013, 01:00

All new oil and gas projects in South Africa will have to cede a 20 per cent free stake to the state under new legislation approved by government, mineral resources minister Susan Shabangu said yesterday.

In addition, the state can increase its shareholding in such exploitation projects up to 50 per cent, although the subsequent 30 per cent must be acquired at market-related prices, news agencies quoted Ms Shabangu as saying at a briefing in Pretoria following a cabinet meeting.

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A ‘frack’ in the bridge from coal to gas

With the hype surrounding the US gas-boom, it’s something of a worrying and cautionary note to read in the Financial Times outgoing Shell CEO Peter Voser quoted as saying his “huge bet on US shale was a big regret of his time as chief executive of the company”. This is something of a mea culpa for the fossil fuel heavyweight. Just over 12 months ago Voser was championing the “natural gas revolution”

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By on 9 October 2013

With the hype surrounding the US gas-boom, it’s something of a worrying and cautionary note to read in the Financial Times outgoing Shell CEO Peter Voser quoted as saying his “huge bet on US shale was a big regret of his time as chief executive of the company”.

With a purported $24 billion invested in so-called unconventional oil and gas in North America, the FT reports Shell has recently taken a “$2.1 billion impairment against its assets” with Voser quoted as saying “Unconventionals did not exactly play out as planned”.

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Royal Dutch Shell: They’ve Really Got a Friend in Pennsylvania

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So, Royal Dutch Shell decided to create a junket for some of the Ukrainians opposed to fracking to show them just how wonderful fracking is. They were going to bring the Ukrainians to northeastern Pennsylvania, and give them an all-expenses-paid four day tour.

By (about the author)   10 August 2013

Royal Dutch Shell, which owns or leases about 900,000 acres in the Marcellus Shale, had a great idea.

It wanted to frack the Ukraine. But, there was opposition. So, Royal Dutch Shell decided to create a junket for some of the Ukrainians opposed to fracking to show them just how wonderful fracking is.

They were going to bring the Ukrainians to northeastern Pennsylvania, and give them an all-expenses-paid four day tour. The tour was to begin at the end of July. Other shale gas corporations have created press junkets, where they lay out a nice day or two of activities, complete with handouts, trinkets, meals, and lodging. Members of the establishment press often go on these junkets. Some take what they’re told, rework it, and put it into print or on the air.

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Trouble in fracking paradise

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By | August 7, 2013, 1:32 AM PDT

The shale revolution is “a little bit overhyped,” Shell CEO Peter Voser said last week as his company announced a $2.1 billion write-down, mostly owing to the poor performance of its fracking adventures in U.S. “liquids-rich shales.” Which of its shale properties have underperformed, Shell didn’t say, but CFO Simon Henry admitted that “the production curve is less positive than we originally expected.”

Shell was a latecomer to the tight oil game. As late as 2010 it was acquiring mineral rights at inflated prices, predicting that those properties would produce 250,000 barrels per day in five years. Three years down the road, they are yielding only 50,000 barrels per day, and the company intends to sell half of its shale gas and tight oil portfolio. Shell has officially abandoned its production target of 4 million barrels per day by 2012-2018. Instead, Voser said, “we are targeting financial performance.”

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Fracking By EOG, Shell Caused Damaging Tremors, Suit Says

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Law360, Houston (August 02, 2013, 5:21 PM ET) — EOG Resources Inc. and units of Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Sunoco Inc. and Enterprise Products Partners LP were hit with a proposed class action Tuesday in Texas state court by landowners who say hydraulic fracturing carried out by the energy companies damaged their homes.

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China Fracking Quake-Prone Province Shows Zeal for Gas

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

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

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

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If Centrica is prepared to risk earthquakes in Blackpool, big oil will want a share of shale

Expect to see more big names from the oil industry, such as Shell, ExxonMobil and Statoil, moving into the British shale sector now that one of their competitors – Centrica – has taken the plunge. The international companies have always taken a keen interest in the UK fracking scene…

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Whether the UK can get shale gas flowing as fast as the US has remains in doubt, but Centrica seems ready to give it a try

The Observer,

Expect to see more big names from the oil industry, such as Shell, ExxonMobil and Statoil, moving into the British shale sector now that one of their competitors – Centrica – has taken the plunge. The international companies have always taken a keen interest in the UK fracking scene, despite endless statements from their chief executives that there are better prospects in China and elsewhere.

There is some speculation this weekend that the reason Centrica paid a fairly toppy price for the stake in the Bowland Shale licence from Cuadrilla Resources was because it faced competition from Shell and others.

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Anti-fracking flashmob sends message to Yoko Ono at Southbank Centre

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9th June 2013

Singing campaigners call on curator of Meltdown festival to speak out about Shell’s Southbank sponsorship

For interviews, high resolution photos and film footage, call 07743197203, or email [email protected]

On the afternoon of Sunday 9th June, a flashmob of over 30 singers gathered in the foyer of the Queen Elizabeth Hall as audience members arrived for the Shell-sponsored performance by Spira Mirabilis of Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen. [1] The singers launched into a version of Leonard Cohen’s classic song, Hallelujah, with rewritten lyrics drawing attention to Shell’s controversial human rights and environmental record. They unfurled a banner with Yoko Ono’s quotation ‘Art is a means for survival’ and handed out flyers to audience members. They gave a number of repeat performances around the Southbank which drew applause and support.

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Anti-Shell flashmob planned for end of Southbank concert series

Media Advisory: 7 June 2013

Anti-Shell flashmob planned for end of Southbank concert series

On Sunday, a flashmob of singers led by the ‘Shell Out Sounds’ campaign will protest Shell’s sponsorship of the arts at the Queen Elizabeth Hall

– Photo opportunity: 9 June 2013, 2.40pm, choral flashmob with singers and musicians. Large banners directly addressing Shell and Yoko Ono will be used. Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London.

– For more information, interviews, photos and footage call Chris Garrard on 07743197203 or email [email protected]

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Opponents of Oxford’s partnership with Shell

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 09.07.55Shell’s research money is also buying legitimacy for its unconscionable activities globally. These include human rights abuses in the Niger delta, reckless drilling plans in the Arctic, fracking in South Africa, and carbon-intensive tar sands extraction that undermines indigenous rights in Canada.

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Thursday 9 May 2013

Today sees the launch of a new partnership between the University of Oxford and Shell. As Oxford alumni, staff and students, we are united in our opposition to this new partnership and the growing trend of oil companies funding, and thus influencing, the research agenda of our universities. Shell is a particularly inappropriate choice of funder for an Earth sciences laboratory. Shell’s core business activities and political lobbying are pushing us towards a future with a global temperature increase well in excess of 2C. Oxford’s own climate scientists are warning us that we need to leave the majority of known fossil fuels in the ground, and yet this new partnership will undertake research that will help Shell to find and extract even more hydrocarbons.

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News on Irish oil and gas exploration 5 May 2013

News on Irish oil and gas exploration kindly supplied by a regular contributor

ExxonMobil kicks off Irish drilling campaign: Financial Times-But the US oil major and its partners will be hoping to successfully replicate the …. But the field, acquired by Shell, has attracted a wave of local …

US explorer Kosmos may spend $200m on Irish wells: Irish Independent-Apr 18, 2013 -Ireland’s oil and gas exploration sector got a further boost after New York-based firm Kosmos Energy agreed to fund a potential $200m-plus …

Irish Oil Is Smiling: Country May Slash Imports – CNBC.com: CNBC.com-Apr 20, 2013: Tony O’Reilly, CEO of Providence Resources, says Ireland could become the next big thing in oil and gas and that major explorationprograms …

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Selection of Shell related article 26 April 2013

Selection of Shell related article links kindly supplied by a regular contributor

What If Oil Lasts Forever?: National Journal-Apr 25, 2013: Shell Oil Company’s Deer Park refinery and petrochemical facility by Highway 225 in Deer Park, Texas, Nov. 21, 2007. (AP Photo/David J.

Oil Giants Eschew Arctic Drilling: Indian Country Today Media Network-Shell Oil’s drilling unit the Kulluk ran aground, battered by waves, on an island south of Anchorage, Alaska, after breaking free of its moorings.

Fmr. Shell CEO: Keystone will loosen OPEC’s grip: Washington Post-Former Shell Oil President John Hofmeister says the Obama … cars en masse on the road, and says exporting liquefied natural gas might be …

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By 2023, a Changed World in Energy

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By 2023, a Changed World in Energy

By : A version of this article appeared in print on April 25, 2013, on page F1 of the New York edition

HOUSTON

IF you could close your eyes for just a moment like Rip Van Winkle, and blink them open in 2023, you might see a very different energy world.

Electric cars may be popular. Solar energy could be cheap enough that millions of households and businesses deploy solar panels to generate their power needs. Fossil fuels will probably still dominate, but most trucks and many trains could run on natural gas rather than more polluting diesel. And the United States could be a major oil exporter.

None of this is implausible. Consider the change over the last 10 years. Back in 2003, American natural gas fields were thought to be drying up and energy entrepreneurs were beginning to invest in hugely expensive terminals to import gas, not export it. American oil production continued to plummet.

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‘Flashmob’ choir return to sing out Shell at the Southbank Centre

The group handed out flyers about Shell’s human rights record to audience members, many of whom stopped to listen and applauded at the end of the song. 

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22nd April 2013

Interval halted at Shell Classic International concert, as ‘Shell Out Sounds’ highlight the sponsor’s human rights record

For interviews, photos and film footage, call 07939519963, or email [email protected]

On the evening of Monday 22nd April, a group of about 10 singers and musicians called ‘Shell Out Sounds’ (SOS) returned to the Southbank Centre to give another musical intervention, during the interval of a Shell-sponsored performance by Imogen Cooper and the Budapest Festival Orchestra. [1] The ‘flashmob’ ensemble premiered a new piece called ‘The Riddle of the Niger Delta’, written specifically for the concert, setting the poignant words of the Nigerian environmental and human rights activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa. [2] The group handed out flyers about Shell’s human rights record to audience members, many of whom stopped to listen and applauded at the end of the song. The Southbank Centre duty visitor manager said the performers were welcome to come back and perform whenever they liked, and were invited to discuss the issue of Shell sponsorship with the Southbank Centre PR team.

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Fracking triggered magnitude 5.7 earthquake felt 800 miles away

Screen Shot 2013-03-27 at 08.46.47 A new study in the journal Geology is the latest to tie a string of unusual earthquakes, in this case, in central Oklahoma, to the injection of wastewater deep underground. Researchers now say that the magnitude 5.7 earthquake near Prague, Okla., on Nov. 6, 2011, may also be the largest ever linked to wastewater injection. Felt as far off as Milwaukee, more than 800 miles away, the quake—the biggest ever recorded in Oklahoma—destroyed 14 homes, buckled a federal highway and left two people injured. Small earthquakes continue to be recorded in the area. The study appeared today in the journal’s early online edition. The recent boom in U.S. energy production has produced massive amounts of wastewater. The water is used both in hydrofracking, which cracks open rocks to release natural gas, and in coaxing petroleum out of conventional oil wells. In both cases, the brine and chemical-laced water has to be disposed of, often by injecting it back underground elsewhere, where it has the potential to trigger earthquakes. The water linked to the Prague quakes was a byproduct of oil extraction at one set of oil wells, and was pumped into another set of depleted oil wells targeted for waste storage.

Read more (see photograph of the 2011 magnitude 5.7 quake near Prague, Okla., apparently triggered by wastewater injection, that buckled U.S. Highway 62. )

Selection of links to Shell related articles 12 March 2013

Selection of links to Shell related articles kindly supplied by a regular contributor

Shell issues oil production warning in Nigeria: Las Vegas Sun-Shell said in a statement Tuesday that it was declaring “force majeure” on shipments of Bonny Light crude oil after it shut down its Nembe …

Norway’s Arctic idyll shivers at oil plans: GlobalPost-With oil production falling to a 25-year low this year and the state … “Down the road, it’s probably an important area. … The relative warmth makes Norway an exception for Arctic drilling – Shell has abandoned drilling off Alaska …

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Britain is sitting on a £1.5 trillion gas goldmine

Pilot wells caused two earthquakes in Lancashire last year and green campaigners warn the method could contaminate the water supply.

By Tom Mcghie and Nick Craven

Britain is sitting on a £1.5 trillion shale gas bonanza that could be worth more than the remaining North Sea gas.

The amount is bigger than previously thought and would potentially bring energy price stability and independence from imports for decades.

Although only about ten per cent  of the gas is in unpopulated areas suitable for extraction, it would still be worth £150 billion.

The level of untapped shale gas will be confirmed next month in a study by the British Geological Survey, commissioned by the Department  of Energy and Climate Change, according to industry sources.

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Shell’s massive investment in China

The country is sitting on huge untapped shale gas reserves, and Shell senses opportunity.

By AlphaVN.com

One of the world’s biggest energy companies, Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A +0.12%) is planning to invest $1 billion per year in China’s massive shale gas reserves. This natural gas, which has long been considered uneconomical to produce, has in the last decade captured investor attention due to a combination of cost effective modern drilling and extraction methods, such as fracking.

Earlier this year, China’s resource ministry revealed that it had discovered 25.1 trillion cubic meters of untapped shale gas reserves, which could fuel the country’s current natural gas needs for 200 years. The U.S. Energy Information Administration has also confirmed that China has at least 50% more shale gas in its reserves than the U.S. does, officially.

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Shell uses recycled water for Dawson Creek fracking

Company funds majority of $12.5-million effluent treatment plant, city gets to use leftover water

By Gordon Hamilton, Vancouver Sun September 7, 2012

Shell Canada and the city of Dawson Creek have teamed up to build an effluent treatment facility at Dawson Creek that eliminates the oil and gas company’s need for Peace River water at its nearby Groundbirch natural gas venture.

The new plant, which was officially opened Friday, will conserve up to 4,000 cubic metres of water a day at Shell’s hydraulic fracturing operations, Dawson Creek mayor Mike Bernier said Friday.

Shell invested more than $11 million in the project while the city provided $1.5 million. The total cost is estimated at $12 to $13 million. The water, said Bernier, is almost as clean as the city’s tap water.

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South Africa Allows Exploration of Shale Gas Resources

Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said, “If extraction of the gas can be done safely, let’s go and do it.” Source: South African Government via Bloomberg

By Franz Wild and Andres R. Martinez on September 07, 2012

South Africa, which has the world’s fifth-largest shale-gas resources, lifted a moratorium on the exploration of natural gas trapped in rock, the mines ministry said.

The government imposed a ban last year on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, while it studied the environmental repercussions of allowing companies including Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), Falcon Oil & Gas Ltd. (FO) and Bundu Oil & Gas (Pty) Ltd. to employ the practice. Fracking, which involves blasting water mixed with sand and chemicals underground to free trapped hydrocarbons from shale formations, has been banned in France.

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Shell’s wells yield $162 million profit

6 August 2012

Oil and gas giant Shell made a profit of $162 million from its fields in Taranaki last year, including the huge but ageing Maui and Kapuni gas fields.

Shell sold its retail petrol stations in New Zealand in 2010, but it maintains its large and profitable oil and gas production fields in Taranaki and is a partner in a joint venture to explore for more in the Great South Basin off the bottom of the South Island.

It is possible partners in the Great South Basin could drill an exploration well in the summer of 2014-15, but they are still analysing data from seismic testing.

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Global anti-fracking day rally – Invitation to attend

From: michael wentworth <[email protected]>
Subject: Global anti-fracking day rally – Invitation to attend
Date: 12 July 2012 10:15:59 GMT+01:00
To: [email protected]
Cc: [email protected], [email protected]

Good morning

The 28th of July is Global Ant-Fracking Day and the village of Nieu-Bethesda is hosting a series of events to oppose hydraulic fracturing.

At 5pm there will be a rally which will be addressed by Johnathan Deal (Treasure the Karoo Action Group), Doug Stern (Karoo Farmer & part of a delegation that visited the USA), Derek Light (Karoo Attorney and activist); Kevin Watermeyer (the Sneeuberg Emerging Farmers Association) and Marina Louw (Climate Justice Campaign).

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Informative links

VARIETY OF LINKS SUPPLIED BY A REGULAR CONTRIBUTOR

John,

Some more links to a variety of information that may be of interest to your readers:

Shell Fails To Get Its Arctic Oil Spill Barge Certified By The Coast Guard

Shell Oil | ThinkProgress

Who is getting bought off by big oil?

[PDF] DEEP DRILLING, DEEP POCKETS IN CONGRESS

This article is somewhat different.

Renewable advocates battle oil industry over energy … – USA Today

Some links relating to Syria and mid-east oil politics. I was involved in the early development of many of the Syrian oil fields in the mid-1980’s and 1990’s. Some of these articles will give your readers an idea of what Shell has meant to Syria over the last 30 years. Shell’s activities have been critical for the Assad regime.

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Shell wants to get juniors on its side

Jul 08 2012 15:00 Francois Williams

Cape Town – With all eyes on the long-awaited Cabinet decision on shale gas exploration in the Karoo, environmental groups and politicians were upset last week when they realised Shell was still continuing with its Karoo plans.

There is still a moratorium on the awarding of exploration licences and government has not yet announced if it will approve controversial hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

Shell’s representatives appear to be very busy trying to convince local authorities in the Karoo of the socio-economic benefits of shale gas development. A meeting with the Karoo Hoogland municipality took place last week in the Northern Cape. The municipality embraces towns like Fraserburg, Williston and Sutherland and large parts of the area where Shell wants to look for shale gas.

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Abundant Oil Again?

by Bruce Fisher

Anti-frackers have reason to despair. The New York Times recently editorialized that hydraulic fracturing of deep strata to release their hydrocarbons is “safe.” President Barack Obama looks upon the massive exploitation of shale-trapped fossil fuels as a major national opportunity. And now a new report from a Harvard-based researcher finds that hydraulic fracturing is a key reason why everything that “peak oil” theorists have been saying about the planet running low on oil is absolutely, stupendously wrong.

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Landowner Can Sue Shell Over Fracking Hazards

Courthouse News Service
Landowner Can Sue Shell Over Fracking Hazards

Thursday, May 3, 2012

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (CN) – Shell Energy cannot dismiss claims that the controversial fracking technique to extract natural gas is an “ultra hazardous activity,” a federal judge ruled.

The claim stems from a lawsuit Edward Kamuck filed against Shell Energy Holdings GP in August 2011.

Kamuck says the energy giant’s fracking operation on land neighboring his 93-acre tract in rural Pennsylvania constitutes “an abnormally dangerous and ultra hazardous activity,” and that Shell should be subjected to strict liability for “the contamination and pollution caused by … releases, spills, sprays, emissions, discharges and flowback of hazardous chemicals and combustible gases.”

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Concerns over ‘insanity’ of Shell South Africa fracking plans

Western Cape, South Africa (CNN) — South Africa has an energy deficit on its hands. Too many people want fuel for their cars and electricity for their homes, and the country is struggling to keep up with demand.

To help ease this perceived crisis the big companies want to start drilling for natural gas using a controversial drilling technique called fracking. Under the plans the drilling will be done in one of the most remote and beautiful places in South Africa, the Karoo.

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An earful from Peter Voser

I caught up with Peter Voser, the chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, this week at the IHS Cera annual energy conference in Houston, and he gave me an earful…

March 9, 2012, 4:00 pm

For a Shell Executive, Much Head-Scratching

By CLIFFORD KRAUSS

Europe is generally considered greener than the United States, but its oil executives certainly share American oil executives’ enthusiasm for drilling.

I caught up with Peter Voser, the chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, this week at the IHS Cera annual energy conference in Houston, and he gave me an earful about what he characterized as America’s lack of direction when it comes to having a national energy policy.

Royal Dutch Shell is getting closer to winning approval to drill in Alaska’s Arctic waters after several years’ and more than $4 billion worth of efforts. But for the Swiss-born executive, it is bewildering to watch the Obama administration withhold approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry crude from oil sands in Canada to refineries on the gulf coast. (Shell is a big investor in the Canadian oil sands.)

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Natural Gas Fracking Boom Turns Sour

Shell, which by energy output is now approaching 60% gas, has already backtracked and downsized its shale gas and oil programs…

By: Andrew_McKillop Mar 09, 2012 – 09:51 AM

Exxon, which by energy output is now 49% gas,  failed in its first two efforts to crack gas-rich shale fields in Poland…

Shell, which by energy output is now approaching 60% gas, has already backtracked and downsized its shale gas and oil programs. Initially intending to spend about $5 bn on drilling shale field this year, its CEO Marvin Odum now places spending at $3 billion to $5 billion, Odum adding: “We’re at the lower end of that right now because of where natural-gas prices are”.

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Shell-Commissioned Report on South Africa Gas Flawed, Group Says

By Andres R. Martinez – Mar 3, 2012 12:57 PM GMT

A study commissioned by Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) about the potential of shale gas in South Africa doesn’t consider the risks related to developing the deposits, according to an environmental group.

“The findings are lacking in balance to the extent that one must call the objectivity and credibility of the analysis into question,” Jonathan Deal, chairman of Treasure the Karoo Action Group, said in an e-mailed statement today. The study doesn’t include costs related to “damaged road infrastructure, health remediation costs, pollution remediation and environmental monitoring and enforcement of standards.”

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Rock-Heating for Oil Pits Shell Against Environmentalists

A proposal to tap the world’s largest oil-shale deposits in the western U.S. by heating rocks until petroleum sweats out has become the latest election-year conflict over energy policy.

Shell pledges to spend, spend, spend – but gamble leaves City cold

The Times: 3 February 2012

Tim Webb Energy Editor

Ambitious plans to boost growth will cost too much and knock Shell off its top spot, the City warned yesterday. Unveiling disappointing results, the Anglo-Dutch oil group further unnerved investors when it said it planned to spend even more heavily on new oil and gas projects.

Analysts said that Shell would make lower returns from the huge outlays, leaving less room to raise its dividend significantly. The company, which has outperformed its rivals over the past 18 months, would struggle to maintain its position at the front of the pack, they added.

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Europe is too emotional about fracking, says Shell chief

Tom Bawden: Friday 03 February 2012

Shell’s chief executive, Peter Voser, called on Europe for a less “emotional” response to fracking, as he outlined plans to accelerate the oil giant’s use of the controversial technology used to release hydrocarbons from rocks.

Mr Voser said Shell would invest $6bn (£3.8bn) to appraise, explore and develop gas and oil reserves contained in rocks this year, as it looked to significantly expand the volume of hydrocarbons it produces.

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Shell accused of ‘moral bankruptcy’

Shell has been accused of “moral bankruptcy” by unions after unveiling a 54% rise in full-year profits less than a month after shutting its final salary pension scheme to new employees in Britain.

The oil company reported global annual earnings of $28.6bn (£18bn) – more than £2m an hour – while paying out $10.5bn to shareholders during 2011 and promising to raise dividend levels further in the coming months.

Peter Voser, Shell’s chief executive, said “there is more [good profit] to come” as he outlined a new programme of increased global investment as well as cuts that he said would provide even better returns for investors.

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Fracking Earthquakes?

Ohio Officials Putting In Place Earthquake Preparedness Plans

January 4, 2012 5:11 PM

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There were 11 earthquakes in eastern Ohio in 2011.

Most of them were not very powerful and caused little damage, but some people are asking about emergency plans if a major quake hits the area.

The new phenomenon of earthquakes in eastern Ohio is puzzling many people.

Some geologists say that discarded brine used while drilling for natural gas is being injected near fault lines. It acts as a lubricant, inducing the earthquakes.

Emergency management officials in and near Youngstown say they have a general plan that covers any and all emergencies.

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Hunt for Gas Hits Fragile Soil, and South Africans Fear Risks

In July, the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa, an independent agency that sets guidelines for media companies, ruled that several of Shell’s advertised claims — including one that said fracking had never led to groundwater contamination — were misleading or unsubstantiated and should be withdrawn.

Chris Hayward, a South African farmer, says, “If our government lets these companies touch even a drop of our water, we’re ruined.”: Photo Credit: Liaan Pretorius for The New York Times

A version of this article appeared in print on December 31, 2011, on page A1 of the New York edition

By

KAROO, South Africa — When a drought dried up their wells last year, hundreds of farmers and their families flocked to local fairgrounds here to pray for rain, and a call went out on the regional radio station imploring South Africans to donate bottled water.

Covering much of the roughly 800 miles between Johannesburg and Cape Town, this arid expanse — its name means “thirsty land” — sees less rain in some parts than the Mojave Desert.

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Cuadrilla admits drilling caused Blackpool earthquakes

Private company Cuadrilla Resources has admitted that its activities probably caused two “seismic events” that occured in Blackpool earlier this year.

By 12:36PM GMT 02 Nov 2011

In April, a tremor measuring 2.3 on the Richter scale was felt in the Lancashire seaside resort, followed by an event in May that measured 1.5 on the scale.

“It is highly probable that the hydraulic fracturing of Cuadrilla’s Preese Hall-1 well did trigger a number of minor seismic events,” Cuadrilla admitted. The report also said there was no threat to people and property in the local area caused by the drilling.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involved pumping a solution at high pressure through shale to crack the rock formation. This allows trapped gas to be released and collected.

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Add Quakes to Rumblings Over Gas Rush

By

A version of this article appeared in print on December 13, 2011, on page D1 of the New York edition

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Until this year, this Rust Belt city and surrounding Mahoning County had been about as dead, seismically, as a place can be, without even a hint of an earthquake since Scots-Irish settlers arrived in the 18th century.

But on March 17, two minor quakes briefly shook the city. And in the following eight months there have been seven more — like the first two, too weak to cause damage or even be felt by many people, but strong enough to rattle some nerves.

“It felt like someone was kicking in the front door. It scared the stuffing out of me,” said Steve Moritz, a cook who lives on the city’s west side, describing the seventh quake, which occurred in late September. It was the strongest one, with a magnitude of 2.7.

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Could Chinese Shale Mean the End of U.S. Shale Gas Boom?

By Pierre Bertrand | December 12, 2011 5:47 PM EST

China‘s natural gas industry is still developing, but already it is showing signs that worry some players in the U.S.

Last week, Royal Dutch Shell and Chinese officials announced the company found shale gas in two wells in the Shichuan province, and that production was overall positive. That was coupled with reports that China‘s state-run PetroChina was producing more than 10,000 cubic meters of gas from 20 wells in the province, according to the Business Monitor International.

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Getting Gas Drilling Right

A version of this editorial appeared in print on December 12, 2011, on page A22 of the New York edition

After several crowded and often raucous hearings, Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed to give the public until Jan. 11 to comment on 2,000 pages of environmental analysis and proposed regulations designed to govern natural gas drilling in deep shale formations in New York State. The extension makes sense. The drilling decision is a momentous one, for the environment and the economy, and it is vitally important to get it right.

The issue is not the fuel. There is little doubt in our minds that natural gas, which is cheap, plentiful and cleaner than coal, could help greatly with the country’s energy and climate problems.

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Big Oil sees energy bonanza ahead

Oil industry executives appearing Tuesday at the World Petroleum Congress in Doha, Qatar.

DOHA, Qatar (CNNMoney) — Just three years after fears of an energy supply shortage, executives of the world’s leading oil companies now foresee a bonanza of oil and natural gas on the horizon.

In 2008, concern that a rapidly developing world was eating through all its energy supplies helped push prices to record levels, with oil hitting $147 a barrel and natural gas topping $15 per million cubic feet.

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Shell strikes shale gas in China

By Tom Bergin

DOHA | Tue Dec 6, 2011 4:29am EST

(Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell Plc has found shale gas in China, a development that could cap imports in a market natural gas producers are hoping will drive demand.

An official with Shell’s partner, PetroChina (601857.SS), a unit of the country’s top energy group, state-owned CNPC, said drilling results from two wells Shell drilled had been positive.

“Shell has two vertical wells and they got very good primary production,” Professor Yuzhang Liu, Vice president of Petrochina’s Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development (RIPED), said in an interview at the sidelines of the World Petroleum Congress (WPC) in Doha.

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Overuse and waste of invaluable water resources within the oil and gas sector

EXTRACTS FROM THE RepRisk WATER SCARCITY REPORT

RepRisk is the leading provider of dynamic business intelligence on environmental social and governance risks.

In 2010, access to clean water received recognition as a basic human right through a majority vote of the United Nations General Assembly. According to the UN, nearly 900 million people have no access to clean drinkable water, almost 1.8 billion live in areas where water is scarce, and a further 1.6 billion live in countries, which lack the infrastructure to extract water from natural sources. The World Bank calculates that by 2030, water demand will exceed supply by 40 percent, as a growing world population demands more water for agricultural, industrial and personal use.

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We Found Oil! Is That Good?

New ways to extract oil and natural gas could buy the U.S. some time to develop renewable energy. Or they could keep us addicted to dirty fuels.

INTRODUCTION

For renewable energy, even the successes can reveal how much work remains to be done: huge amounts of hydroelectric and wind power in the Pacific Northwest sometimes threaten to overwhelm the grid. So is it good news that recent approaches to drilling have created a boom for fossil fuels?

Companies can now extract oil and natural gas from the high Arctic, shale, oil sands and deepwater wells. These fossil fuels are still finite and dwindling, but tapping the new sources pushes back the date of “peak oil.” Does that give the United States necessary time to develop sustainable energy sources, or will it keep Americans needlessly addicted to dirty fuels by keeping them cheap — and eroding the “energy security” argument?

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