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Arctic Ocean oil drilling opponents win appeal

January 22, 2014, 10:19 p.m

SEATTLE — The U.S. government violated the law when it opened millions of acres of the Arctic Ocean to offshore oil drilling, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday, possibly delaying plans by companies such as Royal Dutch Shell to drill off the northwest coast of Alaska in the near future.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the Interior Department did not properly evaluate the impact of oil development in the Chukchi Sea when it sold more than $2.6 billion in development leases in the environmentally sensitive area in 2008.

A coalition of environmental advocacy groups and Alaska Native organizations sued the federal government, arguing that the U.S. had offered an estimated 30 million acres of oil leases for sale without sufficient scientific information or analysis of potential effects on the region.

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Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling operations in limbo

Screen Shot 2013-01-11 at 20.09.51Shell Oil has not disclosed new safety measures since a critical federal report in March, and it has not applied to drill in the Arctic in 2014.

Screen Shot 2012-12-29 at 02.12.52

SEATTLE — Six months after federal officials chastised Shell Oil for its faulty offshore drilling operations in the Arctic, the company has yet to explain what safeguards it has put in place or when it plans to resume exploring for oil in the vulnerable region.

Shell’s 2012 return to offshore Arctic exploration after a generation away was marred by high-profile problems, including hefty fines for polluting the air and a drilling rig that ran aground. The company canceled its 2013 drilling season, and its 2014 operations are in question.

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Coast Guard finds evidence of safety violations on Shell rig

The Coast Guard found a lack of preventive maintenance and “systematic failure” led the Discoverer to experience a loss of its propulsion system and an explosion in its exhaust system…

Screen Shot 2012-12-29 at 02.12.52 By Kim MurphyFebruary 23, 2013, 6:15 a.m.

The U.S. Coast Guard has found evidence of multiple safety and environmental violations in Shell Alaska’s Noble Discoverer Arctic drilling rig and forwarded it to the U.S. Justice Department for a decision about possible civil or criminal penalties, authorities confirmed Friday.

The news is the latest setback for Shell’s troubled Arctic drilling program, launched last summer off the coast of Alaska to tap one of the world’s biggest remaining oil and gas deposits. It has been plagued with logistical and mechanical troubles that raise questions about the company’s ability to continue this year.

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Selection of Shell related article links 29 Jan 2013

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

Teck and Shell bicker over oil sands projects: National Post-CALGARY — A land dispute with Shell Canada Ltd. is threatening Teck Resources Ltd.’s first standalone oil sands project, adding uncertainty …

President Obama Should Prioritize Protecting the Arctic as Part of …: Huffington Post (blog)-Shell Oil Company’s Arctic drilling program once again came under national scrutiny when its drill rig, the Kulluk, ran aground off of Alaska’s …

HSBC: Oil majors at risk from ‘unburnable’ reserves: Business Green-Oil and gas majors, including, BP, Shell, and Statoil, could face a loss in market value of up to 60 per cent should the international community …

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Shell’s Alaska Mishaps Continue in Monster Seas

Coast Guard cutter hits trouble trying to aid Shell rig off Alaska

The Aiviq and Kulluk as they set sail from Seattle earlier this year for offshore drilling in Alaska (Royal Dutch Shell / December 28, 2012)

By Kim MurphyDecember 28, 2012, 2:59 p.m.

SEATTLE — Adding to a season full of headaches for Shell Alaska’s debut offshore drilling program in the U.S. Arctic, the company’s Kulluk drilling rig was stuck in monster seas off the coast of Alaska on Friday as its tugboat’s engines failed and the Coast Guard cutter that came to assist became entangled in a tow line.

There were no immediate threats to crew or equipment, but Shell Alaska was rushing additional aid vessels to the scene as the Kulluk, which drilled the beginnings of an exploratory oil well in the Beaufort Sea over the summer, sat without ability to move forward in 20-foot seas about 50 miles south of Kodiak.

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Shell settles with Nigerian tribe

FROM OUR JUNE 2009 SHELL NEWS ARCHIVE

The Ogoni claim victory over the oil giant, although the company insists the $15.5-million award is a humanitarian gesture.

June 13, 2009

After 13 years of litigation, Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to settle with plaintiffs who accused the oil giant of complicity in human rights abuses in Nigeria, the most infamous of which was the execution of prominent playwright, author and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. A member of the Ogoni tribe, Saro-Wiwa was a vocal critic of Shell and the brutal military government of Gen. Sani Abacha. His eloquence brought international attention to Shell’s questionable environmental practices in the Niger River delta and the government’s lax regulation of environmental laws.

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Revisiting an Arctic Tale of Ice and Shell

20/09/12: As Shell was getting ready to poke the first hole in the Chukchi Sea floor in Arctic Alaska to begin exploratory drilling, I was getting ready to give two talks in Alaska — the concluding lecture of the Next North Symposium at the Anchorage Museum on September 8, and one at the Noel Wien Library in Fairbanks on September 11 as part of the Northern Voices Speaker Series hosted by Northern Alaska Environmental Center in partnership with the Gwich’in Steering Committee. While there something remarkable happened over the weekend — perhaps the shortest-lived “beginning” of drilling anywhere.

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Oil boom brings hope, anxiety to Alaska town

Shell’s drilling operations in the Chukchi Sea promise an economic boom in Wainwright, Alaska. But some see the transformation as a threat to the ancient indigenous culture there.

By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times: September 23, 2012

WAINWRIGHT, Alaska — It was the down slope of August, and in the icy winds and freezing rain that masquerade as summer on the Arctic coast, Shell Alaska had to move its community barbecue indoors to the school gym.

Billed as the oil company’s thank-you to the Iñupiat Eskimo village that is about to become a base for offshore drilling operations, the event featured free hamburgers, beans and something rarely seen up in the Far North — plates heaped with fresh watermelon, oranges and bananas. Shell Alaska Vice President Peter E. Slaiby was in the middle of the room, raffling off jackets emblazoned with the Shell logo.

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Shell abandons plans to drill oil deposits in the offshore Arctic in 2012

By Kim Murphy: September 17, 2012

Shell Alaska said Monday it has abandoned its efforts to drill into hydrocarbon deposits in the offshore Arctic after the latest in a series of glitches on the company’s troubled oil containment barge resulted in damage to the high-tech dome designed to contain oil in the event of an underwater spill.

Company officials said they will continue to drill “top holes” off the Alaskan coast through the end of this season’s drilling window, but will not attempt to reach any oil deposits this year—a serious but not fatal setback for the company, which has spent six years attempting to explore its outer continental shelf leases off the coast of Alaska.

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Ice threat halts Shell’s drilling in Arctic Ocean after one day

By Kim Murphy

Only a day after Shell Alaska began drilling a landmark offshore oil well in the Arctic, the company was forced on Monday to pull off the well in the face of an approaching ice pack.

With the ice floe about 10 miles away, the Noble Discoverer drilling rig was disconnecting from its seafloor anchor Monday afternoon in the Chukchi Sea, about 70 miles from the northwest coast of Alaska.

Company ice trackers had been carefully monitoring ocean ice and, when the wind direction changed and the ice floe began moving closer, they advised that the rig shut down and disconnect from the well, Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh told the Los Angeles Times.

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Shell says Arctic drilling could begin next week in Chukchi Sea

Shell says the Arctic Challenger will probably complete renovations in Bellingham, Wash., this week and set sail for Alaska. (August 26, 2012)

By Kim Murphy: August 31, 2012, 6:00 a.m.

WAINWRIGHT, Alaska — News that exploratory drilling in the Arctic could begin as early as next week brought a palpable sense of exuberance to the squat workers’ camp on the Chukchi Sea, where Shell Alaska has been slowly preparing to launch operations about 70 miles offshore.

“I’ve been waiting four years, coming up here to do this, and now I get to be here and be part of this new venture with the company. It’s exciting,” Travis McNair, supervisor of Shell’s oil spill response crew in this remote northwest Alaska coastal village, said in an interview.

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Shell seeks more time to drill exploratory well in Chukchi Sea

Shell says the Arctic Challenger will likely complete renovations in Bellingham, Wash., this week and set sail for Alaska (Handout photo / August 26, 2012)

By Kim Murphy: August 26, 2012, 4:24 p.m.

GIRDWOOD, Alaska — With its bid to launch offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean running up against a deadline to protect against sea ice, Shell Alaska has requested an extension in its window for drilling in the Chukchi Sea.

Peter E. Slaiby, vice president of the Alaska venture, said Sunday that the company has proposed extending the time allowed for drilling in the Chukchi by slightly less than two weeks beyond the Sept. 24 deadline set by the U.S. Department of Interior to allow time for cleanup of any oil spill before the onset of winter sea ice.

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Troubled Arctic Challenger cited for small illegal discharges

By Kim MurphyAugust 13, 2012, 6:49 p.m.

SEATTLE — The containment vessel designed to capture oil in the event of a spill during exploratory drilling off the coast of Alaska has itself been responsible for four minor illegal fluid discharges during the last three weeks, the Coast Guard confirmed Monday.

The discharges all involved hydraulic fluid and were generally limited to about a quart each time, all of which was contained and cleaned up. The fine was just $250. But the discharges signal Shell Exploration’s continuing problems with the vessel, the Arctic Challenger, whose trouble-plagued retrofit in Bellingham, Wash., has delayed the launch of the first major offshore oil drilling in the U.S. Arctic in 20 years.

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Shell offers free fill-ups for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles

The oil company opens a station in Newport Beach where hydrogen will be available at no charge, but only 200 cars statewide can take advantage of it.

By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles TimesAugust 1, 2012, 4:45 p.m. Shell has opened a new station in Newport Beach where drivers fill up at no charge. That’s right: A big oil company is offering unlimited free gas.

But there is a catch. The gas is hydrogen, and it’s free only to those driving a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.

That’s not a lot of people. Only 200 fuel cell vehicles are operating in the state, said Catherine Dunwoody, executive director of the California Fuel Cell Partnership. Automakers plan to offer more, but even then the highest estimates are for no more than 50,000 in operation in California five years from now, she said.

The cars will be expensive — as much as double the price of a gasoline compact or mid-size auto, according to current estimates. At the moment, they can only be leased.

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Shell reduces its Arctic drilling ambitions as delays continue

By Laura J. Nelson: August 1, 2012, 4:45 a.m.

Shell has reduced the number of exploratory offshore Arctic wells it plans to drill this year as construction delays continue on a containment barge that must be finished first, the company says.

Weather is also a factor: Shell engineers had hoped to begin drilling in early August, before ice forms in the fall. Arctic drilling is controversial: The bitter cold could hinder cleanup of any spill.

The company had hoped to finish five exploratory wells this year, but now will attempt two: one in the Beaufort Sea northeast of Alaska, and one in the Chukchi Sea between Alaska and Siberia, officials said Tuesday.

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Shell’s Arctic oil spill containment vessel plagued by delays

By Kim Murphy July 19, 2012, 8:30 p.m.

SEATTLE–The vessel designated to act as a crucial oil spill containment system in Arctic waters has obtained Coast Guard  approval to meet less rigorous weather standards than originally proposed. But, less than two weeks before drilling off Alaska’s northern coast is due to begin, a series of troubling construction delays have left the Arctic Challenger without federal certification.

The certification issue is the most serious Shell must confront if it is to successfully launch a exploratory drilling program, the first in Arctic waters in two decades, in which it already has invested $4 billion. With a tight weather window before the onset of ice in the fall, Shell engineers had hoped to begin drilling during the first week of August.

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Arctic oil: Shell seeks last-minute break on air pollution permit

By Kim MurphyJuly 13, 2012, 5:53 p.m.

SEATTLE — Only weeks before it is set to begin drilling exploratory oil wells in the Alaskan Arctic, Shell has asked the Environmental Protection Agency for a last-minute revision in its air emissions permits, conceding it has not been able to meet all of the rigorous standards required for the main generator on the drill bit for its Chukchi Sea drilling rig, the Discoverer.

In a filing with the EPA, the company said it was still able to meet overall ambient air quality and annual emissions standards. But it said it was having trouble meeting the requirements for nitrogen oxide and ammonia, despite having spent at least $30 million trying to outfit the diesel generators that will run the drilling equipment on the leased vessel with state-of-the-art technology previously untested on an offshore drilling rig.

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LA Times Editorial: Shell’s Arctic gamble

The plan by Shell Alaska to drill for oil in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas poses considerable risks. …what does seem clear is that neither Shell nor the government has taken the necessary steps to assure the public that a catastrophe can be avoided…

July 11, 2012

The proposal by Shell Alaska to drill for oil in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas of the Arctic sounded from the start like a dangerous environmental prospect in a particularly fragile ecosystem. The weather provides only a brief window of opportunity for oil exploration before winter ice makes it too hazardous. Booms and skimmers, the traditional methods of containing an oil spill on the water’s surface, are much less effective in those choppy, ice-flecked seas, and the usual emergency support — equipment, docks and Coast Guard vessels — are far away.

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Arctic drilling: Groups challenge Shell oil spill response plans

By Kim Murphy: July 9, 2012, 6:41 p.m.

SEATTLE — In an effort to hold oil companies to a higher standard in the Arctic Ocean, a coalition of conservation groups announced Monday that  they are suing to challenge the federal government’s approval of oil spill cleanup plans for Shell Alaska’s upcoming operations in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.

The lawsuit, which is being filed in U.S. District Court in Anchorage, seeks to invoke the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, a tough law passed in the wake of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. That law sets a high bar for offshore oil and gas operations — a bar that Shell officials say they are already meeting for exploratory drilling scheduled to get underway in August.

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Shell settles with Nigerian tribe

The Ogoni claim victory over the oil giant, although the company insists the $15.5-million award is a humanitarian gesture.

June 13, 2009

After 13 years of litigation, Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to settle with plaintiffs who accused the oil giant of complicity in human rights abuses in Nigeria, the most infamous of which was the execution of prominent playwright, author and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. A member of the Ogoni tribe, Saro-Wiwa was a vocal critic of Shell and the brutal military government of Gen. Sani Abacha. His eloquence brought international attention to Shell’s questionable environmental practices in the Niger River delta and the government’s lax regulation of environmental laws.

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Shell News Archive Monday 28 November 2005

Shell News Archive Monday 28 November 2005

Forbes/AFX News Limited: Shell starts production at massive new Nigerian field UPDATE: “Development of the Bonga field was hit by long delays and cost overruns, but Shell now hopes to rapidly reach peak capacity and boost the west African country’s total oil production by 10 pct.”: Monday 28 November 2005: READ
 
BBC NEWS: Shell’s new Nigerian field on tap: Anglo-Dutch giant Shell says it has begun pumping oil from a huge new field off the Nigerian coast, boosting the country’s total production by 10%.”: “However, delays and cost overruns mean the development cost $3.6bn (£2.1bn), up from original estimates of $2.7bn.”: Monday 28 November 2005: READ

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Sunday Business Post (Ireland): State to pay Shell’s €40k bill

Sunday Business Post (Ireland): State to pay Shell’s €40k bill

“The state faces a Garda bill of almost €40,000 for round-the-clock surveillance at the Shell Corrib gas terminal sites in Co Mayo over the past seven weeks. Deadlock over the onshore gas pipeline continues this week. Five farmers jailed for obstructing Shell access to their lands are spending their 61st day in Cloverhill prison today.”

Sunday 28 August 2005

By Niamh Connolly

The state faces a Garda bill of almost €40,000 for round-the-clock surveillance at the Shell Corrib gas terminal sites in Co Mayo over the past seven weeks.

Deadlock over the onshore gas pipeline continues this week. Five farmers jailed for obstructing Shell access to their lands are spending their 61st day in Cloverhill prison today.

Eight gardai from the western region have been drafted in to provide 24-hour duty at the four gates into Shell’s gas refinery and pipeline sites at Bellanaboy and Rossport.

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Los Angeles Times: Judge Allows Shell Holder Suit to Continue

Los Angeles Times: Judge Allows Shell Holder Suit to Continue

“A federal judge has allowed a stock fraud lawsuit against Royal Dutch Shell to continue…”: “The U.S. Department of Justice has also launched a criminal investigation, according to the opinion by U.S. Chief District Judge John W. Bissell.”

Tuesday 16 August 2005

By JEFFREY GOLD, AP Business Writer

NEWARK, N.J. — A federal judge has allowed a stock fraud lawsuit against Royal Dutch Shell to continue, finding that the shareholders had “adequately” shown reason for the court to examine their allegations concerning the company’s restatements of its oil reserves.

The class-action lawsuit questions whether the company’s statements on its reserves, an important measure of future performance, purposely omitted or twisted important facts.

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Shell News Archive Tuesday 7 December, 2004

Shell News Archive Tuesday 7 December, 2004

Yahoo! News: Shell to invest millions to open foreign petrol stations in India: “Vikram Singh Mehta, Chairman of the Shell Group of Companies in India, said the firm plans to open 2,000 outlets selling gasoline and diesel under the Shell brand name”: “Mehta said Shell was the largest foreign investor in India, with a stake so far of 850 million dollars.” (ShellNews.net) 7 Dec 04

ArabicNews.com: Shell invests in billions of dollars in the Qatari gas: “The British-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell group announced determination to spend $6 billion for establishing a factory to transform gas into a liquid fuel in Qatar. The group’s executive director Jeroen van der Veer did not specify any time for these investments upon announcing this project in a press conference organized by “Business Week” magazine in Paris.” (ShellNews.net) 7 Dec 04

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Shell News Archive Saturday 27 November, 2004

Shell News Archive Saturday 27 November, 2004

Daily Telegraph: Barrel count delays Shell’s annual report: “Shell, the energy giant struggling to restore its credibility after its reserves debacle, has been forced to delay the publication of its 2004 annual reports because of lingering uncertainty over how much “proven” barrels of oil and gas it has got.”: “Since January, the number of reclassified proven barrels has risen as the company has checked and rechecked its reserves.” (ShellNews.net) 27 Nov 04

Yahoo! Finance: Shell postpones AGM: “Sorting out the mess of its reserves scandal has forced oil giant to Shell to postpone its AGM for two months”: “The release of the details of the proposed plan to amalgamate the UK and Dutch sides of the business under one board will also be delayed as they have to be included in the 2004 statements” (ShellNews.net) Posted 27 Nov 04

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Los Angeles Times: Shell Increases 2004 Spending in Europe

Los Angeles Times: Shell Increases 2004 Spending in Europe

“The alleged role of individuals in the scandal remains under investigation by the SEC, and Shell also faces a separate probe by the U.S. Justice Department.”

By Associated Press

25 August 04

LONDON — Royal Dutch/Shell Group on Wednesday announced a $150 million increase in the amount of money it will spend in 2004 on exploration and production in Europe, bringing the total to $1.8 billion.

In addition to Italy, Ireland, Germany and Austria, Shell’s European region includes the North Sea, which is made up of Britain, Denmark, Netherlands and Norway. Despite recent concerns in the oil industry of declining production in the North Sea, Shell said it remains a strategic heartland for the company.

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Los Angeles Times: Shell May Postpone Closing of Refinery

Los Angeles Times: Shell May Postpone Closing of Refinery

“The Federal Trade Commission is investigating Shell’s closure plan.”

By Elizabeth Douglass, Times Staff Writer

13 August 04

In what would be a victory for California motorists, Shell Oil Co. is considering postponing the Oct. 1 shutdown of its Bakersfield refinery to allow more time for talks with potential buyers, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The move would come as part of an accord between Shell and state Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer, who has been pressuring Shell to keep the plant open or find a buyer for it, this person said. It wasn’t clear how long of a postponement Shell was considering.

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Los Angeles Times: U.S. Adding to Its Oil Reserve

Los Angeles Times: U.S. Adding to Its Oil Reserve

Bush administration Friday awarded contracts to ChevronTexaco Corp. and Royal Dutch/Shell Group’s Shell Oil to replenish the U.S. emergency petroleum reserve” (ShellNews.net)

From Times Wire Services

7 August 04

The Bush administration Friday awarded contracts to ChevronTexaco Corp. and Royal Dutch/Shell Group’s Shell Oil to replenish the U.S. emergency petroleum reserve, despite record high crude prices and strong oil demand.

Oil prices hit record highs Friday, climbing close to $45 before settling back down, after a renewed threat to Russian oil major Yukos added to the strain on world supplies.

The price of crude for September delivery ended in New York at $43.95 a barrel, down 46 cents from Thursday’s record close of $44.41.

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Los Angeles Times: CALIFORNIA Refinery Expert Is at Odds With Shell

Los Angeles Times: CALIFORNIA Refinery Expert Is at Odds With Shell

“The proposed closure of the refinery has generated outrage among politicians and consumers”

By Elizabeth Douglass, Times Staff Writer

July 24, 2004

Shell Oil Co.’s Bakersfield refinery is financially sound and an attractive asset for potential buyers, and the company’s decision to close it “flies in the face of common sense,” a consultant hired by the state said Friday.

Industry expert Malcolm Turner, retained by Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer to provide an objective opinion on the refinery’s outlook, said his consulting firm disagreed with Shell’s reasons for planning to shut down the facility Oct. 1.

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LA Times: SEC Weighs Requiring Certified Reserves: ‘scandal at Shell oil’

LA Times: SEC Weighs Requiring Certified Reserves: ‘scandal at Shell oil’

‘overstatement of its proven reserves and “inappropriate” accounting in other business areas resulted in profits being inflated by $432 million.’

By Associated Press

Posted 21 July 04

WASHINGTON — Following scandal at Shell oil, federal regulators are considering requiring outside auditors to review and certify energy companies’ oil and gas reserves, documents show.

A memorandum from two officials of the Securities and Exchange Commission to its chairman, William Donaldson, indicates that the move being considered would mandate that outside auditors review and certify oil and gas reserves the way they do now for companies’ finances.

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