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Posts under ‘New York Times’

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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Anger Overflows in Nigeria as Economy Dives

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By DIONNE SEARCEYA version of this article appears in print on May 10, 2016, on page A1 of the New York edition

LAGOS, Nigeria — Young men became entangled in a swirl of flying fists. Gas station workers swatted away boys hoping to fill their plastic cans. A mother with a sleeping baby in her minivan was chased off, rightly accused of jumping the line. A driver eager to get ahead crashed into several cars, the sound of crunching metal barely registering amid the noise.

Nigerians were getting used to days like this.

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Major Oil Exporters Fail to Agree on Production Freeze

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By STANLEY REED and ANDREW E. KRAMERA version of this article appears in print on April 18, 2016, on page B1 of the New York edition

DOHA, Qatar — Officials from 18 oil-producing nations failed on Sunday to reach a deal to freeze oil production at current levels.

The meeting of officials, representing most of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries as well as Russia, had been intended to calm the markets and convince them that the two leading oil exporters, Russia and Saudi Arabia, were cooperating. But with officials coming up short on Sunday, the meeting may end up being a blow to confidence that could send oil prices tumbling.

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Italy Probes Shell’s Role in Purchase of Nigerian Oil Block

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 21.20.56Shell and the Italian oil firm Eni bought the block known as OPL 245 in 2011. Activists including the watchdog group Global Witness say the money ultimately went to a company secretly owned by a former Nigerian oil minister and never reached state coffers.

Global Witness and other groups filed a complaint in 2015 with the public prosecutor in Milan that the group says describes Shell’s role in the transaction.

Eni was already being investigated. Both firms have denied wrongdoing.

In a statement this week, Shell said officials searched its headquarters in The Hague in February and that it was cooperating with officials.

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Australian Energy Giant Woodside Delays Large Offshore L.N.G. Project

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By STANLEY REED: A version of this article appears in print on March 24, 2016, on page B2 of the New York edition

Woodside Petroleum and its partners, including the energy giants Royal Dutch Shell and BP, have decided to delay indefinitely the development of a huge liquefied natural gas project off Western Australia, the company said on Wednesday.

The decision to postpone the project, called Browse, comes as L.N.G. prices in Asia have fallen by around two-thirds since 2014. The slump is attributed to a supply glut set off largely by a building boom and by lower-than-expected demand from major customers like China.

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Scientists Warn of Perilous Climate Shift Within Decades, Not Centuries

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By JUSTIN GILLISA version of this article appears in print on March 23, 2016, on page A11 of the New York edition

The nations of the world agreed years ago to try to limit global warming to a level they hoped would prove somewhat tolerable. But leading climate scientists warned on Tuesday that permitting a warming of that magnitude would actually be quite dangerous.

The likely consequences would include killer storms stronger than any in modern times, the disintegration of large parts of the polar ice sheets and a rise of the sea sufficient to begin drowning the world’s coastal cities before the end of this century, the scientists declared.

“We’re in danger of handing young people a situation that’s out of their control,” said James E. Hansen, the retired NASA climate scientist who led the new research. The findings were released Tuesday morning by a European science journal, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.

A draft version of the paper was released last year, and it provoked a roiling debate among climate scientists. The main conclusions have not changed, and that debate seems likely to be replayed in the coming weeks.

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Iraq Exports First Natural Gas Shipment in Its History

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By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: MARCH 20, 2016

BAGHDAD — Iraq on Sunday exported the first shipment of natural gas in its history, a key development for the OPEC member struggling to feed a cash-strapped economy amid an expensive fight against the Islamic State group.

The move revives a long-sought ambition by Iraq to be a gas exporter, thanks to a joint venture with Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp. Iraq first planned to begin exporting gas in the late 1970s, but that timeline was delayed by the Iraq-Iran war when Iraqi export ports were bombed.

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How Saudi Arabia Turned Its Greatest Weapon on Itself

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By ANDREW SCOTT COOPER: A version of this op-ed appears in print on March 13, 2016

FOR the past half-century, the world economy has been held hostage by just one country: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Vast petroleum reserves and untapped production allowed the kingdom to play an outsize role as swing producer, filling or draining the global system at will.

The 1973-74 oil embargo was the first demonstration that the House of Saud was willing to weaponize the oil markets. In October 1973, a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia abruptly halted oil shipments in retaliation for America’s support of Israel during the Yom Kippur War. The price of a barrel of oil quickly quadrupled; the resulting shock to the oil-dependent economies of the West led to a sharp rise in the cost of living, mass unemployment and growing social discontent.

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Oklahoma Puts Limits on Oil and Gas Wells to Fight Quakes

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By MICHAEL WINESA version of this article appears in print on March 8, 2016

Facing a six-year barrage of increasingly large earthquakes, Oklahoma regulators are effectively ordering the state’s powerful oil-and-gas industry to substantially cut back the underground disposal of industry wastes that have caused the tremors across the state.

On Monday, the state Corporation Commission asked well operators in a Connecticut-size patch of central Oklahoma to reduce by 40 percent the amount of oil and gas wastes they are injecting deep into the earth. The directive covers 411 injection wells in a rough circle that includes Oklahoma City and points northeast.

It follows a February request that imposed a 40 percent cutback on injection wells in a similar-size region of northwest Oklahoma.

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Shell and Nigerian Partner Are Sued in Britain Over Spills

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By STANLEY REEDMARCH 2, 2016

LONDON — Nigerian communities from the oil-rich Niger Delta initiated court action on Wednesday in London against the energy giant Royal Dutch Shell, in a case that may have far-reaching implications for whether companies can be sued in Britain for pollution and damages caused by their activities in other countries.

The case is based on accusations by farming and fishing communities that say they have suffered years of damage because of repeated large spills from oil pipelines in their home areas.

The law firm Leigh Day is bringing the claims against Shell and its Nigerian joint venture, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, in London on behalf of two communities in the swampy, oil-rich Niger Delta: the Ogale and the Bille.

On Wednesday, the claimants won a small victory when a judge ruled that the Nigerian venture could be included in the case, along with its parent company.

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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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Shell’s Profit Down 56 Percent on Depressed Oil Prices

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Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 00.11.12Shell’s Profit Down 56 Percent on Depressed Oil Prices

By STANLEY REEDFEB. 4, 2016

LONDON — Royal Dutch Shell became the latest big energy company to file a damage report on the impact of depressed oil prices on Thursday, saying that its adjusted profit fell 56 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to a year earlier.

Shell said earnings adjusted for inventory changes were $1.8 billion, down sharply from $4.2 billion in the comparable period of 2014.

For 2015, Shell’s earnings fell 80 percent to $3.84 billion, compared to $19 billion in 2014.

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Shell Shareholders Approve Acquisition of BG Group

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By STANLEY REEDJAN. 27, 2016

LONDON — In one of the first major deals struck as oil prices plummeted, Royal Dutch Shell shareholders on Wednesday approved the acquisition of the BG Group, the Britain-based oil and gas producer, for about $50 billion.

Analysts had expected major oil companies like Shell and ExxonMobil to take advantage of low prices to acquire rivals or smaller companies to strengthen their position, but there have been few big moves so far, perhaps because of the steepness of the drop in oil prices, which have fallen since the summer of 2014 to around $30 a barrel from more than $100 dollar a barrel.

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Climate Deal’s First Big Hurdle: The Draw of Cheap Oil

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By CLIFFORD KRAUSS and DIANE CARDWELLA version of this article appears in print on January 26, 2016, on page A1 of the New York edition

Barely a month after world leaders signed a sweeping agreement to reduce carbon emissions, the global commitment to renewable energy sources faces its first big test as the price of oil collapses.

Buoyed by low gas prices, Americans are largely eschewing electric cars in favor of lower-mileage trucks and sport utility vehicles. Yet the Obama administration has shown no signs of backing off its requirement that automakers nearly double the fuel economy of their vehicles by 2025.

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Russians’ Anxiety Swells as Oil Prices Collapse

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By NEIL MacFARQUHARA version of this article appears in print on January 23, 2016, on page A1 of the New York edition

The global collapse in oil prices is reordering economic relations around the world, but the change is particularly daunting for Russia, which relies on energy exports for 50 percent of its federal budget.

In December, President Vladimir V. Putin told the nation that the worst of the recession — the economy shrank 3.9 percent and inflation hit 12.9 percent in 2015 — was over and that modest growth would return in 2016. He has been pushing the oil collapse as an “opportunity” that will wean Russia off energy imports and diversify the economy.

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Shell Expects Sharply Lower Profit Amid Oil Slump

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By STANLEY REEDJAN. 20, 2016

LONDON — Royal Dutch Shell said on Wednesday that it expected profit for the fourth quarter of last year to be sharply lower than in the same period in 2014.

The company issued the preliminary estimates before a much-anticipated vote by Shell shareholders next Wednesday on the proposed acquisition of the BG Group, an oil and gas producer based in England.

Shell estimated that its profit for the quarter, excluding inventory changes and one-time charges, would fall around 50 percent, to between $1.6 billion and $1.9 billion, as lower oil prices cut sharply into revenue. The company posted profit of about $3.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014.

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Stock Prices Sink in a Rising Ocean of Oil

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It could get worse. The nuclear deal with Iran should allow the country to start exporting far more oil, once sanctions are lifted, potentially in a matter of days. Iran could add as much as 500,000 barrels a day to the global markets. Tentative progress in negotiations between warring factions in Libya, battling for control of oil and export terminals, could unleash another flood.

By CLIFFORD KRAUSSA version of this article appears in print on January 16, 2016, on page A1 of the New York edition

HOUSTON — The world is awash in crude oil, with enough extra produced last year to fuel all of Britain or Thailand. And the price of oil will not stop falling until the glut shrinks.

The oil glut — the unsold crude that is piling up around the world — is a quandary and a source of investor anxiety that once again rattled global markets on Friday.

As prices have dropped, the amount of excess production has been cut in half over the last six months. About one million barrels of extra oil is now being dumped on the markets each day.

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BP to Cut 4,000 Jobs as Oil Prices Continue to Fall

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By STANLEY REEDA version of this article appears in print on January 13, 2016, on page B3 of the New York edition

LONDON — The persistent plunge in oil prices has translated into a new round of industry job cuts.

The British oil giant BP said on Tuesday it would eliminate 4,000 of the approximately 24,000 positions in its exploration and production units this year. That would be in addition to about 4,000 jobs that the company cut last year, when it trimmed its work force to about 80,000.

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Oil Prices Slide Again, and the Bottom Is Not Yet in Sight

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By JAD MOUAWAD: A version of this article appears in print on January 12, 2016, on page B1 of the New York edition

The continuing collapse in commodity prices pushed oil futures still lower Monday, and analysts predicted that the slide was far from over.

Oil prices fell to their lowest level in 12 years, with futures of West Texas intermediate crude for February delivery settling at $31.41 a barrel, down 5.3 percent. Oil futures, which lost 30 percent last year, have declined every day of 2016. Brent oil, the main international benchmark, lost 6.5 percent and closed at $31.55 a barrel.

Last year a broad reassessment occurred in commodities, as the global economy slowed and demand from emerging markets like China, India and Brazil waned. The slump in oil prices picked up momentum last week on renewed concerns about the health of China’s economy, which led to a rout in global markets.

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Oil Prices Decline More Than 5 Percent as Stockpiles Increase

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By CLIFFORD KRAUSSA version of this article appears in print on January 7, 2016, on page B2 of the New York edition

HOUSTON — Oil prices plunged again on Wednesday by more than 5 percent as investors paid more attention to signs that global stockpiles are growing than to increasing instability in the Middle East and North Africa.

The decline in the global Brent oil benchmark price to below $35 a barrel, the lowest level since the depths of the 2008-9 economic downturn and a decline of nearly two-thirds since summer 2014, helped push stock markets lower.

The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, the main benchmark for the United States stock market, declined 1.3 percent Wednesday and breached the psychologically important 2,000 level to close at 1,990.26.

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Shell Opens Natural Gas Wells Off Irish Coast

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A wall of steel protects the workers at the entrance to the Corrib gas terminal site, which opened on Wednesday in Bellanaboy Bridge, Ireland. Credit Paul McErlane/Bloomberg News

LONDON — Two decades after being discovered, natural gas began flowing on Wednesday from wells off Ireland’s northwest coast. Royal Dutch Shell, the oil company, said it had begun producing gas from undersea wells, part of an effort for Ireland to produce more of its own resources.

Opening the taps in the Corrib field, more than 50 miles offshore, is a breakthrough for the oil and gas industry in Ireland, which had mostly disappointing results in recent years while encountering resistance from environmental groups.

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Oil Prices Slump to 11-Year Lows in Asia and Europe

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By STANLEY REEDDEC. 21, 2015

LONDON — Oil prices hit 11-year lows in Asia and Europe on Monday, as a glut of crude on world markets and the recent global climate accord continue to depress fossil-fuel prices.

Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, settled at $36.51 a barrel on Monday in Europe.

Analysts say there is little to restrain continued price declines in the near term. Prices are down about 15 percent so far in December, after an OPEC meeting failed to produce measures to restrain record-high production. That meeting was quickly followed by the United Nations climate accord in Paris, which aims to reduce the world’s reliance on oil and other carbon-emitting fuels.

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

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

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

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

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Despite Climate Concerns, OPEC Plans to Keep Pumping Oil While It Can

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By STANLEY REED and SARA HAMDANA version of this article appears in print on December 5, 2015, on page B1 of the New York edition

VIENNA — Even as United Nations climate-conference delegates met near Paris on Friday seeking ways to reduce the globe’s dependence on high-carbon fuels like oil, some of the world’s biggest petroleum producers vowed to keep pumping flat out.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said on Friday that it would keep producing oil at current levels, which are estimated to exceed 31 million barrels a day.

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An Oil-Soaked Globe as Production Keeps Climbing and Demand Falls

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A version of this article appears in print on November 14, 2015, on page B1 of the New York edition

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HOUSTON — Such is the state of the oil industry these days that there is sometimes nowhere to put the oil. Off the coast of Texas, a line of roughly 40 tankers has formed, waiting to unload their crude or, in some cases, for a willing buyer to come along. Similar scenes are playing out off the coasts of Singapore and China and in the Persian Gulf.

There is little sign that the logjam will ease, as the price of oil continued its yearlong plunge this week, declining by nearly $10 a barrel.

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Exxon Inquiry Both Mirrors and Contrasts With Tobacco Industry Case

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By JOHN SCHWARTZNOV. 6, 2015

The New York attorney general’s decision to investigate Exxon Mobil over whether the company lied to the public and investors about the risks of climate change has raised questions about possible similarities to the Justice Department’s successful suit against the tobacco industry in 1997.

The new case has reprised the famous question from Watergate — What did they know, and when did they know it? — which also was an important element of that tobacco lawsuit.

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Citing Climate Change, Obama Rejects Construction of Keystone XL Oil Pipeline

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President Obama is the first world leader to reject a project because of its effect on the climate,” said Bill McKibben, founder of the activist group 350.org, which led the campaign against the pipeline. “That gives him new stature as an environmental leader, and it eloquently confirms the five years and millions of hours of work that people of every kind put into this fight.”

By CORAL DAVENPORT: NOV. 6, 2015

WASHINGTON — President Obama announced on Friday that he had rejected the request from a Canadian company to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline, ending a seven-year review that had become a symbol of the debate over his climate policies.

Mr. Obama’s denial of the proposed 1,179-mile pipeline, which would have carried 800,000 barrels a day of carbon-heavy petroleum from the Canadian oil sands to the Gulf Coast, comes as he seeks to build an ambitious legacy on climate change.

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Exxon Mobil Investigated for Possible Climate Change Lies by New York Attorney General

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Mr. Schneiderman’s decision to scrutinize the fossil fuel companies may well open a new legal front in the climate change battle. The Exxon inquiry might expand further to encompass other oil companies…

By JUSTIN GILLIS and CLIFFORD KRAUSSNOV. 5, 2015

The New York attorney general has begun an investigation of Exxon Mobil to determine whether the company lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how such risks might hurt the oil business.

According to people with knowledge of the investigation, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a subpoena Wednesday evening to Exxon Mobil, demanding extensive financial records, emails and other documents.

The investigation focuses on whether statements the company made to investors about climate risks as recently as this year were consistent with the company’s own long-running scientific research.

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Shell Says Purchase of BG Group Would Allow Further Cost-Cutting

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By STANLEY REED: NOV. 3, 2015

LONDON — Royal Dutch Shell said on Tuesday that its planned acquisition of BG Group, the British oil and gas producer, would lead to major cost-cutting opportunities as well as sales of oil and gas properties.

As it prepares to complete the deal, expected early next year, Shell also said that it intended to carve out its own liquefied natural gas and related fuels unit into a separate business called Integrated Gas. One reason Shell agreed in April to buy BG for nearly $70 billion was to gain a world-leading position in producing and trading liquefied natural gas, known as L.N.G.

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Low Oil Prices Take a Toll on Royal Dutch Shell in Quarter

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Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 08.02.52By STANLEY REED: OCT. 29, 2015

LONDON — Lower petroleum prices took a big toll on Royal Dutch Shell in the third quarter.

The company reported a loss of $7.4 billion, compared with a profit of $4.5 billion in the quarter a year earlier. Adjusted for inventory changes and one-time items — a more closely watched measurement — earnings fell 70 percent to $1.8 billion.

The company took about $7.9 billion in write-offs for its recently halted exploration venture off Alaska, a canceled heavy-oil project in Canada and other operations.

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Profit Down at BP, Which Predicts Era of Low Oil Prices

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By STANLEY REED: OCT. 27, 2015

LONDON — The British oil giant BP said on Tuesday that its profit was down sharply in the third quarter as depressed oil prices took a heavy toll.

The company, saying it expects prices to stay low for years, indicated that it would continue to cut costs and limit its investments in searching for and developing new oil and gas fields.

“We are now in action to rebalance our financial framework in this new price environment,” BP’s chief executive, Robert W. Dudley, said in a statement.

The company said its profit in the quarter was $46 million, compared with $1.3 billion a year earlier. Profit on the basis of underlying replacement cost, a more widely used figure, fell to $1.8 billion for the quarter from $3 billion a year earlier.

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Nigeria President Escalates Campaign to Stem Corruption

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Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 15.59.11In recent days, the campaign escalated with the arrest of two high-profile figures: Diezani Alison-Madueke, the former oil minister whose five-year tenure was marred by recurring accusations of widespread theft; and Olajide Omokore, the chairman of a Nigerian oil company. Both were held as part of inquiries into corruption and money laundering.

By NORIMITSU ONISHIOCT. 16, 2015

ABUJA, Nigeria — Private jets that used to crowd the airport here have been grounded, their wings clipped by the new government’s crackdown on corruption. Rolls-Royces, Range Rovers and Jaguars are gathering dust in the showroom of this capital’s top car dealer. Luxury villas are left unsold, as is the fine Italian marble used to bedeck the homes of Nigeria’s newly rich.

Since assuming power in May on a pledge to root out the graft that has long permeated Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari has squeezed the flow of public funds in an effort to clean up Africa’s biggest economy.

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U.S. Blocks Alaskan Arctic Drilling for 2 Years

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Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 14.03.31By CLIFFORD KRAUSSOCT. 16, 2015

HOUSTON — The Obama administration shut the door Friday on drilling in Alaska’s Arctic Ocean over the next two years, canceling auctions for drilling rights in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.

The decision by the Interior Department was not surprising because it came less than a month after Shell Oil canceled the most advanced exploration project in the region because of disappointing results from a test well and high costs at a time when oil prices are extremely low.

Still, the announcement is symbolically important as the administration steps back from its cautious support of drilling in the Arctic.

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New Concern Over Quakes in Oklahoma Near a Hub of U.S. Oil

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Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 10.41.53By MICHAEL WINESOCT. 14, 2015

A sharp earthquake in central Oklahoma last weekend has raised fresh concern about the security of a vast crude oil storage complex, close to the quake’s center, that sits at the crossroads of the nation’s oil pipeline network.

The magnitude 4.5 quake struck Saturday afternoon about three miles northwest of Cushing, roughly midway between Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The town of about 8,000 people is home to the so-called Cushing Hub, a sprawling tank farm that is among the largest oil storage facilities in the world.

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Oil Sands Boom Dries Up in Alberta, Taking Thousands of Jobs With it

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Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 12.37.36By IAN AUSTENOCT. 12, 2015

FORT McMURRAY, Alberta — At a camp for oil workers here, a collection of 16 three-story buildings that once housed 2,000 workers sits empty. A parking lot at a neighboring camp is now dotted with abandoned cars. With oil prices falling precipitously, capital-intensive projects rooted in the heavy crude mined from Alberta’s oil sands are losing money, contributing to the loss of about 35,000 energy industry jobs across the province.

Yet Alberta Highway 63, the major artery connecting Northern Alberta’s oil sands with the rest of the country, still buzzes with traffic. Tractor-trailers hauling loads that resemble rolling petrochemical plants parade past fleets of buses used to shuttle workers. Most vehicles carry “buggy whips” — bright orange pennants attached to tall spring-loaded wands — to help prevent them from being run over by the 1.6-million-pound dump trucks used in the oil sands mines.

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Shell’s Exit From Arctic Oil Drilling

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Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.35.25LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF THE NEW YORK TIMES

“I am hesitant to pop open the Champagne quite yet…”

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To the Editor:

Re “Shell Pulls Plug on Exploration in Alaska Arctic” (front page, Sept. 29):

While the news that Shell has decided to pull out of its controversial Arctic oil exploration effort is cause for celebration for many environmentalists, I am hesitant to pop open the Champagne quite yet.

I find it hard to celebrate knowing that Shell’s withdrawal is the result of an oversaturated oil market fattened on shale oil from the Bakken formation and an OPEC overproduction of 1 million barrels above the cartel’s target output. Shell’s Arctic exit is a business decision in response to low oil prices due to a slowing economy and a glut of supply, both temporary conditions that do nothing to preclude a return to Arctic exploration once these conditions expire.

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Shell Exits Arctic as Oil Slump Forces Industry to Retrench

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By CLIFFORD KRAUSS and STANLEY REED

As oil prices have continued their steady decline this year, rig after rig has been shut down, costing thousands of jobs in the United States. Yet major oil producers have been loath to pull the plug on their most ambitious projects — the multibillion-dollar investments that form the backbone of their operations.

Until now. On Monday, Royal Dutch Shell ended its expensive and fruitless nine-year effort to explore for oil in the Alaskan Arctic — a $7 billion investment — in another sign that the entire industry is trimming its ambitions in the wake of collapsing oil prices.

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Melting Ice Isn’t Opening Arctic to Oil Bonanza

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Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.35.25By STEVEN LEE MYERS and CLIFFORD KRAUSSSEPT. 7, 2015

TERIBERKA, Russia — The warming Arctic should already have transformed this impoverished fishing village on the coast of the Barents Sea.

The Kremlin spent billions in the last decade in hopes of turning it into a northern hub of its global energy powerhouse, Gazprom. It was once the most ambitious project planned in the Arctic Ocean, but now there is little to show for it aside from a shuttered headquarters and an enormous gravel road carved out of the windblown coastline like a scar.

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Court Says Chevron Can Be Pursued in Canada Over Ecuadorean Damage

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Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 07.12.20By IAN AUSTEN and CLIFFORD KRAUSSA version of this article appears in print on September 5, 2015, on page B2 of the New York edition

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled on Friday that a group of Ecuadoreans can use an Ontario court in an attempt to collect billions of dollars from Chevron for environmental damage.

The ruling is the latest step in a 13-year legal battle over the contamination of a rain forest in Ecuador, where Texaco had oil operations. The lawsuit has pitted Ecuadorean villagers in the region of Lago Agrio against Chevron, which bought Texaco.

While a trial court in Ecuador initially awarded the villagers $17.2 billion, an appeals court reduced the damages to $9.5 billion. It was one of the largest judgments imposed by a court for environmental contamination.

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Obama’s Alaska Visit Puts Climate, Not Energy, in Forefront

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By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS: AUG. 31, 2015

WASHINGTON — President Obama will travel to Alaska on Monday to call for urgent and aggressive action to tackle climate change, capitalizing on a poignant tableau of melting glaciers, crumbling permafrost and rising sea levels to illustrate the immediacy of an issue he hopes to make a central element of his legacy.

But during a three-day trip choreographed to lend spectacular visuals and real-world examples to Mr. Obama’s message on global warming, he will pay little heed to the oil and gas drilling offshore that he allowed to go forward just this month, a move that activists say is an unsavory blot on an otherwise ambitious climate record.

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U.S. Is Seen as Laggard as Russia Asserts Itself in Warming Arctic

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Sources: American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, IBRU at Durham University, Bordermap Consulting, KlimaCampus Integrated Climate Data Center, U.S. Geological Survey: By The New York Times

By STEVEN LEE MYERSAUG. 29, 2015

ABOARD COAST GUARD CUTTER ALEX HALEY, in the Chukchi Sea — With warming seas creating new opportunities at the top of the world, nations are scrambling over the Arctic — its territorial waters, transit routes and especially its natural resources — in a rivalry some already call a new Cold War.

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Oil Companies Sit on Hands at Auction for Leases

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By CLIFFORD KRAUSSAUG. 20, 2015 PAGE B1 IN NEW YORK EDITION

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 22.49.59HOUSTON — With oil prices collapsing and companies in retrenchment, a federal auction in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday attracted the lowest interest from producers since 1986.

It was the clearest sign yet that the fortunes of oil companies are skidding so fast that they now need to cut back on plans for production well into the future.

The auction, for drilling leases, attracted a scant $22.7 million in sales from five companies, but energy analysts said that came as no surprise on a day when the American oil benchmark price plummeted by more than 4 percent. For the first time since the recession, it is approaching the symbolic $40-a-barrel level. Last summer, it was above $100 a barrel.

A glut on American and world markets is to blame for the depressed prices, but the unusually large daily decline occurred after the Energy Department, in a report, lowered its oil price projections and showed a considerable increase in inventories.

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Royal Dutch Shell Profits Continue to Fall, Prompting 6,500 Layoffs By

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By STANLEY REED: JULY 30, 2015

LONDON — Royal Dutch Shell said on Thursday that its profit fell sharply in the second quarter as a strong performance in marketing and refining failed to offset the brunt of lower oil and gas prices.

The oil giant also said it would cut its capital investment and eliminate 6,500 jobs as the drop in oil and gas prices squeezes its vast global exploration and production operations.

The company, based in The Hague, said earnings adjusted for inventory changes and excluding one-time items were $3.8 billion, compared with $6.1 billion in the same period in 2014.

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Logistics and Lizards Disrupt Chevron’s Project Off Australia

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Screen Shot 2015-07-04 at 13.26.18Chevron agreed to share the cost with Exxon Mobil, Shell and three Japanese power companies, Osaka Gas, Tokyo Gas and Chubu Electric Power. “This is probably the last of the megaprojects for the oil companies for a while…”

By A. ODYSSEUS PATRICK: JULY 3, 2015

SYDNEY, Australia — Getting anything to Chevron’s gas-processing plant on Barrow Island is a bit of a trick.

Some supplies travel 15 hours from Perth to a supply base for shipping. En route, trucks cannot stop under trees, to avoid picking up bugs and bird droppings. When people and cargo finally make it to the island, an army of 300 enforces a quarantine: Every Velcro strap on clothing and bags is checked for seed pods, boots are scrubbed free of dirt and pants with cuffs never even make it ashore.

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After Settlement, Relief at a Diminished BP

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By STANLEY REED and CLIFFORD KRAUSS JULY 2, 2015

LONDON — BP’s future no longer has a giant cloud ahead. But it will take years, if not decades, for the company to approach its size of five years ago, before the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig.

Since the 2010 blowout of the Macondo well killed 11 rig workers and dumped millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico, BP has vigorously fought in court and on American television to salvage its image and minimize the costs. But in preparation for a settlement to resolve legal wrangling over economic and environmental damages, in which it eventually agreed to pay $18.7 billion, the British-based company also had pruned its global operations to save itself.

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Decline of North Sea Oil Fields Forces Political Shifts in Britain

Article by STANLEY REED published JUNE 2, 2015 by The New York Times

Decline of North Sea Oil Fields Forces Political Shifts in Britain

ABERDEEN, Scotland — For the oil industry, the decline of the North Sea fields is part of a global challenge.

But for Britain, it is also a political problem.

The British government, which has long treated the oil industry as a cash cow, was forced to confront the threat to jobs and taxes during the run-up to last year’s referendum on independence for Scotland, which claims a big portion of waters where the North Sea oil and natural gas are.

The Scottish National Party, which supported independence in the referendum, accused the central government in London of mismanaging Britain’s oil and gas resources. Oil officials including Bob Dudley, BP’s chief executive, said during the referendum campaign that the uncertainty and legal problems a Scottish victory would bring could discourage future investment in the North Sea.

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Prices Are Down, but Saudis Keep Oil Flowing

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 15.02.26Article by CLIFFORD KRAUSS and STANLEY REED published 1 June 2015 in the New York edition of The New York Times under the headline

Prices Are Down, but Saudis Keep Oil Flowing

HOUSTON — The international cartel of oil producers has long followed the same basic strategy. When the market was soft, the group slashed production to raise prices.

But Saudi Arabia, the heavyweight of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, has a new agenda. It is now less concerned about the price of crude oil in the global markets and more concerned about delivering fuel to its growing economy.

The shift is upending the traditional market dynamics that have influenced the direction of oil prices for decades.

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Grabbing Paddles in Seattle to Ward Off an Oil Giant

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By KIRK JOHNSON MAY 11, 2015

SEATTLE — A dozen or so men and women, cinched into life jackets, paddles at the ready, were about to launch their kayaks into Elliott Bay early Thursday evening with Seattle’s glittering skyline as the backdrop. For some of the paddlers, it was a first-time experience, and with the water at 50 degrees and choppy, there were some obvious signs of trepidation.

“O.K., what hazards are we watching for?” Elizabeth Chiaravalli, their instructor, shouted, and a smattering of answers immediately bounced back. “The waves!” “The dock!” “The pilings!”

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U.S. Maps Pinpoint Earthquakes Linked to Quest for Oil and Gas

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Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 07.46.46“Predicting risk is also hard, the report noted, because there is no scientific consensus on just how powerful such quakes can be. The report estimated the effects of shocks up to magnitudes 6 and 7, while noting that some scientists have speculated that the catastrophic 7.9-magnitude earthquake in China in 2008 was caused by human activity.”

Article bBy RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA PUBLISHED APRIL 23, 2015 BY THE NEW YORK TIMES

The United States Geological Survey on Thursday released its first comprehensive assessment of the link between thousands of earthquakes and oil and gas operations, identifying and mapping 17 regions where quakes have occurred.

The report was the agency’s broadest statement yet on a danger that has grown along with the nation’s energy production.

By far the hardest-hit state, the report said, is Oklahoma, where earthquakes are hundreds of times more common than they were until a few years ago because of the disposal of wastewater left over from extracting fuels and from drilling wells by injecting water into the earth. But the report also mapped parts of eight other states, from Lake Erie to the Rocky Mountains, where that practice has caused quakes, and said most of them were at risk for more significant shaking in the future.

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New Sea Drilling Rule Planned, 5 Years After BP Oil Spill

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Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 14.33.58Article by CORAL DAVENPORT published APRIL 10, 2015 by The New York Times

New Sea Drilling Rule Planned, 5 Years After BP Oil Spill

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is planning to impose a major new regulation on offshore oil and gas drilling to try to prevent the kind of explosions that caused the catastrophic BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, administration officials said Friday.

The announcement of the Interior Department regulation, which could be made as soon as Monday, is timed to coincide with the five-year anniversary of the disaster, which killed 11 men and sent millions of barrels of oil spewing into the gulf. The regulation is being introduced as the Obama administration is taking steps to open up vast new areas of federal waters off the southeast Atlantic Coast to drilling, a decision that has infuriated environmentalists.

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