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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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

Shell’s Profit Down 56 Percent on Depressed Oil Prices

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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. read more

Shell Shareholders Approve Acquisition of BG Group

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Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 08.12.50Shell Shareholders Approve Acquisition of BG Group

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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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