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Shell’s blockbuster BG bid backfires as gas prices deflate

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Danny Fortson:    Published 1 May 2016

Nearly 300 staff gathered in the canteen of BG Group’s sprawling headquarters in Reading on Monday morning to hear what they had long been expecting: nearly all of them were being laid off or being forced to apply for new jobs.

Shell closed its blockbuster takeover of the gas giant in February. Huibert Vigeveno, a rising star within Shell charged with integrating the companies, announced that after an “office footprint review”, BG’s headquarters would shut.

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Profit fall leaves Shell struggling to justify BG deal

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Danny Fortson Published: 1 May 2016

Royal Dutch Shell is set to unveil a steep fall in profits this week, laying bare the challenge for chief executive Ben van Beurden to justify his £35bn takeover of rival BG.

Shell completed the blockbuster deal in February after investors voted it through. Despite counting six weeks of BG’s earnings, analysts expect Europe’s largest oil company to have earned just $1bn (£680m) in profits for the quarter. That compares with a surplus of $3.2bn for the same period a year ago.

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FT Energy Source: Saudi Reform

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By Ed Crooks: April 29, 2016

When Saudi Arabia’s oil minister raises an eyebrow, the world pays attention. So when the kingdom launched a hugely ambitious economic reform programme this week, it naturally attracted enormous interest.

The FT in an editorial praised what it described as “a bold bid to transform Saudi Arabia’s economy”, but highlighted the challenges Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman would face in making his vision a reality. Simeon Kerr and Anjli Raval described the plans as “highly ambitious – some would say unrealistic”.

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Shell shuts down three offices and asks the 1,600 staff involved to move or consider voluntary redundancy

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Oil giant warned last year that merger with BG would hit workers hard 

Staff in Reading and Manchester have option move to London head office 

Plans to put all London and South East operations into central London 

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 15.56.32By MARK SHAPLAND FOR THIS IS MONEY25 April 2016

Oil giant Shell is pushing ahead with plans to cut jobs and close three offices following its billion dollar takeover of rival BG Group earlier this year.

The cost-cutting drive will trigger the closure of the former BG Group headquarters in Reading and company offices in Aberdeen and Manchester.

The 1,600 staff employed at the sites who do not want to relocate will be offered voluntary redundancy.  

The firm warned last year that the impact of its mega-merger with BG Group would hit workers hard. 

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Shell to close three UK offices housing 1,600 staff

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Nick FletcherMonday 25 April 2016 13.56 BST

Royal Dutch Shell is closing three UK offices, affecting 1,600 employees, including BG’s headquarters in Reading, after its £35bn takeover of the oil and gas company earlier this year.

It has also begun a voluntary redundancy programme as part of a plan to cut 10,300 jobs across the merged group, comprising 7,500 from the original Shell business, as it attempts to cope with the recent plunge in oil prices, and another 2,800 following the merger with BG.

FULL ARTICLE

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Shell to close BG head quarters near London by year end

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As part of the 10,300 job cuts it has already announced, 2,800 will come from the integration of BG and 7,500 from its existing staff and direct contractor base.

Business | Mon Apr 25, 2016 

Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) will close the head office of BG Group, the gas producer it agreed to acquire for $50 billion in February, by the end of the year, it said on Monday, as part of a plan to save costs and cut 10,300 jobs worldwide.

The oil major will also offer voluntary redundancy packages to staff at the BG headquarters in Reading, near London, and to Shell staff in the UK.

This follows a similar announcement made to Dutch staff earlier this month.

The oil company is under intense pressure to rein in costs as a slump in oil prices has hit its profits.

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Shell expected to confirm today where North Sea HQ will be post BG takeover

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Shell expected to confirm today where North Sea HQ will be post BG takeover

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Written by Erikka Askeland – 25/04/2016 7:37 am

Oil giant Shell is expected to tell staff in Aberdeen today that its North Sea headquarters will be based at Tullos in the wake of its takeover of rival BG Group.

The firm, which completed its multi-billion pound mega-merger with BG in April, will move around 200 former BG staff to its existing premises in the south of the city from their base on Albyn Terrace.

The decision is set to see BG’s former offices – a trio of linked granite-built townhouses at the heart of Aberdeen’s west end – go up for grabs in a market where demand for offices is falling as a result of the oil price crash.

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Investors look beyond Big Oil’s worst quarter yet

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LONDON | BY KAROLIN SCHAPS AND RON BOUSSO: Sun Apr 24, 2016

The world’s top oil companies are set to report their worst quarterly results yet in the current downturn but a recent recovery in crude prices is raising hopes the market has bottomed out.

An ever intensifying oil supply glut took global prices to a near 13-year low of $27.10 a barrel on Jan. 20, exacerbating pressure on oil producers already grappling with a more than 70 percent slide in prices since mid-2014.

“The 1Q16 reporting period looks set to be even worse than what we thought was already an especially ugly 4Q15,” said Jason Gammel, equity analyst at Jefferies.

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Oil prices drop faster than companies can cut costs

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Bloomberg News: SATURDAY, APRIL 23, 2016

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

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

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

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

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The new oil order

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Apr 23rd 2016

FOR generations, oil and stability have gone hand in hand in Saudi Arabia. The puritanically conservative kingdom has used its oil wealth to buy loyalty at home and friends abroad. But since King Salman came to the throne last year, his 30-year-old son, Muhammad, has injected unpredictability into the Middle East.

Critics consider the deputy crown prince a hothead, whose dangerous obsession with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s rival, is feeding sectarianism and fraying relations with America. At home, though, the impetuousness of Muhammad bin Salman may be just what Saudi Arabia needs to start weaning itself off oil, the price of which has fallen sharply over the past 18 months. A big test comes on April 25th, when the prince is due to unveil the kingdom’s long-delayed “Vision” reform plan.

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Oil washout

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 21.42.31Ed Crooks: 22 April 2016

They wanted a freeze, but all they got was a wash-out. The 18 oil-producing countries that met in Doha on Sunday were supposed to finalise an agreement to hold production at January’s levels, but instead the meeting broke up in acrimony and recriminations. John Kemp at Reuters suggested Saudi Arabia was turning the “oil weapon” on its rival Iran.

The FT’s Roula Khalaf wrote that the failure of the talks highlighted the rise of Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s 30 year-old deputy crown prince. His growing influence and the waning authority of veteran oil minister Ali al-Naimi add a new element of unpredictability to Saudi policy.  Bloomberg Business Week had a long and fascinating interview with Prince Mohammed. As President Barack Obama visited Saudi Arabia, David Gardner wrote that the kingdom’s 70-year bargain with the US, promising security in return for a steady flow of oil, was becoming frayed.

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Shell eyes $700 million exit from Gabon – sources

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By Freya Berry and Ron Bousso

LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell <RDSa.L> is working on selling out of its onshore assets in Gabon, according to two sources familiar with the matter, seeking to refocus its African presence.

Bids are due in June for the fields, which one source estimated could be worth around $700 million (488.55 million pound). However the second person said that price indications were currently below Shell’s expectations and that no sale may occur.

“Shell continuously evaluates opportunities for our global portfolio in line with our business strategy,” a company spokesman said on Thursday.

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Botched Doha deal undermines OPEC credibility, oil prices tumble

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By REUTERSPUBLISHED: 18 April 2016

By Henning Gloystein

SINGAPORE, April 18 (Reuters) – Oil prices tumbled on Monday after a meeting by major exporters in Qatar collapsed without an agreement to freeze output, leaving the credibility of the OPEC producer cartel in tatters and the world awash with unwanted fuel.

Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran were blamed for the failure, which revived industry fears that major government-controlled producers will increase their battle for market share by offering ever-steeper discounts.

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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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Eyes on Doha

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By Ed Crooks: April 15, 2016

All eyes in the oil market this weekend will be on Sunday’s meeting in Doha, which will bring together leading producers including Russia and most – although perhaps not all – of the members of Opec. Expectations that the countries will agree to freeze production, encouraged this week by statements from Russian and Iraqi representatives, have helped drive Brent crude prices up more than 60 per cent from about $27 per barrel in January to around $44 today.  The heads of some of the world’s largest trading houses have concluded that for oil producers, the worst is probably now over.

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Why Now May Be The Time To Sell Royal Dutch Shell Plc

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By Royston Wild : The Motley Fool – Thursday, 14 April, 2016

Despite my repeated warnings of impending doom, share prices of many of the Footie’s commodity and retail giants have been carried higher again against a backcloth of giddy investor appetite.

Diversified commodities play Anglo American (LSE: AAL) has seen its share price explode 160% during the past three months, while oil giant Shell (LSE: RDSB) has enjoyed a 31% rise. Grocery house Tesco (LSE: TSCO) has seen its share value advance by a more modest 7% during the period.

But a recovery from January’s multi-year lows does not suggest that these stocks are on the cusp of a stunning turnaround. As legendary economist John Maynard Keynes’ famously pronounced: “the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.”

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

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By Micheal Kaufman on Apr 14, 2016

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

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

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Shell CEO says may sell some North Sea assets to improve portfolio

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PERTH | BY SONALI PAUL: Tue Apr 12, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell could sell some of its older, lower grade North Sea assets to improve the quality of its portfolio, CEO Ben van Beurden said on Tuesday, part of a two-year program to help finance its purchase of gas major BG Group.

After completing the $52 billion acquisition of BG in February, Shell said it would sell $30 billion in assets between 2016 and 2018 to help finance the deal and to maintain its dividend following a sharp drop in oil prices since mid-2014.

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Angela Macdonald-Smith: Energy Reporter

Shell’s global chief executive Ben van Beurden has pointed to a “broad industrial logic” for the Gladstone liquefied natural gas ventures to find ways to work together more closely, signalling a potential restructuring ahead as the oil major seeks to commercialise its Arrow gas resource.

Mr van Beurden said Shell, which recently acquired the Queensland Curtis LNG project as part of its $70 billion takeover of BG Group, was “absolutely convinced” the group would find a way of developing Arrow gas, which is jointly owned by PetroChina.

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Shell to Chevron Awaiting Demand From LNG Market in `Pause Mode’

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James PatonRebecca Keenan and Dan Murtaugh: April 12, 2016

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The over-supplied LNG market is in hiatus as energy giants from Chevron Corp. to Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Woodside Petroleum Corp. await a surge of demand from countries seeking access to energy.

Liquefied natural gas producers are in “pause mode” as low prices have stalled development of new projects, Woodside Chief Executive Officer Peter Coleman said today at the LNG18 conference in Perth. That respite means that coming years demand will exceed supply, causing prices to rise back to higher levels, Shell CEO Ben Van Beurden said.

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Royal Dutch Shell plc: Reasons Behind Moody’s Downgrade

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By Micheal Kaufman on Apr 11, 2016

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

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

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Moody’s downgrades Royal Dutch Shell to Aa2 negative outlook

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Markets | Fri Apr 8, 2016

* Moody’s downgrades Royal Dutch Shell to aa2; negative outlook

* Ratings downgrades and negative outlook reflect Shell’s elevated leverage following the BG acquisition

* Under a low oil price scenario, we expect Shell to generate negative free cash flow at least through 2017

* Downgrade of Shell’s ratings is driven by expectations of negative free cash flow and weaker cash flow-based metrics at least through 2017

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Lower oil without higher growth

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Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 11.17.16By Ed Crooks: April 8, 2016

The failure of falling oil prices to give much of a boost to global growth has been one of the big issues in the world economy this year. The FT’s Chris Giles gave a magisterial overview of why oil has been the shot in the arm that missed its target, although he raised the more cheerful possibility that the stimulus may simply be deferred until next year.

The correlation between oil prices and share prices has remained in full effect, even though an unexpected drop in US crude inventories boosted oil for a while. Brent crude began Friday at about $40 per barrel, up 48 per cent from its low point in January, but still down 65 per cent from its peak in June 2014.

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Why I Wouldn’t Touch Royal Dutch Shell Plc & Tullow Oil plc With A Bargepole!

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Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 10.34.57By The Motley Fool  Apr 8, 2016

Investor appetite for the fossil fuel sector has died down in recent days amid a fresh dip in crude prices.

After moving back above the $40 per barrel marker last month, Brent values have subsequently run out of steam as enduring fears over supply/demand imbalances have come to the fore again.

Oil producers like Shell (LSE: RDSB) and Tullow Oil(LSE: TLW) have been carried higher following Brent’s surge from January’s multi-year lows of $27.67. But with ‘black gold’ back on the defensive, I reckon oil companies big and small are back in danger of a huge share price reversal.

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Shell under pressure to reduce spending

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

By Ron Bousso

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

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

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

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Shell’s top Brent trader leaving company – sources

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Business | Thu Apr 7, 2016 11:47am BST

The head of European oil trading at oil major Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), Stany Schrans, will leave the company later this year, two industry sources told Reuters.

Shell declined to comment.

Bloomberg was first to report the departure.

The sources said Schrans, who has worked for Shell for more than 15 years, was leaving due to personal reasons.

Shell has one of the biggest oil trading desks in the world and is one of the most powerful players in the benchmark Brent market, for which Schrans was responsible.

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Top Shell Oil Trader Stany Schrans Said to Leave Company

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Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 10.34.57By Laura Hurst and Javier BlasApril 7, 2016. Bloomberg.com

The head of European oil trading at Royal Dutch Shell Plc will leave the company later this year, a significant departure as the company is one of the biggest traders in benchmark Brent crude.

Stany Schrans has worked for more than 15 years at the company, mostly focused on trading North Sea oil, according to four people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Tarek al Hassan, a senior Shell trader based in Singapore, is relocating to London to replace him, two of the people said. Shell spokesman Jonathan French declined to comment.

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

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By Micheal Kaufman on Apr 6, 2016

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

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

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Crude oil prices start Monday on a down note

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By Daniel J. Graeber: April 4, 2016

NEW YORK, April 4 (UPI) — Crude oil prices drifted marginally lower in early Monday trading after Iran said it was preparing to put more of its petroleum products on the global market.

Crude oil prices suffered one of the worst days of the year Friday after Saudi officials said they’d agree to trim production provided other major market players followed suit. Russia has said it would back a freeze on production alongside members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, though Iran said it would participate only after it gained a stronger market position.

Oil prices are lower in part because the market remains tilted toward the supply side. Adding to the pressure, the National Iranian Oil Co. said Monday it authorized sales of crude oil to Royal Dutch Shell now that the company has settled its debt obligations.

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Sideways moves

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By Ed Crooks: April 1, 2016

Oil prices went sideways all week, with Brent crude edging up above $40 on Thursday.  Hedge funds have made record bets on rising crude prices, but everyone is still watching prospects for the scheduled meeting of Opec and non-Opec oil producers in Doha, Qatar on April 17. Qatar’s oil minister said 12 countries had so far agreed to attend, including most Opec members and Russia. Reuters provided a useful factbox on the countries that could be present at the meeting.  Ecuador is one of the Opec members trying to persuade non-member countries to join in a commitment to freeze production.

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Oil giants replace 75pc of production in 2015

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

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

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

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Shell plans North Sea sell-off as falling crude price makes many of its sites less profitable

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By CITY & FINANCE REPORTER FOR THE DAILY MAIL: PUBLISHED: 27 March 2016

Shell has hired advisers to sell some of its North Sea oil operations as the falling price of crude makes sites less profitable.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Lazard and Morgan Stanley have held talks with a number of suitors, including Neptune Oil and Gas, the investment firm set up by former Centrica boss Sam Laidlaw.

The oil industry has been scaling back investments in the North Sea because of the tumbling price of crude. Shell has said it would make disposals worth £21billion.

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Shell considers North Sea sell-off in bid to raise $30bn

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Written by Rita Brown – Sunday 27/03/2016

Shell today confirmed it was considering a North Sea sell-off in a bid to balance its financial books after completing its $35billion mega takeover of BG.

The operator is currently looking to raise $30billion from asset sales from its global portfolio.

A company spokesperson said its North Sea assets could make-up part of the re-shuffle.

The spokesman said: “A review of all assets, including those in the North Sea, is under way as part of our commitment to the $30bn asset sale.”

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Shell weighs North Sea assets for potential sales

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Pilita Clark in London: 27 March 2016

Royal Dutch Shell has confirmed it is reviewing the case for selling some of its North Sea assets in the wake of its £35bn takeover of rival oil and gas producer, BG Group.

Shell has nearly 2,500 employees in the North Sea, where it has operated more than 33 offshore installations.

FULL FT ARTICLE

Shell prepares North Sea sale after BG tie-up

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Danny Fortson: Published: Sunday 27 March 2016

SHELL has quietly begun sounding out buyers for parts of its sprawling North Sea operations amid a slump that has seen the industry shed tens of thousands of jobs.

Europe’s biggest oil company strengthened its presence in the basin just last month when it completed its blockbuster £35bn takeover of rival BG.

Chief executive Ben van Beurden is under pressure to justify the price and has pledged to sell up to $30bn (£21bn) of assets. Sources close to the situation said Shell has no plans to exit completely but could dramatically shrink its footprint.

It is understood that Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which has been hired to lead the process, has held early talks with potential buyers including Sam Laidlaw, the former Centrica boss who last year launched the $5bn Neptune Oil & Gas fund to buy energy assets.

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The downside of cheap oil

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By Ed Crooks: 25 March 2016

Probably the greatest puzzle of the oil crash is why it hasn’t done more to strengthen global growth. The shift in purchasing power from companies and governments of oil-producing countries to consumers puts money in the pockets of people who are more likely to spend it, and that should act as a stimulus. It hasn’t quite worked out like that.

This week the FT launched a series titled ‘Lower for Longer’ exploring some of the reasons why. Number One on the list of likely explanations is the mountain of debts the industry built up during the boom times. Oil and gas company debt almost tripled from $1.1tn to $3tn between 2006 and 2014, according to the Bank for International Settlements, which has done some important research on the issue.  The oil industry, energy markets and the world economy are all struggling with the burden of that debt: the hangover after the oil investment boom of the past decade. Investors have lost at least $150bn in oil and gas company bonds, and over $2tn in equity values.

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Is It Finally Time To Give Up On Royal Dutch Shell Plc?

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By Royston Wild – Thursday, 24 March, 2016

To suggest the game is up at Shell (LSE: RDSB) could be considered ludicrous given the investor stampede of recent weeks.

The fossil fuel giant has seen its share price explode 30% in the past two months, moving in lockstep with the Brent benchmark’s surge back above the $40 per barrel milestone.

But with data surrounding the oil sector still worsening, I see little reason for crude’s recent march higher, leaving Shell’s share price in danger of a massive reversal.

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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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Exclusive: After Motiva split, Saudi Aramco aims to buy more U.S. refineries – sources

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 21.04.31Ending an often rocky nearly 20-year relationship, Shell (RDSa.L) and Saudi Aramco [SDABO.UL] announced on Wednesday plans to break up Motiva Enterprises LLC [MOTIV.UL] after almost two decades, dividing its assets and leaving Aramco with one plant, the nation’s largest crude oil refinery, in Port Arthur, Texas.

Officials from Saudi Refining, the downstream arm of Aramco, told employees following the announcement that the state-owned firm was intent on buying more assets once the Motiva break-up is finished, according to five people who attended the briefing and asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.

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Better news for oil

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Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 22.36.32By Ed Crooks: Friday 18 March 2016

Oil continued to creep up this week with Brent going past $42 per barrel, its highest level since early December. Crude was a beneficiary of the wider upturn in markets, which pushed the S&P 500 index briefly back up above its level at the start of the year. The positive correlation between share prices and oil prices seems to be alive and well.

Suggestions that the US Federal Reserve is in no hurry to raise interest rates gave a boost to crude and other markets. Oil was also helped by reports that Opec ministers had at last agreed to hold a meeting with leading non-Opec producers such as Russia, in an attempt to make some progress with their much-discussed, little-implemented production freeze.

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Is Royal Dutch Shell Plc In Danger Of A Colossal Correction?

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Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 08.47.47By Royston Wild – Thursday, 17 March, 2016

Shares across the mining and energy sectors have leapt broadly higher in recent weeks thanks to a robust recovery in commodity prices.

Fossil fuel leviathan Shell (LSE: RDSB) has been one of these beneficiaries. Since striking a 12-year trough of 1,277p per share back in January, the stock has leapt 33% to claw back above the 1,700p marker just this week.

Shell’s resurgence has been underpinned by a bounceback in the oil price. The Brent benchmark reclaimed the $40 per barrel marker earlier this month,  up from the multi-year lows of $27.67 hit at the start of 2016.

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US oil closes above $40 for first time since Dec. 3

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US oil closes above $40 for first time since Dec. 3

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17 March 2016

Oil prices hit 2016 highs on Thursday, with U.S. crude closing over $40, on optimism that major producers will strike an output freeze deal next month amid soaring gasoline demand in the United States.

A weaker dollar after a Federal Reserve policy decision on Wednesday that indicated two U.S. rate hikes this year instead of four also drew oil buyers using currencies such as the euro.

OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC producers led by Russia will meet on April 17 in the Qatar capital Doha, increasing the likelihood of the first global supply deal in 15 years.

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Shell share price: Barclays sees group in strong position after BG deal

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by Mary MorleyTuesday, 15 Mar 2016

Royal Dutch Shell’s (LON:RDSA) recent acquisition of former London-listed peer BG Group will give it more levers to pull to weather the downturn in oil prices, analysts at Barclays have said. The bank, however, cautions that the enlarged group’s work is ‘far from over’.

Shell’s share price has been subdued in London this morning, having shed 0.48 percent to 1,658.50p as of 08:11 GMT, largely in line with losses in the broader market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having fallen 0.55 percent to 6,140.50 points. In the year-to-date, the energy group’s shares have added 8.65 percent, as compared with a 1.61-percent dip in the Footsie.

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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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Worst of oil rout ‘is over’, say analysts (as Shell begins £20bn asset sale)

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By CITY & FINANCE REPORTER FOR THE DAILY MAIL: 12 MARCH 2016

Oil analysts say the price of a barrel may have bottomed out – just as Shell started a £20billion assets sale.

The International Energy Agency said a slowdown in oil production could mean the worst of the rout in oil prices is over. In January prices plummeted to 12-year lows, falling below $27-per-barrel.

But in recent weeks there has been a modest recovery, with oil rising to $40 per barrel, and the IEA said this could be the light at the end of the tunnel.

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An oilman’s $7 billion refresher course in the economics of drilling and climate change

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To many analysts, it looked like Odum was pushed into leaving.

Steven Mufson March 11, 2016

Marvin Odum, president of Shell Oil, was attending a meeting of the parent company’s executive committee in Singapore when word trickled in that an exploration well drilled in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea — the crowning step in a multi-year $7 billion quest — was a dry hole.

Maybe not bone dry. In a recent interview, Odum wouldn’t say. But in the oil business glossary, a dry hole is one that can’t pay off commercially, and Shell’s hole definitely qualified. The parent company, Royal Dutch Shell, abruptly dropped any further drilling — a setback for the industry, though a relief for environmentalists.

For years, they had fought a vigorous, litigious and politically intense battle over the Chukchi. Meanwhile Shell, lured by potentially rich rewards, had overcome a couple of embarrassing rig mishaps at sea and patiently navigated the courts and the Obama administration’s permitting process. Now, geology had rendered its verdict.

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Market Report: Goldman Sachs joins supporters of Shell

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JAMIE NIMMO: Friday 11 March 2016

Goldman Sachs became the latest bulge-bracket broker to throw its weight behind Royal Dutch Shell shares after the oil giant’s mega-merger with BG.

The US bank added the supermajor to its hallowed Conviction Buy list, suggesting that more disciplined spending will help protect its rich dividend, which makes it a favourite for pensions and long-term savers.

The company is still set to splash out more than $30 billion (£21 billion) this year, joining only Petrochina above that level, but Goldman expects this budget to shrink from 2017.

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Brent crude climbs as International Energy Agency says oil may have bottomed out

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Nick FletcherFriday 11 March 2016 

Crude prices and commodity companies are climbing after the International Energy Agency said oil may have bottomed.

The organisation, which coordinates energy policies of industrialised countries, said output from non-Opec countries was beginning to fall quickly and production from Iran – which has only just returned to the export market following the lifting of sanctions – was not dramatic.

FULL ARTICLE

Oil’s upwards rally

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By Ed Crooks: 11 March 2016

Oil this week continued its recent rally, with Brent crude clinging on above $40, but there was speculation that most of the gains of the past two months could be undone if Opec members and Russia failed to finalise their earlier conditional agreement to freeze production.

Reuters reported Opec sources as saying that a suggested meeting in Moscow on March 20 to confirm the deal was unlikely to take place. The critical factor is Iran; other countries say they will not meet to discuss joining the freeze unless Tehran agrees to sign up for it too. President Hassan Rouhani’s chief of staff told a conference in London that his country wanted to increase exports to regain its pre-sanctions market share before it would start talking about cuts. The same official, Mohammad Nahavandian, also sought to reassure international companies that the country would soon unveil new and improved contracts for investors in its oil and gas industry, even though the issue has raised concerns about attempts by foreign businesses to “loot Iran’s natural resources”.

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Shell names Lazard to advise on $30 billion asset sales

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LONDON | BY FREYA BERRY AND RON BOUSSO:

Business | Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:14am GMT

Royal Dutch Shell has appointed investment bank Lazard to advise it on a $30 billion (£21 billion) asset sale programme following its acquisition of BG Group last month, several banking and industry sources said on Friday.

The Anglo-Dutch company has also picked Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley to work on proposed sales of assets, according to the sources, noting that more banks could yet be added to the line-up.

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