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Posts under ‘Oil Sands’

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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Shell boss Ben van Beurden bags a bigger bonus despite falling oil price

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RUSSELL LYNCH: 10 MARCH 2016

Royal Dutch Shell boss Ben van Beurden got a bigger bonus in 2015 — up 6% to €3.5 million (£2.7 million) — even though a tumbling oil price sank the shares by 30% last year.

The chief executive landed an overall pay deal of £5.6 million — although this was lower than 2014, when his package was swollen to €24.2 million by tax handouts and pension payments on taking the helm at the oil major.

Shell’s latest annual report showed his 2015 basic pay up to €1.47 million, but his annual bonus rising from €3.3 million to €3.5 million for a year in which van Beurden masterminded the oil giant’s mega-merger with rival BG.

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The Allure Of Shale Is Wearing Off

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Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 08.47.47By Nick CunninghamThu, 25 February 2016

Royal Dutch Shell revealed its plans to downgrade its emphasis on expensive shale operations, although it was not worded in those terms.

The Anglo-Dutch supermajor says that it would fold its “unconventional” unit (i.e. shale) into its broader upstream business. Shell also announced that Mavin Odum, long-time top official from the North American arm of Royal Dutch Shell, will retire after more than three decades at the company.

The two announcements are consistent with Shell’s decision to takeover BG, which was a large bet on LNG and offshore oil plays, particularly in Brazil and Australia. It is also evidence that Shell is deemphasizing its attention and resources on North America, where it has placed several costly bets that have soured. In 2013, Shell cancelled plans to build a $20 billion gas-to-liquids plant in Louisiana. In 2014, Shell sold off shale acreage in Texas, Colorado, and Kansas, according to Reuters, while also divesting itself of Pennsylvania and Louisiana shale gas assets.

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Alaska failure not behind exit – Shell’s outgoing U.S. chief

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Royal Dutch Shell’s (RDSa.L) costly flameout in Alaska last year was “a huge disappointment,” but did not push top North American executive Marvin Odum to exit the company, he said.

Odum made the comments hours after the company announced he would leave next month after 34 years.

“This should not be interpreted as, ‘Alaska didn’t work, so Marvin’s leaving,” Odum, 57, said in an interview.

Instead, he said he decided it was time to move on after heading Shell Oil Co, the Anglo-Dutch company’s U.S arm, since 2008. He later became head of exploration and production operations in the Americas as well.

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Arctic Was a Bet That Didn’t Pay Off, Departing Shell Chief Says

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Jennifer A Dlouhy: Bloomberg.com: 24 FEB 2016

The departing chief of Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s U.S. division, who presided over its failed quest to find crude in Arctic waters off Alaska, said the effort was still a point of pride because it demonstrated the company’s technical expertise.

Marvin Odum, 57, is leaving the company in a reorganization announced Wednesday. He has been with the company for 34 years and held the post atop its U.S. division, Shell Oil Co., since oil prices were at record highs.

The Arctic was “a big bet,” Odum said in a telephone interview Wednesday. 

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Shell replaces U.S. chief, splits unconventionals unit

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HOUSTON | BY KRISTEN HAYS AND RON BOUSSO: Wed Feb 24, 2016 3:42pm EST

Royal Dutch Shell’s U.S. head Marvin Odum will step down after the company abandoned a troubled drilling project offshore Alaska, and the global oil company said on Wednesday it will split up its U.S. shale and Canadian oil sands unit.

Stung by a 70 percent slide in crude prices since mid-2014, Shell this month reported its lowest annual income in more than a decade and pledged further cost saving measures.

The Anglo-Dutch company said on Wednesday its shale resources unit would become part of the global upstream business led by Andy Brown, and its Athabasca Oil Sands Project and Scotford Upgrader in Canada would be folded into the global downstream unit, headed by John Abbott.

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Royal Dutch Shell’s Management Wants You to Know These 5 Key Things

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Royal Dutch Shell’s Management Wants You to Know These 5 Key Things

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 08.55.47Last quarter was a pretty rough one for Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS-A) (NYSE:RDS-B). The company was forced to take more than $7.9 billion in charges to the income statement to write down some abandoned development projects, and its oil and gas production in the Americas continues to be a bit of a headache. 

Management was well aware of how these results looked, and so on its most recent conference call its executives acknowledged these weaknesses but also had some things to say that any investor in Shell should be aware of. Here are five quotes from the most recent conference call that provide some juicy tidbits into how to view this company over the long term.

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Shell Has Underperformed, But It Could Be The Only Oil Major That Emerges Bigger From The Downturn

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Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 08.55.47…the company’s profits plummeted 70% from last year to $1.77 billion…

Sarfaraz A. Khan: Sunday, Dec 6, 2015

Summary

  • The oil major Royal Dutch Shell is closing in on its biggest-ever merger with the UK based oil and gas producer BG Group.
  • Shell has been the worst performing stock in its peer group and now offers an above average yield of 7.8%.
  • But Shell is generating enough cash from operations and asset sales to cover its spending.
  • More importantly, Shell could be the only oil major that emerges even bigger from the downturn.

The oil major Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) (NYSE:RDS.B) is closing in on its biggest ever merger with the UK based oil and gas producer BG Group (OTCQX:BRGYY). On Wednesday, the Anglo-Dutch oil producer revealed that it has received a green signal from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board following an approval from the country’s anti-trust regulator received last month. The BG Group is one of the major players in Australia’s rising LNG sector where the company has invested more than $20 billion on developing the Queensland Curtis LNG plant.

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Shell Forced to Scale Back Ambitions

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Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 08.55.47By James StaffordThu, 26 November 2015

As with most oil companies, 2015 has been a rough year for Royal Dutch Shell. The Anglo-Dutch company reported a third quarter loss of $6 billion, which included $7.9 billion in impairment charges.

During its third quarter earnings call, Shell’s CEO Ben van Beurden summed up the company’s strategy, emphasizing restraint. “Grow to simplify” is how he put it. What that means in practice is scrapping the Arctic campaign; pulling out of the expensive Carmon Creek oil sands project in Canada; shedding assets in the less desirable parts of North American shale; selling assets elsewhere around the world, including Nigeria; and focusing on its merger with BG, which is a big bet on LNG.

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Lorraine Mitchelmore is stepping down as the head of Shell Canada. But she’s not going quietly.

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Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 08.55.47NOVEMBER 18, 2015 10:20 AM

Extracts

Shell has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent per barrel from its oilsands business in the past five years, through many small efforts, including making more efficient use of its trucks.

Yet that hasn’t stopped Shell from being a target and paying a high price for the anti-oilsands campaign.

Last month it cancelled the 80,000-barrels-a-day Carmon Creek oilsands project in Peace River in mid-construction, taking a $2-billion impairment charge.

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Shell share price: Canada boss leaves company

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Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 08.03.29by Veselin ValchevTuesday, 17 Nov 2015, 11:18 GMT

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (LON:RDSA) announced yesterday that the boss of the firm’s Canada division, Lorraine Mitchelmore, is stepping down from the company at the end of 2015, following six years at the helm.

The move comes less than a month after the Anglo-Dutch oil major abandoned its 80,000 barrel per day Carmon Creek thermal oil sands project in Alberta, amid a reshuffle of the firm’s portfolio.

A spokesman for Shell Canada said Mitchelmore’s departure had nothing to do with the decision to shelve Carmon Creek.

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HERE FIRST TEN DAYS AGO: Lorraine Mitchelmore Fired

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Michael Crothers at Shell E&P Ireland Limited

By John Donovan

On 7 November, we published the first news of the firing of Lorraine Mitchelmore, the President and Country Chair of Shell Canada.

The information, which came from a Shell insider source, was posted on our Shell Blog under the alias of “Manny”

The departure of Lorraine Mitchelmore has been confirmed today by the mainstream media, 10 days later.

She claims that she was not sacked, but stepped down to spend more time with her children. 

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Lorraine Mitchelmore, head of Shell’s Canadian division, stepping down

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The Canadian Press

Published Monday, November 16, 2015 4:00PM EST

CALGARY — The head of Royal Dutch Shell’s Canadian operations is leaving her job at the end of this year.

Lorraine Mitchelmore has been Shell Canada’s president and country chair for past six years and has led the global energy giant’s heavy oil business for three.

Mitchelmore says she decided to move on in order to spend more time with her two daughters, the youngest of whom is in Grade 6.

She says her next career steps will involve contributing to Canada’s prosperity by serving on select boards.

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Are the Oil Sands Going Bust?

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Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 07.55.40Written by Keith KohlPosted November 12, 2015 at 6:51PM

After backing out of an Arctic drilling program, Shell is taking yet another hit by leaving the Canadian oil-sands in Alberta.

To put it simply: the losses were too great.

There was no way Shell would have been able to stay competitive, so it decided to opt out, taking a $2 billion hit in the process.

As you know, the slump in crude oil prices since the summer of 2014 has caused energy companies to re-think upcoming projects.

Shell’s absence leaves at least 18 future projects on hold.

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Shell share price: Company not giving up on oil sands

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by Veselin ValchevWednesday, 11 Nov 2015

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (LON:RDSA) boss Ben van Beurden said last week that the withdrawal from the Carmon Creek thermal oil sands project in Alberta, Canada, does not mean that the Anglo-Dutch oil major has given up on oil sands in general.

Shell’s chief executive noted that the company rates investment opportunities on a project-by-project basis. In contrast to Carmon Creek needing oil prices at about $70 per barrel to break even, van Beurden remarked that Shell’s Fort McMurray oil sands project has operational costs of only $25 per barrel.

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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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Shell Canada carbon capture likely last to get Alberta subsidies

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Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 07.55.40CALGARY, ALBERTA | BY MIKE DE SOUZACommodities | Thu Nov 5, 2015 9:01pm GMT

Royal Dutch Shell’s launch on Friday of Canada’s first oil sands project to capture and bury carbon emissions – assisted by generous public subsidies – will likely be the last to get such funding, the Alberta government said this week.

The left-leaning New Democratic government of the energy-rich Western Canadian province, home to the country’s controversial oil sands, said it no longer plans to fund future efforts using the technology.

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Shell update on BG takeover stokes fears for North Sea jobs

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The update fuelled fears about the implications for the North Sea, where Shell and BG have around 2,800 staff and contractors working in total. Both have big operations centres in Aberdeen. The company has shed 7,500 posts globally this year in response to the crude price plunge. It has cut 500 North Sea jobs since August last year.

MARK WILLIAMSON / Wednesday 4 November 2015 / Business

ROYAL Dutch Shell has highlighted the potential it sees to slash costs following the planned $70 (£45bn) billion takeover of BG in comments that stoked concern about the likely impact on jobs in the North Sea.

The deal will increase the size of Shell’s business in the North Sea where the oil and gas giant may then make significant cuts as directors try to achieve the returns they are targeting.

In an update on strategy, Shell said it has increased its estimate of the synergies it will be able to squeeze out of the enlarged business by $1bn since the deal was announced in April, to $3.5bn.

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Shell’s boss fights to keep BG deal alive as he attempts to calm jittery investors

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By LAURA CHESTERS FOR DAILY MAIL: 3 November 2015

Royal Dutch Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden is the oil industry’s equivalent of a swan – below his calm demeanour he is furiously paddling to keep his planned £40billion mega-deal afloat.

Shell is buying rival BG Group and, to get the deal away and for it to make sense as the oil price plummets, van Beurden has taken the knife to Shell’s costs and projects.

Investors have been getting jittery as the price of oil has halved since summer 2014 and has stubbornly remained below $60 a barrel since the takeover was announced in April. Brent Crude continues to fluctuate but experts predict the price will stay ‘lower for longer’ than may have been expected.

However, van Beurden, who took on the top job last January and has a lot riding personally on the deal, promises it will still work with an oil price in the mid-$60s a barrel. Yesterday he insisted: ‘Although oil prices have fallen in 2015, the valuation case for the BG acquisition still looks compelling today for both sets of shareholders.’

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Shell carves more savings from BG Group deal, expects further job cuts

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Posted on November 3, 2015 | By Collin Eaton

HOUSTON — Shell has found another $1 billion in costs it could shake free after it buys BG Group, company officials said Tuesday, partly in response to critics of the huge acquisition Shell announced when crude was more expensive in the spring.

The cuts would mean more job losses on top of the 7,500 in layoffs Shell has announced this year, but officials declined to say how many jobs would be affected or lost.

The value of Shell’s original $70 billion offer for the British gas producer, which is known for its prized Brazilian deep-water fields and its big liquefied natural gas business, fell to $56 billion a month ago and edged back up to about $60 billion as Shell’s share price and crude prices have fallen. Shell had proposed to pay for the deal mostly with shares.

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Shell share price: Oil major sells downstream assets

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by Veselin ValchevMonday, 02 Nov 2015

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (LON:RDSA) announced today that it has completed the sale of two assets from its downstream portfolio as part of its strategy to divest lower-margin businesses, as profits wane amid the depressed oil price.

The Hague-based oil major has completed the sale of its Butagaz liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) business in France to DCC Energy for €464 million (£332 million).

The sale follows a binding offer received by Shell in May, in addition to consultation with staff and regulatory approval, the company noted.

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Shell boss confident of ‘good’ ruling from ACCC on BG takeover

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Angela Macdonald-Smith: 30 October 2015

Royal Dutch Shell’s global chief executive Ben van Beurden says there is “massive support” from Australian federal and state governments for the oil giant’s $US70 billion ($98.6 billion) takeover of BG Group and is confident the national competition regulator will wave the deal through.

Mr van Beurden said even though the decision from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on the deal had been put back twice, he was “confident that they will come back with a good and prudent ruling”.

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In defence of Shell CEO Ben van Beurden

By a regular contributor

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Only one member of the EC is directly involved in North American activities, Marvin Odum. 

Perhaps worth noting is that investment decisions on the scale of the recent Shell write-offs would have required approval by the entire EC in the Hague long before BvB was around. Few of the EC members who made those decisions are still present. 

It seems strange that so many of the huge projects which have been abandoned are in North America, and serious questions need to be asked about why approval was given by the EC for these huge projects. Only one member of the EC is directly involved in North American activities, Marvin Odum. 

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Even as it walks away from Arctic drilling, Shell keeps door open for future work

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Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 14.03.31Posted on October 29, 2015 | By Jennifer A. Dlouhy

WASHINGTON — Shell is walking away from oil exploration in Arctic waters north of Alaska, but it isn’t ready to close the door completely.

Disappointing results from a critical test well at the company’s Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea, combined with the high costs of developing the region and an “unpredictable regulatory environment” have prompted Royal Dutch Shell “to cease further exploration activity offshore Alaska for the foreseeable future,” CEO Ben van Beurden told reporters Thursday.

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Royal Dutch Shell’s share price tumbles as group posts dramatic loss as falling oil prices take toll

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Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 08.02.52by Catherine Neilan: 29 Oct 2015

Royal Dutch Shell’s share price tumbled this morning after it revealed a third quarter loss of $7.4bn (£4.8bn) as the company gets to grips with the falling oil price. 

The figures

The Anglo-Dutch oil giant posted its dramatic loss on the back of nearly $8bn-worth of exceptional items. Adjusted net income fell to $1.77bn, missing expectations that had put the figure at $2.92bn. 

Shell posted a CCS earnings loss of $6.12bn, 216 per cent lower than the same time last year. 

Cash flow from operating activities for the third quarter 2015 was $11.2bn, down from $12.8bn for the same quarter last year.  Meanwhile gearing has increased to 12.7 per cent, up from 11.7 per cent at the same point in 2014.   

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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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Shell halts construction on new Alberta oil sands project

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CALGARY, ALBERTA: Tue Oct 27, 2015

Royal Dutch Shell Plc will not continue construction of its 80,000 barrel per day Carmon Creek thermal oil sands project in northern Alberta because of the lack of infrastructure to move Canadian crude to market, the company said on Tuesday.

Shell said the decision to halt the project was also the result of “current uncertainties” and chief executive Ben van Beurden said the company was having to manage costs in today’s low oil price environment.

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Shell cancels big Canadian oil sands project

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Posted on October 27, 2015 | By Collin Eaton

HOUSTON – Royal Dutch Shell says it will stop building a large Canadian oil sands project after low crude prices pushed it out of the company’s shortlist of profitable projects.

It’s the second large project Shell has canceled since August, when it ditched a $7 billion effort to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska. Shell said Tuesday its Carmon Creek project in Alberta, which was expected to pump 80,000 barrels of crude a day, was sanctioned in late 2013 when oil prices were still hovering around $100 a barrel.

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Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 21.23.40Energy giant will take a $2 billion write-down; cites uncertain business environment

“We are making changes to Shell’s portfolio mix by reviewing our longer-term upstream options world-wide, and managing affordability and exposure in the current world of lower oil prices. This is forcing tough choices at Shell,” Ben van Beurden, Royal Dutch Shell’s chief executive, said in a statement.

FULL ARTICLE

Shell Takes $2 Billion Charge to Quit Oil-Sands Project

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Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 07.55.40David Marino: 27 October 2015

  • Company stops work at Carmon Creek facility in Alberta

  • Halted oil-sands work follows Shell’s Arctic drilling exit

Royal Dutch Shell Plc made its second major strategic change in two months, announcing it will take a $2 billion charge to exit an oil-sands project in Alberta.

Shell is stopping construction on the 80,000 barrel-a-day Carmon Creek facility, the company said in a statement on its website Tuesday. The charge will be recorded in third-quarter earnings, which are due to be released Thursday.

The cancellation comes a month after Shell said it would stop drilling in the Arctic, where it spent $7 billion searching for oil. Shell is among several companies pulling back spending as oil prices linger below $50 a barrel, less than half of their 2014 high.

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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 will despoil the Arctic. But Barack Obama is the real villain here

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Clinton nailed Obama this week: “The Arctic is a unique treasure. Given what we know, it’s not worth the risk of drilling,” she wrote.

Others put it more strongly: “It’s perplexing and depressing to hear President Obama say he wants to fix climate change but then approve Arctic drilling.

FULL ARTICLE

Here’s How Shell Can Restart Its Tar Sands Projects In Canada

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By: MICHEAL KAUFMAN

Exploring for new oil has now become a difficult task for the oil majors. Oil and gas are now mostly situated in the deep-waters, Canadian tar sands and the Arctic waters where the cost of exploration and production is very high. These high costs coupled with the lower crude oil prices make the task difficult for oil companies.

Crude oil prices last week fell again following claims by Iran to double its production if a nuclear deal was reached. The US benchmark for crude oil, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) which had gone high at $60 per barrel, has plunged again to less than $45 per barrel.

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Shell Arctic Drill Rig Confronted at Sea by Indigenous Activists and Greenpeace Canada

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Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 22.51.53Press release from Greenpeace

June 17, 2015 – 4:51pm – By The Arctic Journal

Indigenous artist and activist Audrey Siegl today approached the 300-foot-tall Polar Pioneer drill rig in an inflatable boat launched from the MY Esperanza, while two Greenpeace Canada swimmers spread out in the water behind her to put their bodies in the way of the rig heading to the Arctic to drill for oil.

Siegl, dressed in the traditional regalia of the Musqueam people, stood at the front of the inflatable boat with her drum and feather out in front of her, signaling the Polar Pioneer to stop. Speaking from the action, she said:

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Shell braves a return to its Arctic ordeals: But, with oil at such a low price, why now?

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Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 21.09.23By LAURA CHESTERS FOR THE DAILY MAIL: 13 May 2015

New Year’s Eve 2012 is a date Lieutenant Commander Jim Cooley will never forget. As part of the rescue team from the US Coast Guard he flew out in treacherous, stormy conditions to rescue 18 men aboard Royal Dutch Shell’s stranded Kulluk oil rig.

Earlier that winter another drilling rig in Shell’s fleet, the Noble Discoverer, nearly ran aground and was towed to port after experiencing vibrations in a propeller shaft.

The giant, perfectly round, steel Kulluk rig which crew were forced to abandon, was eventually towed to safety in a nearby bay. No oil was spilled but the two incidents were a PR disaster for Shell in such a region. They led to the oil major abandoning its Arctic plans entirely for the next two years and environment protestors issued a collective sigh of relief.

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Shell Canada: Carmon Creek oilsands project faces two-year delay

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Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 21.26.38DAN HEALING, CALGARY HERALDPublished on: May 8, 2015

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Royal Dutch Shell says first oil production from its 80,000-barrel-per-day Carmon Creek thermal oilsands project northeast of Peace River in northern Alberta will be delayed for two years until 2019.

The project was sanctioned by the company in October 2013 and estimated by analysts at the time to cost about $3 billion to build. Its delay was confirmed in a first-quarter update by chief financial officer Simon Henry on April 30, as he described how Shell would reduce capital spending by $2 billion in 2015 to $33 billion US or less.

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Shell takes hit of £3.2bn amid weak oil price as UK companies’ profit warnings go up

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By JON REES, FINANCIAL MAIL ON SUNDAY: 26 April 2015

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The Anglo-Dutch oil giant, which has tabled a £46billion cash-and-shares deal to buy British gas explorer BG Group, is poised to report profits falling to £1.6billion from £4.8billion for the same period last year.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil, the benchmark for the oil industry which is denominated in dollars, has fallen from $115 (£76.60) a barrel last summer to $64 on Friday. Other oil indices have fallen too.

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Massive Layoffs Occurring in the Oil Industry

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 08.45.23From an article by Wall Street Sector Selector Staff published 19 March 2015

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Prices Fall to a Six-Year Low for U.S. Oil

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 23.38.17Article by Stanley Reed published 17 March 2015 in the New York edition of the New York Times

Prices Fall to a Six-Year Low for U.S. Oil

Oil prices fell to six-year lows on Monday in the face of concerns that a glut in the United States was outpacing already-brimming storage facilities.

Additionally, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries published a report suggesting that the cartel remained reluctant to intervene to prop up prices.

The direction of oil prices, which had risen sharply from January lows, has fallen back in recent days. Traders are now focused on the second quarter of the year, when demand for oil is traditionally weak because of the end of winter and scheduled refinery shutdowns for maintenance.

On Monday, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude, the main United States benchmark, fell about 2 percent to about $44 a barrel, a six-year low, while Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell by about 2 percent to about $53 a barrel.

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Keystone and the Riddle of the Tar Sands

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BY MARK DOWIE 2/25/15 AT 10:49 PM

Late 21st-century graduate students of business studying the growing problem of stranded assets will almost certainly focus on the history of Canada’s Athabasca Oil Sands (a.k.a. the tar sands). The case studies they read will either describe the gradual abandonment of the world’s largest reserve of bituminous crude or they will read about the tar sands’ miraculous last-minute escape from becoming the world’s largest stranded asset.

For either outcome, the turning point they will look back on is just about now.

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Canada’s energy slump to wipe out $23-billion over two years

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 08.45.23From an article by Jeff Lewis published 24 Feb 2015 by The Globe and Mail under the headline:

Canada’s energy slump to wipe out $23-billion over two years

Extracts

The slump in Alberta’s energy sector is set to wipe out billions more in corporate earnings, complicating growth plans and putting investor dividends at greater risk.

An analysis of more than 30 major oil sands projects by consultancy Wood Mackenzie Group says as much as $23-billion (U.S.) of cash flow will disappear over the next two years – even if U.S. crude oil prices rise to $55 a barrel this year and $65 in 2016 from today’s lows.

Even as the energy sector reels from the sharp drop in oil prices, the Edinburgh-based consultancy said a series of expansions and new projects where investments were made long before oil prices hit the skids will add as much as 458,000 barrels per day of oil sands production over the next two years.

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Another nail in the coffin of tar sands

BBC NEWS: Obama vetoes Keystone oil pipeline bill: 24 Feb 2015

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US President Barack Obama has vetoed a bill that would have approved construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The Republican-led Congress sent the bill to the president on Tuesday.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama vetoed the bill “without any drama or fanfare or delay”.

The 875-mile (1,400km) pipeline would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to the US state of Nebraska where it joins pipes running to Texas.

The project has pitted Republicans and other supporters, who say it will create much needed jobs, against many Democrats and environmentalists, who warn the pipeline will add to carbon emissions and contribute to global warming.

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Why Shell Withdrew Application For Pierre River Oil Sands Project

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By: MICHEAL KAUFMAN

Published: Feb 24, 2015 at 7:48 am EST

Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) indicated on Monday that it has withdrawn the application to develop Pierre River Oil Sands in northern Alberta. The oil sands mine was first proposed by Shell Canada in 2007.

The Pierre River oil sands are estimated to produce around 200,000 barrels of oil per day. The company had earlier expected to finish the project’s construction by 2010 and production was expected to initiate by 2018. Last year, Shell specified that it had to reassess the development timeline of the project and asked the regulatory authorities to halt the review for the time being.

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Shell Canada withdraws oilsands mine application as a cost-cutting measure

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Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 21.26.38By Dan Healing of the Calgary Herald

Extracts

The Pierre River oilsands mine proposed by Shell Canada in 2007, split out of a joint application in 2009 and delayed indefinitely last year has been withdrawn entirely from the regulatory approval process.

“The Pierre River mine remains a very long-term opportunity for us but it’s not currently a priority,” said Lorraine Mitchelmore, president of Calgary-based Shell Canada, in a news release on Monday.

“Our current focus is on making our heavy oil business as economically and environmentally competitive as possible. We will continue to hold the leases and can reapply in the future when the time is right.”

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Slump in Oil Prices Brings Pressure, and Investment Opportunity

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 09.23.28An article by Michael Corkery and Peter Eavis published 2 Feb 2015 by The New York Times under the headline: 

“Slump in Oil Prices Brings Pressure, and Investment Opportunity”

American history is littered with oil busts that created big winners and losers.

Now, as the cracks appear in the latest energy boom, the forces of failure and opportunity are stirring again. Resolute Energy, a Colorado company that borrowed big in the boom, is among those in an endgame that is being played up and down Wall Street and in the vast oil fields that new drilling methods have opened in recent years.

It is a struggle that could take place at scores of other companies, leading to thousands of layoffs, as well as losses for banks and investors. At the same time, new fortunes stand to be made.

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Who Will Rule the Oil Market?

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 09.23.28OPINION ARTICLE BY DANIEL YERGIN PUBLISHED IN PRINT BY THE NEW YORK TIMES ON SATURDAY 25 JAN 2015

WASHINGTON — A HISTORIC change of roles is at the heart of the clamor and turmoil over the collapse of oil prices, which have plummeted by 50 percent since September. For decades, Saudi Arabia, backed by the Persian Gulf emirates, was described as the “swing producer.” With its immense production capacity, it could raise or lower its output to help the global market adjust to shortages or surpluses.

But on Nov. 27, at the OPEC meeting in Vienna, Saudi Arabia effectively resigned from that role and OPEC handed over all responsibility for oil prices to the market, which the Saudi oil minister, Ali Al-Naimi, predicted would “stabilize itself eventually.” OPEC’s decision was hardly unanimous. Venezuela and Iran, their economies in deep trouble, lobbied hard for production cutbacks, to no avail. Afterward, Iran accused Saudi Arabia of waging an “oil war” and being part of a “plot” against it.

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Market Collapse: 5 percent of Shell’s capital invested in money-losing projects?

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 11.59.38From an article by Joe Carroll and Tara Patel published 6 Jan 2015 by BloombergBusinessweek under the headline:

“Oilfield Writedowns Loom as Market Collapse Guts Drilling Values” 

Shell, Europe’s largest energy producer, may have as much as 5 percent of its capital tied up in money-losing projects.

Extracts

Tumbling crude prices will trigger a flood of oilfield writedowns starting this month after industry returns slumped to a 16-year low, calling into question half a decade of exploration.

With crude prices down more than 50 percent from their 2014 peak, fields as far-flung as Kazakhstan and Australia are no longer worth pumping, said a team of Citigroup Inc. (C:US) analysts led by Alastair Syme. Companies on the hook for risky, high-cost projects that don’t make sense in a $50-a-barrel market include international titans such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc and small wildcatters like Sanchez Energy Corp.

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Jesse Colombo, the economic analyst who predicted the oil prices bust 

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FULL CREDIT TO THE EXPERT WHO CORRECTLY PREDICTED THE OIL PRICE CRASH

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 21.08.35By John Donovan

In June of this year Forbes.com published an extensive prescient article by Jesse Colombo, an economic analyst, under the headline:

“9 Reasons Why Oil Prices May Be Headed For A Bust”

His prediction made 6 months ago:

“There are a growing number of reasons, however, why crude oil prices are likely to finally experience a bust in the not-too-distant future.”

Jesse Colombo correctly predicted an event of huge significance. Ask Putin or Shell’s Ben van Beurden.

Some further extracts from his brilliant article, which deserves reading in full.

While extreme aggregate trading positions can persist for quite a while, as is the case in the crude oil market for the past few years, they are still a reliable indication that a powerful market reversal is likely to occur when the proper catalyst eventually appears and sends speculators heading for the exits. So far, no bearish catalyst has presented itself in the crude oil market, but the other points that I’ve listed in this piece may combine to form a perfect storm that finally causes the oil market to crack.

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Shell and the National Gallery: welcome to a Moral Maze

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Spotted this article on the website of the former Royal Dutch Shell executive, Paddy Briggs. 

By Paddy Briggs

I went to the superb exhibition “Rembrandt: The Late Works” at the National Gallery yesterday. The exhibition is sponsored by Shell – quite strongly as it happens. There are a couple of prominent Shell promotional displays and the Shell emblem is visible all over, though not within the actual gallery where the works are to be seen. This suggests that the Shell sponsorship was financially quite large, even that the event, in straightened times for the Arts, might not have gone ahead without it.

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Opec is finished – the oil crash will continue

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 18.34.00The Opec oil cartel no longer exists in any meaningful sense and crude prices will slump to $50 a barrel over the coming months as market forces shake out the weakest producers, Bank of America has warned. The major oil companies will have to cut back on projects with a break-even cost below $80 for Brent crude.

Extracts from an article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard published by The Telegraph 8:01PM GMT 09 Dec 2014

The Opec oil cartel no longer exists in any meaningful sense and crude prices will slump to $50 a barrel over the coming months as market forces shake out the weakest producers, Bank of America has warned.

Revolutionary changes sweeping the world’s energy industry will drive down the price of liquefied natural gas (LNG), creating a “multi-year” glut and a much cheaper source of gas for Europe.

Francisco Blanch, the bank’s commodity chief, said Opec is “effectively dissolved” after it failed to stabilize prices at its last meeting. “The consequences are profound and long-lasting,“ he said.

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