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Posts under ‘Oil Sands’

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.


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

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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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Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 08.45.23Shell is expected to report this week that the weak oil price wiped two-thirds off its earnings in the first three months of the year.

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


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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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


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?


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.


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

In June of this year 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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Shell Arts Sponsorship Protest at the National Gallery

By John Donovan

Royal Dutch Shell has suffered a string of PR debacles. 

In October 2013, Shell Out Sounds, a group of singers, musicians and activists who opposed Shell’s sponsorship of Southbank Centre, staged an unsanctioned performance from the Royal Festival Hall’s choir seats in protest of a Shell Classic International concert. 

The campaigners condemned the so-called ‘oil-branded concerts’ and condemned Shell for its record of environmental damage.

The venue dropped Shell: “Campaigners celebrate end of Shell’s Southbank sponsorship”Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 17.18.29

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Shell one of 5 Companies Al Gore Says Are Doomed

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 09.25.26“Royal Dutch Shell is another company with a doomed oil sands project, according to the Carbon Tracker Initiative. Its Carmon Creek project needs oil prices to hit $157 per barrel in order to be profitable. On top of that, Royal Dutch Shell is seeking to drill for oil in the Arctic, which has already wasted $5 billion of investors’ capital and would waste more money if drilling restarted.”

By John Donovan

According to an article by Matt DiLallo published by The Motley Fool on 23 August, former US VP Al Gore believes that the balance sheets of ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, ConocoPhillips, Total SA and BP plc include $7 trillion of worthless ‘unburnable” carbon assets. 


“This unburnable carbon is the oil, gas, and coal that is still in the earth that, if extracted and burned, would push the globe over the edge in terms of climate change. Because this is an edge we can’t cross, it would suggest that the companies owning the assets are all but doomed.”

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Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com News Roundup: 18 August 2014

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Firstbiz. has published an article setting out 5 things it says you should know about the Sultan.

See “Meet Sultan of Brunei, the man willing to shell out more than $2 bn for Sahara’s hotels

Extract: “Ironically, the Sultan’s Beverly Hills Hotel and Dorchester Collection properties in the United States have been subject to a boycott by many, including Hollywood personalities, following the Sharia penal code — which levies harsh punishments like flogging, the severing of limbs, and death by stoning for homosexuals and adulterers — that was instituted in the country of Brunei in early May.” 

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BP a better investment than Shell right now

Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 00.47.49Extracts from an article by David Thorpe published 22 July 2014 by What Investment under the headline: “M&G: BP is a better investment than Shell right now”

Felton’s reason for not investing in Shell at present is that he believes the company has made a significant strategic blunder.

‘Shell has always been the high cost, low risk producer. They are the archetypal supertanker of the oil industry. But a few years ago, they began to focus on extracting very expensive oil from the Canadian sands. The rationale was that the higher production cost would be offset by the ease of transporting the oil just next door to the US. And that made sense, when the US was the largest oil market in the world, but the rapid acceleration of the fracking industry means that the US could become self-sufficient in energy within one or two years, which means Shell wouldn’t have that market.’

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Construction hits midway point on Shell’s Quest carbon-capture project

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 16.29.29Extract from an article by David Howell by the Edmonton Journal on 17 April 2014

FORT SASKATCHEWAN — Construction on Shell Canada’s Quest carbon capture and storage project is at the midway point and the facility should be ready to start operating in late 2015, company officials said Thursday. Quest will be the world’s first oilsands CCS project, and Shell’s first CCS project on a commercial scale.


Selection of links to Shell related articles

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 16.29.29Selection of links to Shell related articles kindly supplied by a regular contributor

Shell starts commercial US output of new motor oil made from 

Hydrocarbon Processing-21 hours ago Shell refers to its novel motor oil process as PurePlus technology, a patented process of converting natural gas into a clear base oil, which is 

Back in oil shale

Grand Junction Sentinel-10 hours ago Shell, Chevron and American Shale Oil hold R&D leases in Rio Blanco County from the earlier round of leasing — including three leases in 

Big Oil’s Biggest Project in Decades Is About to Start Paying Off

Motley Fool-by Rupert Hargreaves-9 minutes ago Indeed, the project is so large that it is taking a consortium of oil majors to develop it, including ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM ) , Royal Dutch Shell 

Review: Little Thing, Big Thing

Irish Times (blog)-2 hours ago Like O’Kelly’s recent Fionnuala , his concern is the power of the oil industry,  But where Fionnuala made a punching bag out of a Shell Corrib 

Doubling Tar Sands production for Imperial War

CounterPunch-7 hours ago Given the size of soon to be exploited gas and oil reserves within …. to existing operations elsewhere, such as at Shell’s Peace River plant, that  Energy diplomacy with the Dana Gas chief executive

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Major oilsands project put on hold by Shell

JOURNAL of COMMERCE Article by Richard Gilbert: 19 Feb 2014

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 16.29.29Royal Dutch Shell has asked federal regulators to halt the environmental assessment for a proposed mine in northeastern Alberta, as part of a plan to re-evaluate the timing of developments. The proposed PRM project involves the construction of an oilsands surface mine and bitumen extraction facilities, which would be located about 90 km north of Fort McMurray on the west side of the Athabasca River.


Shell halts work on Pierre River oil sands mine in northern Alberta

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| February 12, 2014 5:18 PM ET

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 00.32.08CALGARY – Royal Dutch Shell PLC told regulators it is halting work on its Pierre River mine in northern Alberta’s oil sands and that it has no idea when it may revive the blueprints. The Hague-based company this year cancelled plans to drill in Alaska’s Arctic and postponed development of a liquefied natural gas venture offshore Australia. The company issued a rare profit warning last month before reporting a 49% plunge in quarterly earnings to $2.9-billion.

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Shell’s lavish spending on quixotic drilling adventures

Screen Shot 2013-10-16 at 15.38.09Shell’s quest for new reserves has seen it pump billions into money-devouring plays such as its Athabasca Oil Sands Project in northern Alberta and the Kashagan oilfield, a deeply troubled project in Kazakhstan. It’s even tried deep water drilling in the high Arctic. That attempt ended when the stormy waters of the Chukchi Sea crippled its Kulluk drilling platform, forcing the company to pull up stakes. Investors can’t simply count on ever rising oil prices to justify Shell’s lavish spending on quixotic drilling adventures around the world.

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Why Turning a Buck Isn’t Easy Anymore for Oil’s Biggest Players

Former Chief Economist, CIBC World Markets

27 Jan 2014

Judging by pump prices, Canadian drivers might think oil companies were rolling in profits that only move higher. Lately, though, the big boys in the global oil industry are finding that earning a buck isn’t as easy as it used to be.

Royal Dutch Shell, for instance, just announced that fourth quarter earnings would fall woefully short of expectations. The Anglo-Dutch energy giant warned its quarterly profits will be down 70 percent from a year earlier. Full-year earnings, meanwhile, are expected to be a little more than half of what they were the previous year.

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Is our federal government too close to Big Oil?

Environment Canada’s recent approval of the Jackpine oilsands mine expansion appears to prove, once and for all, that the current federal government works for corporations, not for the benefit of this country.

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Environment Canada’s recent approval of the Jackpine oilsands mine expansion appears to prove, once and for all, that the current federal government works for corporations, not for the benefit of this country.

The Jackpine oilsands mine expansion is a project that would increase the current extraction of bitumen by 100,000 barrels per day, making the total extraction from that mine around 350,000 barrels per day.

Shell, who is spearheading the project, by its own environmental assessment, has declared that 185, 872 hectares of wetlands will be permanently lost or altered and that there will be 40-60 per cent loss of habitat for migratory birds and some species at risk.

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Federal government questioned over leaking tailings ponds in Alberta

The secretariat asked Canadian environment officials to explain documented cases of contaminated tailings water being discharged into Jackpine Creek, Beaver Creek, McLean Creek and the Athabasca River, and noted that Environment Canada expressed concern that tailings ponds would be discharged into fish-bearing waters during an assessment of Shell Canada’s Jackpine project. As part of that assessment, Shell acknowledged “some seepage” would occur, the commission said.

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By Marty Klinkenberg, Edmonton Journal December 12, 2013

EDMONTON – A North American trade body has asked Ottawa to respond to allegations that it has failed to enforce its own laws when it comes to oilsands tailings ponds.

The environmental secretariat has given the government 30 days to respond to allegations that it has failed to enforce the federal Fisheries Act by allowing the ponds to leak contaminants into the Athabasca River watershed.

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation, a body created to monitor enforcement of environmental regulations in Canada, the United States and Mexico, could launch a formal review of the federal government’s procedures if dissatisfied with its response.

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Four Remarkable Revelations About Big Oil in 2013

Perhaps the most surprising disclosure of them all came earlier this month, when Shell made its rift with the global coal industry public, admitting to an Australian newspaper that its lobbying efforts may have influenced the World Bank’s decision in July to restrict financing of new coal power stations, except in “rare circumstances.”

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Recent disclosures show powerful industry adjusting to uncertain future.

By Geoff Dembicki, Today,

In some ways 2013 will be remembered as a year of stalemate for one of North America’s richest and most influential industries. It marked 12 more months that President Barack Obama was unable — or unwilling — to make a decision on TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. In Canada the political and economic fate of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline remained equally uncertain.

Yet the past few months have also yielded rare glimpses into the preparations major oil and gas companies are making for a disorienting future. The four headline-making disclosures listed below show them reckoning like never before with increasingly powerful opponents, a global energy system in transition, the financial risk of rising carbon emissions and bitter economic rivalries.

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Ottawa approves Shell’s Jackpine oil sands expansion

The federal Conservative government has approved plans to expand an oil sands mining project, despite the environment minister saying the effort is likely to cause significant “adverse environmental effects.

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CARRIE TAIT: CALGARY — The Globe and Mail: Published

The federal Conservative government has approved plans to expand an oil sands mining project, despite the environment minister saying the effort is likely to cause significant “adverse environmental effects.”

The government on Friday gave its blessing to Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s expansion plans at its Jackpine mine project, about 70 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, Alta. The approval comes with a list of conditions tied to wildlife, the environment and First Nations.

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Canada’s Tar Sands Oil Boom Yields Toxic Wastewater Lakes

Companies including Syncrude Canada, Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil affiliate Imperial Oil are running out of room to store the contaminated water that is a byproduct of the process used to turn bitumen—a highly viscous form of petroleum—into diesel and other fuels. By 2022 they will be producing so much of the stuff that a month’s output of wastewater could turn New York’s Central Park into a toxic reservoir 11 feet deep…

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Canada is blessed with 3 million lakes, more than any country on earth—and it may soon start manufacturing new ones. The oil sands industry is in the throes of a major expansion, powered by C$20 billion ($19 billion) a year in investments. Companies including Syncrude Canada, Royal Dutch Shell (RDS/A), and ExxonMobil (XOM) affiliate Imperial Oil are running out of room to store the contaminated water that is a byproduct of the process used to turn bitumen—a highly viscous form of petroleum—into diesel and other fuels. By 2022 they will be producing so much of the stuff that a month’s output of wastewater could turn New York’s Central Park into a toxic reservoir 11 feet deep, according to the Pembina Institute, a nonprofit in Calgary that promotes sustainable energy.

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Construction moving forward at oilsands facility

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November 13, 2013

Royal Dutch Shell is moving forward with the construction of the Carmon Creek oilsands project in northeast Alberta, which will significantly increase production at its Peace River complex.

“I’m pleased we’re moving ahead with this important project,” said Lorraine Mitchelmore, executive vice president heavy oil.

“Shell’s Peace River oil leases represent a significant development opportunity. Our decision to invest in Carmon Creek has been carefully studied with the goal of designing a project that is competitive from a commercial, technological and environmental perspective.”

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Shell and Iran on Dutch TV

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Perhaps you can give a little ‘heads up’ to your followers in the Netherlands.

On TV station Nederland 2 there is the programme ‘Tegenlicht’.

Shell apparently refused to cooperate so they did the research on big data available on the internet.

In a preview yesterday evening it was claimed that all will be revealed on the Shell connection with Iran. The actual programme is being aired tonight, Monday 21 October.

It promises to be an interesting event!

Your site is getting too small to capture all the stuff from Shell in Ireland, shalegas disaster, Alaska disaster, looming tarsands disaster, very poor American management, earthquakes in Groningen etc etc.

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U.S. govt gauges interest in new Chukchi Sea offshore oil leasing

Screen Shot 2013-01-11 at 20.09.51(Reuters) – The U.S. government on Thursday started to formally gauge energy companies’ interest in future oil and gas leasing in the Chukchi Sea near Alaska, site of a trouble-plagued 2012 exploration season for Royal Dutch Shell Plc. Shell did preliminary drilling on one Chukchi well in 2012. After experiencing equipment failures and accidents, it declined to drill again this year. The company has announced no decision about returning to complete that well or drill others in 2014.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Sept 26 | Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:07pm EDT

(Reuters) – The U.S. government on Thursday started to formally gauge energy companies’ interest in future oil and gas leasing in the Chukchi Sea near Alaska, site of a trouble-plagued 2012 exploration season for Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

The “Call for Information and Nominations” issued by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is the first step in a potential Chukchi Sea lease sale under consideration for 2016, officials said.

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Shell’s oil sands deliverer becomes downstream boss

Abbott also takes on a headache in the form of the company’s Motiva U.S. refining joint venture operation, where a new refinery unit faces piping and vibration problems .

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Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:10pm BST

By Andrew Callus

(Reuters) – Shell is to make John Abbott head of its fuels and chemicals business, pitching the deliverer of its Canadian oil sands expansion project into an industry debate over whether the “downstream” business he will run still fits with oil and gas extraction.

A 53-year-old Briton who joined Europe’s top oil company straight from university in 1981, Abbott is credited with bringing Royal Dutch Shell’s Athabasca oil sands expansion project in Canada on stream in the period 2008-2012.

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Canada’s hidden and unwanted gift in its heavy crudes

Promoters of Canadian tar sands development and the sale of large volumes of Canadian heavy oil never mention this hidden and unwanted ‘gift’ of high sulfur ‘coal’ that comes with the heavy oil. It is the ‘dirty little secret’ of the Canadian heavy oil crude that nobody in the oil industry wants to talk about. Where this stuff will be stored is a problem yet to be solved. At the present time it cannot be used as a fuel in the US because it is so polluting, worse that the dirtiest coal mined in the US.

Article authored by a regular contributor


The following links tell a story about Canadian tar sands development that is interesting because they bring attention to a serious problem associated with the refining of the heavy crudes and bitumen from Canadian tar sand that has yet to be debated.

The refining of Canadian heavy crudes from the tar sands of Alberta in large volumes is going to produce vast amounts of a high sulfur content solid carbon by-product called ‘petroleum coke’, or ‘pet coke’. Disposal of this unwanted by-product will quickly become a problem for the refiners and nobody seems to be paying attention to that little fact.

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Industry veteran John Broadhurst has confronted three decades of oil sands challenges

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Claudia Cattaneo | 13/06/14 | Last Updated: 13/06/14 6:57 PM ET

John Broadhurst knows how tough it gets when you put innovation on a schedule.

After a 32-year career in which he led Shell’s entry, development and expansion into the Alberta deposits, Mr. Broadhurst, 54, vice-president heavy oil, is retiring Monday and letting others solve the next oil sands challenges.

He was one of six Royal Dutch Shell PLC employees in 1996 assigned to figure out, after two unsuccessful attempts, whether an oil sands lease owned since the 1950s could be produced economically, in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.

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Opponents of Oxford’s partnership with Shell

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 09.07.55Shell’s research money is also buying legitimacy for its unconscionable activities globally. These include human rights abuses in the Niger delta, reckless drilling plans in the Arctic, fracking in South Africa, and carbon-intensive tar sands extraction that undermines indigenous rights in Canada.

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Thursday 9 May 2013

Today sees the launch of a new partnership between the University of Oxford and Shell. As Oxford alumni, staff and students, we are united in our opposition to this new partnership and the growing trend of oil companies funding, and thus influencing, the research agenda of our universities. Shell is a particularly inappropriate choice of funder for an Earth sciences laboratory. Shell’s core business activities and political lobbying are pushing us towards a future with a global temperature increase well in excess of 2C. Oxford’s own climate scientists are warning us that we need to leave the majority of known fossil fuels in the ground, and yet this new partnership will undertake research that will help Shell to find and extract even more hydrocarbons.

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Top Canada court will not hear oil sands case

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CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – Canada’s Supreme Court on Thursday declined to hear an Alberta aboriginal group’s application to block an upcoming regulatory decision for a Royal Dutch Shell oil sands development.

The aboriginal group sought the block because it was not adequately consulted.

The country’s top court did not give reasons for refusing to hear the case, which was also dismissed by the Alberta Court of Appeal in November.

The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation argued that the regulatory panel weighing Shell’s application for its Jackpine mine expansion in northern Alberta should consider whether the government met its constitutional duty to consult the native group.

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Shell Says Energy Efficiency in Oil, Gas Production a Challenge

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By Sarah Kent: Published April 11, 2013 by Dow Jones Newswires

Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB) said Thursday that maintaining energy efficiency in its oil and gas production will prove a challenge in coming years.

“We expect that maintaining the energy efficiency levels of recent years will be more difficult in the future as existing fields age and production comes from more energy-intensive sources,” Shell said in its 2012 sustainability report.

The Anglo-Dutch oil major said its energy efficiency record for oil and gas production, excluding oil sands and gas to liquids, worsened last year compared to the year before.

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One-on-one with Shell Oil president Marvin Odum

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The U.S. will always need our oil.

James Cowan

Marvin Odum’s job titles could fill several business cards. He is president of Shell Oil Co. in the United States, and sits on the executive committee of Royal Dutch Shell, its parent company. But for Canadians, his most important role is serving as the executive director of Shell Upstream Americas, where he supervises exploration and production across the Western Hemisphere. Falling within his portfolio are the company’s Canadian operations, including the Athabasca oilsands project and its growing interests in liquefied natural gas (LNG), including a proposed export terminal in Kitimat, B.C., with a rumoured price tag of more than $12 billion. The company is also at the forefront of efforts to change the oilsands’ poor environmental image, investing in the $1.35-billion Quest project, which captures carbon emissions from oilsands operations and buries them beneath the surface. While seen as a pilot project for the industry, it also took millions in provincial and federal government support to launch. In an interview with Canadian Business deputy editor James Cowan, Odum spoke about whether the Keystone XL pipeline will ever receive U.S. approval, why cap-and-trade is good for industry, and what it will take for Canada to become a world leader in LNG.

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S&P Warns of Credit Downgrade for BP, Shell, Others

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March 4, 2013

Oil and gas companies including BP and Shell will likely see declines in cash flows and credit downgrades if world leaders implement policies to limit GHG emissions, according to a study by Carbon Tracker and Standard & Poor’s.

What A Carbon-Constrained Future Could Mean For Oil Companies’ Creditworthiness looks at how BP and Shell, along with three Canadian companies that focus on oil sands projects — Canadian Oil Sands, Canadian Natural Resources, and Cenovus Energy — would be affected by the International Energy Agency’s 450 scenario. This scenario aims to limit the global increase in temperature to 2 degrees Celsius by limiting GHG emissions to 450 parts per million (ppm) of CO2, resulting in a 35 percent reduction in oil use for transport by 2030, and 49 percent by 2035.

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Selection of links to Shell related articles: 21 February 2013

Selection of links to Shell related articles kindly supplied by a regular contributor

ExxonMobil Witness in Trial Says MTBE Raised Cancer Risk: Bloomberg: Shell Oil Co., Sunoco Inc., ConocoPhillips (COP), Irving Oil Ltd., Vitol SA and Hess Corp. settled before the trial began. The New Hampshire …

Five reasons the Keystone XL pipeline is bad for jobs, as well as the …: Burning the recoverable tar sands oil will increase the earth’s … ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, and BP reduced their U.S. workforce by 11,200 …

Ottawa reviewing polluter-pay principle: Globe and Mail: “Oil companies should face unlimited absolute liability for spills, … drilling in Nova Scotia, however, BP and Shell have acquired licences to drill

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Shell undermines climate, guts clean energy legislation

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By: Ray Anderson, River Falls Published February 13, 2013

Letter: Shell undermines climate, guts clean energy legislation, he says

TO THE EDITOR: The Royal Dutch Shell Oil Company, the most carbon-intensive oil company in the world, will contribute more to global warming than any other oil company.

Shell continues to expand investments in oil sands and oil shale using the dirtiest technologies to make it a leader in the industry. Often extracted with gas, that gas is burnt off in huge roaring flames at Shell’s operations in Nigeria, causing premature deaths, child respiratory illnesses, asthma attacks and cancer.

Even though gas flaring was made illegal in 1984, “instead of stopping that practice, Shell decided it was more profitable to pay the legal fines instead and continues to flare one billion cubic feet of gas per day.

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Oil Sands Industry in Canada Tied to Higher Carcinogen Level

The development of Alberta’s oil sands has increased levels of cancer-causing compounds in surrounding lakes well beyond natural levels, Canadian researchers reported in a study released on Monday. And they said the contamination covered a wider area than had previously been believed. “Now we have the smoking gun,” Professor Smol said. The study is likely to provide further ammunition to critics of the industry, who already contend that oil extracted from Canada’s oil sands poses environmental hazards like toxic sludge ponds, greenhouse gas emissions and the destruction of boreal forests.

Todd Korol/Reuters: An oil sands mine Fort McMurray, Alberta.

By : A version of this article appeared in print on January 8, 2013, on page A4 of the New York edition

OTTAWA — The development of Alberta’s oil sands has increased levels of cancer-causing compounds in surrounding lakes well beyond natural levels, Canadian researchers reported in a study released on Monday. And they said the contamination covered a wider area than had previously been believed.

For the study, financed by the Canadian government, the researchers set out to develop a historical record of the contamination, analyzing sediment dating back about 50 years from six small and shallow lakes north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, the center of the oil sands industry. Layers of the sediment were tested for deposits of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, groups of chemicals associated with oil that in many cases have been found to cause cancer in humans after long-term exposure.

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Critics blast Shell, saying its Jackpine oilsands plan will harm the environment

By Sheila Pratt, Edmonton Journal November 21, 2012 EDMONTON – Shell Canada is trying to “sneak” its Jackpine project past regulators before the regional plan is complete, and the $12-billion mine expansion should be delayed for a year, a review panel was told in the final day of hearings into the project 100 km northeast of Fort McMurray.

The company came under heavy fire Wednesday, partly because its plan to move the Muskeg River, in order to mine the riverbed, runs counter to a 2008 provincial plan calling for protection of the watershed.

First Nations also said Shell’s science is “biased”and “full of gaps,” while the company’s refusal to set aside conservation land to offset habitat destruction drew fire from federal interveners.

Environmentalists rejected the company’s claim there will be “no unacceptable, long-term environmental effects” after decades of mining.

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A big mess at Motiva and why Gulf Coast refiners are making a killing

While Chevron’s Richmond refinery has been making the news lately with a very visible incident, our attention has been drawn to less noticed recent events in America’s biggest refining center on the Gulf Coast, where what was to become the country’s largest refinery also ran into a spot of trouble.

You’d think that if you had spent 5 years and over $10 billion building a new refinery you might get to run it a few months before you had to shut it down for repairs. Not so the Motiva Port Arthur refinery expansion, which is essentially a new refinery bolted onto an old one.

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