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Gazprom and Shell address ongoing and future cooperation

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Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 21.31.46Friday, Apr 29, 2016

A working meeting between Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, and Ben van Beurden, Chief Executive Officer of Shell, took place in St. Petersburg today.

The parties addressed the prospects for collaboration between the companies under the Agreement of Strategic Cooperation. An emphasis was placed on a potential asset swap.

The meeting also reviewed the ongoing front-end engineering design (FEED) process for the third production train of the LNG plant within the Sakhalin II project.

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The new oil order

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Apr 23rd 2016

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

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

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Oil washout

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

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

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

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Major Oil Exporters Fail to Agree on Production Freeze

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

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

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

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Eyes on Doha

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By Ed Crooks: April 15, 2016

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

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Gazprom Mulls Selling 49% of Baltic LNG Project’s Shares to Shell

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Russian energy giant Gazprom and Royal Dutch Shell are currently discussing the possibility of selling 49 percent of Gazprom’s shares of the Baltic LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) plant to Shell, the Dutch company said Monday.

The Baltic LNG is a proposed LNG plant construction in Russia’s Leningrad Region oriented at the European and Latin American markets. It is expected to be commissioned in 2018.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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By Micheal Kaufman on Apr 6, 2016

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

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

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Shell pulls out of Arctic-focused exploration oil licensing round in Norway

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Business | Mon Apr 4, 2016 3:01pm BST

Oil major Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) has pulled its application from Norway’s Arctic-focused oil licensing round, the firm said on Monday, in a blow to the Nordic country’s ambitions to explore for oil and gas in its northern offshore areas.

“The decision is part of an optimisation of Shell’s global portfolio following the acquisition of BG and a persistently low oil price,” the company’s Norwegian unit said in a statement. “Norway remains one of our core areas.”

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Sideways moves

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By Ed Crooks: April 1, 2016

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

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Shell’s belligerent partner, Russia

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Extracts from an article by Kyle Mizokami published by THE WEEK: 29 MARCH 2016

Russia is staking its claim to the Arctic and is being more than a little unreasonable about it. In 2007 Russian robotic submarines planted the national flag under the North Pole. Russia claims the North Pole on the grounds that the Lomonosov Ridge, an extension of Russia’s continental shelf territory, passes underneath the pole.

Russia is preparing to back its claims up, too: As of 2015, it had established six new bases north of the Arctic Circle, including 16 deepwater ports and 13 airfields. Russia has deployed advanced S-400 long-range surface-to-air missiles, as well as “Bastion” supersonic anti-ship missiles, to protect Arctic bases. The vastness of the Arctic means these weapons don’t threaten other countries, but they do create fortified bases that will allow Russia to springboard ships, planes, and Arctic-trained troops into contested territory.

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The downside of cheap oil

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By Ed Crooks: 25 March 2016

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

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

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

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By Royston Wild – Thursday, 24 March, 2016

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

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

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

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Shell says no changes in plans to expand Russian Sakhalin-2 LNG plant

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MOSCOW, March 24 (Reuters) – There are no changes in plans to expand Russia’s Sakhalin-2 liquefied natural gas plant, operated by Royal Dutch Shell and Gazprom, Olivier Lazare, head of Shell’s operations in Russia, said on Thursday.

Gazprom and Shell plan to expand their plant on the Pacific island of Sakhalin, where Japan’s Mitsui and Mitsubishi are also shareholders, to add a further 5.4 million tonnes of annual capacity in 2021.

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Writing by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Alexander Winning)

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Better news for oil

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How Saudi Arabia Turned Its Greatest Weapon on Itself

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

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

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

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Oil’s upwards rally

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By Ed Crooks: 11 March 2016

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

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

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Scant hope of an imminent rebound in prices

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The Davos of energy

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By Ed Crooks: February 26, 2016

This week many of the biggest names in the worlds of oil, gas and power were gathered at IHS CeraWeek in Houston, the annual conference that is regularly  – and accurately – described as “the Davos of energy” or  – more questionably – as “the Burning Man of energy”. It should come as no surprise that it was this event that generated most of the week’s big stories.

The star of the show was Ali al-Naimi, Saudi Arabia’s formidable oil minister, who was making his first appearance at the conference since 2009. It might have been expected to be a case of Daniel in the lions’ den. Saudi Arabia is seen by many in the industry as the architect of their troubles, because of Mr Naimi’s refusal to cut production to attempt to support prices. As it turned out, though, he won over the crowd very quickly, delivering a speech that included both a convincing explanation of his strategy, and a few pretty decent jokes.

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OPEC’s Freeze Backfires

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The punchline? The joke’s on OPEC.

There are several glaring problems inherent to the freeze, whereby members of OPEC and other large producers such as Russia are supposed to not raise their oil output from current levels, not least that they are already producing too much oil for the market to absorb.

But there is a more subtle effect that actually works against the likes of Saudi Arabia: The freeze raises hope. In particular, it raises hope in the otherwise largely despondent world of energy financing.

Monday night, before those oil ministers iced the freeze, Cabot Oil & Gas, a U.S. exploration and production company, announced it had sold an upsized offering of new shares that should ultimately raise roughly $1 billion.

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Bulgaria signs deal with Shell for deepwater oil and gas exploration

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Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 08.47.47Markets | Tuesday Feb 23, 2016 

Bulgaria sealed a deal with Royal Dutch Shell on Tuesday to explore for oil and gas in an offshore block in the Black Sea in a bid to end its almost total dependence on Russian natural gas.

Shell won a tender for a five-year permit for deepwater exploration at the 1-14 Silistar block that covers 7,000 square km in September and pledged to invest 18.6 million euros ($20.5 million) in seismic surveys.

“The licence that we have been awarded today allows us to evaluate the potential for oil and gas in offshore Bulgaria. This process can be quite a long process and with much uncertainty,” said Eileen Wilkinson, regional director at Shell International Exploration and Production, after the signing.

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Russia Saudi pact

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By Ed Crooks: February 19, 2016

This week the story of the oil price crash took a genuinely unexpected turn with the conditional agreement from Saudi Arabia and Russia that they would not increase their production, provided other countries made the same commitment. It was the first real co-operation between Opec and non-Opec countries for 15 years, and although its true significance is probably rather less than that makes it sound, the pact nevertheless provided grist for extensive interpretation.

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Oil market spiral threatens to prick global debt bubble, warns BIS

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By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard6:33PM GMT 05 Feb 2016

The global oil industry is caught in a self-feeding downward spiral as falling prices cause producers to boost output even further in a scramble to service $3 trillion of dollar debt, the world’s top watchdog has warned.

The Bank for International Settlements fears that a perverse dynamic is at work where energy companies in Brazil, Russia, China and parts of the US shale belt are increasing production in defiance of normal market logic, leading to a bad “feedback-loop” that is sucking the whole sector into a destructive vortex.

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Oilmageddon

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Katy Barnato: 5 FEB 2016

The global economy seems trapped in a “death spiral” that could lead to further weakness in oil prices, recession and a serious equity bear market, Citi strategists have warned.

Some analysts — including those at Citi — have turned bearish on the world economy this year, following an equity rout in January and weaker economic data out of China and the U.S.

“The world appears to be trapped in a circular reference death spiral,” Citi strategists led by Jonathan Stubbs said in a report on Thursday.

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Why Royal Dutch Shell Plc Shares Could Easily Topple Another 15%!

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By Royston Wild | Fool.co.uk: Friday 29 JAN 2016

Shares in fossil fuel giant Shell (LSE: RDSB) have enjoyed a solid bump higher in recent days following a meaty bounce in the oil price.

Crude values have shot skywards following chatter that an accord could be struck between OPEC and Russia to curtail production. The Brent benchmark has gained $5 since Monday and is now back above $35 per barrel, reaching levels not seen since the start of January.

Shell has subsequently seen its stock price appreciate 7% during the course of the week, adding to chunky gains seen in the prior 7-day period.

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Corrib Gas: Was it worth it? Yes.

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Corrib Gas: Was it worth it? Yes.

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Brendan Cafferty: 27 JAN 2016

As the gas starts to flow a member of the pro gas lobby reflects on the controversy

Who is to blame for the delay?

The gas was due ashore in 2002 at a cost of €800 million. It finally arrives at the start of 2016 at a cost of €3.5 billion-€4 billion. Planning such a huge project was, of course, protracted, with EPA and An Bord Pleanála hearings. Kevin Moore, the board’s planning inspector, did at the outset recommend that planning not be granted for the terminal at Ballinaboy, but the board of An Bord Pleanála did not agree with him – something that is not unusual.

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Russians’ Anxiety Swells as Oil Prices Collapse

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

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

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

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Stock Prices Sink in a Rising Ocean of Oil

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Major shareholder sheds BG stake as merger vote looms

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The fund management company cut its holding from 2.2 percent to 0.9 percent and continued offloading shares even after Shell published the deal prospectus, in which the Anglo-Dutch oil major revealed further capex and opex cuts that would boost the merger’s appeal.

Although the mega-merger was announced at a time when oil was pushing multi-year lows, prices have continued sliding since, eroding the immediate financial appeal of the combination.

Shell said last month that it expects the acquisition to break even with Brent crude prices in the low $60s in 2016, while the deal would add to operating cash flow per share at $50 a barrel.

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Oil Prices Could Collapse To $20

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By Tyler Durden

Extracts from extracts…

Could oil prices collapse to $20? 

The short answer is ‘yes.’

We believe that crude oil prices could fall further unless global oil production is reduced. As shown in Table 2, we estimate that the global oil market could be oversupplied by roughly 920,000 bpd in 2016. The key assumptions are year-over-year growth in global demand of 1.2 million bpd, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Libya hold production at current levels, Iran ramps up production at moderate pace over the course of the year and the U.S. rig count remains at current levels.

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Royal Dutch Shell makes deeper cuts

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By Daniel J. Graeber: Dec. 23, 2015

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Dec. 23 (UPI) — With the company expecting improved efficiency after merging with BG Group, Royal Dutch Shell said it plans to cut spending for next year more than expected.

Shell published a prospectus and circular related to its $7 billion tie-up with BG Group, one of the largest mergers of its kind since Exxon and Mobil joined in the 1990s.

“The combination with BG is a strong platform to refocus the company, to create a simpler and more competitive Shell,” Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said in a statement. “At the same time, Shell is pulling multiple levers to manage through the current oil price downturn.”

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Shell, Gazprom’s Russian LNG Venture Readying Export Boost Plans

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Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 08.13.03By Stephen Stapczynski and Ichiro Suzuki: Bloomberg.com: Dec 18, 2015

Sakhalin Energy Investment Co., the only liquefied natural gas exporter in Russia, has agreed to begin design work on an expansion, the joint venture said Friday.

The partners — Gazprom PJSC, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mitsui & Co. and Mitsubishi Corp. — will add a third production unit at the Sakhalin-2 LNG export terminal to raise capacity by 4.8 million metric tons to 14.4 million metric tons a year, Miyuki Shiga, a Mitsui spokeswoman, said by phone. The design process will take about a year and the first cargo from the new unit is expected to ship early next decade, Shiga said.

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How Much Further Do BP plc And Royal Dutch Shell Plc Have To Fall?

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By Royston Wild – Thursday, 26 November, 2015

To say that 2015 has represented another ‘annus horribilis’ for the oil industry would be something of a colossal understatement. Of course the year has yet to run its course, and the fossil fuel sector will be pinning their hopes on a ‘Santa Rally’ to put down a marker for 2016.

I am far from optimistic over the likelihood of such a scenario, however, and believe that industry giants like (LSE: BP) and Shell (LSE: RDSB) — firms that have seen their share prices dip 6% and 25% correspondingly since the turn of the year — have much more ground to concede.

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Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil and Glencore: Energy companies risk wasting trillions on uneconomic projects

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By Jessica Morris: 25 November 2015

Energy companies risk wasting $2.2 trillion (£1.46 trillion) on uneconomic projects over the next 10 years, according to a new report.

Think tank the Carbon Tracker Initiative’s (CTI) report how fossil fuel firms risk destroying investor returns says energy companies’ focus on fossil fuels at the expense of emerging clean technologies could put them out of kilter with environmental regulation, which will eventually dampen demand.

It comes ahead of next week’s Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21) which is expected to result in, or at least pave the way for, more climate change legislation.

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

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

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

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

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Shell seeks permission for Russian JV

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Shell has asked regulators for permission to work with Gazprom Neft on a joint venture, Khanty-Mansi Oil and Gas Union, despite the continuing EU and United States sanctions against Russia.

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Saudi Arabia’s Oil War With Russia

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By Leonid Bershidsky: Oct 16, 2015

As President Vladimir Putin tries to restore Russia as a major player in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is starting to attack on Russia’s traditional stomping ground by supplying lower-priced crude oil to Poland.

At a recent investment forum, Igor Sechin, chief executive of Rosneft, Russia’s biggest oil company, complained about the Saudis’ entry into the Polish market. “They’re dumping actively,” he said. Other Russian oil executives are worried, too. “Isn’t this move a first step toward a redivision of Western markets?” Nikolai Rubchenkov, an executive at Tatneft, said at an oil roundtable Thursday. “Shouldn’t the government’s energy strategy contain some measures to safeguard Russia’s interests in its existing Western markets?”

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Russia abandons hope of oil price recovery and turns to the plough

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Russia has abandoned hopes for a lasting recovery in oil prices, bracing for a new era of abundant crude as US shale production transforms the global energy market.

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President Vladimir Putin answers questions during an interview for Russian television

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: 14 Oct 2015

The Kremlin has launched a radical shift in strategy, rationing funds for the once-sacrosanct oil and gas industry and relying instead on a revival of manufacturing and farming, driven by a much more competitive rouble.

“We have to have prudent forecasts. Our budget is based very conservative assumptions of oil at around $50 a barrel,” said Vladimir Putin, the Russian president.

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Merger of Royal Dutch Shell and BG Group

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Published by Joshua NoonanSeptember 27, 2015

With the declared April 2015 merger of Royal Dutch Shell and BG Group, formerly British Gas, a combination of assets spanning continents is occurring. The completion date of the merger in early 2016 has had some roadblocks. In Kazakhstan’s Karachaganak Field project, the combined group could lead to Shell to hold 29.5% by 2016. Despite this, the government of Kazakhstan may be blocking the transfer of shares.

The Karachaganak Field is a gas condensate field in northwestern Pre-Caspian Basin nearly one hundred miles east of Oral.The Field was discovered in 1979, with production starting in 1984. Upon independence, AGIP, currently Eni, and British Gas, now BG Group won exploitation rights. Thence, in 1997, Texaco (currently Chevron) and Russia’s Lukoil alongside the original signatories and two companies signed a production sharing agreement for forty years. BG Group and Eni possess 29.25% share a peace and Chevron has 18% and Lukoil has 13.%. Upon arbitration and a December 2011 acquisition, KazmunayGas purchased a 10% stake for two billion USD cash and one billion in non-cash consideration.

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Russian intelligence ship spotted near American oil vessel

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Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.35.25The ship was part of a Shell-contracted ship that is exploring for oil in the Chukchi Sea, which is north of the Bering Strait and lies between Alaska and Russia.

By Jake Tapper and Jeremy Diamond, CNN: Sept 7. 2015

Washington (CNN)A Russian intelligence vessel was spotted near a ship contracted by the American Shell Oil Company exploring for oil in the Arctic, sources told CNN on Monday.

Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis confirmed the sighting to CNN on Monday and said no U.S. defense assets were deployed in response.

“We aware of the Russian vessel Kurily sailing in the vicinity of the Nobel Discoverer,” Davis said. “We recognize the rights of all sovereign nations to freely navigate in international waters.”

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Move Over Exxon, Russian Drillers Are Oil World’s Top Performers

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By Stephen Bierman and Rakteem Katakey: Sept 8, 2015

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At a time when the collapse in crude prices pushes Russia’s economy into a recession, the nation’s oil producers are managing to beat their western counterparts.

On measures including cash flow, profit margins and share prices, OAO Rosneft, Lukoil PJSC — Russia’s two largest oil producers — and OAO Gazprom Neft are performing better than Royal Dutch Shell Plc, BP Plc or Exxon Mobil Corp.

“When oil goes down, the western companies are hurt more than the Russian companies,” said Maxim Edelson, a senior director at Fitch Ratings in Moscow. Because Russian tax rates adjust automatically to lower prices the nation’s companies enjoy a buffer to the slump in crude while “a lot of the hit is taken by the government,” he said.

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Russia’s Gazprom, Shell start talks on Baltic LNG project – Interfax

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Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 18.24.06Moscow| Mon Sep 7, 2015

Russia’s Gazprom (GAZP.MM) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) have started commercial talks on Baltic LNG project, Interfax news agency quoted Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller as saying on Monday.

The Russian gas producer plans to build a liquefied natural gas plant in the Baltic Sea port of Ust-Luga with an annual capacity of 10 million tonnes. It wants to increase output to 15 million tonnes a year later on.

Russia’s Kommersant newspaper said in June that Gazprom may offer up to 49 percent in the project to a strategic partner, with most likely candidates being Shell or a consortium of Japanese firms.

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Outspoken articles about Shell

Melting Ice Isn’t Opening Arctic to Oil Bonanza

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

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

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

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Gazprom and Shell Sign Shareholders’ Agreement on the Nord Stream 2 Project

NewswireToday – /newswire/ – Moscow, Russia, 2015/09/04

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Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 18.24.06The Nord Stream 2 project envisages the construction of two offshore pipelines with the aggregate annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas to be constructed from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea.

Today at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, Kurt Bock, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE, Klaus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management, E.ON SE, Pierre Chareyre, Executive vice-president of ENGIE, Rainer Seele, Chairman of the Executive Board of OMV and Ben van Beurden, Chief Executive Officer of Royal Dutch Shell signed a Shareholders’ Agreement on implementation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project to enhance supply of natural gas to the European Union’s market. The project will be developed by the new project company New European Pipeline AG. According to the document, Gazprom will own a 51 per cent share in the project company. E.ON, Shell, OMV and BASF/Wintershall will each own ten per cent and ENGIE will hold nine per cent.

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Gazprom Seals Two Big European Deals

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Russia’s Gazprom has bolstered its industrial presence in the heart of Europe with two major gas deals that were announced on Friday despite ongoing tensions with Moscow over the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The first of the deals, an asset swap with German chemicals group BASF that gives Russia greater access to gas trading and storage in Germany, was a surprise as the companies had abandoned it only nine months ago, citing a “difficult political environment”.

Pressed on what had changed since, BASF declined to respond directly. Its oil and gas production unit Wintershall, which will secure more stakes in Siberian gas fields under the swap, said only that it was convinced that Russian natural gas would help ensure energy security in Europe.

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Mr. Obama’s Urgent Arctic Message

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Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 23.33.36By THE EDITORIAL BOARD SEPT. 1, 2015

A version of this editorial appears in print on September 2, 2015, on page A24 of the New York edition

A presidential trip has enormous power to focus attention on a place and an issue, and President Obama’s trip to Alaska has been minutely choreographed with visits to glaciers, threatened Inuit villages and the like to provide a stunning and alarming context to his message on the urgent need to address climate change.

Four times in a 24-minute speech in Anchorage he declared that “we’re not acting fast enough,” a message especially true in the countdown to December’s United Nations climate conference in Paris. This will be the most ambitious effort by the world’s nations to produce an equitable deal on reducing greenhouse gases, and the United States, as the world’s second-largest emitter of carbon gases (after China), must be at the forefront of the effort.

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Obama on Climate Change: Act Now or Condemn World to a Nightmare

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by HALIMAH ABDULLAH and M. ALEX JOHNSON: NEWS SEP 1 2015

In a forceful address, Obama opened the “GLACIER” conference in Anchorage, Alaska, by declaring: “We are not moving fast enough. None of the nations represented here are moving fast enough.”

Just weeks ago, Obama gave final approval to Shell Oil’s drilling in the Alaskan Arctic for the first time in 20 years — a move that raised the hackles of environmentalists, who accused his administration of hypocrisy.

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

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By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS: AUG. 31, 2015

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

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

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