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Posts under ‘Russia’

Opec bends the markets

screen-shot-2016-12-03-at-08-16-41By Ed Crooks, December 2, 2016

In 451 CE, the great Roman general Flavius Aetius rallied a motley army of imperial troops and barbarian allies, and halted the advance of Attila’s Huns at the Catalaunian Plains in Gaul, buying the empire some time and temporarily interrupting its long-term decline. This week’s Opec meeting in Vienna had something of the same feel about it.

Opec’s power peaked in the 1970s, and the US shale oil revolution of the past half-decade has threatened to consign the cartel’s influence to history. But by agreeing a deal to cut production on Wednesday, the Opec ministers showed that if they all acted together they could still bend the oil markets to their will, at least for a while.

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OPEC agrees first output cut since 2008, Saudis to take ‘big hit’

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By Ahmad Ghaddar, Alex Lawler and Rania El Gamal | VIENNA

OPEC has agreed its first limit on oil output since 2008, sources in the producer group told Reuters, with Saudi Arabia accepting “a big hit” on its production and agreeing to arch-rival Iran freezing output at pre-sanctions levels.

Brent crude futures jumped 8 percent to more than $50 a barrel after Riyadh signaled it had finally reached a compromise with Iran after insisting in recent weeks that Tehran fully participate in any cut.

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Opec cuts neither dead nor alive

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By Ed Crooks November 28, 2016

Opec’s possible production cut is the oil market equivalent of Schrödinger’s cat: neither dead nor alive. When they met in Algiers in late September, Opec ministers agreed the need to reduce output, but left the allocation of the cuts between individual members to be finalised later. If they cannot agree on that, the deal will die. At their meeting in Vienna on Wednesday, the ministers will have to open the box, and we will find out whether or not the agreement is still breathing.

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Obama administration bans Arctic offshore oil drilling through 2022. But will Trump reverse it?

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By William Yardley: 18 Nov 2016

The Obama administration said Friday it was banning offshore oil drilling in the Arctic through 2022, a move that prompted widespread praise from conservation groups but raised questions over how long the decision will stand just two months before President-elect Donald Trump takes office.

A new five-year leasing program prohibits any drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas — an environmental battleground in recent years —and also blocks expansion in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, while allowing some new leasing in the Gulf of Mexico.

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LIVING IN TRUMPWORLD

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Comment from Bill Campbell on the Energy Voice Article: Shell stresses importance of stable regulatory environment post-Trump victory

Under Trump, with the senate and congress to support him, we can look forward soon to significant deregulation in the US effecting positively onshore fracking, tar sands development, offshore Deepwater in the Gulf and a boost perhaps to Alaska drilling. One assumes the Keystone pipeline will go ahead and perhaps pipelines running from central US to East Coast for new LNG Plants to supply a Europe hedging its bets over Russian gas availability with Europe’s ongoing problems with Putin, sanctions etc. A significant increase in US output, leading to increase in global supply over demand could dampen oil price. Shell seems to have divested assets recently in the US in some of these areas to offset BG takeover costs so uncertain whether Trumpworld will be good or bad for Shell.

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Royal Dutch Shell: The Comeback Is Here

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Alpha Investor: Sunday Nov 6, 2016

Summary

  • Shell posted a massive turnaround in its bottom line last quarter on the back of an improved production profile, lower costs, and higher price realizations.
  • Shell’s financial improvement is set to continue going forward as upstream oil price realizations will continue to improve on the back of a positive demand-supply environment in the oil industry.
  • Oil demand has exceeded supply by 500,000 bpd this year and the trend will continue as the likes of Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. continue to reduce output.
  • Shell’s focus on lowering both operating and capital costs will allow it to attain break-even point even if oil prices remain at $50/barrel, which will also improve cash flow.

On Tuesday last week, Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) (NYSE:RDS.B) reported impressive results for the third quarter. In fact, Shell was able to achieve a major turnaround in its bottom line performance, posting a profit of $1.4 billion as compared to a huge loss of $6.1 billion in the same quarter last year. This impressive turnaround in Shell’s bottom line was a result of an increase in production as compared to the prior-year period, driven by the acquisition of BG that led to a favorable production mix in the upstream segment.

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Hold the champagne

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screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-14-50-16By Ed Crooks, November 4, 2016

If you are looking forward to the oil industry recovery, you shouldn’t break out the champagne just yet.

Over the past eight days, the world’s largest listed oil companies have released third quarter earnings reports. From all of them, the message was that while the worst might be over, they were still facing a long hard road ahead.

The snap reactions from the stock market were mixed: positive for  ChevronRoyal Dutch ShellTotal and ConocoPhillips; negative for ExxonMobilBPEniStatoilPetrochina and Cnooc.

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Oil stand-off threatens dividends at BP and Shell amid fears that a deal to prop up prices is about to collapse

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By SABAH MEDDINGS FOR THE DAILY MAILPUBLISHED: 23:34, 1 November 2016 | UPDATED: 23:34, 1 November 2016

Dividends at BP and Shell are set to come under threat as fears grow that a deal to prop up oil prices is about to collapse.

The two oil giants yesterday reported better-than-expected results – and gave a boost to their millions of small shareholders by protecting payouts.

But they have only been able to keep their dividends after slashing billions of pounds in costs following a collapse in the oil price from $112 a barrel in 2014 to less than $30.

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Lament for Royal Dutch Shell

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Kashagan AKA “Cash All Gone”

Forgot the initial cost estimate, probably around $8-10 billion. Now 10+ years too late and ballooned to $50 billionMost normal companies would have gone bust long ago.

Shell inherited some beauties from the boys of the roaring 90s. I hope someone will write a book one day on this era. 

Reserve crisis, Pearl, Sakhalin, Kashagan, Alaska, tarsands, and I must have forgotten a few. Repeated over-promise and under-delivery. All many billions over budget, extreme overruns in startup, loss in AAA status, removal of operational and technical expertise. I find the silence on Prelude ominous. Probably goes the same way as the others.

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The global market is still awash with crude

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By Ed Crooks: 14 October 2016

As the new Nobel prize-winner for literature once put it, something is happening here. The successful IPO this week by a US exploration and production company, Extraction Oil & Gas, was the first in the sector since crude prices started to slide in the summer of 2014. Along with the slide in energy junk bond yields, and signs of a corresponding thaw in E&P junk bond issuance, which has been essentially frozen all year, it is clear evidence that investor confidence in the US oil industry is returning.

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Royal Dutch Shell: The Turnaround Will Continue

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screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-13-11-55Alpha Investor: 12 October 2016

Summary

Royal Dutch Shell shares have received a boost in the past month on the back of an improvement in oil prices, a trend that is likely to continue.

There was excess oil demand of 500,000 bpd in the third quarter as against supply due to production cuts across the globe and robust demand, leading to an inventory correction.

Oil prices will rise further as Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the U.S. are all intent on reducing the industry oversupply, which will lead to further inventory declines.

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FT Energy Source Weekly Briefing

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By Ed Crooks: October 7, 2016

Two international agreements have dominated the week’s energy news. Both have futures that are still shrouded in uncertainty, but are important landmarks if only because countries with widely diverging interests were able to come together and sign up to a shared course of action.

One was the Paris climate accord, which this week secured support from enough countries to come into force formally next month. The UN said 73 countries and the EU, accounting for more than 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, had ratified the agreement, crossing the thresholds set when the accord was adopted last December. More of the 195 countries that agreed the deal then are expected to join it formally in the coming weeks, months and years.

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Now could be the perfect time to sell Royal Dutch Shell plc

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By Royston Wild – Friday, 7 October, 2016

Stakeholders in fossil fuel goliath Royal Dutch Shell (LSE: RDSB) could be forgiven for breaking out the bubbly following the company’s recent share price detonation.

Shell saw its value gallop 28% higher during the third quarter, and the firm’s meteoric ascent may not be finished yet — indeed, the stock is within striking distance of July’s quarterly peak of £21.48 per share, the loftiest level since May 2015.

But while many momentum investors may be tempted to plough in, I reckon now could provide a terrific opportunity for investors to cash out.

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Gazprom and Shell Reaffirm Strategic Cooperation

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By MarEx 2016-10-05 19:55:14

Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, and Ben van Beurden, Chief Executive Officer of Shell, discussed developments in their strategic cooperation, signed in 2015, this week at the sixth St. Petersburg International Gas Forum.

The parties discussed a wide range of issues related to the development of strategic partnership in the energy sector, paying particular attention to the construction project for the third production train of the LNG plant on Sakhalin Island (Sakhalin II project). It was noted that the preparation of design and FEED documentation is nearing completion.

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Russia sets eyes on Baltic energy market

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cropped-Screen-Shot-2016-09-09-at-20.58.10.jpgBy Daniel J. Graeber

Russian energy company Gazprom is reviewing options for highly maneuverable gas shipments from Baltic states aside from pipeline commitments, an official said.

Alexander Medvedev, the deputy CEO at Gazprom, said the company signed an agreement with Dutch supermajor Shell to review marketing options for liquefied natural gas from eastern European states bordering the Baltic Sea.

“The memorandum with Shell on the marketing model was signed yesterday for the Baltic LNG,” he was quoted by state news agency Tass as saying.

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Shell, Chevron Drop Off Platts Top 10 Energy Firm List

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screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-21-16-05By Irina Slav – Oct 03, 2016, 10:26 AM CDT

Shell and Chevron were among the international oil giants that fell off the top 10 companies of 2016 in the S&P Platts’ annual ranking of the 250 biggest companies by assets and revenues. The asset value and revenue figures are all for 201—the year when the oil price collapse really began to be felt.

The USA Today quotes Platts as saying the changes in the top 10 segment reflected the continuing depression on international oil markets. The price slump, Platts said, hit oil and gas majors’ earnings hard, and it also led to a serious devaluation of assets, meanwhile benefiting companies with stronger downstream operations, pure-play refiners, and power utilities.

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Index of Shell leadership financial support for the Nazis

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-14-26-11EBOOK BY JOHN DONOVAN: SIR HENRI DETERDING AND THE NAZI HISTORY OF ROYAL DUTCH SHELL

Index of Shell leadership financial support for the Nazis

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Dutch cartoons provide evidence of a perception in pre-WW2 years that Sir Henri Deterding was a major financier of Hitler’s Nazi regime. Identified by name in both cartoons, Deterding is depicted handing over a bag of money to the Nazis containing a large sum – 1000 000 00 – in unspecified currency: see enlargements 1 and 2. Overwhelming evidence confirms that the perception was well founded.

INDEX IN DATE ORDER

Extracts from relevant news reports and books, many authored before WW2, are listed in date order, providing compelling evidence of what transpired all those years ago.

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The best historians Shell could buy

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-14-26-11EBOOK BY JOHN DONOVAN: SIR HENRI DETERDING AND THE NAZI HISTORY OF ROYAL DUTCH SHELL

Chapter 1: The best historians Shell could buy

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Shell commissioned a group of eminent “independent” historians (above) mostly Dutch, to author a history of Royal Dutch Shell to mark the Group’s centenary in 2007.  The introduction in Volume 1 pledged independent research and “a proper and even-handed assessment of Deterding.” Something went amiss because the “history,” as published in regard to his dealings with Hitler, is simply untrue.

On 24 May 2015, a light-hearted story in the Prufrock column of The Sunday Times posed the question: “ARE corporate histories the new harbingers of doom?”  It cited the release of corporate histories of two multinational banks that proved embarrassing to the banks due to unforeseen developments.

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Russia’s Gazprom plans to launch third LNG train at Sakhalin-2 in 2021

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screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-11-44-04Russia’s Gazprom plans to launch third LNG train at Sakhalin-2 in 2021

By Katya Golubkova | YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK/PRIGORODNOYE, RUSSIA: Thu Sep 29, 2016 | 2:25am EDT

Gazprom said on Thursday it plans to launch a third liquefied natural gas (LNG) production train at the Sakhalin-2 LNG plant in 2021, possibly fed by a newly drilled field, as Russian companies seek to boost their share of the global LNG market.

Russia accounts for less than 5 percent of the global LNG market but new plants are being built or considered by Novatek, Gazprom and Rosneft.

Located at Prigorodnoye on Sakhalin island, Sakhalin-2, Russia’s sole LNG plant, operates two production lines with a combined capacity of 10 million tonnes of LNG per year. The third train should add another 5 million tonnes.

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Russia’s Sakhalin-2 partners agree on LNG marketing strategy for third train – Shell

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screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-11-44-04YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, Russia, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Partners at Russia’s Sakhalin-2, the sole liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in the country, have agreed on the strategy of marketing LNG from the planned third train, Olivier Lazare, head of Royal Dutch Shell in Russia, told a conference.

Sakhalin-2 is currently operating two LNG production trains with combined capacity of around 10 million tonnes of LNG per year. The planned third train should add another 5 million tonnes of annual capacity.

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Do what I say

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By Ed Crooks: September 23, 2016

One of the most reliable features of negotiations over oil production is a divergence between what countries say and what they do.

Three weeks ago, Russia and Saudi Arabia were discussing co-operation to stabilise the oil market. This week there was talk of a year-long agreement between Russia and Opec to cap production. At the same time, however, Russia has been stepping up its drilling in the mature fields of western Siberia, taking its oil output to new record highs. Its production is forecast by Goldman Sachs to grow a further 590,000 barrels per day over the next three years.

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Shell and BP have lost billions – now the low price of crude is hurting other firms too

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By LAURA CHESTERS FOR THE DAILY MAIL19 September 2016

Oil is slowly climbing back to $50 a barrel as a deal between Saudi Arabia and Russia and an agreement on production in Venezuela helped to stabilise prices.

The production agreements could finally give some assurances to dozens of companies who have suffered since crude slumped from $114 a barrel in 2014 to $28 early this year.

Oil supermajors such as BP and Shell have been high-profile casualties, losing billions in profits.

They’ve written off billions of pounds and have had to slash tens of thousands of jobs as they change their businesses to cope with the reduced profits.

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What Is Really Pushing Oil Prices Down?

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Gaurav Agnihotri: 19 Sept 2016

Oil prices fell last week after the IEA and OPEC reported in their respective oil market reports that the supply-demand rebalancing of oil will take longer than market expectations. The WTI (WTI) and Brent were down by almost 2% and were trading at $43.3 and $45.77 at the time of writing this article. Even the U.S rig count increased for the 12th week in a row. Oil prices are going down as markets have realized that global oil supplies are only going to increase in the coming time. “It really looks similar to the period of the early 1990s, when we were at $20 oil. Is $45 to $50 the new $20? I am not ready to say we are in this new equilibrium environment, but it sure does feel like we’re moving in that direction,” said the head of commodities research at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Jeff Curie. It must be noted that investment firms such as Goldman Sachs have started lowering their 2017 forecast for oil prices. Let us look at those factors that are putting downward pressure on oil.

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No oil freeze yet

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Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 08.25.29By Ed Crooks: September 9, 2016

“Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet,” St Augustine wrote in his Confessions, remembering his prayer as an adolescent. Opec members are taking much the same attitude to restraining their oil production.

Saudi Arabia and Russia, the world’s two largest crude producers, said on Monday they would co-operate on ways to stabilise oil prices, but stopped short of agreeing to freeze production. There will be a working group to study ways to curb price volatility, and co-operation on production curbs was held out as a possibility. But Khalid al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, was clearly in no hurry to make any commitments.

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Why I’m expecting Royal Dutch Shell plc and BP plc to plummet!

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By Royston WildThe Motley Fool: Friday, 2 September, 2016

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Investor appetite for the oil segment has taken a knock in recent weeks as fears of a prolonged supply glut have weighed.

British majors Royal Dutch Shell(LSE: RDSB) and BP(LSE: BP) have seen their share prices slip 10% and 7% respectively during the past six weeks, for example. And I believe a sharper retracement could be just around the corner.

Stocks keep surging

Broker predictions that the oil market is set to balance later this year are being put under increased scrutiny as already-plentiful stockpiles continue to build.

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Shell’s LNG Canada venture again delays export terminal decision

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Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 15.59.39Shell’s LNG Canada venture again delays export terminal decision

(Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell Plc RDSa.L and its LNG Canada partners have once again pushed back the timing of a decision on building a British Columbia liquefied natural gas export (LNG) terminal, the latest setback for the Canadian province’s energy ambitions.

LNG Canada, whose participants also include PetroChina Co Ltd 601857.SS, Mitsubishi Corporation 8058.T and Kogas, cited global industry challenges, including capital constraints, for requiring more time prior to making a final investment decision.

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Shell CEO says interested in Yuzhno-Kirinskoye field – Vedomosti

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11 July 2016

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) is interested to take part in developing Russia’s Yuzhno-Kirinskoye field, Chief Executive Ben van Beurden told Russia’s Vedomosti daily newspaper in an interview.

He added that expansion of the Sakhalin-2 LNG project in Russia’s Pacific Island of Sakhalin may need gas both from that field and from the Sakhalin-1 project.

(Reporting by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Dmitry Solovyov)

SOURCE

US oil reserves surpass those of Saudi Arabia and Russia

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Anjli Raval, Oil and Gas Correspondent: July 4, 2016

The US holds more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia and Russia, the first time it has surpassed those held by the world’s biggest exporting nations, according to a new study.

The US shale boom was a factor behind the recent oil price collapse that toppled the Brent crude benchmark from a mid-2014 high of $115 a barrel to below $30 earlier this year.

FULL FT ARTICLE

Russia’s Gazprom eyes asset swap deals with Shell, OMV by year-end

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ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA | BY DENIS PINCHUK AND DMITRY ZHDANNIKOVMon Jun 20, 2016 8:29am EDT

Russia’s state-controlled gas giant Gazprom (GAZP.MM) could gain control over some of the assets that Shell (RDSa.L) acquired earlier this year from BG group, a senior Gazprom executive said in an interview.

Gazprom’s Deputy Chief Executive Alexander Medvedev said the BG holdings could be included in an asset swap deal between Gazprom and Shell that was announced last year. He did not say what the BG holdings were or where they were located.

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Gazprom and Shell committed to broader cooperation in LNG sector

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Gazprom and Shell committed to broader cooperation in LNG sector

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Greenpeace image relating to Shell/Russia Arctic Drilling Plans

June 16, 2016, 17:30

A working meeting between Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, and Ben van Beurden, Chief Executive Officer of Shell, took place today at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2016.

The parties discussed the progress of and prospects for strategic cooperation in the LNG sector, paying particular attention to the construction project for the third production train of the LNG plant on Sakhalin Island (Sakhalin II project). Design and FEED documentation are currently being prepared for the new production train.

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Western leaders, CEOs visit Russia amid sanctions fatigue

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Shell CEO Ben van Beurden bows to President Putin of Russia.

NATALIYA VASILYEVA, ASSOCIATED PRESS: June 15, 2016 Updated: June 16, 2016 1:29pm

Following a meeting with Putin, Royal Dutch Shell’s CEO Ben van Beurden and state-owned gas giant Gazprom announced plans to build an LNG plant in Russia together. France’s Total is working with Russia’s largely private gas producer on a liquefied natural gas project.

The fact that the CEOs of top American companies have in a sense defied their government shows that they put their business interests before any political considerations, analysts say.

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Gazprom, Shell to invest $13 bln in projects in Russia – Russian Energy Minister

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Shell CEO Ben van Beurden bows to Russian President Putin at the Kremlin: April 2014

Thu Jun 16, 2016

ST PETERSBURG, Russia, June 16 (Reuters) – Energy major Shell and Russia’s gas major Gazprom will jointly invest $13 billion in three projects in Russia, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday.

Novak said that Shell would take part in the development of Gazprom’s Yuzhno-Kirinskoye gas field offshore Russia’s Sakhalin island in the Pacific.

The two companies will also jointly invest in the Baltic Sea Liquefied Natural Gas plant and in the Sakhalin-2 LNG plant expansion.

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Gazprom, Shell sign memo on Baltic LNG project

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Shell CEO Ben van Beurden bows to President Putin

Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:11am EDT

Gazprom and Shell signed on Thursday a memorandum of understanding on construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on the Russian coast of the Baltic Sea.

The memorandum says the companies will look into possibilities of building the LNG plant in the port of Ust-Luga with an annual capacity of 10 million tonnes.

Gazprom and Shell are already partners in Russia’s only LNG plant on the Pacific island of Sakhalin which has a capacity of 10 million tonnes per year.

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Shell & Gazprom agree Baltic LNG project

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Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 10.18.2816 June 2016 

Russia’s Gazprom and Anglo-Dutch energy major Shell have inked a letter of understanding to begin a liquefied natural gas project at the Russian port of Ust-Luga on the Baltic Sea.

CEOs Aleksey Miller and Ben van Beurden signed the agreement at the 20th International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.

The project aims to diversify Gazprom’s LNG sales operations and to boost its LNG portfolio.

The enterprise will reportedly include a two-train LNG plant as well as a pipeline connected to the Gazprom network. The Baltic LNG Plant will have a capacity of about 10 million tons of gas annually with an option to expand to 15 million tons. The new plant will start operating in December 2021.

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Russia’s Putin says Shell is long-term, reliable partner

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Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 10.18.28Thu Jun 16, 2016 11:29am GMT

ST PETERSBURG, Russia, June 16 (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday Royal Dutch Shell was a long-term and reliable partner for Russia.

Putin, who is attending the annual St Petersburg International Economic Forum, made his remarks after Shell CEO Ben van Beurden asked the Russian leader to help support the company’s Russian business.

Van Beurden said Shell had made a lot of progress in its Sakhalin-2 LNG project with Russian gas giant Gazprom.

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Russia’s Gazprom, Shell to sign deal on Baltic LNG project – Kremlin

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Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 16.44.45Tue Jun 14, 2016 1:32pm GMT

MOSCOW, June 14 (Reuters) – Russian gas giant Gazprom and oil major Shell will sign a deal on a planned Baltic liquefied natural gas (LNG) project on the sidelines of a forum in St. Petersburg later this week, Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters on Tuesday.

He said the deal will be signed in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who will meet Shell’s Chief Executive Ben van Beurden at the forum.

Gazprom plans to build the plant, which may produce up to 20 million tonnes of LNG per year, by December 2021.

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Royal Dutch Shell Set to sink?

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By Royston Wild – Saturday, 11 June, 2016

The possibility of protracted earnings pain also makes Royal Dutch Shell (LSE: RDSB) a gamble too far, in my opinion.

At face value, charging oil prices may be at odds with my bearish take on the state of the market. Indeed, the Brent index surged above the $52 per barrel marker for the first time since October this week, helped by supply disruptions in Nigeria and a weaker US dollar.

However, the long-term outlook for crude values remains on thin ice, in my opinion. Production from OPEC and Russia continues to blast higher, while patchy economic growth means that bloated inventory levels are likely to persist, a situation that could send black gold prices sinking again.

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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

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 12.14.5911 April 2016

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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