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Posts under ‘Shell Project Overruns’

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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Links to over 265 articles by a host of different publishers including the FT, Wall Street Journal, Reuters etc., all containing references to RoyalDutchShellPlc.com or its founders

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-15-34-38Links to over 265 articles by a host of publishers including the FT, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Dow Jones Newswires, Bloomberg, New York Times etc., containing references to this website, or its founders Alfred and John Donovan (photo right).

Includes newspaper and magazine articles, and newsletters. All in date order.

WALL STREET JOURNAL ARTICLE: “Shell Wages Legal Fight Over Web Domain Name”: 2 June 2005

BLOOMBERG ARTICLE: “Shell in Legal Battle Over Name of Web Site, Journal Reports“: 2 June 2005

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Shell Ireland gets €50m injection for Corrib Gas

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Gordon Deegan: Thursday, March 31, 2016

Shell Ireland has received a further €50m cash injection from oil giant Shell, as the Irish firm finally generates revenues from the long-delayed and controversial €3.6bn Corrib Gas field.

The increase of €50m in capital at Shell E&P Ireland Ltd is confirmed in new documents lodged with the Companies Office, which show that the authorised share capital at the firm now stands at €1.4bn.

Shell and its Corrib Partners over 2015 and 2014 spent €580m, made up of an investment of €260m last year and €320m in 2014 to bring gas ashore.

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Shell Corrib firm gets €70m cash injection

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Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 09.01.56Shell Corrib firm gets €70m cash injection

Gas began flowing from the field only in the past few weeks – 11 years behind schedule.

By John Mulligan: 4 FEB 2016

Oil giant Shell injected €70m into its Irish unit that’s behind the Corrib gas project in recent months as the field prepared to begin delivering gas, new filings show.

The Corrib gas field is located 83km off Ireland’s west coast in depths of almost 350 metres.

Gas began flowing from the field only in the past few weeks – 11 years behind schedule.

Shell owns a 45pc stake in the Corrib field, with Norway’s Statoil owning 36.5pc. Canadian firm Vermilion owns 18.5pc.

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20 years after gas discovery, Corrib opens in north Mayo

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Lorna Siggins: 24 JAN 2016

The €3.5 billion Corrib gas development is due to be opened by Minister of State for Natural Resources Joe McHugh on Monday, almost 20 years after the gas discovery was reported off the north Mayo coast.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny had been earmarked for the invitation-only event, but will be at Downing Street in London. Corrib shareholders Shell, Statoil and Vermillion are hosting a plaque unveiling and lunch in Belmullet, almost 15km from the gas refinery.

While much of the town’s focus is currently on sale of the €13.7 million winning Lotto ticket in Carey’s newsagent, the project opening represents a significant milestone.

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Ruairí McKiernan: Corrib gas protesters did State some service

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…many of those involved have been ridiculed, slandered, spied on, harassed, beaten and jailed – all for upholding their democratic right to peaceful dissent. Incidents included the 2005 jailing of the Rossport Five, who spent 94 days in prison at the behest of Shell.

Ruairí McKiernan

As gas is flared into the skies above north Mayo, it is worth reflecting on a project that has been one of modern Ireland’s greatest scandals, a stunning fiasco in planning, economics, environmental protection and the abuse of civil liberties.

Far from it being just about energy supply, jobs and development, the Corrib gas project cuts to the core of this republic and asks big questions about how the country is run.

For more than 10 years now, campaigners have attempted to highlight the project’s many flaws.

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Natural gas begins flowing from controversial Corrib field

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Peter Murtagh: 30 Dec 2015

Natural gas is flowing into the national supply grid from the Corrib gas field off Co Mayo for the first time since it was discovered in 1996.

One of six wellheads, drilled in 350m of water 84km off the west coast, was opened on Wednesday by the field developer, Shell E&P Ireland.

This started gas flowing through a 20 inch diameter off-shore pipeline to an 8.3km-long on-shore pipeline, which includes a 4.9km tunnel beneath Sruwaddacon Bay, the longest in Ireland.

It continues from there into the company’s reception terminal at Ballanaboy, near Belmullet in Co Mayo.

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Desperate measures for a desperate Corrib project

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Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 16.57.35New Release – Issued by Shell to Sea – December 30th 2015 – For immediate release

—  Minister White slips consent to Shell during Christmas period —

Shell to Sea have called the granting by Alex White of consent to operate the Corrib Gas pipeline – desperate and disgraceful. Permission was granted despite Shell’s EPA consent to operate the Corrib Gas refinery currently being admitted for hearing before the High Court. [1]

Shell to Sea is of the view that Shell possibly had contractual obligations which required that Corrib gas flow before end 2015 so they once again snapped their fingers at government to do the needful – in this instance the government of ‘law and order’ has shown itself no different to Fianna Fáil.

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Shell To Sea JR Legal Fund

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Four local residents have initiated a legal challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision granting Shell E&P Ireland an INDUSTRIAL EMISSIONS LICENCE P0738-03 for the Corrib gas refinery in Co Mayo.

THIS IS THE FINAL DECISION TO PUMP THE GAS

In proceedings before the High Court, four residents argue THAT the decision to grant the license is flawed and should be set aside.

The action, against the EPA and the State, has been brought by Martin and Maura Harrington, and Monica Muller and Peter Sweetman. 

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Controversial Corrib gas will flow within weeks

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Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 17.45.17The projected spend of €250m on the controversial project this year will lead to the overall costs exceeding €3.6bn. This is more than four times the original estimate of €800m for the project, which is 12 years behind its original projected completion time of 2003.

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Áine Ryan: TUESDAY, 13 OCTOBER 2015

Penultimate permission granted by EPA

ALMOST two decades after its discovery, the Corrib Gas field  has been given its penultimate permission, an industrial emissions licence, by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). The final statutory permission for the €3.6bn project is expected to be issued very soon by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White, clearing the way for the gas to flow from the Bellanaboy refinery.  

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Petition to Sign – Minister White: Don’t reward Shell abuses in Ireland

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Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 08.19.41Dear John,

Interesting to read the two recent articles about Shell/Corrib on your site – Shell’s arrogance, plus their presumption of statutory and ministerial subservient compliance still reign supreme!

Shell could at least have made a cursory acknowledgement of a person’s right to recourse to law by way of Judicial Review of the two presumed consents but, once again, they would appear to know something the rest of us don’t.

I would much appreciate if you could draw your reader’s attention to a Shell to Sea petition addressed to the line Minister Alex White which asks/demands that he refuse Shell consent to operate their ‘Space Shuttle syndrome’ refinery at Ballinaboy. As this is of local, national and global significance, I hope many readers will sign it over the next two days.

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Logistics and Lizards Disrupt Chevron’s Project Off Australia

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Screen Shot 2015-07-04 at 13.26.18Chevron agreed to share the cost with Exxon Mobil, Shell and three Japanese power companies, Osaka Gas, Tokyo Gas and Chubu Electric Power. “This is probably the last of the megaprojects for the oil companies for a while…”

By A. ODYSSEUS PATRICK: JULY 3, 2015

SYDNEY, Australia — Getting anything to Chevron’s gas-processing plant on Barrow Island is a bit of a trick.

Some supplies travel 15 hours from Perth to a supply base for shipping. En route, trucks cannot stop under trees, to avoid picking up bugs and bird droppings. When people and cargo finally make it to the island, an army of 300 enforces a quarantine: Every Velcro strap on clothing and bags is checked for seed pods, boots are scrubbed free of dirt and pants with cuffs never even make it ashore.

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The lessons for all from the Corrib Gas project in North Mayo

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Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 10.01.13The lessons for all from the Corrib Gas project in North Mayo

Major infrastructure that is years behind schedule and massively over budget

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The Corrib Gas project represents a cautionary example of how large industrial developments should not be handled by governments or multinational companies. A lack of consultation and sensitivity to local concerns in the initial stages led gradually to resistance and confrontation. Smouldering resentment over what objectors regarded as unqualified state support for the developer caught fire when five protesters, concerned about the safety of a gas pipeline and its proximity to their homes, were jailed on an application from Shell. From there, there was no going back.

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Corrib gas cost overruns deprive State of €600m in tax

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Corrib gas cost overruns deprive State of €600m in tax

The €2.4 billion cost overrun is largely as a consequence of opposition to the project, which was stimulated in part by poor management of it at its outset.

Peter Murtagh: Tuesday 30 June 2015

The huge cost overrun on Corrib gas, the single most expensive energy infrastructure project in Ireland and the largest since the Ardnacrusha hydroelectric scheme on the Shannon in the 1920s, will deprive the Government of an estimated €600 million in tax revenue.

The €600 million represents 25 per cent of the project’s likely cost overrun of €2.4 billion, much of which was incurred because of changes made to the project since it began.

Had this additional €2.4 billion not been spent on development costs, an extra €600 million would have been paid to the exchequer as tax on profit, which for exploration companies is levied at 25 per cent. However, like all companies, Shell Exploration and Production Ireland, which is a partner with Statoil of Norway and Vermilion Energy of Canada, can write off capital development costs against taxation.

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The Corrib legacy: what the protests achieved

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Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 19.31.15The Corrib legacy: what the protests achieved

A rerouting of the pipeline and greater public awareness of how Ireland treats its natural resources were among the positive outcomes of the Shell to Sea, campaigners say

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Bríd McGarry, a Mayo landowner, and Mary Corduff, wife of jailed farmer Willie Corduff, after five Mayo farmers were jailed in 2005 for refusing to give an undertaking not to obstruct the construction of the Corrib gas pipe line. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Lorna Siggins: Monday June 29, 2015

“You’ve gone very quiet up there.” North Mayo resident Mary Corduff reckons that if she had a euro for every time she heard this remark over the past few months, her purse could be pretty full. “People think because they don’t see us on protesting on the television that we have accepted this, but we haven’t,” Corduff says, looking out of her farmhouse window towards the Corrib gas refinery several miles away.

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Shell Heads for Alaska While Awaiting Final Drilling Permits

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 09.05.39Shell Heads for Alaska While Awaiting Final Drilling Permits

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 09.26.53ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Jun 26, 2015, 3:42 PM ET

By DAN JOLING Associated Press

One Royal Dutch Shell offshore drill rig is headed to Alaska and a second is poised to leave, despite lacking final federal permits that would allow exploratory drilling and possible confirmation of rich oil reserves under the Chukchi Sea.

A spokesman for Royal Dutch Shell PLC said that’s routine. But an attorney for Oceana, one of dozens of groups objecting to Arctic offshore drilling, said seeing Shell’s flotilla sail north puts pressure on federal agencies to sign off on the permits.

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Shell’s Arctic drilling plans may hit permitting snag

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 22.02.09Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 09.26.53Shell’s Arctic drilling plans may hit permitting snag

June 23, 2015 | By Jennifer A. Dlouhy

WASHINGTON — Shell’s plans to bore two wells in the Arctic Ocean this summer may be jeopardized by an obscure permitting requirement that effectively bars drilling operations close to each other in waters off Alaska.

The restriction highlighted by environmentalists opposed to Shell’s Arctic drilling campaign could be a major stumbling block for the company, which has spent $7 billion and seven years pursuing oil in the region.

The provision is embedded in the government’s rules for obtaining a “letter of authorization” allowing companies to disturb walruses, seals and other animals in the region — among the last permits Shell needs to launch activities in the Chukchi Sea next month. Under a 2013 Fish and Wildlife Service regulation, those authorizations are precluded for drilling activities happening within 15 miles of each other.

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Arctic blowout clean-up costs could exceed Shell’s financial resources

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Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 13.13.19From a regular contributor 

THE BEAR FACTS -EMERGENCY RESPONSE MAY TAKE TWO OR THREE MONTHS TO ARRIVE!

“The risk of a blowout or spill is always present when a well is drilled. The US government estimates the probability of such an event in Alaska at 75%. In many cases a relief well is the only way in which a blowout can be brought under control, especially if the well casing is breached. There is no “new technology” in existence that eliminates the risk of a blowout, or provides a guarantee that a blowout can be quickly brought under control if it occurs. 

The requirement for “same season” relief well capabilities is intended to avoid a situation where a blowout occurs late in the season and continues unabated until the weather improves sufficiently to undertake well control operations in the following year. The time required to mobilise a second rig, drill a relief well, and kill a blowout may be 2-3 months or more. The “same season” relief well requirement therefore effectively shortens the summer drilling season to just a few weeks. If this requirement is enforced, exploration and development of the Arctic will be almost impossible. If this requirement is not enforced and Shell has a blowout which continues through the winter, the clean-up costs may far exceed Shell’s financial resources. 

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Shell to drill in Alaskan Arctic with protesters in pursuit

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Ten years after it first started acquiring new leases in the Arctic, and having spent almost $7bn, Shell has still not yet drilled a single well into oil-bearing rocks. A series of law suits, regulatory objections and its own mistakes have held it up.

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FULL FT ARTICLE WITH WORKING LINKS. SETS OUT SHELL’S 2012 DEBACLE IN SOME DETAIL

RELATED FT ARTICLES

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Oil hunt raises risk of climate disaster

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By Peter Husk: Saturday May 23, 2015

There’s an Alice-in-Wonderland quality about Royal Dutch Shell’s attitude towards the risks involved in its plan to drill for oil in the US Arctic.

The decision has sparked protests in Seattle, where the Polar Pioneer, one of two rigs the Anglo-Dutch oil giant intends to use, is berthed.

Shell sees the risks in its plan as financial. Critics see a far worse threat to the world’s climate.

Another rig, the Noble Discoverer, is docked along the coast at Everett. Both vessels are expected to sail north to Alaska next month and start exploratory drilling in the Chukchi prospect, between the United States and Russia, in late July.

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SHELL CLUELESS IN SEATTLE

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 18.01.34SHELL DOESN’T HAVE A CLUE ABOUT THE ENERGY OF THE FUTURE, NOT A CLUE!!

SOLAR IS THE ENERGY OF THE FUTURE.

PRODUCING ENERGY FROM OIL IS STONE AGE TECHNOLOGY. A SOLAR ENERGY REVOLUTION IS WELL UNDER WAY NOW.  YOU ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME. INVEST NOW IN SOLAR AND WIND ENERGY PRODUCTION. OH, AND GET YOUR RIG THE HELL OUT OF SEATTLE. YOU ARE NOT WANTED THERE!!

AND ONE MORE THING, IF SHELL HAD ANY BRAINS, YOU WOULD AT LEAST BE BUYING STOCKS IN THE TESLA CORPORATION.

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Oil rig on move to Seattle, protesters expected

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Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 08.30.03Heather Graf, KING-TV, SeattleMay 14, 2015

Oil rig on move to Seattle, protesters expected

SEATTLE — A massive offshore drilling rig left Port Angeles, Wash., early Thursday and is expected here later in the day.

The 400-foot long Polar Pioneer began moving out of Port Angeles at about 1:40 a.m. PT. The rig is expected to arrive here around 5 p.m. PT, traveling about 120 miles, the Coast Guard said.

The Polar Pioneer is one of the rigs that Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell petroleum plans to use as it moves ahead with plans to use leased space at the Port of Seattle to load drilling rigs and other vessels with supplies and personnel. It is preparing to explore for oil this summer in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s northwest coast.

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Groups Want Review of Shell’s Arctic Regulatory Filings

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 14.53.31Article by Dan Joling of Associated Press published 28 April 2015 by ABC News

Groups Want Review of Shell’s Arctic Regulatory Filings

Two groups petitioned the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday for an investigation of Royal Dutch Shell PLC and what the groups call misstatements in regulatory filings regarding the risk of a catastrophic oil spill from Arctic offshore drilling.

The petition was filed Monday by Oceana and the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School.

Mike LeVine, an attorney for Oceana, argued that Shell has not disclosed to investors that its response measures to a major or catastrophic spill are unlikely to work.

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Shell lease approved, but hurdles remain

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Shell’s 2008 purchase of a licence to drill in Alaskan waters has been approved. Now it waits to be granted permission to do so

April 1, 2015 – 8:53pm – By Kevin McGwin

With the decision yesterday by the US federal government not to throw out the 2008 sale of drilling licences off Alaska’s northern coast, it is looking increasingly likely that Shell, an oil firm, will be able to resume its Alaska drilling campaign this year.

The decision, though widely bemoaned on social media by opponents, should have come as little surprise. After first being foreseen by The Guardian, a left-leaning British media outlet, last week, the National Petroleum Council, a federal advisory board led by industry executives, indicated what the outcome would be when it, perhaps not unsurprisingly, recommended on Friday that Arctic exploration not be delayed.

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Shell will resume drilling off Alaska coast: U.S. Arctic envoy

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Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 08.56.29By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell will resume drilling off Alaska after suspending operations for two years in the wake of an accident, the special U.S. envoy to the Arctic said on Monday, but gave no details as to when.

Shell has been moving oil rigs to Alaska as it awaits the green light from U.S. authorities. It froze operations in 2013 after the grounding of a rig in Alaska prompted protests from environmental groups.

“Clearly Shell and others will resume drilling and exploration up off the North Slope of Alaska,” Admiral Robert Papp said in an interview during a visit to Canada.

Papp, noting the accident had happened in December 2012 after that year’s drilling season had ended, said the Anglo-Dutch oil major understood the importance of taking all the necessary precautions.

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CAN SHELL SAFELY DRILL IN THE ARCTIC?

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By: MICHEAL KAUFMAN
Published: Mar 30, 2015 at 10:40 am EST

Shell Oil Company, subsidiary of multinational oil giant Royal Dutch Shell Plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS), is conducting drilling tests in Bellingham, Washington, ahead of potential regulatory approval for drilling in the Arctic.

According to media reports, government officials in Washington are observing Shell’s oil spill response system, which is to be deployed in the Arctic. The testing comes two years after the oil company’s previous venture ended abruptly in 2012, after it failed a deployment test because of damage to its emergency containment system. The failure led to heightened concerns over environmental safety. However, the system, which was deployed on a barge, has since been certified after repairs were carried out.

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Shell led Corrib Gas Pipeline Project comes unstuck

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Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 16.37.36Article by Norma Costello published 23 March 2015 by vice.com under the headline:

A Massive Pipe Came Loose in an Atlantic Gas Field and Irish Environmentalists Are Not Happy

The Corib Gas pipeline project by the Western Irish fishing village of Rossport, County Mayo, has always been a source of controversy. It was established amid arrests and police batons, against the wishes of locals and environmental protesters. The project is supposed to start pumping gas this summer, and those activists remain convinced that extracting fossil fuels from an area famed for its natural beauty is a bad idea.

Just over a week ago, an 800 metre pipe that was supposed to be fixed to the sea-bed floated to the surface. Feeling that their fears may have been justified, local activists are demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) looks into it. I contacted the EPA who had previously said they would be investigating the issue. When I asked whether members of the EPA would visit the site, I was told they “don’t consider it necessary at this time”.

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Lawsuit challenges Port of Seattle lease for Shell Arctic drilling fleet

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Posted by Chris Klint, Senior Digital Producer, [email protected]: Mar 02, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 19.49.45ANCHORAGE – An array of Washington-based environmental groups has sued the Port of Seattle over a leasing agreement to host Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling fleet, claiming the deal was negotiated in secret and may pollute the port.

Shell contractor Foss Maritime received a two-year lease, announced in February, for 50 acres of waterfront property and the mooring of up to eight vessels. Port officials expected the lease to bring in at least $13 million in rent during the two-year period.

A Monday statement from Earthjustice says the suit, filed in King Country Superior Court against the port, asks the court to vacate the lease. The suit was filed on behalf of several groups including the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, the Sierra Club, the Washington Environmental Council, and the Seattle Audubon Society.

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SAKHALIN2: How many billions of dollars did Shell lose in Russian annexation?

Chris Finlayson representing Shell and Alexander Medvedev, Gazprom’s Vice Chairman

By John Donovan

Royal Dutch Shell executive Chris Finlayson held a leadership position in Shell’s Sakhalin II project in Russia from September 2005 to September 2009.

The venture was described as “the Mother of all Projects” by the Financial Times.

When Finlayson joined the Sakhalin II project, Shell was the controlling stakeholder in the venture.

By the time he departed, Shell had lost its controlling stake and had become a junior partner in humiliating circumstances.

The Putin government found out that Shell had hidden information from them in a high level cover-up. As a Russian government minister, Oleg Mitvol, confirmed to the news media at the time, and more recently in a GERMAN TV documentary segment broadcast across Europe, I supplied that crucial insider information to him. I did so before the real nature of Putin had become apparent.  

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Port of Seattle hosts Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 17.18.55From an article by Joe Connelly published 11Feb 2015 by Seattlepi.com under the headline:

Port of Seattle quietly signs homeport lease for Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet

Extracts

The Port of Seattle has quietly inked a two-year lease under which Shell Oil will use Terminal 5 on the Seattle waterfront as the base for its efforts to drill in Arctic waters of Alaska’s Chukchi Sea.

With rapid authorization, negotiation and signing of the lease — reminiscent of how decisions on the waterfront used to be greased — the port has secured a $13.17 million deal and forestalled efforts by the region’s environmental groups to stop it.

“This year we are planning on drilling in Alaska,” Simon Henry, chief financial officer at Royal Dutch Shell, told a stockholder briefing two weeks ago.

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SEC continuing to scrutinise Shell’s claimed oil reserves

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 15.06.08By John Donovan

A letter emailed to Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive Officer, Ben van Beurden, on 23 Oct 2014, from the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, asked why Shell had omitted to supply in a Form 20-F filing, figures for Shell’s share of Kashagan proved undeveloped reserves.

Shell’s partners in the much troubled Kashagan oil field consortium – years behind schedule and billions over budget – include Eni, KazMunayGas, Total, ExxonMobil, China National Petroleum Corporation and Inpex. The project is known in the oil industry as “Cash All Gone”.

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Shell’s disastrous foray into Arctic waters

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 17.18.55From an article by Joel Connelly published 7 Jan 2015 by Seattlepi.com under the headline:

“Will Port of Seattle be repair center for Shell Oil’s Arctic vessels?

Extracts

The Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 is being proposed as a repair and service center for vessels engaged in Shell Oil’s troubled, delayed program to drill for oil in Arctic waters of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off Alaska.

In the summer of 2012, the tug Lauren Foss towed the Shell exploration ship Noble Discoverer away from a beach in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, after its anchor slipped and the 512-foot vessel nearly ran aground.

The contractor operating the Noble Discoverer, Noble Drilling LLC, later pleaded guilty to eight felony counts for violating environmental and safety laws, and paid a $12.2 million fine. The violations were discovered during a U.S. Coast Guard safety inspection.

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Outlook uncertain for Shell’s return to the Chukchi

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By Yereth Rosen: 3 Jan 2015

Six years after dropping more than $2 billion on leases in the remote Chukchi Sea off northwestern Alaska, Shell has yet to drill into any oil in that icy frontier.

Plans for an audacious offshore Arctic exploration program have been stymied by litigation and adverse court rulings and a string of accidents, mishaps, mistakes and some legal violations.

But the company is seeking to make up for lost time in 2015. After scrapping plans to drill in 2014 — a decision made necessary by a federal appeals court ruling in January that found regulators had failed to properly evaluate environmental impacts of the 2008 leasing — Shell has a new and much more aggressive exploration plan it hopes to make a reality this year.

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Shell’s spectacular belly flop into the Arctic Ocean

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 17.18.55Even more troubling than Shell’s “Arctic-ready” armada problems is Shell’s spectacular failure of good judgment. To avoid an Alaska tax bill, company managers ordered its secondary drill rig towed south through the winter storm-lashed Gulf of Alaska despite the tug master’s prescient warning that: “the length of tow, at this time of the year, in this location, with our current routing, guarantees an ass-kicking.” The tug master was right.

Extracts from a letter dated 11 Dec 2014 by Kim Elton, who served four years as senior adviser to former US Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar. 

Here are some lowlights from Shell’s pratfall-ridden 2012 effort to drill exploration wells: A Coast Guard inspection of Shell’s 47-year-old primary drilling ship found 23 “deficiencies” (including engine problems) days before it was set to sail for the Arctic; that rig nearly beached dragging anchor in a calm Aleutian port en route to the Arctic; Shell’s required spill response barge initially flunked minimum seaworthiness tests after it was rescued from a barge boneyard in Southern California; Shell’s spill containment dome was “crushed like a beer can” in placid Puget Sound sea trials, never making it to the Arctic; the lead drilling rig finally punched its first drill bit into the Arctic Ocean floor in mid-September and, the next day, an ice floe the size of Manhattan forced it off; that same rig then suffered an explosion and fire leaving the Arctic; it later was detained by the Coast Guard in Alaska for major safety, propulsion and pollution “discrepancies” (CBS reported when Coast Guard criminal investigators arrived, the crew had been provided with lawyers and declined to be interviewed); Shell’s secondary drilling rig had 19 deficiencies in electrical and maintenance systems discovered when it arrived back in Dutch Harbor from the Arctic; and Shell incurred more than $1 million in fines for air-quality violations in the Arctic.

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Greenpeace Verdict On Shell/Noble Arctic Crimes

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 15.57.16Greenpeace Arctic campaigner, Ian Duff, has issued the following statement:

“Shell has proven time and again it can’t be trusted to manage its contractors safely. That Shell engaged Noble Drilling, a company now guilty of eight felonies, is the clearest indicator yet. Letting Shell back into such a precious and risky environment as the Arctic would be sheer madness, yet that’s what Shell wants to do next summer. Surely now President Obama has to think twice about approving Shell’s next venture in the Arctic, which the government’s own scientists say has a 75% chance of causing a large spill.

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U.S. Justice Department Chilling Verdict on Shell Arctic Drilling Company

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Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 17.18.55Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Monday, December 8, 2014

Drilling Company Charged with Environmental and Maritime Crimes in Alaska

Noble Drilling (U.S.) LLC was charged with environmental and maritime crimes for operating the drill ship Noble Discoverer and the drilling unit Kulluk in violation of federal law in Alaska in 2012, the Department of Justice announced.

Under the terms of a plea agreement filed in federal court today, Noble will plead guilty to eight felony offenses, pay $12.2 million dollars in fines and community service payments, implement a comprehensive Environmental Compliance Plan, and will be placed on probation for four years. In addition, Noble’s parent corporation, Noble Corporation plc, headquartered in London, England, will implement an Environmental Management System for all Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODUs) owned or operated by Noble Corporation plc and its direct and indirect subsidiaries worldwide.

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Shell contractor faces $12.2M in environmental crime fines

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 17.18.55The drilling operator of Shell’s ill-fated drill rig that ran aground south of Kodiak Island will plead guilty to eight felony offenses and has agreed to pay $12.2 million in fines and community service payments stemming from environmental and safety violations aboard its vessels, the U.S. Department of Justice said Monday.

Alaska Dispatch News article published 8 Dec 2014

The drilling operator of Shell’s ill-fated drill rig that ran aground south of Kodiak Island will plead guilty to eight felony offenses and has agreed to pay $12.2 million in fines and community service payments stemming from environmental and safety violations aboard its vessels, the U.S. Department of Justice said Monday.

Noble Drilling LLC, operator of the drill ship Noble Discoverer and drilling operator of the Kulluk — which broke free from a tow during bad weather and ran aground on Dec. 31, 2012 — also will receive four years of probation and must implement a Comprehensive Environmental Compliance plan for violating federal environmental and maritime law in 2012, according to a release from Karen Loeffler, U.S. Attorney for Alaska.

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Sad faces at Shell?

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 09.25.26Last month, the suits over at Shell put on their sad faces and went to the White House to ask for more time to burn through another billion or two. I tell ya, these guys are gluttons for punishment. After eight years and more than $6 billion, Shell has come up completely empty on its promise to bring a bounty of Arctic crude to market from the Chukchi Sea.

Jeff Siegel has authored an interesting article:

Shale Oil vs. Arctic Drilling

The extract below sets out his advice to Shell on Arctic drilling.

Last month, the suits over at Shell put on their sad faces and went to the White House to ask for more time to burn through another billion or two. I tell ya, these guys are gluttons for punishment. After eight years and more than $6 billion, Shell has come up completely empty on its promise to bring a bounty of Arctic crude to market from the Chukchi Sea. The plan to tap this Arctic flow was devised more than a decade ago — before the U.S. was swimming in shale oil and before consumption rates started falling. Certainly I don’t fault management for moving aggressively on black treasure in the Arctic. At the time, it made a lot of sense. But today, with $80 crude, a boom in domestic oil and gas production, and little chance of ever successfully producing anything more than losses in the Chukchi, Shell really should just chalk the whole adventure up to an unfortunate face-plant and move on.

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Shell’s own goals in the Arctic: Over to you, Ann

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 09.25.26US authorities say a desire to avoid taxes lead Shell to move an oil rig in rough seas in 2012, which lead to its grounding.

Extract from an article published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 November 2014

When Ann Pickard says how sorry she is to be leaving the Westpac board after its shareholder meeting next month – just three years after taking her seat – there is no doubting her sincerity.

Chairman Lindsay Maxsted says that following the former Shell Australia boss’s “executive relocation to the US and expectations that her commitments in North America (as head of Shell’s Arctic operations) will increase in 2015, Ms Pickard reluctantly chose to retire from the board”.

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OSSL Blackmail Plot Against Shell?

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By John Donovan

Since 22 October 2014 I have been updating an article posing the question: “Shell being blackmailed?”

Top people at Royal Dutch Shell  have all spoken directly to a director of a former Shell “Mr Fixit” company in Ireland, OSSL, which has bombarded Shell with money demands to settle a dispute that Shell says it has already settled.

To be specific, Desmond Kane of OSSL has spoken in person to Peter Voser, Ben van Beurden, Jorma Ollila, Michiel Brandjes, Michael Crothers (and other senior people at Shell).

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Oil Price Slump

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By John Donovan

I have already highlighted the recent wishful prediction by Shell CEO Ben van Beurden that oil will return to “very robust” pricing in the long-term.

We have all witnessed the subsequent slump in oil prices.

Some extracts from a current Bloomberg article:

The global crash in crude prices is reverberating through the oil and gas industry, pressuring producers to curtail investment to protect profits and avoid cuts to dividend payments.

Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA are already paring back as new investment fails to yield positive returns.

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Shell Corrib Gas Project Ireland: The Good News and the Bad News

Screen Shot 2014-10-04 at 13.47.39By Nick Gill

The Irish Independent has published an article providing an update on the delayed progress of the Shell led Corrib Gas Project in Ireland, which has been surrounded by controversy, including alleged corruption and persistent environmental protests from the outset. 

Basically, the good news is that the volume of gas at peak production is projected to be 8pc greater than originally forecast. 

The bad news is that the project is likely to end up 12 years behind the original schedule with the total outlay now expected to be four times the original estimate of €800m. 

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Shell shareholders can only wish that they had never heard of Alaska

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 09.25.26By John Donovan

Christopher Helman of Forbes has neatly summarised the misadventures of Royal Dutch Shell in Alaska…

“Consider for a second the $5 billion misadventure that Royal Dutch Shell has had in Alaska. Here’s a quick recap: In 2008 Shell acquired the rights to exploration blocks in the Beaufort Sea north of the North Slope. Shell, in 2012 (after years of studying whales and seals, negotiating with the native peoples, and satisfying draconian EPA rules governing diesel emissions in the middle of freaking nowhere) finally floated its Kulluk drillship into the Beaufort, where it only got to drill for a few weeks before having to be towed back to port lest icebergs crush it. On the way out it got grounded on the rocks of Kodiak Island. Shell decided to press pause on its Alaska project, and Shell shareholders can only wish that they had never heard of Alaska.”

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The truth about OSSL allegations

 By John Donovan

OSSL, the former Mr Fixit company for Shell EP Ireland, distributed sweeteners (bribes) on behalf of Shell to various parties to ease the tortuously slow progress of the controversial Corrib Gas Project.

The lucky recipients included a senior Irish Police Officer, Detective Chief Superintendent John Gilligan ([email protected])

OSSL has now supplied me with evidence confirming that their allegations against Shell are true.

The evidence comes from a person of high repute personally present when senior  representatives of Shell, including the Managing Director of Shell EP Ireland. Michael Crothers, carried out repeated negotiations in an attempt to agree a settlement of monies owed to OSSL for buying the sweeteners on Shell’s behalf, including alcohol.  

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Royal Dutch Shell Files Arctic Drilling Plans

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 00.00.49A Shell spokesperson claims that the company’s latest Arctic exploration plan takes into account lessons learned from the 2012 operation (which turned into a dangerous farce after Shell engaged in reckless machinations in an effort to evade tax).

By John Donovan

Royal Dutch Shell has filed a plan with US federal regulators that could result in a resumption of its Arctic drilling campaign in the summer of of 2015.

However, the oil giant still has significant regulatory and legal issues to deal with in the meantime.

A Shell spokesperson claims that the company’s latest Arctic exploration plan takes into account lessons learned from the 2012 operation (which turned into a dangerous farce after Shell engaged in reckless machinations in an effort to evade tax). 

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Big Oil Could Be In Big Trouble

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 18.34.00By John Donovan

A number of current articles warn of falling oil prices. A zacks.com article says that oil prices have fallen below $100 to the lowest level this year and that natural gas has fared even worse. Nas.daq.com reports that the price of oil has plummeted, and that the fall is accelerating. It also points out that big oil has taken on $106 billion in new debt. A related article warns of $96 Billion of High-Risk Oil Megaprojects. The Russia/Ukraine crisis is partly responsible for the uncertainly and anxiety.

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OSSL whistleblower allegations against Shell and the Irish Police

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 17.34.44By John Donovan

The OSSL email campaign against Royal Dutch Shell and various parties including the Garda, who accepted ‘sweeteners’ from Shell dispensed by OSSL, continues unabated, 7 days a week.

OSSL acted as a “Mr Fixit” on behalf of Shell in relation to the controversial long delayed and miles over budget Corrib Gas Project in Ireland, before falling out over money. 

As I understand the situation, the OSSL campaign has two objectives.

One is to expose the truth after a series of cover-ups by the Irish Police and Shell.

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Shell whistleblower OSSL challenges Irish police officers to take lie-detector test

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By John Donovan

OSSL, the company that admits supplying free alcohol to Irish police on behalf of Shell EP Ireland is challenging senior Irish police officers, who apparently deny receiving the goods said to be worth tens of thousands of Euros, to take lie detector tests. 

The challenge is contained in an email sent earlier today to senior executives of Shell including the Company Secretary of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mr Michiel Brandjes.

OSSL directors say that they are prepared to take lie-detector tests themselves with Shell representatives in attendance. 

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Are Asset Sales the Answer for Royal Dutch Shell plc?

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 11.37.41Extracts from a Motley Fool article by Arjun Sreekumar published 23 June 2014

On Monday, Shell announced the sale of a 19% stake in Woodside Petroleum, a deal that is expected to raise $5 billion. On Wednesday, the company announced that it had filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission related to the proposed IPO of its pipeline subsidiary, which could raise up to $750 million. Due largely to ill-timed investments in U.S. shale, continued security issues at its Nigerian operations, and its beleaguered drilling program in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, Shell’s return on capital employed, or ROCE, averaged under 15% from 2008 to 2012. Sales of under performing downstream and upstream North American assets are providing much-needed cash and should help the company gradually improve its return on capital. Overall, the combination of asset sales, reduced spending, and higher cash flow should allow Shell to grow its dividend at a stronger pace over the next few years, assuming commodity prices remain high and assuming that the oil giant can bring new projects online on time and on budget.

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Call for a Public Inquiry into the Policing of the Shell/Corrib Gas Project

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Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 17.34.44Call for a Public Inquiry into the Policing of the Shell/Corrib Gas Project by the named eminent individuals and parties listed below

We support the recent demands for an inquiry into allegations of systemic Garda corruption and violence. We believe any such inquiry should include the Shell/Corrib pipeline police operation in North West Mayo. This is one of the longest running police operations in the history of the Irish state and has drawn critical attention from national and international human rights organisations1 since 2006 over the alleged violence and intimidation used by Gardaí against campaigners.

In 2007, campaigners submitted complaints en masse against the Gardaí to the newly established Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC). Out of the 111 complaints received by GSOC between May 2007 and November 2009, 78 were deemed admissible and 7 sent to the DPP. The DPP rejected prosecution in all 7 cases. The majority of campaigners have since stopped submitting complaints to GSOC. In 2010, complaints from 400 Kilcommon residents were submitted to Shell’s Belmullet office detailing the “escalating physical and psychological harassment” continuing in the area. In 2012, residents again submitted a mass complaint, this time to Mayo County Council, outlining serious grievances arising out of the project, including experiences of private security and state policing, with no result. Any inquiry into the policing of the Shell/Corrib Gas Project cannot ignore the following extract from the minutes of the Shell Committee of Managing Directors meeting held in London 22/23 July 2002:”It was noted that development of the Corrib field may be delayed until 2004 as planning consent had been refused for the terminal. The committee queried whether the Group had sufficiently well placed contacts with the Irish government and regulators. Paul Skinner undertook to explore this issue further in consultation with the Country Chairman in Ireland”.

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