EXTRACT: A whistleblower has accused oil giant Shell of concealing data on the health effects of two major oil spills on communities in Nigeria. In a letter seen by the Independent, Kay Holtzmann, a former employee at the company, said data gathered in the Bodo community which was devastated by two huge oil spills in 2008 and 2009, showed levels of pollution were “astonishingly high”. He also accused the company of refusing to make the findings public. Mr Holtzmann was the former director in charge of Shell’s project to clean up oil spills…
Posts under ‘The Independent’
Ben Chapman: 6 Sept 2016
Never mind the drop in crude prices, huge spending cuts and thousands of job losses, the world’s top oil and gas companies are set to produce more than ever for some time.
While top oil companies struggle with slumping revenues following a price rout after years of spectacular growth, their production has grown as projects sanctioned earlier in the decade come on line. Overall production at the world’s seven biggest oil and gas companies is set to rise by around 9 per cent between 2015 and 2018, according to analysts’ estimates.
Tom Bawden Environment Editor: 5 FEB 2016
Shell yesterday confirmed plans to cut 10,000 jobs now that its takeover of rival BG Group is set to go through, and raised the prospect of further redundancies, as it reported an 80 per cent slump in profits to a 13-year low.
Two days after BP announced its biggest-ever annual loss, Shell revealed that its profits had fallen to $3.8bn (£2.6bn) last year, from $19bn in 2014. The industry has been rocked by a sustained slump in the oil price, from $115 a barrel in the summer of 2014 to $35.41 yesterday.
Mark Leftly: 20 JAN 2016
Royal Dutch Shell has come under fire for being part of a consortium that accepted an “extraordinary” $3.3bn (£2.3bn) tax break in Nigeria – twice the poverty-stricken country’s annual health budget.
In a new report ActionAid estimated the consortium, which also includes France’s Total and Italy’s Eni, received this benefit between 2004 and 2012 on top of Nigeria’s standard five-year tax holiday to encourage investment. The charity says the cost of the tax breaks could have been better spent on improving health and education systems at the same pace that oil revenue pours in.
Hazel Sheffield: 18 JAN 2016
Not everyone agreed with the RAC when it said that petrol could become cheaper than bottled water.
RAC wagered that if the price of oil slid below $20 barrel, it could push petrol prices to 90p a litre – while a fall to $10 a barrel or less could see petrol sold at 86p a litre, or cheaper than a bottle of water.
But only if you are a water snob, according to the Hydration Council, who emailed us to say that the average price of a litre bottle of water, purchased in a multi-pack, is 38p. Take that, Perrier drinkers.
Zlata Rodionova: 18 JAN 2016
Volkswagen has made a list of non-governmental organisations’ “most hated” brands in the UK for the first time, following a turbulent year for the company dealing with fallout from the emissions scandal.
VW came in at fourth place in the survey that named Shell as the most hated brand.
VW is now the seventh least popular brand in the world, according to the survey of more than 7,500 NGOs by Sigwatch, a consultancy.
Robert Blood, founder and managing of Sigwatch, told the Independent that the Volkswagen scandal allowed NGOs to draw attention to the bigger problem of green emissions.
Jamie Nimmo: 5 Jan 2016
The oil price surge made Shell’s swoop for smaller rival BG slightly more palatable for investors, despite concerns the deal could be called off. The regulatory hurdles have all been cleared, but shareholders must now give their views on the cash and shares deal, currently worth £37bn – £10bn less than when it was struck in April last year.
That was when the oil price was near $60 a barrel. It now stands at $38 a barrel, even after a 2 per cent jump yesterday.
Shell and BG’s backers vote on 27 and 28 January respectively, but the former could be forced by its own shareholders to renegotiate.
How idiotic would its board look if it ditched its current bride at the altar, only to see her hook up with a rival in a few months’ time?
Jim Armitage: Wednesday 23 Dec 2015
It will be the first big test of 2016: will Shell press on with its takeover of BG when the oil price is stubbornly below $40 a barrel? Today, it gave a clear “yes” by publishing its full merger documentation and posting the paperwork out to shareholders. If it was not planning to press on with the deal, it would have found some excuse why not to do so.
The documents rap out a series of reasons why the current bombed-out oil price is not relevant to the logic of integrating these two vast companies. The deal will bring so many efficiencies, Shell promises, that its hallowed dividend will be safer, bringing in more cashflow to pay into the divi pot at as low as $50 a barrel. Few people really think crude is likely to stay below that for decades to come. And, as far as the value of the combined assets goes, it can breakeven at the low $60s, Shell adds.
Michael Bow: 15 Dec 2015
Royal Dutch Shell moved to shore up support for its £35bn BG Group takeover yesterday, by promising to slash more jobs amid concerns shareholders could rebel against the deal.
The Anglo-Dutch oil giant will axe a further 2,800 jobs around the world on top of 7,500 roles it had previously announced were for the chop.
The losses – equivalent to 3 per cent of the combined group’s workforce – coincide with the final furlong of the long-running takeover saga, which has been put under pressure due to this year’s oil price rout.
The World Wildlife Fund warned the size of the fine would ‘do little to deter future poor behaviour’
Shell apologised for the lack of information and said it was not a deliberate attempt to cover up the spill.
Adam Barnett: 24 November 2015
A £22,500 fine imposed on the energy giant Shell as punishment for the worst North Sea oil spill in a decade has been dismissed as “paltry” by environmental campaigners.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) warned the size of the fine, for a company that earns billions, would “do little to deter future poor behaviour” by oil and gas companies to avoid more damage to the environment.
The leak from the Gannet Alpha platform in August 2011 was the worst in the region in 10 years and saw more than 200 tons of oil – about 1,300 barrels – flood into the sea.
Mrs Alison-Madueke, 54, part of a prominent Nigerian family and a former Shell executive, was appointed as Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources in March 2010 by now former president Goodluck Jonathan
Until last Friday, Diezani Alison-Madueke’s position as one of the most prominent women on the global stage had seemed assured. Boasting a Cambridge degree and a portfolio of senior government positions in her native Nigeria, she is also the first female president of the OPEC oil cartel.
Such is her influence that the British government earlier this year placed her top of a list of former recipients of the taxpayer-funded Chevening Scholarship for future leaders of foreign states whom it wanted to recognise for International Women’s Day. The roll call paid tribute to women who it said personified the slogan for the event – “make it happen”.
The true nature of big oil sponsorships was exposed last week, after it was discovered that Shell had sought to influence the content of the climate change exhibition “Atmosphere”, which it sponsors at the Science Museum.
Emails obtained via Freedom of Information requests show how the company positioned its own staff as advisors: “Regarding the gallery update, can I check whether you have touched base with David Hone to see if he would like to participate in the content refresh?” read one email from May last year.