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Royal Dutch Shell’s earnings more than triple in 2Q

By Associated Press July 27 at 2:53 AM

LONDON — Royal Dutch Shell says second-quarter earnings more than tripled as it benefited from a cost-cutting drive and recovering oil prices.The Anglo-Dutch energy giant said Thursday that profit adjusted for changes in the value of inventories and excluding one-time items rose to $3.60 billion from $1.05 billion in the same period last year. Net income rose 31 percent to $1.55 billion.CEO Ben van Beurden says the earnings reflect Shell’s restructuring to cope with lower oil prices and the purchase of natural gas producer BG Group. Shell’s oil price averaged $45.62 a barrel for the quarter, up 16 percent from a year earlier. Prices were above $100 a barrel as recently as 2014. Van Beurden says the “external price environment and energy sector developments mean we will remain very disciplined.” read more

An oilman’s $7 billion refresher course in the economics of drilling and climate change

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To many analysts, it looked like Odum was pushed into leaving.

Steven Mufson March 11, 2016

Marvin Odum, president of Shell Oil, was attending a meeting of the parent company’s executive committee in Singapore when word trickled in that an exploration well drilled in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea — the crowning step in a multi-year $7 billion quest — was a dry hole.

Maybe not bone dry. In a recent interview, Odum wouldn’t say. But in the oil business glossary, a dry hole is one that can’t pay off commercially, and Shell’s hole definitely qualified. The parent company, Royal Dutch Shell, abruptly dropped any further drilling — a setback for the industry, though a relief for environmentalists.

For years, they had fought a vigorous, litigious and politically intense battle over the Chukchi. Meanwhile Shell, lured by potentially rich rewards, had overcome a couple of embarrassing rig mishaps at sea and patiently navigated the courts and the Obama administration’s permitting process. Now, geology had rendered its verdict. read more

Shell’s big gamble: Oil wrangling at the far reaches of the Arctic frontier

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By Steven Mufson September 11

Shell Oil Co.’s president Marvin Odum made the trip on Sept. 2 from Houston to this northern-most town in the United States, a spot whose traditional name, Ukpeagvik, means “place where snowy owls are hunted.”

Odum is here hunting, too, for oil offshore and political support from Alaska Natives living in Barrow, a ramshackle town of muddy streets, littered with all-terrain vehicles and guarded by snow fences on one side and on the other a four-foot-high earthen berm to protect against high winds and seas. read more

Concerns mount over whale deaths in Gulf of Alaska

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Ryan Schuessler: August 24 

KODIAK, Alaska – Researchers are scrambling to determine what’s behind the death of 30 whales in the Gulf of Alaska as unusually warm ocean temperatures continue to wreak havoc on the region.

Since May 2015, 14 fin whales, 11 humpback whales, one gray whale and four unidentified specimens have been found dead along shorelines in the Gulf of Alaska, nearly half of them in the Kodiak Archipelago. Other dead whales have been reported off the coast of British Columbia, including four humpbacks and one sperm whale. read more

Big Oil seems to be acting like Big Tobacco

Article by Sheldon Whitehouse published Sunday 31 May 2015 by The Washington Post/Associated Press

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Fossil fuel companies and their allies are funding a massive and sophisticated campaign to mislead the American people about the environmental harm caused by carbon pollution. 

Their activities are often compared to those of Big Tobacco denying the health dangers of smoking. Big Tobacco’s denial scheme was ultimately found by a federal judge to have amounted to a racketeering enterprise.

The Big Tobacco playbook looked something like this: (1) pay scientists to produce studies defending your product; (2) develop an intricate web of PR experts and front groups to spread doubt about the real science; (3) relentlessly attack your opponents.

Thankfully, the government had a playbook, too: the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO. In 1999, the Justice Department filed a civil RICO lawsuit against the major tobacco companies and their associated industry groups, alleging that the companies “engaged in and executed — and continue to engage in and execute — a massive 50-year scheme to defraud the public, including consumers of cigarettes, in violation of RICO.” read more

Oil drilling on US Arctic coast put on ice

Screen Shot 2013-01-11 at 20.09.51 Oil companies’ rush to find reserves off Alaska’s Arctic shores suffered a setback on Thursday after Shell said it would suspend its operations in the region — and possibly withdraw for good. “We will not drill in Alaska in 2014, and we are reviewing our options there,” Shell CEO Ben van Beurden told reporters in London. “The group’s exploration near the North Pole cost billions of dollars and generated reams of negative press – yet not a single drop of oil has been pumped” said Garry White, Chief Investment Correspondent at British brokerage Charles Stanley.

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By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2:57 PM

AMSTERDAM — Oil companies’ rush to find reserves off Alaska’s Arctic shores suffered a setback on Thursday after Shell said it would suspend its operations in the region — and possibly withdraw for good.Royal Dutch Shell PLC is the main company to have purchased leases for oilfields off Alaska’s Arctic shores, but its attempts to drill have been halting due to technical and legal hurdles.While other companies are still seeking to exploit deep-water Arctic fields nearby in Canada, Shell’s troubles may indicate that the difficulties outweigh the potential economic benefits.“We will not drill in Alaska in 2014, and we are reviewing our options there,” Shell CEO Ben van Beurden told reporters in London.Shell received a negative Federal court decision last week. Environmentalists are still challenging whether the government’s 2008 decision to open the area to exploration was correctly granted in the first place: it is covered by sea ice for much of the year.

Asked whether Thursday’s retreat means the project is finished, Van Beurden said that depends in part on how the ongoing lawsuit proceeds.

Environmental activists cried victory.

“Shell’s Arctic failure is being watched closely by other oil companies, who must now conclude that this region is too remote, too hostile and too iconic to be worth exploring,” Greenpeace International Arctic oil campaigner Charlie Kronick said in a reaction.

Jacqueline Savitz, the U.S. chief of the Oceana conservationist group, said Shell’s retreat shows that offshore drilling in the Arctic is “simply not a good bet from a business perspective.” read more

U.S. FTC Said to Open Oil Price Probe, Mirroring EU Inquiry

Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 01.06.41June 25 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. Federal Trade Commission opened a formal investigation into how prices of crude oil and petroleum-derived products are set, mirroring a European Union inquiry, two people familiar with the matter said.  The investigation, now in a preliminary stage, will probably broaden into a multi-jurisdictional affair…

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U.S. FTC Said to Open Oil Price Probe, Mirroring EU Inquiry

Jun 25, 2013 12:01 am ET

June 25 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. Federal Trade Commission opened a formal investigation into how prices of crude oil and petroleum-derived products are set, mirroring a European Union inquiry, two people familiar with the matter said.

The investigation, now in a preliminary stage, will probably broaden into a multi-jurisdictional affair like the inquiry into manipulation of the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, the people said. FTC investigators are reviewing the progress made by their European counterparts, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential. read more

Shell Nigeria: Explosion forces closure of Trans Niger Pipeline

Environmental activists accuse Shell Nigeria of using oil theft as an excuse to cover up accidental spills. The company has to compensate local communities for spills not caused by theft.

Shell Nigeria: Explosion forces closure of Trans Niger Pipeline carrying 150,000 barrels a day

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By Associated Press, Published: June 20

LAGOS, Nigeria — Shell Nigeria says an explosion and fire caused by oil theft have forced it to shut down its Trans Niger Pipeline that carries 150,000 barrels of crude a day.Thursday’s statement said the theft of oil, known as bunkering, caused the conflagration at Bodo West in Ogoniland. The area in southern Nigeria already has suffered decades of oil spills.Shell’s Nigeria Director Mutiu Sunmonu described “another sad reminder of the tragic consequences of crude oil theft.”

Environmental activists accuse Shell Nigeria of using oil theft as an excuse to cover up accidental spills. The company has to compensate local communities for spills not caused by theft.

“Sabotage is a problem in Nigeria, but Shell exaggerates this issue to avoid criticism for its failure to prevent oil spills,” Audrey Gaughran of Amnesty International said.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Iraq, Royal Dutch Shell kick off major gas project in oil-rich south

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By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, May 1, 1:16 PM

BAGHDAD — Royal Dutch Shell says it has officially kicked off a multibillion-dollar project to tap natural gas in Iraq’s south.The $17 billion joint venture will gather, process and market associated gas, a by-product of producing oil, from three oil fields in the petroleum-rich province of Basra.

Iraq holds 51 percent in the 25-year partnership while Shell holds 44 percent and Japan’s Mitsubishi holds 5 percent. The gas will be used mainly for domestic energy needs, but there is also an option for exports. Wednesday’s announcement was published on Shell’s website. read more

Interior Dept. criticizes Shell’s Arctic drilling

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By , Published: March 14

The Interior Department issued a report sharply critical of Shell’s exploration drilling efforts in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska last year, but Secretary Ken Salazar gave the company the go-ahead to try again in 2014.

Environmental groups harshly criticized the report and said it raised questions about the department’s ability to conduct independent regulatory oversight.

“Exploration in the Arctic is a key component of the President’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, and is important to our understanding of the oil and gas potential in this frontier region,” Salazar said after the completion of a 60-day review by the department that recommended companies follow “Arctic specific” standards.

Shell has already announced a “pause” in its drilling plans after a series of delays and mishaps culminating in its rig, the Kulluk, getting damaged in a storm when it ran aground on its way to port.

Shell has spent nearly $5 billion and several years preparing to drill for oil in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s Arctic coast. Harsh weather limits the drilling season there to about three or four months and Shell’s plans were delayed both by its trouble getting federal approval of its containment system and by an unusually late ice season. Eventually the company pared back its plans and instead of completing two to six exploration wells it installed blowout preventers on the top of partially drilled wells. read more

Davos activists occupy Shell station to protest Arctic drilling, warn of environmental danger

By Associated Press, Updated: Friday, January 25, 10:23 AM

DAVOS, Switzerland — Activists with a big fake polar bear have occupied a Shell service station in the Swiss resort of Davos to protest Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s oil drilling in the Arctic.

About 25 activists from around Europe chained gas pumps together Friday at the station near where the World Economic Forum was being held and hung a banner on the roof reading “Arctic Oil – Too Risky.”

Greenpeace helped stage the protest, raising concerns about dangers to the environment from Shell’s drilling in Alaska and urging forum organizers to reconsider Shell’s participation. A Shell drill barge ran aground on a remote Alaska island on New Year’s Eve.

Shell officials, among the 2,500 corporate and political leaders in Davos this week, did not immediately respond to phone calls about the protest. read more

Shell oil drilling vessel towed after running aground off Alaska island during storm

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A Royal Dutch Shell PLC drill vessel pulled from rocks off a remote Alaska island approached shelter Monday morning in a protected Kodiak Island bay.

By Associated Press, Updated: Monday, January 7, 6:55 PM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A Royal Dutch Shell PLC drill vessel pulled from rocks off a remote Alaska island approached shelter Monday morning in a protected Kodiak Island bay.The Kulluk, a circular drill barge without its own propulsion, ran aground New Year’s Eve in a powerful storm. It was being towed to Seattle for maintenance before it ran aground, but the lines that connected it to the towing ship broke. That same ship, the 360-foot Aiviq, pulled the Kulluk off the rocky bottom near Sitkalidak Island at 10:10 p.m. Sunday and started a slow tow toward Kiliuda Bay.High winds and sea swells threatened to slow the barge’s 30-mile journey to the bay. But the ship made steady progress, moving about 4 mph. By 9 a.m., the vessels were about four miles from where crews planned to anchor up.

The massive effort to move and salvage the ship involves more than 730 people, according to the Unified Command, which includes the Coast Guard, Shell and contractors involved in the tow and salvage operation. Eleven people are aboard the ship — a salvage crew of 10 people and one Shell representative.

The Kulluk is carrying more than 140,000 gallons of diesel and about 12,000 gallons of lube oil and hydraulic fluid.

A tug trailing the drill vessel used infrared equipment to watch for oil sheens and reported no petroleum discharge. read more

Protecting universal human rights

Letter to the Editor

Published: October 14

The Post missed the mark in its Oct. 5 editorial “Court shopping,” which advocated clear limits on the scope of the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). In Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum (Shell), the complaint is that Shell directly assisted the Nigerian military in torturing and killing innocent villagers. If true, the purpose of Shell’s misconduct was to gain economic advantage in its business. Shell argued that as a Dutch corporation, it should not have to answer in America for these alleged human-rights abuses.Shell is wrong. The United States should enforce the universally accepted international law against torture. Shell is a multinational corporation that operates a billion-dollar business in America. If Shell has used torture to gain an advantage in its business, including its massive U.S. operations, we have a direct interest in holding Shell responsible for its conduct. A level playing field, free from torture as a tool for reducing costs, is an essential feature for the U.S. petroleum market. We also have an interest in providing justice to the Kiobel plaintiffs, who are lawful U.S. residents.

The United States also has an obvious interest in making universally recognized human rights protections effective. Our Founders enacted the ATS two centuries ago to affirm our commitment to the rule of international law among all the world’s nations. Indeed, in 1795, the U.S. attorney general specifically advised that the ATS open our courts to violations of international law in Africa. More than 200 hundred years later, in an interconnected global economy, our interest in upholding the statute and the remedies it affords is stronger than ever. read more

Nigerian farmer sue Shell in Dutch court claiming oil giant has to clean up spills

By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, October 11, 12:11 PM

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Nigerian farmers asked a Dutch court Thursday to rule that oil company Shell is liable for poisoning their fish ponds and farmland with leaking pipelines, in a case that could set a legal precedent for holding multinationals responsible for actions overseas.The case at The Hague Civil Court marks the first time a Dutch company has been sued for alleged environmental mismanagement caused by a foreign subsidiary and could pave the way for similar claims if it succeeds.

Royal Dutch Shell PLC long argued that the case, which was launched in 2008, should be heard in Nigeria and still maintains the Dutch court should not have jurisdiction.

Lawyers for the Nigerians argue that key policy decisions by Shell are made at its headquarters in The Hague and that means the Dutch court can rule in the case.

Just how much compensation and clean-up costs Shell faces would be addressed at a separate hearing if the court rules in favor of the farmers.

Four villagers and environmental group Friends of the Earth say Shell pipeline leaks fouled fish ponds, farmland and forests in three villages in the Niger Delta, Goi, Oruma and Ikot Ada Udo. read more

Dutch judge rejects Shell attempt to ban Greenpeace from protesting its Arctic drilling

By Associated Press, Updated: Friday, October 5, 4:29 PM

AMSTERDAM — A Dutch court has rejected a lawsuit filed by Royal Dutch Shell PLC against Greenpeace International seeking to ban environmentalists from holding protests against the oil company’s Arctic drilling program on or near Shell property.

The Amsterdam District Court said Friday Greenpeace has the right to protest, and Shell should expect public protest about business practices that are controversial.

However, the court also handed Greenpeace a set of protest guidelines intended to ensure its protests are “proportionate,” including the requirement the group not occupy gas stations for more than an hour at a time. read more

Shell president optimistic about Arctic offshore drilling despite setback with safety system

By Associated Press, Tuesday, September 18, 2:56 AM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Shell is limiting Arctic drilling off Alaska to just preparation work this year after suffering several setbacks, but the company says it remains optimistic about the project’s prospects.

Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell PLC said earlier Monday that a containment dome required to be in place before drills can enter oil-bearing rock in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas was damaged Saturday during testing off Bellingham, Wash.

Environmental groups quickly blasted the company, saying the latest setback and others are evidence the oil industry cannot safely drill in the Arctic. read more

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