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Oil Prices and the Brexit: What Just Happened

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IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

By Matthew Dilallo: 24 June 2016

What: Crude prices tumbled on Friday after Britain’s stunning decision to leave the European Union. By mid-afternoon, oil was down 4.5% and back below $50 a barrel. The sell-off washed over into oil stocks, with British giants BP (NYSE:BP) and Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS-A)(NYSE:RDS-B) both following crude downward by more than 5% as of 12:30 p.m. EDT.

Those moves, however, were tame compared to the sell-offs of other European oil stocks, with Statoil (NYSE:STO) and Total (NYSE:TOT) down nearly 6% and 9%, respectively. Even large independent U.S. oil companies were taking it on the chin, with ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) just one among the many oil stocks sliding in parallel with the price of crude.

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Global oil majors look to shed refineries as crude prices rebound

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NEW YORK | BY JESSICA RESNICK-AULTFri Jun 17, 2016

Global oil majors Chevron Corp and Royal Dutch Shell Plc are putting small refineries on the auction block as they look to trim lower-margin assets in the face of headwinds from rising crude oil prices.

Chevron, the second largest U.S. oil company, is soliciting interest in its Burnaby, British Columbia, refinery and gasoline stations, the company told Reuters. Shell is looking for buyers for its Martinez, California, refinery, two people familiar with the situation told Reuters. Shell declined to comment.

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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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Shell CEO Faces Long Haul in Bid to Pass Exxon as Top Oil Major

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By Rakteem Katakey: June 15, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive Officer Ben Van Beurden spelled out his main goal last week — surpass Exxon Mobil Corp. to become the best-performing oil major. 

“I am determined to get us to that number one place,” he said after outlining the company’s long-term strategy in London. “I want to create a world class investment case for Shell and our shareholders.” 

There are signs Van Beurden is winning over some investors following his record $54 billion acquisition of BG Group Plc. Shell has closed the gap on Exxon for total shareholder returns, which accounts for share prices, dividend payouts and buybacks, after lagging behind for five years. Still, the Anglo-Dutch explorer trails its U.S. rival on a range of other metrics from return on capital and assets to cash flow.

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BP plc, Royal Dutch Shell: A Major Shift in Energy Industry on its Way

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By Gas By Staff WriterJun 13, 2016 at 11:34 am EST

As awareness about the hazardous effects of fossil fuels is increasing, and governments and environmentalist groups are encouraging the use of renewable energy sources, it seems as if a major change in global energy sector is on its way. Over the past few years, the global energy arena has witnessed a number of changes, as coal has lost its dominant position in the industry, while consumption of renewable energy sources has increased in power generation.

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Shell, Total look to expand terminals and power plants in new markets

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Written by Reporter – 13/06/2016 6:00 am

Oil majors Shell and Total are said to be considering building terminals and power plants in new markets.

The move comes after companies have invested billions in plants to help produce liquefied natural gas (LNG) in place such as the US and Australia.

Laurent Vivier, president for the gas division of Total, said the company was ready to go downstream “as much as it takes” to unlock gas demand.

He said: “We need to be present in downstream ourselves, to create demand and unlock bottlenecks along the chain including regasification, pipeline and power plants.”

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Coming wave of gas puts focus on finding new shores

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Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 10.26.15LONDON | BY RON BOUSSO AND OLEG VUKMANOVIC: Sun Jun 12, 2016

Energy giants such as Royal Dutch Shell and Total are looking to build terminals and power plants in new markets to soak up the industry’s rapidly burgeoning supply.

Companies have invested billions in plants to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG) in places such as Australia and the United States.

But gas demand growth is slowing, prices are down and the LNG volumes companies are set to produce will exceed those even major buyers such as China and Japan can absorb.

That has turned attention to the downstream market and opportunities to create new markets from Ivory Coast to remote Indonesian islands by building gas-fired power plants, pipelines, regasification and storage terminals.

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What Caused Royal Dutch Shell’s Shares To Soar

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Arie Goren: Jun. 9, 2016 6:14 AM ET

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 10.18.28Summary

  • In its Tuesday, June 7, investor meeting, Shell offered a very encouraging update on the company’s strategy, which sets a clear course for stronger returns and free cash flow.
  • Oil prices have shown a significant rebound in the last five months. As such, we can expect much better results for Shell’s upstream operations in the forward quarters.
  • Investing in a supermajor integrated oil & gas company like Royal Dutch Shell will give investors a significant price appreciation when oil prices recover along very generous dividend yielding 7.1%.
  • In my view, we can learn from the company’s new strategy that the dividend is sustainable.

Shares of Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) (NYSE:RDS.B) soared in the last two days after its Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden provided on Tuesday, June 7, an update on the company’s strategy, that according to the company, sets a clear course for stronger returns and free cash flow. Shares of RDS.A have increased 6.43% in the last two days and shares of RDS.B have risen 6.58%.

Since the beginning of the year, RDS.A’s stock is already up 15.7% while the S&P 500 Index has increased 3.7% and the NASDAQ Composite Index has lost 0.7%. However, since the beginning of 2012, RDS.A’s stock has lost 27.5%. In this period, the S&P 500 Index has increased 68.5% and the Nasdaq Composite Index has risen 91%.

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Shell Follows Total in Buying Iranian Crude After Sanctions End

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  • Vessel with 1 million-barrel crude cargo booked for Europe

  • Total was first oil major to buy Iranian crude for region

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 19.11.36By Rupert Rowling, Angelina Rascouet and Julian Lee: June 8, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell Plc is set to ship a cargo of Iranian crude to Europe next month, becoming the second major oil company in the region after Total SA to resume oil trade after some sanctions on the Persian nation’s nuclear program were lifted in January.

Shell booked the Delta Hellas tanker to carry one million barrels of Iranian crude to Europe, loading July 1, according to lists of charters compiled by Bloomberg. Shell declined to comment on the booking.

Among oil majors, Total was the first to resume purchases of Iranian crude after the French oil company chartered a cargo in February. The first shipment to arrive in Europe was for the independent Spanish refiner Cia. Espanola de Petroleos, which unloaded on March 6.

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Shell Deepens Spending Cuts, Promises More Savings From BG

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By Rakteem Katakey and Ryan Chilcote: June 7, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell Plc cut spending plans further and promised increased savings following its record purchase of BG Group Plc, as Europe’s largest oil company continues to adjust to the slump in energy prices.

Shell will spend $29 billion this year, it said Tuesday. That compares with a May forecast for capital expenditure “trending toward” $30 billion, which was itself down from an earlier projection of $33 billion. Synergies from the BG acquisition will provide $4.5 billion in savings in 2018, up from an earlier estimate of $3.5 billion.

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Chevron Corporation: Another Day, Another Attack In Nigeria

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Shell, ConocoPhillips and Total are also considering to divest their assets in the Niger Delta.

By Micheal Kaufman: Jun 1, 2016

Operations of international oil & gas companies seem to be in a lot of trouble in Nigeria as militant activities have accelerated in the past few weeks. The militant group, Niger Delta Avengers, has again targeted a Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) facility today, pressurizing it to leave the impoverished area. This is the fourth attack on a Chevron facility in Africa’s biggest economy.

The militant group said on Twitter that it blew up the energy company’s RMP 23 and RMP 24 crude oil wells in the Niger Delta at 3:44 AM. According to the Niger Delta Avengers, these two wells are Chevron’s largest oil producing wells.

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BP, Shell among bidders to run Qatar oil field – sources

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DOHA | BY TOM FINNBusiness | Wed May 25, 2016 5:20pm BST

Six international oil firms including BP and Royal Dutch Shell Plc have bid to operate Qatar’s largest offshore oil field, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The other bidders are the field’s current operator Maersk, as well as Total SA, Chevron Corp and ConocoPhillips, said the people who spoke on condition of anonymity as the information was private.

The people said state-owned Qatar Petroleum (QP) would award the contract for the oil field, which is 80 kilometres (50 miles) off Qatar’s coast and currently produces around 300,000 barrels per day (bpd), in the second half of the year.

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Green really is the new black as Big Oil gets a taste for renewables

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Terry MacalisterSaturday 21 May 2016

The world’s largest oil companies have in recent weeks announced a series of “green” investments – in wind farms, electric battery storage systems and carbon capture and storage (CCS). These unexpected moves come hot on the heels of revelations by Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, that it plans to sell off parts of its national oil company and diversify its economy away from petroleum.

They also come in the aftermath of a United Nations climate change agreement and before annual general meetings for Shell and Exxon Mobil this week, meetings at which shareholders will demand that more be done to tackle climate change.

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Not-so-Big Oil

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May 7th 2016

IT HAS been a grim decade for investors in international oil firms—among them, many of the world’s biggest pension funds. Even before oil prices started to fall in 2014, the supermajors threw money away on grandiose schemes: drilling in the Arctic and building giant gas terminals. Their returns have trailed those of other industry-leading firms by a huge margin since 2009.

In the past 18 months things have gone from bad to worse. The Boston Consulting Group, a consultancy, calls it the industry’s “worst peacetime crisis”. That is evident in first-quarter results released in the past week by Exxon Mobil and Chevron of America, and European rivals, Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Total, which bear the scars of a collapse in oil prices to below $30 a barrel in mid-February (see chart).

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Oil rivals cooperate to slash equipment costs: Shell

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LONDON | BY RON BOUSSOThu May 5, 2016

Ten oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), Chevron (CVX.N) and BP (BP.L) are working together to develop standard production equipment, a rare cooperation among rivals to save money as low oil prices put pressure on budgets.

Bespoke valves, paints and underwater equipment are among the items that could be mass-produced at a cheaper cost, Harry Brekelmans, Shell’s Projects and Technology Director told Reuters.

The companies also want to set up institutions to find future savings after the past two years’ industry downturn led to a near standstill in new project approvals.

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Oil prices drop faster than companies can cut costs

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Bloomberg News: SATURDAY, APRIL 23, 2016

The world’s biggest oil companies, set to report their worst quarterly earnings in more than a decade, are finding that their cost-cutting efforts haven’t matched the decline in crude prices over the past two years.

While producers have been deferring projects, eliminating jobs and freezing salaries, the process will take three years to complete, according to Barclays oil sector analyst Lydia Rainforth. In the meantime, profits are being hammered.

“A lot of work still needs to be done on costs,” she said. “It’s a reflection of how much costs had piled up and how long a process this is.”

For producers from Royal Dutch Shell to Chevron, reeling under the threat of credit-rating downgrades, slashing costs is the surest way of protecting balance sheets. Still, reversing course is proving painful after $100 oil persuaded companies to pump money into expensive areas in search of new deposits, hire more people and rent rigs and services at record rates. Productivity suffered.

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Buhari urged to stop work on Egina FPSO

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A Lawyer, John Owubokiri, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to order contractors handling the construction of the Total’s Egina floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel to stop work on the platform until all the legal issues are resolved.

Owubokiri, who is a principal partner, Owubokiri & Co, said Buhari recognises the rule of law and due process, therefore, flagrant disrespect of the law by the owners of the Egina project should be dealt with to deter future occurrence.

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Top Shell Oil Trader Stany Schrans Said to Leave Company

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Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 10.34.57By Laura Hurst and Javier BlasApril 7, 2016. Bloomberg.com

The head of European oil trading at Royal Dutch Shell Plc will leave the company later this year, a significant departure as the company is one of the biggest traders in benchmark Brent crude.

Stany Schrans has worked for more than 15 years at the company, mostly focused on trading North Sea oil, according to four people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Tarek al Hassan, a senior Shell trader based in Singapore, is relocating to London to replace him, two of the people said. Shell spokesman Jonathan French declined to comment.

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Time to End ‘Blood Oil’ Disaster in the Niger Delta

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By Richard SteinerProfessor and conservation biologist, Oasis Earth (www.oasis-earth.com): 10 MARCH 2016

The Niger Delta’s legendary “blood oil” disaster has persisted for decades, and is now deepening. Oil in the Delta fuels a dangerous mix of environmental devastation, a violent militancy that has killed thousands, human rights abuses, corporate greed and exploitation, epidemic corruption, massive oil theft, sabotage, repression, poverty, anger and despair. It is time to put an end to this ongoing atrocity, once and for all.

The 30,000 square mile Niger Delta — including rich coastal waters, islands, mangroves swamps, and rainforests — was once one of the most productive and diverse ecological habitats on Earth. But today, after 60 years of oil extraction, the region’s environment and society are devastated — a textbook example of the “oil curse.

The Delta is arguably the most severely oil-damaged environment anywhere in the world. A decade ago, our team of scientists conducting an oil damage assessment in the Delta estimated that each year, some 250,000 barrels (10 million gallons) of oil spill there, an amount comparable to that of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska — each year for 50 years. Oil operations have also caused extensive habitat degradation from road building, forest clearing, dredging and filling, thousands miles of pipelines, and chronic pollution from gas flaring and drilling wastes.

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For Exxon and Shell, Age of Ultramajors Comes at the Wrong Time

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As oil and gas prices have tumbled, Exxon and Shell have been forced to retreat. With oil barely above $30 a barrel, they’re cutting spending, including some costly, high-risk mega-projects. Photographer: George Osodi/Bloomberg

By Javier Blas: Bloomberg.com: 24 FEB 2016

Despite their size, both companies suffering with cheap oil

Exxon and Shell cutting spending as fast as everyone else

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 07.54.19This may not be the best time to be bigger than big.

The $64 billion tie-up of Royal Dutch Shell Plc with BG Group Plc and the steady growth of Exxon Mobil Corp. are creating a new league of two: the ultramajors. Executives at smaller companies are even starting to joke that Chevron Corp., Total SA, BP Plc, ConocoPhillips and ENI SpA are merely the mid-cap sector of Big Oil.

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Bulgaria signs deal with Shell for deepwater oil and gas exploration

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

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

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

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

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Shell leapfrogs Total as UK’s biggest producer after BG merger

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Written by Mark Lammey – 16/02/2016

Shell leapfrogged Total to become the UK’s biggest net oil and gas producer after completing its £47billion takeover of BG Group.

The “mega-merger” was approved by shareholders from both companies last month and went through yesterday.

It creates a firm with a net output of 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day in the UK alone.

A company’s net, or equity output is the amount it produces based on the size of its share in an oil or gas field.

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Shell expects its Brazil output to quadruple by 2020: CEO

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RIO DE JANEIRO | BY JEB BLOUNT AND MARTA NOGUEIRA: Mon Feb 15, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), Europe’s largest oil company, expects to make robust investments in Brazil’s offshore resources, hoping to quadruple oil and gas output there by the end of the decade, its chief executive officer said on Monday.

CEO Ben van Beurden spoke in Brazil shortly after Shell’s $52 billion takeover of BG Group Plc BG.L, approved in late January, took effect.

Thanks to BG’s large portfolio of assets in Brazil and Shell’s decision to buy 20 percent of the giant Libra offshore project in 2013, Brazil will be a key area for the Anglo-Dutch company as it focuses on liquefied natural gas and deepwater oil production, van Beurden said.

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Oil majors’ business model under increasing pressure

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Ed Crooks in New York and Chris Adams in London: 14 FEB 2016

Gorgon, a massive liquefied natural gas project off the north-west coast of Australia, is one of the wonders of the modern age. Its $54bn price tag makes it — in nominal terms at least — one of the most expensive engineering projects ever completed. It could also be a monument to a fading era, the last hurrah of Big Oil. In this view of the world, the price crash has been like an asteroid strike: agile shale producers can survive, but the lumbering dinosaurs of big oil are doomed.

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As Big Oil shrinks, boards plot different paths out of crisis

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Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 09.14.51* Companies seek to safeguard growth for when market recovers

* U.S. firms abandon deepwater projects for shale oil fields

* Britain’s BP bets on Egyptian gas, Shell on major acquisition

By Ron Bousso and Terry Wade

LONDON/HOUSTON, Feb 7 As oil and gas companies cut ever-deeper into the bone to weather their worst downturn in decades, boards have adopted contrasting strategies to lead them out of the crisis.

Crude prices have tumbled around 70 percent over the past 18 months to around $35 a barrel, leading to five of the world’s top oil companies reporting sharp declines in profits in recent days.

Executives at energy firms face a tough balancing act: they must cut spending to stay financially afloat while preserving the production infrastructure and capacity that will allow them to compete and grow when the market recovers.

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Royal Dutch Shell: Here’s Why S&P Downgraded Credit Rating

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By Muhammad Ali Khawar on Feb 2, 2016 at 6:49 am EST

Standard & Poor’s (S&P) recently downgraded Royal Dutch Shell’s (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) credit rating from “AA-” to “A+,” as a result of the depressed crude environment. Since June 2014, crude oil prices have fallen more than 70%.

The downgrade came just weeks after the S&P lowered Brent crude expectations for the year. Initially, it expected the global crude oil benchmark to trade at around $55 per barrel. However, only last month the firm cut its price forecast to $40 per barrel, when the market conditions failed to recover.

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S&P downgrades Shell to A+/A-1; keeps door open to further downgrade

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Commodities | Mon Feb 1, 2016 9:28pm GMT

Credit ratings agency Standard and Poors on Monday downgraded oil major Royal Dutch Shell Plc to A+/A-1 from AA-/A-1+ and put its long-term credit rating on creditwatch negative citing sliding oil prices.

S&P said Shell’s one-notch downgrade, driven by weaker forecasts for its credit metrics over 2016-2018 and slower profit improvements, excluded the ratings impact of its BG Group Plc acquisition.

Shell had said it was prepared for a downgrade as a result of the BG deal.

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Oil Rout Prompts Moody’s to Consider Shell, Total for Downgrade

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Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 12.08.33Moody’s will also review the ratings of two U.S. refining joint ventures linked to Shell, Motiva Enterprises LLC and Deer Park Refining LP.

By Mikael Holter and Rakteem Katakey: Bloomberg.com: 22 JAN 2016

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total SA and Statoil ASA, three of Europe’s biggest oil producers, were among more than 100 energy companies whose credit ratings were placed on review for possible downgrade by Moody’s Investors Service.

The reviews come after the rating company cut its oil-price forecasts and should for the most part be completed this quarter, Moody’s said in a statement on Friday. Prices may recover more slowly than companies expect and there is a risk they may fall further, it said.

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Shell attacked for its part in ‘extraordinary’ £2.3bn Nigerian tax break

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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.

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Oil Giants Start Losing Safety Net as Refining Margins Squeezed

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Rakteem Katakey and Firat Kayakiran: Bloomberg.com: 19 JAN 2016

Refining profits that buttressed earnings for Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc as crude prices plunged are now slumping, further pressuring all of the world’s biggest oil companies as they move into 2016.

Global refining margins, the estimated profit from turning oil into gasoline and diesel, fell 34 percent in the fourth quarter, the steepest decline in eight years, to $13.20 a barrel, data on BP Plc’s website show. Every $1 drop cuts BP’s pretax adjusted earnings by $500 million a year, according to its website.

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Shell’s Earnings to Show Depth of Rout as Oil Extends Losses

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 14.27.35Shell will on Wednesday become the first major oil producer to announce annual earnings as it enters the final stages of its plan to buy BG Group Plc in the industry’s biggest deal in years. Investors will scrutinize those preliminary numbers for signs Europe’s largest oil company is doing enough to justify the acquisition as crude drops below $30 a barrel. 

Shell has cut thousands of jobs and reduced spending as Chief Executive Officer Ben Van Beurden prepares the company for a prolonged downturn while looking to BG to add production and cash flow. The 18-month slump in crude, the longest since the mid-1980s, has delayed $380 billion of investments in the industry, driven down profits and erased more than $2.7 trillion of oil companies’ market value.

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Shell denies Iranian report of Tehran visit

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Jan 16 2016

Royal Dutch Shell on Saturday denied a report in Iranian media that it had sent representatives to Iran ahead of the expected lifting of international sanctions.

Iran’s Mehr news agency had earlier reported that Shell and French oil major Total had sent executives to Tehran, and were due to meet officials from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) on Sunday.

International sanctions on Iran were expected to be lifted on Saturday under the terms of a nuclear deal agreed last year, and Iran freed four U.S. prisoners. Iran has pledged to ramp up its oil production shortly after sanctions are lifted.

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Shell, Total representatives arrive in Tehran

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Shell, Total representatives arrive in Tehran

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TEHRAN, Jan. 16 (MNA) – Representatives of several world’s oil giants have traveled to Iran on the verge of the removal of international sanctions.

A few days before the cancellation of international sanctions against Iran, a number of the largest oil companies including the Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell company and France’s Total Corporation have sent representatives to Iran in order to negotiation with Iranian oil authorities.

Accordingly, the visiting representatives are scheduled to hold talks with the officials of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) as well as National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) on Sunday discussing venues for boosting bilateral ties.

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Can 2015’s Laggard Royal Dutch Shell Plc Snap Back Next Year?

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I believe that Shell still has much further to fall.

By Royston Wild – Tuesday, 8 December, 2015

It has been a few months in coming, but crude oil prices finally crashed to fresh nadirs at the start of this week. The Brent benchmark toppled all the way back to within a whisker of $41 per barrel, taking out September’s lulls and marking the lowest level since 2008.

The black gold price has endured further pressure after industry cartel OPEC again refused to cut production on Friday, ignoring a steady stream of weak demand indicators and bloated stockpiles. Instead the group elected to intensify its market-share grab by raising its daily production target to 31.5 million barrels.

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Shell Has Underperformed, But It Could Be The Only Oil Major That Emerges Bigger From The Downturn

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Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 08.55.47…the company’s profits plummeted 70% from last year to $1.77 billion…

Sarfaraz A. Khan: Sunday, Dec 6, 2015

Summary

  • The oil major Royal Dutch Shell is closing in on its biggest-ever merger with the UK based oil and gas producer BG Group.
  • Shell has been the worst performing stock in its peer group and now offers an above average yield of 7.8%.
  • But Shell is generating enough cash from operations and asset sales to cover its spending.
  • More importantly, Shell could be the only oil major that emerges even bigger from the downturn.

The oil major Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) (NYSE:RDS.B) is closing in on its biggest ever merger with the UK based oil and gas producer BG Group (OTCQX:BRGYY). On Wednesday, the Anglo-Dutch oil producer revealed that it has received a green signal from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board following an approval from the country’s anti-trust regulator received last month. The BG Group is one of the major players in Australia’s rising LNG sector where the company has invested more than $20 billion on developing the Queensland Curtis LNG plant.

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BP plc, Royal Dutch Shell and Others up in Arms against Coal

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By Micheal Kaufman on Dec 2, 2015

Environmentalists are winning the race against energy companies, as the world tries to adopt environmental-friendlier ways of energy generation. World leaders from over 19 countries and prominent personalities such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are at the UN Climate Summit in Paris, which has been ongoing from November 30 and will continue until December 11.

Energy Companies Coming in Front

The growing concern over global warming and rising temperatures has lined up global energy companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, BP plc. (ADR) (NYSE:BP) and Total SA (ADR) (NYSE:TOT). These companies have recently teamed up to support climate change and asked authorities to consider a carbon tax.

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EU Directive: safety of offshore oil and gas operations

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DIRECTIVE 2013/30/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 12 June 2013 on safety of offshore oil and gas operations and amending Directive 2004/35/EC

The above EU Directive (available in many languages, including Dutch) may be of assistance to people around the world who are concerned about the operations of European oil companies. 

A link to the directive is provided at the foot of this article.

The EU directive requires European companies involved in the oil industry to comply with the contents of the directive itself, and their own internal policies and standards globally (SEMS). Oil companies do not publish their own internal policies and standards, which they consider to be confidential. However, most court cases are actually the result of Shell’s employees ignoring the SEMS standards, so this is most helpful if copies of the relevant standards can be obtained through discovery or other means. The SEMS standards are required to be in place for the companies to operate in Europe. 

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Oil Majors Queue in Iran as $30 Billion of Projects in Play

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by Golnar MotevalliAnthony Dipaola and Hashem Kalantari: November 28, 2015: Bloomberg.com

  • Shell, Total, Lukoil interested in specific Iranian fields

  • Iran seeks to sign first oil development deal in March, April

Total SA, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Lukoil PJSC are among international companies that have selected oil and natural gas deposits to develop in Iran as the holder of the world’s fourth-largest crude reserves presents $30 billion worth of projects to investors.

Total is one of the companies that have been in the forefront of discussions and Eni SpA is also looking to invest, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said. Shell, Total and Lukoil all specified fields they would be interested in developing in Iran, Ali Kardor, deputy director of investment and financing at National Iranian Oil Co. said in an interview in Tehran.

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Shell Oil Co. president touts carbon tax over piecemeal regulations

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Marvin Odum Shell Oil

Marvin Odum President Shell Oil Co

Posted on November 10, 2015 | By Jordan Blum

A carbon tax or cap-and-trade system in the U.S. — and globally — would serve the energy industry better than the current slate of piecemeal state and federal regulations, Shell Oil Co. President Marvin Odum  said Tuesday.

He acknowledged that Congress won’t take action soon in gridlocked Washington, but said that people should move beyond sound bites. Odum spoke at University of Houston’s energy symposium focusing on whether now is the right time for a carbon tax.

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Big Oil Gears Up For $60 Break-even Price As Profits Sink

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Gaurav SharmaOCT 31, 2015

The latest quarterly results season is receding into the accounting archives, with BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and the keenly anticipated numbers of Exxon Mobil now with us.

That lower oil prices continue to dent profits at the world’s biggest oil companies is no longer news. Figures on their often unloved downstream operations performing well bring a few smiles and keep detractors of the integrated model quieter than usual.

Take big beast Exxon, which reported quarterly profits of $4.24bn, down 47% on an annualized basis from the same quarter last year. Its profits from refining doubled to about $2bn, but upstream takings fell 79% to $1.4bn. Prior to Exxon, smaller rivals (e.g. – BP, Shell and Chevron) had all posted declines in headline quarterly profits earlier in the week. Yet read between the lines of the profit declines, and a common message on how to cope seems to be emerging.

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Big Oil Is a Buy as Cutbacks Pave Way for Recovery

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Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 07.55.40by Rakteem Katakey and Angelina Rascouet: Oct 20, 2015

  • Shell has highest percentage of buy ratings in three years
  • Third-quarter earnings seen marking low point before rebound

Energy companies are finally starting to come back into favor.

After enduring the longest oil-price collapse in more than a decade, crashing profits and an investor exodus, Europe’s biggest producers are regaining fans as analysts bet earnings bottomed last quarter and will now start to recover.

While Total SA, the region’s second-biggest oil company, will probably post the worst quarterly performance since 2009, it also has the highest proportion of buy ratings in a year, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Despite similarly bleak forecasts, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s No. 1, has the biggest share of buy recommendations since mid-2012 while BP Plc has the most since February.

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Big Oil’s Murky Climate

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Big Oil truly is facing a conundrum of biblical proportions

Liam Denning: Bloomberg.com: October 16, 2015

Big Oil is getting religion — sort of.

Ten major oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Saudi Aramco declared on Friday that they totally get the climate change thing and would support measures aimed at preventing it. 

Yet, without committing to the most obvious measure to encourage fundamental change — namely, widespread carbon pricing — you could say the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative has taken a leaf from St. Augustine: yearning to be pure, just not quite yet.

The announcement comes ahead of December’s UN climate conference in Paris and not long after a more modern cleric, Pope Francis, took his call for greater efforts to curb carbon emissions directly to Congress.

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BP plc, Royal Dutch Shell And Others Declare Joint Action On Climate Change

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Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 22.05.20By: Micheal Kaufman: Oct 16, 2015 

Global warming over the past few years has become a major issue. Companies around the world keep on pumping and burning record levels of conventional fossil fuels. Burning of fossil fuels leads to carbon emissions, which are highly detrimental for the environment. Activists have now have taken a stern hand regarding pollution and are urging companies to adopt safer cleaner fuels. President Barack Obama recently also stressed upon the importance of using alternatives, such as natural gas, which are safer for the environment.

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Shell Starts Nigeria Offshore Expansion of Up to 50,000 Barrels

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Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 22.48.19Rakteem Katakey: Bloomberg.com: 5 Oct 2015

  • Bonga phase 3 oil passes through floating production facility
  • Shell has 55% of Bonga, Exxon 20%, Total, Agip 12.5% each

Royal Dutch Shell Plc expanded oil production off Nigeria’s coast by starting the third phase of its Bonga field. 

That phase has a peak production capacity of about 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent, Shell said Monday in an e-mailed statement. The floating production and storage facility serving Bonga’s third phase has a capacity of more than 200,000 barrels of oil and 150 million standard cubic feet of natural gas a day.

Shell has a 55 percent stake in Bonga and operates what it says were the first deposits to be developed in Nigeria’s deep waters in 2005. Exxon Mobil Corp. holds 20 percent, while units of Total SA and Agip, a subsidiary of Italy’s Eni SpA, each own 12.5 percent.

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Here’s How Royal Dutch Shell plc And BP plc Will Be Impacted By A Weak Chinese Economy

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Bidness Etc discusses how European oil majors are impacted by the slowdown in the Chinese economy

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By: Micheal KaufmanSep 25, 2015

The slowing Chinese economy has impacted the overall world economy and various other sectors. According to a Moody’s Investor service report EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa)’s mining sector is totally exposed to the economic crisis, followed by the oil and gas sector. Shipping, chemicals, and auto sector are considerably impacted while some other EMEA sectors including tobacco, telecoms, real estate, healthcare, and railways will be marginally impacted, since they are more regionally focused and their credit worthiness is not genuinely exposed.

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Iran to allow construction of 100 Total and Shell gas stations

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18 Sept 2015

Total and Shell have been given the green light to build 100 gas stations across Iran in the near future, after approval by government officials. This will be the first time foreign branded gas stations will operate in the country.

The 100 gas stations, which also received the approval from Bijan Haj Mohammad Reza, the chairman of the trade union of Iran’s filling station, will spread across different Iranian regions, according to Iranian news website Oilnews.

“For the first time Iran’s Petroleum Ministry will give permission for the construction of gasoline stations under any brand in the country,” he said.

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How to Invest in Arctic Developments After Obama’s Alaska Trip

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Arctic developments have great potential, but are they worth the risks?

By Debbie CarlsonSept. 7, 2015

As climate change melts some of the Arctic’s permafrost, natural resource companies and shippers are eyeing the potential to develop a region that is receiving renewed public attention from President Barack Obama’s trip to Alaska.

According to global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney’s Global Business Policy Council, worldwide investment in the region could reach $100 billion over the next decade. The Northwest Passage and Northern Sea Route could potentially decrease travel times between the U.S., Europe and Asia by 40 percent, while the value of hydrocarbon deposits – crude oil and natural gas – located in the U.S. Arctic alone could exceed $1 trillion. The region is also home to rich metal deposits.

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Exxon Mobil Corporation, Chevron Corporation, BP And Royal Dutch Shell Face Challenging Dividend Environment

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Bidness Etc sheds light on the challenges for companies like Exxon, Chevron, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, and Total SA in sustaining dividend payouts amidst depressed crude oil prices

By: MICHEAL KAUFMANSep 1, 2015 

Crude prices have dropped more than 50% since the highs of June last year, following weak Chinese demand and a global supply glut. Oil companies are already feeling the heat and it will be a challenge for them to maintain dividends in the current scenario.

What is more, the past week saw further deterioration in the market, and the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) plunged into the high 30s following the devaluation of the Chinese yuan. Monday, August 24 saw a global market sell-off and almost all major indexes declined.

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Market Rout

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Oil’s slump has been brutal. More than half a trillion dollars of value has been wiped from the five biggest international oil companies — Exxon, Shell, Chevron, Total and BP — since mid-June last year.

Rakteem Katakey: August 26, 2015: BLOOMBERG.COM

Shares of the largest oil companies have slumped so low it suggests investors expect the crash in crude prices to force cuts in dividends. History tells a different story.

Oil’s collapse has driven the annual dividend yield at Royal Dutch Shell Plc to at least a 20-year high of 7.7 percent this week, compared with 4.4 percent for the benchmark FTSE 100 Index. The yield — the annual return divided by the share price — is also at a two-decade high at Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp.

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Chevron Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell Plc & Other Oil Co.s Have Lost $1.3 Trillion Since Last Year

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By: MICHEAL KAUFMAN: Aug 5, 2015

As the global benchmark of crude, Brent currently hovers around $50 per barrel. Meanwhile, the oil and gas industry has lost $1.30 trillion of its value this year, and this eroded value equals the annual gross domestic product (GDP) of Mexico. The combined market capitalization of 157 listed oil and exploration and production (E&P) companies in North America has dropped from $3.80 trillion last June to around $2.50 trillion this July, marking a decline of 34.20%.

The crude prices have dropped more than 50% since last June, as they fell from $114 to around $50. The declining oil prices have forced oil companies, including Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A), Total SA (ADR) (NYSE:TOT), and BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP) to cut their spending, as BP has started testing projects that will give it a profit of $60 per barrel. Total keeps the price outlook at $70, while Shell keeps it at between $70-110.

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