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Shell moving some jobs from New Orleans to Houston

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By Jennifer Larino, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune: 18 APRIL 2016

Shell will relocate some jobs from New Orleans to Houston as it moves forward with plans to cut its global workforce by 10,000 employees and contractors. The company started cutting jobs last year in response to low oil prices.

Details are sparse on how the global cuts affect the roughly 1,900 workers based in One Shell Square in downtown New Orleans. Shell says it does not provide layoff counts by region. Workers close to the situation have reported that jobs may be moving to Houston in addition to cuts. They asked not to be named to protect their jobs.

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Nothing New About Shell Settling Fraud Cases

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From April 2016:

Shell guilty of energy fraud and market manipulation in the US

From August 2004:

Shell settles fraud case for $150M

Oil company agrees to pay SEC for overstating reserves, also settles market abuse case in Britain.

The settlements are not just for fraud but range all the way to complicity in murder.

New York Times: “Shell Settles Dumping Suit for $3 Million“: 9 February 1995

New York Times: “SHELL SETTLES ROYALTIES CASE FOR $33.5 MILLION“: 21 March 2002

Shell Oil Company Limestone Township $26 million settlement: December 2007

Plaintiffs win $66 million from Shell Oil after making the mistake of relying on Shell’s “honesty and integrity”: 17 May 2008

Houston Chronicle: Shell will pay millions to settle air pollution suit: 23 April 2009

Guardian: Shell agrees to pay compensation for execution of Saro-Wiwa: June 2009

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Shell and Scottish Power guilty of energy fraud and market manipulation in the US

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By Alex Brummer For Daily Mail, In San Francisco

Shell and Iberdrola-owned Scottish Power have been found guilty of fraud and market manipulation which led to power blackouts in the San Francisco bay area.

The finding by a Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) judge alleges that Shell and Iberdrola made £809million of illegal profits which may now have to be repaid to the citizens of California.

Evidence presented during the hearings says that energy traders at Shell and Iberdrola used similar tactics to the collapsed energy firm Enron to drive up the prices which Californian residents had to pay on their long-term contracts.

As a result Shell received £548million in excessive profits and Iberdrola £261million. At the time Scottish Power, which has previously won Money Mail’s Wooden Spoon Award for poor customer service, was a quoted UK company and owner of PPM Energy in California.

It was heavy losses in the US which weakened the Scottish firm and led to it being sold to the Spanish power giant Iberdrola in 2007.

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Firms overcharged Californians $1.1 billion during energy crisis, judge says

Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 09.06.47By Rob Nikolewski: April 15, 2016

An administrative law judge in Washington D.C. slammed two energy companies, saying they overcharged California consumers for long-term contracts during the state’s energy crisis of 2000-2001, with a tab exceeding $1.1 billion, including interest.

“The public was clearly, palpably, seriously harmed by the energy crisis,” said Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Judge Steven A. Glazer in a 219-page ruling released late Wednesday that charged Shell Energy North America and Iberdrola Renewables of gouging the state.

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NWCAA alleges multiple failures by Shell Puget Sound Refinery in February 2015 chemical release

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“This incident sickened many people in the community, and people felt unsafe in their homes and at work,” said Mark Asmundson, Executive Director of the Northwest Clean Air Agency.

After a yearlong investigation, the Northwest Clean Air Agency is alleging Shell failed to follow shutdown and decontamination procedures while cleaning the refinery’s east flare system.

Shell’s actions led to a surge of wet, chemical-laden gases moving through the flare line and extinguishing the flare flame, allowing the release of unburned chemicals to the atmosphere. The purpose of the flare flame is to combust chemicals into less odorous and toxic forms. As a condition of its permit, Shell is required to maintain the flame if chemicals might be vented to the flare. The chemicals released included hydrogen sulfide, dimethyl sulfide, mercaptans and benzene.

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Sideways moves

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By Ed Crooks: April 1, 2016

Oil prices went sideways all week, with Brent crude edging up above $40 on Thursday.  Hedge funds have made record bets on rising crude prices, but everyone is still watching prospects for the scheduled meeting of Opec and non-Opec oil producers in Doha, Qatar on April 17. Qatar’s oil minister said 12 countries had so far agreed to attend, including most Opec members and Russia. Reuters provided a useful factbox on the countries that could be present at the meeting.  Ecuador is one of the Opec members trying to persuade non-member countries to join in a commitment to freeze production.

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$180m Halliburton Probe: EFCC Boss, AGF In U.S.

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$180m Halliburton Probe: EFCC Boss, AGF In U.S.

Two Federal Government officials have gone to the United States for talks on President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war. “Certainly, the agenda will include some issues like the $180million Halliburton bribery scandal, the $2b Malabu Oil deal…

BY THE NATIONMAR 31, 2016

Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Justice Minister Abubakar Malami and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chair Ibrahim Magu are in the United States, barely two weeks after a similar trip to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where about $200b looted funds are believed to have been stashed away by former public officers.

On the agenda are likely to be the extent of the war against graft,  how to repatriate looted funds, the fate of fleeing former public officers, the $180million Halliburton bribery scandal and the $2billion Malabu Oil deal.

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ROYAL DUTCH SHELL CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA: US SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION CEASE AND DESIST ORDER 

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Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 13.04.33By John Donovan: 1 April 2016

There is nothing new about Royal Dutch Shell violating the anti-bribery provisions of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in Nigeria.

Ben van Beurden, the current Chief Executive of Royal Dutch Shell is fully conversant with a Cease and Desist Order issued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  

The Cease and Desist Order is genuine. 

HERE IS A SUMMARY

This matter concerns violations of the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) by Respondent SIEP and the record keeping and internal controls provisions of the FCPA by Respondent Shell. From September 2002 through November 2005, SIEP, on behalf of Shell, authorized the reimbursement or continued use of services provided by a company acting as a customs broker that involved suspicious payments of approximately $3.5 million to officials of the Nigerian Customs Service in order to obtain preferential treatment during the customs process for the purpose of assisting Shell in obtaining or retaining business in Nigeria on Shell’s Bonga Project. As a result of these payments, Shell profited in the amount of approximately $14 million. None of the improper payments was accurately reflected in Shell’s books and records, nor was Shell’s system of internal accounting controls adequate at the time to detect and prevent these suspicious payments.

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Largest U.S. refinery now belongs to Saudi Arabia

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Reuters reported that the relationship started to fray after Motiva announced a $10 billion expansion of the Port Arthur refinery, doubling its capacity to 603,000 barrels per day, making it America’s largest refinery. It produced gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. A leak shortly after the expansion was completed in 2012 led to ballooning costs, exacerbating tension between Shell and Aramco. A 2015 workers strike also sparked anger between the two companies.

The two companies signed a nonbinding letter of intent, a plan that would divide up Motiva’s refineries between them. The refineries have a combined capacity of 1.1 million barrels per day and are all located close to each other. The breakup will allow Saudi Aramco to take over the Port Arthur refinery and 26 distribution terminals, and Aramco will also hold onto the Motiva brand name. Shell will take over the other two refineries, Convent and Norco, both located in Louisiana. Shell said that it would operate the two refineries as one plant with a combined throughput of 500,000 barrels per day.

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Better news for oil

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Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 22.36.32By Ed Crooks: Friday 18 March 2016

Oil continued to creep up this week with Brent going past $42 per barrel, its highest level since early December. Crude was a beneficiary of the wider upturn in markets, which pushed the S&P 500 index briefly back up above its level at the start of the year. The positive correlation between share prices and oil prices seems to be alive and well.

Suggestions that the US Federal Reserve is in no hurry to raise interest rates gave a boost to crude and other markets. Oil was also helped by reports that Opec ministers had at last agreed to hold a meeting with leading non-Opec producers such as Russia, in an attempt to make some progress with their much-discussed, little-implemented production freeze.

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Shell Reports Leak at Gasoline Unit of Deer Park Refinery

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Royal Dutch Shell PLC reported a leak at the gasoline-making unit of its Deer Park refinery in the Houston area.

“Personnel discovered a leak of naphtha from an elevated pipeline at the Catalytic Cracking Unit,” it said in a filing to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. 

It said the incident caused emissions that began Wednesday night and ended Thursday afternoon. 

The Deer Park refinery is a joint venture between Shell and Mexico’s national oil company Pemex.

Write to Dan Molinski at [email protected]

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Saudi Aramco, Shell to Break Up 18-Year U.S. Refining Marriage

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Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 22.36.32By Joe Carroll and Wael Mahdi: Bloomberg.com: March 16, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Saudi Arabian Oil Co. are ending an 18-year refining partnership as the Anglo-Dutch crude titan prepares to sell billions of dollars of assets and as Saudi Arabia’s national oil company eyes a possible initial public offering.

Shell will assume control of two Louisiana refineries operated by the Motiva Enterprises LLC joint venture, as well as nine fuel terminals and rights to Shell-branded markets in Florida, Louisiana and the U.S. Northeast, the companies said Wednesday in a statement. Aramco will retain the Motiva name and take ownership of the largest U.S. refinery, in Port Arthur, Texas, along with 26 terminals and exclusive license to sell fuel under the Shell brand across Texas and much of the U.S. Midwest and Southeast.

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FACTBOX-Motiva: How Saudi Aramco, Shell plan to divide up the assets

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 08.54.11Under the terms of a non-binding letter of intent, distribution terminals, retail assets, branded and commercial customer agreements will be divided by geography to ensure each partner has “an integrated and robust business,” a statement said.

Below are how the companies have split up the assets:

SHELL:

* 230,000 barrel-per-day Convent refinery located in St. James Parish, Louisiana;

* 235,000 bpd Norco refinery located in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, where Shell already operates a chemicals plant;

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Saudi Aramco, Shell plan to break up Motiva, divide up assets

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“However, it is now time for the partners to pursue their independent downstream goals.”

Under the terms of a non-binding letter of intent, the Saudi state oil giant will take over the Port Arthur, Texas, refinery, the biggest in the United States, retain 26 distribution terminals as well as the Motiva name, according to a statement.

It will also have an exclusive license to use the Shell brand for gasoline and diesel sales in Texas, the majority of the Mississippi Valley, the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic markets, it said.

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Saudi Refining, Inc. and Shell sign letter of intent to separate Motiva assets

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In the proposed division of assets, SRI will retain the Motiva name, assume sole ownership of the Port Arthur, Texas refinery, retain 26 distribution terminals, and have an exclusive license to use the Shell brand for gasoline and diesel sales in Texas, the majority of the Mississippi Valley, the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic markets.  Shell will assume sole ownership of the Norco, Louisiana refinery (where Shell operates a chemicals plant), the Convent, Louisiana refinery, nine distribution terminals, and Shell branded markets in Florida, Louisiana and the Northeastern region. 

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Oil’s upwards rally

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By Ed Crooks: 11 March 2016

Oil this week continued its recent rally, with Brent crude clinging on above $40, but there was speculation that most of the gains of the past two months could be undone if Opec members and Russia failed to finalise their earlier conditional agreement to freeze production.

Reuters reported Opec sources as saying that a suggested meeting in Moscow on March 20 to confirm the deal was unlikely to take place. The critical factor is Iran; other countries say they will not meet to discuss joining the freeze unless Tehran agrees to sign up for it too. President Hassan Rouhani’s chief of staff told a conference in London that his country wanted to increase exports to regain its pre-sanctions market share before it would start talking about cuts. The same official, Mohammad Nahavandian, also sought to reassure international companies that the country would soon unveil new and improved contracts for investors in its oil and gas industry, even though the issue has raised concerns about attempts by foreign businesses to “loot Iran’s natural resources”.

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There’s a Cancer-Causing Chemical in My Drinking Water, But California Isn’t Regulating It

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Consumer Confidence Report Footnote

123 Trichloropropane has been detected in 29 wells in Fresno…. Some people who use water containing it over many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer, based on studies in laboratory animals.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 21.15.23Wait…what? I have two little kids, and my family drinks the tap water. And it might cause cancer? I decided to fork out $200 to get mine tested. And to start digging into how 1,2,3-TCP got into the water.

Turns out, it’s not just Fresno. According to the State Water Resources Control Board, 1,2,3-TCP has been found in about a hundred public water systems across California, mostly in the Central Valley but also in counties like Santa Cruz, Monterey, Sacramento, and Los Angeles.

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Shell and Nigerian Partner Are Sued in Britain Over Spills

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By STANLEY REEDMARCH 2, 2016

LONDON — Nigerian communities from the oil-rich Niger Delta initiated court action on Wednesday in London against the energy giant Royal Dutch Shell, in a case that may have far-reaching implications for whether companies can be sued in Britain for pollution and damages caused by their activities in other countries.

The case is based on accusations by farming and fishing communities that say they have suffered years of damage because of repeated large spills from oil pipelines in their home areas.

The law firm Leigh Day is bringing the claims against Shell and its Nigerian joint venture, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, in London on behalf of two communities in the swampy, oil-rich Niger Delta: the Ogale and the Bille.

On Wednesday, the claimants won a small victory when a judge ruled that the Nigerian venture could be included in the case, along with its parent company.

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Shell Said to Mull Sales From U.S. to India in $30 Billion Plan

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By Dinesh NairMatthew Campbell and Rakteem Katakey: Bloomberg.com: 2 March 2016

Royal Dutch Shell Plc is lining up assets for a $30 billion divestment program that may extend from the U.S. and Trinidad to India following its record takeover of BG Group Plc, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Assets linked to Shell’s interests in Trinidad & Tobago and stakes in oil and gas fields in India may be on the block, two of the people said, asking not to be identified because the plans are confidential. Pipelines in the U.S. are also high on the list, they said, adding that disposal plans aren’t final and will depend on demand.

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The Allure Of Shale Is Wearing Off

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Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 08.47.47By Nick CunninghamThu, 25 February 2016

Royal Dutch Shell revealed its plans to downgrade its emphasis on expensive shale operations, although it was not worded in those terms.

The Anglo-Dutch supermajor says that it would fold its “unconventional” unit (i.e. shale) into its broader upstream business. Shell also announced that Mavin Odum, long-time top official from the North American arm of Royal Dutch Shell, will retire after more than three decades at the company.

The two announcements are consistent with Shell’s decision to takeover BG, which was a large bet on LNG and offshore oil plays, particularly in Brazil and Australia. It is also evidence that Shell is deemphasizing its attention and resources on North America, where it has placed several costly bets that have soured. In 2013, Shell cancelled plans to build a $20 billion gas-to-liquids plant in Louisiana. In 2014, Shell sold off shale acreage in Texas, Colorado, and Kansas, according to Reuters, while also divesting itself of Pennsylvania and Louisiana shale gas assets.

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Arctic Was a Bet That Didn’t Pay Off, Departing Shell Chief Says

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Jennifer A Dlouhy: Bloomberg.com: 24 FEB 2016

The departing chief of Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s U.S. division, who presided over its failed quest to find crude in Arctic waters off Alaska, said the effort was still a point of pride because it demonstrated the company’s technical expertise.

Marvin Odum, 57, is leaving the company in a reorganization announced Wednesday. He has been with the company for 34 years and held the post atop its U.S. division, Shell Oil Co., since oil prices were at record highs.

The Arctic was “a big bet,” Odum said in a telephone interview Wednesday. 

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Royal Dutch Shell’s U.S. Chief Leaving in Leadership Shuffle

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The president of Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s U.S. division is leaving the company as part of a reorganization announced Wednesday, and Executive Vice President Bruce Culpepper was named as his successor.

Marvin Odum, 57, has been with the company for 34 years and held the post at its U.S. division, Shell Oil Co., since oil prices were at record highs. He also was in charge during Shell’s failed Arctic drilling bid. Culpepper, who will become the U.S. country chairman and the president of Shell Oil on April 1, has been overseeing human resources in the Americas.

“Marvin has had a long and distinguished Shell career and I’m grateful to him for the central role he’s played in the company’s success,” said Ben van Beurden, chief executive officer of Royal Dutch Shell, in a news release Wednesday. “He leaves our important businesses in the Americas well positioned for the next phase of their development.”

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Shell announces senior staff and organisational changes in North America

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24-Feb-2016

Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) today announced that after a 34-year career with the company, Unconventional Resources Director and U.S. Country Chair, Marvin Odum, will leave Shell at the end of March, 2016.

Concurrent with Marvin’s departure, and in a move that will simplify Shell’s structure, the Athabasca Oil Sands Project and the Scotford Upgrader in Canada will join the global Downstream organisation under Downstream Director, John Abbott; and the Shale Resources business will join the global Upstream organisation under Upstream Director, Andy Brown. As a result of these changes, The Unconventional Resources Directorate will cease to exist.

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Members of Congress call for investigation of Shell over climate change

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Ivan Penn: 18 FEB 2016

A Southern California congressman and two other representatives are calling for an investigation of Shell Oil over whether it deceived the public on climate change at the same time it was preparing its business operations for rising sea levels. 

In a Feb. 17 letter to U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch, the three members of Congress said growing evidence suggests there may have been “a conspiracy between Shell, Exxon Mobil and potentially other companies in the fossil fuel industry.”

U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) sent the letter along with Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont and Rep. Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania, both Democrats.

Their letter cites an investigation published by the Los Angeles Times that reported that in 1989 Shell Oil announced it was redesigning a long-term, $3-billion natural gas platform in the North Sea to deal with rising sea levels from global warming. Despite this and other incidents, the congressmen noted, “Shell apparently decided to fund climate deniers.”

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$717M expansion at Shell plant in Geismar, Louisiana

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– Associated Press – Wednesday, February 17, 2016

GEISMAR, La. (AP) – Shell Chemical LP is starting a $717 million expansion at its plant in Geismar (GYS-mar).

Shell officials and Gov. John Bel Edwards say it will create 1,500 construction jobs and add 20 permanent jobs when it opens in 2018. Salaries for the permanent jobs average $104,000 a year.

About 650 people already work at the plant.

Officials say the expansion will make the 800-acre complex the world’s largest producer of a group of chemicals used to make various consumer and industrial products, including packaging plastics, synthetic lubricants, drilling fluids and household detergents.

Officials say the expansion will bring total production capacity to 425,000 tons of alpha olefins (OH-luh-finz) a year.

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Oilmageddon

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Katy Barnato: 5 FEB 2016

The global economy seems trapped in a “death spiral” that could lead to further weakness in oil prices, recession and a serious equity bear market, Citi strategists have warned.

Some analysts — including those at Citi — have turned bearish on the world economy this year, following an equity rout in January and weaker economic data out of China and the U.S.

“The world appears to be trapped in a circular reference death spiral,” Citi strategists led by Jonathan Stubbs said in a report on Thursday.

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Shell lease requests offshore Alaska face scrutiny

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Shell is challenging a decision by the federal government to deny its request to suspend leases in the Arctic waters off the coast of Alaska that would expire in 2017 and 2020. Federal leases expire at the end of their terms unless operators are engaged in drilling or related activity.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Jan. 14 (UPI) — A group of environmental activists filed a challenge to leases held by Royal Dutch Shell in Alaskan waters, citing the need to act on behalf of the climate.

Earthjustice, working on behalf of eight conservation groups, including the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, filed to intervene in decisions before the Department of Interior regarding Shell’s leases in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.

“The Arctic Ocean is ground zero for climate change, and drilling in such a sensitive region threatens the whales, seals and countless other wildlife that call it home,” Earthjustice attorney Erik Grafe said in a statement.

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US Gulf oil spill nearly ruined BP, says chief Bob Dudley

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Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 20.08.32Saturday 2 Jan 2016

The giant oil spill from a BP rig off the US coast in 2010 nearly ruined the company, its chief executive has said.

Bob Dudley described the fire on the Deepwater Horizon and its aftermath as “a near death experience” for the firm.

It was one of the worst environmental disasters in the US and saw BP pay fines and compensation and sell off more than £30bn ($45bn) in assets.

Mr Dudley told ex-BP boss Lord Browne – a guest editor on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme – it was a “tragic accident”.

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Big Oil braced for global warming while it fought regulations

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Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 21.23.40As many of the world’s major oil companies — including Exxon, Mobil and Shell — joined a multimillion-dollar industry effort to stave off new regulations to address climate change, they were quietly safeguarding billion-dollar infrastructure projects from rising sea levels, warming temperatures and increasing storm severity.

By AMY LIEBERMAN AND SUSANNE RUST: DEC. 31, 2015

A few weeks before seminal climate change talks in Kyoto back in 1997, Mobil Oil took out a bluntly worded advertisement in the New York Times and Washington Post.

“Let’s face it: The science of climate change is too uncertain to mandate a plan of action that could plunge economies into turmoil,” the ad said. “Scientists cannot predict with certainty if temperatures will increase, by how much and where changes will occur.”

One year earlier, though, engineers at Mobil Oil were concerned enough about climate change to design and build a collection of exploration and production facilities along the Nova Scotia coast that made structural allowances for rising temperatures and sea levels.

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Royal Dutch Shell Terminates Rig Contract with Transocean

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By Mushhood Khan on Dec 28, 2015 at 9:07 am EST

Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) has terminated its rig contract with Transocean for the harsh environment semi-submersible rig, Polar Pioneer. The contract was initially scheduled to expire in 2017, but was rescinded today i.e. December 28. Transocean said in a press release that it would be compensated “for the early termination through a lump-sum payment.”

The contract for the Polar Pioneer rig was awarded to Transocean in 2013 at a $620,000 day-rate. The Polar Pioneer rig was a part of Shell’s controversial drilling project in the Arctic Ocean. It was used in the Burger J prospect in the Chukchi Sea, 70 miles from the village of Wainwright.

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Oil Prices Could Collapse To $20

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By Tyler Durden

Extracts from extracts…

Could oil prices collapse to $20? 

The short answer is ‘yes.’

We believe that crude oil prices could fall further unless global oil production is reduced. As shown in Table 2, we estimate that the global oil market could be oversupplied by roughly 920,000 bpd in 2016. The key assumptions are year-over-year growth in global demand of 1.2 million bpd, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Libya hold production at current levels, Iran ramps up production at moderate pace over the course of the year and the U.S. rig count remains at current levels.

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Shell terminates contract for infamous drillship

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Grant Rowles: DECEMBER 18, 2015

Noble Corporation has announced that Shell has terminated the contract for the drillship Noble Discoverer.

In its latest fleet status report, Noble said that “Shell has terminated the rig’s contract for convenience” and has agreed to pay the remaining term at approximately 90 percent of the operating dayrate “adjusted for certain other items.”

Shell committed to a three-year deal in late February 2014 at $368,000 per day for the drillship to be used for its failed Arctic drilling campaign…

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Shell working to protect assets offshore Alaska

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Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 08.42.45Dutch supermajor notes the challenge does not equate to a resumption of drilling activity.

By Daniel J. Graeber: Dec. 17, 2015

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 (UPI) — While Royal Dutch Shell said it aims to protect its drilling rights in the Arctic waters offshore Alaska, it said drilling was off the table for the foreseeable future.

Royal Dutch Shell in October said it was considering its options when the Bureau of Safety and Environment Enforcement denied its request to suspend leases in Arctic Alaskan waters that expire between 2017 and 2020. Leases expire at the end of their terms unless operators are engaged in drilling or related activity.

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Economics, not just regulation, sidelined Shell’s offshore Alaska drilling plans

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Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 08.42.45Dermot ColeDecember 8, 2015

Fresh assertions that the Obama administration smothered Shell’s Arctic dreams followed the news that Statoil gave up on its leases, the second company to abandon plans to look for oil in the Chukchi Sea.

Citing market conditions and noting the leases “are no longer considered competitive within Statoil’s global portfolio,” the Norwegian company announced its withdrawal plans Nov. 17. The company had long taken a cautious approach in the region, using Shell as a bellwether. Earlier this year it had scaled back its plans to drill in the Barents Sea because of low oil prices.

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The Inside Story of Shell’s Arctic Assault

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Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 08.42.45A months-long investigation shows how the energy giant pressured the Interior Department during the company’s gung-ho Arctic push—and got most of what it wanted (except oil).

By Barry YeomanDecember 08, 2015

Last May, four months before the oil giant Royal Dutch Shell suspended exploration in offshore Alaska, Christopher Putnam needed to get something off his chest.

Putnam is 44, originally from Texas, a trained wildlife biologist who also served as an Army infantry sergeant during the Iraq War. For almost six years he has worked in Alaska for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, protecting marine mammals. It has been his job to ensure that Shell’s plans to drill more than 60 miles offshore in the Chukchi Sea—the wild Arctic water between Alaska and Siberia—wouldn’t harm Pacific walruses, particularly the juveniles, calves, and nursing mothers that dominate the Chukchi during the drilling season.

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Report: Political pressure prompted hasty environmental review of Shell’s Arctic play

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Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 08.55.47Yereth RosenBen AndersonDecember 7, 2015

Regulators hoping to avoid criticism and potential congressional backlash rushed an environmental review of offshore Arctic oil development to ensure that Royal Dutch Shell would be able to drill this year, said a report issued Monday by a federal watchdog agency.

The investigation, conducted by the U.S. Department of Interior’s Office of the Inspector General, was launched in response to complaints from Bureau of Ocean Energy Management employees who worked on a rewrite of the supplemental environmental impact statement for oil leasing in the remote Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s northwest coast.

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As Oil Keeps Falling, Nobody Is Blinking

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By ERIN AILWORTH and BRADLEY OLSON

Dec. 6, 2015 6:56 p.m. ET

The standoff between major global energy producers that has created an oil glut is set to continue next year in full force, as much because of the U.S. as of OPEC.

Exporting Countries on Friday again declined to reduce their near-record production of crude. With no end in sight for the glut, U.S. oil closed on Friday below $40 a barrel for the second time this month.

FULL ARTICLE

Shell Forced to Scale Back Ambitions

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Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 08.55.47By James StaffordThu, 26 November 2015

As with most oil companies, 2015 has been a rough year for Royal Dutch Shell. The Anglo-Dutch company reported a third quarter loss of $6 billion, which included $7.9 billion in impairment charges.

During its third quarter earnings call, Shell’s CEO Ben van Beurden summed up the company’s strategy, emphasizing restraint. “Grow to simplify” is how he put it. What that means in practice is scrapping the Arctic campaign; pulling out of the expensive Carmon Creek oil sands project in Canada; shedding assets in the less desirable parts of North American shale; selling assets elsewhere around the world, including Nigeria; and focusing on its merger with BG, which is a big bet on LNG.

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Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil and Glencore: Energy companies risk wasting trillions on uneconomic projects

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By Jessica Morris: 25 November 2015

Energy companies risk wasting $2.2 trillion (£1.46 trillion) on uneconomic projects over the next 10 years, according to a new report.

Think tank the Carbon Tracker Initiative’s (CTI) report how fossil fuel firms risk destroying investor returns says energy companies’ focus on fossil fuels at the expense of emerging clean technologies could put them out of kilter with environmental regulation, which will eventually dampen demand.

It comes ahead of next week’s Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21) which is expected to result in, or at least pave the way for, more climate change legislation.

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State regulators fine Shell Oil for toxic release in Anacortes

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Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 00.19.03Inspectors found that Shell had skipped critical decontamination steps while shutting down the main flare. The uncontrolled release exposed workers to toxic substances.

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS: NOVEMBER 20, 2015

TUMWATER, Wash. (AP) — Washington state regulators have fined Shell Oil Products $77,000 after an investigation found that it failed to control a toxic release.

The Department of Labor and Industries said Friday that they began investigating Shell’s Puget Sound Refinery in Anacortes after learning that the refinery’s main flare released contaminates into the environment.

The release prompted complaints about the odor by people living nearby.

A refinery flare is designed to burn off waste gases and vapors not used in production. It also helps to prevent fires. But the flare must be decontaminated and shut down periodically for maintenance.

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Shell vessel heads to deep Gulf waters amid region’s uncertainty

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Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 07.55.40Posted on November 13, 2015 | By Collin Eaton

HOUSTON — Royal Dutch Shell’s newest oil-production vessel began a 15,000-mile journey this week from a Singapore shipyard to the world’s deepest underwater oil field, tasked with adding more crude to a worldwide oil glut that could upend industry plans to venture deeper offshore.

The $1 billion globe-trotting ship is bearing toward the Gulf of Mexico, and is set to become the fourth ultra deep-water production facility to extract hydrocarbons from a region called the Lower Tertiary, which for oil companies is at the edge of charted U.S. waters. Shell plans to begin filling barrels next year with oil from two wells drilled in about 9,500 feet of water — the deepest-ever depth.

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Shell seeks permission for Russian JV

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Shell has asked regulators for permission to work with Gazprom Neft on a joint venture, Khanty-Mansi Oil and Gas Union, despite the continuing EU and United States sanctions against Russia.

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Shell affiliates are buyers, sellers in $390 million midstream transaction

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Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 09.52.10Posted on November 11, 2015 | By Joshua Cain

A pipeline subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell has sold a crude terminal in Illinois and a pipeline system in the Gulf of Mexico for $390 million to a master limited partnership affiliated with Shell.

Shell Midstream Partners, the Houston-based MLP that Shell formed in 2014, said on Wednesday that it will buy Pecten Midstream from another Shell subsidiary, Shell Pipeline Co.

Pecten Midstream operates the Lockport Crude Terminal about 50 miles from Chicago and the Auger Pipeline System, which transports crude oil from parts of the Garden Banks and Keathley Canyon offshore blocks in the Gulf.

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Exxon Inquiry Both Mirrors and Contrasts With Tobacco Industry Case

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By JOHN SCHWARTZNOV. 6, 2015

The New York attorney general’s decision to investigate Exxon Mobil over whether the company lied to the public and investors about the risks of climate change has raised questions about possible similarities to the Justice Department’s successful suit against the tobacco industry in 1997.

The new case has reprised the famous question from Watergate — What did they know, and when did they know it? — which also was an important element of that tobacco lawsuit.

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Shell Canada says Keystone XL was already in uncertainty window

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Shell Canada says Keystone XL was already in uncertainty window

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 08.03.29CALGARY: Fri Nov 6, 2015

Royal Dutch Shell PLc said on Friday there are at least three other possible pipeline alternatives to TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL project, which was rejected by U.S. President Barack Obama, and Shell would like to see at least one approved.

“So Keystone has been on for seven years now, so of course, it’s brought into the uncertainty window,” Lorraine Mitchelmore, president of Shell’s Canadian unit, told reporters in Calgary.

(Reporting by Mike De Souza in Calgary; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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Shell’s boss fights to keep BG deal alive as he attempts to calm jittery investors

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By LAURA CHESTERS FOR DAILY MAIL: 3 November 2015

Royal Dutch Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden is the oil industry’s equivalent of a swan – below his calm demeanour he is furiously paddling to keep his planned £40billion mega-deal afloat.

Shell is buying rival BG Group and, to get the deal away and for it to make sense as the oil price plummets, van Beurden has taken the knife to Shell’s costs and projects.

Investors have been getting jittery as the price of oil has halved since summer 2014 and has stubbornly remained below $60 a barrel since the takeover was announced in April. Brent Crude continues to fluctuate but experts predict the price will stay ‘lower for longer’ than may have been expected.

However, van Beurden, who took on the top job last January and has a lot riding personally on the deal, promises it will still work with an oil price in the mid-$60s a barrel. Yesterday he insisted: ‘Although oil prices have fallen in 2015, the valuation case for the BG acquisition still looks compelling today for both sets of shareholders.’

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Shell leaves door open for future exploration in Alaska’s Arctic

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Jennifer A. Dlouhy | Houston Chronicle: November 2, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 08.42.45WASHINGTON — Shell is walking away from oil exploration in Arctic waters north of Alaska, but it isn’t ready to close the door completely.

Disappointing results from a critical test well at the company’s Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea, combined with the high costs of developing the region and an “unpredictable regulatory environment,” have prompted Royal Dutch Shell to cease Alaska offshore exploration “for the foreseeable future,” CEO Ben van Beurden told reporters Thursday.

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In defence of Shell CEO Ben van Beurden

By a regular contributor

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Only one member of the EC is directly involved in North American activities, Marvin Odum. 

Perhaps worth noting is that investment decisions on the scale of the recent Shell write-offs would have required approval by the entire EC in the Hague long before BvB was around. Few of the EC members who made those decisions are still present. 

It seems strange that so many of the huge projects which have been abandoned are in North America, and serious questions need to be asked about why approval was given by the EC for these huge projects. Only one member of the EC is directly involved in North American activities, Marvin Odum. 

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Even as it walks away from Arctic drilling, Shell keeps door open for future work

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Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 14.03.31Posted on October 29, 2015 | By Jennifer A. Dlouhy

WASHINGTON — Shell is walking away from oil exploration in Arctic waters north of Alaska, but it isn’t ready to close the door completely.

Disappointing results from a critical test well at the company’s Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea, combined with the high costs of developing the region and an “unpredictable regulatory environment” have prompted Royal Dutch Shell “to cease further exploration activity offshore Alaska for the foreseeable future,” CEO Ben van Beurden told reporters Thursday.

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US Follows Royal Dutch Shell plc Backs Away From Arctic Drilling

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By: Micheal KaufmanOct 19, 2015

The US Interior Department announced on Friday that it will cancel the auction of 2016 and 2017 natural gas and offshore oil leases in the Arctic Ocean. The auction was scheduled under the Department’s current five-year Chukchi Sea leasing program for 2012–2017. The division cited low crude oil prices and lack of interest from oil companies as the main reason behind its decision.

This news comes a few weeks after Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) withdrew its Arctic drilling plan. The oil giant had spent $7 billion for the Arctic campaign. It said last month that it has dropped its exploration and production (E&P) activities in the Burger prospect of the Chukchi Sea, as it found few traces of oil and natural gas in the region. The company was not satisfied with the drilling results; it had initially expected huge amount of oil traces in the Ocean. Shell has dropped all future plans of Arctic drilling for the foreseeable future.

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