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Shell Units Argue Market-Rigging Claims Lack Jurisdiction

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Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 14.36.15By Cara Bayles

Law360, San Francisco (July 22, 2016, 8:48 PM ET) 

Two Royal Dutch Shell PLC affiliates on Thursday tried to escape allegations of European market manipulation from a proposed class of crude oil derivatives traders, arguing in New York federal court that U.S. courts don’t have jurisdiction over conduct by Shell’s international arm in foreign markets.

The reply in support of the affiliates’ motion to dismiss said the traders were trying to “manufacture claims and jurisdiction where neither exists” by blurring the distinction between two “sister subsidiaries” — Shell’s U.S. arm, Shell Trading US Co., or…

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Santa Cruz County prosecutors win judgment against Shell Oil gift cards

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Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 18.15.43By Stephen Baxter, Santa Cruz Sentinel: 07/23/2016 

SANTA CRUZ — The Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office and prosecutors from six other counties won a $762,500 false advertising judgment against Shell Oil’s fuel rewards program on Thursday.

The lawsuit alleged that Shell failed to adequately disclose that discounts from fuel rewards cards and gift cards could not be combined, said Santa Cruz County prosecutor Douglas Allen. Second, it alleged that not all Shell gas stations honored the cards and the company failed to redeem gift cards with balances of less than $10. It also “falsely advertised that certain gift cards could ‘be used like cash’ when Shell knew or should have known some stations were charging customers the credit price for gasoline when purchasing with a gift card,” Allen said.

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Shell to cut jobs in the Gulf of Mexico amid weak oil prices

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By Jennifer Larino, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayuneon July 21, 2016 at 3:55 PM, updated July 21, 2016 at 4:00 PM

Shell plans to cut, consolidate or relocate more than 150 offshore jobs in the Gulf of Mexico as part of an effort to shave 2,200 positions across its global operations this year. The restructure offshore follows job cuts at the company’s New Orleans office amid weak oil prices.

Shell has decided to move forward with “structural changes and personnel reductions” after reviewing its deepwater Gulf of Mexico operations, spokeswoman Kimberly Windon said in a statement emailed to NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune. Shell informed employees of its decision Thursday afternoon (July 21).

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Doesn’t this all seem rather improper?

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GRAY, LOUISIANA (PRWEB) JULY 20, 2016

Danos announces the hiring of Tom Broom as executive account manager. In this role, Broom will be responsible for overseeing and maintaining Danos’ long-term relationship with Shell.

“Tom is a perfect fit for Danos, said Executive Vice President Paul Danos. “His experience in the industry and long career with Shell make him the ideal person to oversee this relationship that has endured for 45 years.”

In 2015, Broom retired from Shell after a 35-year-career, most recently serving as director of coastal issues for Shell Exploration & Production Company. In that role he served as the inaugural director of a 25-person international team focused on collaborating with internal and external stakeholders on coastal management issues. Prior to that position he oversaw workforce development and construction risk mitigation and managed operations training for the United States, Canada and Brazil. He also supervised the daily operations of Shell’s Robert Training and Conference Center, the company’s primary operations training facility.

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Shell’s LNG Canada venture again delays export terminal decision

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Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 15.59.39Shell’s LNG Canada venture again delays export terminal decision

(Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell Plc RDSa.L and its LNG Canada partners have once again pushed back the timing of a decision on building a British Columbia liquefied natural gas export (LNG) terminal, the latest setback for the Canadian province’s energy ambitions.

LNG Canada, whose participants also include PetroChina Co Ltd 601857.SS, Mitsubishi Corporation 8058.T and Kogas, cited global industry challenges, including capital constraints, for requiring more time prior to making a final investment decision.

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BG Houston Office to Close; Lay Off 154 Workers

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According to a letter sent to the Texas Workforce Commission, BG, which became a wholly owned subsidiary of Shell February 15, 2016, will permanently close its Houston office and lay off 154 employees. The majority of employees, 118, will be laid off August 31 and the remaining 36 employees will be let go September 30.

Employees do not have bumping rights and BG will offer severance benefits and outplacement services to laid-off employees.

In January, Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said the acquisition would result in a total workforce reduction of 10,000 workers across both companies. Shell has also stated the company will close BG’s head office located near London by the end of the year, Reuters reported. In addition, Shell will close BG’s Aberdeen office and its Brabazon House office in Manchester by the end of 2017.  

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How the Breakup of Motiva Will Help Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) and Saudi Aramco

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By Staff Writer on Jul 5, 2016 at 9:04 am EST

Earlier in March, Saudi Aramco’s subsidiary, Saudi Refining, Inc (SRI) and Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A), announced to dissolve their fuel partnership, Motiva Enterprise. Due to contradictory interests, both the entities signed a letter of intent (LOI), showing the division of assets held under joint venture (JV).

However, the disbanded venture has stuck another blow as Shell is seeking up to $2 billion as a part of breakup from its giant refining enterprise. The hefty compensation is due to Saudi Aramco’s retention of a larger stake in the venture for almost two decades.

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US oil reserves surpass those of Saudi Arabia and Russia

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Anjli Raval, Oil and Gas Correspondent: July 4, 2016

The US holds more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia and Russia, the first time it has surpassed those held by the world’s biggest exporting nations, according to a new study.

The US shale boom was a factor behind the recent oil price collapse that toppled the Brent crude benchmark from a mid-2014 high of $115 a barrel to below $30 earlier this year.

FULL FT ARTICLE

Motiva Convent refinery shelves gasoline unit overhaul -sources

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By Erwin Seba: Friday, 1 July 2016

HOUSTON, July 1 (Reuters) – Motiva Enterprises’ Convent, Louisiana refinery has shelved plans for a gasoline unit overhaul in October despite a six-to-nine-month delay in a planned revamp of the refinery, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans on Friday.

Earlier this year, Motiva began planning the October overhaul of the 92,000 barrel per day (bpd) fluidic catalytic cracking unit at the 235,000 bpd Convent refinery.

Instead, the FCCU will remain in operation until at least June 2017 when it will be permanently closed, said the two sources who were not authorized to speak to the media about the matter.

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Shell exec expands on plan to build cracker plant in Beaver County

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Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 10.18.28BY DAVID CONTI | Tuesday, June 28, 2016, 6:36 p.m.

Royal Dutch Shell’s decision to build a multibillion-dollar petrochemical plant in Beaver County came down to three key considerations: location, location and tax incentives.

Pennsylvania lies above the ethane the facility will consume, is close to most customers of the polyethylene it will produce, and offered the global energy giant a package of credits worth as much as $1.6 billion over 25 years.

“I can tell you, hand to my heart, that without these fiscal incentives, we would not have taken this investment decision,” Shell Appalachia Vice President Ate Visser told industry officials who gathered Downtown on Tuesday for the Northeast U.S. & Canada Petro­chemical Construction Conference.

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Shell drops legal attempt to extend offshore lease terms in the Arctic

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Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 10.21.36Shell drops legal attempt to extend offshore lease terms in the Arctic

Author: Yereth Rosen: 24 June 2016

Months after abandoning its plans for oil exploration in Arctic waters off Alaska, Royal Dutch Shell has dropped its legal effort to hold onto those offshore leases.

Shell notified the Interior Department it will no longer pursue its appeals of a decision that denied extension of the company’s oil leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off Alaska. The department’s Board of Land Appeals on Thursday granted Shell’s request and dismissed the case.

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Royal Dutch Shell Has Served Notice – The Deepwater Drillers Are In Big Trouble

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June 23, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 10.18.28Summary

  • Eighteen months ago Shell was considering exiting shale plays and focusing on its deepwater and LNG opportunities.
  • Shell’s recent analyst day presentations revealed a company that is shifting its long term focus towards shale.
  • We think that going forward the offshore drilling rig companies have major long term challenges and investors need to be aware that pre-crash cash flows aren’t coming back.

For the small sliver of global oil production that U.S shale oil actually represents it certainly has been a disruptive force.

Total shale production (there is no significant amount outside of the United States) is currently somewhere around 4.5 million barrels per day.

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That is not much more than four percent of total current production which checks in at over 96 million barrels per day.

After having a look at Shell’s (NYSE:RDS.A) 2016 capital markets day presentation we think shale oil is going to become even more disruptive going forward for a select group of companies.

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Shell Sees Strong Potential for Permian Basin Assets

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Bruce Palfreyman, general manager of Shell’s Permian asset group, said the company believes it has the best position in the Delaware, part of the Permian Basin in West Texas, in terms of size and rock quality. The company holds 300,000 net acres in the Delaware through its joint venture with Anadarko Petroleum Corp., with more than 5,000 future well locations on a risk basis.

Shell acquired the acreage in 2012 from Chesapeake Energy, and has spent the past three years maturing and de-risking the acreage, Palfreyman told reporters during a media event Monday in Houston to outline Shell’s strategy on its unconventional oil and gas business. The company has pursued a high-grade strategy for its Permian acreage, selling off peripheral acreage. Shell’s position in the Delaware contains 2 billion barrels of oil.

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Shell puts revamped shale arm at heart of growth drive

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Having turned round its North American shale business, Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) is putting so-called unconventional energy at the heart of its growth plans, and believes lessons from the revamp can be applied across the company.

Greg Guidry, head of the Anglo-Dutch group’s unconventionals business, told Reuters a drive to slash costs and streamline decision-making had put his division largely on a par with leading rivals in terms of productivity and efficiency.

And now the rest of Shell could reap the benefits too.

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Report: Shell’s Martinez refinery could be sold

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By Sam Richards , [email protected]

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 10.18.28MARTINEZ — Two published reports Friday say the Shell Martinez Refinery is up for sale, prompted by what are expected to be crude oil prices rising faster than gas prices at the pump.

The reports, one of them from the international news agency Reuters, say the Netherlands-based global energy company Royal Dutch Shell is looking to shed some of its smaller, less profitable refineries ahead of the anticipated price hike for crude.

The Reuters story said Shell and at least three other major oil companies, including San Ramon-based Chevron, have seen dropping profit margins from their refining operations since a peak in 2015 and want to shed some lower-profit operations before crude oil prices rise much further from recent low levels.

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Shell Midstream Partners

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No. 10: Pipeline spinoff gets off to a robust start

Robert Grattan, Houston Chronicle: June 18, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell owns one of the United States’ essential pipeline networks, transporting oil and gas from the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico to its refineries and beyond.

But for decades, that network was a secondary interest for investors, most of whom focused on Shell’s global drilling and refining operations. So in late 2014, Shell set out to push those pipelines out of the background by spinning off Shell Midstream Partners as a public company, in which Shell holds a controlling interest.

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Boom Town…Shell commits to build cracker plant in Beaver County

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Jun 8, 2016By Christian Morrow

After four years of will-they-or-won’t-they, Royal Dutch Shell has announced it will construct a multi-billion-dollar ethane cracker plant at the site of the former Horsehead zinc smelter in Center and Potter townships, Beaver County.

Project will employ thousands

The company announced it was going forward with the project June 7, much to the delight of Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald who released a statement thanking Shell and congratulating everyone involved in the process, from Governor Tom Wolf to the Marcellus Shale Coalition.

“The project is monumental; the building of this plant will be equivalent to the construction of 25 stadiums,” said Fitzgerald.

“This announcement accelerates our growth to a next level and will provide even more opportunities for our young people. This multi-billion investment will bring economic growth to our region now and for generations to come, and we thank Shell for their decision to invest here.”

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Shell to build Pennsylvania plastics plant in bid for market share

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HOUSTON, JUNE 7 | BY ERNEST SCHEYDER: Tue Jun 7, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell Plc said on Tuesday it will build a chemical plant in Pennsylvania, planning to use an inexpensive and abundant supply of natural gas to make plastics for the northern United States.

The multibillion-dollar plant’s construction will bring an infusion of cash and jobs to northern Appalachia, an area hard-hit by the collapse in the coal and steel industries. Personal and small business income in the region is roughly 25 percent lower than the rest of the United States.

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Shell Pipeline Leaks 20,000 Gallons of Oil in California’s Central Valley

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Ryan Schleeter, Greenpeace | May 27, 2016

For the second time in two weeks, Shell has spilled thousands of gallons of oil, this time in California’s Central Valley.

Less than two weeks after dumping nearly 90,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, Shell Oil is at it again. The company’s San Pablo Bay Pipeline, which transports crude oil from California’s Central Valley to the San Francisco Bay Area, leaked an estimated 21,000 gallons into the soil near in San Joaquin County this week.

Responders are on the scene to clear oil that’s reached the surface, which county officials say covered roughly 10,000 square feet of land. As of today, Shell representatives claim the pipeline has been repaired, but have not resumed operations.

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Shell pipeline fixed after spill near Tracy, California – ABC News

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(Reuters) – A Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) pipeline near Tracy, California has been repaired after spilling up to 21,000 gallons of oil, ABC News reported on its website on Tuesday.

Shell shut down its San Pablo Bay pipeline at Tracy, California last week after noticing very low suction and increased flow rate.

Shell did not give a timeline for the resumption of oil flow, according to the report.

(Reporting by Harshith Aranya in Bengaluru; Editing by Frances Kerry)

SOURCE

NEW FILM EXPOSES SHELL OIL SPILL WORKERS AT SERIOUS RISK FOR CHEMICAL EXPOSURE

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May 21, 2016 (San Diego) — Mark Manning, director of The Road to Fallujah, has been covering the BP Oil Spill for six years. Being immersed in the communities suffering severe health circumstances following that spill and the risky ‘clean-up’ operations using chemical dispersants prompted him to act on the current response to the Shell spill off the Louisiana coast last Thursday.

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Manning released a short outtake from his documentary film on http://www.therisingfilm.tv/ and his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheRisingDocumentary/ highlighting the risks that all spill workers face and the risks that current Shell clean-up contractors are unknowingly facing today.

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Scientists head out to study Shell spill in the Gulf

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NEW ORLEANS

Researchers are heading out to study the effects of a Shell leak of about 88,200 gallons of oil off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico, a scientist said on Monday.

Last Thursday, a leak from a pipeline at the Shell oil production field was spotted and cleanup vessels began to skim oil off the Gulf on Friday.

The cleanup ended Monday evening. The leak was contained after wells flowing into the pipeline were shut in.

Ian MacDonald, an oceanographer at Florida State University, said the scientists should reach the oil slick by Wednesday.

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Work begins on massive cleanup of contaminated Carousel tract yards in Carson

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By Sandy Mazza, Daily Breeze: 13 May 2016

They had been waiting for this day for eight years. But it was still wrenching for the Ancheta family when it finally came this week.

Their house in Carson’s infamous Carousel tract was the first of hundreds slated for cleanup of tons of soil contaminated with hazardous waste from old oil storage tanks. Beginning a five-year clean-up process across the 50-acre community, workers ripped out carefully manicured plants and lawns and dug up trees.

Teresa Ancheta winced at the sight of her trees being uprooted in front of the home where she’s lived for 26 years.

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Protestors to march following Shell oil spill in Gulf of Mexico

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AAPWorldSaturday, 14 May 2016

US environmental activists are preparing to march against offshore drilling as the clean-up of another Gulf of Mexico oil spill gets under way.

Five vessels are working on the spill off the coast of Louisiana after about 334-thousand litres of oil poured out of a Shell flow line.

Green groups say the disaster is another example of why offshore drilling should be banned, and will demand an end to the practice at a protest in Washington, DC, tomorrow.

SOURCE

Shell’s manipulation in the spot market

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By Jonathan Crawford: May 13, 2016

Sixteen years after California experienced rolling blackouts and soaring power prices, two of the last companies accused of taking advantage of the shortage are facing a decision by federal regulators.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Iberdrola SA have until May 27 to respond to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission judge’s initial ruling last month that they sold electricity at inflated prices during the California power crisis of 2000-2001. While other companies that sold power under long-term contracts in the state have long since settled charges, Shell and Iberdrola elected to fight the case.

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Shell Oil Spill Dumps Thousands Of Barrels Of Crude Into Gulf Of Mexico

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The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said a 2 mile by 13 mile (about 3 km by 21 km) sheen was visible in the sea about 97 miles off the Louisiana coast.

The sheen is near Shell’s Glider Field, a group of four subsea wells whose production flows through a subsea manifold to the Brutus platform, which sits in water with a depth of 2,900 feet (884 m).

In a statement, Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said a company helicopter observed the sheen on Thursday, and that the wells were under control after it isolated the leak and shut in production.

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Shell forfeits Arctic leases once worth $2b

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Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 08.42.36By Liz Ruskin, APRN: May 10, 2016

Shell is giving back all but one of its leases in the Chukchi Sea.

The announcement comes seven months after Shell said it was halting exploration in Alaska’s offshore Arctic for the foreseeable future.

Gov. Bill Walker calls the news “disappointing.”

Michael LeVine, Pacific senior counsel for the conservation group Oceana, says the lease-surrenders underscore Shell’s exit.

“They’re significant because they really call to an end this era of exploration, at least in the Chukchi Sea,” he said.

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BG Group to leave its namesake tower downtown

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By Nancy SarnoffMay 10, 2016

About five years after signing on to be the lead tenant in a new downtown office tower, BG Group will be leaving its namesake building.

The British gas producer, recently acquired by Royal Dutch Shell, will move employees out of the building at 811 Main by year’s end, Shell spokeswoman Natalie Mazey said Tuesday.

Staff will be relocated into existing Shell space downtown and on the west side. Most of Shell’s downtown offices are in One Shell Plaza and 1000 Main.

The departure of BG from 811 Main comes as the latest in a series of hits to the city’s office market amid the oil bust.

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Big Oil Abandons $2.5 Billion in U.S. Arctic Drilling Rights

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Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 08.42.36Jennifer A Dlouhy: May 10, 2016

Drillers forfeit millions of acres amid slump in oil prices

Royal Dutch Shell still holding on to one lease in Chukchi Sea

After plunking down more than $2.5 billion for drilling rights in U.S. Arctic waters, Royal Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips and other companies have quietly relinquished claims they once hoped would net the next big oil discovery.

The pullout comes as crude oil prices have plummeted to less than half their June 2014 levels, forcing oil companies to slash spending. For Shell and ConocoPhillips, the decision to abandon Arctic acreage was formalized just before a May 1 due date to pay the U.S. government millions of dollars in rent to keep holdings in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska.

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Shell gives up on all but one Chukchi Sea lease

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Yereth Rosen: Alaska Dispatch News: May 9, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell has decided to give up all but one of its federal offshore leases in the Chukchi Sea, bringing what appears to be an anticlimactic end to its multibillion-dollar effort to turn those icy Arctic waters off northwestern Alaska into a new oil-producing frontier.

“After extensive consideration and evaluation, we have made the decision to relinquish all but one of our federal offshore leases in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea. This action is consistent with our earlier decision not to explore offshore Alaska for the foreseeable future,” company spokesman Curtis Smith said in an email on Monday.

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Gas station prompts outrage with sign: ‘Closed on Sundays so we can prep for the crusade’

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By Andrew Blake – The Washington Times: Monday, May 2, 2016

Signage outside a Nashville gas station drew mixed reactions from customers over the weekend, including from some who reportedly accused the establishment of hate speech.

Nashville’s WSMV News on Sunday reported that a Shell station was turning heads as a result of a couple of different digital messages that had been programed to appear on signage beneath the price of gas.

“Closed on Sundays so we can prep for the crusade,” read one of the slogans that appeared on the sign. “Seven years of Obama and we can’t figure out which restroom to use,” read another.

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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

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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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