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World’s biggest ship named after Nazi

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 21.50.12THE JEWISH CHRONICLE

Article by Toby Axelrod, January 22, 2015

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Should the world’s largest ship be named after a convicted Nazi war criminal? No, says retired British businessman John Donovan – and he’s not sitting idly by.

The Colchester resident has launched an online petition asking shipping magnate Edward Heerema of the Allseas Group SA to change the name of its giant new vessel, the Pieter Schelte.

Schelte was Mr Heereema’s father, a renowned maritime engineer but also an avowed antisemite who joined the Waffen SS. He eventually became an informant for the Dutch resistance in 1943.

After the war, he was sentenced in Holland to three years in prison for war crimes, but was released early due to his work for the resistance.

In 2008, when plans to name the boat after him became known in Holland, politicians and Jewish leaders spoke out against it. A spokesperson for Allseas said at the time: “Pieter Schelte Hereema was widely appreciated in the industry during his life and the companies that came from his heritage have an excellent name in the offshore industry.”

The Dutch government, which gave Allseas’ Netherlands subsidiary a hefty tax break to secure it a role in building the ship, said it first noticed the vessel’s name in an article by Dutch journalist Ton Biesemaat.
Dutch legislator Sharon Gesthuizen told Haaretz in 2008 that “funding this ship was a mistake which is offensive to many people”.

Mr Donovan addressed his petition to Edward Heerema “as the founder of [a] company that… has just entered service in the offshore oil industry, with Shell as one of its first clients.”

Mr Donovan has long followed the activities of the Shell Oil Company, for which he and his late father worked as consultants before successfully suing the firm for breach of confidence. He said: “Shell is …the first customer booked to use the Pieter Schelte [to decommission four North Sea Oil rigs later this year].”

Allseas and Shell did not comment.


Who Will Rule the Oil Market?


WASHINGTON — A HISTORIC change of roles is at the heart of the clamor and turmoil over the collapse of oil prices, which have plummeted by 50 percent since September. For decades, Saudi Arabia, backed by the Persian Gulf emirates, was described as the “swing producer.” With its immense production capacity, it could raise or lower its output to help the global market adjust to shortages or surpluses.

But on Nov. 27, at the OPEC meeting in Vienna, Saudi Arabia effectively resigned from that role and OPEC handed over all responsibility for oil prices to the market, which the Saudi oil minister, Ali Al-Naimi, predicted would “stabilize itself eventually.” OPEC’s decision was hardly unanimous. Venezuela and Iran, their economies in deep trouble, lobbied hard for production cutbacks, to no avail. Afterward, Iran accused Saudi Arabia of waging an “oil war” and being part of a “plot” against it.

By leaving oil prices to the market, Saudi Arabia and the emirates also passed the responsibility as de facto swing producer to a country that hardly expected it — the United States. This approach is expected to continue with the accession of the new Saudi king, Salman, following the death on Friday of King Abdullah. And it means that changes in American production will now, along with that of Persian Gulf producers, also have a major influence on global oil prices.

America was once, by far, the world’s largest oil producer and exporter, and its swing producer. The Texas Railroad Commission determined “allowable” levels of production for Texas, the Saudi Arabia of the day. But by 1970, United States oil production had reached its high point of 9.6 million barrels per day and began to decline.

The United States began to import more and more oil. By 2008, its own oil production was down almost 50 percent from the high point. Oil prices reached $147 a barrel, and fears that the world’s oil production had peaked and that we were beginning to run out of oil had become pervasive.

Quietly, though, an unconventional oil and gas revolution was beginning to pick up speed in the United States. It yoked together two technologies: hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. The impact was measured first in the rapidly growing production of shale gas, which now makes up about half of total American gas. This “shale gale” catapulted the United States ahead of Russia to become the world’s No. 1 gas producer.

Then around 2010, the same technologies started to be seriously applied to the search for oil. The results were phenomenal. By the end of 2014, oil production in the United States was 80 percent higher than it had been in 2008. The increase of 4.1 million barrels per day was greater than the output of every single OPEC country but Saudi Arabia.

Today, American output is almost back to where it was in 1970. On top of that was a million-barrel-a-day gain since 2008 from the Canadian oil sands. The chimera of “energy independence” began to look more tangible, at least for North America.

This revolution also turned out to be a big boost for the American economy, creating jobs, improving the country’s competitive position and drawing in over a $100 billion of new investment. Only rarely has the global oil market seen production increases on this scale this fast. The last time was in the early 1980s, when new supplies from Mexico, the North Sea and Alaska created an oil surplus that led to a price crash.

This time, several things postponed a price collapse. One was the growing consumption in the developing world, led by China. Another was turmoil in Libya, South Sudan and other countries that reduced supply. Over a million barrels per day were also taken off the market by sanctions imposed on Iran. Without that big surge of shale oil from the United States, it is highly likely that those sanctions would have failed. Prices would have spiked, countries seeking cheaper oil would have broken ranks — and Iran might not be at the nuclear negotiating table today.

By the middle of last summer, however, circumstances changed. World economic growth was slowing. Europe was on its back. Since 2004, China’s rapidly rising demand for oil had been the defining factor for the global oil market. But China’s economy was slowing, too, and that meant slowing growth in oil demand. At the same time, Libya managed to quadruple its oil output, at least for a time. That was the trigger for the beginning of the price decline.

It was assumed that OPEC would step in and cut production to boost the price. Trillions of dollars of investment have been made over the last several years on that premise.

But Saudi Arabia and the other gulf countries declined to do so. If they reduced production, they reasoned, they would lose market share permanently. As they saw it, they would be cutting back on their “low cost oil” to make room for “high cost oil,” and then would have to make more cuts to accommodate more high cost oil.

They were looking at competition not only from American shale oil but also from Canadian oil sands and new supplies from Russia, the Arctic, Brazil, Central Asia, Africa and growing volumes of offshore oil around the world.

But, most immediately, they were looking at two neighbors. They did not want to give up markets to Iraq, a country they see as an Iranian satellite, and whose output is increasing. And they certainly did not want to make way for Iran, which they thought might come to a nuclear deal with the United States and its allies, bringing that missing Iranian oil back into the market.

The depth of the price fall may be much more than even some of the gulf producers anticipated. Around the world, oil companies are cutting budgets, paring costs, slowing down projects and postponing new ones. Some may end up being canceled.

Saudi Arabia is hoping that lower oil prices will stimulate economic growth and demand for oil. In the meantime, with their large holdings of foreign reserves, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf emirates can afford to wait.

That is not true for many of the other oil exporters. Venezuela is highly vulnerable to turmoil and even financial collapse. Russia is coping not only with lower prices for oil, which provides over 40 percent of government revenues, but with Ukraine-related sanctions, and seems headed into a deep recession.

Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa and the continent’s most populous nation, is also at risk. The oil sector represents 95 percent of export earnings and 75 percent of government revenues. And its revenues are falling as it needs more money to fight the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency.

Over all, the fall in oil prices could mean a $1.5 to $2 trillion transfer from oil-exporting countries to oil-importing countries. Japan will be a big beneficiary. So will China. American consumers will benefit, too, though it will also mean that fewer oil wells will be drilled here, more rigs will be laid up and increasing numbers of workers will be let go.

American shale oil has become the decisive new factor in the world oil market in a way that could not have been imagined five years ago. It has proved to be a truly disruptive technology. But will that impact continue in a world of low prices?

Oil is now below $50 a barrel, a price too low for a good deal of the new shale oil development to make economic sense. Yet output is likely to continue to rise by another 500,000 barrels per day in the first half of 2015 because of sheer momentum and commitments already made.

Come the middle of the year, however, growth will flatten out. Producers will work hard to improve efficiency and lower costs, but in 2016, at these prices, American output could decline. Production elsewhere in the world will also be flattening.

But by then, the world economy might be doing better, stimulating oil demand. Prices could start rising again. If the gulf producers have their way, prices will not go back to $100 a barrel. Even at prices well below $100, American shale oil producers will find ways to drive down costs and output will start rising again. And the world’s new swing producer will find itself back in the swing of things.

Daniel Yergin is the author of “The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World” and the vice chairman of the research and consulting firm IHS.


Can BP and Royal Dutch Shell weather the storm?

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 08.45.23From an article by Kyle Caldwell published by The Telegraph on 23 Jan 2015 under the headline:

“Oil shares yield 6pc, but are the dividends safe?”

Since June the price of Brent Crude has fallen from $116 a barrel to just below $50 last week. The plunge means these companies will generate far lower revenues and, with their costs still high, will see their profits fall.

Some investors have already lost faith as shares have fallen sharply. But those buying in today could be tempted by the yield on all of these shares rising because the price has fallen. At around the 6pc yield mark, Royal Dutch Shell and BP at a glance look attractive.

Some of Britain’s fund managers, however, have ruled out buying. Steve Davies, who manages the Jupiter UK Growth fund, said: “Unless you think the oil price will recover from here these shares are not a buy. I think the heavyweights – BP and Royal Dutch Shell – can weather the storm and pay dividends, through debt if needs be, but they will not be able to continue doing this next year or in two years’ time unless the oil price recovers.”


Oil majors to preserve dividends despite oil collapse, tap debt

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 08.45.23REUTERS ARTICLE PUBLISHED 23 Jan 2015

(Reuters) – Europe’s oil majors will strike a sober note in their fourth-quarter results and investors will focus on companies’ plans to maintain cherished dividends and their strategies to cope with the oil prices collapse that caught many unawares.

Having sold around $120 billion in assets in recent years to boost balance sheets and keep up dividend payouts, companies are expected to increase borrowing and further cut costs as they come to terms with oil prices that have more than halved since June to around $50 a barrel.

“Lower oil prices pose the biggest threat to oil and gas industry earnings and financial solidity since the financial crash of 2008,” consultancy Wood Mackenzie said in a note.

“More evidence of how this is affecting performance and strategy will appear in the Q4 results and further pared-back 2015 investment plans.”

For the last quarter of 2014, earnings per share (EPS) for European integrated oil companies, including Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), BP (BP.L), France’s Total (TOTF.PA), Italy’s Eni (ENI.MI) and Spain’s Repsol (REP.MC), are expected to fall on average by around 24 percent, according to Barclays analysts.

As investors come to terms with a roughly 20 percent drop in oil companies’ shares since last June, according to Reuters data, the focus will turn to how boards plan to adjust to the new environment.

So far there is no hint of any major oil companies scaling back their dividend payouts, which for decades have been the key attraction for investors. Shell, for example, has not cut its dividend since 1945.

“We will be able to preserve the dividend. It is absolutely our rock solid intention,” BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“Your cash flow spending options are dividends, buy backs, capex and cost – these are really the four things you can work with,” Dudley added.


“Ultimately, Big Oil remains on the back foot and the transition to more sustainably covering capex and the dividend is pushed out further to 2017 on our base-case estimates,” Nomura analysts said in a note.

Shell is seen by several investors and analysts as best able to cope among its peers in the current environment as its refining segment benefits the most from lower crude oil prices. Barclays expect Shell EPS to rise by 29 percent in the fourth quarter compared with the same quarter the previous year.

“At a high level I believe RDS (Shell) is the best positioned as it has the best balance sheet,” said Darren Sissons, managing director at Toronto-based investment fund Portfolio Management, which holds Statoil, Shell and BP shares in Europe.

Shell will report fourth-quarter results on Thursday, Jan. 29.

Barclays expects BP will report a 50 percent fall in fourth-quarter EPS compared with the same quarter in 2013. It faces a heavy loss from its stake in Russia’s Rosneft due to the plummeting oil price and a crumbling rouble.

It will cut thousands of jobs across its global oil and gas business by the end of this year in a $1 billion restructuring program, it said last month.

(Reporting by Ron Bousso; editing by Susan Thomas)


Dusting off the Shell BP merger files

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 21.22.36Shell and the forerunner of BP bribed a famous politician to facilitate a merger 

According to Sir Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill, Royal Dutch Shell and BP (then called Burmah Anglo-Persian Oil Company), were in merger discussions in 1923.

Extract from a BBC News Magazine article published 22 Jan 2015

10. Cash for influence

“In return for a fee of £5,000 two oil companies, Royal Dutch Shell and Burmah Anglo-Persian Oil Company [later BP], asked him to represent them in their application to the government for a merger,” Gilbert’s official biography stated.

By modern British political standards, the 1923 payment would be considered highly inappropriate.

Churchill, whose “political career was in the doldrums” at the time, according to a history of British Petroleum, agreed to use his parliamentary influence to raise the issue in return for money.

“But I’d be careful about calling it a bribe,” Toye says. “He accepted all sorts of gifts, which in today’s culture of full disclosure would get you expelled from the Commons. But those rules were not in place at the time.”

The Register of Members’ Interests was introduced in 1975. “You can argue that it was a conflict of interest, you can even argue that it was wrong, but you can’t call it a bribe in the sense that it was actually illegal,” Toye says.

“Politicians’ links with business and the media weren’t under the same level of scrutiny as they were then,” says Packwood, “he was operating in a slightly different ethical environment.”

(FROM: The 10 greatest controversies of Winston Churchill’s career by Tom Heyden, BBC News Magazine)

Lloyd’s Register PR Fanfair Saluting Nazi named mega-ship The Pieter Schelte


Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 16.45.27

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 14.43.40By John Donovan

The above screenshot is from the front cover of the January 2015 edition of Horizons Magazine published by Lloyd’s Register. The front page lead story, is a multipage PR extravaganza trumpeting the key involvement of Lloyd’s Register in the creation and building of the Pieter Schelte, “the world’s largest-ever ship.”

The one thing that spoils the celebration about the gigantic vessel, which arrived in Rotterdam days ago, is that it is named in honour of a senior Waffen SS Nazi officer jailed for war crimes, Pieter Schelte Heerema.

According to one report, after gaining promotion in the Waffen SS, he was responsible for forcibly resettling unemployed Dutch workers into areas of Eastern Europe, where many died.

After release from prison, given the stigma attached to his name, Pieter Schelte prudently retreated to Venezuela, where according to a recent Forbes article, he allegedly helped German war criminals escape Allied justice.

Despite all of this toxic historical baggage, the founder of Allseas, the company that owns The Pieter Schelte, Dutchman Edward Heerema, named the giant ship after his father.

Like many other multinationals involved with The Pieter Schelte project, including the oil company Shell (one of its first customers), and financial backers, ABN Amro, ING, RBS and NIBC, Lloyd’s Register has long known about the dark side of the name, but has remained silent on the toxic issue.

Lloyd’s Register knew of his Nazi pedigree when commissioning, approving and publishing the above PR article, rejoicing in its close connection with the Nazi named ship. The name of the ship is mentioned 15 times in the overall feature, comprising the front page, the contents page and the article pages.

The explanation for the origin of the name fails to reveal the Nazi aspect:

“The 382-metre-long, 123.75-metre- wide, 403,342gt installation/ decommissioning and pipelay vessel is a twin-hulled vessel named after the offshore pioneer Pieter Schelte Heerema, father of the Swiss-based Allseas Group’s owner Edward Heerema.”

Classic PR spin. Some might describe it as a cover-up. “Offshore pioneer” is a much more appealing description than a Waffen SS Nazi officer jailed for war crimes.

Although numerous articles about the controversy have been published since 2007, Lloyd’s Register neglected to disclose what it knew about the astonishing background of the man being honoured in such a prominent way – having the biggest ship in the world named after him.  This was not an individual of high distinction, nor a member of royalty, or a famous historical figure of high regard, but instead, a former officer from the murderous Waffen SS.  

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 14.15.11The name is a mark of distinction, but of the worst possible kind. Who would want to Captain a vessel with such a distasteful name? Who would want to be a member of its crew? Certainly no one of  Jewish descent, or people who are superstitious and might view the Nazi SS name, with all its evil connotations, as being a bad omen attached to the ship. 

No wonder Lloyd’s Register did not openly disclose the stigma attached to the Nazi linked name.

All of the huge businesses associated with Allseas in the Pieter Schelte project, Royal Dutch Shell, bankers and Lloyd’s Register, have uniformly turned a blind eye to the Nazi linked name. (Shell and its Nazi boss, Sir Henri Deterding, financially supported Hitler and the Nazi party for several years in the run up to World War 2.)

On 11 January 2015, I sent an email to Richard Sadler, the Chief Executive Officer of Lloyd’s Register, an institution of global renown founded in 1760.

I received a response the following day on his behalf from the Group Legal Director of Lloyd’s Register, Mr Jim Harrison.

This is what he said in relation to the naming of the vessel.

The role of Lloyd’s Register in relation to this vessel is to provide our technical classification and statutory plan approval, survey and certification services to help ensure the safety of the vessel and its work. We play no part in the choice of, or the approval of, the name of the vessel which is a matter to be decided between the owner and the vessel’s national ship registry which is Panama in this case.

Extracts from my reply:

I note there is no denial that Lloyd’s Register has been well aware for a long time about the controversy surrounding the name.

Would Lloyd’s Register have remained silent and continued with the money spinning contract on the same grounds you have quoted, if the name had been Adolf Hitler? I think we both know the answer.

Personally, I think it is appalling that two global organisations – Lloyd’s Register and Royal Dutch Shell, have allowed a third, Allseas, to foist this affront to decency and the memory of all who perished at the hands of the Nazis.

Whether due to a lack of scruples, or extremely bad judgement, Lloyd’s Register is actively glorifying the project on your website and elsewhere, despite knowing that it is named after a Nazi War Criminal.

Mr Harrison ignored my question to Mr Sadler asking if Lloyd’s Register had raised the issue with Allseas or its owner, Dutchman Edward Heerema, about the wisdom of naming the ship after his father.

The controversy surrounding the Nazi linked name has not just been the subject of news articles since 2007, but was also the subject of a cross examination in a recent extraordinary trial and when I say extraordinary, that description, in this case, is no exaggeration.

The Pieter Schelte and its controversial name were all part of the case before the court. The judge, Mr Justice Peter Smith, thought the Nazi linked name to be of sufficient significance to include extracts from a relevant cross-examination in his judgement dated 26 June 2014 .

Some brief extracts from the cross-examination included in the Judgement:

MR JUSTICE PETER SMITH: He was in the Dutch SS, was he?

A. No, he was in the German SS.


MR TAGER: He joined the German SS, And then he left the SS you say in the middle of the war?

A. I don’t know the exact time but that is .. he changed his mind, that is ..

MR JUSTICE PETER SMITH: I didn’t know you could leave the SS, I thought it was a job for life.

A. I have no comment on that, my Lord.

MR JUSTICE PETER SMITH: Was he in the Waffen SS or the non-Waffen SS? Do you know?

A. I do not know that. 

MR TAGER: My Lord, some might regard that as a quibble. He was in the SS. And, after the war, he went to Argentina, didn’t he?

A. He went to South America, I think he went to Venezuela.

Q. Venezuela, I’m so sorry, With the help of the Vatican?

Q: And that is why the name of the ship is very controversial isn’t it? They’re not many ships afloat on the seas named after a former member of the SS, are there?

A. No.

Please see paragraph 33 onward of the High Court Judgement – link below. I took the trouble of making the entire judgement available online on a searchable basis.

Other pages from the Judgement provide the judges assessment of Mr Edward Heerema and the competence and gullibility of named Allseas directors. One short-duration Allseas director, Mr Merek Rejniak, was held by the Judge to be one of  the fraudsters responsible for the £100 million scam perpetrated on Allseas.

I think most ordinary people, if they read the information contained in the court documents and via the links below, might share my assessment of Mr Heerema as an arrogant sinister man, apparently normally protected when travelling in his home country by a team of four bodyguards, who employs a security manager (see below) and engages in shady financial machinations.

Leo van Wezel, a former police detective, has been the security manager of Allseas since 1995. It is fair to say that he was ridiculed by the Judge on the basis of his testimony, including his remarks about the notorious American security firm, Blackwater and the US government. His ethics and professionalism were also drawn into question as was the reliability of his testimony. The judge pointed out that Mr Wezel was given evidence by one of the fraudsters to hide from a UK Metropolitan police unit (which specialises in money laundering cases). He removed that evidence from the UK jurisdiction.  It ended up in the hands of solicitors overseas acting for his employer, Allseas.  The judge remarked that it was surprising conduct for a former police officer.

The judge rightly criticised Allseas attitude to the UK police and described it as “another example of the inadequacy of the evidence of Allseas in this case.”

It was the greed of Edward Heerema and his long-time fellow directors, Messrs Kooger and Visser, who the judge described as “unbelievably inept and naive,” that made them dupes in an elaborate pantomime of a scam in which the Pope, The Vatican, The Queen of England, The US Federal Reserve Bank, the UN, and others, were unwitting players. The judge ruled that Messrs Kooger and Visser were in breach of their duties as Allseas directors to the extent that it passed the threshold of potentially constituting contributory negligence in the £12 million loss to the company as a result of the scam – a loss that would have been £100 million if not for the timely determined intervention of the UK police and the action the police took despite opposition and threats from Allseas.

Extract from paragraph 29 of the judgement:

At the end the loss was confined to €12m not because of anything the Claimants did but because of the efforts of the Metropolitan Police who protected the balance of the monies in the Notable account despite the protests on the part of Allseas. They actually threatened the Metropolitan Police with claims for damages if the monies were not released.

Extract from paragraph 331:

Equally, but for the intervention of the Metropolitan Police I have no doubt that the balance of the £88m would have disappeared…

Many of the ingredients here for a good Bond movie. Subterfuge, intrigue, a huge sum of cash, cops, villains, a mysterious tycoon, court room drama, a prominent Nazi, international locations. Wonder who should play Mr Big?

I fully acknowledge that any degree of opprobrium or shame on the part of Lloyd’s Register for the vessel being allowed to sail under the name of The Pieter Schelte is minimal compared with that of its owner. However, Lloyd’s Register had the opportunity to raise the matter and even withdraw from the project at any stage after becoming aware of the Nazi linked name, but failed to to so and was therefore acquiescent to that extent.

Lloyd’s Register would not, under any circumstances, have anything to do with a huge new ship if it was named Adolf Hitler, but turned a blind eye to a less prominent, but still well known and detested Nazi.

I would be amazed if Lloyd’s Register had not, at some time, considered – probably with some trepidation – the possibility of a firestorm of negative publicity eventually arising from the Nazi name. If so, Lloyd’s Register still continued its close association with The Pieter Schelte project despite that obvious possibility.

I sincerely think that Lloyd’s Register should disassociate itself from the project unless this salute to a WAFFEN SS Nazi is dropped. It is offensive, particularly at this sensitive time, as pointed out by Eamonn Fingleton in his most recent Forbes article on the subject: After Charlie Hebdo, An Acute “PR Dilemma” For Big Oil.

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 14.27.20


Offshore brothers fight each other at sea: de Volkskrant: 17 March 2008 (Google Translation)

Google translation of an article updated on 25 December 2014 (which contains a link to the source article in Dutch).

Google translation of a Quote Magazine article dated 18 December 2007: HEEREMA MISTREATED IN DUBAI


Offshore Engineer article about Pieter Schelte Heerema April 2008

Dutch outcry over naming giant ship after Nazi: USATODAY/ASSOCIATED PRESS 11 July 2008

Nazi name row torpedoes ship launch: Daily Express 07 Nov 2008

Dutch outcry over naming ship after Nazi: Telegraph 07 Nov 2008

Dutch critics cry foul over naming of giant ship after Nazi collaborator: 7 Nov 2008: The Prince Albert Daily Herald

Ship to be named after Nazi: 08 Nov 2008

JEWS UPSET About Naming Of Giant Ship: 11 Nov 2008 South Carolina


Should Ireland oppose insult to jews: 28 June 2009

Allegations made against Allseas Group: 30 Sept 2012

ALLSEAS PRESS RELEASE Friday 2 August 2013

You cannot escape history: Royal Dutch Shell and Allseas: 31 Jan 2014

Film of Royal Dutch Shell founder Sir Henri Deterding giving a Nazi salute: Article published 23 June 2014


Big Oil’s $3 Billion Homage to Nazi War Criminal: Forbes 20 Dec 2014

Petition over Allseas Nazi named ship, the Peter Schelte: 22 Dec 2014

World’s biggest ship, named after Nazi SS officer, stirs protest: The Jerusalem Post 12 Jan 2015

My campaign Against the Huge Nazi Ship: The Pieter Schelte: 12 Jan 2015

Detoxifying Shell’s online image: Possible or Impossible?  15 Jan 2015

After Charlie Hebdo, An Acute “PR Dilemma” For Big Oil: Forbes: 15 Jan 2015

SCREENSHOT BELOW FROM SHELL.COM WEBSITE 16 JAN 2015 WEBPAGE HEADING: News and media for the Brent Decommissioning project.Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 21.40.10

You are here Stakes are too high with Arctic drilling, and Shell isn’t ready

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 09.25.26From an article by Lois Epstein published 21 Jan 2015 by Alaska Dispatch News


Two years ago on New Year’s Eve, Shell’s Kulluk Arctic offshore drilling rig grounded near Kodiak Island. It was an industrial calamity heard around the world, including a cover story in the Jan. 4 issue of The New York Times magazine.

Between Shell’s 2012 offshore drilling and mobilization problems and the federal government’s difficulties in overseeing Arctic Ocean leasing as discussed below — not to mention the recent dramatic drop in the price of oil — it is becoming increasingly clear that Arctic Ocean drilling faces insurmountable hurdles, especially in 2015.

As is clear from the grounding of the Kulluk, moving drilling rigs and other infrastructure to and from the Arctic Ocean without incident is both complex and critical to drilling success. Even though many of these mobilization risks are under the U.S. Coast Guard’s jurisdiction, they need to be disclosed and quantified by the Interior Department. Despite Shell’s 2012 debacle, the department did not sufficiently address mobilization risks.


Al Gore: oil companies ‘use our atmosphere as an open sewer’

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 13.52.20

From an article by Jo Confino published by The Guardian 21 Jan 2015

Al Gore: “Companies are insisting on their right to use our atmosphere as an open sewer. In London a long time ago, a famous doctor connected the dots between sewage and cholera. We are connecting the dots between dirty energy and dirty weather, and in order to drive the kind of constructive change necessary, we need to put a price on carbon.”


BP boss Bob Dudley: Oil prices ‘low for up to 3 years’

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 20.54.03BBC News Article Published 21 Jan 2015

The boss of oil giant BP Bob Dudley has said that oil prices could remain low for up to three years.

He added that could send UK petrol prices below £1 per litre.

He told BBC Business editor Kamal Ahmed in Davos BP was planning for low oil prices for years to come.

That is expected to lead to job losses and falling investment in the North Sea oil industry and elsewhere, curbing supply and eventually forcing the price back up.

Italian oil group Eni has said the next spike could be around $200 a barrel.

Eni’s chief executive, Claudio Descalzi, said the oil industry would cut capital spending by 10-13% this year because of slumping prices.

He said that would create longer-term shortages and sharp price rises in four to five years’ time, if the Opec cartel fails to cut supplies.

Mr Descalzi was speaking at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos.

£1 per litre

Mr Dudley said historically world oil prices have fluctuated, and sometimes have remained low for a number of years.

He expects to see current low prices for at least a year, and that BP has to plan for that.

“Companies like us, at BP, we’re going to need to rebase the company based on no guarantees at all that the price will come back up,” he said.

“We have go to plan on this [price] being down, and we don’t know exactly what level, but certainly a year, I think probably two and maybe three years.”

From 2010 until mid-2014, oil prices around the world were fairly stable, at around $110 a barrel.

However, since June prices have more than halved. Brent crude oil is around $48 a barrel, and US crude is around $47 a barrel.

Mr Dudley said lower oil prices could mean UK petrol could fall below £1 per litre. This kind of petrol price was “not far off”, despite taxation forming a part of the fuel price.

“If prices keep going down, I’m sure you will [see £1 per litre],” he added.

North Sea job losses?

Sustained low oil prices are also likely to cause “stress” on oil producing countries such as Norway, Russia, Venezuela, Scotland, Nigeria and Angola, he said.

“All these countries are really going to feel it,” he said. “I think Scotland is going to be under some stress because of these low oil prices,” he said.

BP has two large projects in the North Sea, including the Clair field, which have had £8bn investment over ten years, he said.

“Their economics are challenged now with these new prices,” he added. “But we’re in the North Sea for the long term. We have a large workforce in Scotland. There will be activities that we needed to pare back anyway.”

The fallout from “difficulties in the US” – referring to the fatal explosion at the Deep Water Horizon oil rig – were affecting the business, he said.

Globally, BP and the rest of the energy industry were likely to see “significant workforce reductions,” he added.

Oil price worries

Italian oil group Eni chief Mr Descalzi called for Opec to cut production.

He said: “Opec is like the central bank for oil which must give stability to the oil prices to be able to invest in a regular way.”

Politicians, economists and industry leaders in Davos have been voicing their worries over the impact of lower prices.

Total and BHP Billiton both said on Wednesday that they would cut back on shale oil projects.

People’s Bank of China governor Zhou Xiaochuan said low oil prices could slow down China’s development of renewable energy projects.

He said: “We worry a little bit that the price signal may give disincentive for new energy types to develop and could reduce investment in new non-fossil energy,”

But he added that lower prices would be good for the economy and job creation, because China was dependent on imported oil and gas.

Opec’s decision

Opec secretary general Abdullah al-Badri, also speaking at Davos, defended the group’s decision not to cut output.

He said: “Everyone tells us to cut. But I want to ask you, do we produce at higher cost or lower costs?

“Let’s produce the lower cost oil first and then produce the higher cost,”

“We will go back to normal very soon,” he said.

Oil prices have sunk by almost 60% since June to below $50 a barrel because of a large supply glut.

The price slide accelerated after Opec decided in November not to cut production.


Why Shell And Exxon Are Interested In Gulf Of Mexico Bidding

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By: MICHEAL KAUFMANPublished: Jan 21, 2015

Some of the largest global oil producers have shown an early interest in the first phase of Mexico’s bidding round for blocks of exploratory crude oil and natural gas, located in the Deepwater region of Gulf of Mexico.

According to a Mexican government official, the oil and gas blocks up for bids are located in a part of the Gulf with a high amount of upstream activities. A company with expertise in exploration can find oil for as low as $20 per barrel. At such a cost level, exploratory activities become an attractive investment despite oil price being caught in a downward spiral for over six months. Since peaking last year at $107 per barrel, crude oil price has halved

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for February delivery, the US benchmark for oil price, fell to $46.39, losing 5% on Tuesday. Whereas the global benchmark for oil price, Brent crude oil futures for February delivery fell $47.99, losing more than 4.5%.

Plummeting oil price has not discouraged suitors from bidding on the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas blocks because production costs are expected to stay low during the initial phase. In later phases, production costs are likely to go up as shale rock formations come into play.

The National Hydrocarbons Commission (NHC) is managing the initial phase of bidding, which is the first of its kind by Mexico. Previously, the state-run oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, also known as Pemex, had a government-supported monopoly over oil and gas exploration activities. The monopoly which had existed since 1938 ended last year after the Mexican government went ahead with plans to overhaul the country’s energy sector.

NHC Head Juan Carlos Zepeda had stated that the first round of bidding is “moving forward quite well”. As for the next phase where shale rock formations are involved, he has informed that it will be trimmed back to make it an attractive opportunity for prospective bidders.

Mr. Zepeda has revealed that several oil companies interested in the bidding process were given paid access to data centers where they can find comprehensive scientific data to help them come up with bids. The commission has reported interest from nearly 30 companies, including Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A), Ecopetrol S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:EC), BG Group plc (ADR) (OTCMKTS:BRGYY).

The decision to let foreign firms explore these sites has had mixed reactions from Mexico. Supporters defended the move as they believe Pemex is not best-suited to explore these fields and global oil giants possess the expertise which Pemex lacks. A negative reaction was seen from the naysayers as they consider this move a sell-out.

The exploration sites will not produce gas or oil for the next eight years, according to Mr. Zepeda. It has encouraged Big Oil firms to enter bidding as the crude oil price would have most likely recovered by the time production starts.


Shell launches investigation into suspected North Sea gas leak

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Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 21.26.38Article by Niamh Burns published by 21 Jan 2015

Shell launches investigation into suspected North Sea gas leak

An investigation has been launched after a suspected gas leak in the North Sea.

Oil major Shell, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will review the incident, which happened earlier this week close to the Curlew Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessel (FPSO).

Specialist divers from the Bibby Polaris Dive Support Vessel (DSV) are currently on site to close two vales which will isolate the vessel from the Fulmar pipeline.

There are currently 91 personnel onboard the vessel and Shell said it had “no plans” to evacuate staff.

A spokeswoman for Shell said the suspected leak from the FPSO, which is 130 miles south east of Aberdeen, was detected several hundred metres away from the vessel.

She said:“Shell UK can confirm that a release of gas occurred from infrastructure in the vicinity of Shell’s Curlew Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessel (FPSO) located approximately 130 miles south east of Aberdeen late on Monday, January 19, 2015.

“A release of gas was detected several hundred meters away from the FPSO at approximately 2300hrs.

“Initial indications were that the escape had occurred from the subsea infrastructure close to the FPSO, which is connected to the Fulmar Gas Line exporting gas to the St Fergus terminal.

“Specialist divers from the Bibby Polaris – Dive Support Vessel (DSV) are currently on site to close two valves which will isolate the Curlew FPSO from the Fulmar pipeline. In addition another detailed investigation of the isolated infrastructure, adjacent to Curlew, will be undertaken by the Normand Subsea with a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV).

“Once our initial investigation is complete into the cause of the gas escape, and we believe it is safe to do so, we will recommence gas export from the various producers connected to the Fulmar Gas line to the St Fergus Gas Plant.

“All personnel are safe and accounted for. The relevant authorities have been informed.”

Last year Shell announced it would sell off three of its North Sea fields as its kicked off a £9billion asset sale.

The company said it would be focusing on a number of projects including investments in Schiehallion and Clair, as well as its Beryl and Curlew FPSO’s.

The Curlew FPSO produces oil and gas in the Central North Sea.

It exports gas via the Fulmar Gas Line to St Fergus and exports oil from an offtake tanker.



Offshore workers set to leave boat after North Sea gas leak alert

AN INVESTIGATION was under way today into a gas leak in the North Sea.

More than 50 workers were due to be taken off the Curlew Floating Production Storage and Offtake (FPSO) boat following the incident, but bad weather prevented them from doing so.

The Evening Express understands authorities are investigating whether the vessel struck a pipe on the Fulmar Gas Line, 130 miles south-east of Aberdeen.

Police Scotland and Aberdeen Coastguard were made aware of the leak after reports of “bubbling at the surface of the sea”.

A Shell UK spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that an incident occurred late in the evening on Monday in the vicinity of the Curlew FPSO, which is located approximately 130 miles south-east of Aberdeen.

“A release of gas was detected several hundred metres away from the FPSO at approximately 11pm.

“All personnel are safe and accounted for, but as a precaution we are preparing to carry out a down-man of non-essential personnel while we carry out further investigations.”

A total of 36 essential staff will have to remain on the vessel while investigations are carried out.

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