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Anti-Shell Protest at White House

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From an article by Liz Ruskin published 24 March 2015 by Alaska Public Media under the headline:

26th Anniversary of Exxon Spill Prompts anti-Shell Protest at White House

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 11.29.47It’s the 26th anniversary of America’s second largest oil spill, when an Exxon tanker leaving Valdez Arm ran aground, leaking 11 million gallons of North Slope Crude into Prince William Sound. In Washington D.C., environmental activists marked the occasion with a demonstration in front of the White House. Their message was less about Exxon and tanker safety than it was about Shell and its plans to drill in the Chukchi Sea.

“Hey, Obama: Yes you can! Stop Shell Oil’s dirty plan,” the crowd chanted.

Dozens of people gathered at lunchtime outside the White House fence. They carried big photos of oiled animals and signs that say “oil kills” and “I heart Arctic.” No one wore a polar bear suit, but there was a girl cocooned in a giant sandpiper costume. She says she’s Liszka Bessenyey, of Anchorage.

“I’m 15-years-old,” Bessenyey said, from inside the bird suit. “I’m a freshman at Service High School.”

Many of the demonstrators work at Washington-based environmental groups. Others, like the sandpiper, were in the capital for “wilderness week” an annual campaign on Capitol Hill to advance environmental priorities. One speaker at the megaphone was Allison Warden, an Inupiaq performance artist with roots in Kaktovik.

“My people will no longer be Inupiaq because we won’t be able to live off the land and off the water in the way that we’ve been,” Warden said. “So, every single one of you listening here, it’s important for you to stand up.”

Inupiaq leaders, including North Slope Borough Mayor Charlotte Brower, were just in Washington, arguing in favor of Arctic development, including oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge. ButWarden says the people she talks to are worried that drilling offshore will disrupt the whale migration, particularly if there’s a spill.

“It would permanently change our relationship to the ocean and to the animals,” Warden said. “They would be in a different state. And our culture that revolves around the whale would no longer be the same.”

Shell has said it wants to return to drill in the Chukchi Sea this summer but it has several legal and logistical hurdles to clear. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is expected to announce within the week its record of decision on Lease Sale 193, which includes Shell’s leases in the Chukchi, following a lawsuit. Assuming the leases are reaffirmed, it’s not the final green light.

“Shell still needs to get an exploration plan approval and the permits that are associated with that,” says Peter Van Tuyn, an Anchorage environmental lawyer — and the father of the giant sandpiper girl. He’s closely following Shell’s permitting process, on alert for flaws.

“The exploration plan should be a major hurdle, absolutely, because there are such fundamental challenges to drilling in the Arctic and that’s the place where those specific challenges need to be addressed in the permitting scheme,” he said.

Shell has repeatedly said it won’t resume its Arctic drilling program unless it’s sure it can do so safely and responsibly.

SOURCE

Nigeria: Oil Spill – Era/FoEN Accuses Shell of Denying Communities JIV Reports

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“THE NIGER DELTA, Nigeria—Oil is so cheap these days that for people around here, it isn’t even worth stealing anymore.”

An article by Igoniko Oduma published 24 March 2015 by AllAfrica.com/Daily Independent (Lagos):

Nigeria: Oil Spill – Era/FoEN Accuses Shell of Denying Communities JIV Reports

Yenagoa — The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth (ERA/FoEN) has raised the alarm that Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria has been denying host communities in the Niger Delta access to Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) reports indicting the company over oil spill incidents.

The group, in a statement on Monday by Alagoa Morris, Project Officer and Head, Niger Delta Resource Centre,Yenagoa, also accused Shell of deploying security operatives “to intimidate and deny communities of the JIV reports”.

It listed Ikarama and Biseni communities of Bayelsa State and Joinkrama 4 (Edagberi/Betterland communities) of River State as some of the communities the company had denied JIV reports.

“Specific reference should be made here to the spill incidents from SPDC facilities in Ikarama, JK4 [Edagberi/Betterland communities] and Biseni.

“SPDC often deny the communities of the JIV reports; many of which are equipment failure-related oil spills. Shell has continued to deny the people of JK4, Ikarama and Biseni JIV reports craftily and, this is unacceptable.

“While they (Shell) deny the communities and fail to post some of such incidents on the company website; the particular spill incident numbers are often quoted when giving out clean-up or related contracts. One such incident number is 900866 and relates to a 2012 spill which occurred at Shell’s Okordia Manifold at Ikarama.

“After signing the JIV, Shell refused to give the community copy to the community on the pretext that they need to photocopy the report. They agreed that someone from the community accompany them to pick up the photocopy but they pushed the person down from the car as they were going.

“Another ugly incident of craftiness by Shell was after signing the JIV report partaining to the major spill from Shell’s 6 inches Adibawa North pipeline in Kilama,Biseni in May, 2013. That spill flooded the Taylor Creek with crude oil,impacting several communities.”

SOURCE

RELATED

In Nigeria, Oil Price’s Slide Deters Theft: Wall Street Journal article

Problem that has troubled producers and environmentalists dwindles as crime no longer pays

By DREW HINSHAW: March 24, 2015 7:40 p.m. ET

THE NIGER DELTA, Nigeria—Oil is so cheap these days that for people around here, it isn’t even worth stealing anymore.

Just months ago, villagers regularly took hacksaws to pipelines, transforming their homeland of rivulets winding through bayou forests into a calamity for global oil giants and environmentalists.

FULL ARTICLE

UK Government must defend against big oil and mining dirty tricks

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Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 16.05.44UK Government must defend against big oil and mining dirty tricks

Oil and mining bodies together with companies such as BP and Royal Dutch Shell have drafted industry compliance guidelines that weaken the impact of new UK anti-corruption laws.

21st March 2015

Anti-corruption campaigners urge the UK Government to divorce itself from industry guidelines that would create transparency black-holes

Oil and mining bodies together with companies such as BP and Royal Dutch Shell have drafted industry compliance guidelines that weaken the impact of new UK anti-corruption laws. (1) A coalition of over 800 organisations including Global Witness, CAFOD, Oxfam, Christian Aid and ONE are urging the Government to reject industry’s proposed guidelines which suggest that the law allows companies to keep certain payments secret. (2)

The UK transparency law aims to cut corruption by forcing UK-based extractive companies to publish highly detailed reports of their payments to governments – such as taxes, royalties and licence fees – broken down by each of their projects worldwide; these payments are worth billions of pounds each year. Disclosure provides citizens in resource-rich but impoverished countries with the means to “follow the money” and hold governments and companies to account.

However, the draft industry guidelines suggest that companies can lump projects together when they report, and withhold from public view certain crucial payments they make as part of joint ventures. The result is that billions of pounds worth of payments will remain hidden from view and vulnerable to corruption.

Industry claims that their guidance is a reasonable interpretation of regulations; however, Global Witness believes that the draft industry guidelines go against the letter and intent of the law (3). EU legal expert Paul Lasok QC, Head of Monckton Chambers agrees, calling the guidelines “highly unsatisfactory … to the extent of being positively misleading” and states that they guide companies to report in a manner that could be “in breach of the regulations”. (4)

In addition, this week’s disclosures by Norwegian oil major Statoil under a similar law show that the UK industry guidelines are not fit for purpose. “Statoil’s highly detailed report puts the UK industry’s approach to shame,” said Dominic Eagleton, Senior Campaigner at Global Witness. (5)

Global Witness applauds the UK Government’s record for leading on extractives transparency up to this point. Lib-Dem Business Minister Jo Swinson and Department for Business officials championed the law, and the Prime Minister made the issue a top priority during his G8 Presidency in 2013. (6) “The UK has established a strong transparency law. The Government must stand firm against big business and divorce itself from industry guidelines that would allow companies to continue making payments in secret” says Eagleton.

Ends

Contact: Dominic Eagleton – +44 7738 713 016 / [email protected]

FULL ARTICLE WITH NOTES

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Statoil’s historic disclosures blow holes in Exxon and Shell’s campaign for secrecy

Global warming is now slowing down the circulation of the oceans — with potentially dire consequences

FROM AN ARTICLE BY CHRIS MOONEY PUBLISHED BY THE WASHINGTON POST ON 23 MARCH 2015

Global warming is now slowing down the circulation of the oceans — with potentially dire consequences

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According to a new study just out in Nature Climate Change by Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and a group of co-authors, we’re now seeing a slowdown of the great ocean circulation that, among other planetary roles, helps to partly drive the Gulf Stream off the U.S. east coast. The consequences could be dire – including significant extra sea level rise for coastal cities like New York and Boston.

FULL ARTICLE

Here’s Why Shell Drilling Proposition In Arctic Is Facing Opposition

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By: MICHEAL KAUFMAN
Published: Mar 23, 2015 at 10:54 am EST

According to the Guardian, Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) will most probably get an approval by the US government to drill in the Arctic. An approval last month was given by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BEOM).

A formal statement is expected to come from the US interior Secretary Sally Jewel. The decision might spark opposition from environmentalist groups that are not in favor of Shell operating in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas of Alaska.

Earlier, the US federal court had allowed Shell to operate in Alaska, but the environmentalists believed that drilling in the Arctic would have adverse environmental effects. Hence, after a lot of persistence, the US Interior department was forced to revise its decision-making process, assessing the viability of drilling in the Arctic.

The BOEM after reconsidering the process approved Shell’s drilling plan in the Arctic. What was the most surprising was that the decision came ahead despite the BOEM disclosing that a chance for one or larger oil spills to occur would be 75%. This was revealed by the BOEM in its Environmental Impact Statement.

As reported by the Guardian, Professor Robert Bea, one of the faculty members at the University of California, has expressed his concerns over the approval by BOEM for Shell to operate in the Arctic. Crude oil price since the last six months has fallen over 50%. Hence, energy companies are exploring different ways to save on costs and maintain liquidity.

Mr. Bea believes that these cost cutting strategies could make it difficult for energy companies to comply with safety standards and could increase the probability of a spill occurring.

In a statement reported by Guardians, Mr. Bea said: “We should all be concerned about tradeoffs between production and protection…With the significant reduction in the price for oil; there are equally significant pressures to reduce costs so that acceptable profitability can be maintained.”

Mr. Bea has worked as a consultant for BP and Shell. He initially was brought in by Shell in 2004 to review the risks that came up with drilling in the Arctic. The conclusion drawn by Mr. Bea was operating in the Gulf had many risks involved and disapproved Shell’s plans to drill in the region.

An environmental group Greenpeace has expressed similar concerns as Mr. Bea. One of the campaigners of Greenpeace claimed that the contractors of these energy firms do not have good track records, and with crude oil price around $50 per barrel and high emphasis on cutting costs, the risk seems to be very high.

He further claimed that the move goes against the need to curb global warming. Regarding the issue as reported by the Guardian, he said: “if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change we can’t even burn all the fossil fuels we already have; we definitely don’t need to trash what’s left of the melting Arctic looking for more.”

He asked the Obama administration to show some responsibility by not allowing the energy companies to operate in the Gulf. He exclaimed that if President Obama agreed to this, it would seriously undermine the credibility of his leadership.

CEO Ben van Beurden according to the Guardian in a financial results conference indicated that the company is more than ready to go ahead with the Arctic project drilling this year. Shell spokesman indicated that the company has set high standards when it comes to maintaining adequate safety.

Shell since a very long time has been working on the Arctic project, but has seen many obstacles in terms of legal challenges. Though the company remains optimistic on its drilling proposition, it is likely to face a lot of opposition from the major environmentalist groups. Shell would have to take the risks head on, and would have to adopt a business model that complies with safety standards.

SOURCE

Why The Oil Price Could Fall Even Further

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 08.45.23From an article by Prabhat Sakya published 24 March 2015 by The Motley Fool under the headline:

BP plc And Royal Dutch Shell plc: Why The Oil Price Could Fall Even Further

The oil price has fallen dramatically since last summer. This has meant difficult times for the oil producers, including companies such as BP and Royal Dutch Shell.

…people have been buying more fuel-efficient cars, and there has been huge investment in technologies such as hybrid, electric and fuel cell vehicles.

So supply has been steadily increasing, and demand has been falling, and the world now has too much oil. Oil prices have begun a downtrend; and I don’t think that this fall will just last a few months, before bouncing back.

You see, commodity markets are not just about supply and demand. They are about momentum. That’s why I think this new era of low oil prices could last another decade. All those wells that have been drilled won’t suddenly run dry, and production won’t suddenly end.

This is the oil industry’s ‘new normal’

This is why I think that the oil price could fall even further over the next few years. And I think companies like BP and Shell realise this.

They are now adjusting to the new reality of low commodity prices.

FULL ARTICLE

Money Talks

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 09.08.40By Seattle Times editorial board published 23 March 2015 under the headline:

Terminal 5 Shell lease is not the right arena to debate climate change

SOON, two huge oil rigs will be parked at the Port of Seattle, preparing for a summer sailing to the Alaskan Arctic and for exploratory drilling.

The Port’s decision in February to lease Terminal 5 to Foss Maritime, which will service the Royal Dutch Shell rigs, was appropriate because facilitating the maritime economy is what the Port does.

Environmental activists are arguing — loudly — that the Port should scuttle that lease as part of a proxy war over climate change. A coalition of groups have sued and on Friday learned their lawsuit will go forward.

And Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, with backing of the Seattle City Council, has ordered a belated review of city-issued permits for the Terminal 5 lease, apparently with similar intentions.

Climate change is a real threat. But blocking those rigs at Terminal 5 wouldn’t stop Arctic drilling nor alter the course of climate change. Instead, undoing the Port lease would be a symbolic victory at the expense of the region’s vital maritime economy.

If the lease were killed, Shell would likely divert operations to another Pacific port. Prince Rupert in British Columbia or Dutch Harbor in Alaska could step in.

Environmentalists suggest that diverting those operations elsewhere could somehow change the fundamental economics of Arctic drilling. That ignores the $5 billion already invested in Arctic drilling efforts by Shell, as well as new regulations proposed by the Obama administration last monththat would allow oil exploration in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, with stringent environmental protections.

While the focus has been on unsightly rigs to be parked on the waterfront, Seattle’s attention should also be on the estimated 500 to 700 jobs that will be supported by the lease.

“The City of Seattle needs to decide if it wants to be a global player or to chase away family-wage jobs,” said Paul Stevens, chief executive of Foss Maritime, which holds the Terminal 5 lease to service the Shell rigs.

The lease will also help the Port of Seattle in the pitched battle for future maritime traffic. The two-year lease will generate about $13 million, which could expedite the Port’s plan to renovate Terminal 5 to accommodate behemoth next-generation cargo ships.

In other words, the Shell rigs are short-term parkers.

Efforts to block this new business — including the lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court by a coalition of environmental groups — focus on the Port’s internal processes, which authorized staff to negotiate the comparably small contract.

Those are micro-aggressions against a mega-problem.

The real fight should be over the oil leases themselves, which are issued by the U.S. Interior Department, led by Seattleite Sally Jewell, and for a new national energy policy that better addresses humankind’s role in changing our planet.

Seattle has been the gateway to Alaska since the city was founded. That vital economic link should not be broken for the symbolism of diverting a few oil rigs to another port.

Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Mark Higgins, Jonathan Martin, Thanh Tan, Blanca Torres, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).

SOURCE

Shell Gives Conditions for More Investments in Nigeria

An article by Ejiofor Alike published 24 March 2015 by ThisDayLive.com

Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 23.42.20Shell Gives Conditions for More Investments in Nigeria

Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has given conditions for it to invest in Nigeria, saying that though it has divested assets, it is also ready to invest more than it has divested if the operating environment is right.

Speaking at a special panel session of the recently concluded Nigeria Oil and Gas (NOG) conference in Abuja, the new Managing Director of SPDC and Country Chair of Shell Companies in Nigeria, Mr. Osagie Osunbor said his company was committed to long-term presence in Nigeria.

Osunbor said even though his company had divested, it is ready to invest more than it divested if the conditions were right.

He however, stated that for his company to invest more, the issues of security, funding and fiscal stability have to be addressed.

“I think as a country what we have to be very mindful about is that we don’t completely focus on how we share the cake but focus on how we make the cake bigger. That for me is the key element of the whole fiscal stability side of the discussions. Elisabeth (Managing Director of Total Upstream Companies in Nigeria) made the point about the licenses and expiry of licenses. Many of these investments are in terms of billions, often money put forward by the private partners upfront. If the basic issue of the tenure of the licenses is not resolved, you can speak the whole day, nobody can commit the shareholders’ funds in these licenses,” he said.

Osunbor said the oil and gas industry has to be much more effective at making that point to the government about the need to provide this level of assurance for people to invest in the country.

He further stated that Nigeria’s operating environment is very uncertain, with multiple bodies implementing conflicting regulations.

“I am convinced that given the long term presence we all have in this country, at whatever level, whether in the United States, The Hague; in Paris and in China, everyone thinks of a long term presence in Nigeria and there is no better way to assure long term presence in this place as assuring that you have local capacity; if you don’t have local capacity, after a while, you withers,” Osunbor added.

He also noted that Nigerian independent companies can bring a lot on the table as they do things differently from the International Oil Companies (IOCs).

SOURCE

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Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 18.29.05Nigeria: Shell Lists Challenges Undermining Transformation Success (Vanguard)

By Clara Nwachukwu, Michael Eboh and Grace Udofia

Abuja — As robust as Federal Government’s current transformations in the energy sector may appear, the Shell Group has identified a number of challenges undermining the success of the reforms.

These are security, crude theft and pipeline vandalism, as well as funding, fiscal stability and predictability, lease predictability and a host of others.

Shell said that these factors are not only increasing the industry’s operating costs, but also stalling further investments for greater economic benefits.

The Vice President, Nigeria and Gabon, Shell Upstream International, Mr. Markus Droll, identified the challenges while speaking on, “The Journey Towards Transformation,” at the just concluded Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference, NOG 2015, last week in Abuja.

He said: “We still need better security for workers in the oil and gas industry. As I speak, a considerable part of our operations are under strict security limitations. We still need a more effective counter-strategy against oil theft and sabotage. While we have directed even more resources to try to counter this menace, it has become a bigger problem compared to a year ago. The methods employed are even more brazen than ever.

“We still need better funding for capital projects and to clear pending payments on expenditure. We are very concerned about what impact the much lower oil price will have on 2015 funding. We still need more predictability around leases; if we increase certainty around leases, then investment becomes easier to attract.

“And we still need fiscal stability and predictability. This remains key in ensuring investors of all sizes can commit confidently, government revenues can be forecast reliably, and a capable service industry is maintained with a steady work load. As it stands, investors in Nigeria face very tough fiscal conditions.”

Optimism about the future

Droll disclosed that Nigeria’s enormous oil and gas resources is one of the major reasons the Shell Group remains optimistic about the country’s economic future, saying that its optimism and continued investments in the country is being fuelled by current reforms in the petroleum industry as well as the re-prioritising of energy issue across the economic value chain.

Apart from the nation’s growing gas sector, he noted that with the way issues were now being handled, “Nigeria will continue to develop, diversify and grow its economy.”

Already, he said that current investments by Shell Companies in Nigeria are expected to generate up to $5million annually for the next 10 years under the SPDC Joint Venture.

As a result, he said the companies, through various investment projects are now being positioned to support the country more through to its next level of development not only as an oil and gas producer, but also as an emerging market.

SOURCE

Changes to the North Sea tax regime

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 19.19.14PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Quo Vadis – Budget 2015: a further step in the right direction

Hannon Westwood welcomes the changes to the North Sea tax regime announced by the Chancellor on Wednesday, aimed at stimulating and prolonging investment in the UKCS. Significant and positive steps have been taken to relieve the overall tax burden and this will assist with counterbalancing the effects of the recent collapse in oil price and consequent job losses in the industry.

The key measures are: a ten percentage cut in the supplementary charge, effective from 1 January 2015 – a decrease from 30% to 20%, following a 2% cut implemented in the 2014 Autumn Statement; a cut in the rate of petroleum revenue tax (PRT) from 50% to 35% for PRT-paying fields as of 2016; a new UK Continental Shelf Investment Allowance aimed at simplifying the existing system of complex offshore field allowances. The new allowance will exempt a portion of profits equal to 62.5% of a company’s qualifying investment expenditure from the Supplementary Charge. It will be available for projects in new and existing fields, and will apply to investment expenditure incurred on or after 1 April 2015.

Whilst this is good and welcome news, what is lacking is any effective stimulus for exploration in the near-term. Falling exploration levels have resulted, unsurprisingly, in few commercial discoveries being made over the last few years such that the development hopper has not been replenished and investment levels, which have been high in the last 2-3 years, will still fall sharply despite the fiscal measures introduced by the Chancellor. The government needs to act to stimulate exploration; it gave an undertaking in the autumn statement to “consider options for supporting exploration through the tax system, such as a tax credit or similar mechanism, in a way that is carefully targeted and affordable”, but is yet to deliver. The government did confirm the provision of £20m for seismic surveys, but while welcome, in isolation this will have little effect. Exploration is the lifeblood for the long-term future of the UKCS and more robust action is needed from both HMT and OGA including: an appropriate fiscal stimulus; state-sponsored pre-competitive geoscience in both mature and frontier areas (in addition to seismic acquisition); early release and more effective sharing of data and information; clarification of the remaining potential and prospectivity of the UKCS; and revisions to licensing policy to include a long-term strategy and regular but more focussed licence rounds. These actions are necessary for the UKCS to become more competitive internationally for exploration.

Ian Norbury, Hannon Westwood CEO, commented “Of course, the measures announced by the Chancellor are positive steps which will help to encourage investment. But they form only the foundation for future progressive fiscal and regulatory changes, particularly to stimulate exploration, that are necessary to prolong the life of the basin and to maximise economic recovery”.

Notes for Editors

Hannon Westwood has been advising the oil and gas industry for over 22 years, providing insight to board level. Over the last five years advice has led to investments totalling $3.5 billion. A wide-range of bespoke intelligence, analytical and portfolio business development services are underpinned by a team of experts and proprietary data systems. The Company is regularly asked to provide expert commentary to both the UK Government and key opinion formers within the oil and gas industry.

Hannon Westwood was founded in 1993 and has grown to become an established team of over 20 oil professionals with global E&P commercial and geo-technical experience, capable of giving clients access to top industry expertise and advice. The advisory and intelligence services are underpinned by a unique proprietary database of oil and gas attributes for NW Europe capable of being scaled for any basin, including ownership and resource information for licences, fields, undrilled prospects and undeveloped discoveries.

For more information go to https://www.hannonwestwood.com/quo-vadis-budget-2015-a-further-step-in-the-right-direction/

Bay Point: Removal of ‘Shell Pond’ polluted soil set to start in April

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 22.24.14From an article by Sam Richards published 23 March 2015 by Contra Costa Times

Bay Point: Removal of ‘Shell Pond’ polluted soil set to start in April

BAY POINT — More than two years after an aborted attempt to clean up the old “Shell Pond” along Suisun Bay, PG&E will soon begin removing 8,400 tons of dredged polluted soil from land adjacent to the pond on the community’s north edge, with an eye toward starting cleanup of the 73-acre pond itself in 2017.

The utility is set to begin, in mid-April, removing soil containing petroleum hydrocarbons (“carbon black”), metals and other compounds dredged in 2012 from the waste pond about three-quarters of a mile north of Willow Pass Road along the waterfront and trucking it about two miles to the Keller Canyon landfill, said PG&E spokeswoman Tamar Sarkissian. That work is expected to take approximately three months, she said.

Even after the 2012 dredging, the Shell Pond bottom has a 1- to 3-foot layer of those same petroleum hydrocarbons, metals and other compounds.

All the cleanup work is being done under the guidance of the state Department of Toxic Substances Control.

From 1950 until 1971, Shell Oil Products (whose plant there is now operated by Criterion Catalyst) discharged wastewater containing carbon black, metals and other compounds from its nearby chemical plant into both the 73-acre pond and onto an adjacent 22-acre parcel of land.

The 2012 dredging at Shell Pond was halted after officials at Shore Acres Elementary School, about a mile west of the pond site, complained about a strong, noxious smell. There were also some reports about that same smell from residents of the New York Landing neighborhood, three miles to the east on Pittsburg’s waterfront.

FULL ARTICLE

Joint Investigation Visit Reports Indict Shell On Oil Spills In Bayelsa

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From an article by Fyneface Aaron published 23 March 2015 by The Tide

Joint Investigation Visit Reports Indict Shell On Oil Spills In Bayelsa, Nigeria

(JIV) report on Seibou and several other oil wells that are spilling its contents into the environments in Bayelsa State operated by Shell Development Company has been attributed to equipment failure.

The reports estimated that some 549 barrels of SPDC,s crude stream was discharged into Ogboinbiri River in Southern Ijaw Local government area and impacted several other communities living along the coast.

The JIV report obtained on Monday, indicated that the visit was concluded on March 13,  2015, and traced the spills to raptured pipes which were fast ageing.

SPDC had in a statement issued by its spokesperson, Mr Joesph Obari, said the leakage was reported on January 23, 2015, and subsequently shut the facility 15 hours afterwards when it became safe to do so.

FULL ARTICLE

A sad situation in Rhodesia 50 yrs ago: Even worse now. 

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Robert Mugabe was a “key player” campaigning against the white settler regime in Rhodesia nearly 50 years ago, and remains the key player today, but considerably richer.  Some of this information, including the anti-Apartheid poster, comes from “A History of Royal Dutch Shell Volume 3. 

Shell Oil will be given permission to drill in the Arctic

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 09.08.40HOUSTON, March 22 (UPI) — Shell Oil Company, one of the largest oil companies in the world, will soon be allowed to drill for oil in the American Arctic.

The decision rests on the U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who is expected to announce the decision on Wednesday.

The drilling will occur in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas of the Arctic, near Alaska. Environmentalists are concerned with the issue, since technology has not been prepared to deal with an oil spill in that region. The Environmental Impact Statement claims there is a 75 percent chance of a large spill occurring.

“Developing the Arctic could be essential to securing energy supplies for the future, but it will mean balancing economic, environmental and social challenges,” reads Shell’s website.

SOURCE

Shell oil drilling in Arctic set to get US government permission

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Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 08.56.29From an article by Terry Macalister published by the Guardian on Sunday 22 March 2015:

Shell oil drilling in Arctic set to get US government permission

The US government is expected this week to give the go-ahead to a controversial plan by Shell to restart drilling for oil in the ArcticThe green light from Sally Jewell, the interior secretary, will spark protests from environmentalists…

FULL ARTICLE

RELATED

Shell names new Alaska manager: Petroleum News: 22 March 2015

Shell has appointed Laurie Schmidt as vice president, Shell Alaska, effective February, Shell spokeswoman Megan Baldino has told Petroleum News. Schmidt replaces Pete Slaiby who has taken a new position for Shell, based out of Houston.  Schmidt has moved to Alaska from a position as the head of audit….

SOURCE

COMMENT FROM A REGULAR CONTRIBUTOR

(1) The proposed US rules regarding wells expected to be fracked (and operating in Alaska) simply require the use of design criteria which are exceeded by most larger oil companies own standards anyway. Small companies without internal standards have probably been cutting corners to reduce costs when drilling wells, resulting in poor zonal isolation and well integrity, but they have always done this. Larger companies with high internal standards in place (such as Shell and BP) have also shown what can happen when their own company standards are ignored, as happened in Alaska and Macondo.

(2) The replacement of Pete Slaiby by Laurie Schmidt might suggest that Shell is trying to ensure that if they go ahead in Alaska, they will comply with both the government regulations and their own rules this time around.

How Shell And BP Will Benefit From Tax Cut in North Sea

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By: MICHEAL KAUFMANPublished: Mar 22, 2015 at 9:56 am EST

As UK’s North Sea oil industry suffers from declining production and a prolonged slump in oil price, the government has given oil companies a good reason to rejoice.

George Osborne, UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced earlier this week the government’s decision to reduce tax applicable to energy investments made in the North Sea to help the struggling oil and natural gas industry. The Petroleum Revenue Tax will be reduced from its existing rate of 50% to 35%.

In his budget statement on Wednesday, Mr. Osborne said he would lower the supplementary rate of taxation from 30% to 20%, which is applicable on the profits of oil and natural gas companies who operate in UK’s North Sea. The downward revision has come three months after it was previously reduced from 32% to 30%. It is levied on top of the existing corporation tax. The lowered rate of supplementary charge will be backdated to January, effective immediately.

According to the trade association body Oil & Gas UK, effective tax rates on energy production from older fields in North Sea will be lowered from 80% to 75%, while newer fields will be subject to an effective tax rate of 50% as opposed to 60% previously.

Crude oil price has fallen to six-year low after being on a downward trajectory for nine months. From averaging over $100 per barrel, oil price has nearly halved. The US benchmark for crude oil, West Intermediate Texas futures for next month delivery are currently priced at $45.72 per barrel, while Brent crude oil futures, the global oil price benchmark, closed on Friday at $55.32 per barrel.

The recent downturn in oil price has run chaos in the oil and gas industry across the globe, with UK’s North Sea oil industry being no exception. “It is clear to me that the fall in oil price poses a pressing danger to the future of our North Sea industry,” Mr. Osborne said during his speech on March 18. He went on to say that the situation requires “bold and immediate action” from the government.

Major oil and gas discoveries were made in the North Sea four decades ago after test drilling in 1966, making it one of the most attractive energy exploration sites in the world. The quality of oil and its proximity to oil markets in Europe has seen major oil companies set up operations in the North Sea. However, most industry experts agree that North Sea region is past its prime and is maturing. Oil extraction has become relatively more expensive and production has been on a decline.

According to the Wall Street Journal, last year’s average production in North Sea of 1.4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day is around 70% lower than what the oilfields could produce 15 years ago. Falling production, coupled with record low oil price, led to major oil firms cutting back their capital spending budgets in the North Sea, including BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP) and Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A)

The government had been under pressure to make North Sea attractive for oil producers once again. In January, Shell announced its plans to reduce its capital spending budget for fiscal year 2015 (FY15) by $15 billion. CEO Ben van Beurden said the company could sell off its assets in North Sea fields as part of the spending cut because the fall in oil price made it even harder to operate in the region. “We see falling production levels, rising costs, high tax and ageing assets, so it was a tough place and it just got tougher will the low oil prices,” said Mr. Beurden. Last month, Shell formally submitted plans to the government to decommission its Brent Delta oil platform.

Following the much-awaited tax cuts, the multinational oil and natural gas company might reconsider its decision to scale back from North Sea. Lower tax rates will most likely increase investment in the area, which could boost North Sea’s oil production. According to Mr. Osborne, the Office for Budget Responsibility estimated that the tax cut would increase oil output by 15% by 2020.

Similarly, British oil giant BP had been concerned about its North Sea operations, which began decades ago. The company admits that North Sea oilfields are maturing and announced to cut 200 jobs and 100 contractor positions at its North Sea operations in January, as a response to “toughening market conditions”. The oil company was in need of a relief and the tax cut seems to have arrived at the right time.

SOURCE

WORLDS BIGGEST LEAK OF STAFF DATA AFFECTED OVER 176,000 SHELL EMPLOYEES AND CONTRACTORS

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 16.26.05WORLDS BIGGEST LEAK OF STAFF DATA AFFECTED OVER 176,000 SHELL EMPLOYEES AND CONTRACTORS

Contact 
details 
for 
over 176,000 
employees
 and
 contractors
 of
 Royal
 Dutch 
Shell
 reached John Donovan and some environmental
 and
 human
 rights
 groups,
 ostensibly
 from
 disaffected
 Shell staff
 calling 
for
 a “peaceful
 corporate
 revolution”
 at 
the
 company.

The 
database,
 from
 Shell’s
 internal
 directory, contained
 names
 and
 telephone
 numbers
 for
 all
 the company’s
 work force
 worldwide,
 including 
some
 home
 numbers. It 
was
 supplied
 with
 a
 170­ page
 covering
 note,
 explaining
 that
 it
 was 
being
 circulated 
by 
“116 concerned
 employees 
of 
Shell 
dispersed
 throughout 
the 
USA, 
the 
UK,
 and
 the
 Netherlands”,
 to highlight
 the
 harm 
done 
by 
the
 company’s 
operations 
in 
Nigeria.

John Donovan brought the leak to the attention of Shell. Tests proved that the data was authentic and he destroyed the database after being informed by Mr Richard Wiseman, the then Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, that the confidential information, if publicly disclosed, could put Shell employees and contractors in real danger. The event generated world-wide news coverage.

GLOBAL NEWS COVERAGE: IN FEBRUARY 2010

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