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Posts Tagged ‘Securities and Exchange Commission’

SEC urged to tackle foreign payment disclosure in oil and gas

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 23.56.16Extract from an Financial Times article by Gina Chon published 1 June 2014

The US Securities and Exchange Commission is under growing pressure to tackle the issue of how oil and gas companies disclose payments to foreign governments. Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, several US senators and aid organisation Oxfam America have urged the agency to write new disclosure rules this year.



Is Shell Executive Director Matthias Bichsel Trustworthy?

Matthias Bichsel, Executive Director, Projects & Technology, Royal Dutch Shell Plc

Irrefutable evidence proves that Matthias Bichsel knew years before Shell investors that Shell had a major problem over its proven reserves bookings, which were not in compliance with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rules. Like his colleague Simon Henry, the current CFO of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, he participated in the cover-up by not blowing the whistle, thus protecting his own ambitions inside Shell.  The evidence suggests he may have had a role in the reserves conjuring process and also has a memory problem. Lets hope it has not deteriorated further. He is not a man who can be trusted to look after the best interests of investors.

By John Donovan

Matthias Bichsel, a Swiss citizen, is currently an executive director of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. He joined Shell in 1980, rose through the ranks and was appointed as Director of Projects & Technology on 1 July 2009.

His current responsibilities include:

  • Project Execution
  • Global Technical Expertise
  • Research and Development
  • Third-Party Services
  • Safety and Environment
  • Contracting & Procurement
  • Technical IT

Can shareholders place their trust in Matthias Bichsel to protect their interests? The answer is absolutely NO, not if his track record is any guide.

Since Mr. Bichsel is the executive director responsible for safety and environmental issues, he may well have questions to answer about Shell’s Arctic debacle, with U.S. federal prosecutors currently being asked by the Coast Guard authorities to take legal action over safety and environmental violations committed by Shell and/or its contractor, Noble Corporation read more

Shell settles fraud case for $150M


CNN: Shell settles fraud case for $150M

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

August 24, 2004

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) – Royal Dutch/Shell has agreed to pay about $150 million to settle charges by U.S. and British regulators that it vastly overstated oil reserves.

Under the settlement, Shell has also agreed to commit another $5 million to establish an internal compliance program under the direction and oversight of the company’s legal director, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in a statement.

The company units cited by the SEC, Royal Dutch Petroleum and Shell Transport, neither admitted to or denied any wrongdoing, the commission said. read more

Environment: Shell’s readiness on Arctic drilling challenged

Environment: Shell’s readiness on Arctic drilling challenged

Posted on May 13, 2012 by Bob Berwyn Conservation group wants SEC to investigate oil company’s statements on plans for oil exploration in the Chukchi Sea

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Environmental activists say they want Royal Dutch Shell stockholders to know about all the potential risks and liabilities associated with the company’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic ocean.

In a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Center for Biological Diversity charges that Shell may have made false and misleading statements, and omitted crucial information about its readiness to drill in the Arctic Ocean.

Considering the chain of corporate events leading up to BP’s massive oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s doesn’t require a huge leap of faith to imagine that an oil company may not be completely forthright about its activities, but the environmental group even offered specific examples of Shell’s preparations for oil drilling. read more

Shell denies swindling gov’t of excise taxes

“Shell has paid all the right taxes and strongly denies having engaged in any fraudulent activity, especially smuggling, as this is very much against its business principles…”

Posted at 08/22/2011 8:36 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. denied it has defrauded the government of billions of pesos of excise taxes for importing a blending component for unleaded gasoline.

In a statement, the oil importer said the product in question, alkalyte, is not a finished product and therefore not subject to an excise tax.

“However, when the alkylate is further processed into finished unleaded gasoline product that is fit and ready for consumption, the finished product is subject to the payment of excise taxes before the same is released from Shell’s refinery. In other words, no excise tax is lost on the alkylate imports in question,” it said. read more

Can BP’s investors give oil giant the time to learn from Shell’s mistakes?

Results clouded by rivals and identity crisis! Titanic court battle looms for oil company! Executives may face charges!

By Rowena Mason: 9:33PM BST 30 Jul 2011

If those headlines were meant for readers in 2011, the subject could be only one sorry corporate story: BP and its $40bn (£24bn) Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.

However, the real answer lies six years earlier in another just as painful oil scandal that hit BP’s nearest rival, Royal Dutch Shell. This was the heated reaction to news that Shell had over-stated its oil reserves by a third in the years leading to 2004.

Downgrade after downgrade kept hitting the company’s share price until matters came to a head over an email from Shell’s head of exploration to the chief executive. read more

Lawmakers Seek Inquiry of Natural Gas Industry

A version of this article appeared in print on June 29, 2011, on page A12 of the New York edition

Photo Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

Representative Maurice D. Hinchey (right) wants S.E.C. action.

WASHINGTON — Federal lawmakers called Tuesday on several agencies, including the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, the Energy Information Administration and the Government Accountability Office, to investigate whether the natural gas industry has provided an accurate picture to investors of the long-term profitability of their wells and the amount of gas these wells can produce. read more

S.E.C. rule changes on estimated reserves: ‘Welcome back to Alice in Wonderland’

In 2004, the oil and gas industry faced one of its most embarrassing scandals. After whistle-blowers reported concerns about the size of Royal Dutch/Shell’s reserves, the company surprised investors by slashing reserve estimates. “I am becoming sick and tired about lying,” Walter van de Vijver, a senior executive at Royal Dutch/Shell, wrote in a November 2003 e-mail made public shortly after his company’s problems came to light. The episode led to the ouster of several of the company’s top executives and an investor lawsuit worth more than $350 million, and helped propel the S.E.C. rule change. read more

The SEC Surrenders to the Oil Industry

By Felix Salmon (Left)

November 20, 2009

What are the consequences of allowing multi-billion-dollar systemically important multinational corporations to report their assets using proprietary mark-to-model tools involving discredited Monte Carlo simulations? I think we all know the answer to that one. But unbelievably, after such shenanigans contributed enormously to the greatest financial meltdown in living memory, the SEC is now set to allow more or less exactly the same thing in the oil industry. read more

El Paso Ex-Executives Settle Charges Over Reserves

The treatment of El Paso stands in stark contrast to how the SEC handled Royal Dutch Shell PLC in 2004, when it also faced charges of inflating reserves. Shell, which ultimately reduced its proved reserves by 22.5%, paid about $150 million in fines to the SEC and British regulators.

SEC considers shake-up of reporting rules

Reserves reporting, used as a key measure by investors for assessing a company’s long-term financial prospects, has been hugely sensitive in the past. The 2004 revelation of misreporting of reserves by the Royal Dutch Shell group triggered official investigations and lawsuits. It cost executives their jobs and prompted a shake-up of the company’s management structure.

SEC Asks Total, Hydro To Disclose Iran Payments –Source

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: SEC Asks Total, Hydro To Disclose Iran Payments –Source

Posted 5 May 05


LONDON — The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has asked oil companies, including Total SA (TOT) and Norsk Hydro ASA (NHY), to disclose the commissions they may have paid while doing business in Iran, a person familiar with the inquiry said.

That person told Dow Jones Newswires this week that a letter from the SEC highlights concern that companies have worked with regimes that may have financed terrorism by doing business in Syria, Iran and Libya. read more

The landslide bringing down Shell grandees


The Daily Telegraph: The landslide bringing down Shell grandees

The SEC and FSA reports, however, go back to the previous regime, when Sir Mark Moody-Stuart was chairman.”: Even Shell fell for the “group bonding” mumbo-jumbo, and he was videoed stumbling blindfold around head office during one such session, talking of his desire to “encourage the creativity of people” around him. He seems to have succeeded.”

(Filed: 28/08/2004)

The Securities & Exchange Commission has announced its intention to pin the reserves scandal on individuals, writes James Moore

The Shell Show, a tragicomedy in an unlimited number of parts, featured a powerful double act this week.

On Tuesday America’s Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Services Authority both gave the company a good kicking for wrongly booking billions of barrels of oil and gas reserves as “proven”.

Now Harold Degenhardt, the director of the Securities & Exchange Commission’s office in Fort Worth, Texas, is hard at work on the sequel. “What people need to focus on is that companies only act through people,” he says. read more

Shareholders could be damaged beyond repair

The Times: Shareholders could be damaged beyond repair

“Several lawyers specialising in class actions on behalf of aggrieved investors are circling the Anglo-Dutch group, which is well within the orbit of American law.”

By Graham Searjeant

August 26, 2004

AMERICA’S Securities and Exchange Commission promises to deliver even more embarrassment to the corporate heart of Royal Dutch/Shell than to its London equivalent.

For shareholders, however, the agreement of fines and the switch in emphasis to errant individuals should be an enormous relief.

Other regulators can have their say, but the main damage is clear, quantifiable, done and over with.

Except that it isn’t. The unquantifiable peril for shareholders, the one that could wreck their investment, comes from themselves. Several lawyers specialising in class actions on behalf of aggrieved investors are circling the Anglo-Dutch group, which is well within the orbit of American law. read more

Regulators dig deeper into Royal Dutch/Shell’s problems

Financial Times: Regulators dig deeper into Royal Dutch/Shell’s problems

“The SEC is scathing about Shell’s advice to investors that it had changed its mathematics, saying in its 1998 annual report only that estimation methods “have been refined”.

By Carola Hoyos, Adrian Michaels and Andrew Parker

Published: August 25 2004 03:00

Posted 26 August 04

US and UK regulators yesterday went several steps further than Royal Dutch/ Shell in their dissection of what went wrong at the oil group.

The Anglo-Dutch group had already presented in April the main findings of an internal investigation into its reserves debacle.

That report had been heavy on its criticism of dismissed senior executives – Walter van de Vijver, the former head of exploration, and Sir Philip Watts, former chairman. But it had been less fulsome on the detail of how the company had been engaged in accounting manoeuvres since 1997-98, including the administering of an internal audit function that was riddled with flaws. read more

SEC May Require New Rules On Audit of Oil Firms’ Reserves

The Wall Street Journal: SEC May Require New Rules On Audit of Oil Firms’ Reserves

“independent reserves assessments are increasingly popular in the wake of the Shell debacle”



July 22, 2004; Page A4

HOUSTON — The Securities and Exchange Commission may require independent auditors to review the reserves of energy companies, SEC staff said in a memorandum provided to Congress, but the agency’s tack is receiving a cool reception from oil companies and lawmakers alike.

Downgrades this year of oil reserves at Royal Dutch/Shell Group and other companies has increased scrutiny over the way companies tally their energy holdings. Oil and natural-gas reserves are a widely followed benchmark for valuing energy companies, but outside auditors aren’t required to certify them. read more

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