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Daily Mail: Shell fears Total takeover attack

Daily Mail: Shell fears Total takeover attack

“group’s tardy disclosure that oil reserves have been inflated.”

16 August 2004,

SHELL is seen as vulnerable to a bid, even though the oil price surge is providing a welcome boost to profits.

The Anglo-Dutch oil giant is reportedly worried that French rival Total will turn predator, taking advantage of Shell’s recent problems.

Shell is being forced to overhaul its dual-board corporate structure, which some regard as partly to blame for the group’s tardy disclosure that oil reserves have been inflated.

Total has a market value of £68bn compared to Shell’s £94bn, but it may still be able pull off a takeover.

Shell said it ‘cannot comment on rumour and speculation’.

Shell is considering various disposals, including selling its 68% stake in power station firm Intergen.

Iraqi violence is likely to keep crude prices on the boil this week. Oil exports from Iraq are still running at half their normal rates.

In June, the UK became a net* oil importer for the first time in 11 years because of dwindling North Sea reserves.

The country must invest £10bn to £18bn over the next five years to secure energy supplies, according to a report commissioned by Centrica.

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