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DREADFUL DAY FOR SHELL SHAREHOLDERS, ESPECIALLY UK SHELL SHAREHOLDERS

FROM OUR OCTOBER 2004 SHELL NEWS ARCHIVE

Friday 29 October, 2004 – A DREADFUL DAY FOR SHAREHOLDERS IN SHELL TRANSPORT AND TRADING COMPANY PLC

The Times (UK): The Hague for head office: “ALTHOUGH it maintains otherwise, Shell is effectively going Dutch…”: “From May, the big decisions will be taken by a new board in The Hague, which has seven Dutch members and only four Britons.”: “…from 2006 it will hold AGMs only in The Hague.”

The Times (UK): Fear of new Shell reserves downgrade: “ROYAL Dutch/Shell yesterday raised fears that it may have to write down its reserves by more than 1.5 billion barrels…”: “With less than 60 per cent of its reservoir audit completed, Shell was unable yesterday to put a ceiling on the potential downgrade of its reserves…”

Daily Telegraph (UK): Dutch chiefs take helm of merged Shell: “The radical move, which needs to be approved by shareholders, is likely to be seen as a Dutch takeover of the energy giant…”: “The news was overshadowed by yet more revelations about the company’s “proven” reserves…”

Daily Telegraph (UK): Search for leaks is not over as the Shell supertanker docks in Holland: “Since Shell slipped up so badly under an Englishman, it was always likely that the Dutch would press their advantage and wrestle control of the world’s third-biggest oil company. So it has proved.”: “…an arrogant and introverted organisation, there is little to celebrate in yesterday’s news. Downgrades in proven reserves may be fast becoming routine, but they have not lost their ability to shock, especially during one of our periodic panics about the world running out of oil…”

Daily Telegraph (UK): Empire that grew from a modest London shop: “The shake-up at Royal Dutch/Shell is the biggest upheaval in the history of the business, whose roots go back to 1833.”

Daily Telegraph (UK): Dutch return at the double: “Apparently, the oil giant took 20 minutes to decide to merge its joint boards on Wednesday night.”

The Guardian (UK): Things won’t be so vague after move to The Hague: “Change happened for two reasons. First, the scandal of overstated reserves did not just require an apology but a full corporate grovel. The story is the biggest scandal of the post-bubble era and only the sky-high oil price prevented Shell’s crisis descending into corporate breakdown. After yesterday’s nasty little shocker -a fresh downgrade of 900m barrels of reserves – the investors could have asked the directors to perform public somersaults and expect to see them in gym kit by lunchtime.

The Guardian (UK): City hails Shell Anglo-Dutch merger: Headquarters shifts from London to the Netherlands; Investors braced for further downgrades in oil reserves: “Malcolm Brinded, the director in charge of exploration and production admitted: “I’m disappointed to have to flag the issues of reserves.” He said the information had only come to light in recent days and though the audit process was not complete Shell had thought it right to inform the market.”

The Scotsman (UK): Shell’s touch of arrogance as UK arm is sidelined: AT SHELL, it looks a case of the Flying Dutchmen.: “…it looks suspiciously like the Amsterdam end of the near-100-year-old joint venture enterprise have decided the Brits messed up on the reserves fiasco…”: “…the shots are going to be called in Holland as far as the new business is concerned…

The Independent: OUTLOOK: Why we can’t be totally sure of the New Shell: “So New Shell it is but yesterday it came with a nasty reminder of Old Shell. With a grunt of disappointment but not the merest hint of a blush, the directors calmly told the market that they were probably going to have to unbook another 900 million barrels of reserves, having told everyone five weeks ago that they had capped the problem. In case you have stopped counting, this is the fifth time since January that the company has cut its proven reserves. Shell now has a third less oil under the ground than it said it had a year ago.”

Financial Times: Shell becomes a normal company: “Shell needed a catalytic crisis over phoney oil reserve accounting – which is far from finished – to shock it into changing a century-old structure that resembled a kind of Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy run by a Soviet-style central committee.”

Financial Times: Lex Column: Royal Dutch Shell: “Royal Dutch/Shell’s dual-country structure has been blamed for sins ranging from dodgy reserve accounting through to strategic paralysis.”: “… the outlook beyond this year looks grim.”

Financial Times: Company lifer hopes for a new beginning: “Jeroen van der Veer is hoping that his appointment as chief executive of the new Royal Dutch Shell will mark a new beginning for the bruised and battered oil group.”: “investors will be hoping that Mr Van der Veer is not one of the as yet unnamed “individuals” who still face investigation over the group’s mis-stating of its oil reserves.”

Financial Times: A triumph of form, now for the content: Shell’s unitary answer to several questions: “Mr Van der Veer portrayed the latest revelation on the overbooking of proved reserves as evidence that the company was now prepared to come clean as soon as it had bad news. But skeptics accused it of burying the announcement under the exciting stuff about its governance revolution.”: “A lack of rigorous follow-through on the changes made by Sir Mark Moody-Stuart in the late 1990s may have sown some of the seeds of the oil-reserving disaster. Sir Mark has quietly and rightly retired from the board as part of this process.”

The Times (UK): Too many bonuses can be a big minus: “BURYING bad news is not a technique restricted to government departments. Yesterday Shell needed to alert the market to the embarrassing fact that there were new question marks over just how well proven 900 million barrels of its reserves might be.”: “The evidence that has emerged from Shell is of an organisation in which the bonus structure contributed to a creative approach to valuing reserves and a culture of cover-up. This was a business in which a paper could be produced at a high level under the title: Creating Value through Entrepreneurial Management of Hydrocarbon Resource Values. To judge by yesterday’s news about another 900 million barrels being in some doubt, that entrepreneurial approach was widely used.”

The Times (UK): Need to Know: “Royal Dutch/Shell raised fears that it may have to write down its reserves by more than 1.5 billion barrels, or 10 per cent, after the Anglo-Dutch oil company admitted that it was considering its fifth “volume adjustment” this year.”

Financial Times: Shell begins corporate restructuring: “Royal Dutch/Shell on Thursday embarked on the historic dismantling of its 97-year-old corporate structure. But the news was overshadowed by a warning that it may have overstated its proved oil reserves by even more than previously admitted.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES: Shell Warns of New Cuts in Reserves of Oil and Gas: “The Royal Dutch/Shell Group warned Thursday that additional reductions in its proven reserves were possible, saying that about 900 million barrels of oil and gas, or about 6 percent of the total, were under review and could be reclassified”

Daily Mail (UK): Disquiet as Shell goes Dutch: “The new mantra is one Shell, one board, one chairman, one headquarters, one share quote and – one hopes – more than one barrel of oil. But at the rate that Shell, under its Dutch leadership of Jeroen van der Veer, is downgrading the proven reserves he inherited from his predecessor, the luckless Sir Philip Watts, even that is not certain.”: “We are now beginning to see the full extent of the legacy at Shell of the Watts and – before that – the Sir Mark Moody-Stuart era. Profits are fine, thanks to the oil price. But with the latest downgrade Shell now has less proven reserves than any of the oil majors.”

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Shell Shakes Up Corporate Structure: “But in a sign the controversy isn’t over, Shell also warned it may have to further slash its oil and natural-gas reserves.”: “…a reduction of about 6%. This came after previous assurances it had finished cleaning up its reserves accounts. The additional “debookings” would mean Shell has reduced its tally of reserves 28% from what it said it had December 2002.”: Mr. van der Veer and Aad Jacobs, currently nonexecutive chairman of Royal Dutch Petroleum and slated to become the new company’s independent chairman, also received warnings about reserve issues ahead of the January disclosure, raising questions about their roles in the scandal.”: ”Regulators continue to investigate the role of individuals in the controversy, and the U.S. Justice Department is conducting a criminal probe.”

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Oil Giants Splurge for Investors: “With oil at nearly $51 a barrel, even after two straight days of declines, the oil giants have a problem lots of companies only dream about: What to do with all the cash?”: “After questions about its accounting for reserves earlier this year, Royal Dutch/Shell Group resisted share buybacks.”: “Mr. van der Veer then reversed himself, promising to buy back some $2 billion in shares this year.”

The Independent (UK): Shell shock as oil giant merges to become one company: “Although investors welcomed the long-awaited restructuring, the announcement was marred by Shell’s disclosure that it may have to reclassify a further 900 million barrels of proven reserves, bringing the amount of overbooked oil to 5.4 billion barrels or almost one-third of reserves.”

Financial Times: Look under the Shell: “One conspiracy theory doing the rounds yesterday was that those Dutch chaps now running Royal Dutch/Shell were more cunning than they first appear, in spite of the company’s inability to count reserves over several years.”

FINANCIAL TIMES: Shell’s credit rating goes back under review: “Standard & Poor’s yesterday put Royal Dutch/Shell’s AA+ credit rating under “negative” review because it may have to restate its proved reserves yet again.”: “Concerns were also raised about whether Shell tried to bury the bad news on reserves yet again by announcing its restructuring at the same time. “The information was found on page three, line 15 in one of the longest paragraphs I have ever seen,” said one London-based broker.”

arabiestrends.com: Archive Article: The crisis at Shell: Decline and fall: “The Royal Dutch/Shell scandal broke as the United States and Europe grappled with a plague of corporate corruption: Enron and Tyco International of the United States; Parmalat of Italy; France’s oil giant Elf; Norway’s Statoil; Halliburton, the US oil services company once run by Vice President Dick Cheney; and the $11 billion accounting fraud by WorldCom.”: “But the Shell scandal was notable because it broke new ground and has reverberated internationally in the strategic field of energy.”: “Now there are allegations that van der Veer, a chemical engineer with such a modest public profile he is known in some quarters as “the low-flying Dutchman”… “had known about the huge shortfalls in proven oil and gas reserves since February 2002, two years before they were publicly disclosed.”

The Times (UK): Need to Know: “Royal Dutch/Shell was threatened with a credit rating downgrade by Standard & Poor’s after Shell’s announcement on Thursday that it might have to overstate its oil and gas reserves, this time by 900 million barrels.”

Daily Express (UK): Shell quits London HQ to go Dutch: “But managers’ credibility was further eroded yesterday by the revelation they had been premature by saying last month reserves were all accounted for. Malcolm Brinded, British head of exploration and production who will stay on the combined board, said Shell might have to write off a further 900 million barrels or 11 per cent of the reserves it has audited. Half the total reserves have yet to be checked.”

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