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UpstreamOnline: Shell shock: the supermajor said it would delay releasing its reserves data

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Shell ‘to delay reserves data release’

By Upstream staff

Anglo-Dutch supermajor Shell will reportedly delayed the release of oil reserves figures that normally accompany its annual profits figures, due out on Thursday.

The UK’s Telegraph newspaper reported that some analysts had been told that reserves figures were not even “up for discussion”, leading to speculation that the company reserves figures were poor.

However, Colin Smith, an analyst with Kleinwort Benson, told the newspaper the delay was “necessarily coy”, saying Shell’s reserves figures had been weakened and made more difficult to calculate after the company last year handed over a controlling stake in its giant Sakhalin 2 project off eastern Russia to Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom.

He said the disruption of Shell’s operations by violence in Nigeria might also have complicated its reserves calculations.

Shell’s reserve reports are watched particularly closely since chairman Phillip Watts was forced to resign in 2004 after revelations that the company had overstated its oil reserves.

“Since [the reserves scandal] Shell has been hot on releasing information to the market at its annual results,” the newspaper quoted another analyst as saying. “Putting it back doesn’t mean there’s a problem. But it doesn’t inspire confidence.”

Shell has reportedly said it will release reserves data in a filing the with US Securities & Exchange Commission due in May.

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29 January 2008 05:02 GMT  | last updated: 29 January 2008 08:08 GMT

http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/article147810.ece

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