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Shell Upstream Boss Malcolm Brinded: Mr Overpromise and Underdelivery



(Please note some pdf links contain multi-page docs and may take a while to download)

The Bloomberg article of September 25th seems to echo a very familiar concept from the Watts/Enron era – promises, promises and more promises. But where is the additional production promised by Brinded repeatedly over the past few years?

A remarkably prescient presentation entitled “overpromise underdelivery” was published on this site a few years ago. We seem to be repeating the process. Shell is shedding staff precisely because it does not have enough projects to justify current staffing levels. In the medium term a lack of development projects can only lead to a decline in production.

One promise (in 2004 or 2005) involved something like a 30% increase in production accompanied by a 30% decrease in costs (unfortunately the words “increase” and “decrease” were apparently transposed).

Yesterday’s highly publicized promise of a 30% increase in production by 2012 to overtake BP should perhaps be taken in the same vein.

In the Shell CFO Simon Henry presentation on 24 Sept 2009, delivered at the Deutsche Bank Oil & Gas Conference, the figures look slightly different from those advertised (see slide 21 of 25.

Unless I am very much mistaken, I see a decline in production for 2009-2010, and a slight increase back to ~2008 levels in 2011-2012, based largely on “key projects”. I see no evidence of any 30% increase for 2011-2012 (which would involve doubling the height of the bar in the bar chart). and its also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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