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Shell’s profit gusher not as productive as it looks

ft.com

By Andrwe Hill Published: April 28 2010 22:54

Profits are like oil: great resources to have, but greater still when converted into hard cash. Royal Dutch Shell pumped out more oil and gas and made a decent fist of improving profits in the first quarter. Its cash conversion rate, however, was horrid. The Anglo-Dutch oil major burnt through $1.3bn (£847m); that followed a $4.5bn cash burn the previous quarter.

Drilling for oil is clearly a licence to sink money.

BP’s pay safety catch

BP executive directors are rightly focusing on the immediate human and environmental aftermath of the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. But they have an added spur to deal with the incident as efficiently, cleanly and safely as possible. Two weeks ago, BP shareholders voted to tighten the conditions on executive directors’ annual bonuses. From this year, one-third will be paid in deferred shares, which could be clawed back if there has been “a material deterioration” in safety and environmental measures, or “major incidents [reveal] underlying weaknesses in safety and environmental management” in the following three years. How much BP’s top team expect to be paid will not affect how they handle the tragedy of Deepwater Horizon. But how they handle it may yet affect how much they are paid.

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Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2010.

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