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Shell Losing $1 Billion a Year on U.S. Gulf Drilling Delays

February 02, 2012, 1:20 PM EST

By Eduard Gismatullin

Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, is losing about $1 billion a year from drilling delays in the Gulf of Mexico since the 2010 Macondo disaster.

Shell’s production in the region will be curbed by about 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent this year, similar to 2011, Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry said. The company expects to return to planned operations off the Gulf coast by 2014.

“The cash flow implications are a billion dollars or more per year relative to where we want to be,” Henry said in London today. “We are catching up.”

The company, which in March said it planned to raise output to 3.5 million barrels of oil equivalent a day in 2012, is now warning that production could be lower due to Gulf drilling delays, asset sales and oil and gas prices in the U.S.

The U.S. Interior Department issued new safety regulations after lifting the drilling moratorium in October 2010 put in place after BP Plc’s Macondo well exploded in April the same year. The blowout, which killed 11 and sank the drilling rig, led to hundreds of lawsuits against BP and its partners and contractors.

–Editors: Stephen Cunningham, Randall Hackley.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eduard Gismatullin in London at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at [email protected]

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