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Shell Shares Fell Nearly 4% On Reports Of US Gulf Sheen

By Selina Williams Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

— Shell shares traded down nearly 4% after the company reports a “light sheen” in U.S. Gulf

— Analyst says market is jittery that the sheen could develop into a bigger spill

— Shell said late Wednesday it has dispatched a vessel to the location

LONDON (Dow Jones)–Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB) shares traded down nearly 4% early Thursday after the company reported a “light sheen” Wednesday in the central portion of the Gulf of Mexico, although the company says it has no “current indication” that oil is coming from nearby wells.

The market is jittery that the sheen could develop into a bigger situation, said an analyst who declined to be named, like Total SA’s (TOT) gas leak at its Elgin field in the North Sea, or BP PLC’s (BP) Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico nearly two years ago.

“There is a nervousness over the whole spill situation, following Deepwater Horizon and Total in the North Sea, so people are going to sell first, ask questions later,” the analyst said, adding that the shares could recover later depending on what Shell says in subsequent updates.

Late Wednesday, Shell said it had dispatched an oil-spill response vessel to a location between the Mars and Ursa production areas, and has requested aerial surveillance to monitor the one-by-10-mile sheen. Shell has no indication what the sheen may be comprised of, company spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh said.

Shell facilities in the Gulf of Mexico include platforms in the Mars and Ursa areas, both of which are about 130 miles southeast of New Orleans, La., according to the company’s website. The oil and natural gas produced in the fields are transported to shore through pipelines.

Shell says it notified the National Response Center Wednesday and is acting out of “prudent caution.”

The report comes nearly two years after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, unleashing the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

At 0811 GMT, Shell shares were down around 3.3%, or 72 pence, at 2,113 pence, while the broader FTSE 100 index was down around 0.08%.

-By Selina Williams, Dow Jones Newswires +44 207 842 9262; [email protected]

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