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Posts Tagged ‘The Economist’

Not-so-Big Oil

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May 7th 2016

IT HAS been a grim decade for investors in international oil firms—among them, many of the world’s biggest pension funds. Even before oil prices started to fall in 2014, the supermajors threw money away on grandiose schemes: drilling in the Arctic and building giant gas terminals. Their returns have trailed those of other industry-leading firms by a huge margin since 2009.

In the past 18 months things have gone from bad to worse. The Boston Consulting Group, a consultancy, calls it the industry’s “worst peacetime crisis”. That is evident in first-quarter results released in the past week by Exxon Mobil and Chevron of America, and European rivals, Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Total, which bear the scars of a collapse in oil prices to below $30 a barrel in mid-February (see chart). read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

A rig too far

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Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 14.19.16Ben van Beurden, installed as Shell’s chief executive in 2014, could have halted the ill-fated project. But after a “personal journey”, he decided to go ahead.

Shell’s retreat from the frozen north shows the new realities of “big oil”: Reputation was another factor in Shell’s retreat

Oct 3rd 2015 | HOUSTON | From the print edition

OIL companies have a proud history of digging holes in inaccessible places and producing gushers of money. But in the Chukchi Sea, in the Alaskan Arctic, Shell has poured $7 billion into a single 6,800-foot exploratory well, making it possibly the most expensive hole yet drilled, only to admit this week that it had not found enough oil and gas to make further exploration worthwhile.

That was a big climbdown for a company that had spent seven years since acquiring the Chukchi licenses in 2008 in a highly public, drawn-out battle to drill in the Arctic. The decision boiled down to costs, financial and reputational. Most big oil firms face similar pressures. Some will take a lesson from Shell and put their Arctic plans on hold, though Eni, a big Italian oil firm, is vowing to press ahead with its efforts to drill in the Norwegian Arctic. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

The elephant in the atmosphere

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 23.56.16Extract from an article published by economist.com on 19 July 2014: “Shell, Exxon and carbon: The elephant in the atmosphere”

IN SEPTEMBER 2013 a group of institutional investors with $3 trillion of assets under management asked the 45 biggest quoted oil firms how climate change might affect their business and, in particular, whether any of their oil reserves might become “stranded assets”—unusable if laws to curb emissions of carbon dioxide became really tight. Exxon Mobil and Shell are the most recent to get back with their assessment of the risk: zero. “We do not believe that any of our proven reserves will become ‘stranded’,” says Shell. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Fixing the fix

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The European Union wants to change how commodity benchmarks are set

BRUSSELS: Feb 8th 2014

Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 01.06.41“THE oil price” has a comforting ring of clarity about it. But in reality many benchmark prices for oil and other commodities are merely estimates based on incomplete information from unregulated, illiquid markets. …the European Commission last year raided BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil (all oil firms) and Platts (the biggest PRA) in an investigation of possible market-rigging. An American regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is investigating price-fixing by trading houses and oil companies. Many see similarities to scandals involving financial benchmarks such as LIBOR, which purported to track the price of loans between banks in London, but turns out to have been manipulated with gusto. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

The Shell game ends

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 Extraterritoriality: Some good news for multinationals

Apr 20th 2013 | ATLANTA |From the print edition

BETWEEN the administrations of George Washington and Jimmy Carter, the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) lay dormant. The statute grants American district courts jurisdiction over “any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or of a treaty of the United States”.

At the age of 190 it sprang back to life on April 6th 1979, when it was used to allow two Paraguayans to sue a former Paraguayan policeman in an American court for acts of torture committed in Paraguay. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

A mixed verdict

Feb 1st 2013, 16:57 by G.P. | ABUJA

ON JANUARY 30th a Dutch court ruled that Shell, Nigeria’s biggest oil producer, must compensate Friday Akpan, a farmer from the Delta region, for the pollution of his farmland and destruction of his livelihood. The ruling could open a flood-gate to legal complaints against oil companies.In 2008, five Nigerians, including Mr Akpan, filed suits in The Hague where Shell has its headquarters. The other four cases were dismissed; the court said Shell could not have prevented the spills involved. Environmental campaigners insist the company was negligent. Amnesty International says the dismissal highlights how difficult it is for Nigerians whose lives have been affected by oil pollution to get justice. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Hidden treasure

High commodity prices, receding ice and better technology are spurring a hunt for Arctic resources

Jun 16th 2012 | from the print edition

IN WAINWRIGHT, A tiny village on the Alaskan shore of the Chukchi Sea, scientists from Royal Dutch Shell recently drew a small crowd of Eskimos to the school gymnasium to hear about the company’s summer plans. Between July and October, Shell hopes to drill three exploratory wells in its Burger prospect, 100km offshore of Wainwright. Having found oil and gas there in the 1980s, it is confident it will do so again. Oilmen are usually cagey; the chances of finding commercial oil in a well-charted prospect are around one in 20. But Shell, which in 2005 and 2007 paid $2.2 billion for exploration licences off the shore of Alaska, believes the Burger is a whopper. “This is a big year for the Arctic,” says its regional chief, Robert Blaauw. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

A UN report criticises Royal Dutch Shell over pollution in Ogoniland

Aug 13th 2011

BY BOOTING out Royal Dutch Shell in 1993, the 500,000 inhabitants of Nigeria’s Ogoniland hoped to take the first step towards cleaning up their homeland, a small region within the creeks and swamps of the vast Niger Delta, Africa’s biggest oil-producing region. Almost 20 years later, a new report from the UN says it could take 30 years and at least $1 billion to rid the poisoned mangroves of a thick, black carpet of crude.

The report, the most extensive, scientific research carried out in the Niger Delta, found that some families were drinking water contaminated with 900 times as much benzene, a carcinogen, as is deemed safe by the World Health Organisation. It said areas that Shell had said were clean were in fact still polluted. It also exposed serious failures on the part of Shell and Nigeria’s national oil company NNPC, which it says failed to follow their own best operating practices. Some infrastructure, the report said, was unsafe and could cause further spills. Shell said the “report makes a valuable contribution”, and that it was reviewing its practices. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Now it’s their turn

The Economist

The Inuit prepare to defend their rights

Mar 3rd 2011

WHEN in the Arctic, you should at least treat your host well. Royal Dutch Shell, an oil giant, had to learn this the hard way when planning to drill exploration wells in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska a couple of years ago. The firm had spent $84m on offshore leases and had satisfied regulators. But it failed to win over the Inupiat, an Inuit group. They worried that icebreakers and drill ships would hurt the bowhead whales on which they depend. Their leaders and environmental groups sued American regulators for not following a 1970 law on environmental impacts. This allowed them to wrest a number of concessions from Shell, including a commitment to stop all offshore operations during the bowhead migration and hunt, should drilling ever proceed. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

The benefits and the curse of oil

Iraq’s government hopes to improve output by more conventional measures, too. It is negotiating contracts with the biggest Western oil firms, including Exxon Mobil, BP and Total, to refurbish five of the country’s biggest oilfields.

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

The slippery business of oil

In late May, President Umaru Yar’Adua told his government to recoup $1.9 billion from Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell in revenue and taxes on offshore projects. The government accuses oil companies of reaping excessive profits and benefiting unfairly from agreements made with long-departed military regimes.

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.
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