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Posts from ‘December, 2007’

THE AUSTRALIAN: Spotlight on BP investment, culture

Matthew Dalton, Dow Jones Newswires | January 01, 2008

AFTER several years of crippling disasters, oil giant BP is hoping to achieve operational health in 2008.

But questions remain about whether lingering problems within the company’s sprawling US operations could undermine its turnaround.

This year will be the first since 2004 that BP’s two largest US refineries and its giant oil field at Prudhoe Bay in Alaska are expected to operate at full capacity for most of the year. The deadly explosion in March 2005 at its refinery in Texas City, Texas, was the first and most serious in a string of disasters that have cost BP billions of dollars in profits. read more

The Times: Need to know: January 1, 2008

Natural resources

Petronas, the Malaysian state oil and gas firm, said it awarded a production sharing contract to Royal Dutch Shell and ConocoPhillips to explore natural gas in eastern Malaysia. Under the deal, Petronas’s exploration arm, Petronas Carigali, will take a 40 per cent stake in the contract to explore and produce natural gas from a cluster of offshore fields in Sabah state. Shell Energy Asia and ConocoPhillips will each have a 30 per cent stake in the cluster of four fields. read more Middagupdate: Agfa-Gevaert doet het weer

31/12/2007 12:00

Op de Brusselse beurs valt er vandaag weinig te beleven. De deuren sluiten al om 14 uur en in afwachting noteert de BEL 20 in het rood. Agfa-Gevaert en Omega Pharma zijn momenteel de sterkste stijgers, terwijl in de financiële sector Dexia en Fortis wat moeten inbinden.

Aegon en Merril Lynch hebben hun strategische overeenkomst op gebied van verzekerings- en beleggingsproducten voltooid, zo werd vanmorgen bekendgemaakt.

Tegelijkertijd heeft Aegon USA de acquisitie van Merril Lynch Life Insurance en ML Insurance Company of New York voor een bedrag van $1,25 miljard in contanten afgerond. read more


Daily Express image

COST-CUTTING: Plans were leaked in an email

Monday December 31, 2007

OIL GIANT Royal Dutch Shell plans to shed thousands of jobs in the latest cost-cutting move by the industry.

It is in talks on an outsourcing deal that would transfer a large part of its information technology division to three separate companies.

The division has 3,600 staff, and it is thought Shell would keep 400 while the remaining 3,200 posts would be outsourced. Shell employs about 108,000 worldwide.

Consultations with affec­ted workers are due to start early in the New Year, with the new arrangements due to begin on July 1. read more Shell Moves With Multi-Pronged Rejig To Tackle Profit Challenge

December 31, 2007: 09:38 AM EST

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) in 2008 is due to finalize elements of a multi-pronged reorganization, paralleling a similar move by its rival BP PLC (BP), as the side effects of sky high oil prices challenge oil majors’ profits instead of boosting them.

The changes include outsourcing 3,000 computing staff, cuts to finance positions, reshaping expatriates’ packages and a restructuring in its Nigeria ventures, according to announcements and company insiders. read more Shell Confirms Staff Cuts In Finance Functions

December 31, 2007: 10:29 AM EST

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- A Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) spokesman Monday said the company is cutting headcount in its finance department, confirming a Dow Jones Newswires report last week.

“We are reducing the number of staff in selected finance functions, and expanding the use of shared services centers where costs are lower,” he said. ” We have already six of these shared service centers (Phillippines, India etc),” the spokesman added.

But he clarified that “there is no plan to reduce staff numbers in a top down, prescriptive way…We are reducing the number of staff in support functions by outsourcing or using shared service centers,” for instance in finance and human resources, he said. read more

The Herald: Shell employees fear more job cuts

December 31 2007

Fears are growing that oil giant Shell is preparing to shed around 3200 jobs in the latest cost-cutting move by the industry.

The company has told staff that it is planning to outsource “a substantial part” of its IT infrastructure services division, believed to comprise a total of 3600 staff.

Detailed consultations with workers affected start early in the New Year, with a start date for the new arrangements planned for July 1.

The move by the Anglo-Dutch producer follows hundreds of UK jobs cuts and the off-loading of thousands of other worldwide posts at rival oil firm BP. read more UPDATE: Shell May Cut Jobs At Finance Department – Source

   (Adds details, possible IT outsourcing.)

   By Benoit Faucon

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) may eliminate a significant number of positions at its finance department in an effort to streamline its organization, a person familiar with the matter said last week.

Separately, Shell also confirmed it was “in discussions to outsource a substantial part of its (information technology) infrastructure to three suppliers.”

Consideration of such moves follows a decision at rival BP PLC (BP) to cut into management layers to improve efficiencies and reduce expenses in October. They show other majors also see a new need to restructure as cost inflation and resource nationalism bites into profits. read more

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Daily Mail: Shell to axe 3,200 jobs

31 December 2007, 9:41am

A chill wind is blowing through the corridors of Royal Dutch Shell as the oil titan gears up for an aggressive cost-cutting exercise.

Some 3,200 positions could be outsourced to external providers as the Anglo-Dutch firm slashes its information technology budget, according to an email from a Shell staffer disclosed by ‘gripe site’

Financial jobs are also set to be shed as Shell reduces cross-border overlaps and shunts workers into a handful of major centres. read more

Reuters: UPDATE 1-Petronas, Shell, Conoco in Malaysia gas deal

Mon Dec 31, 2007 2:17am EST 
(Adds details)

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 (Reuters) – Malaysian state oil and gas firm Petronas said on Monday it awarded a production sharing contract to Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research) and ConocoPhillips (COP.N: Quote, Profile, Research) to explore natural gas in eastern Malaysia.

Under the deal, Petronas’s exploration arm, Petronas Carigali, will take a 40 percent stake in the contract to explore and produce natural gas from a cluster of offshore fields in Sabah state. read more

Business Standard (India): Shell likely to cut 3,600 IT jobs: Report

Bloomberg / London December 31, 2007
Royal Dutch Shell Plc may cut as many as 3,600 staff in its information-technology division and hire other companies for the work, the Sunday Telegraph reported today without saying where it got the information. 
London-based Shell decided to contract out most of its IT operations, nominating Electronic Data Systems Corp, T-Systems International GmbH and AT&T Inc, the newspaper said. 
Shell plans a series of meetings with employees starting January 8 to outline details, according to the report. The plan to allocate the work to other companies is “substantial” and likely to create “uncertainty”, said an e-mailed letter signed by Goh Swee Chen, vice president of IT Infrastructure, the newspaper reported. 
The letter was posted on an employees’ web site and confirmed by Shell as authentic, the Telegraph added. 
Shell wants the new IT arrangements to take effect by July 1, the newspaper said.  read more

MarketWatch: Shell to shed thousands of IT, finance jobs to cut costs: report

By Adam Smallman
Last update: 7:32 p.m. EST Dec. 30, 2007

LONDON (MarketWatch) — Royal Dutch Shell is to shed thousands of jobs to cut costs and simplify its structure, and one of the largest-ever outsourcing deals may be struck in the next couple of months, the Daily Telegraph reported late Saturday, citing information published on an anti-Shell Web site.

The biggest change will be in the information technology division, where around 3,600 staff may be affected by a plan to farm out operations to Electronic Data Systems Corp. , U.S.-based wireless telecom services firm AT&T Inc. and Deutsche Telekom AG (DT) unit T-Systems. read more

Financial Times: Shell looks to outsource about 3,200 IT jobs

Shell looks to outsource about 3,200 IT jobs

By Rebecca Bream

Published: December 30 2007 22:05 | Last updated: December 30 2007 22:05

Royal Dutch Shell is expected to outsource the bulk of its information technology division next year, a move that could affect about 3,200 jobs.

The oil group aims to make pre-tax cost savings of about $500m-a-year (£250m) through streamlining its structure and cutting and outsourcing jobs.

As part of this cost-cutting drive, Shell has been examining whether to outsource most of its IT division, which numbers about 3,600 people. read more

The Guardian: Shell to outsource 3,200 IT jobs

Julia Kollewe
Monday December 31 2007

Royal Dutch Shell plans to outsource thousands of IT jobs in a drive to slash costs and simplify its structure, following in the footsteps of its arch-rival BP.

Shell’s information technology division will bear the brunt of the changes with 3,200 staff thought likely to be affected by a decision to turn operations over to three outside companies.

Shell’s chief financial officer, Peter Voser, has reportedly told staff that he wants “a leaner and meaner” finance division. The company said yesterday that it was seeking to move selected finance operations to shared (Shell-owned) service centres. read more

The Independent: Shell prepares to cut 3,200 jobs

By Sean O’Grady
Published: 31 December 2007

The oil major Shell is thought to be preparing to shed around 3,200 jobs, mostly in its information technology division. As with many other public and private sector concerns, the plan is to hive the jobs off to external specialist contractors.

The company has informed staff it is planning to outsource “a substantial part” of its IT infrastructure services division, believed to comprise a total of 3,600 people. Detailed consultations with workers affected will begin soon, with a start date for the new arrangements planned for 1 July. read more

The Times: Need to know

31 December 2007

Natural resources

Royal Dutch Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil giant, is believed to be preparing to shed about 3,200 jobs in the latest cost-cutting move by the industry. The company has told staff that it is planning to outsource “a substantial part” of its IT infrastructure services division, which is believed to comprise a total of 3,600 staff.

CRAPPY NEW YEAR FOR SHELL EMPLOYEES: MASSIVE JOB CUTS Shell schrapt mogelijk duizenden ict-banen

Financieele Dagblad

Shell gaat een substantieel deel van haar ict uitbesteden om kosten te besparen. Door de maatregel komen mogelijk duizenden banen op de tocht te staan.

Een woordvoerster van Shell bevestigt dat het bedrijf momenteel onderhandelingen voert met drie outsource-partijen. In maart 2008 worden de contracten getekend.

Een werknemer van Shell verklaarde tegenover, een website die protesteert tegen Shell, dat 3.200 banen op het spel staan, maar de woordvoerster kon dat aantal niet bevestigen. read more Duizenden banen op de helling bij Shell

30 december 2007

(Belga) De Engels-Nederlandse oliegigant Shell is van plan duizenden werknemers te ontslaan. Het bedrijf zou een belangrijk deel van zijn informaticadiensten uitbesteden. Dat blijkt uit interne documenten die zondag zijn gelekt op internet.

In een mail van 19 december spreekt Goh Swee Chen, de verantwoordelijke voor de informaticainfrastructuur van de oliegroep, van een saneringsplan dat “belangrijk” zal zijn en dat zou kunnen leiden tot een periode van onzekerheid. Op de site, die dienst doet als forum voor ontevreden Shell-werknemers, is sprake van duizenden ontslagen. Op de site zegt een anonieme werknemer van Shell dat de sanering 3.200 van de 3.600 werknemers van de IT-afdeling kan treffen. Een woordvoerder van Shell wilde zondag niet reageren op de berichten, maar bevestigde wel dat de oliegroep een reorganisatie doorvoert om de kosten te beperken. Bij Shell werken in totaal 108.000 mensen, van wie 3.000 op de zetel in Londen. (LIM) read more

Manchester Evening News: Fears for Shell

Manchester Evening News image

Manchester Evening News: Fears for Shell


THERE were fears today that oil giant Shell was preparing to shed around 3,200 jobs in the latest cost-cutting move by the industry.

The company has told staff that it is planning to outsource “a substantial part” of its IT infrastructure services division, believed to comprise a total of 3,600 staff.

Detailed consultations with workers affected start early in the New Year, with a start date for the new arrangements planned for July 1. read more

Financial Times: FSA fines for 2007 lowest in six years: in 2004 Royal Dutch Shell was fined £17m for market abuse

By Elaine Moore
Published: December 30 2007 21:43 | Last updated: December 30 2007 21:43

The Financial Services Authority levied less in fines this year than in the past six years, in spite of claiming that it intended to take a more robust approach to policing the financial services industry.

Fines totalled £5.3m in 2007, compared with £13.3m in 2006.

The average fine levied, £232,000, was also less than half the average given in the previous year.

However, the number of fines handed out, 23, was not significantly below the number given last year, 28. read more

MSN News (Press Association Report): Fears for jobs at oil giant Shell

MSN image of Shell logo

MSN News: Fears for jobs at oil giant Shell – 30.12.2007 15:26

There are fears that oil giant Shell is preparing to shed around 3,200 jobs in the latest cost-cutting move by the industry.

The company has told staff it is planning to outsource “a substantial part” of its IT infrastructure services division, believed to comprise a total of 3,600 staff.

Detailed consultations with workers affected begin early in the new year, with a start date for the new arrangements planned for July 1. read more

Hemscott: Royal Dutch Shell to shed thousands of jobs to cut costs – report

30 December 2007

LONDON (Thomson Financial) – Royal Dutch Shell is to shed thousands of jobs in a bid to cut costs and simplify its structure, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

Shell is looking to agree one of the largest-ever outsourcing deals in the next couple of months and plans to reorganise other departments including finance operations, the newspaper said.

The biggest change will be in the information technology division, where about 3,600 staff may be affected by a plan to farm out operations to three companies, the report claimed, citing a leaked internal email. read more

Shell Job Cuts: What happened in the early 90’s was a bloodbath… comment by former Shell employee – James Mc Quillan

December 30th, 2007

Big Mamma seems to be trying to rewrite history. This will not be the biggest reduction in staff. What happened in the early 90’s was a bloodbath that left thousands of “former” employees very disgruntled to say the least. I made it thru that only to be the victim of a reduction in staff in 2001. My section was declared redundant and the efforts of the company to place the staff was only lip service.

Granted it was only a small group of people but those of us that were declared redundant were given little help in finding positions within the company or anywhere else. read more

BBC News: Shell mulling role of IT workers

BBC News Shell gas pump image

Shell profits have been under pressure in recent quarters

Sunday, 30 December 2007, 14:41 GMT 

Anglo-Dutch oil company Shell has said it is considering the position of a number of workers as part of a long-running review of its operations.

The comments come after reports that the company was looking at offshoring as many as 3,600 posts in its information technology (IT) division.

Shell said it was in talks with firms over the possible move, and was also thinking about other changes.

It added that no decision had yet been made, though that would happen in 2008. read more


By John Donovan

On 19 December 2007 we received an email from a Shell insider attaching an email sent on behalf of a Shell IT Vice President earlier the same day.

The leak led to further correspondence with the same insider and to related correspondence with Michael Brandjes, the Company Secretary and General Counsel Corporate of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. Mr Brandjes is in our view one of the good guys at Shell. He responds to our emails even though Shell executives ignore them. We have found him to be unfailingly courteous and efficient. He has also acted in a decent and helpful way to third parties in certain matters of which we are aware.  read more

The Sunday Telegraph: Shell plans to outsource 3,600 jobs

By Russell Hotten
Last Updated: 11:21pm GMT 29/12/2007

Royal Dutch Shell is to shed thousands of jobs as Europe’s largest oil company joins rival BP in trying to cut costs and simplify its structure. Shell is looking to agree one of the largest ever outsourcing deals in the next couple of months, and plans to reorganise other departments, including finance operations.

The company has said previously that it wants to cut costs, but the scale of some of the proposed changes has surprised insiders and led to the leaking of information to an anti-Shell website by disillusioned staff. The biggest change will be in the information technology division, where around 3,600 staff may be affected by a plan to farm out operations to three companies. read more

Blunt comments from Shell insiders on the thousands of jobs being slashed at Shell

Published 29 December 2007



I write this note to you as a very concerned ‘insider’. It appears Shell has not learned from the past and now is embarking on yet another stepchange (note very carefully the word change, not improvement) by getting rid of the bulk of  IT people. They are also divesting several producing fields. (Those are riskfree things that  need to be milked. It is like a farmer selling his farm whereas he really should sell the produce!)  Is Shell perhaps preparing itself for a take-over by Gazprom? read more

Convenience Store News: Shell Chief Responds to New Energy Bill

Shell logo 

December 29, 2007

DES MOINES, Iowa — The new federal energy bill may be a big step in the right direction for global warming, but it won’t ease the current supply worries that have led to high gas prices, Shell Oil chief John Hofmeister told Iowans recently.

“Nobody seems to focus on the short-term,” Hofmeister told The Gazette in a telephone interview during a visit last week to Des Moines, where he met with state energy officials and addressed a local Rotary gathering. read more

Gulf-Times: Bhutto assassination ups risks in Pakistan energy investment

Published: Saturday, 29 December, 2007, 02:17 AM Doha Time 
By Jun Yang and Gurdeep Singh

SINGAPORE: Major Pakistan oil, gas and power projects are clearly at risk in the wake of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. Analysts warn prolonged instability could jeopardise the country’s ability to meet future energy needs.

Foreign companies such as Tullow Oil and Premier Oil are operating in Pakistan; Royal Dutch Shell and Total SA are reportedly among majors vying to invest in a multibillion dollar liquefied natural gas project in Karachi. read more

Pincher Creek Echo (Canada): Shell presents optimization plans

By Angela Hill
Friday December 28, 2007

The Council of the Municipal District of Pincher Creek was all ears on Dec. 11, when Kevin May presented Shell Waterton’s optimization plan.

Shell’s plan is to transform its Waterton gas plant south of Pincher Creek into a smaller, more efficient facility.

“By reducing the amount of fuel gas use, in turn we will decrease the greenhouse gas emissions,” pointed out May, manager of Shell’s Waterton optimization project.

The gas plant, which is about 30 kilometres south of Pincher Creek, is currently licensed to produce 13.3 million cubic metres of raw gas daily. The products produced from the raw gas are sales gas (methane), natural gas liquids (propane, butane and ethane), condensate and sulphur. read more

The Times: Gazprom takes aim at Exxon in battle against foreign ownership

December 28, 2007
Carl Mortished, World Business Editor

Gazprom has renewed its campaign against foreign ownership of Russian gas resources with an attack on ExxonMobil’s Sakhalin-1 project in Eastern Siberia, the last remaining Russian gas venture under foreign control.

ExxonMobil’s plan to sell gas to China was criticised heavily by Alexander Ananenkov, Gazprom’s deputy chairman. He described ExxonMobil’s efforts to export gas from Sakhalin as “attempts to sidestep Russian gas consumers, depriving them of gas which belongs to them by right”. read more

Daily Telegraph: Shell delays decision on Iran project again

By Russell Hotten, Industry Editor
Last Updated: 10:23pm GMT 28/12/2007

Royal Dutch Shell has again delayed a decision on whether to press ahead with controversial investments in Iran, as Europe’s largest oil and gas company weighs up the increasing costs of the project and political opposition in the United States.

The Anglo-Dutch giant will not now decide on a $10bn (£4.9bn) project to exploit part of Iran’s vast South Pars gas field for at least a year. Shell risks seeing rivals also knocking on Teheran’s door being given first refusal on some of the many lucrative contracts instead. read more

The Daily Journal (Illinois): Editorial: Lessons from Shell

12/28/2007, 10:52 am

News Note: Shell Oil settles pipeline spill case from 1988 for $46 million. Twenty million will go to build new water lines in Limestone Township. Another $26 million will compensate 1,500 residents.

If you follow the timeline, it goes like this. It took Shell six years to begin providing pure water for residents. It took nine years for the state and the county to sue Shell. It took 14 years for the spill to reach Wiley Creek.

One resident remembers buying his Limestone Township home four years after the break, and received no notice at all that 100,000 gallons of gasoline had seeped into the water system. read more

The Moscow Times: Gazprom Seen in Talks on ExxonMobil’s Sakhalin-1

Friday, December 28, 2007. Issue 3815. Page 5.
Combined Reports

Gazprom this year held talks to join ExxonMobil’s Sakhalin-1 oil-and-gas project, an unidentified person close to the gas giant said.

Gazprom, which took control of Shell’s Sakhalin-2 project last year, now wants a stake in Exxon’s venture, Vedomosti reported Thursday. Gazprom held talks with both Exxon and its partner in Sakhalin-1, state-controlled Rosneft, Vedomosti said.

Exxon has only held negotiations with Gazprom regarding sales of gas from Sakahlin-1, Exxon spokeswoman Dilyara Sydykova told the newspaper. Sydykova and other company spokespeople were unavailable to comment. read more

The Wall Street Journal: Kazakhstan, Oil Firms May Be Near Deal on Kashagan Field

December 28, 2007 2:27 p.m.

ROME—The government of Kazakhstan has signaled what could be a breakthrough in its long-running standoff with foreign oil companies developing the massive Kashagan oil field in the northern Caspian Sea.

In a Dec. 26 letter viewed by The Wall Street Journal, Kazakh President Narsultan Nazarbayev, has called the heads of the six foreign oil firms to Astana, the Kazakh capital, for a meeting on Jan 11 with himself and the country’s prime minister.

The presence of Mr. Nazarbayev, who holds a tight grip on power in the oil-rich country and has rarely been involved in talks over the oil field, is a signal that the two sides could be close to a deal. read more

Financial Times: Alaskan oil tax rise sparks BP review

By Dino Mahtani
Published: December 28 2007 02:00 | Last updated: December 28 2007 02:00

BP, Europe’s second-largest oil company, will review its investment plans in the US state of Alaska following legislation to increase taxes on oil producers there.

The move by the state government is a blow to all oil companies doing business in one of the most important oil provinces in the US, the world’s third-largest oil producer.

But it is also another piece of bad news for BP which is still under investigation by state officials for last year’s oil spill in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, for which the company has already paid $20m in fines. read more (Illinois): Pipeline spill settlement claim forms mailed

12/27/2007, 3:01 pm

By Jon Krenek
[email protected]

If you are one of 1,500 Limestone Township property owners, check the mail for an envelope marked with the word “important” in red ink. It may look like junk mail, but it’s not.

Forms were mailed this week, as well as instructions, for claiming the portion of the $26 million Shell Oil agreed to pay to settle a lawsuit over the 1988 gasoline pipeline spill.

“People will have to read them, get receipts for their expenditures and send them to the administrator,” said Joseph Yurgine, the attorney who represented residents in the class action lawsuit against Shell Oil. “In my view, every penny of that settlement should end up in the pockets of Limestone claimants.” read more

The Wall Street Journal: Italy’s Eni Raises Its U.S. Profile

Oil Firm’s Investment Aims at Stability
To Offset Less-Reliable Projects
December 28, 2007; Page A8

Italian oil titan Eni SpA, which has benefited from its ability to invest and expand in countries off-limits to American rivals, this year sharply raised its exposure on the home turf of Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp.

Eni’s shift toward greater investment in the U.S. reflects a strategic effort to diversify a production portfolio that has relied disproportionately on countries such as Iran and Nigeria, where political instability means a greater chance of a production disruption. read more

Financial Times: Microscopic alternative to biofuels

By Cristina Jimenez
Published: Friday December 28 2007

Oil from algae, the microscopic plants that produce a green covering on the surfaces of ponds and neglected outdoor swimming pools, may soon be filling diesel pumps.

As crude oil has moved towards $100 (€70, £50) a barrel and sustainable alternatives are sought in a bid to reduce carbon emissions, researchers are investigating “second- generation” biofuels – those not made from food crops such as soya or corn. Scientists have found that, in terms of oil yield, algae could be the most efficient source of biofuel. read more

AP: Oil Rises on Inventory Shortfalls

Thursday December 27, 3:31 pm ET
By John Wilen, AP Business Writer 

Oil Prices Jump After Government Reports Crude and Heating Oil Supplies Fell Last Week

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil futures rose Thursday after the government reported larger-than-expected declines in crude and heating oil inventories.

In its weekly inventory report, the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration said oil inventories fell by 3.3 million barrels last week, more than double the 1.3 million barrel decline analysts expected. Inventories of distillates, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, fell by 2.8 million barrels, much more than the expected drop of 800,000 barrels. read more

The Times: Natural resources

ENRC, the London-listed Kazakh mining and metals group, said that it plans to offer shares on the Kazakh stock exchange in 2008. ENRC is the world’s sixth-biggest iron ore exporter by volume and produces about 16 per cent of Kazakhstan’s electricity.

Regency Mines, which is quoted on London’s junior Alternative Investment Market and focuses on exploring for copper and nickel in Western Australia and Queensland, reported a wider full-year pre-tax loss of £742,265, compared with a loss of £169,453 a year earlier, on lower turnover and increased exploration costs. read more

The Times: Shell beds into Chinese market with 30-year coal methane production deal

December 28, 2007
Carl Mortished, World Business Editor

Shell is investing in Chinese coal, buying a controlling stake in a coalbed methane project, an alternative resource that China’s Government is keen to promote as it seeks to diversify its country’s energy supplies.

Shell is buying an interest in a 30-year production-sharing contract that covers 1,015 sq km in Shanxi, a northern province bordering Inner Mongolia. Verona Development Corporation, an American company, is selling 55 per cent of the North Shilou block to Shell for an undisclosed sum. It will retain 5 per cent and China United Coalbed Methane Company will hold the remaining 40 per cent. read more

Reuters: Gazprom clears record $20 bln capex plan for 2008

Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:56pm EST 

MOSCOW, Dec 27 (Reuters) – Russia’s gas export monopoly Gazprom (GAZP.MM: Quote, Profile, Research) will increase capital investment by 43 percent in 2008 to a record level of almost $20 billion as it speeds up development of Arctic fields and new pipelines.

Gazprom has prioritised equity investment over capital expenditures for several years because of massive new asset purchases despite investor criticism over inadequate new -production investment amid stagnant mature-field output in Siberia. On Thursday the world’s largest gas producer said its state-controlled board had approved its capital investments, which will rise to a record of 479.4 billion roubles ($19.41 billion) in 2008 from 335.5 billion roubles in 2007 and 324.9 billion in 2006. read more

Guardian Unlimited: Shell taps into coal methane in China

Royal Dutch Shell HQ The Hague

The Royal Dutch Shell headquarters in The Hague. Photo: Robin Utrecht/EPA

Terry Macalister , Thursday December 27 2007 

Shell has expanded its interests in China by taking control of a pioneering project to meet some of the country’s burgeoning demand for energy using methane gas from underground coal seams.

The Anglo-Dutch group has bought a 55% equity stake from Verona Development Corporation and will operate the North Shilou project, 150km south-east of Changbei gas field, where Shell is also active in a conventional gas production scheme with PetroChina. read more

Statement by Royal Dutch Shell Plc: Shell joins China coalbed methane project

27 Dec 2007 

Shell China Exploration and Production Company Limited has acquired a 55% equity interest in a coalbed methane venture in Shanxi Province and will take over as operator.  

China’s Ministry of Commerce recently approved an agreement for Shell to acquire Verona Development Corporation’s majority equity position in a 30-year production sharing contract covering the North Shilou block, an area of 1,015 square kilometres in the eastern part of the Ordos Basin.

Verona maintains a 5% interest in the venture with China United Coalbed Methane Company (CUCBM) holding the remaining 40% equity. read more

Forbes: Gazprom Takes On Exxon

Vidya Ram, 12.27.07, 7:45 AM ET

LONDON – If the foreign operators of Russia’s Sakhalin-1 natural gas field weren’t concerned enough after BP was ousted from a major venture over the summer, then Thursday’s comments by a senior Gazprom executive should certainly have them reaching for the vodka.

Gazprom Deputy Chairman Alexander Ananenkov lambasted the operators of Sakhalin-1, arguing that a handover of control to them had led to an “infringement of Russia’s national interests,” and had turned Russian consumers into “poor relations who see their gas siphoned off.” read more

Gulf-Times: Sudden Oman futures spike puts pricing risks in focus

Published: Thursday, 27 December, 2007, 03:37 AM Doha Time
SINGAPORE: Oman crude oil futures on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange surged last week, regardless of market fundamentals and movements in other benchmark crude oil futures, which highlights old risks involved in the pricing of Middle East crude oil.

The unusual movements on DME show how a handful of big players can affect prices on the exchange, and less influential participants, such as end-users, can be hit as a result.

The problem is by no means unique to the six-month old exchange – Middle East crude oil traders have long voiced similar concerns about Platts’ trading window, through which Dubai crude prices are set. read more

Financial Times: Managers search for a grain of good sense

EXTRACT: The authors quote approvingly the candid thoughts of an ex-CEO of Shell, Lo van Wachem: “The actual revenue I realise today is grossly dependent on the energy reserves acquired and explored by the two CEOs before me, and CEOs two generations after me will reap the rewards of my efforts.”


By Stefan Stern
Published: December 27 2007 02:00 | Last updated: December 27 2007 02:00

There is no such thing as a growth industry. No, this is not the latest doom-laden forecast for 2008. It is the penetrating insight offered by three management consultants – two from McKinsey, the other a former McKinsey partner – in this thought-provoking new book. read more

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