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Posts from ‘January, 2009’

Refiners, Workers Resume Contract Talks; Strike Looms

Shell and Exxon Mobil Corp. are preparing to keep their U.S. plants running in a walkout, using managers and other non-union employees to keep sites operating


Shell hopes there might be new opportunities in countries such as Iran because US president Barack Obama’s election is pursuing a less hard line with the country than George Bush. “Iran has some of the largest reserves of gas in the world,” said van der Veer.

RNLI station and Belmullet GAA first recipients of Shell’s local investment

SHELL E&P Ireland has initiated a new €5 million investment fund over three years in north Mayo as part of its commitment to the Corrib gas project. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Belmullet GAA are to be recipients of the first tranche of funding of €400,000 in total.

IRELAND: SITTING ON A FORTUNE; EXCLUSIVE EUR5trillion Oil Field Could Defeat Recession but Gloom Grows

Further north lies Corrib, Co Mayo, which has an estimated value of anywhere between EUR6billion to EUR50billion. The field - which has been the scene of much controversy - is being developed by Shell, Marathon and Statoil.

Rumours about Motiva Plant Expansion in Port Arthur Texas

On 19 January disturbing rumours over the Motiva Plant expansion in Port Arthur Texas were brought to our attention. Motiva Enterprises LLC is jointly owned by Saudi Refining and Shell.

CNBC: Shell gets tough on costs as oil prices bite

Brinded said Shell had a "dreadful start" to this year after 10 contractors and one third party were killed in three incidents...

Exxon Roars To Record In Oil Slump

Exxon Mobil's strong financial position has fueled speculation that it might bid to acquire another sizable company. "They don't need a line of credit," Gheit said. "Exxon can theoretically acquire any of its rivals with 35 percent premium, and they can boost earnings per share, cash flow per share and stock valuation because of their ability to squeeze out costs."

Shell Grounds Fleet of Helicopters Amid Probe

Oil industry officials and air safety experts said Shell's decision is one of the rare instances when a major user or operator has temporarily halted flights of such a large number of the popular, 12-person choppers. The Sikorsky spokesman said Shell continues to use the models in other parts of the world.

ANALYSIS-Oil majors to keep investing to avoid past mistakes

Shell's decision to double its capex in recent years was largely forced on it to counter falling production and reserves which were the result of earlier underinvestment.

Shell employee safety: Shell EP Boss Malcolm Brinded says Shell has had a “dreadful start” to 2009

International Herald Tribune

Shell gets tough on costs as oil prices bite

 Tom Bergin

Royal Dutch Shell has intensified its cost-cutting efforts in response to the collapse in oil prices and also plans to step up efforts to improve what it said was a “mixed” safety record.

Shell’s head of Exploration and Production Malcolm Brinded told employees in an email seen by Reuters that staff had to make “tough choices.”

“We simply need much higher sustainable savings this year and I ask for real actions from all of you …. Shed contractor staff, challenge requirements, eliminate consultancy work, reduce travel massively, cut overheads everywhere,” he said. read more

Shell gets tough on costs as oil prices bite

Reuters UK

Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:36pm GMT

By Tom Bergin

LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) has intensified its cost-cutting efforts in response to the collapse in oil prices and also plans to step up efforts to improve what it said was a “mixed” safety record.

Shell’s head of Exploration and Production Malcolm Brinded told employees in an email seen by Reuters that staff had to make “tough choices.”

“We simply need much higher sustainable savings this year and I ask for real actions from all of you …. Shed contractor staff, challenge requirements, eliminate consultancy work, reduce travel massively, cut overheads everywhere,” he said. read more


The following leaked Shell internal emails contain candid admissions from Shell senior management not provided to shareholders in the Q4 financial results published on the same day. I have highlighted in bold examples of the candid admissions meant for Shell employees only. I supplied the leaked emails to Reuters who published an article after confirming the authenticity of both emails with Shell.

Shell’s Jeroen van der Veer on climate change

Shell tries to stay on an even keel

Credit Suisse analyst James Neale, in a note to investors, voiced concern that “the company’s return to growth will be short-lived in view of efforts by the company to slow final investment decisions on future growth projects due to current economic weakness, and in order to await lower future service costs.”

Shell to Raise Capital Spending, Dividend Despite Quarterly Loss

Although Shell said it would spend more this year than last, it has also postponed some decisions on major investments in the hope that costs may come down. These include Carmon Creek in Canada; Mars B, an oil project in the Gulf of Mexico; and the Pierce field in the U.K. Last year, it also announced it was putting off a decision to expand its Athabasca oil-sands development in northern Canada.

Shell’s Van der Veer unable to predict upturn

At last year's World Economic Forum, he was among those who saw no reason to panic about economic downturn. In the event, the onset of recession eroded oil demand, helping to pull the oil market down from a record of nearly $150 a barrel last July to around $40 now.

Shell keeps spending despite profits fall

Shell also revealed that it had a total $8.3bn deficit in its worldwide pension funds because of the fall in share prices last year. The figure is only about 5 per cent of its market capitalisation.

Shell profits slump on shifting crude price

Profits at Royal Dutch Shell slumped in the fourth quarter as the oil group paid the price for its high-cost business model in Canada and crumbling refining and chemical margins.

Energy workers get new offer

Shell Oil Co., which is representing the energy industry, has been meeting with negotiators from the United Steelworkers Union in Austin.

Shell Declines to Comment on Reports of Possible Bid for Nexus

Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Financial Officer Peter Voser declined to comment on reports of a possible bid for Nexus Energy Ltd., the developer of the proposed Crux natural gas liquids venture off northern Australia.

Girl shot dead in Nigerian Delta: father works for Royal Dutch Shell

An 11-year-old girl has been shot dead as she tried to prevent militants kidnapping her brother in Nigeria's oil-producing Niger Delta region. The armed men seized the boy as the two walked to school in Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State. The children's father works for Royal Dutch Shell, a company spokesman said.

Questor analyses the investment prospects of Royal Dutch Shell, the oil company…

Production in 2008 fell 2pc year-on-year due to problems in Nigeria with the militant Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), asset disposals and a lower production sharing volumes.

Shell posts 2.8 bln dlr loss on tumbling oil prices

LONDON (AFP) — Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell said Thursday it made a net loss of 2.81 billion dollars (2.15 billion euros) in the final quarter of 2008 as plunging oil prices slashed the value of inventories.

Shell says pension funds underfunded by $12 bln

LONDON, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) said its various pension funds around the world were underfunded by $11.83 billion after market turbulence hit asset values.

Shell announces record profits of £700 a second

While Shell hailed the figures, which represented a 14 per cent rise on the previous year, the profit triggered anger from the trade unions. "Shell is still feasting while the rest of us face famine. Its profits are the biggest in UK history," said Derek Simpson, Unite's joint general secretary. "A compelling case still remains for a windfall tax on the greedy energy companies. Working families are struggling in the face of the recession, the redistribution of windfall profits would help support Britain through these difficult times."

Shell Says Canadian Oil-Sands Production Costs Rise

Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, said the cost of producing Canadian oil sands rose to about $38 a barrel last year, including fuel expenses.

Shell says all major projects on track

Reuters UK

Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:42pm GM

(Reuters) – Oil major Royal Dutch Shell Plc said all its major projects currently under construction were on track, despite concerns its U.S. refinery expansion programme was losing steam.

“All post-FID (Final Investment Decision) projects are on track for planned start up,” spokesman Adam Newton said when asked about a report that work on the Port Arthur refinery, which Shell co-owns with Saudi Aramco, had slowed.

The expansion is scheduled to be completed in 2010. read more

Shell says oil sands focus on de-bottlenecking

Reuters India

Thu Jan 29, 2009 3:22pm IST

LONDON, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Oil major Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L:QuoteProfileResearch) said its focus in the Canadian oil sands industry was on improving the functioning of its existing facilities rather than sanctioning new projects.

Chief Financial Officer Peter Voser said on a call with reporters on Thursday that cash costs in oil sands, including energy costs, is around $38/barrel.

(Reporting by Tom Bergin; Editing by Mike Nesbit)


Reuters Article read more

Shell Posts First Loss in 10 Years as Oil Prices Drop

Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, posted its first quarterly loss in 10 years after lower oil prices reduced earnings from exploration and production and the value of inventories fell.

Shell reports $2.81 billion loss in 4Q

International Herald Tribune

The Associated Press

Published: January 29, 2009

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands: Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Europe’s largest oil company, has reported a $2.81 billion net loss for the fourth quarter as the price of oil fell sharply and it wrote down the value of its inventory.

The company had $8.47 billion in net profit in the same period a year earlier.

The company said Thursday sales fell 24 percent to $81.1 billion. Crude production was down less than one percent to 3.42 million barrels per day, but Shell’s selling price fell 29 percent to $58.40 as the global economic slowdown hit demand. read more

Bakersfield refinery may be idled indefinitely

The Santa Monica activist group has raised concerns to state officials that Shell Oil, a major crude supplier to Big West, may be withholding supply from the refinery. Shell is the former owner of the Bakersfield refinery and tried to close it several years ago before being forced by the state to sell it to boost competition. Christine Gasparac, a spokeswoman for the California attorney general's office, confirmed that the agency's antitrust section was investigating "whether [Shell] illegally refused to sell crude to Flying J or shut off pipeline access." Shell could not be reached for comment.

Picketers get rowdy in front of Shell refinery

MARTINEZ — Contra Costa sheriff's deputies were called to control a crowd of 100 steel worker union picketers when a protest in front of the Shell oil refinery got out of hand Wednesday afternoon.

Shell confesses to challenging conditions

(SHARECAST) - Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell said industry conditions remain challenging as it announced lower fourth quarter earnings.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc Fourth quarter and full year 2008 results and interim dividend announcement


At 07.00 GMT (08.00 CET and 02.00 EST) on Thursday 29 January, 2009 Royal Dutch Shell plc released its fourth quarter and full year results and fourth quarter interim dividend announcement for 2008.

Jeroen van der Veer - Chief Executive

“We delivered satisfactory performance in the fourth quarter of 2008, given the pressure on demand for oil and gas due to a weaker global economy. Our strategy remains to pay competitive and progressive dividends, and to make significant investments in the company for future profitability. Industry conditions remain challenging, and we are continuing the focus on capital and cost discipline in Shell.” read more

Shell annual profit hits $31.4bn

BBC News

Shell petrol pumps 

The recent drop in oil prices has trimmed Shell’s profits

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has announced a 14% rise in annual profits to $31.4bn (£22.3bn), helped by record oil prices over the summer.

However, profits for the final three months of 2008 fell by 28% compared with a year previously, from $6.7bn to $4.8bn, after oil prices dropped.

The fourth-quarter profit was also 56% lower than the previous quarter.

Oil prices reached $157 a barrel in July 2008 before falling dramatically to below $50 by the year end.


BBC News Article

Former oil executive pleads guilty in fraud scheme

A former oil executive accused of diverting more than $1 million from a Shell Deepwater Development contract for his personal use has pleaded guilty to income tax evasion and mail fraud.

TNK-BP Adds 460MM BOE to Oil, Gas Resources in ’08

Russian oil firm TNK-BP , half-owned by oil major BP, said on Monday it added 460 million barrels of oil equivalent to its estimated resources in 2008 due to geological exploration alone.

Total makes $502m bid for UTS Energy

France's Total said it was launching a C$617 million (US$502 million) takeover bid for UTS Energy to gain a stake in the delayed Fort Hills oil sands project in Canada.

OPEC Calls for Curbing Speculators, Blames Hedge Funds for Rout

“Even if we look back at 1998 and 1986, we’ve never had this violent a shift at this extreme in terms of prices,” said Daniel Yergin, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates Inc., referring to previous bear markets. Yergin will also be attending the forum in Davos, as will Jeroen van der Veer, chief executive officer of The Hague-based Royal Dutch Shell Plc

Californian exclusive: State investigating Shell over refinery trouble

The state Attorney General’s antitrust unit is investigating whether Shell Oil Co. is “illegally refusing to sell crude oil ... or shutting off pipeline access” to Big West refinery on Rosedale Highway. The inquiry was confirmed in a letter dated Friday from Chief Deputy Attorney General James M. Humes to Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who earlier this month forwarded to the office allegations that Shell was “deliberately manipulating the supply (of oil) in order to force the refinery to shut down.”

Business starts to take Web 2.0 tools seriously

They detail how companies, including General Electric, Procter & Gamble,Shell and Airbus, are busy integrating social networking into their corporate strategies. These companies, say the authors, are showing that the use of blogs, wikis, widgets and other Web 2.0 tools “encourages horizontal collaboration and harnesses the power of collective intelligence to boost productivity, foster innovation and create enhanced value”.

More earnings carnage expected from oilpatch

Royal Dutch Shell, parent of Shell Canada, also reports Thursday. In a recently written fourth-quarter preview entitled, "2008 Ends On A Very Ugly Note,"UBS analyst Andrew Potter concludes: "Given the massive rout in commodity prices and crack (refining) spreads that occurred during the quarter, Q4 financial results will be the worst in several years."

Oil M&A fell in ’08, focus on unconventionals-E&Y

The report said the largest deals were launched by western oil majors such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) and ConocoPhillips (COP.N) to secure non-traditional reserves such as coal seam gas and tight gas.

Gazprom, Shell May Delay Exports of Russia’s First LNG Cargo

Japanese utilities may face a delay in receiving the first liquefied-natural gas cargoes from an OAO Gazprom-led project in Russia, an official said.

Halliburton to Pay $559 Million To Settle Bribery Investigation

The Justice Department says several of the alleged bribes occurred while Mr. Cheney led Halliburton.

Shell reports biggest profits slide for a decade

The oil major is expected to report a 62 per cent fall in profits in the last quarter compared with the £6.6billion it made in the third quarter.

Chill wind as companies pull out of projects

Shell made a similar announcement when it pulled out of the London Array last summer, leaving Eon and Dong, the other partners, to find a replacement.

Halliburton Settles Cheney-Era Bribery Probe With U.S. Government

Gen. Abacha’s appreciation for the money that Shell’s operations put into his coffers made him an eager ally when the oil industry faced popular protests, which were crushed by the dictator’s army and security forces. 1995, the year Cheney joined Halliburton, renowned writer and environmental advocate Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight of his colleagues were hanged by the Abacha government for their efforts to prevent Shell from continuing to poison the environment of the Niger Delta. It is estimated that more than 2,000 people have been murdered for their involvement in protests against Shell’s activities in the Delta. Most of those murdered were Ogoni who had rallied behind Saro-Wiwa in the early 1990s.

Talks continue on new US refinery workers contract

Talks between lead refiner negotiator Shell Oil Co (RDSa.L) and the United Steelworkers union could go down to the wire late on Saturday, said USW union spokeswoman Lynne Baker. Both sides have prepared for possible worker strikes or management lockouts if they fail to reach a new agreement. Neither the USW nor Shell have been willing to discuss the status of talks in detail.

This lobbying scandal confirms it. The dying days of Labour are upon us

Like Nigeria, the UK has no effective safeguards against such collusion. As the House of Commons public administration committee points out: "Lobbying activity in the United Kingdom is subject to no specific external regulation." Nor is it subject to anything resembling self-regulation. The sleazebags who suborn our representatives operate in a world without rules.