(Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell capped a strong first quarter reporting season for oil majors with better-than-expected results which were boosted by gas earnings, while shareholders were rewarded with a higher dividend. Shell, which disappointed the market earlier this year with a rare profit warning, said the bulk of its writedown in downstream on Wednesday was related to the Bukom oil refinery in Singapore. The firm said its first quarter upstream earnings were supported by stronger gas results, offset by the impact of exploration well write-offs, and higher costs and depreciation. “Less positively, oversupply in the industry, rising costs on the back of increasingly difficult explorations, Shell’s exposure to Russia and generally lower margins all present challenges…”
Posts from ‘April, 2014’
Extracts from an article by AP Business Writer TOBY STERLING published 30 April 2014
AMSTERDAM (AP) – Royal Dutch Shell PLC says it will not be entering new investments in Russia anytime soon as tensions rise over the country’s confrontation with Ukraine. Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry said the company, Europe’s largest oil company, will continue to oversee its existing operations and will cooperate with any sanctions placed upon Russia by Western powers. Amid the uncertainty, however, it will hold back on starting new projects. Meanwhile, Henry defended a meeting this month between Shell CEO Ben van Beurden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying it should not be interpreted as the company taking sides in the Ukrainian crisis.
By John Donovan
The head of the corrupt, seedy Brunei Royal Family, the Sultan of Brunei, who once accepted a $500,000 wedding gift from Royal Dutch Shell, has gone ahead with his plans to introduce a penal code that will include amputations.
Extracts from a BBC News article dated 30 April 2014
Brunei will introduce a tough Islamic penal code from Thursday, its leader has announced. Sharia punishments that will include the severing of limbs for theft and death by stoning for adulterers will be brought in over three years. In April, the UN voiced “deep concern” about the planned change. The tiny state, on the island of Borneo, is ruled by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and has grown rich on oil and gas exports. When he announced it last year the Sultan, 67, one of the world’s wealthiest men, called the code “a part of the great history of our nation”. The move sparked a rare strong response on social media. In February the Sultan warned internet users to stop attacking his plans.
Extracts from a Shell to Sea News Release dated 30 April 2014
In a report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2013, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Margaret Sekaggya, called on the Irish Government to “Investigate all allegation and reports of intimidation, harassment and surveillance in the context of the Corrib Gas dispute in a prompt and impartial manner.” Ms Sekaggya’s recommendations were echoed earlier this year by Archbishop Desmond Tutu who supported the call for an independent inquiry into the policing of Corrib.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc Hikes Dividend On Cash Flow Boost
Shell this morning reported a 44% fall in profits on a $2.9bn impairment charge relating to refineries in Asia and Europe. Shell’s profit in the first quarter — stripping out losses relating to the changing value of inventories — fell to $4.5bn from $8bn a year earlier. Revenue fell to $110bn against $113bn.
Mercuria Energy Trading SA and a Hess Corp. (HES:US) unit were added as defendants to a lawsuit claiming they conspired with oil companies including BP Plc (BP/), Statoil ASA (STL) and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) to manipulate Brent crude oil prices. “By providing false or inaccurate information and engaging in false or sham trading, defendants undermined the entire pricing structure for the Brent crude oil physical and futures markets,” the investors claimed in their new complaint.
By John Donovan
I have checked and thus far have been unable to find any photographs of Rex Tillerson (ExxonMobil) or Robert Dudley (BP) bowing in the slightest to Putin. It seems that only Royal Dutch Shell executives, Jeroen van der Veer, Peter Voser, and Ben van Beurden, have been prepared to stoop that low.
Leads me to speculate whether Chris Finlayson was infiltrated into BG Group by Royal Dutch Shell for surreptitious purposes, including dragging the company down. If so, he appears to have done a magnificent job.
By John Donovan
BG Group has been the subject of bid speculation for a long time. e.g.
- BG Group shares rise on bid reports (BBC News Aug 2010)
- Speculation over hostile bid for BG Group (London Evening Standard Nov 2012)
- BG Exposed to Bids (Bloomberg Jan 2013)
- BG Group investors say Finlayson’s exit raises takeover prospect (FT 28 April 2014)
Extract from the FT article:
However, a top 10 shareholder said that, with BG now rudderless, it had become a prime takeover target. “It’s a green light to a potential bidder….”
ExxonMobil is identified as one such potential bidder.
According to an email I received this morning from a Shell source: “BG… reserves might also be good for Shell…”
Shell has certainly flirted with the idea many times.
The Oman government’s crackdown on graft in oil and gas contracting has become the talk of the town in Muscat, with opinions sharply divided on whether it is going far enough. Five officials of the gas division of Petroleum Development Oman, a joint venture between the government of Oman, Royal Dutch Shell, France’s Total and Portugal’s Partex, remain on trial in the Galfar cases, which are still before the court. PDO Managing Director Raoul Restucci attributed the embroilment of Oman’s flagship oil and gas producer in the corruption scandal to a few bad apples.
The imposition of sanctions on various Russian people and organisations over the Ukraine threatened to pose a number of problems for the big energy companies, especially BP and Shell. If Rosneft itself were placed on the list, for example, or Gazprom, the the respective situations for BP and Shell would change markedly. …obviously neither of them is going to flout the law of a country where they have such considerable interests, as they do in the US.
An historic legal hearing will begin on 29th April 2014 which will hear evidence from the UK lawyers representing 15,000 Nigerian fishermen from the Bodo community against oil giant Shell in a hearing which will determine the key legal issues to be considered in one of the largest ever environmental law cases which is due to take place in May 2015.
The ‘preliminary issues hearing’ will be the first time Shell have had to face formal Court proceedings in the UK for its environmental record in the Niger Delta, following two massive oil spills in 2008 and 2009.
Extract from a Reuters article by Karolin Schaps published 28 April 2014
Reuters) – Anglo-Dutch oil major Shell said it will comply with all international sanctions, following a United States government decision to impose sanctions against the head of Russian oil producer Rosneft. The U.S. on Monday slapped sanctions on seven Russian government officials and 17 companies linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin…
…part of the US plans looks likely to have a serious impact on UK energy giants BP and Shell The US Treasury is also eyeing some form of sanction against Gazprombank, the financial arm of the gas monopoly Gazprom. This would greatly complicate Shell’s joint operations with Gazprom…
The Obama administration imposed sanctions on seven Russian officials and 17 companies linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle involved in banking, energy and infrastructure. The list includes Igor Sechin, OAO Rosneft chief executive officer…
“BG Group chief executive Chris Finlayson has been ousted by the oil and gas explorer’s board following a disastrous 16 months in the job….” No one can say that we did not repeatedly warn BG Group about the competence and ethics of Chris Finlayson…
By John Donovan
The news media is reporting that former Royal Dutch Shell executive Chris Finlayson has quit as CEO of BG Group.
Actually, he was unceremoniously fired.
Extract from article published by The Independent: “BG Group chief Chris Finlayson resigns after 16 months at the helm”
BG Group chief executive Chris Finlayson has been ousted by the oil and gas explorer’s board following a disastrous 16 months in the job. He is understood not to have another job to go to… In an unusually blunt statement Gould said: “The board felt that it was in the best interests of the group to accept Chris’ resignation and seek fresh leadership.” Since taking over Finlayson has presided over a succession of profit warnings and a 37% slump in annual profits…
EXTRACT FROM REUTERS PRESS DIGEST – Wall Street Journal – April 28
Extracts from a Washington Post article published by The New Zealand Herald on Monday 28 April 2014 under the headline: “Big Oil and Putin’s big plans”
Last week, on the same day that national security adviser Susan Rice threatened that sanctions on “very significant sectors” of the Russian economy would be the price of Putin pushing further into Ukraine, the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell was visiting Putin’s residence, saying, “We are very keen to grow our position in the Russian Federation.” As Putin increasingly acts out his dreams of grandeur – his ridiculous Eurasian Union idea, his fantasies of restoring czarist “novorossiya” or the U.S.S.R. – he is testing the edges of his power. He wants to be seen as too big to fail. Big Oil siding with him could make those dreams come true.
Extract from an article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard published1:28PM BST 27 Apr 2014 by The Telegraph
Britain’s top energy companies face an extremely delicate situation as the world’s G7 powers prepare to launch the next wave of sanctions against Russia, and may be forced to curtail operations or freeze certain commercial ties with the country. The US, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada have agreed to “intensify targeted sanctions to increase the costs of Russia’s actions” – possibly as soon as Monday… The G7 is for now holding back Iranian-style “stage 3” sanctions against the whole Russian banking system, mining industry, or the oil and gas nexus. This nuclear option… Both BP and Shell said they remain committed to their long-term investments in Russia but are monitoring the situation closely.
His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei meeting Malcolm (TFA) Brinded, Shells then Executive Director, Upstream International
By John Donovan
There may be some relief by Muslim employees of Shell Brunei at the news that “Brunei has postponed the introduction of tough Islamic criminal punishments that were due to begin on Tuesday.”
Shell enjoys a so called symbiotic relationship with the scandal-tainted Brunei Royal family.
Extract from a Sunday Express article by: Helen Massy-Beresford published
Royal Dutch Shell is expected to report that its profits have slumped 38 per cent year on year to $4.6 billion (£2.7 billion), when it unveils its first-quarter results on Wednesday. As part of his turnaround plans van Beurden has pledged to improve cash flow and cut costs.
…nothing has been as drastic as the company’s change in attitude toward the process it helped set up in 2012 to settle hundreds of thousands of economic damage claims. In full-page newspaper ads, interviews and a gusher of court filings, BP officials have insisted that their good intentions are being hijacked by greedy lawyers and underhanded claimants.
Extracts from a New York Times article byHow a Gulf Settlement That BP Once Hailed Became Its Target”
NEW ORLEANS — Four years ago the Deepwater Horizon oil rig caught fire and exploded, killing 11 men, spewing millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and staining, seemingly indelibly, the image of BP… Its reputation in free fall, the company set aside billions of dollars and saturated the airwaves with contrite pledges to make thousands of businesses and workers whole… nothing has been as drastic as the company’s change in attitude toward the process it helped set up in 2012 to settle hundreds of thousands of economic damage claims. In full-page newspaper ads, interviews and a gusher of court filings, BP officials have insisted that their good intentions are being hijacked by greedy lawyers and underhanded claimants.
When I retired I was presented with a small silver Shell emblem which I still wear with pride from time to time. It once stood for excellence in marketing and was one of the world’s most familiar brand symbols. Now it’s a bit of a collectors item symbolising a world that has long gone…
By Paddy Briggs
Most of my 37 year Shell career was spent in the “Downstream” but from time to time I had contact with the Upstream operations and in my final assignment in the Middle East I was very close to Upstream issues. Both Shell’s exploration and production activities (the Upstream) and their refining and marketing business (the Downstream) had the Shell emblem (the “Pecten”) flying over them – but that was about the only thing they had in common!
EP is a top down business. The experts in The Hague, mostly products of the best geology and technology Universities, built unrivalled expertise in the tasks of finding and exploiting hydrocarbon assets. They were also pretty good at building the necessary alliances with partners that virtually all upstream operations require. Their world was the world of oil reservoirs, horizontal drilling, fracking and all the other thousand and one technologies and techniques that made the business work.
Extract from an article by Adam Molon published by CNBC on 26 April 2014
Tougher Western sanctions against Russia would likely have dire consequences for that country’s monolithic, energy-reliant economy, but experts say the punishment also could trigger retaliation from Moscow against American and European multinationals. “There no doubt would be Russian retaliation,” said Justin Logan, director of foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute. “Companies with money tied up in Russia would have a tough time getting it back out.” The lion’s share of foreign money in Russia is from major energy sector players like Shell, Exxon, and BP…
Extract from a New York Times article by
European Firms Seek to Minimize Russia Sanctions
BERLIN — With the showdown over Ukraine escalating and President Obama warning Moscow of a tough new round of sanctions, Russia and its allies in the European private sector are conducting a separate campaign to ensure that they can maintain their deep and longstanding economic ties even if the Kremlin orders further military action. No European industry has been as open in its support of Russia as the energy industry. Executives have publicly voiced skepticism about the effectiveness of sanctions, lobbied behind the scenes to head them off and traveled to Russia, on at least one occasion to pose with Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin.
Extracts from an article by Josh Lewis published 25 April 2014 by upstreamonline.com under the headline:
“Rosneft ruffled over Gazprom”
Reuters reported that Igor Sechin, at a government meeting, said both Gazprom and Shell, which operate a gas project in the Pacific island of Sakhalin, were denying access to a trunk pipeline for its LNG project. Upstream reported on Friday that Shell is urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to step-in…
Extract from a BusinessDay article published 26 April 2014
Shell also expressed commitment to its expansion projects in Russia. Ben van Beurden, chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell told Russian President, Vladimir Putin at a meeting recently. Shell plans to expand Russia’s only liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant with Russian partner Gazprom. Van Beurden said that Shell “are very keen to grow our position in the Russian Federation and we look forward with anticipation and confidence on a very long-term future here in Russia.” He confirmed that Shell had agreed with Gazprom to expand the Sakhalin-2 LNG plant which produces 10 million tonnes of LNG per year. The expansion plan is in line with Putin’s demand to boost production of LNG and double Russia’s global market share to around 10 percent by 2020. Putin said in his response said; “We, of course, will pledge all the necessary administrative guidance and support.”
Extract from an article published 25 April 2014 by allvoices.com
Bloomberg’s Business Week reports that even while Western governments and Russia squared off over Ukraine, relations between the major energy companies — such as ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell and BP — and Russia grew even cozier as they pursued the half a trillion dollar oil and gas joint venture deal in the Arctic and Siberia concluded in 2011. The implications are clear: Any comprehensive sanctions against Russia will have adverse effects on major Western energy companies. The strenuous efforts by Big Oil CEOs to reassure Putin that Obama’s sanction threats are empty threats have been noted by close watchers of the energy sector. While Obama and US Ambassador to the UN were threatening sanctions on Russia’s “very significant sectors,” Royal Dutch Shell’s CEO Ben Van Beurden met with Putin at his residence in the outskirts of Moscow and assured him, confidently, that his company’s business interests in Russia would not be sacrificed to international politics.
Extracts from an article by Edward Robinson published Friday 25 April 2014 by The Washington Post
“Shale gas could be very, very important for this country; it could be transformative,” says Browne, 66, who’s now chairman of Cuadrilla Resources, a British exploration firm that plans to frack the English countryside. “It’s like the opening of Alaska or western Siberia or the Gulf of Mexico.” Even as evidence mounts that fracking operations drain aquifers and spew methane into the air, energy firms are fanning out across mammoth shale deposits in China, Russia, India, South Africa, Australia and Argentina. Royal Dutch Shell has joined forces with China Petroleum & Chemical, or Sinopec, in China to exploit the world’s largest shale-gas-laden formations. Even relatively small Britain is sitting on a gas mother lode. The Bowland-Hodder formation, a belt of shale that stretches across Britain’s midsection, holds more than 1,300 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to the British Geological Survey. That’s almost the same size as the Marcellus deposit under the Appalachian Mountains, the No. 1 U.S. shale gas find.
FROM PETROLEUM ECONOMIST
A new book, The Secret World of Oil, tries to shed light on some of the industry’s darker corners. Review by Derek BrowerOIL is the world’s most traded commodity. Getting it out of the ground, shipping it around the world and making money from the process is a dirty business, in which middlemen grease the palms of tyrants and lobbyists work behind the scenes to win political protection for the bad guys. If you want to trade oil, you need to leave your morals out of it. That, at least, is the premise of The Secret World of Oil, a new book by journalist Ken Silverstein, a fellow at the Edmond J Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. Corruption is a ‘constant’ in the energy business, writes Silverstein. “Fixers funnel money to dictators to obtain concessions for oil companies, set up shell firms and front companies to move money, and line up firms to explore for oil,” he says. When they can’t do that, they buy influence for their miscreant masters…
In the ongoing battle over offshore drilling, a federal judge in Alaska told regulators Thursday to redo an environmental impact study that underestimated the amount of recoverable oil and, potentially, the risks to delicate Arctic habitat. The decision by U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline stopped short of scrapping the $2.6 billion in leases, however. In light of the new analysis, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will have to decide whether to move forward with or cancel the agreed-upon leases with Royal Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips and other companies.
Extract from a Reuters article published Friday 25 April 2014 under the headline: “Russia’s Rosneft says Gazprom hinders its LNG project”
Last week, Putin approved expansion plans for an LNG plant, operated by Royal Dutch Shell and majority-owned by Gazprom, on the Pacific island of Sakhalin. Analysts have said that would hinder implementation of Rosneft and Exxon’s LNG project. Sechin told the meeting, presided over by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, that both Gazprom, a monopoly owner of trunk pipelines, and Shell were denying his company access to a pipeline from Sakhalin to the mainland for the LNG project.
Extract from an oilprice.com article by Nick Cunningham published 24 April 2014 under the headline: “Why Alaska Increasingly Resembles A Petro-State”
In an attempt to arrest the decline in oil production, Alaska’s legislature, governor, and representatives in Congress have aggressively supported offshore oil drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, which hold an estimated 29 billion barrels of oil. But Royal Dutch Shell’s failed Arctic campaign has doomed those hopes for now. Shell cancelled drilling plans for 2014 and hinted that it may not return next year. With new CEO Ben van Beurden’s decision to steer the company away from so-called “elephant projects,” the Arctic is seemingly not a priority.
Extract from oilprice.com article by James Burgess published 23 April 2014 under the headline: “Kashagan Field Plans Pipeline Replacement”
After weeks of review, the operators of Kazakhstan’s giant Kashagan oil field have concluded that pipelines carrying oil and gas will need to be replaced due to extensive damage. The consortium — which includes Eni, Total, Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil — has been repeatedly frustrated by delays and engineering obstacles. With the discovery of the severely corroded pipelines, the project, which was shut down in October 2013 after a brief start, is now closed indefinitely.
Shell oil rig Kulluk seen grounded off the coast of an Alaskan island.
Extract from a Reuters article by Gwladys Fouche published 24 April 2014
OSLO, April 24 (Reuters) – Cost-cutting by oil companies could jeopardise the safety of workers in the future, Norway’s safety watchdog warned on Thursday. The regulator said it was concerned that as a result safety standards could be compromised in Norway, where the world’s biggest oil companies drill offshore, including BP, Royal Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips, Total, Statoil and Exxon Mobil.
Vladimir Putin: The macho man former spy who has repeatedly outmaneuvered, outsmarted, bullied and humiliated Royal Dutch Shell, while simultaneously running rings round other submissive global players. Jeroen van de Veer prostrated himself before Vladimir Putin in the Sakhalin2 surrender and Ben van Beurden repeated the act of subservience in a cringe-making ill-timed audience with Putin on Good Friday. The king of corruption and master of polonium fueled assassination is treating them all with deserved contempt.
“U.S. Not Ready for Oil Spill in Arctic Waters”
“Amazingly, Shell seems determined to attempt another assault on the Arctic, even after the catastrophic bungling of its 2012 foray. There is no clearer evidence that oil companies are not prepared enough, are cutting corners, and according to a recent U.S. Coast Guard Report, are committing multiple violations of the law in order to get to deep sea black gold, than Shell’s Alaskan debacle.” “Everyone from the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Government’s Geological Survey, Lloyds of London and CEOs of giant oil companies agree there is no such thing as safe Arctic drilling.”
Brent Oil, the pricing benchmark for two thirds of the world’s oil supply, is “crumbling” and is in urgent need of reform, a new study into the market argues. The study emerges as oil companies, traders and agencies responsible for reporting and monitoring prices examine the scope for changes to restore confidence and limit EU or US intervention and regulation they fear would be damaging and costly. A European Commission team raided the head offices of BP, Shell and Statoil as well as the London offices of Platts, the leading price reporting agency, last year in the search for evidence of price fixing and business behaviour similar to the rigging of the Libor benchmark by banks.
Extracts from an article by Carey L. Biron published 21 April 2014 by MINTPRESS NEWS
“In the cases against Shell and Rio Tinto, business interests won over the human rights interests of the plaintiffs in the cases who had legitimate claims of torture and murder…”
WASHINGTON — Newly released internal memoranda and emails detail the process behind the British government’s intervention in a landmark ruling last year by the U.S. Supreme Court, which limited a pioneering law that had allowed the U.S. legal system to be used to prosecute overseas corporate human rights abuses. The documents — 63 pages of which were released through Freedom of Information Act requests and made public earlier this month following years of requests — come from 2011 and 2012. They focus on a U.S. Supreme Court case called Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., the company known in the United States as Shell Oil. The case was brought by communities in the Niger Delta, who claim that Shell-hired security groups, including the Nigerian military, tortured and killed environmentalists opposing the company’s operations during the 1990s.
By John Donovan
OSSL is the former Shell “Mr Fixit” company best known for delivering Shell sponsored Christmas alcohol gifts to the Irish cops. The company has today circulated to Shell senior execs and partners in the controversial Corrib Gas Project (Statoil and Vermillion Energy), an interesting list of the sweeteners (bribes) it claims to have distributed on the express instructions of Shell EP Ireland.
Sheep pens…. cash…. holidays…. kitchens….. televisions…… double glazing….. police booze…. barbecues….. cars….. mowers….. block paving….. bed and breakfast signs…. carpets…. gas cookers ….. house make overs…. pick up trucks…. Septic tanks…. garden centre visits…. school fees….
More than a 1,000 cleaners are on strike today so that they can participate in a protest at Shell’s Dutch headquarters at 30 Carel van Bylandtlaan in The Hague. The action is organized by the FNV union and is part of a nationwide campaign by the cleaners seeking better working conditions. The union is threatening to mount a long term strike. Not even a deep clean would erase the dark history associated with the address.
Extracts from an article by Nick Cunningham published Sunday 20 April 2014 by oilprice.com under the headline:”Russia’s Arctic Prize Won’t Be As Big As Many Think”
While Royal Dutch Shell’s bad missteps have all but killed off the Arctic oil program in the United States, Russia is moving ahead, and Putin clearly believes that the Arctic is an essential ingredient in its ability to maintain its position as one of the world’s largest oil producers. In early April, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Canada and the U.S. should form a “united front” against expansionist moves by Russia in the Arctic. She warned against Russia’s military buildup in the region.
For over a 100 years, Shell has been driven by unscrupulous greed as its sole motivator. Shell funded Hitler and the Nazis party and has subsequently done business with a string of evil regimes, including General Sani Abacha, Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein and the Mad Mullahs of Iran. Putin is but the latest power mad egomaniac to be treated like royalty by Shell. Bowed to and fawned over on Good Friday by the overpaid bootlicker, Ben van Beurden.
Sunday, 20 April 2014
By John Donovan
The New York Times newspaper published an article today under the headline: In Cold War Echo, Obama Strategy Writes Off Putin
Just as the United States resolved in the aftermath of World War II to counter the Soviet Union and its global ambitions, Mr. Obama is focused on isolating President Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia by cutting off its economic and political ties to the outside world, limiting its expansionist ambitions in its own neighborhood and effectively making it a pariah state.
So a 5 minute look inside the reported numbers paints a different picture, certainly a clearer picture and a picture that despite the hot air, from a risk analysis viewpoint clarifies that there has been no significant reduction in risk despite the credit being taken by the industry and the Regulator.
Fooling about with numbers.
As a shareholder I received a letter from Shell UK Country Chairman recently. Under Health and Safety he takes credit for an important milestone achieved in April 2013 when he states our upstream business in the North Sea achieved an important milestone in a 50 per cent reduction in the number of hydrocarbon releases over the last three years in line with the industry commitment made in 2009. In 2008 there were 83 major and significant releases and this reduced to 72 in 2009. The Energy Minister and the HSE pronounced this at the time as a significant reduction but actually it only reduced mean time between releases from circa every 4 days to circa every 5 days, hardly a significant reduction. From formal risk analysis a significant risk reduction could only be claimed by an order of magnitude reduction that is from 83 to 8. However, the politics of any reduction is to blow your trumpet whether the reduction is actually reducing risk or not.
By John Donovan
The comments below are from a Motley Fool article that draws attention to the fact that Shell’s Prelude FLNG project represents a bet “on an epic scale.” The author is right. The project is an uninsured, uninsurable risk, which like Shell’s Alaskan ambitions, could potentially destroy Shell.
As to the likelihood of the project being “on schedule and on budget,” we know Shell’s atrocious “misfires” track record on that score e.g. the Corrib Gas project in Ireland: 13 years behind schedule and four times over budget. And “Cash All Gone” (Kashagan), another white elephant.
Sir Henri was fanatically anti-Soviet as a result of the confiscation of Shell oil fields in Russia. Might be best if Ben does not mention this past history to his new chum, Vlad the Bad, who is rather keen to restore the Soviet empire. “Had Putin asked ‘and now you kiss my ass’, I am sure van Beurden would have complied.”
18 April 2014
By John Donovan
There are a number of news reports about a meeting earlier today between President Putin and Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden, in which the sensitive subject of Ukraine was discussed.
Interesting to note that the same subject was also discussed at a high level by Shell in the 1930’s, on that occasion with Hitler, who like Putin, also had territorial ambitions.
Printed below are extracts from a book, “Hitler As Frankenstein” by Johannes Steel (born Herbert Stahl,1908-1988), the son of a German-Dutch landowner. When the Nazis took power in Germany he fled to the USA working as a journalist for the New York Post. Because of his prescience, which included predicting World War 2, he became widely followed as a popular radio commentator in the U.S. during the war. (Information taken from Wikipedia)
To the best of my knowledge, both Shell projects are fraught with danger, are pushing the bounds of technology, have attracted risk warnings from experts and are self-insured by Shell because no commercial contingency insurance specialists are willing to provide cover.
By John Donovan
An article published today by Reuters gives some idea of the financial calamity that could engulf Shell in the event of a Prelude FLNG or Shell Arctic drilling disaster, with potential for even more dire consequences.
Extract from Reuters article published 18 April 2014 under the headline: “Compensation battle rages four years after BP’s U.S. oil spill“
The oil company has spent over $26 billion on cleaning up, fines and compensation for the disaster, which killed 11 people on the rig and spilled millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days after the blast on April 20, 2010. That is more than a third of BP’s total revenues for 2013, and the company has allowed for the bill to almost double…
By John Donovan
Printed below are self-explanatory extracts from an email I sent on 16 April to Johan Groenewald, the senior officer at the Garda Ombudsman Commission investigating allegations made by OSSL about Shell corrupting the Irish police force.
I am arranging for OSSL directors to attend the Royal Dutch Shell Plc Annual General Meeting in May, as they did last year (as reported in The Observer).
The Donovans had secured places for Kane and Rooney at Shell’s annual meeting last month, to raise their grievances. Cornered, the company’s CEO, Peter Voser, suddenly ordered a further inquiry, a move echoed by the Garda.
Extract from an article by Alexei Anishchuk published by Reuters on Friday 18 April 2014
(Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell is committed to expansion in Russia, Chief Executive Ben van Beurden told Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting on Friday amid sanctions imposed on the country after its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region. Shell plans to expand Russia’s only liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant with Russian partner Gazprom, he said at a meeting at Putin’s residence.
WALL STREET JOURNAL ARTICLE
Shell Pledges to Continue Projects in Russia
Ben van Beurden praised the oil giant’s cooperation with Russia state-controlled natural gas monopoly Gazprom (GAZP.RS) at the Sakhalin II project and with its oil arm Gazprom Neft (SIBN.RS).