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Shell corruption probe: New evidence on oil payments

The BBC has seen evidence that top executives at Shell knew money paid to the Nigerian government for a vast oil field would be passed to a convicted money-launderer.

It also had reason to believe that money would be used to pay political bribes.

The deal was concluded while Shell was operating under a probation order for a separate corruption case in Nigeria.

Shell said it did not believe its employees acted illegally.

OPL 245 is an oilfield off the coast of Nigeria whose estimated nine billion barrels of oil are worth nearly half a trillion dollars at today’s prices. Shell has been active in Nigeria for nearly 60 years and was keen to acquire the field. read more

Western oil companies reach $5bn deal with Nigeria



by: Anjli Raval and Maggie Fick in Lagos

Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria’s minister of state for petroleum resources, told the Financial Times the settlement had been “accepted” by the five companies. It is hoped the deal can be finalised before the end of the year.


Shell gives up on all but one Chukchi Sea lease

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Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 08.42.36Shell gives up on all but one Chukchi Sea lease

Yereth Rosen: Alaska Dispatch News: May 9, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell has decided to give up all but one of its federal offshore leases in the Chukchi Sea, bringing what appears to be an anticlimactic end to its multibillion-dollar effort to turn those icy Arctic waters off northwestern Alaska into a new oil-producing frontier.

“After extensive consideration and evaluation, we have made the decision to relinquish all but one of our federal offshore leases in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea. This action is consistent with our earlier decision not to explore offshore Alaska for the foreseeable future,” company spokesman Curtis Smith said in an email on Monday. read more

Should Shell have looked west for its Arctic Ocean fortune?

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That’s the hypothesis of David Houseknecht, one of the region’s foremost geologists and project chief for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Energy Resources Program for Alaska.

Other experts say the idea helps explain why public well results and rock chips have shown a large amount of gas in the reservoir but limited evidence of oil. Unlike Alaska politicians who jumped at the chance to blame federal regulations for Shell’s decision to abandon the Arctic, the scientists say the answer is simply a matter of geology — the oil just wasn’t there in big volumes.   read more

Woodside Appoints Former Shell Senior Executive Ann Pickard as Director

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Monday, February 29, 2016

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. announced Monday that its Board has appointed Ann Pickard as a non-executive director effective Feb. 29. Pickard joins Woodside as an independent director.

Woodside Chairman Michael Chaney said that Pickard had significant international business experience.

“The directors are delighted that we have been able to attract a person of Ms Pickard’s background and experience to the company’s Board,” Chaney said.

On Feb. 1 Pickard retired from Royal Dutch Shell plc, where she held numerous positions during her 15-year tenure with the company. Before her retirement from Shell, Pickard served as executive vice president, Arctic and was responsible for Shell’s Arctic exploration efforts. This followed three years as Executive Vice President of Shell’s Exploration and Production business and Country Chair of Shell in Australia, and five years as Executive Vice President, Africa. Pickard joined Shell in 2000 after an 11-year tenure with Mobil prior to its merger with Exxon. read more

Pickard quits Shell

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Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 09.51.25Peter Klinger: November 11, 2015

Ann Pickard, once dubbed the “bravest woman in oil and gas” before she transformed Royal Dutch Shell’s century old presence in Australia, has quit the Anglo-Dutch giant.

However, the decision to retire from Shell will not spell the end of her exposure to oil and gas, and LNG in particular which she championed during her stint as the Anglo Dutch giant’s Australia country chair.

Ms Pickard is joining the board of oil and gas engineering contractor KBR as a non-executive director from next month. read more

Shell’s top Arctic exec is retiring, will join KBR board

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Posted on November 10, 2015 | By Joshua Cain

After Royal Dutch Shell scuttled its $7 billion Arctic drilling program in September, the company’s top executive on the project is moving on.

Ann Pickard, Shell’s executive vice president in the Arctic, will retire from the company in February 2016, Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh said Tuesday.

She will also join the board at Houston-based engineering and construction giant KBR Inc. in December, the company said on Tuesday.

Pickard was appointed to the Arctic after Shell’s program there foundered in 2012, when the rig the company contracted for the job, the Kulluk, crashed into an Alaskan island.

Shell ended its second attempt in the Arctic on Sept. 28 after the exploratory well it drilled in Alaskan waters of the Chukchi Sea failed to find significant amounts of oil and gas. read more

Myths about Shell’s Arctic Alaska pullout persist

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Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 09.03.21Yereth RosenAlaska Dispatch News: October 3, 2015

When Royal Dutch Shell announced that it had lost its big-money bet in the Chukchi Sea and would end its entire program in the offshore U.S. Arctic, the hyperbole and finger-pointing began in earnest.

Rep. Don Young accused President Obama and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell of deliberately sabotaging Alaska’s economy. “I’m sure somewhere Sally Jewell and President Obama are smiling and celebrating Shell’s decision to cease operations off the coast of Alaska,” Young said in a statement issued just after Shell’s announcement. read more

Shell boss confronts environmental, carbon challenges

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On Monday, the oil and gas giant gritted its teeth and pulled out of one of the most ambitious, expensive and controversial exploration forays on the planet – Alaska. A project that could have delivered tens of billions of dollars instead delivered a dry well and, on Sunday, van Beurden and his team called it quits.

ANALYSIS: By The Business presenter Ticky Fullerton: 2 Oct 2015

Rarely have energy companies faced greater challenges, and global giant Shell has moved to tackle some of them head on.

Of all weeks to be in London to catch up with global Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden, this was it.

On Monday, the oil and gas giant gritted its teeth and pulled out of one of the most ambitious, expensive and controversial exploration forays on the planet – Alaska.

A project that could have delivered tens of billions of dollars instead delivered a dry well and, on Sunday, van Beurden and his team called it quits. read more

Why Shell Quit Drilling in the Arctic

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By Paul Barrett: BLOOMBERG.COM: 28 SEPT 2015: 6:12 PM BST

Royal Dutch Shell’s abrupt announcement today that it would cease all offshore drilling in the Arctic is surprising for several reasons. One is the unusual degree of confidence the company expressed as recently as mid-August that it had identified 15 billion barrels of oil beneath the well known as Burger J it’s now abandoning. 

What on earth happened?

Mistaken geology

After spending $7 billion over several years to explore a single well this summer, Shell said in a statement that it “found indications of oil and gas … but these are not sufficient to warrant further exploration.” This contrasts sharply with Shell officials’ statements as recently as July and August that based on 3D and 4D seismic analysis of core samples, its petroleum geologists were “very confident” drillers would find plentiful oil. read more

Shell’s big gamble: Oil wrangling at the far reaches of the Arctic frontier

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By Steven Mufson September 11

Shell Oil Co.’s president Marvin Odum made the trip on Sept. 2 from Houston to this northern-most town in the United States, a spot whose traditional name, Ukpeagvik, means “place where snowy owls are hunted.”

Odum is here hunting, too, for oil offshore and political support from Alaska Natives living in Barrow, a ramshackle town of muddy streets, littered with all-terrain vehicles and guarded by snow fences on one side and on the other a four-foot-high earthen berm to protect against high winds and seas. read more

Royal Dutch Shell Is Now A 7.54% Dividend Yield Monster

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Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.35.25Aug. 24, 2015 6:45 PM ET


  • Stock market downturn takes Shell’s dividend yield to an astonishing 7.54%.
  • The dividend looks reasonably safe.
  • High initial yield but little growth expected in coming years.

Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) (NYSE:RDS.B) doesn’t need an introduction. This Anglo-Dutch multinational is one of the largest, integrated oil & gas majors in the world. Its share price has dropped nearly a quarter since the start of the year, pushing its dividend yield ever higher. While commonly regarded by many DGI investors as lesser quality than Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), I believe the current market situation highly favors including this stock in the energy component of your dividend portfolio. read more

BVB Personal Journey? Was it to a bank or a casino?

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By John Donovan

Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden claims that he has been on a personal journey in relation to authorising Shell’s latest Arctic gamble.

All due credit for the courage needed to take such a huge risk. The same applies to Shell’s takeover of the BG Group and the alliance with the corrupt and murderous Putin regime. All could go terribly wrong.

With regards to economics, the price of oil is an important factor in all three ventures. Shell has now admitted that oil prices are likely to remain low for some time.  read more

Ann Pickard: the little-known executive leading Shell’s gamble on Arctic oil

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Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 18.06.06Pickard is known as one of the oil industry’s toughest political operators with a history of doing whatever it takes to further Shell’s interests – and the Arctic is ‘just too big a prize’ to leave read more

Inside Shell’s Extreme Plan to Drill for Oil in the Arctic

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by Paul Barrett and Benjamin Elgin: 5 August 2015: BLOOMBERG.COM

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Protesters near the Polar Pioneer.: Photographer: Keri Coles/Greenpeace

Ann Pickard

Ann Pickard – Shell VP Arctic Drilling

In a windowless conference room in Anchorage, a dozen Royal Dutch Shell employees report on the highest-profile oil project in the multinational’s vast global portfolio. Warmed by mid-July temperatures, Arctic ice in the Chukchi Sea, northwest of the Alaskan mainland, is receding. Storms are easing; helicopter flights will soon resume. Underwater volcanoes—yes, volcanoes—are dormant. “That’s good news for us,” Ann Pickard, Shell’s top executive for the Arctic, whispers to a visitor. read more

Shell pressing ahead in Chukchi after setbacks

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Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 13.24.59Explorers 2015: Shell pressing ahead in Chukchi after setbacks

Company is mobilizing fleet after three-year hiatus, still waiting for final approval of exploration plan

Eric Lidji For Petroleum News: 7 June 2015

After a tiny step forward and many large leaps backward, Royal Dutch Shell plc is once again planning to explore its Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea this summer.

“We have retained a very significant capability to be ready this year to go ahead,” CEO Ben van Beurden said during a January earnings call. “And we’ve kept all our capability in place, tuned it, upgraded it just to be ready to drill this coming summer season.”

By “capability,” van Beurden was referring to the fleet required for conducting drilling operations in the remote Chukchi Sea off the northwest coast of the Alaska. read more

Feds rap Shell for poor planning in botched tow of 2012 Arctic drilling rig

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By Jennifer A. Dlouhy: 28May 2015

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Geoff Merrell, superintendent of emergency response, Shell Alaska: Photo: Jennifer A. Dlouhy/The Houston Chronicle

WASHINGTON — The National Transportation Safety Board on Thursday blamed the grounding of Shell’s Kulluk drilling rig on the company’s failure to adequately assess the risks of towing the vessel across predictably stormy Alaska seas in 2012.

The independent federal agency’s findings, released Thursday, represent the third major government report on what went wrong when Shell Oil Co. and its contractors tried towing the Kulluk across Gulf of Alaska waters in December 2012 — only to have the rig run aground on Sitkalidak Island following a failed five-day fight to get control of it.

“No single error or mechanical failure led to this accident,” the NTSB said. “Rather, shortcomings in the design of a plan with an insufficient margin of safety allowed this accident to take place. The plan was created to move the (mobile offshore drilling unit) at a time of year with a known likelihood of severe weather conditions for reasons unrelated to operational safety.” read more

Shell to drill in Alaskan Arctic with protesters in pursuit

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Ten years after it first started acquiring new leases in the Arctic, and having spent almost $7bn, Shell has still not yet drilled a single well into oil-bearing rocks. A series of law suits, regulatory objections and its own mistakes have held it up.

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  • Shell Arctic oil project to take decades
  • Shell hits back at fossil fuel critics
  • Shell secures Arctic drilling plan approval
  • read more

    Ann Pickard, Shell VP for Arctic drilling, is not a safe pair of hands

    Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 18.39.24“Having got its corporate fingers burnt once already, it is simply astonishing that the fate of Shell’s resurrected Arctic drilling campaign is being entrusted by Shell and President Obama to such an incompetent, unscrupulous individual, as Ann Pickard.”

    Screen Shot 2015-05-24 at 16.03.38By John Donovan

    Ann Pickard replaced David Lawrence as Shell VP for the Arctic after Shell’s 2012 disastrous Arctic drilling fiasco, aptly described by the then U.S. Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, as a Screw Up.

    Lawrence of Alaska, the chosen fall guy, was fired.

    Ann Pickard is now being presented as being a safe pair of hands.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    When she was a senior Royal Dutch Shell executive in Africa, Ann Pickard boasted to the U.S. Ambassador Robin Sanders that Shell had infiltrated spies into key positions throughout Nigerian government ministries and knew everything that was going on. read more

    Chief of Shell’s Arctic drilling program searches for ‘the prize’

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    Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 18.39.24By Hal Bernton and Coral GarnickSeattle Times staff reporters: Published 23 May 2015

    Chief of Shell’s Arctic drilling program searches for ‘the prize’

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    (Ann Pickard, Shell’s executive vice president for the Arctic)

    Shell’s Ann Pickard says an offshore oil find in the remote Chukchi Sea could eventually yield 1 million barrels of oil daily, and she insists the company has learned from its messy Arctic exploration effort in 2012.

    In a brief summer drilling season off Alaska’s Arctic shore, Shell’s Ann Pickard is on the hunt for a giant oil field, and she thinks she knows where to find it.

    All of the vessels in the Arctic exploration fleet now gathering in Puget Sound will be headed to a spot in the Chukchi Sea where Shell first drilled in 1989 and 1990. At that site, called the Burger Prospect, the company found natural gas that Pickard hopes is sitting on top of the oil Shell seeks.

    “We are going to focus on what I call the prize, and the prize to me is Burger,” said Pickard, Shell’s executive vice president for the Arctic. “If Burger works, then it opens up the whole area.” read more

    Shell lays out its Arctic plans

    Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 21.47.32Article by Jennifer A. Dlouhy published May 21, 2015 by The Houston Chronicle

    Shell lays out its Arctic plans

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    Photo: Jennifer A. Dlouhy/Houston Chronicle

    SEATTLE – The executive leading Shell’s Arctic drilling program on Thursday outlined ambitions to drill new wells in the Chukchi Sea this summer, instead of returning to the one the company started three years ago.

    Ann Pickard, Shell’s executive vice president of the Arctic, talked in depth to the Chronicle about the planned wells on a visit to the Transocean Polar Pioneer drilling rig.

    While cranes heaved pipes, drilling fluids and other supplies onto the rig in the Port of Seattle, more than 1,400 miles away in Anchorage, some 400 people – boat captains, federal regulators and Shell officials – conducted a simulation to test how they would respond to an oil spill in the frigid Chukchi Sea. read more

    Shell braves a return to its Arctic ordeals: But, with oil at such a low price, why now?

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    Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 21.09.23By LAURA CHESTERS FOR THE DAILY MAIL: 13 May 2015

    New Year’s Eve 2012 is a date Lieutenant Commander Jim Cooley will never forget. As part of the rescue team from the US Coast Guard he flew out in treacherous, stormy conditions to rescue 18 men aboard Royal Dutch Shell’s stranded Kulluk oil rig.

    Earlier that winter another drilling rig in Shell’s fleet, the Noble Discoverer, nearly ran aground and was towed to port after experiencing vibrations in a propeller shaft.

    The giant, perfectly round, steel Kulluk rig which crew were forced to abandon, was eventually towed to safety in a nearby bay. No oil was spilled but the two incidents were a PR disaster for Shell in such a region. They led to the oil major abandoning its Arctic plans entirely for the next two years and environment protestors issued a collective sigh of relief. read more

    Shell: We have ‘backup plans’ if blocked from Port of Seattle

    Article by Joel Connelly published 6 May 2015 by

    Shell: We have ‘backup plans’ if blocked from Port of Seattle

    Royal Dutch Shell has “backup plans” if it is blocked from using the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 as home port for its Arctic drilling fleet, a senior company executive told reporters at a conference in Houston.

    “It’s not my preferred approach — we have backup plans. I don’t think this will delay the program,” said Ann Pickard, the Shell vice president who oversees the company’s plans to drill this summer in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea.

    “It’s unfortunate. There are other ports that would like us to be there and they continue to be supportive,” she added. read more

    Seattle ruling won’t derail Shell’s Arctic quest, executive vows

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    Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 17.04.22Seattle ruling won’t derail Shell’s Arctic quest, executive vows

    Posted on May 5, 2015 | By Jennifer A. Dlouhy

    HOUSTON — A ruling by the city of Seattle may throw a wrench into Shell’s Arctic drilling plans, but it won’t delay the company’s plans to bore two new wells in the Chukchi Sea this summer, a top executive vowed Tuesday.

    Although “it’s not my preferred approach . . . we have backup plans,” said Ann Pickard, Royal Dutch Shell’s executive vice president for the Arctic. “I don’t think this will delay the program.”

    At issue is Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s ruling this week that the city port must obtain a new land-use permit to serve as a home base for Shell’s Arctic drilling rigs and support vessels. Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development concluded that Shell’s plans to moor its ships at the port’s Terminal 5 — before sending them north to Alaska — fall outside the scope of the existing permit and underlying environmental analysis authorizing the site to function as a cargo terminal. read more

    John Donovan unmasked as a Shell Spy

    By John Donovan

    In July of this year I published an article pointing out my listing on zoominfo as founder, owner and Group Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

    My impressive employment history has since been updated and I am now also listed as being a Senior Lawyer and Alaska Vice President for Shell, a job Ann Pickard probably thought she had secured. 

    It gets better.

    A new book edited by two Associate Professors from the University of Ottawa  seems to identify me as a former employee of Shell Corporate Affairs Security. In other words, a Shell spy. read more

    Shell’s own goals in the Arctic: Over to you, Ann

    Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 09.25.26US authorities say a desire to avoid taxes lead Shell to move an oil rig in rough seas in 2012, which lead to its grounding.

    Extract from an article published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 November 2014

    When Ann Pickard says how sorry she is to be leaving the Westpac board after its shareholder meeting next month – just three years after taking her seat – there is no doubting her sincerity.

    Chairman Lindsay Maxsted says that following the former Shell Australia boss’s “executive relocation to the US and expectations that her commitments in North America (as head of Shell’s Arctic operations) will increase in 2015, Ms Pickard reluctantly chose to retire from the board”. read more

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