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Judge wants more info from big oil companies in climate change lawsuits

May 25, 2018 12:42 PM ET|By: , SA News Editor

A federal judge yesterday said he needed more information before deciding whether to dismiss lawsuits by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland alleging that Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), Chevron (NYSE:CVX), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B), BP and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) should pay to protect residents from the impacts of climate change.

The judge also wants the companies to produce additional material backing up claims that they should not be a part of the case because the court lacked jurisdiction over them. read more

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Judge to hear oil companies’ bid for dismissal of climate change lawsuits

The five defendants are the world’s largest investor-owned oil companies: Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips, BP PLC, and Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

By on May 24, 2018 7:59 am

Five oil companies are due to ask a federal judge on Thursday to dismiss a pair of climate change lawsuits filed by the cities of Oakland and San Francisco.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup will hear arguments on the companies’ motions for dismissal in his San Francisco courtroom at 8 a.m. Thursday.

The lawsuits filed last year claim the corporations created a
public nuisance by producing “massive quantities” of oil and natural gas and promoting their use while knowing they lead to global warming and rising sea levels. read more

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Climate Change Warriors’ Latest Weapon of Choice Is Litigation

By Jeremy Hodges, Lauren Leatherby and Kartikay Mehrotra
May 24, 2018

In the global fight against climate change, one tool is proving increasingly popular: litigation.

From California to the Philippines, activists, governments and concerned citizens are suing the biggest polluters and national governments over the effects of climate change at a break-neck pace.

“The courts are our last, best hope at this moment of irreversible harm to our planet and life on it,” said Julia Olson, an attorney for Our Children’s Trust, a legal challenge center in the U.S. that is involved in climate change litigation across 13 countries, including the U.S., Pakistan and Uganda. read more

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Investors turn up heat on Shell over climate targets

Ron Bousso: MAY 22, 2018

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Top investors in Royal Dutch Shell on Tuesday stepped up pressure on the oil and gas giant to commit to hard targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to battle climate change.

Shell has set out “ambitions” to halve carbon emissions by 2050 and expand in renewables energy, which Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden said were ground breaking for the oil industry.

To view a graphic on Shell emissions, click: reut.rs/2Iya7Hf

“Nobody else comes close, it is seriously ambitious,” van Beurden said of Shell’s plan at the company’s annual general meeting in The Hague. read more

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Nigeria draft oil reforms seek to establish powerful industry regulator

FILE PHOTO: The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) headquarters are seen in Abuja, Nigeria December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/File Photo

For decades, communities in the Niger Delta oil heartland have complained that spills and pollution have destroyed their land and killed off wildlife. Rights group Amnesty International accused international oil majors Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Eni SpA in March of negligence when addressing spills in Nigeria.

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria’s government plans to create a powerful energy regulator with broad oversight of the oil and gas sector, according to draft versions of sweeping reforms known collectively as the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

The draft laws, posted on the Nigerian legislature’s website on April 30, are the versions intended for the Senate, the upper house of parliament.

The PIB aims to improve transparency, attract investors, stimulate growth and increase government revenues.

After being debated for well over a decade, the unwieldly and contentious legislation was broken into sections to help it pass into law. read more

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Oil Companies Ask Judge to Kill NYC’s Global Warming Lawsuit

By Bob Van Voris: 4 May 2018, 23:09 BST Updated on 5 May 2018, 02:09 BST

Case affects global economy, national security, companies say

New York argues oil companies denied climate change science

This lawsuit is based upon the fundamental principle that a corporation that makes a product causing severe harm when used exactly as intended should shoulder the costs of abating that harm. Defendants here produced, marketed, and sold massive quantities of fossil fuels—primarily oil and natural gas—despite knowing that the combustion and use of fossil fuels emit greenhouse gases (“GHG pollution” or “GHGs”), primarily carbon dioxide (“CO2”). Defendants have also known for decades that GHG pollution accumulates and remains in the atmosphere for up to hundreds of years, where it traps heat, a process commonly referred to as “climate change” or “global warming,” and that this process would cause grave harm.

Five of the world’s biggest oil companies asked a judge to throw out New York City’s lawsuit seeking to hold them responsible for costs related to the environmental changes caused by their products. 

BP Plc, Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp., and Royal Dutch Shell Plc argued that the court lacks the authority to resolve broad policy questions with “profound implications for the global economy, international relations and America’s national security.” read more

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Shell says fully committed to Iraq gas venture, plans ‘massive’ expansion

DUBAI (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) is fully committed to its gas joint venture in Iraq, after the energy major exited its oil assets in the OPEC country, and plans to boost its gas output there to 1.4 billion cubic feet (bcf) a day by 2020, a senior executive said.

Iraq’s gas development plans have long focused on Basra Gas Co (BGC), a $17 billion, 25-year project in which Iraq has 51 percent, Shell 44 percent and Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp (8058.T) 5 percent.

The project was designed to aggregate gas from fields in the south including West Qurna 1, operated by Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N); Zubair, operated by Italy’s Eni (ENI.MI); and Rumaila, developed by BP (BP.L). read more

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SHELL WRITES OFF NAM SHARES OVER GRONINGEN GAS EXTRACTION REDUCTION

By Janene Pieters on April 26, 2018 – 12:20

In its bookkeeping, Shell is reducing the value of its interest in NAM to zero in response to the Dutch government deciding to cin the coming years, RTL Nieuws reports.

Dutch petroleum company NAM is responsible for gas extraction in Groningen. NAM is owned half by Shell and half by ExxonMobil. Depreciating its shares in NAM is costing Shell 244 million dollars, according to RTL.  

The Dutch government concluded that safety in Groningen can only be guaranteed if the cause of the gas extraction earthquakes in the province is completely removed. The government therefore plans to reduce gas extraction in the province to 12 billion cubic meters by 2022 at the latest. From October 2022 gas extraction will be reduced to 7.5 billion cubic meters “and possibly considerably less”. And after that it will gradually be reduced to zero. read more

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Shell writes off entire investment in troubled gas venture NAM

Thursday 26 April 2018

Shell has written off its entire $244m investment in gas production company NAM in a move seen as a further attempt to distance itself from the troubled company.

NAM is a 50-50 joint venture between Shell and ExxonMobil and faces huge damages claims because of the earthquakes in Groningen province which have been caused by the extraction of natural gas.

The one-off charge was booked in first-quarter earnings published on Thursday, according to the Financieele Dagblad. read more

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Cost of shutting off Groningen gas mounts, minister in dispute with Shell, Exxon

April 13, 2018

Economic affairs minister Eric Wiebes is embroiled in a dispute with Shell and ExxonMobil about the bill for closing the gas taps in Groningen, broadcaster NOS said on Friday.

The dispute revolves around a potential billion euro claim facing the Dutch state from the oil giants, NOS says. It bases its claim on documents obtained using freedom of information legislation.

If the plans goes ahead to close off the Groningen fields by 2030, some €50bn to €125bn worth of gas will remain underground. And documents from 2016 show the oil companies will make a claim against the Dutch state for lost income, the broadcaster said. read more

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SHELL, EXXON WANTS COMPENSATION FROM DUTCH GOV’T FOR GRONINGEN GAS LEFT UN-EXTRACTED: REPORT

Milieudefensie and Groningen residents dump fracking earthquake rubble in front of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in The Hague, 26 Oct 2017. Photo: @milieudefensie / Twitter

Shell and Exxon wants the government to pay them billions of euros in compensation for the gas that will not be extracted from Groningen now that the government is g, NOS reports.

With the government’s plans to stop gas extraction in Groningen, between 50 and 120 billion euros of gas will remain un-mined, according to documents NOS got by appealing to the freedom of information act. The oil companies want compensation for that. Previously Minister Erik Wiebes of Economic Affairs and Climate said that the government “does not want a claim for damage over the gas remaining in the ground”, according to the broadcaster.  read more

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Shell takes its turn in the climate change spotlight

Photo: Michael Macor, Staff / The Chronicle

What did you know and when did you know it? Those are the questions increasingly directed at Big Oil as concerns about global warming, rising sea levels and climate change grow.

For a few years now, Exxon Mobil has faced a bombardment of allegations — which the Texas oil company denies — that it knew about climate change related to fossil fuels in the 1970s and buried the evidence. State investigations in New York and Massachusetts continue to focus on whether Exxon Mobil misled the public and the company’s investors. read more

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New Document Suggests Shell Knew About Climate Change 30 Years Ago

An internal Shell report from 1988 has revealed the supermajor was aware of the effect of its business on climate. The report, uncovered by Dutch journalist Jelmer Mommers from the De Correspondent news platform, has been published in the Climate Files and might just make life that much more difficult for the Anglo-Dutch company.

The document is an in-depth study of what was at the time called global warming with references to an earlier study and suggestions that the company was interested in researching climate change at least since 1981. read more

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Environmental Group Vows To Sue Shell Over Climate Change

By Tsvetana Paraskova – Apr 04, 2018, 6:00 PM CDT

In the latest legal campaign against Big Oil, Friends of the Earth Netherlands vowed on Wednesday to take Shell to court if it doesn’t act on demands to align its corporate strategy with the global climate objectives.

“Shell is liable for its substantial contribution to climate change and for the associated social and environmental damages,” Friends of the Earth Netherlands, or Milieudefensie as it is known in Dutch, said in a letter sent to Shell’s chief executive Ben van Beurden today. read more

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Netherlands outlines plan to stop Groningen gas production by 2030

|By: , SA News Editor

The Dutch government says it will phase out gas production at the Groningen field by 2030 as part of efforts to reduce the danger caused by small but damaging earthquakes.

Production is set for 21.6B cm this year, already down from a peak of 53.8B cm in 2013, and is planned to fall to below 20B cm for the production year beginning October 2018 and to below 17.5B cm for the 2019 year, assuming average temperatures, then to 12B cm in the coming 4-5 years and to zero at the end of the 2020s. read more

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The Sky’s The Limit In Shell’s New Climate Targets Scenario

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Shell to sell West Qurna 1 oilfield stake to Japan’s Itochu for $406 million

Reuters Staff: MARCH 23, 2018

(Reuters) – Oil major Royal Dutch Shell on Friday agreed to sell its entire stake in Iraq’s West Qurna 1 oilfield to Japan’s Itochu Corp for $406 million.

The deal comes shortly after the Anglo-Dutch company agreed to exit the Majnoon oilfield, one of the largest fields in OPEC member Iraq, and hand over its operation to state-run Basra Oil Co (BOC) by end-June. 

Shell EP Middle East Holdings B.V. will sell the entire share capital of Shell Iraq B.V. (SIBV), which holds a 19.6 percent stake in the oilfield to a unit of Itochu, the Anglo Dutch company said. read more

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In court, Big Oil rejected climate denial

In a California court case this week, Judge William Alsup asked the two sides to provide him a climate science tutorial. The plaintiffs are the coastal cities of San Francisco and Oakland. They’re suing five major oil companies (Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, ConocoPhillips and BP) to pay for the cities’ costs to cope with the sea level rise caused by global warming. FULL ARTICLE

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U.S. judge to question Big Oil on climate change

David Levine: 21 MARCH 2018

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Five of the world’s biggest energy producers will be questioned by a federal judge on Wednesday about climate change science, part of a lawsuit that accuses the companies of misleading the public for years about their role in global warming.

The cities of San Francisco and Oakland, California sued Chevron Corp (CVX.N), Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N), ConocoPhillips (COP.N), Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSa.L), and BP PLC (BP.L) last year, seeking an abatement fund to help the cities address flooding they say is a result of climate change. read more

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Chevron Says Climate Change Lawsuit `Not Viable’ As It Prepares To Educate Judge On Science

Daniel Fisher: Writer and communications consultant and former senior editor with Forbes magazine; 21 March 2018

Five of the world’s largest oil and gas producers have filed a motion to dismiss a climate change lawsuit against them by the cities of Oakland and San Francisco even as they prepare to deliver an unusual “tutorial” on climate science to the federal judge overseeing the case.

In a 45-page filing on Tuesday, Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell urged U.S. District Judge William Alsup to dismiss the lawsuit seeking billions of dollars to pay for costs associated with global warming. The oil companies argue the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit have repeatedly rejected similar lawsuits against oil companies, the auto industry and electric utilities because Congress has given authority to regulate CO2 emissions exclusively to the Environmental Protection Agency. read more

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Nigeria State Oil Company Hasn’t Explained Missing Billions

An agency tasked with cleaning up Nigeria’s murky oil industry says even though financial accountability has improved the state oil company still hasn’t explained billions of dollars of missing revenue.

While energy producers have cooperated and complied with requirements to publish payments, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative has struggled with the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., Waziri Adio, executive secretary of the agency known as Neiti, said in a March 7 interview in Abuja, the capital. The state oil company hasn’t explained what it did with at least $22.7 billion earned from the sale of oil licenses and in dividends from its stake in Nigeria LNG Ltd. over a 15-year period, he said. read more

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Shell and Anadarko avoid divorce after spat, plan Permian growth

An oil rig on Anadarko’s acreage in the Permian Basin. Photo: Brett Coomer / Brett Coomer / Houston Chronicle

Royal Dutch Shell and The Woodlands’ Anadarko Petroleum feuded last year over spending and control of their Permian Basin joint venture in West Texas. Now, they say, they’ve avoided a messy divorce and are primed to grow in the booming oil and gas region.

The deal combined one the world’s biggest oil companies with one of Texas’ top independent oil and gas producers, marrying global financial resources with local shale expertise. Shell, new to the Permian, inherited the partnership when it paid about $2 billion in 2012 to acquire a 618,000-acre position in West Texas from Oklahoma’s Chesapeake Energy, which had formed the joint venture with Anadarko five years prior. read more

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Shell mulls investment in new wave of LNG projects

Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden says the company is looking to finalize new investments, which may include the company’s LNG Canada project

Geoffrey MorganGEOFFREY MORGAN Published on: March 8, 2018 | Last Updated: March 8, 2018

HOUSTON – The head of Royal Dutch Shell Plc dropped a hint that it’s keen to invest in liquefied natural gas projects soon on Tuesday, a tantalizing prospect for Canadian gas producers desperate to access rapidly changing global energy markets.

Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden did not specifically mention the company’s LNG Canada project in Kitimat, British Columbia when he addressed a room of oil and gas executives on Wednesday, but indicated the company is looking to finalize new investments. read more

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NAM NEWS BRIEF ON HANDLING GRONINGEN EARTHQUAKE DAMAGE CLAIMS

Printed below is an English translation of information published today by Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij BV (NAM), a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil each owning a 50% share in the company responsible for the earthquake blighted Groningen Gas Field and consequential potential bill for untold billions in damages to effected residences.

BEGINS

Before 1 July 2018 an offer to handle 6,000 old claim notications

Any resident who reported damage reports after 31 March 2017 as a result of an earthquake, can contact the independent Temporary Committee for Mining Damage Groningen from 19 March 2018. At the request of the government, NAM handles the ‘old’ outstanding 6,000 damage reports, before 31 March 2017. read more

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At energy summit, climate pits U.S. against Europe

FILE PHOTO: Ben van Beurden, chief executive officer of Royal Dutch Shell, speaks during the 26th World Gas Conference in Paris, France, June 2, 2015. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

Ron Bousso: 7 MARCH 2018

HOUSTON (Reuters) – The U.S. energy secretary blasted renewable fuels champions on Wednesday while the head of Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) urged the energy sector to focus on global efforts to cut carbon emissions, reflecting a yawning trans-Atlantic gap on climate issues.

Speaking at the CERAWeek conference in Houston, Shell CEO Ben van Beurden outlined an ambitious plan to reduce the Anglo-Dutch company’s carbon footprint and expand in renewables, and called on others to follow. read more

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Yedlin: East Coast LNG projects quietly moving forward

Local Input~ Aerial View of the Bear Head LNG Project Site, Nova Scotia, Canada. Photo: Courtesy of Liquefied Natural Gas Limited. 0211 biz gmo bearhead

DEBORAH YEDLIN, CALGARY HERALD: 24 FEB 2018

Lost in the hyper-focus on British Columbia and its persistent obstruction of energy infrastructure development is the East Coast, where two liquefied natural gas projects are quietly moving forward in Nova Scotia.

Both Bear Head LNG to be located on the north bank of the Strait of Canso and Pieridae Energy in Goldboro are at different phases of their progress, but unlike what’s going on in B.C. there is a marked absence of opposition. read more

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Gas producer NAM sees no need for further measures at Groningen field

Reuters Staff: 19 FEB 2018

AMSTERDAM, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Dutch gas company NAM on Monday said it sees no need for further measures at the Groningen field after a recent series of relatively small earthquakes in the region.

The Dutch gas sector regulator last week ordered a new review of production at the field in the north of the Netherlands, after three tremors with magnitudes of 1.7 to 2.2 between Feb. 8 and Feb. 11. 

After a 3.4 earthquake in January the Dutch government already said it would cut Groningen production by 44 percent as quickly as possible, while ordering the immediate shutdown of five production points in the earthquake-prone field. read more

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In the deepwater versus shale oil contest, Shell backs both

Ron Bousso, Dmitry Zhdannikov: FEBRUARY 20,2018 LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) will expand deepwater output and turn a profit from its shale production in coming years as both together will help the oil major cope with a world of low crude prices, the head of its oil and gas production said on Tuesday.

Shell’s deepwater production in Brazil, Nigeria, the Gulf of Mexico is much bigger and more profitable, but the firm sees the nimble, fast-returns U.S. onshore shale as an engine for growth.

“We can see strong (shale) production growth, strong cash surpluses that gives us a balance in our portfolio where you can ramp investment up and down, you can moderate that, very unlike deepwater which is quite chunky,” Andy Brown told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the IP Week conference. read more

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Global dividends hit record of $1.25 trillion in 2017, more to come

Royal Dutch Shell kept its position as the world’s biggest dividend payer

Danilo Mason: FEBRUARY 19, 2018

MILAN (Reuters) – Global dividends rose 7.7 percent to an all-time high of $1.25 trillion (1 trillion euros) last year boosted by a buoyant world economy and rising corporate confidence, Janus Henderson (JHG.N) said on Monday, predicting another record year ahead.

The surge – the strongest since 2014 – was driven by increases in every region and almost every industry with record showings in 11 countries including the United States, Japan, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Netherlands, the investment manager added. read more

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New York City Inspires Paris to Take on Big Oil Companies

By

A little more than a month after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City will take the fossil fuel industry to court, Paris says it is following suit.

In early January, de Blasio announced that the city filed a lawsuit against five of the United States’ biggest oil companies—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell—on the grounds that they have contributed to global warming. The city will also divest from fossil fuel companies over a five-year period.

On Feb. 6, 350.org—which has been working on a divestment campaign for the last four years—announced that Paris was looking into the possibility of suing the fossil fuel industry as well.

The City Council passed a motion to study the possibility of taking legal action against oil companies to cover expenses associated with protecting Paris from the impacts of climate change.

The Council plans to lobby other major cities like London to ban fossil fuels from their investments through the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, whose president is Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. read more

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Argentina Is On The Cusp Of A Shale Boom

…oil majors such as Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil are rushing to scoop up the best acreage…

By Matthew Smith – Feb 15, 2018, 5:00 PM CST

The end of the Peronist hold on Argentine politics and rise of pro-business president Mauricio Macri has heralded in a new age for what was long regarded as one of the most economically unstable nations in Latin America.

The former Buenos Aires mayor and businessman won the presidency in 2015, ousting his mercurial populist Peronist predecessor Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Since coming to power, Macri has worked to restructure a shattered economy ruined by decades of market warping tariffs and subsidies, protectionism, heavy handed regulation, rampant inflation and unsustainable fiscal policies. read more

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Dutch residents lose patience after years of tremors

Anjli Raval, Oil & Gas Correspondent

This corner of the Netherlands has for decades been blighted by earthquakes triggered by extraction from the Groningen gasfield, discovered in 1959 and the largest in Europe. But their frequency and magnitude have been increasing, damaging houses and infrastructure and agitating communities who blame the government and two of the world’s biggest energy companies for billions of euros in damage.

FULL ARTICLE CAN BE FOUND ON FT WEBSITE

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Hail shale, but deepwater oil fights back

Ron Bousso: 14 FEB 2018

LONDON (Reuters) – Penguins, Royal Dutch Shell’s (RDSa.L) latest oil and gas development in a remote corner of the British North Sea, epitomizes the new doctrine for deepwater projects — keep it cheap and simple.

Shunned during the oil price crash of 2014-2016, deepwater projects are being embraced again, a challenge to the surge in onshore U.S. shale output.

Penguins, the first new major deepwater project this year, will rejuvenate the 44-year-old field by drilling 8 new wells 165 meters (541 feet) underwater and connecting them to a new production vessel. read more

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Big Oil takes stage for post-austerity beauty contest

Ron Bousso: 12 FEB 2018

LONDON (Reuters) – With years of austerity in their rear-view mirrors, the world’s biggest oil companies are locked in a beauty contest to lure investors with promises of growth and greater rewards.

Royal Dutch Shell and Total are emerging as frontrunners after a three-year slump thanks to strong growth projections but Exxon Mobil, the biggest publicly traded oil company, has largely disappointed with a weaker outlook.

Major oil companies slashed spending and cut costs after oil prices collapsed in 2014 and can now generate as much cash with crude at $50-$55 a barrel as they did when the price was around $100 earlier in the decade. read more

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Ads will attack de Blasio’s lawsuits against oil companies

De Blasio announced last month that the city had filed a lawsuit against BP, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell, claiming their fossil fuels produce 11 percent of the Earth’s global-warming gases.

The suit “seeks to shift the costs of protecting the city from climate-change impacts back onto the companies that have done nearly all they could to create this existential threat.”

City Hall spokesman Eric Phillips slammed the new campaign. read more

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Shell Commits to Expanding Gas Stations as Some Rivals Retreat

Istvan Kapitany, head of Shell’s global retail business

By Kevin Orland: 9 February 2018

(Bloomberg) — While many oil producers are stepping back from their retail operations, Royal Dutch Shell Plc is doubling down.

Shell, which has about 44,000 filling stations around the world, opened its first one in Mexico last year, the start of $1 billion in investments over the next decade. Shell also is ramping up spending in China, India, Indonesia and Russia, Istvan Kapitany, head of Shell’s global retail business, said in an interview in Calgary. read more

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Don’t believe in climate change? Energy companies do

The leaders of the world’s largest and most powerful energy companies are talking about the fight to mitigate human-caused climate change.

Some are even putting their money where their mouths are.

While some conservative political leaders still deny that the Earth is heating up due to humans burning fossil fuels and releasing greenhouse gases, the people who produce those fuels and chemicals have recognized the imperative to limit global warming to a rise of 2 degrees Celsius. read more

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Shell doubles profits but faces multibillion-dollar Dutch quake bill

Damage claims over tremors linked to Dutch gasfields clouds strong earnings for 2017

The Dutch government said this week that an independent commission will rule on thousands of claims from people affected by tremors caused by a gasfield run by NAM, a joint venture owned 50-50 by Shell and ExxonMobil. Van Beurden said: “We are talking about multibillion-dollar potential bill for years to come because these earthquake will continue to occur unfortunately. read more

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Groningen production restrictions to prove costly for Dutch government, says WoodMac

Planned production cuts to the Europe’s largest gas field is to cost the Dutch state-run Enrgie Beheer Nederlands $5billion over the life of the field as well as cause the continent to look elsewhere for supply, according to analysts Wood Mackenzie. Groningen has been a major global asset for operators Shell, ExxonMobil and Energie Beheer Nederlands.

There have been a series of powerful earthquakes in recent years around the Groningen field brought on by gas mining, with a tremor last month registering 3.4 magnitude – the most powerful to hit since 2012.

Yesterday the Staatstoezicht op de Mijnen (SoDM) mining association recommending the Ministry of Economic Affairs imposes an output cap of 12 billion cubic metres (bcm)  annually over the next four years in the interests of safety.

The limit represents an annual cut of nearly half from the last cap of 21.6 bcm, and a drop of around 70% since the first cap was imposed in 2014. read more

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Shell poised to dethrone Exxon in oil titans’ cash clash

Ron Bousso: 1 FEB 2018 LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell could usurp its largest rival Exxon Mobil as the energy sector’s biggest cash generator after higher oil and gas prices combined with an improved performance lifted its 2017 revenue.Chief Executive Ben van Beurden has made no secret of his desire to challenge the dominance of the world’s largest listed oil company after its $54 billion purchase of BG Group in 2016 catapulted Shell into second place in terms of production.

The Anglo-Dutch company on Thursday reported a more than doubling of profit in 2017 to $16 billion, the highest since the start of the 2014 downturn as the effect of years of costs cuts and the integration of BG Group filtered through.

“We enter 2018 with continued discipline and confidence, committed to the delivery of strong returns and cash,” van Beurden said in a statement.

Shell’s shares were 1.1 percent lower at 0842 GMT, compared with a slightly positive open for the FTSE 100 index. read more

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Shell Makes as Much Money at $60 a Barrel as When It Was $100

The oil-price rally worked both ways for Royal Dutch Shell Plc as improved exploration and production lifted profit to a three-year high while refining and trading fell short of expectations as margins shrank.

Crude’s surge raised adjusted profit at Europe’s largest energy company to $4.3 billion last quarter, the highest since 2014. While the bottom line was better than expected — and Shell is making as much money with oil at $60 a barrel as when it was $100 — cash flow was the weakest since 2016. read more

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GAS FIRM TO WITHHOLD SHELL, EXXON PROFITS; PROMISES CASH TO EARTHQUAKE-PRONE REGION

By Janene Pieters on January 31, 2018 – 13:40

Dutch gas firm NAM will for the time being not pay profits to its two shareholders – Shell and ExxonMobil, Shell announced in a press release. NAM has 18 billion euros available to compensate for damaged caused by gas extraction related earthquakes in Groningen for the next five years, the Dutch gas firm also announced in a press release.

These two press releases were an attempt to calm unrest caused by the revelation that Shell withdrew its so-called 403 declaration from NAM last year, as Trouw reported on Saturday. This 403 declaration held Shell liable for NAM’s debts. The withdrawal of this declaration, which happened in June last year, raised concerns that Shell is trying to escape its liability for damages caused by fracking earthquakes in Groningen. read more

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Shell made mistake by pulling out of Guyana basin

BY BERT WILKINSON: 31 JAN 2018

Now that Guyana’s oil and gas basin has been deemed as one of the hottest and most exciting prospects in the world, Shell Oil has to be regretting its decision to withdraw as an investment partner with United States giant ExxonMobil, which has so far drilled six successful wells offshore Guyana worth about 3.2 billion barrels of oil, officials said Monday, Jan. 29.

Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman said Exxon’s mid 2015 “world class” oil and gas find has clearly taken away all the fears and apprehensions about wasting investor dollars exploring offshore Guyana and Shell is one company which has missed out on the chance to cash in on one of the world’s largest oil finds in more than a decade. Exxon plans to begin producing about 120,000 barrels of oil daily in early 2020. This will make Guyana the largest producer in the Caribbean Community. The others are Trinidad, Suriname and Barbados. read more

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MPs angry as Shell distances itself from NAM earthquake claims

There has been furious reaction after energy giant Shell distanced itself from possible claims for earthquake damages in Groningen province made against its subsidiary gas production company NAM.

MPs are calling for an emergency debate to discuss the issue, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Monday.

In addition, farmers in the earthquake-damaged province of Groningen are planning a demonstration Monday evening in Delfzijl, local paper Dagblad van het Noorden said. Farmers claim subsidence harms their crops and threatens their manure stores.

Moreover, many claim NAM does not have the money to settle the escalating claims which are certain to reach billions of euros.

The row was triggered on Saturday when Trouw said Shell was backing away from possible earthquake damages claims made again NAM, an assertion based on Shell Nederland’s annual report published in June 2017. read more

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Oil Boom Gives the U.S. a New Edge in Energy and Diplomacy

A pump jack in a Permian Basin oil field in West Texas. The area has been a focus of the shale drilling boom. Credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images North America

HOUSTON — A substantial rise in oil prices in recent months has led to a resurgence in American oil production, enabling the country to challenge the dominance of Saudi Arabia and dampen price pressures at the pump.

The success has come in the face of efforts by Saudi Arabia and its oil allies to undercut the shale drilling spree in the United States. Those strategies backfired and ultimately ended up benefiting the oil industry.

Overcoming three years of slumping prices proved the resiliency of the shale boom. Energy companies and their financial backers were able to weather market turmoil — and the maneuvers of the global oil cartel — by adjusting exploration and extraction techniques. read more

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Shell buying spree cranks up race for clean energy

 

People take pictures of a high-efficiency petrol-burning concept car as it is unveiled by Royal Dutch Shell during a ceremony in Beijing, China April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Ron Bousso, Clara Denina: JANUARY 26, 2018

LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) has spent over $400 million on a range of acquisitions in recent weeks, from solar power to electric car charging points, cranking up its drive to expand beyond its oil and gas business and reduce its carbon footprint.

The scale of the buying spree pales in comparison to the Anglo-Dutch company’s $25 billion annual spending budget. But its first forays into the solar and retail power sectors for many years shows a growing urgency to develop cleaner energy businesses. read more

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Shell Is Closing In on Exxon’s Crown

Even in the dynamic world of business, some things always hold true: the Big Mac outsells the Whopper, Google gets more searches than Bing, and Exxon Mobil Corp. is the world’s biggest public oil company. Or perhaps not.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc is the closest it’s ever been to attaining the long-coveted prize of overtaking its American rival. While the Anglo-Dutch oil major still has some work left to snatch Exxon’s crown, Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden has made getting to the top his restless mission.

“At the moment we are number two and we are closing in on number one,” he said this month. “We almost have the tiger by the tail.”

That van Beurden thinks his goal is even in sight shows the risk he took in doing the industry’s biggest deal in decades is starting to pay off. Meanwhile, the strategy charted by Exxon’s former CEO Rex Tillerson has left the American major slightly adrift, according to investors.

“Ben doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk now,” Richard Hulf, co-manager in Artemis Global Energy Fund, part of a London investment management group that owns both Exxon and Shell shares. “Shell’s got a bit better and Exxon is at a weak point in its cycle.”

The narrowing gap is likely to show through when both companies post earnings next week. Analysts estimate Shell will report $16 billion of profit in 2017 helped by the acquisition of BG Group Plc. Exxon is forecast to report $15.7 billion of earnings, dropping behind its European rival for the first time in at least two decades. Shell is also likely to have churned out more cash from operations than Exxon last year.

It’s the $53 billion BG deal that’s really made a difference. When oil’s crash started in the middle of 2014, just months into Van Beurden’s tenure as Shell’s boss, he saw an opportunity. BG’s oil projects in Brazil and gas in Australia were just starting up, easing uncertainty on future growth. Rumored for years to be a suitor, van Beurden finally made the move for the British company.

The deal immediately put Shell in an exclusive club with Exxon, placing it on a plane above its European rivals Total SA and BP Plc. Some use the phrase ultra-major to differentiate the industry’s big two from the pack – at least until Saudi Aramco’s giant IPO, slated for the end of this year.

It wasn’t all plain sailing. As oil prices continued to slide in 2014, many analysts thought the price tag was excessive, forcing Shell to borrow too much. Van Beurden was staking his reputation on the deal and he pressed on, seeking to create what he often calls a “world-class investment case.” The company was forced to cut costs, sell assets and rein in spending to keep borrowing under control.

Still, in the two years since the BG deal closed, Shell’s B shares in London, the most widely traded, have returned more than five times Exxon’s, reversing the performance of the previous two years and providing superior returns for shareholders.

“Strategically BG was the right deal,” said Iain Pyle, the investment director for U.K. equities at the investment unit of Standard Life Aberdeen Plc, among the largest Shell shareholders. “The only question about it at the time was the price they paid and the stress they put on the balance sheet to do the deal.”

In the start of 2015, before Shell announced the BG deal, Exxon’s market value was about $180 billion more than Shell’s and it had just reported an annual profit $10 billion higher.

Since then, Exxon has struggled to keep the business growing. Exxon’s production in the third quarter was 1.8 percent lower than a year ago while Shell’s rose 1.7 percent. The American company’s oil and gas reserves have also dropped (though this may change this year as it books reserves from a  giant discovery  off the coast of Guyana in South America.) The gap in the two companies’ market value has more than halved to about $73 billion.

Shell’s record takeover fueled speculation Exxon would snap up a big rival to maintain its world-leader status, but it’s recent deal history hasn’t been a resounding success.

The $35-billion purchase of American shale gas company XTO in 2010 came shortly before gas prices plummeted. It also struck a deal with Rosneft PJSC to explore and develop giant offshore fields in Russia in 2011, right before they became locked behind a wall of U.S. sanctions. These left its “upstream portfolio disadvantaged,” Credit Suisse said. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnews.net and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan

Dutch gas regulator to publish Groningen recommendation on Feb. 1

AMSTERDAM, Jan 24 (Reuters) – The Dutch gas regulator will publish its recommendation for production at the Groningen gas field on Feb. 1, a spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Regulator SodM was asked to provide advice on a new production cut after the northern Dutch region was hit by the strongest earthquake in years earlier this month.

Both the regulator and gas production company NAM, a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil , have said that production needs to be cut substantially from the current level of 21.6 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year to limit seismic risks in the region. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnews.net and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan

Big Oil flush with cash again, but no party yet

Ron Bousso: 24 JAN 2018

LONDON (Reuters) – The world’s top oil companies are expected to generate more cash in 2018 than at any other time this decade after three painful years of cuts, but it isn’t party time yet.

The shift in sentiment has been rapid as crude prices have risen by more than 50 percent over the past six months to reach $70 a barrel, a level not seen since the crash year of 2014, thanks to global supply cuts led by OPEC.

Only a year ago, many investors still fretted over the sustainability of the sector’s lavish dividend payouts in a weak energy market. Now the focus on company boards is gradually switching from slashing jobs and investment to boosting shareholders’ returns and growth. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnews.net and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan

Big Oil Plans Tenfold Expansion of Cost-Cut Collaboration

The world’s largest energy companies plan to significantly widen a two-year effort to standardize the kit they use to pump oil and gas, hoping they can deliver significant cost savings, said people familiar with the matter.

The discussions, scheduled on Wednesday for a closed-door meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos, are the latest sign companies are seeking to tighten their belts permanently even as oil prices recover. Bespoke equipment designed on a project-by-project basis was common during the decade-long boom in crude prices, but looks less affordable after the industry’s worst downturn in a generation. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnews.net and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan
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