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Why the Dutch are Missing Out on the Global Natural Gas Glut

The world may never have produced more natural gas, but that’s little comfort for the Dutch government as it seeks to replace flows from Europe’s biggest field.

Lawmakers in the Netherlands on Tuesday will discuss options to supply their pipeline network, which was built around the relatively poor-quality gas from the Groningen deposit. More than a half century of production there triggered earthquakes, forcing the scaling back of output.

Progressive Decline

Annual gas output from the Groningen gas field under new rules read more

‘Shell is considering bidding for Dutch green energy group Eneco’

Anglo-Dutch oil and gas group Shell is making preparations to bid for green energy firm Eneco whose owners, made up of 53 local councils, are divided about its future, the Telegraaf said on Friday.

At the same time, a dispute between the local authority shareholders and the company’s board is threatening to slow down the sale process, the paper said.

Shell has hired an unnamed US-based merchant bank to help it in a possible bid for Eneco, sources within the banking industry told the paper.  But Shell itself reacted with a short and powerful ‘no comment’, the Telegraaf said. read more

Shell/Exxon (NAM) has delivered an urgent report to the Dutch State Supervision of Mines about the Zeerijp earthquake

TRANSLATED INFORMATION PUBLISHED 11 JAN 2018 IN DUTCH BY NAM

The Zeerijp quake

As a result of the recent earthquake at Zeerijp, NAM delivered a report to the State Supervision of Mines Supervisor (SSM) within 48 hours.
 
The report proposes measures for the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate to ultimately decide on in the context of safety, safety perception and other assessment frameworks. In addition to primary safety, the safety experience of the citizens of Groningen is central to this.

Gerald Schotman emphasized in various interviews to national and regional media that NAM is not concerned about the level of gas production. That is a decision that politics must take. read more

Further production cut eyed for Groningen after tremor

|By: , SA News Editor

Dutch gas company NAM says it will propose reducing production at the Groningen gas field following an earthquake on Monday that was the largest in recent years.

NAM, a Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) and Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) joint venture that operates the Groningen field, says it will propose a shutdown of some production clusters, leading to a lower production volume overall.

The Dutch government has cut gas production several times in recent years from 39.4B cm in 2015-16, as decades of gas extraction have led to dozens of earthquakes every year in the Groningen region; the new government already agreed to cut output to ~20B cm by 2021 from a current 21.6B cm. read more

Shell develops solar power plant at its Moerdijk chemicals site in the Netherlands

By PennEnergy Editorial Staff Source: Shell

The Netherlands – Shell is developing a solar power plant at its Moerdijk chemicals site, with construction planned to begin in 2018. The project will provide an approximate peak capacity of 20MW of renewable power. The power produced from the solar plant will be incorporated in the energy consumption of Shell Moerdijk. The power produced in the installation is the equivalent of the power consumption of approximately 7,000 Dutch households.

“Developing this solar power plant in Moerdijk fits within Shell’s ambition to play an active role in the Dutch energy transition,” says Marjan van Loon, president-director Shell Nederland. “We are eager to limit emissions through energy efficiency improvements of our processes and investments in new energy activities at the same time. Other examples of Shell’s work in the Netherlands energy transition include offshore wind in the North Sea, electric mobility at our retail sites and residual heat from Shell Pernis.” read more

Magnitude 3.4 tremor at Groningen gas field 

AMSTERDAM, Jan 8 (Reuters) – The Dutch minister for the economy said on Monday that output at the large Groningen gas field should be reduced “by as much as possible” during the current government term through 2021.

Eric Wiebes made the comment following a magnitude 3.4 tremor earlier on Monday that was the largest in recent years.

Dozens of earthquakes every year, resulting from decades of gas extraction, have caused damage to thousands of buildings and homes and prompted a dramatic shift in government policy now aimed at capping output. read more

What 2018 May Mean For The Oil & Gas Industry

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Leaked documents reveal how Shell blackmailed Nigeria in Malabu deal

29 December 2017

Confidential internal documents of Royal Dutch Shell suggest that the oil giant capitalised on the 2011 presidential election to arm-twist the federal government into a “cheap” deal over the sale of the disputed OPL 245.

The international oil company also used an arbitration case it filed with the International Centre for the Settlement of International Disputes (ICSID), an organ of the World Bank, to railroad the government into brokering truce between it and Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd, its estranged erstwhile partner and the original licensee. read more

Shell did not threaten to leave NL, executives tell MPs

December 15, 2017

Unilever and Shell did not directly threaten to move their head offices out of the Netherlands if the dividend tax was not abolished, senior officials told a parliamentary hearing on Friday, the Financieele Dagblad reported.

However, officials did make it clear they had warned about the possible consequences if the tax was not abolished, the paper said.

Both companies have split headquarter operations between the Netherlands and UK and are thought to have lobbied hard to get the new government to abolish the 15% tax.  The UK does not charge a tax on dividends. read more

Law firm seeks criminal case against Shell and its CEO over Nigeria deal

LONDON (Reuters) – A Dutch law firm has asked the public prosecutor in the Netherlands to file a case against Royal Dutch Shell, its CEO and former executives of over what it says were criminal actions relating to a 2011 oilfield purchase in Nigeria.

The Dutch authorities are already investigating the oilfield deal, alongside Italian prosecutors, who want to take Shell and Italy’s Eni to trial over alleged corruption on the same oilfield.

Shell and Eni have denied any wrongdoing. Shell said on Tuesday it did not believe there was any basis to prosecute the company or any current or former employee. read more

Malabu Scam: Human Rights Group File Criminal Complaint Against Shell In Netherland

Specifically, the criminal complaint is aimed at Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Shell Petroleum N.V., and former or current directors Peter Voser, German Burmeister, Simon Henry and Ben van Beurden.

Prankken d’Oliveira, a group of Amsterdam-based lawyers, on Tuesday, submitted a criminal complaint against Shell and some of the company’s former directors in relation to Shell’s dodgy acquisition of the exploitation rights to the Nigerian oil block, OPL245, from Malabu Oil and Gas, a Nigerian shell company suspected to have been illegally awarded the licence to Mr. Dan Etete, while he was Nigeria’s Petroleum Minister. This was disclosed in a statement issued by the lawyers on Tuesday.

BY SAHARA REPORTERS, NEW YORK: DEC 05, 2017

Prankken d’Oliveira, a group of Amsterdam-based lawyers, on Tuesday, submitted a criminal complaint against Shell and some of the company’s former directors in relation to Shell’s dodgy acquisition of the exploitation rights to the Nigerian oil block, OPL245, from Malabu Oil and Gas, a Nigerian shell company suspected to have been illegally awarded the licence to Mr. Dan Etete, while he was Nigeria’s Petroleum Minister. This was disclosed in a statement issued by the lawyers on Tuesday. read more

Multiple news stories: Amnesty International demands criminal investigation of Shell complicity in murder

Esther Kiobel poses with a picture of her late husband, one of nine men executed by Nigeria’s military government after a peaceful uprising in 1995 against Shell’s widespread pollution in Ogoniland. Photograph: Amnesty International

Multiple news stories: Amnesty International demand criminal investigation of Shell complicity in Nigerian murder, torture and rape

The Guardian: Amnesty seeks criminal inquiry into Shell over alleged complicity in murder and torture in Nigeria

Extract: Amnesty International is calling for a criminal investigation into the oil giant Shell regarding allegations it was complicit in human rights abuses carried out by the Nigerian military. Amnesty is urging the UK, Nigeria and the Netherlands to consider a criminal case against Shell in light of evidence it claims amounts to “complicity in murder, rape and torture” – allegations Shell strongly denies. read more

UPDATE 2-Dutch court rejects government’s Groningen gas production plan

Wednesday’s decision was met with jubilation from Groningen citizens, many of whom have seen their houses damaged by the thousands of small earthquakes triggered by the gas extraction.

By Bart H. Meijer: NOVEMBER 15, 2017

THE HAGUE, Nov 15 (Reuters) – The highest Dutch administrative court has rejected the government’s plan to cap production at a major gas field that has caused damaging earthquakes, saying it might be possible to cut output further without endangering supplies.

The decision adds another chapter to the long fight over gas production in the northern Dutch province of Groningen, where citizens accuse the government of endangering their lives while protecting gas revenues. read more

Government’s Groningen gas production plan rejected by advisory council

Nov. 15, 2017 7:55 AM ET|By: , SA News Editor The Netherlands’ top administrative court rejects the government’s plan to cap production at the Groningen gas field and orders a new decision on how much gas can be extracted from the field where drilling has triggered minor earthquakes. The government had proposed capping production at 21.6B cm/year over the next five years, down from 24B cm in the production year just ended and 39.4B cm in 2015-16; the court orders the government to review its decision within the next 12 months, but production may be maintained at 21.6B cm for the year through Oct. 1, 2018. NAM, the joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) and Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) that operates the Groningen field, says it is studying the ruling.

SOURCE

RELATED

DutchNews.nl: Gas group NAM says more serious earthquakes will hit Groningen: 1 October 2014

EnergyVoice.com: Quakes force Dutch lawmakers to cut gas production: 11 March 2015

Bloomberg: Dutch Quakes Toss Wrench Into Gears of Europe Gas Market: 10 March 2015

Devastating report of a scary scenario: 07 March 2015

Dutch government says sorry for quakes caused by Groningen gas field: 02 March 2015

Reuters: Bells toll for Europe’s largest gas field: 02 March 2015

Groningen Gas Field Shock: Risk of earthquakes at 4.6 on the Richter scale: 24 Feb 2015 read more

Corporate ‘speech’ is drowning out citizen activists

By financial journalist LEWIS BRAHAM

At the more than 10-hour “public hearing” on the construction of the Shell petrochemical plant in Potter Township last December, I waited eight hours to speak for five minutes about the plant’s environmental risks. The meeting was so long and grueling that one of my colleagues at Allegheny County Clean Air Now collapsed and had to be helped by emergency medical technicians. She didn’t get to testify, nor did many local Beaver County residents who left in frustration before they had the chance. read more

Dutch government under fire over tax cut favoured by big business

Shell confirmed to Reuters it had sought the change… Shell spokesman Frank van Hoorn said there was nothing secret or nefarious about Shell’s lobbying for the change…

Bart H. Meijer, Toby Sterling: 9 Nov 2017 AMSTERDAM, Nov 9 (Reuters) – The new Dutch government came under fire in parliament on Thursday for scrapping a 15 percent dividend withholding tax, after a national broadcaster NOS said Shell, Unilever, Akzo Nobel and Philips had lobbied for the change.

Shell confirmed to Reuters it had sought the change, while Philips denied it. Akzo Nobel declined to comment. Unilever would not say whether it asked for the change but it “welcomes measures that improve the business climate in countries where we operate.”

Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said the policy will help the country retain its appeal to foreign investors as it cuts other tax perks in response to concerns that Dutch tax policies have helped multinationals avoid paying fair taxes. read more

Shell may reconsider capital structure if Netherlands scraps dividend tax – CFO

REUTERS STAFF: NOVEMBER 2, 2017

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) could reconsider its capital structure if the Dutch government goes ahead with plans to remove a tax on dividends, Chief Financial Officer Jessica Uhl said on Thursday.

The new Dutch government has proposed to scrap a 15 percent tax on dividend payments as part of its more business-friendly pledges.

“That hasn’t happened yet but if (it did) then we could take a look at the structure,” Uhl told analysts on Thursday. read more

Shell ‘less concerned’ about Groningen natural gas quota impact than production safety: CFO

London (Platts)–2 Nov 2017 958 am EDT/1358 GMT

Anglo-Dutch major Shell is willing to take a financial hit on production from the giant Groningen gas field in the Netherlands to ensure that output can be achieved safely, company CFO Jessica Uhl said Thursday.

Speaking to reporters after it published its Q3 earnings, Uhl said Shell — which has a 50% stake in Groningen operator NAM — is focusing on safe production from the field.

“We are working with our partners and with the [Dutch] government to ensure we operate safely — that’s the priority,” Uhl said. read more

Shell to close Rijswijk technology centre, move staff elsewhere

October 12, 2017

Shell is closing its global headquarters for technology and research in Rijswijk and moving some 2,000 workers to Shell operations in The Hague and Amsterdam, broadcaster NOS said on Thursday.

The company, which said earlier this year that hundreds of jobs will go in Rijswijk and Amsterdam, claimed the move will not cost any more jobs and is unconnected to those previously-announced, NOS said.

‘We have looked at our locations in the Randstad area and decided to reduce them from four to three,’ a spokesman told the broadcaster. ‘Our headquarters are being renovated and our location in Amsterdam expanded so we will have more room there. That will be more efficient.’ read more

Interview – Shell Netherlands CEO: More large wind projects wanted

Toby SterlingStefano Berra: OCTOBER 5, 2017

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – As the Netherlands struggles to meet its renewable energy goals, Shell’s country chief executive sees its role as the architect of big, high-risk projects such as wind turbine farms — for the time being.

In an interview, Marjan van Loon said Shell had joined a coalition of companies urging the Dutch government to greatly increase its ambitions for offshore wind farms from its current plan for 5 tenders of 700 megawatt farms. read more

Shell plans “major maintenance” at Europe’s largest oil refinery

OCTOBER 4, 2017 / 5:26 PM

LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell plans major maintenance involving 12 units at its 404,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) Pernis oil refinery in the Netherlands, the company said on the refinery website.

The maintenance is taking place in October and November, Shell said, without specifying the units involved.

The planned shutdown comes after Shell was forced to shut down the site for several weeks following a fire in late July.

Pernis is Europe’s largest oil refinery.  read more

Shell to Expand Presence in Asia and Alternative Fuel Market

September 20, 2017, 01:35:00 PM EDT By Zacks Equity Research,

Per Reuters, integrated oil and gas company, Royal Dutch Shell plc RDS.Aintends to increase its marketing operations in Asia region. The company’s effort to de-carbonize the energy system was reconfirmed as it targets to attain 20% of its global fuel station sales from electric vehicles recharging and fuels with a lower level of carbon by 2025.

Expanding Asia Operations

The oil major has 43,000 fuel stations in 80 countries and is now trying to reach the fuel markets of China and India, the two most populous countries in the world with high demand for energy. Shell is also eyeing the Indonesian fuel market. The company believes there will be continued growth in the Asian market over the next decade. read more

Kiobel v Shell lawyers hearing 12 Sept 2017

Andrew Denney, New York Law Journal: September 12, 2017

Forcing Cravath, Swaine & Moore to hand over documents related to litigation against Royal Dutch Shell to a plaintiff seeking redress in Dutch courts would give rise to “discovery litigation tourism,” an attorney for the firm said Tuesday in arguments before a federal appeals court.

Esther Kiobel, who was unsuccessful in her effort to hold Shell liable in American courts for the 1995 execution death of her husband and eight others under the Alien Tort Statute, has taken her fight to the courts in the Netherlands. read more

Shell Withholds 100,000 Documents Critical To Ogoni Nine Case

The oil giant, Shell, is refusing to hand over more than 100,000 internal documents on the arrest, detention, and execution of nine Ogoni men in the 1990s, Amnesty International has said.

BY PUNCH NEWSPAPERSEP 08, 2017

The oil giant, Shell, is refusing to hand over more than 100,000 internal documents on the arrest, detention, and execution of nine Ogoni men in the 1990s, Amnesty International has said.

The execution of the “Ogoni Nine”,  including the renowned writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, by the government in 1995 sparked global outrage.

Others executed along with Saro-Wiwa were Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel, and John Kpuine. read more

Ogoni Nine: Shell’s lawyers refusing to hand over “critical” evidence – Amnesty International

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The civil suit filed against Shell in the Netherlands for its alleged complicity in the killing of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists by the Nigerian government has taken an interesting turn, as lawyers to the oil giant are being accused of refusing to hand over evidence said to be critical to the case.

The nine men, popularly referred to as ‘Ogoni Nine’ were executed in 1995 by Nigeria’s military regime under controversial circumstances. read more

Lawsuit accuses Shell of discharging pollutants in Providence River

By Alex Kuffner: Journal Staff Writer: Posted Aug 30, 2017 

PROVIDENCE — One of the region’s leading environmental groups has filed a lawsuit in federal court that accuses fossil fuel giant Shell of violating the federal Clean Water Act by discharging toxic pollutants into the Providence River from its storage terminal on the Fields Point waterfront.

The Conservation Law Foundation also alleges that the multinational corporation headquartered in the Netherlands — the second-largest oil and gas company in the world — has failed to take adequate steps to protect the facility from rising waters caused by climate change and a projected increase in the frequency of coastal storms and rain events. read more

Shell and Exxon punished by Dutch ad authority for fossil fuel claim

The television ad stated that natural gas was “the cleanest of all fossil fuels.”

This is the second time in 2017 that Dutch advertising authorities have sought to punish the oil and gas industry with Statoil reprimanded for claiming gas to be “clean energy” and “low emissions fuel” in June.

The Dutch Advertising Code Authority stated that the term “cleanest fossil fuel” was not in line with the MRC (the Dutch advertising code).

Friends of the Earth Europe co-filed the complaint.

Paul de Clerk of Friends of the Earth Europe, said: “This clear ruling by the advertisement standards board is of great importance. Time after time we see how oil and gas companies are misleading citizens and politicians. read more

Exxon, Shell Censured for Claiming Natural Gas Is ‘Cleanest’ Fossil Fuel

By Farron Cousins: 15 August 2017

For many years, a standard talking point from the fossil fuel industry and those who speak on the industry’s behalf has been that natural gas is a cleaner alternative to conventional energy sources like coal and oil. This talking point is at least partially responsible for many people—including former President Barack Obama and his Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz—believing that natural gas can act as a “bridge fuel” in the eventual shift from coal and oil to renewable sources of energy. read more

Shell and Exxon face censure over claim gas was ‘cleanest fossil fuel’

The Dutch advertising watchdog will on Tuesday censure Shell and Exxon for claiming that natural gas was “the cleanest of all fossil fuels” in an advert earlier this year. It will be the second time this summer that the Netherlands advertising standards board has ruled against the fossil fuels industry… FULL ARTICLE 

Shell Is Said to Aim for Full Restart of Pernis by End of August

Royal Dutch Shell Plc is aiming to return its Pernis refinery in Rotterdam to full operations by the end of this month, according to a local resident who was briefed on the matter by the company.

The company held a meeting for about 200 local residents late Wednesday, giving a first indication of when Europe’s largest refinery would resume normal operations after a fire in late July halted both crude units. The company said earlier this week that the first supporting units had been brought back online, without elaborating on the resumption of operations. read more

Shell shuts Pernis plant until mid August after fire and leak

August 2, 2017

The massive Shell refinery in Rotterdam’s port area will remain closed until mid August at least after last weekend’s huge fire, the company has told news agency AFP.

The Pernis refinery is capable of processing 400,000 barrels of petroleum products a day and is said to be the biggest refinery in Europe. There are 60 factories on the site.

The fire broke out on Saturday evening and was brought under control on Sunday. However, Pernis was hit by a second incident on Monday, in which there was a hydrogen fluoride leak. Both incidents are now being investigated. read more

Energy Shares Fall As OPEC Production Seen Picking Up – Energy Roundup

A fire outage at the largest oil refinery in Europe, a Royal Dutch Shell facility in the Netherlands, is ongoing, driving up prices of oil derivatives.

Dow Jones Newswires

Shares of energy producers ticked down as the price of oil foundered around the psychologically significant $50-a-barrel level. Among the data weighing on oil prices was a Reuters survey showing that OPEC production rose to its highest level in seven months last month. BP said it could now turn a profit with oil prices at these levels, saying its could break even with oil as low as $47 a barrel. BP swung to a second-quarter profit even as it absorbed further costs from the 2010 oil spill and as oil futures remained stuck in the $40s. A fire outage at the largest oil refinery in Europe, a Royal Dutch Shell facility in the Netherlands, is ongoing, driving up prices of oil derivatives. read more

Shell plans 400 job cuts at Dutch projects and technology department

Royal Dutch Shell Plc plans to cut more than 400 jobs in the Netherlands, mainly at its major projects and energy technology operations, as the oil giant shifts its business model in response to lower oil prices, according to an internal document seen by Reuters.

The world’s second-largest oil company by market capitalization said in a statement responding to questions from Reuters that “approximately 400 (staff) are potentially at risk of redundancy during the last quarter of 2017/first half of 2018”. read more

Shell plans 400 job cuts at Dutch projects and technology department

“There will be fewer one-of-a-kind highly complex mega-projects and proportionately more simple to medium complex projects… This heralds a more ‘commoditised’ world for project delivery,” said the document, which was given to royaldutchshellplc.com, an independent website used by Shell staff, and seen by Reuters.

By Tom Bergin

LONDON, July 31 (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell Plc plans to cut more than 400 jobs in the Netherlands, mainly at its major projects and energy technology operations, as the oil giant shifts its business model in response to lower oil prices, according to an internal document seen by Reuters.

The world’s second-largest oil company by market capitalisation said in a statement responding to questions from Reuters that “approximately 400 (staff) are potentially at risk of redundancy during the last quarter of 2017/first half of 2018”. read more

Shell shuts production at Europe’s largest refinery in Rotterdam after massive fire

A massive fire erupted at Shell’s refinery in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, causing a blackout and forcing the company to halt all loadings at least till Tuesday. The extent of the damage to the plant has yet to be assessed. The source of the huge blaze that engulfed Shell’s Pernis facility, Europe’s largest oil refinery, Saturday evening, has yet to be determined. Media reports, meanwhile, point to a short circuit as the most likely reason. The power outage that crippled the refinery as a result of the fire rendered several units out of service, prompting the Royal Dutch Shell company to completely shut all operations.

“Shell is in the process of shutting down all the units at the site,” a company spokesman said, as cited by AFP. He added that the process might last for “hours, or even several days.”

Taking all “necessary precautions,” the company said it estimates that “loadings at depot Pernis will be interrupted until and including tomorrow.”

Firefighters succeed in dousing the flames by Sunday morning at around 6:00am [0400 GMT].

However, flashes at the plant could be still seen Sunday evening, as mangement decided to launch a flaring process to burn off excess natural gas in accordance with safety guidelines. read more

Shell suspends Pernis refinery loadings after fire

RON BOUSSO: JULY 30, 2017 / 8:45 PM

LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell suspended loadings of oil products from its Pernis refinery in the Netherlands following a fire at the plant, the company said in a statement to traders on Sunday.

Shell shut down most of its production at Pernis, Europe’s largest refinery, after the fire at the 404,000 barrels per day plant late on Saturday caused a power outage.

The company said that no casualties were reported in the incident and the fire was under control, but it expected loadings to be suspended on Monday as well. read more

Shell shifts focus to chemicals, refining: Financieele Dagblad

Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch/Shell is shifting its focus toward downstream operations like refining and chemicals and away from traditional upstream activities like exploring for oil and gas, the Financieele Dagblad said on Wednesday.

This shift is likely to become even clearer when the company publishes its second quarter figures on Thursday, the paper said.

Shell’s investment in exploration slumped to $157m in the first quarter of 2017 from an annual quarterly average of between $500m to $600m in recent years, the paper points out.  This is partly due to the group’s recent acquisition of the BG Group which has large deep-sea reserves off the coast of Brazil. read more

The Abrupt Demise Of Dutch Gas

The phenomenon is no novelty, with 80 000 damage claims totaling €1.2 billion having been filed with the government and NAM, the operator of the Groningen field, a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil.

By Viktor Katona – Jul 20, 2017, 3:00 PM CDT

The largest and oldest-producing gas field in Western Europe, the Groningen field, is on the verge of being shut down.

If that happens, it will entail the tumbling of Netherlands’ indigenous gas production, making it a net gas importer. This is a bitter pill to swallow for producers in the Netherlands, EU’s leading gas producer up to now, given that the Dutch led the world in the 1970s in natural gas exports volumes (the ramp-up in exports was so massive that the Dutch government implemented export caps to put some freeze on it). For Dutch locals, however, this might represent a long-awaited victory and a sign that governments can pay heed to their concerns, if sufficient pressure is applied. It remains to be seen whether an abrupt end to gas production in the Netherlands is in anybody’s interest. read more

How Europe’s Monster Gas Field Turned Into a Monster Headache

By Kelly Gilblom and Fred Pals: 13 July 2017

Judge to consider demands to close Europe’s largest gas field

Groningen has contributed almost 300 billion euros to budget

What was once a blessing is now an expensive curse

Officials are also considering criminal charges against NAM executives

Ebe Treffers’s dog was antsy for hours before the boom sounded and the house began to shake, scattering dishes across the kitchen floor.

Like other residents of the Groningen region near The Netherlands’ North Sea coast, the retired art teacher was used to the subtle tremors caused by decades of extraction at Europe’s largest gas field. But nobody was prepared for the magnitude 3.6 earthquake that struck after dark on Aug. 16, 2012, assured by both state and project officials that there was nothing to fear. read more

Critics argue for Groningen shutdown at Dutch court hearing

Jul. 13, 2017 2:59 PM ET|By: , SA News Editor

Angry Dutch residents living near the huge Groningen gas field told a hearing today at the Netherlands’ highest court that production should be totally stopped, accusing oil companies of causing minor earthquakes and the government of lying.

The Council of State is holding two days of hearings to consider appeals against a government plan to cut production at the field by an additional 10% starting Oct. 1.

Gas production company NAM, a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) and Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), has accepted responsibility for damage caused by the quakes, for which it is paying more than €1B. read more

Windows of Nigerian Activists Charge Shell Oil with Complicity in Hangings

By Global Information Network: Published July 5, 2017

(GIN) – The widows of four Nigerian activists are entering their 22nd year in a long struggle for justice and to hear them tell it, they’re feeling no ways tired.

The women, represented by the Dutch Human Rights law firm Prakken d’Oliveira, filed a writ this week against the multinational Anglo-Dutch Shell seeking damages and a public apology for what they state was the company’s complicity in the unlawful state executions of their husbands.

Leading the four is Esther Kiobel, whose husband was among nine men, known as the Ogoni Nine who were tried in secret by a military court and sentenced to die by hanging because they protested the massive environmental damage to the Niger Delta region caused by oil extraction. The best known of the group was the renowned writer and community leader, Ken Saro-Wiwa. read more

Eventual Groningen shutdown can’t be ruled out, hitting Exxon, analyst says

Jul. 5, 2017 11:40 AM ET|About: Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM)|By: , SA News Editor

Exxon Mobil’s (XOM -1.4%) organic growth could be hurt by problems at the Groningen gas field it shares with Royal Dutch Shell, as production caps caused by rising earthquakes in the region eventually could even lead to a total shutdown, says Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov.

“An eventual field shutdown, which cannot be ruled out, would erase nearly all of Exxon’s organic growth through 2020,” Molchanov writes, seeing little chance that the top Dutch administrative court will grant the oil companies’ appeal against the most recent strict cuts. read more

ExxonMobil/Shell: Haven’t Heard of Groningen? You Might Want to Read This

One team of analyst contends Exxon’s organic growth could be hurt by problems at its Groningen gas field.

By Ben Levisohn: 

ExxonMobil (XOM) has enough problems with the price of oil dropping, but it may have on in a large Dutch gas field known as Groningen.

Exxon runs the field with Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A), which is being blamed for an increase in the number of earthquakes in the region. That’s led to caps being imposed on production, and could eventually lead to a shutdown altogether say Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov and Muhammed Ghulam. They look ahead to the Groningen endgame: read more

Ogoni 9 widow Esther Kiobel lands day in court against oil giant Shell

(CNN)The widow of one of the nine environmental campaigners who were executed by the Nigerian military government has won a 22-year battle to bring oil giant Shell to court.

Esther Kiobel filed a civil suit early Wednesday in the Netherlands where Shell is registered and has its headquarters, her lawyer told CNN. According to the writ, seen by CNN, Kiobel accuses Shell of complicity in the unlawful arrest and detention of her husband, Dr. Barinem Kiobel; the violation of his personal integrity and the violation of his right to a fair trial. Kiobel first filed a case in New York against Shell in 2002 alleging complicity in the execution of the nine human rights activists. However, in 2013, the US Supreme Court ruled that the United States did not have jurisdiction to try the case.

Condemnation

The 1995 execution of Nigerian playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other human rights activists (including Kiobel’s husband) campaigning against environmental degradation of their native Ogoni land caused worldwide condemnation. Saro-Wiwa came into conflict with the ruling junta when he campaigned for the Ogoni people living in Nigeria’s oil basin in the South. The popular playwright criticized Sani Abacha’s military government and the powerful oil industry, charging that it had polluted and destroyed the region’s land and wildlife. The men would later come to be known as the Ogoni 9 following their executions. Saro-Wiwa and the eight others put to death were charged with murdering four men. They were convicted and sentenced to death at a special tribunal. Throughout, Saro-Wiwa maintained that he was being framed for criticizing Abacha’s regime. Abacha ignored pleas for clemency for the men from world leaders including then US President Bill Clinton. Nigeria was promptly kicked out of the Commonwealth of nations — an organization made up of 52 countries that were part of the British Empire — following the executions. In 2009, Shell paid out $15.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the now late son of the deceased Ken Saro-Wiwa Jr. and others including the deceased’s brother. The suit had accused the global oil conglomerate of complicity in the imprisonment, rights violation and ultimately, death of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the eight others. The case took 13 years to reach settlement and Shell denied wrongdoing but said it was making the payment on humanitarian grounds according to a statement published in the New York Times.

Long struggle

Kiobel was not a plaintiff in that suit. She and three other widows have been assisted in their long-running struggle by human rights group, Amnesty International — a first for the organization. “It is one of our more remarkable cases. It is very difficult to find lawyers and courts willing to take these cases,” says Audrey Gaughran, acting Senior Director of Research, Amnesty International, in a phone interview with CNN. Gaughran remains hopeful that with the evidence gathered over the years and the location of the case, the judgment will be in the claimants’ favor. “We think Mrs. Kiobel has a strong case… we believe that Shell is complicit in the execution of her husband, Ken Saro-Wiwa and the other men who were executed in 1995. We are optimistic that the court will ultimately see the same argument.”

Positive outcome

Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of Nigeria Limited, through its spokesperson, Precious Okolobo said in an email to CNN: “SPDC did not collude with the authorities to suppress community unrest and in no way encouraged or advocated any act of violence in Nigeria. “The executions of Ken Saro-Wiwa and his fellow Ogonis in 1995 were tragic events that were carried out by the military government in power at the time. “We were shocked and saddened when we heard the news of the executions. SPDC appealed to the Nigerian government to grant clemency. To our deep regret, that appeal, and the appeals made by many others within and outside Nigeria, went unheard.” Kiobel’s lawyer, Channa Samkalden is circumspect about a positive outcome. “It will be a difficult case, but it is also a very important one. The evidence shows how deeply involved Shell was in the activities leading to the death of the ‘Ogoni 9.’ “The fact that a court will assess that evidence and hold Shell to account will already bring some satisfaction,” she said in an email interview.

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