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Oil majors to bid on choice stakes in Brazil’s offshore

Oil majors to bid on choice stakes in Brazil’s offshore

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Executives from oil majors were set to gather in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday to compete for stakes in Brazil’s pre-salt oil play, home to some of the world’s most alluring offshore geology, as rising oil prices boost appetite for expensive offshore projects.

A record 16 companies, including Chevron Corp, BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc registered to bid for four blocks in the offshore Campos and Santos basins, part of the so-called fourth pre-salt auction on Thursday. read more

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The World’s Largest Oil & Gas Companies 2018: Royal Dutch Shell Surpasses Exxon As Top Dog

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Royal Dutch Shell took the top spot among oil and gas companies on the Forbes Global 2000’s list of the biggest and most powerful public companies, surpassing last year’s leader Exxon Mobil Corp.

The Anglo-Dutch oil and gas giant ranked 11th among all companies on the list, up from 20th the previous year, mostly because of higher sales due to lofty commodity prices. Irving, Texas-based Exxon came in at 13th, the same as last year. read more

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Pope to address oil majors in Vatican climate conference

FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis arrives to lead the Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter’s square at the Vatican, May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo Philip Pullela: June 1, 2018 VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican will host executives of the world’s top oil companies for a conference next week on climate change and the transition away from fossil fuels, a Vatican source said on Friday.

Pope Francis, who wrote a major document on protection of the environment from global warming in 2015, is expected to address the group on the last day of the June 8-9 conference.

The conference, organized by Notre Dame University in the United States, is expected to be attended by the heads or senior executives of companies including ExxonMobil, Eni, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Pemex, the source said.

The oil and gas industry has come under increasing pressure from investors and activists to play a bigger role in reducing the emissions of greenhouse gasses in order to meet goals set out in a 2015 climate agreement signed in Paris. read more

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Shell Tries to Market Some of Its Natural Gas as Clean Energy

By Mathew Carr, 1 June 2018

Royal Dutch Shell Plc is attempting to market some of its natural gas as clean energy, packaging it with credits for eco-friendly projects that offset pollution coming from the fuel.

The oil giant is offering business customers in Europe a combination of gas and certificates that show emissions are offset with financing for carbon-reduction projects. It’s testing markets in Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain to gauge demand for what credits to use, according to David Wells, head of Shell Energy Europe. read more

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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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City heavyweights head for Putin’s business forum

The chief executives of some of the biggest British-listed companies are set to travel to Russia this week for a business forum hosted by President Putin, despite simmering tensions over visas and US sanctions against the country.

The oil bosses Bob Dudley, of BP, and Ben van Beurden, of Royal Dutch Shell, are scheduled to speak at the St Petersburg Economic Forum on Friday. Ivan Glasenberg, chief executive of Glencore, the mining and commodities group, and Xavier Rolet, former chief executive of the London Stock Exchange, are also due to take part. read more

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Shell urged to resist calls to fall into line with Paris climate accord

20 MAY 2018 • 7:30PM

Britain’s largest shareholder advisory groups have called on investors in Royal Dutch Shell to reject growing demands for the oil giant to take full responsibility for its impact on the environment.

Shell faces a binding shareholder vote tomorrow to decide whether to adopt rigorous accountability standards to bring its operations into line with the Paris climate agreement. Glass Lewis and ISS have urged shareholders to reject the “unduly burdensome” and “problematic” proposal. 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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Big Oil’s big identity crisis

Big Oil is under pressure to clean up its act CREDIT: MARY ALTAFFER/AP

Europe’s largest oil super-major is not really an oil company, according to the boss of Royal Dutch Shell.

This is just as well for the energy giant, which plans to halve its carbon emissions within the coming decades as it bids to bring its offering in line with the global war on climate change.

“If anything we are more a gas and oil company, and on top of it, of course, we are a much broader energy company, as well,” Ben van Beurden insists. read more

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Oil giants stay in their own backyards in U.S. auction

Jessica Resnick-Ault: APRIL 4, 2018 NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Trump administration heralded the government’s sale last month of U.S. drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico as a bellwether. 

If that is the case, a Reuters analysis of the sale’s results shows reason to worry about demand in future offshore auctions.

The sale brought in $124.8 million, as just 1 percent of the 77 million acres (31.2 million hectares) offered found bidders. Reuters examined the acreage offered and leased, and nearly all the purchases show big drillers stuck closest to existing infrastructure, shunning the most far-flung areas.

While U.S. crude oil production reached a record last year at more than 10 million barrels a day, most new development is in onshore shale regions. The U.S. Interior Department has said it wants to open all U.S. coasts for drilling, including the Atlantic and Pacific. But the Gulf result indicates limited interest even in already-developed areas, never mind unexplored coasts. read more

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British firms advised to skip Russia summit

Some of Britain’s biggest companies have been urged to boycott Russia’s main annual business summit in St Petersburg next month, amid growing political tensions triggered by the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

Bob Dudley, BP’s chief executive; Ben van Beurden, the chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell; and a number of other UK executives attended the St Petersburg International Economic Forum last year.

The event, hosted by President Putin, is due to be held this year on May 24-26, three weeks before the country hosts the football World Cup. read more

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Shell risks fury as chief executive Ben van Beurden reaps £7.9m windfall

Pay: Shell chief Ben van Beurden took home nearly £8 million last year Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

ANGELA JAMESON: 

Shell’s chief executive Ben van Beurden took home a bumper pay package of €8.9 million (£7.9 million) in 2017, as the firm cashed in on recovering oil prices.

The oil giant risked fresh criticism over the payout, following a row with investors last year. 

They said the Dutch chief executive’s long-term incentives were disproportionate compared with peers’. 
 
Van Beurden received a €3 million annual bonus in 2017 on top of his €1.49 million salary. The chief executive also picked up  €4.02 million in long-term bonuses and incentives, according to the group’s annual report. read more

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Oil’s Seven Sisters Enter a ‘Golden Age’, Goldman Sachs Says

The world’s largest oil companies have survived a life-changing crisis, and are now poised to reap the rewards, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said.

Big Oil is in a sweet spot with rising oil prices and low operating costs, leaving them with the biggest cash-flow growth in two decades and boosting earnings, Goldman said in a report Monday. That will increase their attraction for investors after years of elevated spending followed by crude’s slump sent their weighting in global equity indexes to a 50-year low, according to the bank.  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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Auction of Oil Drilling Tracts in Gulf Draws Tepid Interest

HOUSTON — In a setback to Trump administration efforts to increase offshore oil production, the industry responded with only modest interest on Wednesday in a federal auction covering a record 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico.

Companies bid on only 1 percent of the acreage, and the winning bids yielded a mere $125 million for the government.

The results reflected broad uncertainty among oil executives that global oil prices can remain at current levels over $60 a barrel, as well as a general preference for drilling in onshore shale fields that require smaller investments and are less risky. read more

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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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Shell bets on petrol stations as electric revolution looms

Ron Bousso: MARCH 21, 2018

LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell is placing a big bet on petrol stations and convenience stores in China, India and Mexico as it looks to shore up profits during the electric car revolution.

By 2025, the oil and gas giant plans to grow its global network of roadside stations by nearly a quarter to 55,000, targeting 40 million daily customers, Shell said in a statement on Wednesday.

It will add another 5,000 convenience stores selling coffee and snacks, with growth focused on rapidly growing economies in emerging markets.  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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Despite Alberta’s warnings, oil majors Shell and BP are falling in love with carbon capture technology all over again

Geoffrey Morgan: March 13, 2018

HOUSTON — Major oil companies Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc are taking another hard look at carbon capture storage much to the alarm of Alberta which sank more than a billion dollars in the technology but was heavily criticized for pursuing an expensive method to rein in carbon emissions.

“I’m fairly surprised,” Alberta Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd said of the widespread enthusiastic touting of CCS investments at CERA Week, an important Houston energy conference organized by IHS Markit at the beginning of March. read more

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BP, Shell React to Superbrands Recognition

by  Andreas Exarheas | Rigzone Staff Tuesday, March 13, 2018

BP plc and Royal Dutch Shell plc have reacted to the results of the latest UK Superbrands rankings, which saw both companies crowned as one of the top 20 UK business and consumer Superbrands of 2018.

“We are proud to be included in the Superbrands list,” BP Director of Brand, Duncan Blake, told Rigzone.

“Our industry is changing rapidly and ensuring that consumers understand how BP is participating in the transition to a lower-carbon future is something we will continue to work for,” he added. read more

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Coal is out and oil is fading, making natural gas the fossil fuel of choice

Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden speaks at the CERAWeek conference at the Hilton Americas, Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in Houston. (Photo: Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle)

Coal is too dirty. Oil is too messy. And renewables are too intermittent. But natural gas is just right.

Energy companies of every stripe have fallen in love with the stepchild of fossil fuels. No longer considered an annoying byproduct of oil drilling, natural gas’ multiple applications and relative cleanliness guarantee it a place in the future energy mix.

The CEO of French energy giant Total, Patrick Pouyanné, joked that he runs a gas and oil company, rather than oil and gas, during his appearance at CERAWeek by IHS Markit, the annual energy conference in Houston. Every major international energy company in the world is emphasizing gas over oil. read more

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BP, Shell execs report surprise production boost from mature wells

|About: BP p.l.c. (BP)|By: , SA News Editor

  • BP CEO Bob Dudley has spent 38 years in the oil business, and he says has never seen anything like what happened with the company’s mature oil fields last year – their production increased.
  • Results across the industry were not as spectacular as BP’s but still impressive, executives and officials at the CERAWeek conference said this week; the International Energy Agency reported production from mature fields fell 5.7% last year, the smallest decline in at least a decade.
  • The findings are a surprise because the oil industry cut spending dramatically during the three-year downturn, but the need to stretch each dollar spent is exactly why major oil firms are getting more from those fields, says Wael Sawan, executive VP for deepwater at Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B), which also reported improved results at its legacy wells.
  • “Companies are focusing on the basics, so there was a massive re-focus on existing wells,” Sawan tells Bloomberg. “It’s the cheapest and most profitable barrel that companies can access.”
  • read more

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    Shell Says Oil’s Not Going Anywhere

    There’ll be at least one home still welcoming fossil fuels in the face of a growing threat from cleaner resources, according to Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

    Heavy industry relies on hydrocarbons to generate extremely high temperatures and chemical reactions, according to Mark Quartermain, vice president of crude oil trading and supply at the company. Many processes used in iron, steel, cement and plastics factories can’t be electrified at all, and even if they could be, cannot be done at a viable cost in the foreseeable future, he said at a conference in Singapore. 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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    Houston outlook bright with U.S. shale set to dominate global growth for years

    Forecasters at Royal Dutch Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil major, have predicted that global oil demand could peak within a decade as electric cars and other clean energy technologies gain larger market shares.

    March 5, 2018 Updated: March 5, 2018 8:42pm

    Houston’s energy industry, which drives the local economy, has much brighter days ahead as global oil demand climbs, shale production booms and U.S. crude grabs larger shares of global markets, according to forecasts, industry officials and analysts.

    The United States is already pumping oil at record levels above 10 million barrels a day, surpassing Saudi Arabia, and may take over from Russia as the world’s production leader by the end of 2018. Over the next five years, daily U.S. production is expected to climb 3.5 million barrels, or 35 percent, to more than 13 million barrels, according to a forecast by the International Energy Agency, which monitors the global oil industry. read more

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    Big Oil Buyers Ditch Paper for Blockchain to Track Tanker Sales

    A consortium — including oil producers BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Statoil ASA — has been developing a blockchain-based platform for physical oil trades.

    Every day, dozens of oil tankers — some as long as five football fields — set sail for ports around the world carrying millions of barrels of crude and a piece of paper that generations of sea captains have held as dear as their cargo.

    The bill of lading is the document that verifies ownership of a commodity that can be worth more than $122 million per ship. Without it, buyers and sellers who trade $2.7 billion of crude daily are unable to do business in an ocean-going tanker market that supplies almost half of the oil consumed globally. read more

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    Why The Next Oil Boom Will Be Fueled By Blockchain

    By Meredith Taylor – Feb 21, 2018, 6:00 PM CST

    Big Oil is due for a disruption.

    The world’s most important industry has been carrying on without any significant changes in its day to day routine for far too long.

    But now, the new tech on the block has its sights set on the multi-trillion-dollar oil and gas sector.

    It’s official: Blockchain technology has infiltrated Big Oil.

    The hype behind blockchain has reached a full-blown frenzy. And for good reason.

    The technology, which creates secure ledgers for digital transactions and rapidly accelerates the pace at which transactions can be made, has the potential to disrupt every major industry: real estate, shipping, banking and healthcare. 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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    Shell’s Pivot to Renewables Sharpens With California Deal

    (Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the world’s second-biggest oil company, is expanding its bet on renewable energy.

    Shell’s North American unit agreed to provide a credit line for trading and a revolving loan facility to Inspire Energy Holdings LLC, according to a statement Wednesday. The Santa Monica, California-based clean-power, smart-home and energy-management company will use the funds to expand its reach. Terms weren’t disclosed.

    While Shell and its major rivals still have the bulk of their investments in oil and natural gas, they are taking steps to diversify. Shell agreed in January to buy a 44 percent stake in Nashville-based Silicon Ranch Corp., which owns and operates about 100 U.S. solar plants. A month earlier, the Anglo-Dutch company bought First Utility Ltd., the U.K.’s seventh-largest power provider. And that followed deals last year for electric-car charging networks in Europe. read more

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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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    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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    BP announces North Sea discoveries with Shell, Chevron

    Photo: JONATHAN NACKSTRAND, Stringer: Shell is a shareholder in the Elgin rig, shown here operating 150 miles from Aberdeen in the North Sea in 2012. Shell is selling stakes in 10 North Sea fields.

    BP said it struck oil in its Capercaillie prospect in the central North Sea east of Scotland, as well as the northwestern corner of the North Sea in the Achmelvich well, the latter of which is the partnership with Shell and Chevron.

    The discoveries lend optimism to a slowly rebounding offshore energy sector, especially in the North Sea that’s so critical for Europe’s oil supplies. 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

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    Oil Companies to Reopen Their Checkbooks as Brent Surpasses $70

    After more than three years of belt-tightening, a resurgence in crude prices has fueled oil-company optimism, and a readiness to reopen the checkbook.

    More than two-thirds of 813 senior oil executives expect increased capital spending in 2018, double last year’s percentage, according to a survey by Norwegian consultants DNV GL. About a third say research and development budgets will rise, and the same number predict hiring will expand.

    Underlying those projections is a recovery in Brent crude to $70 a barrel, a level not seen since 2014 and more than double the price two years ago. That’s emboldened major producers to roll back some of the self-help measures they introduced during the downturn. Royal Dutch Shell Plc stopped offering dividends in stock last quarter, while BP Plc has started share buybacks. read more

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    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

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    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

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    CAN BIG OIL BE SUED FOR CAUSING GLOBAL WARMING?

    BY

    New York City and a number of California municipalities, including San Francisco and Oakland, have filed lawsuits against five major oil companies—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Royal Dutch Shell—for contributing to the increased risk of global warming.

    These complaints cite recent scientific reports that project that sea levels will rise from 0.2 meters to 2.0 meters (or 0.66 to 6.6 feet) by 2100, with a major loss of land surface area and serious climate disruptions. read more

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    Shell and BP to Buy Libyan Oil as Country Recovers

    Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc agreed annual deals to buy Libyan crude, underscoring how the North African country’s recovering production and improving security are enticing some of the world’s largest oil companies.

    Shell’s deal with Libya’s National Oil Corp. was the first of its kind since 2013 and Europe’s biggest oil company will load its first cargo under the contract within days, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to talk to the media. BP, which didn’t have a term deal in 2017, also reached an agreement for this year, the people said. read more

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    New York City sues Shell, ExxonMobil, and other oil majors over climate change

    Each of the first six months of 2016 set a record as the warmest respective month globally. Credit: NASA/GISS
    January 10 2018

    The New York City government is suing the world’s five largest publicly traded oil companies, seeking to hold them responsible for present and future damages to the city from climate change.

    The suit, filed Tuesday against BP, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell, claims the companies together produced 11 percent of all of global warming gases through the oil and gas products they have sold over the years. It also charges that the companies and the industry of which they are part have known for some time about the consequences but sought to obscure them. read more

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    New York City sues 5 major oil companies, claiming they contributed to global warming

    The ExxonMobil refinery seen at dusk in St. Bernard Parish, La.

    (Gerald Herbert / AP)

    Associated Press

    New York City is suing five major oil companies, claiming they have contributed to global warming.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city will be seeking billions in the lawsuit to recoup money spent by the city for resiliency efforts related to climate change.

    The defendants in the city’s federal lawsuit are BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell.

    A BP spokesman declined comment. A Shell spokesman said climate change is a complex issue that should not be addressed by the courts. The other three did not immediately comment. read more

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    Shell is fully committed to oil and gas from shale says Financieele Dagblad

    Printed below is an English translation of an article published by the Dutch equivalent of the Financial Times, Financieele Dagblad under the headline “Shell is fully committed to oil and gas from shale“.

    By Bert van Dijk  Energy Editor

    Shale gas and shale oil may then have a negative sound in Europe and hardly play a role, governments in the US, Canada, China and Argentina do see a lot of it. Shell hopes to benefit from this favorable investment climate in the coming years, especially now that the company has drastically reduced the costs of extracting shale gas and oil in recent years. read more

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    Big Oil Finds Hurdles Buried in Trump’s ‘America-First’ Tax Plan

    For Big Oil, the U.S. tax overhaul is turning out to be a mixed bag, especially for companies that drill overseas.

    Two weeks after President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans passed a sweeping rewrite of the tax code that cuts corporate rates, drillers are finding other changes that are less of a boon. BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc offered a preview recently, saying they may write off as much as $4 billion in tax assets as a result.

    Caps on debt-interest payments and cuts to deductions from previous years’ losses may hurt companies building capital-intensive projects with borrowed money. And other provisions, including time limits on expensing exploration, could hem in drillers with long-term projects, including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. That may also give an edge to domestic shale production. read more

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    U.S. offers drillers nearly all offshore waters, but focus is on eastern Gulf

    Ernest Sheyder and Valerie Volcovici

    HOUSTON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s administration has proposed opening up nearly all of America’s offshore waters to oil and gas drilling, but the industry says it is mainly interested in one part of it, now cordoned off by the Pentagon: the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

    The industry’s focus on an area located near a sprawling network of existing platforms, pipes and ports could ease the path to new reserves, and assuage the drilling opponents near other places offered under the Interior Department’s proposed drilling plan issued last week, like California’s Pacific, the Atlantic and Arctic. read more

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    Shell hit with HSE improvement notice at St Fergus

    Written by

    Energy giant Shell has been ordered to improve its safety procedures at the St Fergus plant near Peterhead.

    The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said the company had failed to made “adequate arrangements” to ensure that “emergency shutdown and emergency depressurisation valve actuators” were maintained in an “efficient state and effective working order”.

    HSE initially gave Shell until December 21 to comply with the improvement notice, but the deadline has now been extended to February 28.

    A spokeswoman for Shell said: “We can confirm that we have been issued with an improvement notice on 23rd November 2017 in relation to the maintenance of emergency shutdown valves at our St Fergus plant in North East Scotland. 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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