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January 26th, 2006:

IrelandOn-Line: Opponents of Corrib gas pipeline mount Dáil protest

Opponents of the Corrib gas pipeline in north Co Mayo have mounted a demonstration outside the Dáil today to protest at the latest activities of Shell.
The global oil firm, which is behind the contentious Corrib project, has sent a high-level delegation from its “social responsibility committee” to the area to listen to the views of local residents.
The Shell to Sea group has refused to meet the delegation, however, and is accusing the company of acting outside the official mediation process being led by former union official Peter Cassels.
Speaking at today's Dáil protest, spokesman Tadhg McGrath claimed Shell was trying to soften up public opinion in advance of recommencing work on the pipeline.
“We've heard that Shell have block-booked accommodation in the west of Ireland to put up their vast army of security personnel and construction workers that they're going to use to put the scheme in place,” he said. read more

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The Scotsman: Shell may make swaps,acquisitions up to $10 bln

By Simon Webb
DAVOS (Reuters) – The chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell said on Thursday the oil company would consider making acquisitions or swaps worth up to $10 billion (5.6 billion pounds) to increase reserves.
“Even in times of high oil prices, it's possible, but not sure, that you may do small acquisitions or swaps of up to $10 billion,” Jeroen van der Veer told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.
Acquisitions or swaps of that magnitude could create value for shareholders of Shell, he said, but declined to comment on what possibilities the company might be pursuing.
Any larger acquisitions would be “very unlikely to work”, the Shell chief said.
Shell, the world's third largest listed oil firm by market value, is still living down a reserves scandal that shocked investors in 2004. The revelation that its oil and gas reserves were massively overstated sent Shell's shares tumbling.
Turning to Nigeria, where Shell ranks as the biggest foreign producer, van der Veer said his first concern was for the safety of four oil workers held hostage by militants.
A five-week campaign of sabotage and kidnapping by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta has pushed world oil prices to four-month highs and shut in 221,000 barrels per day of Shell's output in Nigeria.
“I expect the government would like to sit down with (the oil) industry and talk about what can happen on security and keeping the oil flowing,” said the Shell chief.
The movement said it would make Shell suffer unless it paid $1.5 billion to delta villages in compensation for decades of oil pollution, which is one of its demands for releasing the hostages.
Van der Veer said repairs could not start on damaged oil infrastructure until discussions about ensuring security in the OPEC producer had taken place.
“When the situation is safe again, then you can restart production very quickly,” he said.
Van der Veer said Shell remained committed to increasing output of oil from unconventional deposits despite project cost overruns at its 155,000 barrels per day (bpd) Canada Athabasca oil sands project and a string of unplanned outages.
Shell has started a study for an oil shales project in Colorado, he said. It will test technology for heating oil underground there.
It is also looking at oil deposits in ever-deeper water, and analysing deposits of tight gas, or gas left in reservoirs after conventional drilling, he said.
Van der Veer said he was not concerned that increased exposure to unconventionals could erode Shell's profitability.
“On the contrary, I think we can build a very good company on unconventional oils. If we have technologies that allow us access to oil that nobody else has, then we have a very competitive position. That puts the company in a stronger position for the long-term.”
Van der Veer said that Shell's access to easy-to-exploit oil reserves was limited and its production has peaked, while there were still plenty of unconventional oil sources to be exploited.
He said that the ouptut from its 147,000 bpd Mars platform in the Gulf of Mexico should restart in the second half of 2006, as the company has previously stated. The platform was damaged by Hurricane Katrina last summer.
(c) Reuters 2006. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world. read more

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Dow Jones News: Shell Malaysia Names New Council Leaders

Thursday January 26, 2006, 7:27 pm
PRESS RELEASE: Shell Malaysia Names New Council Leaders
The following is a press release from Shell Malaysia:
Shell Malaysia today announced a revision of its Business Council leaders for the company's ongoing activities in Malaysia.
The Business Council is Shell Malaysia's highest coordinating body. New members will assume their positions with effect from Feb. 1, 2006.
The Shell Malaysia Business Council comprises the chairman, leaders of the company's key business portfolios in Exploration and Production, Downstream Gas, Downstream Oil, the finance director and senior managers in Human Resources, IT, Legal and External Affairs.
Datuk Jon Chadwick will chair the Business Council until March 1, 2006, at which time he will be replaced by Mr. Saw Choo Boon, who will, as previously announced, be Shell Malaysia's new chairman with effect from the same date.
Saw is the third Malaysian to lead Shell Malaysia's Business Council.
As Shell Malaysia's Chairman, Saw will lead the Business Council in shaping the company for greater growth in Malaysia.
Additionally, he will retain his current Downstream Oil responsibilities as well as serve as chairman of the boards of several companies where Shell Malaysia has business interests.
Mr. Wee Yiaw Hin, the company's Sarawak Asset Manager, will be appointed managing director of Sarawak Shell Berhad and a Business Council member.
Wee is Shell Malaysia's Local Senior Exploration and Production Representative; Wee is Malaysian and he will continue to be based in Miri, Sarawak.
Encik Mohzani Abdul Wahab is already a member of the Shell Malaysia Business Council in his capacity as Managing Director of Shell Malaysia Trading Sdn Bhd and Shell Timur Sdn Bhd in addition to his current role as General Manager for Shell's Retail Sales and Operations in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Oman.
Mohzani is Malaysian and also holds the position of Shell Malaysia's Local Senior Downstream Representative, based in Kuala Lumpur.
Lt. Colonel (Rtd) Ir Wahiruddin Abdul Wahid is Shell Malaysia's General Manager for Corporate Affairs.
Newly appointed to the Business Council, he is also Shell Malaysia's Country Security Adviser. Wahiruddin is Malaysian and is based in Kuala Lumpur.
Encik Suflan Shamsuddin is Shell Malaysia's General Counsel. A Malaysian, Suflan is also company secretary to several Shell Malaysia companies and is based in Kuala Lumpur. Suflan is newly appointed to the Business Council.
Mr. Dick Benschop was recently appointed Vice President of Shell Malaysia's Downstream Gas and Power business, as well as Managing Director of Shell MDS (Malaysia) with effect from 1st December 2005.
Benschop, a Dutch national, is based in Kuala Lumpur and replaced Mr. Idris Jala, who is now Managing Director of Malaysia Airlines.
Mr. Michael Taylor is already a member of the Shell Malaysia Business Council in his capacity as Finance Director of Shell Malaysia and Shell's Exploration and Production Finance Manager for Asia Pacific. Taylor is a British national and is based in Miri, Sarawak.
Mr. Steve Clearwater already sits in the Shell Malaysia Business Council as the Executive Director and Country Manager of Shell Information Technology International Sdn Bhd. Clearwater is a New Zealander and is based in Cyberjaya.
Mr. Jonathan Kohn, a British national, was recently appointed as Shell Malaysia's Human Resource Director. Kohn is newly-appointed to the Business Council and is based in Kuala Lumpur.
Additionally, Shell Malaysia today confirms that Encik Zainul Rahim Mohd Zain, formerly Deputy Chairman of Shell Malaysia, has been assigned to Cairo as Chairman of Shell Egypt. read more

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The Daily Advertiser (Louisiana): Activists organize against Shell

Kayla Gagnet
[email protected]
Activists are hoping a grassroots campaign of e-mails, phone calls and letters to newspaper editors will make oil and gas giant Shell reconsider its plans to build an open-loop liquefied natural gas terminal off the coast of Cameron Parish.
Dan Favre, an organizer with the Gulf Restoration Network, met Wednesday night with student environmentalists at the University of Louisiana and then later with members of the local Sierra Club.
Favre said now is a “crucial time” in the battle against the controversial open-loop terminals, which use 100 million to 200 million gallons of sea water a day to warm and “re-gasify” liquefied natural gas so it can be shipped to American energy users.
“They're going to set a precedent for the whole Gulf,” Favre said.
At stake, he said, is irreparable damage to the Gulf of Mexico's fisheries. Environmental studies show the cold water that the open loop system pumps back into the Gulf would kill 5.3 percent of the red fish population and have an unknown effect on shrimp, crabs, grouper and other fish.
So far, only one open-loop terminal is operating in the Louisiana Gulf – the Excelerate Energy Bridge, far offshore and less damaging to sea life, Favre said. An application for an ExxonMobil terminal has been withdrawn, and there are six other terminals that either are proposed or pending, including the Shell site.
Shell has received government clearance to build its open-loop terminal at Gulf Landing, about 38 nautical miles off the Louisiana coast, south of Lake Charles. But, the Gulf Restoration Network and other commercial and recreational fishing groups want Shell to consider switching to the environmentally friendly closed-loop system.
Oil and gas companies transport natural gas in liquid form, cooled to minus 260 degrees, because it takes up 600 times less space than the gas form. When it arrives at terminals, it has to be warmed up so it can be transported in pipelines. A closed-loop system could use two different processes, Favre said.
One involves recycling the same water, keeping it warm by using 1.5 percent to 2 percent of the natural gas. Another involves using the ambient air temperature to warm the gas. Oil companies say both are too expensive.
Griff Blakewood, an environmental and sustainable resources instructor at UL, said he's hopeful that Shell will reconsider.
“At some point, we just have to start caring about the life of the planet,” Blakewood said.
Blakewood and student members of the Society for Peace, Environment, Action and Knowledge organized plans to write letters to area newspapers. They also made plans to call Shell executives next week on a designated “call-in” day, in an attempt to flood the company with complaints about the project.
“This is new to me,” SPEAK member E. “Ski” Witkovski, 26, said of the LNG terminals. “And it's really scary.” read more

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Calgary Sun: Shell hits new high$

Energy giant tops $2B in profit thanks to high prices, oilsands
Shell Canada CEO Clive Mather said his firm's 2005 earnings of more than $2-billion were “tremendous.”
High energy prices and strong output from the oilsands helped push Shell Canada Ltd.'s profit and production to record levels last year, with earnings topping $2 billion.
The annual financial figures, released by Shell Canada yesterday, were up significantly from the company's 2004 profit of $1.3 billion and fourth-quarter earnings tripled from the previous year to $614 million.
“Breaking through the $2-billion barrier was a tremendous achievement,” said the Calgary-based company's president and CEO Clive Mather.
“Shell Canada ach-ieved record production in 2005, which enabled it to take advantage of strong commodity prices and deliver record earnings and cash flow.”
The energy firm's cash flow last year was up 40% from 2004, eclipsing $3 billion, and record-smashing activity also occurred at Shell Canada's Athabasca Oil Sands Project.
New highs for output and energy prices, along with lower costs associated with producing each barrel of crude, allowed the company to double 2005 oilsands earnings.
In the fourth quarter, Shell Canada — a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell PLC — also increased investment in that area with the acquisition of three more Athabasca oilsands leases, bringing the total number of leases bought by the company through Crown land sales to seven in 2005.
Meanwhile, Canadian Oil Sands Trust reaped the benefits of unhedged oil production.
“Our excellent financial results in 2005, including over $1 billion in cash flow, reflect our full exposure to robust crude oil prices,” said president and CEO Marcel Coutu.
“Fundamentals point to continued strength in crude oil prices and Canadian Oil Sands Trust is in an enviable position to benefit from this market. All of our light, sweet crude oil production remains unhedged.”
Fourth-quarter net income for the trust was $174 million last year, up from $122 million in 2004. And for the year, earnings rose from $509 million in 2004 to $831 million.
The company — which generates income from its 35% working interest in Syncrude — also reported the $8.4-billion Stage 3 expansion at the joint venture is almost complete and on schedule for a mid-2006 start-up. read more

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The Times: Lukoil find 'biggest for decade'

By Carl Mortished, International Business Editor
A MAJOR discovery by Lukoil in the Caspian Sea could help to propel the Russian oil company to the top spot in private sector oil and gas reserves, ahead of ExxonMobil, the present leader.
Lukoil said that an oil and gas discovery in the northern Caspian Sea was the largest Russian find in a decade, containing oil reserves of 600 million barrels and 1.2 trillion cubic feet of gas. The company also revealed yesterday that it had paid $261 million (£146 million) for Primorieneftegaz, a company that holds a licence near Astrakhan.
Together, the two assets could add 3.3 billion barrels to Lukoil’s reserves, which currently stand at 20 billion barrels of proven oil and equivalent gas. At the end of 2004, ExxonMobil reported 22 billion barrels of oil and gas reserves.
Lukoil said that an exploration well at the Vladimir Filanovsky field had produced light, water-free low-sulphur oil at the rate of 800 tonnes per day. “Such flow rates in Russia are only known at a few wells. The average flow rate in Russia is 10.5 tonnes per day,” the company said.
Primorieneftegaz has reserves of 1.2 trillion cubic metres of gas and 300 million tonnes of condensate in a licence near the Russian town of Astrakhan.
Soaring oil and gas prices are pushing up the market value of Russia’s energy companies, which boast huge untapped reserves.
The stock market value of Gazprom, the state-controlled utility, has soared above $200 billion, competing with Royal Dutch Shell for the number three slot among quoted energy companies. read more

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The Times: Nigeria in contact with oil worker kidnappers

From Agencies in Davos
President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria today said that his government was in contact with kidnappers who are holding four foreign oil workers, including one Briton, captive in the country.
Mr Obasanjo told Reuters at the World Economic Forum in Davos that the authorities were “very much in contact” with the militant group that seized the oil workers on January 11.
He added: “Immediately after it happened, we set up a committee … It’s not only in contact, it’s making progress.”
Asked if he was concerned about the impact on oil investment, Obasanjo told Reuters at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland: “Not really.”
Last week, Nigel Watson-Clark, from Bristol, who is being held hostage with three other foreign oil workers by separatist rebels in western Nigeria made a second desperate telephone plea for help today as his captors again threatened their execution.
In the chilling phone call to Reuters, Mr Watson-Clark said: “I have got to tell you we are under a lot of pressure here and things aren’t too good.
“We are being moved around continuously… we are not being treated that great… we are not used to this sort of stuff.”
Mr Watson-Clark was kidnapped with an American, a Honduran and a Bulgarian when armed rebels from the indigenous Ijaw tribe attacked an offshore oil platform in the Niger Delta owned by Royal Dutch Shell.
The kidnappers, from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), have demanded greater control over the poverty-stricken region's energy wealth and the release of two tribal leaders.
The first 48-hour deadline was issued on Tuesday. Today, a man describing himself as the outfit's ground commander claimed that Patrick Landry, the American hostage, was seriously ill. He said that the others would be killed if he died.
In a phone call broadcast on Sky News, he said: “One of them is sick, badly sick and could give up tonight. If one of them dies, we kill them all.” read more

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The Times: Need to Know: Royal Dutch Shell has made two new oil and gas discoveries…

Antofagasta, the FTSE 100 copper miner, said that production from October to December had risen 7 per cent quarter on quarter to meet full-year forecasts.
Shares in Victoria Oil & Gas, the AIM-listed company, rose after an independent audit of its Russian project in west Siberia found that it had 1.1 billion barrels of oil equivalent, more than previous estimates.
Royal Dutch Shell has made two new oil and gas discoveries in its Badr El-Din concession in Egypt’s Western Desert.

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AP Worldstream: Shell, Petrobras pay off back taxes to Venezuela

Oil companies Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Brazil's Petrobras have paid a total of US$37 million (A30 million) in back-tax claims to the Venezuelan government, the tax agency said in statement late Tuesday.
Shell owed US$13 million (A10.6 million) in taxes, while Petrobras, a state-owned company known as Petroleo Brasileiro SA, owed US$23.7 million (A19.3 million).
The bills came last year after the tax agency conducted an audit of private companies operating oil fields under contract to reclaim what it says were billions of dollars (euros) in unpaid taxes. Twenty other oil firms have been billed for back taxes.
President Hugo Chavez's administration has taken advantage of high oil prices to pressure the petroleum industry for a greater share of revenues. It has used extra oil income to fund social programs, as well as strengthen alliances with other countries.
Separately Tuesday, an official from El Salvador's main left-wing party, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, or FMLN, said a delegation was lobbying for 21,000 gallons (79,500 liters) a month of diesel and gasoline under Venezuela's Petrocaribe initiative, which provides oil through cheap financing and partial payments with agricultural exports.
The fuel would be sold to municipalities governed by the FMLN and other parties that sign up for the program, said Orestes Fredesman Ortez, a national coordinator for the FMLN.
El Salvador's conservative government of Tony Saca has previously rejected a Petrocaribe deal, saying it would violate free trade agreements with the U.S.
Venezuela is the world's fifth-largest oil exporter and holds the largest conventional oil reserves outside of the Mideast. read more

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Polish News Bulletin: Shell Plans to Locate Financial- -Accounting Centre in Cracow

One of the world's largest petrol companies, the Royal Dutch Shell group, is planning to locate its fifth international financial-accounting centre in Cracow.
The spokesman of Shell Polska Alfred Kubczak announced that the enterprise is currently awaiting a decision from the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency (PAIIZ) concerning governmental co-financing in creating new jobs. According to Kubczak the decision will be crucial to the fate of the project.
“If it is positive, we will immediately begin the preparations for locating the investment in Cracow. Then we will also know the precise level of employment in the centre,” said Kubczak. Preliminary estimates indicate that the centre is to employ a few hundred professionals from the financial and accounting branches.
During the 10 years of its presence in Poland, Shell has invested over $400m and given jobs to around 3,000 people. Its petrol station network comprises about 220 entities. read more

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Lloyds List: Saudi Arabia agrees to lift production

Bid to curb price rises while it continues investment, writes Martyn Wingrove
Jan 26, 2006
SAUDI Arabia has pledged to raise its oil production levels if required and continue supplying Asia with its crude requirements.
The world's top oil producer is ready to keep its oil taps flowing to prevent prices from climbing further while it continues to invest in existing fields to raise production capacity.
At the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries ministerial meeting next week Saudi officials will also urge fellow members to keep production quotas level.
Saudi King Abdullah and his delegation of ministers and business leaders are this week visiting four Asian countries, including booming energy consumers India and China, to improve diplomatic agreements.
The kingdom is creating new trade links with Asian countries which are increasingly reliant on crude imports from the Middle East.
King Abdullah said his country was committed to supplying Indian and Chinese energy needs and that oil prices were too high, damaging the economy of developing countries.
'We have the ability and capability to provide all the energy needs of India and other countries,' he said in a television interview in New Delhi.
'Saudi Arabia's oil reserves will be there for the long term for every one.
'A large portion of the country has not been explored as yet.'
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi added: 'Fundamentals today are in excellent shape and inventories are at reasonable levels. Oil supply is plentiful and demand is well met by supply.'
Mr al-Naimi also said his country was ready to pro- duce more oil if needed and added that Opec was likely to keep output steady when it meets on January 31 in Vienna.
Saudi Arabia is investing in several of its oilfields, including the world's largest offshore field, to make sure it has the ability to supply global demand increases for many more decades.
But much of the new capacity it is building is in heavy, sour crudes, less attractive to refiners.
Opec, which produces around 28m-29m barrels of oil a day, has plenty to think about at this meeting as it wants to keep oil prices high and continue to meet global demand.
Iran is the leading voice within the cartel, calling for production cuts in the second quarter when global demand begins to fall for seasonal reasons, but there will be resistance from Saudi Arabia.
Analysts at the Centre of Global Energy Studies in London think the cartel will choose to maintain production levels during the second quarter.
'The oil market has tightened over the past week, reducing the pressure on Opec to make an early output cut to support prices,' the centre said in its latest monthly report.
'A combination of cold weather, a slow recovery in non-Opec output and a reduction in Opec's own oil supplies, have tightened the supply-demand balance.'
Fears of output disruption in Opec members Iran and Nigeria have been a prime factor in pushing up oil prices this month.
Iranian officials have threatened to use its oil exports as a weapon if Western powers get in the way of its nuclear research and development programme.
Nigeria exports are down by 220,000 barrels a day due to tribal unrest in the Niger delta.
Royal Dutch Shell has called force majeure on its exports through the Forcados and EA terminals in the country after attacks on the Trans Ramos pipeline and offshore installations.
This has been partly offset by rising deepwater oil production from the Bonga field, which is pumping out 150,000 barrels a day.
On the positive side, Iraqi exports are rising with higher volumes coming from the Middle East Gulf terminal at Basra and the reopening of an export pipeline from northern Iraq to Ceyhan in Turkey.
Higher oil prices have obviated the need for Opec to contemplate production cuts and have led to Saudi Arabia's reassurances on supply.
This week, US oil prices rose to $67 a barrel and London's benchmark Brent was trading around $65 because of geopolitical tensions and production outages.
Traders will be eagerly waiting to see how Opec's meeting next week goes, but most think the status quo will be kept. read more

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Irish Independent:Anti-pipeline alliance spurns visiting Shell delegation

By Tom Shiel
Jan 26, 2006
LANDOWNERS opposed to the onshore Corrib gas pipeline in Co Mayo yesterday snubbed a top-level delegation from energy giant Shell who travelled to the area on a fact-finding mission.
Three non-executive directors of Royal Dutch Shell plc, including Wim Kok, a former prime minister of the Netherlands, went to the Rossport and Bellanaboy area where it is proposed that gas from the Corrib Field will be brought ashore and processed.
Accompanying Mr Kok were Nina Henderson and Maarten van den Bergh. They were joined on the trip by Tom Botts, executive vice-president for Shell's European Exploration & Production business.
The three are members of Shell's Social Responsibility Committee (SRC), a committee established in 1997 to review the policies and conduct of the company in relation to its commitment around Business Principles and Health, Safety and Environment.
In this capacity they frequently visit Shell projects around the world to listen to local communities and to try to understand the impact that such projects have on the communities, customers, employees and the shareholders.
During their Mayo visit the directors met with local political representatives, resident groups, consenting landowners and other interested parties to listen to their views on and concerns about the Corrib pipeline project.
In a statement yesterday, Shell expressed disappointment that an invitation to the non-consenting landowners to meet with the board members was declined and hopes that a dialogue at a later date will be possible.
“Together with my colleagues on the board of Royal Dutch I frequently visit Shell projects around the world, as an independent observer,”
“We, the board members, are independent and are interested in how the project touches communities, employees and shareholders and in understanding the difficulties and challenges around the Corrib project from a local perspective,” said Mr Kok.
Shell said the meeting was completely independent from the ongoing mediation process that the company is continuing to participate in. read more

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Irish Times: Cassells opens mediation talks on gas pipeline

Lorna Siggins, Marine Correspondent, and Liamy MacNally
Jan 26, 2006
The first formal mediation talks involving the five men jailed last year over their opposition to the Corrib gas onshore pipeline took place in north Mayo yesterday, just as a high-level Royal Dutch Shell delegation visited the area.
The men told the company it would be premature to meet the delegation during mediation talks, chaired by former Ictu secretary-general Peter Cassells.
Since his appointment in late October last year by Minister for the Marine Noel Dempsey, Mr Cassells has held informal discussions in north Mayo. However, last night the Rossport Five expressed serious concern about remarks Mr Dempsey made in the Dail yesterday.
The Minister told Labour marine and energy spokesman Tommy Broughan that he expected mediation to be completed “in the spring, over the next month or so”.
A spokesman for the five men said no deadline had been agreed with Mr Cassells, who, they believed in good faith, had been appointed by the Minister as an “independent” broker.
A spokeswoman for the Minister said that he had incorrectly referred to a month in the Dail and he believed mediation would take “a matter of months”.
The Royal Dutch Shell delegation, led by former Dutch prime-minister Wim Kok, met local politicians and residents in Belmullet yesterday and in Cornboy last night.
But Shell confirmed that written invitations had only been issued to “consenting” as distinct from “non-consenting landowners” living on the high pressure pipeline route.
Two opponents who asked to meet the delegation in a personal capacity in Belmullet yesterday were ushered out of the hotel grounds by security staff.
Dr Mark Garavan of the Shell to Sea campaign said this confirmed that the Shell visit was a “complete PR” exercise. This was denied by the company.
Shell said that “verbal invitations” to meet the delegation had been issued to the five men and to “non-consenting landowners” through an “independent third party”.
Travelling with Mr Kok are Nina Henderson, former president of US food company Bestfoods, and Maarten van den Bergh, a managing director with Shell since 1992, chairman of the board of directors of Lloyds TSB group and non-executive director of BT group and British Airways plc.
All three are non-executive board members and serve on the company's social responsibility committee, which also visited the controversial Shell project at Sakhalin island in Russia last year.
They were accompanied by Tom Botts, executive vice-president for Shell's European exploration and production business.
In a statement, Mr Kok said that the project was “very important” for “Mayo, for Ireland and for Shell”, but “it can only succeed in partnership with the local community”.
Independent Mayo TD Dr Jerry Cowley said he would tell the delegation in Dublin today that the pipeline could not go ahead as planned, due to serious safety concerns, and the company must opt for an offshore terminal.
“This is the company that jailed five Mayo men over their genuine safety fears, and I will inform the delegation that the jails of Ireland won't be big enough to hold objectors if they proceed against the people's will,” Dr Cowley told The Irish Times .
Constituency colleague Beverley Flynn (Ind) has called on towns “across the State” to “stake their claim” for a connection to the pipeline. read more

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The New York Times: Delta Villages Fear Troops in Nigeria

Published: January 26, 2006
WARRI, Nigeria, Jan. 25 (Reuters) — Villagers fled Nigeria's lawless delta on Wednesday amid fears of military reprisals after a wave of attacks on foreign oil companies by ethnic Ijaw militiamen.
The army deployed more troops to major installations, and oil companies tightened security around offices a day after heavily armed men stormed the headquarters of the Italian oil firm Agip, robbing a bank on the premises and killing eight policemen and a civilian.
“There are soldiers everywhere, and I don't want my three girls in the firing line,” said Return Powei, who lives in the remote village of Ogbotobo. “Our youths run into the forest when they hear the soldiers are coming. Everyone is moving out of Ogbotobo.”
It was not clear if the attack on Agip, a unit of ENI of Italy, was the work of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, whose five-week campaign of sabotage and kidnapping has contributed to an increase in oil prices.
The group said it would make Royal Dutch Shell suffer unless it paid $1.5 billion to delta villages in compensation for decades of oil pollution, which is one of its demands for releasing four foreign hostages.
The government has set up a committee to negotiate the release of four oil workers kidnapped Jan. 11. read more

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