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Posts on ‘January 30th, 2006’

Monsters and Critics.com: Released oil workers handed over to Shell director

Four expatriate oil workers abducted by gunmen from a Shell Petroleum Development Company facility in Nigeria nearly three weeks ago were handed over to Shell's managing director on Monday, hours after their release.
The four, named as Briton Nigel Watson-Clark, Bulgarian Milko Nichev, Harry Ebanks from Honduras and U.S. national Patrick Handry, were released in Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State, before being welcomed by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Handing the freed hostages over to Shell managing director Basil Omiyi, Obasanjo said his administration would not be blackmailed by criminals.
'No self-respecting government will give into blackmail, intimidation or threat,' he said. 'This incident only exposed them (the militants) for what they are…criminals. I hope they have seen the futility of their actions.'
He added that his government was working on a new strategy to prevent similar kidnappings in future.
'I want to assure you and the international community that we will try to prevent the recurrence of this kind of incident,' he told the hostages, while appealing to the media 'to stop glorifying people who have done bad, you are undermining the security of the country.'
The kidnappers, a previously unknown militia group called the Movement for the Emancipation of the People of the Niger Delta, originally said it would only release the men if the government freed two detained leaders of the ethnic Ijaw group.
A Foreign Office spokesman in London confirmed the release earlier Monday, saying: 'The men are free. They are in the hands of Nigerian officials.'
Earlier, Nigerian Army Major Said Ahmed, spokesman for 'Operation Restore Hope,' a special military unit aiding police in the Niger Delta, had also confirmed the release.
The kidnappers were reportedly demanding ransom money as well as the release of two people currently on trial in Abuja.
Reports in London said the kidnappers' conditions were not met before the hostages were released.
The abductors were demanding the immediate release of the impeached governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, on trial for embezzlement while in office.
It also demanded immediate freedom for a militant separatist leader, Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, who is standing trial for treason.
Dokubo-Asari led a bloody uprising in the Niger Delta in 2004 in a crusade to demand that Nigeria's oil resources be controlled by the oil-rich Delta region.
Nigeria's oil industry has been the target of militant attacks in recent weeks, with a January 15 bombing attack on Shell houseboats killing 13 people.
Gunmen also stormed the premises of another oil company in Port Harcourt over the weekend and stole the equivalent of 300,000 dollars.
The southern Niger delta is home to 90 per cent of Nigeria's oil reserves, making the populous West African nation one of the world's biggest oil exporters.
But some 20 million residents of the delta region have long complained they were not benefiting from the oil wealth, and that the pollution from frequent oil spills and gas flares had damaged the soil on which they rely for farming. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Anarkismo.net: News from anti-pipeline struggle in Ireland

By Finbar Dwyer – WSM – Workers Solidarity 90 Monday, Jan 30 2006, 1:59pm

Rossport – Go west (and make Shell go offshore

Though the issue of the Rossport pipeline was last in the news when the the five local men were released from prison, the conflict with Shell hasn't gone away. Since then the government commissioned a report, which essentially whitewashed Shell and gave the go ahead to build this dangerous pipeline.
The people of Rossport, however, are not lying down in the face of either the multinational or government. Last summer they stopped Shell from carrying out pipeline work. This summer the plan is the same. Safety is not negotiable.
Five years ago when Shell decided to push ahead with this pipeline it was clear it wasn't safe. Five years later, government reports or bullying a small community will not change this fact. It wasn't safe then and it isn't safe now.
Beyond safety, the Shell is ripping us off. Five years ago Shell got the deal of a century when our esteemed leaders gave them the entire gas field and then paid them to build the refinery by giving them massive tax breaks on all their construction work. If it was a rip-off then, it's still a rip-off now.
Shell are aware that they face a very strong campaign and so have been sending out fancy leaflets all across Mayo telling people how safe the pipeline is. They are getting ready for a big push to have it built this spring.
The local Campaign is also preparing too. Last autumn a delegation went to Norway to successfully publicise the complicity of Statoil, who own the second largest stake in the field.
At the moment there are several people preparing a camp site in Mayo to facilitate people who want to go and show solidarity. The camp is opening on February 25th and is for all interested in showing solidarity with the people of Rossport.
In this sparsely populated area the campers will help with the continuous picket which makes sure that Shell don't start their pipelaying. If you have a few days to spare, come to Mayo and help with the blockades. If you can't get to Mayo, you can get in touch with your local 'Shell to Sea' group.
For more information about the camp contact Bob 0863201612. http:// www.shelltosea.com read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

The Australian: Barrow doubt hits Gorgon

By Nigel Wilson
January 30, 2006
THE $11 billion Gorgon gas project faces big delays after warnings by its engineering advisers that placing the processing facilities on Barrow Island may be too costly.
Engineers are looking again at whether gas from the Greater Gorgon reservoirs in the Indian Ocean could be piped directly to the mainland – a solution previously dismissed as being up to $800 million more expensive than the Barrow Island option. The review is being undertaken amid concerns about higher costs, including those of meeting stringent environmental standards for the nature-protected Barrow Island.
Chevron and Shell, which own 75 per cent of the project, have negotiated preliminary sales agreements for 7.5 million tonnes of Gorgon liquefied natural gas output for delivery from 2010.
The project, to produce 10 million tonnes of LNG from two production trains, is in the final stages of assessment following a $100 million engineering and design program. But a full-scale engineering review of alternatives to Barrow could take several months to complete and most likely would involve further delays in seeking environmental clearances.
The partners, which also include ExxonMobil, have repeatedly said they expect to commit themselves to the project by the middle of the year.
“We don't comment on speculation,” a Gorgon spokesman said yesterday. But he added that the Gorgon development was not isolated from issues such as higher material and labour costs affecting other construction projects around the country.
Losing the Gorgon development would be embarrassing for the West Australian Government, which has promoted the project as a key part of a $40 billion investment program for the northwest, most of which remains unfulfilled.
It is understood that much of the engineering concerns revolve around the costs of meeting an unprecedented level of environmental protection and monitoring being demanded by the West Australian Environmental Protection Authority.
Barrow Island, about 60km off Western Australia's northwest coast, is a controversial site for an LNG plant, even though it is host to Australia's biggest onshore oil field, which has been producing for more than 40 years, attracting international recognition for its sensitivity to the environment.
It has been a class A nature reserve since 1911 – the highest form of conservation protection available in Western Australia. Barrow has internationally significant bio-diversity, including 24 known species or subspecies that occur only on the island.
The island is also a refuge for the Perentie, which is the world's second-largest lizard.
Environmentalists have long been opposed to an LNG plant on the island but in 2003 the West Australian Government legislated to allow the proponents to use up to 300ha of the island under strict environmental assessment.
In November public comment closed on a 2500-page environmental impact statement, the largest in Australia.
The proponents are responding to public submissions with the EPA scheduled to present its final advice to the Government within three months.
A main concern is the plan to dispose of carbon dioxide from Gorgon gas in a saline percolating aquifer deep below Barrow Island.
Critics say the ERMP does not contain adequate safeguards and monitoring processes for this untested carbon removal plan. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Shell Whistleblower Dr Huong files defence to Shell defamation suit

By Alfred Donovan
Dr Huong, a former Shell geologist of almost 30 years standing was the FIRST SHELL employee to blow the whistle on the Shell reserves fraud (and other important issues relating to the discredited senior management of Royal Dutch Shell).
As a result Shell appears determined to silence him at all costs. Hence the unprecedented highly distasteful spectacle of EIGHT giant Shell companies collectively bringing a defamation action against one human being – an unemployed Malaysian who has no prospect whatsoever of finding alternative employment in his profession while the litigation cloud hangs over the heads of himself and his family.
Dr Huong has now filed a Defence which contains a staggering array of allegations, facts and evidence directed against Royal Dutch Shell Group. It represents an unprecedented indictment of Shell by a former Shell insider.
We will shortly publish information on how Shell shareholders and stakeholders can provide financial support for this courageous Malaysian, victimised by Shell, who has been unable to secure alternative employment because of the draconian litigation which has blighted his life.
Dr Huong made the mistake of believing in Shell's STATEMENT OF GENERAL BUSINESS PRINCIPLES and in particular the pledges of “honesty, integrity, respect for people” in all of Shell's dealings and Shell's philosophy in the new ways of working, including the promotion of trust, openness, teamwork, professionalism and pride in what Shell does.
He did not realise that the pledges were purely hype and spin meant for use in global PR campaigns such as “Profits and Principles” i.e. for the consumption of gullible consumers and stakeholders.
We now know as a result of the reserves fraud that the slogan should have been “Profits and NO Principles”.
To read the full article including the court documents:

http://shell2004.com/ShellNewsnet Original news stories/shellnewsnet-dr-huong-defence-29-january-2006.htm read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer still faces potential criminal prosecution by US Justice Department

By Alfred Donovan
ShellNews.net has obtained a copy of the decision by the US Justice Department taken on 29 June 2005 against prosecuting Shell. This followed an investigation headed by Mr David Kelly, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Mr Kelly, a member of the US President's Corporate Fraud Task Force, praised the efforts of the FBI for their role in the investigation. He also thanked the US Securities and Exchange Commission for its valuable assistance.
According to a report in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL coinciding with the release of the decision, the role of individuals in the accounting scandal at Shell was still being investigated. In an interview, Mr. Kelley stated, “We're continuing to evaluate the case against the individuals.” He indicated that the decision against prosecuting Shell had been taken bearing in mind co-operation by the company in the investigation and went on to say: “Moreover, criminal prosecution would likely have a severe and unintended disproportionate economic impact upon thousands of innocent Shell employees.”
There has been no subsequent word from the US Justice Department on the on-going investigation against individuals allegedly implicated in the fraud, including Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer, who also faces civil proceedings via US class action lawsuits.
The investigation is referred to in paragraph 23.5 of a defence document filed by Shell whistleblower Dr John Huong (with the High Court of Malaya on 25 January 2006) in relation to a defamation lawsuit brought against him by EIGHT Royal Dutch Shell companies registered in the UK, the Netherlands and in other Countries.
To read the Justice Department document click on the article link below:
http://shell2004.com/week26/shellnews-net-shell-ceo-jeroen-van-der-veer-29-january-2006.htm read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Strategiy: Shell companies donate tents to Pakistan earthquake victims

Strategiy: United Arab Emirates
[Monday, January 30, 2006 8:59:00 am]
A group of Dutch expatriates donated AED 55,000 to Earthquake Relief Action Dubai, an organisation formed by Dubai Aid and Humanitarian City, towards the purchase of school tents for earthquake victims in Pakistan. The funds are the proceeds of a private photo exhibition organised by the group with the support of Shell Middle East, Caspian and South Asia.
“The idea was born spontaneously among a few friends who share a love for photography,” said Michael Dukker, organiser of the charitable initiative. “We were shocked by the tragedy in Pakistan and decided to make use of our hobby to raise money for the earthquake victims. We organised an exhibition with 50 works of art that we offered for sale to friends and colleagues. The amount raised by us was generously matched by Shell. We are confident that with the assistance of Dubai Aid and Humanitarian City, our donation will be used in the most effective way”, he added.
“Shell is honoured to have been invited to contribute to this worthy cause. The donation demonstrates the commitment of Shell' Dubai staff and their families to social improvement here and in the wider region. We would like to thank the individuals behind it and laud their efforts,” said Erik Slotboom, VP HR, Shell Middle East, Caspian and South Asia.
The donation was handed over to Earthquake Relief Action Dubai, which was set up in the immediate aftermath of the Pakistan earthquake by Dubai Aid and Humanitarian City for coordinating and facilitating relief aid for earthquake victims.
“Apart from its monetary value, this initiative is important because it proves that Dubai and its corporate community have not forgotten Pakistan,” said Barbara Castek, CEO of Dubai Aid and Humanitarian City. “We are still receiving calls from individuals, groups or companies who want to contribute”, she added.
“After consulting persons working on the field in Pakistan, we decided to use the donation for purchasing thermally insulated school tents, designed especially for the affected mountainous areas in Pakistan”, explained Castek. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Radio New Zealand: Oil company attacks continue in Nigeria

Posted at 8:47am on 30 Jan 2006
Armed men stormed the headquarters of a South Korean oil services company in Nigeria's delta region and stole 40 million naira ($US307,000) in the latest attack on foreign firms.
There were no casualties.
The raid came five days after nine men were killed during a suspected armed robbery at the delta headquarters of an Italian oil company, Agip.
Rebels abducted four foreign oil workers 18 days ago and have crippled a tenth of Nigeria's production in a six-week campaign of violence.
The movement's campaign has forced Shell to withdraw 500 employees and cut its output by 221,000 barrels a day – or nearly a tenth of the output from the world's eighth largest exporter. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Reuters: Shell resumes partial output at EA oilfield

Mon Jan 30, 2006 7:39 AM GMT
LAGOS (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell has partially resumed production at its 115,000 barrels per day EA offshore oilfield in Nigeria after repairs to a technical fault, oil industry sources said on Monday.
The field was shut after a militant attack on January 11 in which four foreign oil workers were kidnapped.
One of the sources said the field would take about a week to reach full production.

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

BBC NEWS: Kidnapped oil worker 'released'

A British oil worker kidnapped in Nigeria three weeks ago has been freed, a local official has said.
Nigel Watson-Clark, from Saltford near Bath, and three other foreigners were taken hostage by armed militants demanding more control over resources.
A spokesman for the southern state of Bayelsa said the four were alive and well and with the state governor.
British officials and representatives of oil company Royal Dutch Shell said they were checking the report.
Mr Watson-Clark was in an elite band of security men who guard Nigeria's oil rigs.
The former paratrooper was snatched, together with an American, a Bulgarian and an Honduran, from an offshore oil platform on 11 January. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

The Scotsman: IPods and oil set to power up profits

THE WEEK AHEAD
MARTIN FLANAGAN
SCOTTISH group Wolfson Microelectronics is expected to unveil doubled full-year profits on Wednesday, helped by the surge in popularity of iPod music players.
Wolfson, which makes the chips that change digital signals to analogue ones so that people can hear sounds or see images, said in October that demand for chips used in iPods and other consumer electronics had accelerated since its July update.
Analyst Ian Robertson at broker Altium Securities said the group's results should be “impressive”. Robertson said: “The recent news flow from other semiconductor companies, except Intel, has been comforting, giving us increased faith that Wolfson will have had a good end to the year.” Altium predicted pre-tax profits of $32 million (£18m) against $15m in the previous 12 months.
Star turn on the big reporting canvas this week will be oil major Royal Dutch Shell, with many analysts believing that its first set of full-year results as a unified company will be marked by the biggest profits performance in UK corporate history.
Analysts expect Shell to reveal on Thursday that it made $23 billion (£12.9bn) in 2005, fuelled by buoyant oil prices, against $17.6 billion the previous year.
That is despite hurricane damage in the Gulf of Mexico meaning that Shell's production in 2005 was about 3.5 million barrels of oil a day – at the bottom end of earlier targets laid out by the group.
There should be information about the cost of repairs to rigs in the region and whether they are in line with Shell's estimates at the end of October, along with the group's forecast for oil and gas output in 2006.
On the “current cost of supplies” measurement, Shell is expected to report earnings of $5.48bn in the fourth quarter compared with $5.22bn in the same period of 2004.

Strong sales of blockbuster drugs are expected to inject life into pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca's full-year figures on Thursday.
The British-Swedish company forecast sales growth around the double-digit mark in an update in October, after sales of its top five medicines rose 25 per cent in the three months to September.
Anti-obesity drug Crestor and ulcer treatment Nexium are among the company's biggest-selling products.
Analysts will be interested in any more news on Astra's pipeline of new drugs – the firm recently struck four deals in the course of a month, including the £121m acquisition of KuDOS Pharmaceuticals.
According to a consensus of analysts' forecasts, operating profits for the full year should be about $6.5bn against $4.77bn last time.
Soaring fuel costs will be a major factor in lower third-quarter profits from British Airways on Friday after it forecast an annual fuel bill of £1.67bn in November.
But another issue of concern is the airline's £1.3bn final salary pension deficit, which is one of the biggest among FTSE 100 companies.
Pre-tax profits for the three months to the end of December are expected to come in at £145m against £151m last time, according to a consensus of analysts.
Satellite broadcaster BSkyB hit its goal of eight million UK subscribers by the end of 2005 but the City will be interested in how its “churn rate” – the percentage of subscribers that leave BSkyB each year – has turned out after putting prices up by between £1.50 and £3 per month in the summer.
The consensus estimate for operating profits for the six months to the end of December stands at £399 million – up from £354m in the same period of 2004.
This article: http://business.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=147942006
Last updated: 30-Jan-06 02:25 GMT read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Los Angeles: Militants Release 4 Foreign Oil Workers

From Times Wire Reports
Four foreign oil workers held hostage by Nigerian militants were released and were well, a government spokesman said.
The hostages — an American, Briton, Bulgarian and Honduran — were abducted Jan. 11 from an offshore oilfield in the Niger Delta operated by Royal Dutch Shell.
Militants have crippled a tenth of Nigeria's oil production in six weeks of violence. They have demanded more local control over the delta's oil wealth, compensation for pollution to villages and the release of two ethnic Ijaw leaders. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

The Australian: Kidnapped oil workers released

From correspondents in Lagos
January 30, 2006
NIGERIAN separatist militants released four Western oil workers today, after holding them hostage in the swamps of the Niger Delta for almost three weeks.
The men – an American, a Briton, a Bulgarian and a Honduran – were handed over to the Bayelsa state government, spokesman Welson Ekiyor said by telephone from the state capital Yenagoa.
Today's release will come as a relief to those working in Africa's largest oil industry, which is reeling from a three-week series of violent attacks that has left 22 members of the security forces and three Nigerian workers dead.
“They've been released. They're with the governor right now. They're very OK,” Mr Ekiyor said.
The British embassy and the oil giant Shell said they were checking the report.
On January 11, a heavily armed ethnic Ijaw militia riding speed boats boarded an oil industry supply vessel and captured four crew members. The vessel, Liberty Service, was working for the energy giant Shell off the coast of Bayelsa.
The boat's US skipper, Patrick Landry, British security expert Nigel Watson-Clark and engineers Milko Nichev of Bulgaria and Harry Ebanks of Honduras were held hostage for nearly three weeks in Ijaw areas of the Niger Delta.
The hostage-takers issued statements demanding that the Nigerian government release two prominent Ijaw leaders from jail and that Shell pay $US1.5 billion ($2 billion) in compensation to villages polluted by oil spills.
There was no initial information as to what kind of a deal, if any, had been struck with the kidnappers to secure the men's release.
On the same day as the hostages were taken, militants blew up Shell's Trans-Ramos pipeline. Four days later, they stormed the firm's Benisede oil flow station, killed 14 soldiers and two oilmen, and burned down buildings.
Then on January 24, gunmen wearing camouflage fatigues and armed with AK-47 Kalashnikov assault rifles stormed an office and workshop complex run by the Italian oil firm ENI in the southern oil city of Port Harcourt.
The unidentified gang killed seven serving policemen, one retired officer seconded to the firm as a security guard and a company accountant, before escaping on speed boats with a large haul of cash.
Two days ago, in an almost identical attack, gunmen scared off the police protecting the Korean engineering company Daewoo's oil services centre outside Port Harcourt and stole $US307,000 ($410,000) in cash.
Nigeria has been producing oil for five decades, longer than it has been an independent country, but most profits from the multi-billion dollar sector end up in the pockets of multinationals and corrupt government officials.
According to the World Bank, more than three quarters of Nigerians live in abject poverty on less than one dollar per day.
The Niger Delta, a Scotland-sized swathe of coastal swamp and mangrove forest dotted with oil wells and criss-crossed by pipelines, is home to several well-armed illegal militias fighting for a greater share of oil revenues.
read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

The Australian: Barrow doubt hits Gorgon

By Nigel Wilson
January 30, 2006
THE $11 billion Gorgon gas project faces big delays after warnings by its engineering advisers that placing the processing facilities on Barrow Island may be too costly.
Engineers are looking again at whether gas from the Greater Gorgon reservoirs in the Indian Ocean could be piped directly to the mainland – a solution previously dismissed as being up to $800 million more expensive than the Barrow Island option. The review is being undertaken amid concerns about higher costs, including those of meeting stringent environmental standards for the nature-protected Barrow Island.
Chevron and Shell, which own 75 per cent of the project, have negotiated preliminary sales agreements for 7.5 million tonnes of Gorgon liquefied natural gas output for delivery from 2010.
The project, to produce 10 million tonnes of LNG from two production trains, is in the final stages of assessment following a $100 million engineering and design program. But a full-scale engineering review of alternatives to Barrow could take several months to complete and most likely would involve further delays in seeking environmental clearances.
The partners, which also include ExxonMobil, have repeatedly said they expect to commit themselves to the project by the middle of the year.
“We don't comment on speculation,” a Gorgon spokesman said yesterday. But he added that the Gorgon development was not isolated from issues such as higher material and labour costs affecting other construction projects around the country.
Losing the Gorgon development would be embarrassing for the West Australian Government, which has promoted the project as a key part of a $40 billion investment program for the northwest, most of which remains unfulfilled.
It is understood that much of the engineering concerns revolve around the costs of meeting an unprecedented level of environmental protection and monitoring being demanded by the West Australian Environmental Protection Authority.
Barrow Island, about 60km off Western Australia's northwest coast, is a controversial site for an LNG plant, even though it is host to Australia's biggest onshore oil field, which has been producing for more than 40 years, attracting international recognition for its sensitivity to the environment.
It has been a class A nature reserve since 1911 – the highest form of conservation protection available in Western Australia. Barrow has internationally significant bio-diversity, including 24 known species or subspecies that occur only on the island.
The island is also a refuge for the Perentie, which is the world's second-largest lizard.
Environmentalists have long been opposed to an LNG plant on the island but in 2003 the West Australian Government legislated to allow the proponents to use up to 300ha of the island under strict environmental assessment.
In November public comment closed on a 2500-page environmental impact statement, the largest in Australia.
The proponents are responding to public submissions with the EPA scheduled to present its final advice to the Government within three months.
A main concern is the plan to dispose of carbon dioxide from Gorgon gas in a saline percolating aquifer deep below Barrow Island.
Critics say the ERMP does not contain adequate safeguards and monitoring processes for this untested carbon removal plan. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Oil-Price Shock Tops List Of Global Economic Risks Amid Supply, Geopolitical Worries

By MARC CHAMPION
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
January 30, 2006; Page A2
DAVOS, Switzerland — The good news about oil is that even if terrorists were to blow up key infrastructure around the world, there probably would be enough reserves to make up the shortfall for as long as a year. At least that was the conclusion from a crisis simulation held here at this year's World Economic Forum.
The bad news: Oil prices would still soar as high as $120 a barrel, and economists, chief executives and risk analysts gathered at Davos still put an oil-price shock at the top of their list of global economic risks. Lack of spare output capacity and growing worries over geopolitics are making that more possible, they say.
In fact, some economists say the U.S. economy already is suffering from an oil-price shock. It just doesn't realize it yet. Research by Washington-based consultant Robert F. Wescott, a former International Monetary Fund and White House economist, suggests oil prices are already hurting stock prices, and may hurt profits and growth.
COMPLETE COVERAGE
See video reports from Davos including publisher Mort Zuckerman and Cisco CEO John Chambers. Plus, track the latest Davos news.Mr. Wescott looked at what has happened to U.S. stock prices since 1950 when corporate profits rose sharply, as they did last year. He found that stocks rose by an average 21.5% when profits were up by 30% or more — except in 2005. Last year, profits rose about 30%, but stocks were flat. In Mr. Westcott's view, oil prices are the key reason.
“Oil prices have been creaming our companies,” he said after the simulation. The only reason the oil-price surge hasn't hammered U.S. growth, he said, is that job creation in housing-related sectors of the economy and mortgage-equity withdrawals have kept U.S. consumers spending, despite higher gasoline and heating costs. As the housing market slows, he says, that cushion will disappear and the ill effects of expensive oil will become clear. He cited weak U.S. growth figures for the fourth quarter of 2005, released last week, as evidence.
Mr. Wescott's is a minority view. Most economists believe the oil-price rise of recent years has had little impact so far. But his contention underlines a general unease that with oil prices now over $60 a barrel, the global economy might not weather an additional runup the way it has handled the climb so far.
To test that question, a four-hour energy-crisis simulation held at the forum here assumed that a series of terrorist attacks had taken about 5% of daily oil production off the market. Saudi Aramco Chief Executive Abdallah S. Jumah said afterward that his company could pump about an extra 1.5 million barrels a day. Strategic reserves released by the International Energy Agency, together with increased output from other producers, could cover the rest of the deficit.
Royal Dutch Shell PLC Chief Executive Jeroen van der Veer said at a separate news conference that there was “no need for pessimism” about energy. The current high oil price would stimulate investment and new energy supplies, he said. Similarly, Fatih Birol, the IEA's chief economist, said the response to Hurricane Katrina in the U.S. last year showed that the agency was willing to use its strategic reserves and that markets were calmed by the move.
Yet the simulation still predicted oil prices would soar to as much as $120 a barrel. Roland O. Rechtsteiner, director of Mercer Oliver Wyman, which helped produce a report on global risks for the forum, said that was because markets would focus on the lack of any further capacity in case of another disruption.
Analysts in a similar Davos discussion a year earlier had predicted dire effects from $80-a-barrel oil. Meantime, oil in the real world hit $70, without killing global growth. But at $70, oil expenditure still makes up only about 4% of global gross domestic product, compared with 7% during the oil crises of the 1970s and 1980s. At $120, oil expenditure would make up nearly 8% of global GDP.
The driver for most of the oil-price rise has been growing demand from China and India, which has offset the potentially inflationary impact of the price increase with rising economic growth. But that has been changing, and price rises are increasingly the result of supply concerns. “This year, Chinese oil demand grew by zero,” says Daniel Yergin, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates.
The volatile Middle East's dominant share of oil output is projected to rise. To cushion against shocks, the U.S. and other developed countries, as well as fast-growing China and India, would have to cut their growth in energy use, according to Richard N. Haass, a former senior U.S. State Department official and now head of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations. Noting the example set by the U.S., he added, “None of us can afford for them to take a trajectory in energy use that in any way resembles ours.”
Write to Marc Champion at [email protected] read more

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The Times: Look ahead

Royal Dutch Shell is expected to report the biggest profits performance in UK corporate history when it announces its fourth-quarter results on Thursday.
Analysts expect the oil and gas group to reveal that it made $23.03 billion (£12.9 billion) last year, up from $17.59 billion over the previous 12 months.
Shell is expected to report earnings of $5.48 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with $5.22 billion over the same period in 2004.
Damage caused by hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico has meant that production in 2005 will be about 3.5 million barrels of oil a day — at the bottom end of the target range. The group said recently that the cost of repairing damage to rigs and refineries would be about $350 million, although most of this would be covered by insurance. read more

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Daily Telegraph: The week ahead

A guide to company results and meetings, and economic statistics
Royal Dutch Shell is expected to unveil record profits for a British company fuelled by a steep increase in oil prices over the past year.
The oil giant's fourth quarter results on Thursday are expected to push the company's annual earnings up to a record $23billion (£13billion).
Also this week, US oil giant Exxon Mobil is expected to post the world's biggest-ever profit of about $32billion and BP is expected to continue the trend with profits of around $22billion reported on February 7.
At Shell, analysts' consensus forecast for current cost of supplies earnings, the standard measure used in the oil industry, is $5.5billion for the three months to December.
For the nine months to September Shell earned $17.5billion compared to $12.4billion earned in the same period a year earlier.
The earnings would be the highest ever reported by a UK-listed company, beating the record $17.6billion posted by Shell a year ago. read more

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Daily Telegraph: Refiners urge Brown to rethink

By Roland Gribben (Filed: 30/01/2006)
Pressure is growing on the Government to end opposition to the creation of a new agency to control Britain's strategic oil stocks, amid worries about the future of the refinery business.
The Chancellor Gordon Brown has been reluctant to support the move because he is concerned the Government may end up being exposed to a huge financial obligation by effectively underwriting the oil stocks.
BP, Shell, Esso and independent oil companies along with importers and petrol retailers, including Tesco and Sainsbury, are attempting to persuade him to change his mind, and pointing out that by adopting the Stockholding Agency framework used in other EU states the Government will not be exposed to financial risk.
At present, oil reserves are held by oil companies without any cost to the Government, although Alan Johnson, Trade and Industry Secretary, is responsible for administering them.
Under existing rules BP, Shell and other oil majors with refineries in Britain are required to hold the equivalent of 67.5 days' sales while supermarkets and other non-refiners have a smaller 48.5 days' obligation.
Oil companies and supermarkets believe an agency would be better placed to administer stocks and ensure they were meeting obligations. They feel their arguments have been reinforced by confusion surrounding specific stocking requirements covering particular products.
One industry executive said: “It's very frustrating. We've been talking to the Government about setting up the agency for three years now and there's been little progress.”
The unity in the industry on the agency issue masks wide differences between the oil majors and supermarkets on other stocking and strategic issues. BP and Shell are pressing the DTI to end the stocking differential with supermarkets and refiners, arguing that Britain is the only EU country with a two-tier system.
They maintain the current set-up is anti-competitive, penalises domestic refineries, and will not survive changes in the industry or the longer-term need to fall in line with the EU's 90-day stock obligation. Britain has been given a dispensation because North Sea oil provides a “reserve cushion”, but as offshore production runs down stocks will need to rise.
Supermarkets, faced with a massive bill to bring them into line and anxious to protect their 33pc share of the petrol market, have mounted strong opposition to the move. They have told ministers that “big oil” is trying to shackle them and undermine their competitive position read more

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AFX Europe (Focus): Hostage oil workers released in Nigeria – official UPDATE

LAGOS (AFX) – Four foreign oil workers who had been held hostage by Nigerian separatist militants for 19 days have been released by their captors, a state government spokesman told Agence France-Presse.
“They've been released. They're with the governor right now. They're very OK,” said Bayelsa State spokesman Ekiyor Welson, speaking by telephone from the state capital Yenagoa.
A British diplomat and an official of the energy giant Royal Dutch Shell said that they are checking the report.
On January 11 a heavily armed ethnic Ijaw militia riding speed boats boarded the oil industry supply vessel Liberty Service off the coast of Bayelsa and captured four crew members.
The boat's American skipper Patrick Landry, British security expert Nigel Watson Clark and engineers Milko Nichev of Bulgaria and Harry Ebanks of Honduras have since been held in Ijaw areas of the Niger Delta.
Statements from the hostage-takers demanded that the Nigerian government release two prominent Ijaw leaders from jail and that Shell pay 1.5 bln usd in compensation to villages polluted by oil spills.
There was no initial information on what kind of a deal, if any, had been struck with the kidnappers to secure the shipmates' release.
[email protected]
afp/jlw/jlw read more

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The New York Times: Nigerian Militants Free Foreign Oil Workers

By REUTERS
Published: January 30, 2006
Filed at 2:39 a.m. ET
YENAGOA, Nigeria (Reuters) – Nigerian militants released four foreign oil workers on Monday, ending a 19-day hostage crisis that also saw Nigerian oil output cut by a tenth.
The hostages — an American, Briton, Bulgarian and Honduran — were abducted from an offshore oilfield in the southern Niger Delta on January 11, one of a series of attacks on the oil industry in the world's eighth largest exporter.
“They have all been released. They are all alive and well,'' said the spokesman for the southern state of Bayelsa.
The militants had demanded more local control over the delta's oil wealth, compensation for oil pollution to villages in the vast wetlands region and the release of two Ijaw leaders. The Ijaw are the biggest ethnic group in the delta.
Diplomats and militants said it was unlikely that the release of the hostages would mark the end of attacks on oil platforms and pipelines, which have forced Royal Dutch Shell to close 221,000 barrels per day of production.
“I think there will be more attacks,'' said a security consultant for a multinational oil company in Nigeria.
A militant Ijaw group with apparent links to the kidnappers sent an email on Sunday agreeing to the hostages' release as a goodwill gesture to the international community.
“The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta has agreed to release the four hostages on humanitarian grounds as an offer of goodwill to the people of the world,'' said the statement, signed by imprisoned Ijaw militia leader Mujahid Dokubo-Asari.
The kidnappers had demanded freedom for Asari, who is standing trial for treason, as one condition for releasing the hostages.
A militant source involved in the negotiations said the government paid 100 million naira ($770,000) as a ransom to the kidnappers.
On Sunday, police said about 20 armed men stormed the headquarters of a South Korean oil services company in the delta and stole more than $300,000 in the latest attack on foreign firms. There were no casualties.
The attack occurred only five days after nine men were killed during an attack on the offices of Italian oil company Agip, a unit of ENI. The attackers robbed a bank on the premises.
The militants' violent campaign has forced Shell to remove more than 500 employees from the delta.
Oil unions have threatened to withdraw from the delta, which produces almost all of Nigeria's 2.4 million barrels a day of oil, if security deteriorates further.
With oil markets already nervous about tension between the West and Iran, the unrest in Nigeria's oil heartland has contributed to a rise in prices to four-month highs of more than $67 a barrel. read more

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The New York Times: Oil Pushes Over $68 as Iran Talks Overshadow OPEC

By REUTERS
Published: January 30, 2006
Filed at 1:19 a.m. ET
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices climbed half a dollar to above $68 a barrel on Monday, shrugging off a likely rollover in OPEC production to focus on key talks over Iran's nuclear program and more militant attacks in Nigeria.
U.S. light crude climbed 46 cents to $68.22 a barrel after soaring $1.50 a barrel on Friday. Prices are up more than $7 this year and touched $69.20 a barrel a week ago, the highest since Hurricane Katrina hit the U.S. Gulf Coast last summer.
London Brent crude climbed 55 cents to $66.79.
OPEC's meeting in Vienna on Tuesday is being overshadowed this week by talks on Iran, with the United States and European Union powers gathering later on Monday to try to convince Russia and China to back tough diplomatic action to prevent Tehran from continuing with its nuclear activity.
On Thursday, the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency will hold an emergency session at which the board could decide to send Iran to the U.N. Security Council, a move traders fear could prompt Tehran to consider using its oil as a political weapon.
“The market has the same buy factors — Iran and Nigeria — and now increasing tension ahead of the IAEA meeting could drive the market higher,'' said Naohiro Niimura, vice president of the derivatives unit at Mizuho Corporate Bank in Tokyo.
Concerns over supplies from the world's fourth-largest exporter, as well as lost output from Nigeria, have added fuel to a market ignited by a new flood of fund money into the commodities complex, which has performed strongly for two years.
Last week's robust U.S. inventory levels, a pledge from Saudi Arabia to fill supply gaps and the promise of an emergency release from Western government stockpiles if Iran or Nigeria halted exports failed to reverse the rally.
Although OPEC producers remain concerned over the seasonal dip in second quarter demand, most agree the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has little choice but to keep output steady at near a 25-year high when it meets on Tuesday.
“I think we should leave things as they are,'' Algerian Energy and Mining Minister Chakib Khelil told reporters in Vienna on Sunday. “We will look again in March.''
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi went a step further, saying he saw no reason to cut production at any time this year.
OPEC is scheduled to meet again on March 8, also in Vienna.
In Nigeria, where major producer Royal Dutch Shell has already shut in over 200,000 barrels per day (bpd), around 20 armed men stormed and robbed a South Korean oil services firm on Saturday, the latest attack on a foreign oil company.
In a positive step, the Nigerian government said on Monday that four foreign oil workers who had been abducted from a Shell platform nearly three weeks ago had been released and were well.

Disruptions to Russia's natural gas supplies to Europe and some of its former Soviet neighbors have also unsettled traders and lifted oil demand. Exports to Georgia began flowing again on Sunday, a week after pipeline explosions cut supplies, while supplies to Italy improved over the weekend.
Norway, the world's third-biggest oil exporter, joined the list of supply concerns after a small oil workers' union said on Friday it would consider a strike to halt production at the Oseberg field if talks on a wage deal failed.
More Articles in Business > read more

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Financial Times: Filtronic aims for predictability

Published: January 30 2006
MONDAY
*Filtronic, which is due to report its interim results, has “a long record of not meeting expectations”, according to one analyst. Today's announcement will provide clues as to whether the company, which makes microwave electronics for the wireless telecommunications and defence industries, is moving into more profitable and predictable times following the sale last year of its LK handsets business. That allowed Filtronic to pay down debt and reinvest in areas with greater growth potential, such as its wireless infrastructure operation. Last month, the company said trading in wireless infrastructure and in its integrated products division was in line with expectations. But the first-half results will contain a £1m charge linked to the closure of its Australian wireless infrastructure operation and a US semiconductor sales office. With that and the loss of the handsets business, Filtronic may post an interim operating loss.
TUESDAY
*ARM Holdings, the chip designer, will be under pressure to show it has managed to turn round flagging licence sales when it reports full-year results. The company, whose chip designs are used for devices, such as mobile phones and iPods, was forced to lower annual forecasts twice in the past six months owing to weak licensing. Consensus forecasts are for pre-tax profit of £78.7m on revenues of £230.9m for the 2005.
WEDNESDAY
*British Sky Broadcasting, the satellite television group that will be releasing its second-quarter results, announced at the end of last year that it had reached the 8m target subscriber figure. Analysts expect the net additional subscribers during the quarter to December to total about 180,000, with churn at about 10.8 per cent. Investors will also be looking for further guidance on how Easynet, the broadband group BSkyB bought for £211m, will add value.
THURSDAY
*AstraZeneca's results, which are predicted to be in line with expectations, should have a settling effect on investors, due to strong sales of heartburn treatment Nexium, as well as cost cutting and a share buy-back programme. Earnings per share are expected to be about $2.90, up by more than 30 per cent, hitting the group's earlier guidance of between $2.85 to $2.95. Sales are predicted to be just under $24bn (£13.5bn). But in his first set of results as chief executive, David Brennan, is likely to face questions about where future growth will come from in the face of a dwindling pipeline and theprospect of generic competition to some of its starperformers.
FRIDAY
*Royal Dutch Shell will unveil its fourth-quarter and full-year results, which promises to be as high-profile an event as ever. At the end of last year, the group pledged to spend an extra $4bn (£2.2bn) a year on finding new reserves of oil and gas, in part, to replace those Shell had previously overstated. The market will be eager to hear the latest news on where Shell's reserves stand and where it thinks the best prospects are for new oil discoveries. Shell is likely to be asked about the progress of its mammoth Sakhalin project in the far east of Russia, which the company last year admitted was running late and over-budget. The group is also expected to update the market on the status of the Mars platform in the Gulf of Mexico, which was shut down by hurricanes last year. read more

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Financial Times: Streamlined websites net top graduates

By Jon Boone, Education Correspondent
Published: January 30 2006
Top companies are pouring resources into their recruitment websites as the battleground for scooping up top graduates has moved from university career fairs to the internet.
According to the second annual study of 102 corporate career websites, published today, leading companies were busy in 2005 relaunching their online recruitment efforts in order attract top talent.
Ernst & Young, the professional services firm, was rewarded for its relaunch by rising 22 positions to sixth favourite website among the 4,339 students from across Europe surveyed by Potentialpark Communications, a Swedish recruitment consultancy.
Stevan Rolls, head of recruitment at Ernst & Young, said the firm's global site had needed an overhaul as the recruitment market has got “a bit tighter”.
“We realised the old site had an awful lot of information on it and we decided to design something that better reflected what students tell us they want. That meant simplifying things and cutting out a lot of excess information.”
Potentialpark said companies were learning to make sparing use of such fashionable web tools as blogging and podcasts because simplicity and ease of use are more important to many jobseekers.
Goldman Sachs also rose 43 positions to 13th place after the investment bank overhauled its website.
Torgil Lenning, a consultant at Potentialpark, said: “It is great to see that so many companies are relaunching their career websites. If all companies did work this way, the employment market would be much smoother.”
HSBC, another company that enjoyed a 49-place rise to 14th position, said it had involved students in the design of their new website.
John Morewood, from the bank's graduate recruitment department, said the streamlined website, which is designed to be used by potential applicants worldwide, had already led to an increase in the number and quality of applicants.
“We have been able to fill up particular programmes much faster than in previous years because we have seen an improvement in the quality of candidates applying this year.”
Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters, said the large amounts of resources that companies are prepared to dedicate to their career websites was an indication that the battle for top graduates has become fiercer.
“When recruiters first started using the web they were taken with the novelty of it and the content was not so good. Now that the net has become such a vital tool they are all working hard to attract as many people as possible by improving the user-friendliness of their sites.”
The website that European students chose as their favourite was Shell, which has moved up from number 11 last year. The oil giant was followed by ABB in second place and then Siemens and Procter & Gamble.
Navjot Singh, head of recruitment at Shell, said the secret of a good career website was to keep things simple and not burden the user with onerous requests for information about themselves.
“Too many of these online application forms ask for huge amounts of data – you don't, for example, need someone's date of birth just so they can receive an e-letter about jobs going at Shell. Candidates will want to know how that information is going to be used.” read more

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