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Posts on ‘March 5th, 2006’

Reuters: Nigerian militants threaten to halve oil output

Sun Mar 5, 2006 1:01 PM GMT
By Tom Ashby
LAGOS (Reuters) – Nigerian militants threatened on Sunday to halve the country's oil output by cutting another 1 million barrels a day this month in their campaign to gain more autonomy for the southern delta region.
The militants from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta are holding two U.S. hostages and one Briton. Their attacks last month reduced output from the world's eighth largest exporter by 455,000 barrels a day, or one fifth.
This lowered output to 2 million barrels a day before the latest threat by the militants, who want more local control of the delta's oil resources.
“God willing we hope to reduce Nigeria's export by a further one million barrels for the month of March,” the militants said in an email.
Royal Dutch Shell has shut down its oilfields on the western side of the Niger Delta, a vast maze of mangrove-lined creeks in southern Nigeria, after a string of bombings and kidnappings on February 18.
The militants had threatened to shut 30 percent of exports in February.
“There will be inland operations in March as well as standard creek attacks,” the militants said.
Most of Nigeria's remaining production comes from the eastern side of the delta where Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Agip and Total operate oilfields.
DEMANDS
The militants have demanded the release of two ethnic Ijaw leaders, compensation for oil pollution to delta villages and more autonomy over the region's huge oil income.
The Ijaw are the dominant tribe in the delta, where impoverished fishing villages play host to a multi-billion-dollar export industry.
Sabotage, kidnapping and ethnic killings have been common features of the Niger Delta for years, but diplomats say this new movement is better organised, better armed and has a more overtly political agenda than previous such groups.
The government has called them oil thieves, but they have accused government and security officials of being complicit in the trade of stolen oil from Nigeria, worth hundreds of millions of dollars every year.
Analysts say the upsurge in violence is also linked to escalating regional rivalry in Nigeria ahead of elections next year, when one civilian president is due to hand power to another for the first time in Nigeria's 47 years as an independent nation.
Supporters of President Olusegun Obasanjo have launched a powerful campaign to amend the constitution and let the former military ruler, an ethnic Yoruba from the south-west, to run for a third term.
This is opposed by many politicians from other geo-political zones in Nigeria, including the delta, who want a stab at power themselves. It is also unpopular in the north, where at least 100 people were killed in rioting last month.
Rampant corruption in government has fuelled distrust and rivalry between tribes and regions in Nigeria, where political office comes with discretionary power over billions of dollars in oil revenue.
Ijaw activists say the attacks will encourage other regions to take their decades-long fight for more autonomy seriously at a time when the constitutional provision on wealth distribution is also under review. 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.

BLOOMBERG: Nigeria Militants Vow to Raise Oil Output Cuts by 1 Million B/D

March 5 (Bloomberg) — Nigerian militants who are holding three foreign oil workers hostage said they aim to cut the West African nation's oil production by another 1 million barrels a day this month by stepping up its attacks. The kidnappings and attacks last month on a pipeline and the Forcados export terminal forced Royal Dutch Shell Plc's venture to halt output of 455,000 barrels a day, about a fifth of Nigeria's daily production.
The group, known as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, or MEND, failed to carry out its threat of a 30 percent shutdown in February.
“The Nigerian government is not sufficiently impacted to consider the conditions we have laid out before them and we perhaps need to be more ambitious in our attacks on oil facilities,'' MEND spokesman Jomo Gbomo said today in an e- mailed response to questions. “Whether we will achieve this objective remains to be seen.''
The militants on March 1 released six of the nine foreign hostages, including an American, two Egyptians, two citizens of Thailand and one from the Philippines, whom they kidnapped from a Willbros Inc. boat on Feb. 18. They're still holding two U.S. citizens and one Briton.
This month's target of 1 million barrels a day “is excluding what has been cut off the market so far,'' Gbomo said.
Nigeria produced 2.36 million barrels of oil a day in January, making it the sixth-biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Nations, according to Bloomberg data.
The fifth-biggest supplier to the U.S., Nigeria produces low sulfur, or sweet, crude oil, prized by refiners for the proportion of high-value gasoline it yields.
Restore Production
Nigerian Oil Minister Edmund Daukoru said on March 2 that the oil industry, Africa's biggest, could restore three-quarters of lost production within weeks of the release of the remaining hostages.
“As soon as the hostages are released, we hope to be able to fix the facilities and to get about 75 percent of it back on line within two weeks,'' Daukoru said in an interview in Washington.
MEND, which claims 5,000 members, has said it's planning to deliver “one huge crippling blow'' to the oil industry and will expand its attacks beyond the western delta.
Shell last month shut down its EA offshore oil field and all production from the western Niger delta.
The Shell venture pumps about half of Nigeria's total oil production. Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., Total SA and Eni SpA also have ventures with the Nigerian state oil company.
MEND is demanding that the government release Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, a former governor of Bayelsa state, who was impeached and arrested on money-laundering charges, and Mujahid Dokubo Asari, a militia leader who is in jail on treason charges. Asari is in and out of trial. The governor, who has said he's innocent, is awaiting a court appearance.
The militants also want Shell to pay $1.5 billion to the Ijaw people, the biggest ethnic group in the Niger delta, as compensation for alleged environmental damage.
To contact the reporters on this story:
To contact the reporters on this story:
Karl Maier in Khartoum at [email protected]
Last Updated: March 5, 2006 12:30 EST 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.

Anchorage Daily News: Shell plans Beaufort Sea drilling

NEW ACQUISITION: Oil giant buys mothballed drilling rig to prepare for 2007 exploration.
By WESLEY LOY

Dutch oil giant Shell, which stormed back to Alaska last year by spending more than $44 million on Beaufort Sea exploratory leases, has purchased a mammoth drilling rig to probe the Arctic waters for crude.

The rig, called the Kulluk, has been mothballed since 1993 and now sits in a remote bay along Canada's Northwest Territories, said Cam Toohey, a Shell spokesman in Anchorage. Shell bought the rig late last year from Seatankers Management Co., based in Cyprus.
Shell plans to refurbish the rig where it sits and then move into the Beaufort Sea off the Alaska coast to drill on the company's leases, he said.
The soonest drilling could begin would be summer of 2007, Toohey said.
Kulluk is an Eskimo word for thunder.
The rig was built in Japan in 1983 and has a history of drilling in Alaska's Arctic waters.
It's specially designed to deal with ice that can shift around the Beaufort with crushing force against anything in its path.
The Kulluk is a barge with a conical hull and a drilling derrick on top, making it look something like an upside down mushroom. When ice up to four feet thick pushes up against the rig, the hull acts to force the ice downward and break it up, preventing a floe from pushing the rig off its position.
The rig's main deck is 133 feet across and can drill in water from 60 to 600 feet deep. It has berths for up to 108 crewmen.
Shell once was a major explorer in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, as well as in Cook Inlet.
But the company never was able to find the giant discoveries it wanted and by the late 1990s it had pulled out of Alaska.
A year ago, Shell leased nearly a half million Beaufort Sea acres, spending more than $12 million on a single block off Point Thomson, some 60 miles east of Prudhoe Bay. A drilling partnership including Shell struck oil there in 1985, but the find known as Hammerhead never was developed even though it was estimated to hold up to 200 million barrels of oil.
Another undeveloped oil discovery known as Kuvlum is nearby.
Shell, based in The Hague, Netherlands, is one of the world's largest oil companies, with operations in more than 140 countries and territories.
Petroleum News, an Anchorage oil industry trade journal, recently reported that Shell also bought a drill ship that's being refurbished in Singapore. The newspaper said that under government rules, Shell would need two drilling platforms so one could lend support to the other in case of an oil spill.
Toohey, however, declined to confirm the report of Shell acquiring the drill ship.
Shell is building an Alaska staff, and representatives recently traveled to the North Slope villages of Barrow, Nuiqsut and Kaktovik to tell residents there about the company's exploration plans.
Offshore drilling is a concern of many villagers because of potential for industry operations to disrupt the endangered bowhead whale, which villagers harpoon for food.
Daily News reporter Wesley Loy can be reached at [email protected] or 257-4590. 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 Sunday Times: Clooney fails to dig up the real dirt in the desert

March 05, 2006
Political point-scoring means Syriana gets it wrong on oil corruption, say Peter Nolan and Sacha Kumaria
George Clooney’s new film about the oil business, Syriana, was released on Friday and is competing for two Oscars this evening — best supporting actor for Clooney himself and best original screenplay. The film paints a dark picture of the global oil business through the overlapping arcs of several individuals.
Clooney is Bob Barnes, a CIA agent hunting terrorists in the Middle East. A black attorney, Jeffrey Wright, taking on his first private-sector job at a well-connected Washington law firm, investigates whether the questionable business practices of two large Texan oil companies will scupper their proposed merger.
Matt Damon plays an expatriate American financial adviser and confidant of the reforming heir- apparent of an oil-rich Gulf emirate. Meanwhile, at the bottom of the industry, an unemployed young Pakistani immigrant in the same country is drawn into Islamic radicalism and terrorism.
The film, and Clooney’s character in particular, is based on See No Evil, the memoirs of a dedicated and daring CIA veteran, Bob Baer. His odyssey saw him hunt the terrorists who kidnapped America’s citizens in Lebanon, destroyed its Beirut embassy, killed its soldiers in bomb attacks and blew a Pan Am airliner out of the sky over Lockerbie.
He went on to work in both Turkmenistan and with the Iraqi exiles and the Kurds who sought to overthrow Saddam Hussein from northern Iraq. Yet the final chapters of See No Evil, which see a frustrated Baer return to Washington, describe how weak leadership, bureaucratic infighting and corruption left the terrorists to go unpunished and blinded America to the rising threat of Al-Qaeda.
The movie’s slogan, “Everything is connected”, belies the film’s main failing: that it is not at all reflective of the contents of Baer’s book, which describes how he saw the Clinton White House put out the welcome mat for the very dirtiest people in the oil business in return for campaign donations and fat payments to the president’s cronies.
Roger Tamraz, then a fugitive from an outstanding Interpol arrest warrant for fraud, got to pitch his plan for an oil pipeline face-to-face with Bill Clinton over coffee in the Oval Office. He began his career, Baer tells us, by working to channel millions of dollars in kickbacks from an oil pipeline deal to Kamal Adham, the long-time head of Saudi intelligence, and went on to partner everyone from the Sicilian mafia to Colonel Gadaffi of Libya.
Another notorious businessman benefiting from Clinton’s interventions was the commodity broker Marc Rich, who spent over a decade on the run from American justice before Clinton pardoned him just before leaving office.
Instead of depicting this history, we get a political fairytale pushing the anti-business agenda of Clooney and Stephen Gaghan, Syriana’s writer and director.
Imagine if the story of the journalists who investigated Richard Nixon’s cover-up of Watergate, All the President’s Men, had been filmed to show Jimmy Carter as the villain and you might get some idea of the liberties they take with the facts.
Syriana portrays the giant American oil companies as villains, a collection of crude Texas cowboys who cheerfully admit to bribery while presenting themselves as patriots and Christians.
The international middlemen, wheeler-dealers like Tamraz and Rich, who operate with shell companies, post office boxes and a complete lack of scruples, are conspicuous by their absence. The tragedy of the film is the missed opportunity it represents.
Clooney and Gaghan are right to recognise corruption in the oil industry. But by attempting to score domestic political points they miss the bigger picture.
For decades the true power in the oil business has been in the hands of governments, not the private sector.
A wave of expropriation and nationalisation in Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Kuwait in the 1970s has come to see the governments of oil exporting countries controlling over 80% of the world’s reserves. Indeed, five royal families in the Middle East account for three-quarters of that alone, and the international firms remain barred from exploring, owning or operating oilfields in most Opec countries.
The title of his second book, Sleeping with the Devil, neatly summarises Baer’s view of the oil sheikhs, who could hardly be more different from the dry engineers who predominate in the senior management of the global oil companies.
Saudi Arabia’s late King Fahd spent $5m dollars a day during his summer vacation in Marbella, and his son Prince Abdul Aziz had a sprawling palace and private amusement park built in the desert outside Riyadh at a cost of $4.5 billion.
Yet few of the kingdom’s citizens benefit from this vast natural wealth. In 1980 the Saudi gross domestic product per capita was $20,900, nearly $9,000 greater than America’s. A generation later it has fallen by $8,000, and as a consequence the house of Saud faces growing domestic strife. Saudi Arabia has become a hotbed of Islamic extremism.
In a sense Gaghan and Clooney are correct — everything is connected. The international energy markets, the war on terror, the spread of democracy and liberalism in the Middle East are all complex, interwoven issues, and no film can fully represent their interplay. But the film’s creators misconceive the true nature of corruption.
In the Middle East it is borne of dictatorship and it is political. With free markets in oil shut down in favour of grasping state monopolies, corruption is inevitable, facilitated by the secretive middlemen operating outside the regulations that govern American and European companies.
Neither, as the example of Osama Bin Laden and the well- educated middle-class pilots who led the 9/11 hijackings should show, does poverty directly drive terrorism. On the contrary, judging from Clooney’s example, if you want to drive a man to become a radical opponent of his government, just give him millions of dollars and a house in the Hollywood hills. 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 NEW YORK TIMES: Connecticut: Who Is Minding the State's Ports?

By JAN ELLEN SPIEGEL
Published: March 5, 2006
WHILE the nation wrestles with the decision of whether to allow Dubai Ports World to operate in six American ports, and the security concerns that raises, there has not been much hand-wringing in Connecticut over the two companies with foreign links that help run the ports here.
There are deepwater ports in Bridgeport, New Haven and New London, and a Canadian company runs much of those operations. The other firm, Motiva Enterprises, is partly owned by a subsidiary of the national oil company of Saudi Arabia. Motiva owns and operates a portion of the ports of New Haven and Bridgeport.
And, in an odd twist, Motiva also owns some of the storage tanks at New Haven's port that hold part of the Northeast Heating Oil Reserve, a component of the country's Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which the federal government taps in times of emergency.
Motiva is a joint venture of the Shell Oil Company and Saudi Refining, a subsidiary of the Aramco Services Company, which itself is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, a government-owned company also known as Saudi Aramco. Houston-based Motiva brings petroleum products, including gasoline and aviation fuel, into Connecticut.
Motiva and the Canadian company, Logistec of Montreal, own part of the state's ports because unlike most ports in the United States that tend to be owned by a government or a quasi-governmental agency, the ports of Bridgeport and New Haven are decentralized. Those ports mostly handle petroleum products, and the companies that operate there generally own their terminals, storage facilities and the land they are on without government involvement. The companies are also responsible for security at their sites.
The port of New London is run a bit differently because it is owned by the state.
Logistec has been operating in Connecticut for 10 years and Motiva for eight years. The Coast Guard, which is ultimately in charge of security at all of the state's ports, said it was not concerned about either company. The Coast Guard said Motiva has caused no problems.
“They have to comply with the same requirements, and we do the same oversight at those facilities regardless of ownership,” said Lt. Cmdr. Alan Blume, chief of the Coast Guard Prevention Department, Sector Long Island Sound.
Neither Mayor John M. Fabrizi of Bridgeport nor Mayor John DeStefano Jr. of New Haven said he was concerned about Motiva. Congresswoman Rose DeLauro, a Democrat whose district includes New Haven and who has criticized the Dubai Ports World deal, also said she was not worried.
“Motiva is headquartered in the U.S. and its c.e.o. is an American citizen,” she said. “When you contrast that to D. P. World, which is headquartered in Dubai and whose principal security officer is not an American, it's a different breed of cat.
“I am not too worried about Motiva's ability to be a good partner in port security.”
Shawn Frederick, a spokesman for Motiva, wrote in an e-mail message that the ownership of the company has not stirred up problems. He also wrote that the officer who heads security is an American.
“In our experience, Saudi Aramco's ownership in Motiva has never been the subject of questions or concerns in the past,” he wrote.
But Motiva's affiliation to the Saudis was startling news to some officials, including Congressman Christopher Shays, a Republican who represents Bridgeport and lives there.
“It is interesting in my own city that I live in, I wasn't aware that this Shell company was owned in part by Saudi Arabia,” he said. “I think we need an assessment of every port in the country of who owns and who runs it, how long they've run it, if it's foreign owned and if it's run by an Islamist country.”
It's apparent, Mr. Shays added, “We do not have a real handle on this issue.”
Neither of Connecticut's senators was aware of Motiva's ownership, and both called for further scrutiny of Connecticut ports.
“If there's any silver lining to the proposed Dubai deal, it's that finally a bright light is being directed toward an area of our national security that's been neglected for far too long,” Senator Christopher Dodd said in a statement when asked about Motiva.
Senator Joseph Lieberman, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said officials may need to look at the security of the New Haven and Bridgeport ports. “I've asked my staff to look into the approval process that was conducted before these sales took place,” he said, referring to the deals that brought the companies to Connecticut.
David Shuda, president of Coastline Terminals of Connecticut, which owns and leases terminals and is owned by the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1398 in New Haven, said he was surprised to learn of Motiva's link to the Saudis.
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“I think there needs to be a greater level of scrutiny of an operation like that than one that's American,” he said.
By way of contrast, Logistec's operations, which include Coastline's terminals, raised virtually no concern.
“I don't draw a parallel between the two,” Mr. Shuda said.
In New London, the two piers that make up the Admiral Harold E. Shear State Pier are owned by the state, under the responsibility of the State Department of Transportation. Its principal lumber- and copper-import operation is run by Logistec, which pays the state much as a tenant would pay a landlord to lease property. The Thames River Seafood Cooperative is the state's other tenant.
The situation in New Haven and Bridgeport is more complex.
The two main commercial terminals at Bridgeport are owned by Coastline and Motiva, an operation that brings in petroleum products on about 250 ships and barges a year.
Coastline's terminal is run by Logistec and it hires Coastline's union members to do the work.
The Coastline terminal in Bridgeport handles only dry goods, including produce from Central America, which accounts for the only container-shipped items that arrive anywhere in Connecticut. The terminal handles no more than 50 containers a week.
With more than a half-dozen owners, New Haven's port is even more complex. Magellan Midstream Partners, a Tulsa-based company, has 3 docks and 54 storage tanks that hold 3.9 million barrels of petroleum products in New Haven.
Motiva has 1.7 million barrels of storage, its second-largest operation in the United States. The locally based company New Haven Terminal, which at one time owned most of the ports of New Haven and Bridgeport and operated New London for the state, operates a terminal with 2.5 million barrels of storage. It leases out its nonpetroleum terminal to Coastline, which in turn leases the operation to Logistec. Coastline also owns a terminal in New Haven. Gateway Terminal, also locally based, is another owner in New Haven. And there are a couple of other smaller owner/operators there.
Among the goods that come through New Haven are steel and lumber, cargo commonly referred to as break bulk, which means it is not in containers. New Haven also handles such bulk items as salt, sand and pumice, and ships out scrap metal.
All of which points to one key difference between Connecticut's ports and the six that could come under Dubai Ports World. With its minimal use of containers, Connecticut's ports effectively eliminate what is widely regarded as the largest security concern associated with international shipping.
It is the containers, some 95 percent of which are not inspected, that many officials fear could easily contain a bomb. It is generally agreed that tanker vessels, which accounted for more than 1,100 of the 1,250 ship and barge arrivals in all three Connecticut ports in 2005, are more difficult to tamper with and therefore pose less of a risk.
Which doesn't mean there aren't security concerns. In Connecticut, those concerns mainly involve people getting to places they shouldn't be. In 2004, two Turkish crew members jumped from their ship into the water and swam across New Haven Harbor to Long Wharf where they fled. They have never been apprehended. Stowaways have also turned up, though not frequently, according to the Coast Guard.
As in all ports, the Coast Guard oversees security. In Connecticut, it is based at Sector Long Island Sound, which is headquartered along the New Haven waterfront.. The Customs and Border Patrol is responsible for cargo security. Both operate within the federal Department of Homeland Security.
The most common security breach, according to the Coast Guard, is people trespassing on the tank farms at the port to get to the waterfront, usually to fish under the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge, which runs over New Haven Harbor where it meets the Quinnipiac River. There was also an incident in 2003 when two people were found videotaping the harbor from the bridge. They were later found to be illegal aliens and were deported.
Typical cargo problems, according to Customs, are small drug seizures and pests associated with agricultural products.
Under measures instituted after 9/11, all ships arriving from overseas must give the Coast Guard 96-hour advance notice. Before 9/11, notice was 24 hours.
During those four days, Coast Guard scrutiny includes screening the vessel's crew and cargo and asking about its last five ports of call. The Coast Guard then determines whether to board the ship.
In Bridgeport, where a ship carrying produce from Colombia arrives weekly, it is not uncommon for divers to check its bottom and police dogs to check its cabins, and the containers to be emptied and inspected.
Additionally, each terminal owner or operator is required to have a security plan approved by the Coast Guard. Most include security guards, locked fences, lighting, surveillance cameras, alarms and security cards.
In New Haven's port, the city maintains a camera surveillance system that is monitored at a central operations center. City police conduct patrols. New Haven has the added concern of the Northeast Heating Oil Reserve, which is in tanks adjacent to the port.
But many long-time participants in international shipping said that simply worrying about security on the receiving end neglects the bigger issue. Security starts at the point of export, they said, not with who runs the ports in the United States. And foreign presences at American ports are a fact of shipping life because trade is multinational by definition. In Connecticut, for example, any number of foreign-affiliated companies supply the petroleum products that arrive.
“This is a part of the globalization of free trade, and we're probably going to see more of that,” said Martin Toyen, chairman of the Connecticut Maritime Commission, a government-appointed advisory panel on matters pertaining to commerce in Long Island Sound.
Mr. Toyen, whose daughter, Amy, was killed on 9/11 in the World Trade Center, said he isn't concerned about Dubai Ports and does not believe that as a tanker operation Motiva poses much of a problem.
“We have to put systems in place to give us the security to play in the world marketplace,” Mr. Toyen said. But he added: “I'm not sure we have those systems in place. We want to be able to stop a bomb where it goes on.” 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.

ShellNews.net: Deadline Met: Global class action motion alleging securities fraud filed against Royal Dutch Shell in U.S. Court

On Friday 20 January, we broke the news that a U.S. Chief District Court Judge had set a deadline of 1st March 2006 for a motion to be filed seeking consent for non-USA shareholders to join a U.S. class action lawsuit already given consent to proceed. This meant that potentially the global floodgates would be open to all qualifying non-US Shell shareholders.
An appeal was made exclusively on this website on behalf of the New York based lead Plaintiff attorneys, Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz, to find a non-U.S. shareholder to join the lead plaintiffs; the Pennsylvania State Employee Retirement System and the Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System.
ShellNews.net is delighted to report that the appeal made on this website was successful. Mr Peter Wood, a UK citizen resident in Andorra (a petroleum engineer and former Shell employee) is dedicated to serving as a fiduciary for all Class members (class representative of all non-U.S. purchasers of Shell stock in the qualifying period). A motion was duly filed by the 1 March deadline in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey.
The documents are accessible via the link below: –
http://shellnews.net/class action docs/shellnewsnet-global-class-action-3-march-2006.htm
Chief District Court Judge John Bissell has already ruled that Shell has *a case to answer for alleged securities fraud and that for the first time in U.S. legal history non-US shareholders may be permitted to join a US class action. The class action seeks to recover damages on behalf of all investors worldwide, no matter where they bought shares.
Any non-U.S. persons who purchased or acquired securities of Royal Dutch/Shell Transport on any non-U.S. exchange between 8 April 1999 and 18 March 2004 may potentially pursue their claims for damages. Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz are working entirely on a contingent fee basis.
If you are a non-U.S. citizen who purchased Royal Dutch/Shell Transport securities on any non-U.S. exchange and want information about your rights in the action, you may contact Lead Counsel for the investors: Michael Bigin, Esq. at Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz, LLP, 10 East 40th Street, New York, New York 10016, by phone at 001-212-779-1414, or by email at [email protected]
The Defendants in the class action include Royal Dutch Petroleum Company (“Royal Dutch”), The “Shell” Transport and Trading Company, PLC (“Shell Transport” and, together with Royal Dutch, “Shell” or the “Companies”), KPMG Accountants N.V. (“KMPG NV”), PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (“PwC UK”), KPMG International (“KPMG-I”), Sir Philip Watts (“Watts”), Walter van de Vijver (“van de Vijver”), and Judith Boynton (“Boynton”). “Individual Defendants” shall refer to Watts, van de Vijver, and Boynton. “Corporate Defendants” shall refer to Royal Dutch, Shell Transport, KPMG NV, PwC UK, and KPMG-I. “Auditing Defendants” shall refer to KPMG NV, PwC UK, and KPMG-I. “Royal Dutch Defendants” shall
refer to all Defendants other than the Auditing Defendants.

*In the August 9th Opinion Judge Bissell found that “Lead Plaintiff has adequately pled that Defendants have engaged in material and substantial fraudulent conduct in the United States…”
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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.

ShellNews.net: WWF seeking information from those concerned about Sakhalin

ShellNews.net: WWF seeking information from those concerned about Sakhalin Statement by WWF
Shell’s Sakhalin II project in far east Russia is an example of how not to do a mega-project. Its costs have doubled to US$ 20 billion, local communities are protesting over damage to fisheries, and the 100 remaining western gray whales are at risk of extinction. WWF’s views on the project can be found in the report “Risky Business” and on its website www.panda.org/sakhalin
Shell had already admitted it has managed environmental aspects badly, and has lost control of its contractors that are crossings the 1100 rivers on Sakhalin Island. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has acknowledged the project breached its environmental policy, but is considering whether to let Shell off and fund the project anyway. The EBRD has officially launched its consultation period on Sakhalin II. http://www.ebrd.com/new/pressrel/2005/175dec14.htm
If you have a story you would like to tell, then please get in touch with us or Alfred Donovan in confidence, or make your views known to EBRD. This is a crucial time for influencing this project, when it is essential the real story of Sakhalin comes out.
Email address for Alfred Donovan of ShellNews.net: [email protected]
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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 Observer: Death rules the delta in battle to control oil

Kidnappings and ethnic war in Nigeria have one root cause – oil. The power struggles and corruption that flow from it have claimed thousands of lives. Eleven years after his own father was killed there, Ken Wiwa reports from the Niger Delta on the persistent conflict that is tearing the country apart
Sunday March 5, 2006
In a hotel in the city of Warri in southern Nigeria, a mobile phone rings impatiently. Even at six in the morning the city is roasting under a fierce sun. Warri is waking up to another hard day in its hard history. Populated mainly by three ethnic groups, it has been the theatre for the fierce rivalry and drama that animates the Itshekiri, Urhobo and Ijaw. Money has since been poured onto this smouldering ethnic fire from the proceeds of oil, turning the city into an industrial beast with the character of a frontier town.
At the end of the phone is a deep baritone voice. 'I am Adams of Mend,' the caller says, revealing himself as a member of the newly notorious militia, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta.
A few minutes after the call a new okada pulls up outside the hotel. A short young man steps off the small motorbike. 'Please come mister journalist, I know you,' he calls out, 'I am Adams of Mend.'
After a short bike ride and a two-hour speedboat journey, we arrive at a small village community to the west of Warri. As the boat comes to a stop, about 25 men emerge from a house, armed with AK 47 rifles and with rocket-fired grenades wrapped around their waists.
The insurgents don't bother to hide their identity. They are polite and friendly. At a thatched house in the community, which they insist on calling a 'camp', the militants showcase their arsenal, repeatedly insisting that they are prepared to go to war.
The history, politics and culture of the Niger River Delta is as rich, complex and intricate as the ecology of the Africa's largest floodplain. The delta covers an area of dense rainforest, sand ridges, mangrove forests and swamps with a labyrinthine distribution of tidal channels, streams, rivers and creeks. Rich in natural resources such as timber, coal, palm oil, natural gas and crude oil, it is also one of the most densely populated areas of the globe and one of the world's largest wetlands. And it is virtually impossible to patrol.
This rich but fragile ecosystem is often described as the heart and lungs of Nigeria and, since oil was discovered there in 1956, the region has delivered some $300bn to Nigeria's treasury.
It is the revenue from oil that keeps the 400 or so ethnic groups known as Nigeria together. Without it, the country might already have split. The kola nut that binds the agreement at the heart of the Nigerian constitution is known as the 'derivation formula'.
At independence in 1960, each of Nigeria's three regions was entitled to half the revenue from minerals found there, with the balance going to the federal government. Over the next 30 years fiscal chicanery reduced the formula so that the regions received as little as 1.3 per cent; central government got the rest.
In the Nineties my father, Ken Saro-Wiwa, stoked the embers of Niger Delta politics, agitating for a greater share of federal oil revenue. There had been a history of groups and movements demanding a greater share of the resources, the struggles alternating between violent and non-violent. One such movement, led by an Ijaw army officer, Isaac Boro, declared a Federal Republic of Niger Delta in 1966. It lasted 12 days. Boro was killed in mysterious circumstances during the Nigerian civil war but his memory has periodically fanned the flames of Niger Deltans and especially those of his Ijaw peoples who are the largest ethnic group in the region and the fourth-largest in Nigeria.
During his lifetime my father proselytised on behalf of the region but it wasn't until he anchored his political philosophy to the rights of the Ogoni that he attracted national and then global attention to the problems of the delta. His adoption of a non-violent approach was met with state violence by the then ruling military regime of General Sani Abacha.
In my father's final statement to the tribunal that convicted him in October 1995, he wrote: 'I predict that a denouement of the riddle of the Niger Delta will soon come. The agenda is being set at this trial. Whether the peaceful ways I have favoured will prevail depends on what the oppressor decides, what signals it sends out to the waiting public.'
It may come as a surprise to the visitor but Port Harcourt is known as the 'garden city'. Once a quiet, leafy place on the Atlantic coast, now the city's streets and neighbourhoods are a study in the challenges of governing Nigeria. The city's okada drivers and mass transit drivers appear to obey only one rule: to defy common sense and traffic regulations whenever possible. Despite road users' worst intentions, the Port Harcourt traffic is approaching manageable proportions and the city is enjoying a relatively peaceful dry season – but most people here are aware that the respite may be temporary. All the ingredients for civil strife are in the air: the city is not far from Owerri, scene of bloodshed over the Danish cartoons. Every week people pour in from Warri and the western Niger Delta, fleeing the upsurge in violence. Foreigners increasingly employ armed guards.
Almost as unquantifiable and uncontrollable as the delta itself is the informal network of armed youths who claim to be fighting for the emancipation of the Niger Delta.Their exact origins, size and operations are not easy to gauge. The lack of employment and career opportunities tempted many young graduates and unemployed youths into criminal syndicates.
A recent addition to criminal activities is oil bunkering – siphoning oil from pipelines onto barges, which are then sold on the high seas. Official estimates suggest that Nigeria loses 100,000 barrels daily through oil bunkering. The lucrative practice is rumoured to involve the complicity of oil company employees and highly placed government officials.
The full story is waiting to be told. Thus far only two naval officers have being held in connection with bunkering but it is an open secret among youths here that the 'business' is an alliance of mutually beneficial arrangements between officials, soldiers, ex-soldiers and the militias. If the business is shrouded in clandestine operations, the chain of violence is clear enough: Human Rights Watch says that oil bunkering is responsible for fuelling the gang-related violence in the delta that killed 1,000 Nigerians in 2004.
Port Harcourt and the eastern Niger Delta may be relatively calm – due to the non-violence that the Ogoni advocated – but there is a deeper irony in that much of the current instability in the Niger Delta can be traced to armed gangs that mushroomed and thrived there.
Beyond belonging to a mutual admiration society, Osama bin Laden and Niger Delta militia leader Alhaji Asari Dokubo have one other thing in common: the global oil markets respond to their actions. Asari Dokubo gained his notoriety in 2004 when his threat to blow up all oil facilities in the delta sent oil prices soaring above $50 for the first time. Calling his group the Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force(NDPVF), Asari Dokubo claimed right up to his arrest in September 2005 that he had 10,000 men ready to reclaim the resources of the Niger Delta for its people.
Whether or not the figures are correct, the reality is that the NDPVF is a decentralised amalgam of groups working in cells that are connected only by a common ambition. For a time Asari Dokubo was clearly the leader but his star peaked after sending oil prices past the $50 barrier and waned once the Bush administration encouraged the Nigerian government to broker an arms for cash deal with the NDPVF.
The 'deal' is said to have caused some disagreements within the NDPVF, leading to the creation of the breakaway faction operating as Mend. Although the NDPVF's fortunes appear to be linked to the personality of Asari Dokubo, last week's demands by Mend that Asari Dokubo be freed would suggest that the network is intact and perhaps working under an umbrella movement.
Tackling oil bunkering is the nettle that needs to be grasped and government efforts to do so led, indirectly and unintentionally, to the recent spate of hostage taking and kidnappings.
If President Obasanjo had hoped that a Joint Military Task Force would cut off the supply of oil, arms and money to the militia, he will be disappointed by the results so far. Reports suggest that, rather than enforcing the peace, the activities of some members of the JTF, as the task force is known, have created resentment among local people and the militia.
'When we saw they were involved [in oil bunkering] the boys got angry,' one youth told us last week. 'Why should they take away the oil when they are not even from here?'
Other reports accuse the soldiers of taking over the lucrative boat rental business to oil companies, which used to be the preserve of local operators. 'Because of JTF, we are almost unemployed now. Officers go to the oil companies and supply them boats for security patrol. We charge less but the oil companies prefer them because of their military connection,' an operator told a reporter from one Nigerian newspaper.
The latest sequence of events began on 11 January when Mend militants stormed a Shell oil vessel and took four foreigners on board hostage. Mend made a three-pronged demand: the release of Asari Dokubo; freedom for the impeached Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, who is on trial on money laundering charges; and payment of $1.5bn approved by the Nigerian Senate as compensation from Shell to communities affected by oil spills.
Four days later in a show of strength Mend militia attacked two houseboats, killing 15 JTF soldiers. Two weeks later Mend announced the release of the hostages on humanitarian grounds – and three communities were attacked by a JTF helicopter gunship. The JTF claimed the attacks were meant to stamp out oil bunkering but insiders insist that they were reprisal raids. Nine more hostages were taken in response to these attacks and, although six of them have since been released, the militia have vowed to fight on until the federal government meets their demands.
'We are continuing with our attacks on oil facilities and oil workers. We will act without further warning,' they said.
So far they have not fulfilled their promise but the country is holding its breath. Oil markets are jittery and, although the situation appears to be contained in the delta for now, this being Nigeria, anything is possible.
· Additional reporting by Barry Nalley read more

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