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Posts on ‘July 22nd, 2006’

The Observer: Corporate UK plays the green card

Progressive businesses are taking environmental issues seriously, but others still need a prod. Heather Stewart and Ditte Hesse report

Sunday July 23, 2006

Business is jumping on the green bandwagon, with Ford the latest corporate giant to promise to clean up its act. It is spending £1bn over the next six years on developing more environment-friendly technologies – and calling on the government for financial help.

The car maker’s decision is the latest in a series of very public conversions by corporations not previously known for their environmental credentials. Supermarket chain Tesco has promised to cut emissions from its distribution lorries; broadcaster BSkyB is working towards reducing its carbon emissions; fuel giant BP now describes itself as being ‘beyond petroleum’ and has spent millions on advertising its enthusiasm for alternative energy. 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.

Kansas City Star: Corn no ‘magic bullet’ for energy crisis

WALTER WINCH
Midwest Voices
 
Henry Ford in 1925 said, “The fuel of the future is going to come from fruit like that sumac out by the road, or from apples, weeds, sawdust — almost anything.”

The father of the mass-produced automobile was 81 years too early in his prediction, but it’s now likely that “weeds” will play some part in fueling our vehicles.

But we should be extremely skeptical of the assorted snake-oil salesmen with their cure-all patent medicine. In the Midwest, the syrupy elixir is ethanol made from corn. 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.

slate.com: The Prius Bubble: We’re irrationally exuberant about alternative energy—but that’s good.

By Daniel Gross
Posted Saturday, July 22, 2006, at 9:36 AM ET

The tech elite and the financiers who fund them are bored with Google and MySpace. Their New, New, New Thing—apologies to Michael Lewis—is alternative energy.

Wired and Business 2.0, the print bibles of the dot-com boom, are now stuffed with stories about light-emitting diodes, zero-emission cars, rechargeable fuel cells, and hackers who pimp their Prius hybrids to run even farther on electricity.

Many of the people who cooked up the Internet revolution have moved over to the energy industry. Bill Gross (no relation) is the founder of IdeaLab!, the incubator of technology-based companies that spawned eToys, NetZero, Petsmart.com, WeddingChannel.com, and a host of other dot-coms before it nearly busted in 2000. IdeaLab is riding high again, and one of its most promising portfolio companies, Energy Innovations, develops solar panels for commercial buildings. Gross is still talking in revolutionary terms. “Reinventing energy is a multitrillion-dollar opportunity. It’s the next big disruption,” Gross told Wired last July. “It dwarfs any business opportunity in history.” 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: BP shuts down 12 slope wells for tests

Richard Richtmyer
Anchorage Daily News

BP is shutting down a dozen North Slope oil wells after whistle-blowers alleged that 50 were leaking.

The wells together produce roughly 8,000 barrels of the Slope’s more than 800,000 barrels of oil a day, said Daren Beaudo, a BP spokesman in Anchorage.

The wells are being shut down “in an abundance of caution,” and are likely to be producing again within a matter of days, he said.

“Even though we have no reason to believe that continued operation causes a danger to workers or the environment, we’re going to reconfirm their integrity,” Beaudo said. 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.

Petroleum News: Feuding over Alberta royalties: industry, energy minister warn changes could be destructive to oil sands

EXTRACT: Neil Carmata, a Petro-Canada vice president and the former head of Shell Canada’s oil sands division, said investors and companies have “got to keep telling the politicians they have got to be careful not to mess” with royalties.

THE ARTICLE

Candidates for Alberta premier’s job favor a review; industry, energy minister warn changes could be destructive to oil sands

Gary Park
For Petroleum News

The industry is emphatic — don’t meddle with what works — but there’s squabbling within the Alberta government as pressure builds to review the oil and gas royalties, with special emphasis on the oil sands. 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.

Petroleum News: Oil Patch Insider

Canada’s leader spreads the energy gospel in Europe

Canada, a superpower?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper thinks so and that’s the message he spread on his first official visit to Europe, including a stop at the G8 summit in Russia.

To be more accurate, he is selling Canada as an “emerging energy superpower” as he lays out his government’s plan to build the country into a “global energy powerhouse” by developing its vast oil sands and uranium resources.

“We believe in the free exchange of energy products based on competitive market principles, not self-serving monopolistic political strategies,” he told the Canada-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce in London. 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.

Business Recorder: Qatar’s natural gas city offers to power the world

EXTRACT: The cooling process is carried out by state company Qatar Petroleum and its unit Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company Limited, in partnership with international oil companies, including ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell.

REUTERS ARTICLE

BY BARBARA LEWIS AND ODAI SIRRI

ARTICLE (July 22 2006): For those worried about world energy supplies, a trip to the huge gas processing centre at Ras Laffan in Qatar’s desert might offer reassurance — but it’s also unsettling. The statistics are as overwhelming as the mile upon mile of steel tubing, shimmering like a mirage in the desert heat. 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.

Salt Lake Tribune: Earnings Snapshots: Energy companies to report bountiful profit

The Associated Press
 
Five of the world’s largest energy companies are expected to report combined second-quarter profits next week of more than $30 billion, a bounty fueled by worldwide economic growth and political instability that helped keep oil above $70 a barrel.

The oil industry is braced for a backlash in Washington, where elected officials are concerned about constituents in many parts of the country paying more than $3 a gallon at the pump. But some analysts say companies could face less criticism than usual given the attention focused on Middle East violence. 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 News Roundup: Friday 21 July 2006 7.51pm

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE
July 21, 2006 7:51 p.m.

Oil prices rose on the prospect of Israel escalating its attacks on Lebanon, and were further supported by rising gasoline prices caused by refinery outages. Crude oil for September delivery rose 18 cents to settle at $74.50 a barrel. It dropped $4.28 a barrel on the week, or 5.4%. Here’s Friday’s roundup of energy-related news:

* * *
MASSIVE PROFIT: Five of the world’s largest energy companies are expected to report combined second-quarter profits next week of more than $30 billion, the Associated Press reports. The industry is bracing for a backlash in Washington, where elected officials are concerned about constituents in many parts of the country paying more than $3 a gallon at the pump. Whatever the political fallout, the industry has done right by Wall Street’s standards. The five oil behemoths releasing quarterly results next week — BP, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell — earned an estimated $33.6 billion, 32% more than a year earlier, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial. 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: Lookahead: No Satisfaction

EXTRACT: Also reporting next week are the big oil companies, who have been the stars of this and every recent earnings season. BP, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell are expected to report a whopping $33.6 billion combined, the Associated Press reports, an industry record. That should make them more popular than ever with a public paying nearly $3 a gallon for gas.

THE ARTICLE

By MARK GONGLOFF
July 21, 2006 9:27 p.m.

After a week in which the stock market got mostly good news from corporate earnings and the Fed, but still reacted sourly, investors will look for clues as to whether anything can satisfy this market. 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 Guardian: Book Review: Beer, Betjeman and bread

The Follies Journal, number 5 (£12; www.follies.org.uk)

The Follies Journal is an annual publication from the Follies Fellowship, a charity founded in 1988 “to preserve and promote the enjoyment and awareness of follies, grottoes and garden buildings” and “to protect lonely and unloved building of little purpose.”

This number is dominated by a lengthy article on Shell’s Visit British Landmarks advertising campaign of 1936-37, which featured artwork by Graham Sutherland and E McKnight Kauffer and was dreamt up by Shell’s publicity manager Jack Beddington and John Betjeman, then a copywriter for the company. 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.

AFX News: Shell update on capex, Athabasca project to highlight Q2 results

LONDON (AFX) – Investors will scrutinise Royal Dutch Shell PLC”s production and capital spending plans in the light of delays in key projects and cost overruns at the 7.3 bln cad Athabasca oil sands project in Canada on Thursday when it is expected to report bumper second quarter earnings.

The market keenly awaits an update on the cost issues at Athabasca after Shell warned early this month that spiraling prices of equipment, labour and supplies will further jack up budget for the project. 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.

MarketWatch: Shell, BP, Total may reportedly be hit by new South Africa tax

JOHANNESBURG (MarketWatch) — South Africa’s oil industry, including multinationals like Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA), BP PLC (BP), and Total SA (TOT), could be subject to a tax on windfall profits the government is considering, Business Day newspaper reported Friday.

The head of the government-appointed team studying the tax, Zavareh Rustomjee, said the whole industry would have to pay, not just local players like Sasol Ltd. (SOL.JO) and PetroSA, Business Day said.

In a preliminary report released Thursday, Rustomjee’s team said Sasol hasn’t repaid the government for support it received under the previous regime. 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.

International Herald Tribune: Shell’s success in Russia hinges on Sakhalin site

By Stephen Voss Bloomberg News

Published: July 21, 2006
 
YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, Russia The photos on the wall of Samer Slim’s office catalogue the hurdles that Royal Dutch Shell must overcome on Sakhalin Island: ice-choked drilling rigs, snowmelt-swollen rivers and wilderness so remote supplies are dropped by helicopter. His T-shirt warns of another: “Beware of Bears.”

 
“You’ve got rivers, railways, mountains, swamps, seismic faults, everything, on this section,” said Slim, 35, supervising engineer for the southern reach of an 800-kilometer, or 497-mile, pipeline across the island. “The hardest time is the end and beginning of winter because of the rain and mud.”
 
Shell has turned to the frigid seas north of Japan as dwindling energy supplies force producers to venture into more hostile locations. Costs for the Shell-led Sakhalin II project, the company’s biggest single investment, have doubled to $20 billion, undermining Shell’s effort to convince investors that it can bounce back after being forced repeatedly to restate its reserves.
 
“Shell, like its peers, requires access to resources,” said Craig Pennington, energy researcher at Schroders. “They claim to have learned a huge amount from Sakhalin and that it will give them the ability to take on equally large projects in the future. That remains to be seen.”
 
On Sakhalin, Shell, Europe’s second- biggest oil company after BP, is struggling with rising costs for steel, equipment and labor. Environmental groups seeking to protect whales and salmon have forced Shell to reroute pipelines, while the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is reviewing the project before approving loans.
 
Shell, based in The Hague, is still recovering from the 2004 accounting review that forced it to reduce proven reserves by 5.63 billion barrels, or 29 percent. The cut cost the company’s chairman, Philip Watts, his job and persuaded Shell to ditch its century-old dual ownership structure.
 
Shell in May said it might miss its goal of replacing all the oil and gas it produces as rising prices for contractors and materials delay some projects. Under U.S. accounting rules, the company last year replaced 67 percent of the proven reserves that it pumped following exploration lagged behind its competitors. BP, in comparison, replaced 95 percent of reserves
 
The Shell chief executive, Jeroen van der Veer, thinks “unconventional” projects, which do not show up in U.S. reserve calculations, to become more important. Sakhalin II, oil sands in Canada and two deep-water fields in Nigeria and the Gulf of Mexico will produce the equivalent of one million barrels of oil a day in the next decade, a quarter of current output, Shell has said.
 
Sakhalin is a rich petroleum province, with as much oil and gas as the North Sea, attracting companies like Exxon Mobil, BP and India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp. Shell’s venture is the most advanced. The island, once dotted with Soviet-era prison camps and top- secret military bases, also is one of the harshest environments in which to drill for oil.
 
Shifting pack-ice covers Sakhalin’s offshore fields for half the year, forcing Shell and its Japanese partners Mitsui and Mitsubishi to build twin oil and gas pipelines to an ice-free port under construction at the island’s southern tip.
 
The port will include the first Russian liquefied natural gas plant, which will cool gas to a liquid so it can be exported by ship. Deliveries are to start in 2008, with shipments rising to 9.6 million tons a year, equal to about a third of China’s gas needs. Most of the LNG has been sold to buyers from Japan to California.
 
Surging demand for oil in China and India has helped triple oil prices this decade, making it possible to finance projects that were not considered economically viable a few years ago. Shell’s first-quarter net income rose 3 percent to $6.89 billion.
 
The company reports second-quarter earnings on Thursday.
 
Still, investors’ appetite for risk on such projects is limited. Shell’s stock fell 6 percent in July 2005 when Van der Veer said costs for the second phase of Sakhalin II had doubled and LNG exports would start eight months late.
 
The cost overruns and delays were criticized as well by Gazprom, which two weeks earlier had agreed to swap half of a Siberian gas field for some of Shell’s 55 percent stake in Sakhalin II. The government and Gazprom are discussing whether to alter terms of the deal amid a probe into the setbacks by the Natural Resources Ministry.
 
Rising labor and steel costs, and a strengthening ruble have also played their part as oil prices increase energy exploration around the world. Efforts to preserve feeding grounds for western gray whales and spawning grounds for salmon have also increased costs.
 
The EBRD, established to promote development in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, is examining the environmental and social record to determine whether to lend Sakhalin Energy about $200 million. The bank plans to decide by September.
 
Sakhalin Energy employs about 17,000 people on the island, 70 percent of them Russian. The venture projects that taxes and royalties for Russia will total $50 billion during the project’s 40- year life, with most going to the government. The government may yet pose the biggest threat to Shell’s Sakhalin profits – and the reserves the company can put on its books – should it demand a larger stake in the project.
 
 YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, Russia The photos on the wall of Samer Slim’s office catalogue the hurdles that Royal Dutch Shell must overcome on Sakhalin Island: ice-choked drilling rigs, snowmelt-swollen rivers and wilderness so remote supplies are dropped by helicopter. His T-shirt warns of another: “Beware of Bears.”
 
“You’ve got rivers, railways, mountains, swamps, seismic faults, everything, on this section,” said Slim, 35, supervising engineer for the southern reach of an 800-kilometer, or 497-mile, pipeline across the island. “The hardest time is the end and beginning of winter because of the rain and mud.”
 
Shell has turned to the frigid seas north of Japan as dwindling energy supplies force producers to venture into more hostile locations. Costs for the Shell-led Sakhalin II project, the company’s biggest single investment, have doubled to $20 billion, undermining Shell’s effort to convince investors that it can bounce back after being forced repeatedly to restate its reserves.
 
“Shell, like its peers, requires access to resources,” said Craig Pennington, energy researcher at Schroders. “They claim to have learned a huge amount from Sakhalin and that it will give them the ability to take on equally large projects in the future. That remains to be seen.”
 
On Sakhalin, Shell, Europe’s second- biggest oil company after BP, is struggling with rising costs for steel, equipment and labor. Environmental groups seeking to protect whales and salmon have forced Shell to reroute pipelines, while the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is reviewing the project before approving loans.
 
Shell, based in The Hague, is still recovering from the 2004 accounting review that forced it to reduce proven reserves by 5.63 billion barrels, or 29 percent. The cut cost the company’s chairman, Philip Watts, his job and persuaded Shell to ditch its century-old dual ownership structure.
 
Shell in May said it might miss its goal of replacing all the oil and gas it produces as rising prices for contractors and materials delay some projects. Under U.S. accounting rules, the company last year replaced 67 percent of the proven reserves that it pumped following exploration lagged behind its competitors. BP, in comparison, replaced 95 percent of reserves
 
The Shell chief executive, Jeroen van der Veer, thinks “unconventional” projects, which do not show up in U.S. reserve calculations, to become more important. Sakhalin II, oil sands in Canada and two deep-water fields in Nigeria and the Gulf of Mexico will produce the equivalent of one million barrels of oil a day in the next decade, a quarter of current output, Shell has said.
 
Sakhalin is a rich petroleum province, with as much oil and gas as the North Sea, attracting companies like Exxon Mobil, BP and India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp. Shell’s venture is the most advanced. The island, once dotted with Soviet-era prison camps and top- secret military bases, also is one of the harshest environments in which to drill for oil.
 
Shifting pack-ice covers Sakhalin’s offshore fields for half the year, forcing Shell and its Japanese partners Mitsui and Mitsubishi to build twin oil and gas pipelines to an ice-free port under construction at the island’s southern tip.
 
The port will include the first Russian liquefied natural gas plant, which will cool gas to a liquid so it can be exported by ship. Deliveries are to start in 2008, with shipments rising to 9.6 million tons a year, equal to about a third of China’s gas needs. Most of the LNG has been sold to buyers from Japan to California.
 
Surging demand for oil in China and India has helped triple oil prices this decade, making it possible to finance projects that were not considered economically viable a few years ago. Shell’s first-quarter net income rose 3 percent to $6.89 billion.
 
The company reports second-quarter earnings on Thursday.
 
Still, investors’ appetite for risk on such projects is limited. Shell’s stock fell 6 percent in July 2005 when Van der Veer said costs for the second phase of Sakhalin II had doubled and LNG exports would start eight months late.
 
The cost overruns and delays were criticized as well by Gazprom, which two weeks earlier had agreed to swap half of a Siberian gas field for some of Shell’s 55 percent stake in Sakhalin II. The government and Gazprom are discussing whether to alter terms of the deal amid a probe into the setbacks by the Natural Resources Ministry.
 
Rising labor and steel costs, and a strengthening ruble have also played their part as oil prices increase energy exploration around the world. Efforts to preserve feeding grounds for western gray whales and spawning grounds for salmon have also increased costs.
 
The EBRD, established to promote development in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, is examining the environmental and social record to determine whether to lend Sakhalin Energy about $200 million. The bank plans to decide by September.
 
Sakhalin Energy employs about 17,000 people on the island, 70 percent of them Russian. The venture projects that taxes and royalties for Russia will total $50 billion during the project’s 40- year life, with most going to the government. The government may yet pose the biggest threat to Shell’s Sakhalin profits – and the reserves the company can put on its books – should it demand a larger stake in the project.
  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.
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