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February 11th, 2014:

Shell looks to science for arctic help

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HOUSTON, Feb. 11 (UPI) — Michael Macrander, a chief scientist for Shell in Alaska, said engagement with the scientific community could help his company navigate arctic waters. Shell Chief Executive Officer Ben van Bueden said last month he was “not prepared to commit further resources for drilling in Alaska in 2014” following a court decision challenging a 2008 lease for acreage in the Chukchi Sea. Shell’s arctic campaign was plagued by problems with its drilling rigs, Noble Discoverer and Kulluk, and the cost associated with managing operations in the harsh arctic climate. Macrander told delegates at an arctic technology conference in Houston the arctic problems could be answered with science-based solutions. read more

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Research Councils should steer clear of strategic partnerships with individual firms

Firms like Shell can and should collaborate with taxpayer funded researchers. But no single organisation should be granted privileged access to the processes by which priorities for public research funding are set.

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: Tuesday 11 February 2014 08.29 GMT

My fellow blogger Alice Bell posted about a new tie-up between NERC (the UK Natural Environment Research Council) and Shell last week. The tie-up takes the form of a formal Memorandum of Understanding, which – in Shell’s words – is intended “to maximise the benefits from our mutual interests in areas of long-term research, postgraduate training and knowledge exchange through jointly funded and supported research projects”. “Strategic partnerships” are all the rage between research performing organisations and companies (NERC is a significant performer of research through major institutes such as the British Antarctic Survey but its primary role is as a funding agency) and this is not NERC’s first such partnership (that was with engineering partnership Arup), but it’s the most high profile announced so far. The post generated some debate below the line, raising several issues which are worth exploring further. read more

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

Benchmark in Jeopardy

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Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 01.06.41Straining to solve a problem that might be illusory, European regulators soon might create real problems by increasing the volatility of an important crude oil price marker. Worried that shenanigans might reach beyond financial markets, the EC expanded its proposal to encompass commodities, including oil. In May, the EC and European Free Trade Association Surveillance Authority unveiled investigations into suspicions that representatives of Shell, BP, and Statoil had distorted trading information they provided Platts. Results of those probes have yet to be reported. read more

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

What you don’t know about Royal Dutch Shell’s Profit Warning

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 11.05.56I can exclusively reveal today that the question of whether Shell was legally obliged to issue a profits warning did not first arise in relation to the final quarter. It was raised at the highest levels of Shell and of the Financial Conduct Authority some months earlier, in between the announcement of Peter Voser’s early retirement and the announcement of the Q3 results.

By John Donovan

Shell shareholders have been faced with a series of shocks, one stunning announcement by Royal Dutch Shell Plc after another.

All rather mysterious and without any credible explanation.

Started with the announcement of Voser’s decision to take early retirement from Shell at the age of 55, as a lifestyle change. It was said at the time to have “stunned investors.”

Next came the surprise announce of Ben van Beurden as his replacement. No one guessed that he was even in the race for the top job at Shell. read more

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.