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Oil CEOs Jostle for Global Natgas Crown Under Putin’s Gaze

Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden

By Elena Mazneva , Dina Khrennikova , and Jack Farchy

4 October 2018, 00:01 BST

  • Pouyanne responds to Shell investment in Canadian LNG project
  • Russia is now largest source of Total’s oil and gas output

Two oil company bosses shared a stage with one of the most powerful men in the market, and all they wanted to do was brag about natural gas.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden hailed his $31 billion liquefied natural gas venture in Canada, the biggest new project since 2013. Very nice, but not as competitive as low-cost Russian supplies, said Total SA boss Patrick Pouyanne. read more

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In Nigeria, Shell’s onshore roots still run deep

An overview of the Niger delta where signs of oil spills can be seen in the water in Port Harcourt, Nigeria August 1, 2018. Picture taken August 1, 2018. REUTERS/Ron Bousso

Ron Bousso: SEPT 23, 2018

BODO, Nigeria (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell wants to reweight its footprint in Nigeria to focus on oil and gas fields far offshore, away from the theft, spills, corruption and unrest that have plagued the West African country’s onshore industry for decades.

But for the company that pioneered Nigeria’s oil industry in the 1950s, the Niger Delta remains as important — and problematic — as ever.

While Shell has cut onshore oil production and sold some onshore assets, it continues to invest in others. In fact, onshore production has risen in recent years as a share of Shell’s output in Nigeria, an analysis of company data over the past decade shows. read more

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Shell changes offshore rotas in UK North Sea after strikes at Total

SEPTEMBER 18, 2018 / 10:33 AM

Shell changes offshore rotas in UK North Sea after strikes at Total

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil giant Shell (RDSa.L) will switch to a less tiring rota system for its offshore workers in the British North Sea, it said on Tuesday, as rival Total (TOTF.PA) has faced strike action over plans to have workers spend more days offshore.

Workers at three of Total’s offshore platforms in the British North Sea have staged strikes over the group’s plans to introduce a rota that would require them to stay offshore for three weeks and onshore for three weeks.

Fewer staff changeovers can increase efficiency and save transport costs. read more

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ExxonMobil Oil Reserves Trump Shell’s But Its $305B Revenue Beats That Of U.S. Rival

Gaurav Sharma: 

For ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) shareholders much of the current trading has felt decidedly lackluster. Upon the conclusion of the recent earnings season, most commentators agreed that neither it nor its Anglo-Dutch rival Shell (LON:RDSA) managed to captivate the market’s imagination.

Instead, that accolade went to BP (LON:BP) with its quadrupling of quarterly profits and a $10.5 billion signature acquisition of U.S. shale assets. Furthermore, an examination of annualized financials suggests Shell’s revenue, at $305.2 billion in 2017, capped that of ExxonMobil at $237.1 billion by some distance, even though the latter’s profits and market capitalization exceed that of its rival. read more

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European Firms Hit Hard By U.S. Sanctions On Iran

Along with Royal Dutch Shell, Total was among the first energy companies to halt crude oil purchases from the Islamic Republic, fearing repercussions if they failed to do so.

By Scott Belinksi – Sep 01, 2018, 10:00 AM CDT

As Iran is turning to the UN’s International Court of Justice to have the US-imposed sanctions against its oil suspended, the EU is preparing for the hit its economies will have to absorb once the full weight of Washington’s punitive measures comes into effect in the fourth quarter of this year. With these latest moves, American intentions are clear: cut off Iranian oil from the market entirely and reduce Tehran’s financial power. As oil prices rise, however, the White House’s policy looks set to hurt more countries than just Iran. Will Europe’s economies take the hit – or will they fight back? read more

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Will Royal Dutch Shell Follow Its Peers And Raise Its Dividend?

Aristofanis Papadatos: 25 August 2018

Summary

  • Royal Dutch Shell has not cut its dividend since World War II and is currently offering a 5.6% dividend yield.
  • The oil major has frozen its dividend for 18 consecutive quarters.
  • The big question is whether it will raise its dividend amid excessive free cash flows and a brightening outlook of the oil sector.

Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) (NYSE:RDS.B) is an oil giant that has benefited from the rally of the oil price in the last 12 months, just like its peers. However, the oil major has paid the same dividend for 18 consecutive quarters, as it froze its dividend at the onset of the downturn of the oil market that began in 2014. Therefore, the big question is whether the company will raise its dividend in the upcoming quarters.

Dividend record

Despite the downturn that began in 2014, Exxon Mobil (XOM), Chevron (CVX) and Total (TOT) have continued to raise their dividends, albeit at a low single-digit rate. BP (BP) followed the same path as Shell and froze its dividend for 15 consecutive quarters, but eventually raised it in the running quarter, thanks to the strength of the oil price and the brightening outlook of the oil market. Therefore, Shell is the only oil major that has kept its dividend flat for such a long period. read more

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Oil Major and Miner Ethics Scrutinized by Methodist Investors

By Elizabeth Burden and Thomas Biesheuvel
15 August 2018, 08:54 BST

*Methodist fund developing system analyzing company ethics
*Top mining and oil companies will be graded by end of 2018

Divestment may be too blunt an instrument to encourage the world’s biggest oil and mining companies to behave ethically: the Methodist Church is prepared to back those committed to mending their ways.

While the precise workings of its new “traffic light system” are still being debated, the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church plans to determine by the end of the year whether BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total SA and Equinor ASA have the ethical credentials to merit continued investor support. Those preferences will be denoted by red, amber and green categories, which will reflect a firm’s efforts and commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, its asset mix, capital expenditure, climate strategy and governance. read more

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No luck for Shell in pioneer effort offshore Norway

Daniel J. Graeber: AUG. 8, 2018

Aug. 8 (UPI) — A division of Shell came up empty-handed when drilling into a frontier prospect in the Norwegian Sea, a national petroleum regulator announced Wednesday.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, the nation’s energy regulator, reported that the regional subsidiary of the Dutch supermajor drilled a dry hole in its first effort in a wildcat area near the Ormen Lange field in the Norwegian Sea.

A wildcat well is one drilled into an area not previously known to contain hydrocarbons. The NPD said the drilling facility used in the effort will now move to another license area in the Norwegian Sea where a regional division of French supermajor Total will try its hand with a wildcat well. read more

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Shell to make final investment call on Nigeria oilfield in 2019: official

Reuters Staff: JULY 31, 2018

ABUJA (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell and its partners will decide next year on whether to go ahead with the development of Nigeria’s Bonga Southwest offshore oilfield, a senior company official said on Tuesday.

The project, one of the country’s largest with an expected production of 180,000 barrels per day, will generate profit at below $50 a barrel, Bayo Ojuli, managing director of Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, told reporters. read more

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Shell Starts Long-Awaited Buybacks Even as Profit Misses

By Kelly Gilblom: 26 July 2018, 07:21 BST. Updated on 26 July 2018, 08:40 BST

*Energy giant to buy back $2 billion of shares over 3 months

*Second-quarter profit misses even the lowest analyst estimate

Royal Dutch Shell Plc finally gave investors the share buybacks they’ve been demanding, even as profit fell short of expectations despite resurgent crude prices.

The Anglo-Dutch energy producer said Thursday that it is starting a $25 billion share-repurchase program, initially buying up $2 billion of stock over three months. That should soothe investors who have grown increasingly anxious about when they’ll see the reward for sticking with Shell through the biggest oil-industry downturn in a generation. read more

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Shell ramps up in Kitimat, raising Canada’s $30B LNG hopes

NATALIE OBIKO PEARSON, BLOOMBERG: July 9, 2018

A flurry of activity is raising optimism that Royal Dutch Shell Plc and its partners are ready to go ahead with the nation’s largest infrastructure project: a $40 billion liquefied natural gas terminal that could at last unlock energy exports to Asia.

The action is unmistakable in Kitimat, the Pacific coast city hugging a deep inlet that would be the closest launch point on the continent for LNG cargoes to Asia. The lights are on, shades open and SUVs parked outside a 49-unit apartment complex built to house Shell executives, which sat mostly darkened for the last two years. Local workers have left jobs at a Rio Tinto Plc smelter nearby to join contractors ramping up for the LNG project. Landlords are raising rents and houses are selling twice as fast as they used to in anticipation of a flood of workers coming to town. read more

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Oil majors to bid on choice stakes in Brazil’s offshore

Oil majors to bid on choice stakes in Brazil’s offshore

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Executives from oil majors were set to gather in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday to compete for stakes in Brazil’s pre-salt oil play, home to some of the world’s most alluring offshore geology, as rising oil prices boost appetite for expensive offshore projects.

A record 16 companies, including Chevron Corp, BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc registered to bid for four blocks in the offshore Campos and Santos basins, part of the so-called fourth pre-salt auction on Thursday. read more

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The World’s Largest Oil & Gas Companies 2018: Royal Dutch Shell Surpasses Exxon As Top Dog

,

Royal Dutch Shell took the top spot among oil and gas companies on the Forbes Global 2000’s list of the biggest and most powerful public companies, surpassing last year’s leader Exxon Mobil Corp.

The Anglo-Dutch oil and gas giant ranked 11th among all companies on the list, up from 20th the previous year, mostly because of higher sales due to lofty commodity prices. Irving, Texas-based Exxon came in at 13th, the same as last year. read more

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Shell Tries to Market Some of Its Natural Gas as Clean Energy

By Mathew Carr, 1 June 2018

Royal Dutch Shell Plc is attempting to market some of its natural gas as clean energy, packaging it with credits for eco-friendly projects that offset pollution coming from the fuel.

The oil giant is offering business customers in Europe a combination of gas and certificates that show emissions are offset with financing for carbon-reduction projects. It’s testing markets in Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain to gauge demand for what credits to use, according to David Wells, head of Shell Energy Europe. read more

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Total warns of Iran pullout over US sanctions threat

in Paris and and in London: 16 May 2018

Royal Dutch Shell, the largest European oil and gas group, also struck a provisional agreement with Iran in 2016 to carry out studies in three of the country’s biggest oil and gasfields. However, that agreement represented a much less firm commitment than Total’s and Shell has not opened an office in Iran or moved staff there. The Anglo-Dutch group said on Wednesday that it was still assessing the implications of Mr Trump’s withdrawal. FULL FT REPORT read more

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Total, Shell in gas development deal with Oman

Two oil majors have struck a deal with Oman over the development of natural gas resources in the Middle Eastern state.

Written by

Total and Shell, as operator, will develop several natural gas discoveries located in the Greater Barik area on onshore Block 6 with respective shares of 25% and 75%.

They aim to produce of around 500million cubic feet of gas per day, rising to 1billion at a later stage.

Total will use its share to develop a regional hub for supplying LNG as a fuel to marine vessels.

Arnaud Breuillac, president, exploration and production at Total, said: “We are pleased to sign this MoU with the Sultanate of Oman that will give us access to new gas resources and the opportunity to develop an integrated gas project. read more

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Nigeria draft oil reforms seek to establish powerful industry regulator

FILE PHOTO: The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) headquarters are seen in Abuja, Nigeria December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/File Photo

For decades, communities in the Niger Delta oil heartland have complained that spills and pollution have destroyed their land and killed off wildlife. Rights group Amnesty International accused international oil majors Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Eni SpA in March of negligence when addressing spills in Nigeria.

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria’s government plans to create a powerful energy regulator with broad oversight of the oil and gas sector, according to draft versions of sweeping reforms known collectively as the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

The draft laws, posted on the Nigerian legislature’s website on April 30, are the versions intended for the Senate, the upper house of parliament.

The PIB aims to improve transparency, attract investors, stimulate growth and increase government revenues.

After being debated for well over a decade, the unwieldly and contentious legislation was broken into sections to help it pass into law. read more

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Offshore industry ‘perilously close to disasters’ warning from HSE

The Health and Safety Executive has written to all oil and gas operators expressing concern about the number of gas releases in the industry.

The regulator said some had come “perilously close to disaster” and that more needed to be done to tackle them.

The HSE said a “lack of leadership” was often to blame for leaks, and called for firms to review their processes.

Operators have until July to respond with a summary of their planned improvements.

The HSE has written to operators ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster. The platform exploded in July 1988, leaving 167 men dead. read more

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Shell’s Climate Liability Threat Goes Global

Apr. 16, 2018 12:44 PM ET

Summary

  • A Netherlands environmental NGO has threatened to bring yet another climate change lawsuit against Royal Dutch Shell if it does not fundamentally change its business operations.
  • While multinational corporations are constantly being threatened with legal action, this specific one is unique.
  • It has the hallmarks of recent climate lawsuits against Shell in the U.S., but would be based in a court system that has mandated stricter climate policy before.

Can non-shareholder private entities force oil and gas companies to accept lower returns on capital? Investors in Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) (RDS.B) will receive an answer to this question if an environmental NGO moves forward with a threatened lawsuit in the Netherlands that would require the company to do exactly that.

Notably, Shell recently committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% through 2050 via billions of dollars of investments in renewable energy capacity. The NGO in question, Friends of the Earth Netherlands (aka Milieudefensie), deems this effort insufficient and insists that the company must abandon its oil and gas reserves and be “net zero” (i.e., no net emissions of greenhouse gases) by that date instead. While Shell’s investors largely shrugged off the threat (see figure), if they even noticed it at all, the development represents the opening of a new front in the lawsuits being waged by U.S. municipalities against the company and its Big Oil competitors. read more

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Oil’s Seven Sisters Enter a ‘Golden Age’, Goldman Sachs Says

The world’s largest oil companies have survived a life-changing crisis, and are now poised to reap the rewards, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said.

Big Oil is in a sweet spot with rising oil prices and low operating costs, leaving them with the biggest cash-flow growth in two decades and boosting earnings, Goldman said in a report Monday. That will increase their attraction for investors after years of elevated spending followed by crude’s slump sent their weighting in global equity indexes to a 50-year low, according to the bank.  read more

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Auction of Oil Drilling Tracts in Gulf Draws Tepid Interest

HOUSTON — In a setback to Trump administration efforts to increase offshore oil production, the industry responded with only modest interest on Wednesday in a federal auction covering a record 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico.

Companies bid on only 1 percent of the acreage, and the winning bids yielded a mere $125 million for the government.

The results reflected broad uncertainty among oil executives that global oil prices can remain at current levels over $60 a barrel, as well as a general preference for drilling in onshore shale fields that require smaller investments and are less risky. read more

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Lithium Seen as Lifeline for Oil Majors in Clean Energy Future

Lithium could be a lifeline for oil majors as the energy industry shifts toward lower-polluting alternatives to fossil fuels, said Jeff McDermott of Greentech Capital Advisors LLC.

“Their specialty is resource extraction,” McDermott, managing partner of the New York-based boutique investment bank advising energy companies and investors, said in an interview in London. “They should buy lithium miners, get involved in the upstream of core battery technology.”

This suggestion marks out one solution to the existential question some of the world’s biggest energy companies are facing about how to survive as governments clamp down on the fuels they produce. As the curbs on carbon emissions tighten, a key issue for fossil fuel producers are how much oil and gas demand is at risk. read more

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Nigeria State Oil Company Hasn’t Explained Missing Billions

An agency tasked with cleaning up Nigeria’s murky oil industry says even though financial accountability has improved the state oil company still hasn’t explained billions of dollars of missing revenue.

While energy producers have cooperated and complied with requirements to publish payments, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative has struggled with the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., Waziri Adio, executive secretary of the agency known as Neiti, said in a March 7 interview in Abuja, the capital. The state oil company hasn’t explained what it did with at least $22.7 billion earned from the sale of oil licenses and in dividends from its stake in Nigeria LNG Ltd. over a 15-year period, he said. read more

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Coal is out and oil is fading, making natural gas the fossil fuel of choice

Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden speaks at the CERAWeek conference at the Hilton Americas, Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in Houston. (Photo: Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle)

Coal is too dirty. Oil is too messy. And renewables are too intermittent. But natural gas is just right.

Energy companies of every stripe have fallen in love with the stepchild of fossil fuels. No longer considered an annoying byproduct of oil drilling, natural gas’ multiple applications and relative cleanliness guarantee it a place in the future energy mix.

The CEO of French energy giant Total, Patrick Pouyanné, joked that he runs a gas and oil company, rather than oil and gas, during his appearance at CERAWeek by IHS Markit, the annual energy conference in Houston. Every major international energy company in the world is emphasizing gas over oil. read more

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Shell looks to meet growth in LNG trucking in Asia

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell is planning to build a truck loading facility at its Hazira liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on India’s west coast as it looks to meet demand from industrial users, a top company official said on Friday.

The facility, which could be ready by next year, will be used to supply industrial demand through trucking in places that can’t access supply from the grid, said Steve Hill, executive vice president at Shell Energy.

“It has a big potential growth … in India because energy supply reliability is a big issue in India,” he said at a media briefing in Singapore, referring to LNG being transported in trucks to industrial users.

“There hasn’t been as much supply infrastructure in place, but some of the import terminals are now putting the truck loading facilities in place so that’s opening up that option.”

Shell Gas B.V, a unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, holds a majority stake in the Hazira LNG Terminal and Port in a venture with a unit of France’s Total SA.

LNG trucking works well for locations off-grid, with China and India the two obvious markets, Hill said. read more

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Houston outlook bright with U.S. shale set to dominate global growth for years

Forecasters at Royal Dutch Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil major, have predicted that global oil demand could peak within a decade as electric cars and other clean energy technologies gain larger market shares.

March 5, 2018 Updated: March 5, 2018 8:42pm

Houston’s energy industry, which drives the local economy, has much brighter days ahead as global oil demand climbs, shale production booms and U.S. crude grabs larger shares of global markets, according to forecasts, industry officials and analysts.

The United States is already pumping oil at record levels above 10 million barrels a day, surpassing Saudi Arabia, and may take over from Russia as the world’s production leader by the end of 2018. Over the next five years, daily U.S. production is expected to climb 3.5 million barrels, or 35 percent, to more than 13 million barrels, according to a forecast by the International Energy Agency, which monitors the global oil industry. read more

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Big Oil CEOs Urge Norway to Throw a Lifeline to Carbon Capture

Saetre, Pouyanne & van Beurden in Oslo, Feb. 15 2018.: Photographer: Kyrre Lien/Bloomberg

Three of the world’s biggest oil companies called on Norway to help maintain funding for carbon capture and storage technology that is stagnating amid concerns about whether it can ever be cost-effective.

The chief executive officers of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total SA and Norway’s state-controlled Statoil ASA gathered on the sidelines of an energy conference in Oslo to make the case for a flagship Norwegian project, in which the companies plan to store CO2 emissions under the North Sea after they’ve been shipped and piped from onshore industrial plants. read more

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Hail shale, but deepwater oil fights back

Ron Bousso: 14 FEB 2018

LONDON (Reuters) – Penguins, Royal Dutch Shell’s (RDSa.L) latest oil and gas development in a remote corner of the British North Sea, epitomizes the new doctrine for deepwater projects — keep it cheap and simple.

Shunned during the oil price crash of 2014-2016, deepwater projects are being embraced again, a challenge to the surge in onshore U.S. shale output.

Penguins, the first new major deepwater project this year, will rejuvenate the 44-year-old field by drilling 8 new wells 165 meters (541 feet) underwater and connecting them to a new production vessel. read more

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Big Oil takes stage for post-austerity beauty contest

Ron Bousso: 12 FEB 2018

LONDON (Reuters) – With years of austerity in their rear-view mirrors, the world’s biggest oil companies are locked in a beauty contest to lure investors with promises of growth and greater rewards.

Royal Dutch Shell and Total are emerging as frontrunners after a three-year slump thanks to strong growth projections but Exxon Mobil, the biggest publicly traded oil company, has largely disappointed with a weaker outlook.

Major oil companies slashed spending and cut costs after oil prices collapsed in 2014 and can now generate as much cash with crude at $50-$55 a barrel as they did when the price was around $100 earlier in the decade. read more

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Exclusive: Dutch energy firm Eneco’s shareholders seek sale to rival – sources

Power-generating windmill turbines are seen at the Eneco Luchterduinen offshore wind farm near Amsterdam, Netherlands September 26, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Clara DeninaToby SterlingDasha Afanasieva: 8 FEB 2018 LONDON/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The owners of Dutch energy firm Eneco oppose a stock market listing and instead want to pursue a private sale of the company to another industry player in coming months, according to two banking sources close to the matter.

Eneco’s shareholders, 53 municipal governments, voted in October to privatize the company. They have not said whether they favored an IPO of part of the firm or an outright sale that would allow them to completely exit a business which was forced to split off its lucrative grid operations last year.

The sources, who estimated Eneco was worth up to 4 billion euros ($4.9 billion), said the owners had decided on the latter option and wanted the sale process to be launched by the summer. read more

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Shell made mistake by pulling out of Guyana basin

BY BERT WILKINSON: 31 JAN 2018

Now that Guyana’s oil and gas basin has been deemed as one of the hottest and most exciting prospects in the world, Shell Oil has to be regretting its decision to withdraw as an investment partner with United States giant ExxonMobil, which has so far drilled six successful wells offshore Guyana worth about 3.2 billion barrels of oil, officials said Monday, Jan. 29.

Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman said Exxon’s mid 2015 “world class” oil and gas find has clearly taken away all the fears and apprehensions about wasting investor dollars exploring offshore Guyana and Shell is one company which has missed out on the chance to cash in on one of the world’s largest oil finds in more than a decade. Exxon plans to begin producing about 120,000 barrels of oil daily in early 2020. This will make Guyana the largest producer in the Caribbean Community. The others are Trinidad, Suriname and Barbados. read more

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Shell buying spree cranks up race for clean energy

 

People take pictures of a high-efficiency petrol-burning concept car as it is unveiled by Royal Dutch Shell during a ceremony in Beijing, China April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Ron Bousso, Clara Denina: JANUARY 26, 2018

LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) has spent over $400 million on a range of acquisitions in recent weeks, from solar power to electric car charging points, cranking up its drive to expand beyond its oil and gas business and reduce its carbon footprint.

The scale of the buying spree pales in comparison to the Anglo-Dutch company’s $25 billion annual spending budget. But its first forays into the solar and retail power sectors for many years shows a growing urgency to develop cleaner energy businesses. read more

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Shell Is Closing In on Exxon’s Crown

Even in the dynamic world of business, some things always hold true: the Big Mac outsells the Whopper, Google gets more searches than Bing, and Exxon Mobil Corp. is the world’s biggest public oil company. Or perhaps not.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc is the closest it’s ever been to attaining the long-coveted prize of overtaking its American rival. While the Anglo-Dutch oil major still has some work left to snatch Exxon’s crown, Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden has made getting to the top his restless mission.

“At the moment we are number two and we are closing in on number one,” he said this month. “We almost have the tiger by the tail.”

That van Beurden thinks his goal is even in sight shows the risk he took in doing the industry’s biggest deal in decades is starting to pay off. Meanwhile, the strategy charted by Exxon’s former CEO Rex Tillerson has left the American major slightly adrift, according to investors.

“Ben doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk now,” Richard Hulf, co-manager in Artemis Global Energy Fund, part of a London investment management group that owns both Exxon and Shell shares. “Shell’s got a bit better and Exxon is at a weak point in its cycle.”

The narrowing gap is likely to show through when both companies post earnings next week. Analysts estimate Shell will report $16 billion of profit in 2017 helped by the acquisition of BG Group Plc. Exxon is forecast to report $15.7 billion of earnings, dropping behind its European rival for the first time in at least two decades. Shell is also likely to have churned out more cash from operations than Exxon last year.

It’s the $53 billion BG deal that’s really made a difference. When oil’s crash started in the middle of 2014, just months into Van Beurden’s tenure as Shell’s boss, he saw an opportunity. BG’s oil projects in Brazil and gas in Australia were just starting up, easing uncertainty on future growth. Rumored for years to be a suitor, van Beurden finally made the move for the British company.

The deal immediately put Shell in an exclusive club with Exxon, placing it on a plane above its European rivals Total SA and BP Plc. Some use the phrase ultra-major to differentiate the industry’s big two from the pack – at least until Saudi Aramco’s giant IPO, slated for the end of this year.

It wasn’t all plain sailing. As oil prices continued to slide in 2014, many analysts thought the price tag was excessive, forcing Shell to borrow too much. Van Beurden was staking his reputation on the deal and he pressed on, seeking to create what he often calls a “world-class investment case.” The company was forced to cut costs, sell assets and rein in spending to keep borrowing under control.

Still, in the two years since the BG deal closed, Shell’s B shares in London, the most widely traded, have returned more than five times Exxon’s, reversing the performance of the previous two years and providing superior returns for shareholders.

“Strategically BG was the right deal,” said Iain Pyle, the investment director for U.K. equities at the investment unit of Standard Life Aberdeen Plc, among the largest Shell shareholders. “The only question about it at the time was the price they paid and the stress they put on the balance sheet to do the deal.”

In the start of 2015, before Shell announced the BG deal, Exxon’s market value was about $180 billion more than Shell’s and it had just reported an annual profit $10 billion higher.

Since then, Exxon has struggled to keep the business growing. Exxon’s production in the third quarter was 1.8 percent lower than a year ago while Shell’s rose 1.7 percent. The American company’s oil and gas reserves have also dropped (though this may change this year as it books reserves from a  giant discovery  off the coast of Guyana in South America.) The gap in the two companies’ market value has more than halved to about $73 billion.

Shell’s record takeover fueled speculation Exxon would snap up a big rival to maintain its world-leader status, but it’s recent deal history hasn’t been a resounding success.

The $35-billion purchase of American shale gas company XTO in 2010 came shortly before gas prices plummeted. It also struck a deal with Rosneft PJSC to explore and develop giant offshore fields in Russia in 2011, right before they became locked behind a wall of U.S. sanctions. These left its “upstream portfolio disadvantaged,” Credit Suisse said. read more

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Shell and BP to Buy Libyan Oil as Country Recovers

Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc agreed annual deals to buy Libyan crude, underscoring how the North African country’s recovering production and improving security are enticing some of the world’s largest oil companies.

Shell’s deal with Libya’s National Oil Corp. was the first of its kind since 2013 and Europe’s biggest oil company will load its first cargo under the contract within days, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to talk to the media. BP, which didn’t have a term deal in 2017, also reached an agreement for this year, the people said. read more

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Shell Takes a Last Exit From Mideast Oil — WSJ

By Sarah Kent and Benoit Faucon

LONDON — Royal Dutch Shell PLC is giving up on its last oil fields in Iraq, leaving the world’s second-biggest oil company with a dwindling footprint in the Middle East — a region it helped build into a petroleum powerhouse.

Shell said Monday it is selling for an undisclosed amount a stake in the West Qurna 1 oil field in Iraq to Japan’s Itochu Corp., the latest step in a gradual retreat from the region. The company is also expected to give up its holding in Iraq’s Majnoon oil field later this year, though it will retain its natural-gas interests in the country. read more

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‘Shell is considering bidding for Dutch green energy group Eneco’

Anglo-Dutch oil and gas group Shell is making preparations to bid for green energy firm Eneco whose owners, made up of 53 local councils, are divided about its future, the Telegraaf said on Friday.

At the same time, a dispute between the local authority shareholders and the company’s board is threatening to slow down the sale process, the paper said.

Shell has hired an unnamed US-based merchant bank to help it in a possible bid for Eneco, sources within the banking industry told the paper.  But Shell itself reacted with a short and powerful ‘no comment’, the Telegraaf said. read more

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Dutch Court Upholds $5.2 Billion Asset Freeze On Kazakhstan Oil Field

Frozen Assets Securing a $520 Million Award Against Republic of Kazakhstan 

NEW YORK, Jan. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — On January 5, 2018, Amsterdam District Court issued a judgment (the “Judgment”) in which it upheld an earlier ex parte attachment granted by the same court on September 8, 2017 to Anatolie Stati, Gabriel Stati, Ascom Group S.A. and Terra Raf Trans Traiding Ltd (together, the “Stati Parties”) with respect to the Republic of Kazakhstan’sshareholding in the Dutch entity KMG Kashagan B.V. (“Kashagan”) which shareholding is held via the Kazakh sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna (“Samruk”).  Through its stake in Kashagan, which has a nominal value of approximately US$5.2 billion, the Kazakh State participates in the international consortium relating to the Kashagan oilfield, one of the largest offshore oilfields in the Caspian Sea. Other members of the consortium include Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, Total, ExxonMobil, China National Petroleum Corporation and Inpex. read more

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Quest for new oil discoveries still on back burner

Ron Bousso: January 4, 2018

LONDON (Reuters) – Despite the strongest start for oil prices in four years, the world’s top oil companies are hesitating to accelerate the search for new resources as a determination to retain capital discipline trumps the hope of making bonanza discoveries.

Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Total and their peers are set to cut spending on oil and gas exploration for a fifth year in a row in 2018, according to consultancy Wood Mackenzie (WoodMac), despite a growing urgency to replenish reserves after years of reining back investment. read more

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Norway Faces Up to Big Oil’s Snub

Norway is realizing it will have to do without the deep pockets of the biggest oil companies as it seeks to extend an era that has made it one of the world’s richest countries.

The most recent blow came when only 11 companies applied for new blocks in the Arctic Barents Sea, touted as the country’s most promising area for exploration. Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips were absent after bidding the last time, while Exxon Mobil Corp. and Total SA remained out of the race. Of the five super-majors, only Royal Dutch Shell Plc applied. read more

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Insidious Gas Leaks Are Casting Doubts Over Shell’s Clean Credentials

Methane seepage may make natural gas more polluting than coal

Gas focus, expansion of shale reinforce need for reliable data

After spending $50 billion on the world’s biggest bet on natural gas, Royal Dutch Shell Plc is at the forefront of Big Oil’s efforts to clean up its act. But what if the constant, insidious leaks of gas into the atmosphere actually make the fuel more polluting than coal? 

Methane, the main component in natural gas, can seep into the air at various points between extraction and delivery. Trapping more heat than carbon dioxide, it’s a potent contributor to global warming. Yet credible data on the volumes released is scarce, and that’s spurring pressure from investors.

“This is such an important issue,” said Tim Goodman, a director at asset manager Hermes EOS who has urged oil companies to address climate matters in their quarterly updates. “The less methane is lost to the environment, the less dirty methane and natural gas is, and the longer gas might be a viable fuel.” read more

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Oil stable on tighter market, but rising US output looms for 2018

BY HENNING GLOYSTEIN: DECEMBER 15, 2017

* OPEC-led supply cuts, Forties pipeline outage support crude

* But rising U.S. output, driven by shale, weighs on market

SINGAPORE, Dec 15 (Reuters) – Oil markets were stable on Friday as the Forties pipeline outage in the North Sea and the ongoing OPEC-led production cuts supported prices, while rising output from the United States kept crude from rising further.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $57.13 a barrel at 0119 GMT, up 9 cents from their last settlement. read more

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Norway parties inclined to back fund’s plan to slash oil exposure -report

REUTERS STAFF: DECEMBER 12, 2017

OSLO, Dec 12 (Reuters) – Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, will probably win backing from parliament for its proposal to cut most oil and gas stocks from its portfolio, business daily Dagens Naeringsliv reported on Tuesday.

If adopted by parliament, the fund would over time divest billions of dollars from oil and gas stocks, which now represent 6 percent – or around $37 billion – of its benchmark equity index. read more

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U.S. oil majors fall behind on climate, European lead

Major European oil companies are making major efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change. American majors are dragging their behinds.

Royal Dutch Shell pledged Tuesday to slash carbon emission by 50 percent and boost investment in clean, renewable energy. CEO Ben van Beurden promised to spend at least $2 billion on on wind power, biofuels and electric cars, about the same amount it will spend on shale oil.

“It is making sure that the products within society have an overall lower carbon footprint,” Beurden told investors, according to the Guardian newspaper. “That is the long-term way of making sure our business remains a relevant business in the face of the energy transition.” read more

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Analysis: Oil giants unlikely to share coal’s fate, for now

Ron Bousso, Simon Jessop, Susanna Twidale: NOVEMBER 17, 2017

The move by the $1 trillion fund, the world’s largest, rattled stock markets, exposing what is seen as one of the biggest threats to companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil and BP as the world shifts towards renewable energy such as wind and solar.

But in the meantime, expectations of growing global demand for oil and gas for decades to come mean reliance on these companies is likely to continue.

And although the Norwegian initiative will encourage those seeking to hasten the move to a low-carbon economy, the degree to which other investors can follow the fund’s example, at least in the short term, is less clear.

The European oil and gas index fell on Friday to its lowest since late September, extending declines following the Norwegian fund’s announcement. read more

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Norway Idea to Exit Oil Stocks Is ‘Shot Heard Around the World’

Norway’s proposal to sell off $35 billion in oil and natural gas stocks brings sudden and unparalleled heft to a once-grassroots movement to enlist investors in the fight against climate change.

The Nordic nation’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund said Thursday that it’s considering unloading its shares of Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and other oil giants to diversify its holdings and guard against drops in crude prices. European oil stocks fell.

Norges Bank Investment Management would not be the first institutional investor to back away from fossil fuels. But until now, most have been state pension funds, universities and other smaller players that have limited their divestments to coal, tar sands or some of the other dirtiest fossil fuels. Norway’s fund is the world’s largest equity investor, controlling about 1.5 percent of global stocks. If it follows through on its proposal, it would be the first to abandon the sector altogether. read more

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Big Oil is under pressure, unloved and on sale. 

  • Norway wants to dump its stakes in oil and gas companies
  • Proposal adds to doubts over industry’s long-term outlook

Big Oil is under pressure, unloved and on sale.

Energy giants from Exxon Mobil Corp. to Royal Dutch Shell Plc are struggling back to their feet after a three-year oil slump, while also fighting to prove they can survive for decades to come amid an accelerating shift to clean energy. So getting dumped by the world’s biggest investment fund wouldn’t be welcome news.

Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund said on Thursday that it wants to sell about $35 billion of shares in oil and gas companies to make the nation “less vulnerable” to a drop in crude prices. Global energy giants favored by long-term investors including Italy’s Eni SpA, PetroChina Ltd. and Russia’s Gazprom PJSC account for more than $20 billion of that total. read more

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Shell to begin drilling in Brazil’s Gato do Mato block in 2019

Alexandra Alper: NOVEMBER 13, 2017 RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Brazil chief said on Monday that the oil major plans to begin drilling in 2019 in an offshore block in the coveted pre-salt layer that it won in an auction last month with France’s Total. “We already drilled in the area. We know how to do it. We have the experience. So it is just about putting in place everything that we already have in order to not waste time,” Andre Araujo, Shell’s Brazil unit head, told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Rio de Janeiro.

The block, South Gato do Mato, is adjacent to a prospect that Shell and Total are already exploring jointly. Shell is operator in both areas with an 80 percent stake.

Araujo said it was too soon to forecast when the first oil might be produced there, but reiterated that the company is committed to investing an average of $2 billion a year in Latin America’s top economy through 2020.

Shell won half the blocks awarded in Brazil’s deepwater auction in October in a historic opening of the pre-salt play to foreign operators. Billions of barrels of oil are trapped below thousands of feet of salt in the country’s Atlantic waters. read more

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As Oil Prices Rise, Global Majors Eyeing Mexico’s Deep Waters

By Adam Williams: 9 November 2017, 21:27 GMT: Updated on 10 November 2017, 05:01 GMT

As the price of oil rises, an international rush is on for Mexico’s untapped deep-water riches.

The who’s who of the oil world — led by Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the world’s two biggest drillers by market value — are lining up to bid in the country’s Jan. 31 deep-water auction. And the interest is international in scope, drawing Chevron Corp. from the U.S., the U.K.’s BP Plc, Norway’s Statoil ASA, France’s Total SA, Australia’s BHP Billiton Ltd, Russia’s Lukoil PJSC and China’s Cnooc Ltd, among others. read more

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Peak oil? Majors aren’t buying into the threat from renewables

Ernest Scheyder, Ron Bousso: NOVEMBER 8, 2017 HOUSTON/LONDON (Reuters) – Two decades ago, BP set out to transcend oil, adopting a sunburst logo to convey its plans to pour $8 billion over a decade into renewable technologies, even promising to power its gas stations with the sun.

That transformation – marketed as “Beyond Petroleum” – led to manufacturing solar panels in Australia, Spain and the United States and erecting wind farms in the United States and the Netherlands.

Today, BP (BP.L) might be more aptly branded “Back to Petroleum” after exiting or scaling back its renewable energy investments. Lower-cost Chinese components upended its solar panel business, which the firm shed in 2011. A year later, BP tried to sell its U.S. wind power business but couldn’t get a buyer. read more

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Shell Swallows BG Group Whole Hog, Rolls Up Cash Flow

Ray Merola: Nov. 6, 2017

Summary

  • Shell is enjoying a remarkably successful corporate resurgence.
  • Legacy BG Group opex and capex has been absorbed entirely without a loss of combined hydrocarbon volumes.
  • Cash is king.
  • Debt is trending down.  The dividend is well-covered.  Returns are solid, and improving.
  • I remain constructive on RDS stock.

I’ve been pounding my fist on the table for Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) (RDS.B) for a couple of years now. It’s been that one, “fat pitch” worth waiting upon; these don’t come along very often. Since the end of 2015, ADR shares offered investors ~54% total return, or an 80% gain since the stock bottomed in January 2016.

The 3Q report included the hallmarks of recent previous quarters: linked-quarter revenue growth, continued strong cash flow, improving return-on-capital, reduced gearing, steady production, and ample dividend coverage. Details are found here. read more

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