Shell

Move over Repsol. The government in Buenos Aires is now directing its stinging verbal attacks at Shell.

After Argentina devalued the peso, consumer prices have begun to rise – a logical consequence. Or not – Cristina Fernández, the president, likened retailers and suppliers that have hiked prices to pilferers on Tuesday night.

And her ministers have taken specific aim at Shell, the oil company also accused by Axel Kicillof, the economy minister, of a “speculative attack” on the peso during its preliminary dive on January 22Read more >>

The Kremlin, and Russian gas giant Gazprom, must be watching events in Ukraine with a bit of concern.

Not only is Kiev calmly defying Russia’s bullying, steadily moving closer to breaking free of its eastwards geopolitical pull by looking to sign historic free trade and association agreements with the EU in late November, but it is also pushing two new energy deals which could cut sharply the reliance on imports of Gazprom’s gas. Read more >>

Thursday’s Kiobel v Royal Dutch Shell ruling by the US Supreme Court provides much-needed clarification about the scope of an obscure US law utilised by a growing number of claimants from emerging economies.

The Kiobel case alleged that Shell was complicit in human rights abuses committed in Nigeria in the late 1990s, when activists protesting against the oil industry were hanged by the government. The case was unusual in seeking redress in US courts for a case involving a non-US company and non-US claimants for a crime committed in a non-US jurisdiction. How is this possible? Read more >>

Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary is losing over $33m a week since it shut one of its two major pipelines and said it would not be able to fulfill key contracts. The oil giant has blamed vandals for the disruption.

Shell Petroleum Development Company is likely to lose more: it cannot yet give a date when it will lift the force majeure (which allows it to break contracts due to situations beyond its control) from its Nembe Creek Trunkline. The company is due this month to export 168,000 barrels per day of Bonny Light, the grade of crude transported by the inoperative pipeline. Read more >>

The head of Shell’s Nigerian oil unit has warned that Africa’s largest oil producing country is in crisis as a result of a “significant upsurge” in oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

Making the comments on Sunday following an aerial survey of its operations, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria’s managing director Mutiu Sunmonu said the company was losing 60,000 barrels of oil a day as a result of theft, the heaviest losses in three years. Read more >>

By Riccardo Puliti of the EBRD

Ukraine has been an independent state for nearly 22 years. Yet its struggle for energy independence is still ongoing. Despite a generous endowment in both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon reserves, Ukraine is still highly dependent on natural gas imports from Russia, which has impacts both on the country’s budget and on its geopolitical situation. Read more >>

A Dutch court ruled on Wednesday that a Royal Dutch Shell subsidiary, SPDC, was partly responsible for oil pollution in the Niger Delta, but rejected four of the five charges against the Anglo-Dutch group.

It looks like a victory for multinationals trying to limit their exposure to legal claims in far-off countries, and a setback for emerging market activists attempting to bring foreign parent companies to book. Read more >>

The ink has not yet dried on the shale gas exploration deal signed on Thursday in Davos between Ukraine and Royal Dutch Shell. The energy giant, which might invest up to $10bn, has yet to commence exploration, let alone find commercially-viable reserves.

Yet Ukrainian officials are already waving the agreement in front of Russia’s Gazprom, counting gas flows and predicting that Kiev may not need costly Russian gas in the future. Read more >>

The landmark unconventional gas deal that Ukraine signed with Royal Dutch Shell in Davos on Thursday is not just a boost to its hopes of reducing its energy dependency on Russia.

It could give a much-needed fillip to its investment climate. Read more >>

Three legal challenges against Shell for pollution charges in the Niger Delta could set precedents for how multinational companies are sued for environmental damages in developing countries. All three inquiries – in the UK, the Netherlands and the US – are being judged in countries other than the one in which damages are said to have occurred.

Shell’s trial in the Netherlands, for which evidence was submitted last week, is thought to be the first time a Dutch company has been brought before a home court to answer charges of environmental damage caused abroad. Read more >>

The South African rand weakened on Friday amid continued violent unrest in the mining industry. A striking miner was reportedly killed by a police rubber bullet during protests in the Rustenburg platinum mining region and Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil company, said it could not guarantee fuel deliveries in Johannesburg for safety reasons.

The currency lost 2 per cent of its value against the US dollar to trade at R8.68, close to its weakest point for the year, before recovering slightly to trade 1.4 per cent weaker. Read more >>

Finally, some good news for foreign investors in Ukraine.

It’s not enough to blot out the bad headlines generated by president Viktor Yanukovich’s standoff with the EU and US over the jailing of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko or by western concerns about a broader rollback on democracy.

But Ukraine’s long-delayed decision to open its doors to international energy groups  shows that the country isn’t entirely turning its back on the west. Read more >>

Mozambique’s are the gas fields that just keep giving. Eni, the Italian state-controlled energy group, said on Wednesday it had made a significant find of gas in the Mamba offshore exploration block – an extra 10tn cubic feet to its previous finds.

The discovery confirms Mozambique as one of the key areas for LNG in Africa and one of the most exciting prospects for the world’s major energy companies. Read more >>

After a bidding war that has gone on almost all year, Shell has on Monday stepped out of the bidding war for Cove Energy. Which means the winner of the battle for the London-listed company is PTT of Thailand. The market was expecting a showdown, with shares opening on Monday at 278 pence, but as soon as Shell threw in the towel, they plunged and closed 14 per cent down at PTT’s offer price. Read more >>

Shale gas has the potential to transform the global gas industry. A lot of it is to be found in emerging markets, home to seven of the 10 biggest shale gas reserves worldwide. So you’d expect the world’s “supermajors” to be lining up for their slice of the cake.

Sure thing, says Christopher Haines, energy specialist at visiongain, a business information provider. But oil and gas companies from the developed world won’t have it all to themselves. Chinese and Indian companies will take their share, too – though other EM players may be left out. Read more >>