We appreciate that this will not be news for anyone who’s been watching oil markets closely.
However, we still think it’s a valuable recap. Read more
Australia, we’ve heard a lot lately, is set to overtake Qatar as the world’s biggest LNG producer by about 2020. The first shipment from the big Western Australian Pluto development set sail last month and things looked somewhat rosy for Woodside Petroleum, its owner and operator.
However a story in today’s Australian Financial Review confirmed what many have been thinking for a while: the proposed expansion of the Pluto project won’t happen. The AFR quotes Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman: Read more
From this morning’s RNS (with our emphasis):
Further to the announcement of a possible offer by Shell Bidco for Cove on 22 February 2012, the boards of directors of Cove and Shell Bidco are pleased to announce that they have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended cash offer to be made by Shell Bidco for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Cove. Shell Bidco is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Shell incorporated in the Netherlands. Read more
Something of a scramble in the Gulf of Mexico late on Wednesday as Shell dispatched aerial monitors and an oil-spill response vessel to investigate a “light sheen” about 130 miles southeast of New Orleans. Given that the sheen is 10 miles long and one mile wide, there should be no surprise at the response in London on Thursday morning…
So even Royal Dutch Shell has decided that the oil business is hard enough, without running a life assurance scheme for employees on the side. There is now not a single company in the FTSE100 index which offers a final salary pension scheme to new employees. This is the unintended consequence of well-meaning governments piling obligations onto the schemes, while moving them up the batting order of corporate creditors.
Thus, in little more than a generation, a system which allowed most businesses to look after long-serving employees in retirement has been destroyed. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth, especially since Shell’s decision is a cold commercial one, rather than a necessary part of a survival plan. Yet we shouldn’t get too upset. The old system never worked as well as its advocates now claim. Long-serving employees become addicted to final-salary schemes, unable to leave because no new employer can afford to match their accrued benefits. In a world where companies’ life expectancy can be less than that of their employees, this makes no sense. Read more
Petronas is in talks with several oil majors including Shell and Exxon Mobil to develop petrochemical plants within its $20bn refinery complex in southern Malaysia, Reuters reports, citing two sources with direct knowledge of the matter. Malaysia’s national oil company is also talking to Japanese firms Itochu and Mitsubishi as well as Dow Chemical as it seeks to tap surging Asian demand and diversify its earnings, the sources said. Petronas is expected to make a decision on the partnerships by mid-2012, which signals it is quickly moving beyond the feasibility stage of the project. “Petronas is getting a lot of interest for the joint venture undertakings,” said one source, who declined to be identified as discussions are ongoing.
Royal Dutch Shell is keen to expand its upstream and downstream business in Vietnam at a time when other oil majors such as BP and ConocoPhillips have been pulling out amid frustrations over bureaucracy and concern about the worsening territorial dispute in the South China Sea, reports the FT. Thanh Le, Shell’s general manager in Vietnam, told the Financial Times that, outside of China and India, Vietnam was one of the most attractive markets in Asia, with energy demand set to grow strongly as the country’s economic transformation continues.
Royal Dutch Shell’s first-quarter underlying profit rose by almost a third, aided by improved refining margins and increased crude oil prices, the FT reports. The Anglo-Dutch energy group on Thursday said that first-quarter profit rose 41 per cent year-on-year to $6.9bn (£4.1bn) on a current cost of supplies basis, a closely watched post-tax measure that removes the effect of price changes on inventories. Underlying CCS profit – which further strips out one-off items, such as disposal gains and fair value accounting fluctuations – rose 30 per cent to $6.3bn, slightly ahead of the $6.2bn average forecast of analysts polled by Bloomberg. Oil and gas output in the first quarter was down 3 per cent year-on-year at 3.5m barrels of oil equivalent per day, having been squeezed by disposals. The first quarter dividend remained unchanged at $0.42 per share.
Peter Voser, chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, set out ambitious production targets for the Anglo-Dutch oil major on Tuesday, as the company embarks on a fresh wave of growth to meet rising demand from emerging markets, reports the FT. The company plans to invest $100bn in new projects over the next four years, including Qatar and Canada. Voser also set a target of 3.7m barrels of oil equivalent per day for 2014, an increase of 12% on 2010 levels, making Shell one of the top publicly listed producers in the oil and gas sector.
European oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has promised to deliver new growth as it reported a substantial rebound in profits and rising production in 2010′s third quarter, the FT reports. Third-quarter profit rose 18 per cent to $3.5bn on a current cost of supplies basis — a closely-watched post-tax measure that removes the effect of price changes on inventories. The results were driven by higher oil and gas prices and greater cost efficiency. Net profit rose by 6.5 per cent, the WSJ adds. Shell’s results may set a trend for Exxon, which reports later on Thursday, if not for BP, which continues to struggle with costs arising from the Gulf of Mexico spill.
Last week was London Metal Exchange week.
And it turns out, the topic of debate, according to Société Générale’s cross-asset research analysts at least, was nothing other than the upcoming splurge of physically-backed commodity ETFs that’s about to hit the market. Read more
The share price of Royal Dutch Shell’s suddenly saw a ghost on Thursday afternoon.
UK pension funds can breathe a small sigh of relief on Monday. BP stock has recouped much of Friday’s loss, which saw it trading at 1996 levels on the day.
At pixel time, shares in the beleaguered oil giant were 4.32 per cent higher versus a relatively flat FTSE 100. Read more
Shell has acquired the US natural gas explorer East Resources Inc. in a bold move for influence in North American shale, the WSJ reports. Private-equity firm KKR will win big from the deal thanks to its large stake in East Resources, which is currently engaged in exploring the Marcellus Shale stretching from West Virginia to New York. Reuters adds that the deal came hours after the US government cast doubt on Shell’s offshore oil interests in Alaska.
The list of dead and dying deals and loudly protesting companies in Australia’s resources sector is beginning to look very long, as FT Alphaville noted last week.
The companies, both foreign and domestic, which claim that Canberra’s plans for a 40 per cent tax on “super profits” of resources companies could kill their investment interest span a fair few sectors. Read more
The Wall Street Journal reports that companies like Shell, Total and BP are continuing to do brisk business with Iran, but are preferring to keep a low profile while doing so. Their efforts to disguise operations include hiding ships’ movements, even though the deals are perfectly legal. Spokesmen for Shell, BP and Total declined to comment to the paper.
Update: May 18, 13.20 (BST).
Hands up, we were duped on this one. Shell say the release is a hoax. Read more
The Australian government has not given up insisting that pigs fly that a planned 40 per cent tax on “super” profits generated by all resources operating on its soil is a Really Great Thing.
Even senior bureaucrats are now weighing in, with Ken Henry, chief of the Australian Treasury, claiming on Thursday that the tax will “boost” the mining industry and the economy. Read more
Breaking pre-market news on Monday,
- Prudential requests temporary suspension of its shares, confirms AIA talks – statement. Read more
That, for the record, is what happens when analysts don’t mysteriously “mind-meld” a couple of weeks ahead of your results. Read more
Shares in Royal Dutch Shell took a bit of a walloping on Wednesday as reports circled the city the company was guiding analysts lower on fourth-quarter numbers:
It’s only 2009, but already the (somewhat obtuse) campaigns for the 2012 Russian presidency by Putin and Medvedev are well underway, as the the following piece in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday made clear:
President Dmitry Medvedev, in a clear bid to separate himself from Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, on Tuesday outlined a manifesto of change for Russia that is deeply critical of the system Mr. Putin has created.
Stephen Schork of the Schork Report sets out the case very succinctly on Friday:
Thus, while we were led to believe that demand for oil was rising in the second quarter, hence the justification for that 40 percent surge on the NYMEX, we now have the balance sheets from Exxon, Shell et al. that prove it was a lie. Read more
Shell follows BP in reporting significant declines in yearly profits, but a better-than-expected performance in the quarter:
1ST QUARTER 2009 UNAUDITED RESULTS Read more
It’s BP-TNK and they are prepared to offer 430p for each share. (And no, that’s not a typo).
From a stock exchange announcement released on Wednesday afternoon:
Credit Suisse International has launched a fixed price reverse accelerated bookbuild to purchase shares in Sibir Energy plc at GBp 430 on behalf of TNK-BP. Read more
We’ve all become accustomed to hearing what Opec may or may not think is a fair price for oil (even though officially they do not comment). But, when it comes to the oil majors – traditionally – they have skirted the question. Most likely this is because they recognise it is just not good PR, sitting as they do on the price taking side of the equation.
Considering the above we noted with interest the following Bloomberg headline on Thursday: Read more
Breaking pre-market news on Thursday,
- Xstrata announces £4.1bn rights issue – FT story, Xstrata statement, Xstrata results
- Cookson Group announces £240m rights issue – statement Read more
Production in Q1: Read more
The latest on Thursday,
- Standard Life reports small dip in reserves – statement Read more