HSE International

Shell vows to invest billions in North Sea

Ben van Beurden highlighted the oil and gas giant’s enthusiasm for areas like West of Shetland after the company posted a one third increase in underlying profits for the second quarter helped by strong oil prices.

The Anglo-Dutch company made $6.1 billion (£3.6bn) net of one-offs in the three months to June. It made $4.6bn in the same period of 2013 under Mr van Beurden’s predecessor Peter Voser.

Asked if Shell had developed contingency plans for Scotland becoming indendent following the referendum in September, Mr van Beurden said: “As I’ve said before in December I think we would prefer it for the UK to remain a single country.

“There is of course uncertainty that would flow from a Scottish independence outcome, but then having said that we would of course deal with Scottish independence in the way that we would have to. I don’t think there is in that sense anything that we are deeply concerned about.”

Mr van Beurden, who took charge in January, indicated that Shell is likely to remain a big player off the UK after he has completed rationalising the company’s global porfolio to boost returns.

Shell put three relatively small, mature assets off Scotland, including the Sean field, up for sale earlier this year. However, Mr van Beurden indicated sales of such assets formed part of routine house-keeping in the North Sea.

He noted: “You have to bear in mind that there’s also significant growth still. We still invest for the next few years two billion dollars a year particularly in Clair and Schiehallion (West of Shetland), so it’s not as if we are completely stepping away from the North Sea. We are just engaged in the normal active portfolio management where we prune ourselves of end of life, late life assets and where ownership is better had elsewhere … and where basically we have a bigger bang for our buck elsewhere.”

Chief financial officer Simon Henry noted fiscal and regulatory changes could boost activity in the North Sea in coming years.

He said Shell welcomed the direction of the recommendations made in the recent review of the North Sea industry and related regulatory issues by oil services tycoon Sir Ian Wood.

Noting the UK Government has launched a review of North Sea taxation, Mr Henry said: “The combination of the two, the regulatory development and the fiscal review we see as a great opportunity for the UK to maximise the remaining value.”

Mr van Beurden said Shell had made good progress with efforts to improve its performance but had a long way to go. The Dutch executive highlighted the oil products business and North American resources, such as shale, as areas where Shell needs to do better.

Shell has made big losses on hefty investments it has made in shale in the US. It has decided to focus on liquids rich shales.

The company recorded $1.9bn impairments in the latest quarter, mainly related to dry gas properties in the US.

“There may be even more writedowns to come,” said Jason Kenney, analyst at Santander, who has a “hold” rating on Shell’s shares.

Mr van Beurden told of his sadness about the crash of the MH17 Malaysia Airlines flight in eastern Ukraine in July, which took the lives of four Shell employees and many of his compatriots and which he described as a terrible tragedy. He said it was too soon to assess the implications for Shell’s operations in Russia, which faces more sanctions for its support for rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Analysts had expected Shell to make $5.46bn underlying profit in the second quarter.

Shell announced a quarterly dividend of $0.47 per ordinary share, up four percent year on year. The company said the value of its share buybacks and dividends for 2014 and 2015 would exceed $30bn.

Royal Dutch Shell A shares closed up 58.5p at £24.41.

Original Source: http://bit.ly/1m5muhy

Oil worker who died after falling on BP’s Unity platform in the North Sea has been named

A man who died after falling on BP’s Unity platform in the North Sea has been named.

Sean Anderson, 43, from the Tyne and Wear area, was an employee of Cape.

The incident happened at about 04:10 on Thursday, 97 miles off Aberdeen. Unity is part of the Forties pipeline system.

Simon Hicks, UK managing director of Cape, said: “Sean was a popular, hard-working and experienced employee. His co-workers are obviously shaken and saddened.”

Police Scotland is carrying out a joint investigation with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

A Cape statement added: “The deceased was part of a Cape team carrying out routine maintenance onboard BP’s Unity platform. Our thoughts go out to his family, to whom we will be offering every support.

“The deceased’s co-workers are obviously shocked and saddened and we are working alongside BP to ensure they receive the support they need.

“We do not currently know the circumstances of the incident, but will be working closely with BP, Police Scotland and the Health and Safety Executive on a full and thorough investigation.”

A spokesman for BP said: “We are working with Police Scotland, the HSE, Cape and other relevant organisations to support those affected and ensure that the incident is fully investigated.

“The company extends its deepest sympathies to the family and employers and will provide them with every support it can.”

Original Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-29076539

Australian model Robyn Lawley stages naked protest against huge coal mine seven times the size of Sydney Harbour

An Australian model has stripped naked to protest against a huge coal mine planned for Queensland that campaigners fear will damage the Great Barrier Reef.

Robyn Lawley, 25, posted a picture on her Instagram page with “stop coal mining” scrawled on her bare stomach in lipstick to draw attention to the issue.

In a long post with the image, she wrote: “Woke up this morning to find out that our Environmental minister and the Abbott government have approved what will be the biggest mine of Australia.

“Carmichael mine will cover an area seven times that of Sydney Harbour. The only way to get coal out of Carmichael mine is via the Great Barrier Reef. Millions of tonnes of seabed will have to be dredged and dumped in the World Heritage Area to make way for port expansions to service this mega-mine.”

stopcoal

 

Australia’s environment minister, Greg Hunt, approved the $16.5 billion (£9.1 billion) project on Monday and imposed 36 conditions to address environmental concerns.

”The absolute strictest of conditions have been imposed to ensure the protection of the environment, with a specific focus on the protection of groundwater,” he said in a statement.

”I am pleased that we have been able to apply some of the strictest environment conditions in Australian history as part of this decision.”

The mine, near Clermont, will be one of the biggest in the world when completed, with the capacity to churn out 60 million tonnes of coal a year.

A coal miner stands in a mine in Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya, India. India, reliant on coal for more than half its electricity, is struggling to ease blackouts as delays in adding railways hinder fuel supplies and discourage investors from building $36 billion of power plants. Bloomberg News photo by Brent Lewin

Most of the coal from Carmichael mine will be sent to India

 

It will be sent via a new, private, railway line to the sea and shipped from the port of Abbot Point or Hay Point, near the Great Barrier Reef.

Indian company Adani is behind the project and claimed the environmental impact had been carefully assessed in its proposals.

The firm has previously been penalised by the Indian government for the destruction of mangroves and breached regulations in Bocha Island, a conservation zone.

Lawley lambasted the company’s track record as well as the lack of renewable energy alternatives to fossil fuel.

She wrote: “Coal is soon going to be a dead commodity only bought buy irresponsible countries who do not care about climate change and the damage on the world.

“I’m shocked and feel powerless so I decided to get people to read this one way or another, we have to stop them… Before it’s too late.”

The model is a passionate environmental campaigner and carries a quote from American anthropologist Margaret Mead, which reads “we won’t have a society if we destroy our environment” on her Instragram page.

She rose of fame after appearing on the cover of both Vogue Italia and Vogue Australia’s first “plus-size” issues in 2011.

Lawley, who is 6ft 2ins tall and an estimated Australian size 12, once worked as a mainstream model but has enjoyed more success since switching to the “plus-size” category – a label she deplores.

Earlier this year, she told Clique Magazine there was a “no-man’s land” of models above the standard size six with perfectly proportioned bodies that are unable to find work.

“I don’t think anyone should be called plus-size,” she said. “I think it’s derogatory to anyone – it’s a label.”

Original Source: http://ind.pn/1pQDm9X

 

UK manufacturing grows at the fastest pace for 7 months

Activity in the UK’s manufacturing sector grew at the fastest pace for seven months in June, a closely-watched survey has suggested.

The latest Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the sector was 57.5, up from 57.0 in May.

A reading above 50 indicates that the sector is expanding.

Markit said the sector continued to “flourish”, with jobs being created at the fastest pace for more than three years.

The survey results add to signs that the UK’s economic recovery is becoming more balanced.

The latest official GDP figures, released on Friday, confirmed that the economy grew by 0.8% in the first quarter of the year and recorded the fastest expansion in business investment in two years.

Strong quarter

While the PMI survey indicated that manufacturing output saw a slight slowdown in the rate of growth last month, it said output had now increased for 16 months in a row.

In addition, new orders grew at the fastest pace since November last year.

“UK manufacturing continued to flourish in June, rounding off one of the best quarters for the sector over the past two decades,” said Rob Dobson, senior economist at Markit.

“With levels of production surging higher, and order books swollen by a further upswing in demand from both domestic and overseas clients, job creation accelerated to its highest for over three years.”

David Tinsley, UK economist at BNP Paribas, said: “Manufacturing is growing strongly, and work flows suggest this has legs.

“This supports our view that UK GDP accelerated in Q2. As this news flow is absorbed further, rate hike expectations for the first hike in Q4 this year should harden.”

Original Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-28106368

UK shipping sector needs 5,000 extra skilled people

A major conference in Liverpool has heard that the UK commercial shipping industry faces a shortfall of 5,000 staff over the next few years.

More than 100 delegates at the Shipping and Maritime Industries event at the new Port Academy Liverpool were told everyone in the sector must do more to promote maritime careers to young people.

The conference was being held as part of the International Festival for Business 2014 and was co-organised by the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association UK and saw presentations from the Engineering Development Trust, Seavision and Seafarers UK.

It heard that huge growth in the the UK’s shipping and logistics sectors was forecast – especially in the Liverpool city region – but that the skills shortage could slow expansion.

Seavision director Ewen Macdonald, whose campaign promotes the maritime industry to young people, emphasised the urgent need to positively promote maritime careers.

He said the 5,000 staffing shortage relates specifically to deck and engineering officers and is taken from the Transport Select Committee Report “Forging ahead?: UK shipping strategy” published in March this year.

Port Academy Liverpool project lead Shulah Jones said the new academy, located within Bootle’s Hugh Baird College, was recently launched to specifically address the skills shortage.

She said it will also help train the next generation of skilled workers to support the Liverpool city region’s £1.8bn Super Port development – a project designed to expand the freight and passenger capacity of the River Mersey.

Mr Macdonald said: “By 2020, the UK could be 5,000 seafarers short and this relates specifically deck and engineering officers. Government has introduced initiatives to address the skills shortage. However, the itime industry still faces a significant challenge to attract the talent we need.”

Mr Macdonald added the onus was now on the maritime community to unite and communicate with young people.

Original Source: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/business/liverpool-conference-told-uk-shipping-7318288#.U6w36ATEMPA.twitter

Germany breaks 3 solar power records in 2 weeks

Over the first week of June 2014, German solar power systems generated 1.26 TWh of electricity, another new record for the country…