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Russian Roulette: International Oil Company Risk in the Russian Arctic

Russian Roulette: International Oil Company Risk in the Russian Arctic

International Oil Companies (IOCs) face pressure from investors to achieve a positive reserves replacement ratio. With governments around the world increasingly asserting control over natural resources in their territory, as well as conventional oil reserves dwindling, the Arctic is one of the frontier areas targeted by IOCs. In Russia, IOCs have entered a number of...
Shell and Gazprom sign more documents on Arctic tie-up

Shell and Gazprom sign more documents on Arctic tie-up

Gazprom and Shell signed a new agreement today, under the eyes of Vladimir Putin on his trade mission to Europe. The agreement has been in discussion for a few years; at one point a BP-and-Rosneft style share swap was discussed, but the two companies appear to have settled for a Joint Venture. Together they’ll extract...
Shell suspends Arctic drilling for 2013

Shell suspends Arctic drilling for 2013

We’re celebrating Shell’s announcement that the drilling programme in the Alaskan Arctic has been halted for the year! Here are a few perspectives on why this has happened and what’s going to happen next… 1) Company public relations describe this as an effort to ensure the drilling is safe: “Shell remains committed to building an...
Osborne's tax breaks for North Sea oil and a Thatcherism flashback

Osborne’s tax breaks for North Sea oil and a Thatcherism flashback

Back in the 70s, the UK and Norway took two very different approaches to the roughly equal share of North Sea oil and gas that they had within their territorial waters. With state-owned oil company Statoil at the helm, Norway cautiously put aside profits and levies from other oil companies operating within its fields into...
Oil company mega-profits and the dwindling public purse

Oil company mega-profits and the dwindling public purse

Yesterday, The Observer ran a story about George Osborne promising to crack down on multinationals avoiding tax in some of the world’s poorest countries. Anger over corporate tax avoidance at a time of massive cuts 
to public spending has placed the issue on the political agenda, especially since widespread popular protest sparked by UK Uncut. The money...
Making a Killing: Oil Companies, Tax Avoidance and Subsidies

Making a Killing: Oil Companies, Tax Avoidance and Subsidies

Oil company mega-profits are being made at the expense of the public purse, as youth centres shut, hospitals struggle and the queues at food banks grow. Companies like BP & Shell receive major government support including direct subsidies and military and diplomatic services, but seem to pay very small amounts of UK tax in comparison...
Has RBS stopped financing the tar sands? (Spoiler: No)

Has RBS stopped financing the tar sands? (Spoiler: No)

Last week RBS chairman Philip Hampton took part in a live Q&A session on the Guardian in response to the Libor-rigging scandal. One of the questions that was put to Hampton by a reader was How do you continue to justify continued your role in financing the Canadian tar sands, arguably a greater crime than...
Another storm for Shell highlights risks in financing Arctic oil & gas exploitation

Another storm for Shell highlights risks in financing Arctic oil & gas exploitation

On Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year when in southern Alaska there’s only a dull half-light for a handful of hours, Shell’s immense drilling rig Kulluk was dragged out to sea from Dutch Harbour, bound for the port of Seattle. This 28,000 tonne machine was being pulled past the Aleutian Islands though worsening...
Repeated Misadventures: Key questions for Shell on its Alaskan Arctic programme

Repeated Misadventures: Key questions for Shell on its Alaskan Arctic programme

On 8th January 2013, the U.S. Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, announced a review of the 2012 Alaskan Arctic offshore drilling programme “to review practices and identify challenges as well as lessons learned.” The review to be completed within 60 days will focus on the successive setbacks encountered by Shell during 2012. These include its failure...
The true story behind Channel 4's 'Secret State' - RBS's dirty deals

The true story behind Channel 4’s ‘Secret State’ – RBS’s dirty deals

Sometimes Platform is really late off the mark, but luckily a friend in Liverpool gave us a nudge.  Thanks Lena. WARNING – this blog post contains spoilers. Channel 4’s recent 4-part political thriller ‘Secret State’ has an oil and finance storyline, elements of which uncannily mirror some of Platform’s current and recent campaigns. The plot...
'No more money for arms deals' - but what about fossil fuels?

‘No more money for arms deals’ – but what about fossil fuels?

Last week, a cross-party inquiry called for Parliament to review the use of public money to support arms exports. The all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on international corporate responsibility said Parliament should debate introducing a ‘prohibition list’ of projects that the Government refuses to underwrite. They suggested arms sales should be at the top of it....
RBS finances Tullow's drilling in Ghana

RBS finances Tullow’s drilling in Ghana

  Tullow Oil Plc has secured a finance deal with a number of banks including the publicly owned Royal Bank of Scotland. The company says the $3.5m debt refinancing will in part be used for its operations in Ghana. Platform has watched the developments in Ghana closely. Amongst other concerns, Tullow has continued to flare...