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Shell reduces oil estimates again

Published on 18/03/2004

18 March 2004

AMSTERDAM — Anglo-Dutch energy company Shell reduced its oil reserve estimates for the second time in two months on Thursday and postponed the publication of its annual accounts until May.

Shell was due to publish its 2003 figures on 23 April, but has pushed that date back to 28 June, newspaper De Telegraaf reported.

The multinational shocked the financial world in January by reducing its oil reserve estimates by 20 percent or 3.9 billion barrels. The oil exists, but cannot be directly pumped to the surface.

The latest reduction in Shell’s estimates totals 250 million drums and Shell stock prices fell by about 3 percent immediately after the announcement. One trader in London said the announcement was “terrible”.

Shell chief executive Sir Philip Watts resigned over the scandal earlier this month and was replaced by Dutchman Jeroen van der Veer. The director of the Exploration and Production division, Walter van der Vijver, also resigned at the request of the supervisory board.

But rumours are circulating that Van der Veer must also have known about the over-estimates, news agency ANP reported.

The US, British and Dutch stock exchange watchdogs are currently investigating possible abuses at Shell and the possible consequences for shareholders. Shell has also requested an independent commission to investigate the affair.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news