Posts tagged ‘Shell’

October 4, 2010

Blog round up

Lady Poverty: Poverty and abundance

Large-scale commodity production gives us a sense of material abundance. So much stuff! We call ourselves “developed” because we have advanced so much further than the “developing” or “underdeveloped” world in terms of the things we can buy. In other parts of the world, and at other times in history, consumer options have been much more limited. Nevertheless, individuals in any society are vulnerable anytime things like food, shelter and medicine are treated as commodities, not rights.

Poverty in an advanced consumer society can look a lot different than poverty in an early- or semi-capitalist one. [READ THE REST]

Harry’s Place: The Islamic Republic’s corporate enablers

The Guardian reports:

Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil giant, paid the state-owned Iranian oil company at least $1.5bn (£0.94bn) for crude oil this summer, increasing its business with Tehran as the international community implemented some of the toughest sanctions yet aimed at constricting the Islamic republic’s economy and its lifeline oil business.[…]

Now I realize there is some dispute among opponents of the regime over the effectiveness of economic sanctions on Iran. But it’s hard for me to grasp how pouring one-and-a-half billion dollars into the coffers of the Iranian government does anything other than strengthen the regime– not only in its nuclear program but also in its ability to brutalize and repress its political opponents, to keep a lid on wider opposition through state subsidies and to supply weapons to the likes of Hezbollah.

Shell Oil’s reputation for responsible and ethical behavior is already pretty lousy, and they may figure that doing business with Iran won’t make it much worse. But I have to believe that they– like other companies– would be susceptible to worldwide pressure to stop funding the Iranian regime.

Earlier this year the telecom giant Nokia-Siemens Networks got around to admitting a “share of the blame for Iran’s brutal crackdown on anti-government demonstrators last year after selling mobile phone surveillance to the authoritarian regime.”[…]

Arguing the World: Partial Readings: The World Has Changed

Poverty Rising

The 2009 census data unveiled a few weeks ago revealed a troubling, if unsurprising, fact: one in seven Americans is now below the poverty line—and when the number of those now sharing homes is included, the figures are even starker. There is one glimmer of hope amid the grim news: senior citizens have actually seen a rise in income—a testament to the effectiveness of Social Security as an anti-poverty program. The safety net for families with children, especially those with single mothers, has proved far less effective; and a new Pew study illuminates the dire economic straits in which former prison inmates and their families find themselves. The effects have been exacerbated by rising incarceration rates: “1 in every 28 children (3.6 percent) has a parent incarcerated, up from 1 in 125 just 25 years ago. Two-thirds of these children’s parents were incarcerated for non-violent offenses.”

April 15, 2010

BIG OIL

NEWS:

Shareholders Press Big Oil for Risk Information [The Environment Report]

The major risks with tar sand include dealing with pollution, and with lawsuits from native tribes that live near the oil sands.

Several investors’ groups want four major oil companies to reveal the risks of getting oil from Canadian tar sands. Rebecca Williams reports shareholders will be considering this at BP’s general meeting this week.

[READ THE REST]

Think-tanks take oil money and use it to fund climate deniers [Jonathan Owen and Paul Bignell]

An orchestrated campaign is being waged against climate change science to undermine public acceptance of man-made global warming, environment experts claimed last night.

The attack against scientists supportive of the idea of man-made climate change has grown in ferocity since the leak of thousands of documents on the subject from the University of East Anglia (UEA) on the eve of the Copenhagen climate summit last December.

Free-market, anti-climate change think-tanks such as the Atlas Economic Research Foundation in the US and the International Policy Network in the UK have received grants totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds from the multinational energy company ExxonMobil. Both organisations have funded international seminars pulling together climate change deniers from across the globe.

[READ THE REST]

Chinese Purchase of Oil Sands Stake Could Revalue Resource [OilPrice.com]

The acquisition of a 9% stake in the Syncrude oil sands venture by China’s Sinopec for $4.65 billion – substantially more than expected – could pave the way for a revaluation of Canada’s vast deposits of a resource that is environmentally controversial.

Canadian Oil Sands Trust, the biggest stakeholder in Syncrude with 36%, led energy stocks higher in Toronto Stock Exchange trading after the Chinese company paid a hefty premium for the stake held by ConocoPhillips. Part of the stock’s gain was due to relief that Canadian Oil Sands would not be selling new shares to acquire the stake itself.

The investment is the largest so far by a Chinese company in a North American energy project as China continues to scour the globe for energy resources.

[READ THE REST]

ANALYSIS:

Big Oil Does the Math, Proposes a New Tax on Itself [Chris Morrison]

// //

A snowflake may have just fallen in Hell: Several large oil companies, including Shell and BP, have reportedly helped design a new gas tax for the United States that would add a significant cost to fuel for consumers and businesses.

But as with every move from Big Oil, there’s a logical reason for the support. They consider the tax as the lesser of two evils: though it might slightly dent demand for fuel, a gas tax would probably be better for business than taking a hit at their refineries.

[READ THE REST]

COMMENT:

You Can’t Always Get What You Want [Matthew Philips]

President Obama’s March 30 decision to open up vast tracts of the Atlantic Ocean to oil and natural-gas exploration triggered the predictable range of responses: drilling advocates, including Republican lawmakers, offered tepid approval, while environmentalists complained. But lost amid the political debates—did Obama secure conservative Democrats’ support for energy legislation? Could Republicans still run on “Drill, Baby, Drill?”—was a question with more practical impact: What’s down there?

[READ THE REST]

Fox News: 4th Largest Owner of Shares is Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Saudi Arabia: Will Big Oil Buy Our Next Election? [Julia Bodeeb]

Fox “news” is owned by the parent company News Corp. The four top shareholders of News Corp are the Murdoch family, Liberty Media, Fidelity Management & Research Company, and Prince Alwaleed bin Talan.

DC Bureau reports that Prince Alwaleed bin Talan, a nephew of the King of Saudi Arabia, “has personally donated huge amounts of money to the families of the Palestinian suicide bombers.” He also released a statement after 9/11 blaming the attacks on the U.S.: “not on the 15 airline hijackers from Saudi Arabia—but on the United States’ support of Israel.”

[READ THE REST]