Daily Telegraph: Barrel count delays Shell's annual report: “Shell, the energy giant struggling to restore its credibility after its reserves debacle, has been forced to delay the publication of its 2004 annual reports because of lingering uncertainty over how much "proven" barrels of oil and gas it has got.”: “Since January, the number of reclassified proven barrels has risen as the company has checked and rechecked its reserves.” (ShellNews.net) 27 Nov 04
By Christopher Hope (Filed: 27/11/2004)
Shell, the energy giant struggling to restore its credibility after its reserves debacle, has been forced to delay the publication of its 2004 annual reports because of lingering uncertainty over how much "proven" barrels of oil and gas it has got.
The move means that the long-awaited restructuring of the British and Dutch parts of Shell into a single business listed in London will be pushed back by three months.
Shell is trying to haul itself out of a crisis over its reserves levels. Since January, the number of reclassified proven barrels has risen as the company has checked and rechecked its reserves.
Last month, mid-way through a third check, the company said up to 900m barrels could be questionable, on top of the 4.47billion barrels which have been recategorised, taking the total to nearly 30pc of reserves.
Yesterday Shell said that this check "will be audited prior to the end of 2004". The company continued: "This review may require a restatement of previous periods to allocate revisions to the year concerned. Should re-statements of previous periods be required, publication of the group's financial statements would be delayed."
As a result the annual meetings, which must be held 30 days after the annual reports are published and were originally intended to be held on April 22, will take place in the Netherlands and London on June 28, when shareholders will vote on the new structure. Shell said that the uncertainty would have no effect on its final dividend for 2004, which is still due to be paid in March. However, the delay means the first quarterly payment in June cannot be paid by the newly combined business.
This means that the Shell Transport dividend will be a complicated sterling calculation from Royal Dutch's dividend, which is paid in euros. Sources said this was to ensure that Shell Transport shareholders do not lose out.
J J Traynor, at Deutsche Bank, said: "They have got to straighten out the reserves. It is a setback but not unexpected given that they questioned 900m barrels of reserves in October."
Shell's shares closed down 1 at 447.25p.