THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Shell CEO Repeats Review Complete By Yr End – CNBC: “Commenting on recent rumors of a possible mega-merger within the oil industry, van der Veer said the company never comments on speculation but that such talk indicates that Shell's reputation isn't yet fully restored following the reserves debacle.” (ShellNews.net) 6 Dec 04
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
December 6, 2004
LONDON -- The chief executive of Royal Dutch/Shell Group (RD, SC) reiterated Monday that by the end of the year, the oil major would have completed a rigorous examination of its reserves situation.
Speaking to CNBC Europe, Jeroen van der Veer said: "We have undertaken and promised that before we close our books at the end of the year, we have gone through all of (our reserves) and we will be very transparent to the market on how it progresses."
The interview was due to be broadcast at 1745 GMT.
In January, Shell disclosed it had greatly overbooked its tally of oil and natural-gas reserves, which oil companies report each year to the U.S.'s Securities & Exchange Commission and which serve as a crucial indicator for investors.
On Sept. 22, the company issued a strategy presentation saying it will spend more money, shed billions of dollars worth of assets and consider acquisitions in coming years to boost its oil and natural gas reserves and convince investors it has moved beyond a scandal over its reserves accounting.
Responding Monday to questions on the company's outlook, van der Veer cited two key factors: oil and gas prices, and internal operations. "In the production of oil, we have many plans to do better than this year - that is the performance we can control ourselves."
But the CEO also referred to forces outside the company's control.
"We have to see what oil and gas prices will do to us," he said.
The CEO said the company doesn't speculate on the oil price. "We simply like to do it better than the competition - whatever the oil price."
Commenting on recent rumors of a possible mega-merger within the oil industry, van der Veer said the company never comments on speculation but that such talk indicates that Shell's reputation isn't yet fully restored following the reserves debacle.
"So we are working on that because the best way that you don't have these kind of rumors is to show that we are a good company..."
The CEO also said Shell has critical size and wouldn't hesitate to review opportunities to expand. "...If we can find even better ways to work, we will not shy (away) from studying anything."
-London bureau, Dow Jones Newswires; 44-0207-842-9465