Daily Express (UK): City & Business: Fresh oil reserves fears as Shell puts off Agm: “SCANDAL-STRUCK Shell sparked fears of yet further reserves downgrades by announcing it had been forced to put back the annual meeting which will determine the oil giant's future.”: “The latest announcement inevitably fuelled speculation a further significant reserves downgrade was in the offing.”: “A criminal investigation and class actions are continuing in the United States.” (ShellNews.net) Posted 28 Nov 04
By Andrew Johnson
SCANDAL-STRUCK Shell sparked fears of yet further reserves downgrades by announcing it had been forced to put back the annual meeting which will determine the oil giant's future.
The company said the meeting had been delayed because it could not guarantee all the work connected with a root-and-branch review of all its oil reserves would be completed on time.
As a result, the annual meeting at which shareholders will be given the chance to vote on plans to merge Shell's British and Dutch businesses had been put back from April to June 28.
The latest announcement inevitably fuelled speculation a further significant reserves downgrade was in the offing. "It does raise the worry there will be another downgrade," said one analyst.
Shell announced the oil-field-by-oilfield review at the end of October.
It warned a further 900 million barrels out of the 8 billion so far audited might have to be wiped from reserves.
This would bring to a total of 5.4 billion barrels the amount that has been wiped off its reserves since the overbooking scandal emerged in January.
The company said it was confident the audit of the remaining 6.5 billion barrels
will be completed by the end of the year. But the work will then have to be double-checked by various executive committees, including the audit committee.
If a significant further shortfall hi reserves is discovered, the previous years' accounts will have to be restated.
The company said it had put back the crucial meeting to allow time for a possible restatement needed for the audited financial statements connected with the merger and report and accounts. The company argued it was simply being "prudent".
It added unaudited full-year financial figures would be announced in February along with a statement on reserves.
Investec analyst Jonathan Copus said: "The delay buys time to put everything in order. It is better to tell us now than two weeks before it happens."
The overbooking scandal cost the jobs of executive chairman Sir Philip Watts, exploration chief Walter van de Vijver and finance director Judy Boynton.
A criminal investigation and class actions are continuing in the United States.
Shell shares closed down Ip at 447%p.