THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Shell Plans Huge Increase in Engineer Ranks: “The scandal prompted the departure of top executives and a long-resisted corporate restructuring” (ShellNews.net) 19 Jan 05
Still straining to recover from a run of reserves restatements last year, Royal Dutch/Shell plans to hire more than 1,000 engineers for its core exploration and production business in a bid to restore the credibility of its oil and gas reserves accounting, the Financial Times reports.
Citing an internal company newsletter, the FT says the move bolsters the belief by some people close to Shell that technical shortcomings contributed to the exaggerated accounting of its petroleum reserves that emerged last year.
The reserves bear significant financial importance as one of the key indicators of an energy company's future earnings, and since the scandal, Shell's record on reserve replacement and production growth has trailed its rivals.
The scandal prompted the departure of top executives and a long-resisted corporate restructuring. But the FT says analysts and other oil companies say it would be difficult for Shell to find so many experienced engineers – with the average age of exploration-and-production workers already rising to 48 because many younger engineering graduates aren't choosing the industry.