Shell publishes Full Year Results

February 8th, 2001

Royal Dutch Shell will today publish its Full Year Results. It is anticipated that they will indicate a record increase in profits and turnover - buoyed up by high fuel prices. Shell's financial performance and corporate citizenship are of particular concern to Australians at the moment as the Treasurer, Peter Costello, considers whether Shell's takeover of Australian-owned Woodside would be in the 'national interest'.

Shell's third quarter results published last November indicated that Net Income was up 60% (to $9,606 million) as compared to the same nine month period for the previous year. Exploration and Production adjusted earnings (of $2,313 million) were almost double those achieved a year ago.

What is Shell doing with these windfall profits?

A look at its Web site ( www.shell.com ) or a glance at some of its literature, might raise hopes that the mega-corporation is "…surfing towards a sustainable future". In its recent glossy brochure "People, Planet and Profits", Mark Moody-Stuart, Shell's chair wrote "My colleagues and I are totally committed to a business strategy that generates profits while contributing to the well-being of the planet and its people. We see no alternative."

And yet, a look at Shell's actual operations indicate that the corporation is using its profits windfall to explore for oil and gas in some of the world's most environmentally sensitive areas, bringing with it loss of endangered species and increased greenhouse gas emissions.

In Pakistan, Shell has entered into a joint venture with Premier Oil to explore for gas in one of the country's oldest and most famous national parks. (call Friends of the Earth Melbourne for full case study). In Bangladesh, Shell has formed a joint venture with the Scottish power company Cairn Energy, to explore for fuel in the Sundarbans mangrove forest. The region represents of the world's most important wetlands and is home to the largest remaining population of Bengal tigers.

Last month, the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPPC) warned that global climate change is likely to be much more severe than previously feared, mainly as a result of the burning of fossil fuels. Earlier this week, a report by members of the United Nations Environment Program's (UNEP) financial services initiative, indicated that the impact of climate change could cost the world over US$300 billion a year.

Shell is well placed to address the cause of these problems, and help reduce the world's dependence on fossil fuels. And yet, the corporation presently invests less than 1% of its turnover in renewable energy, such as wind, solar and wave power.

Friends of the Earth is calling on Shell to end immediately all oil and gas exploration in protected areas, and to switch investment to renewables.

For further information contact:

John Hallam
Friends of the Earth National Office
Ph: (03) 9419 8700