Rivals Face Pressure after Shell Oil Fiasco
Byline: BRIAN O'CONNOR
NEWS that made Shell's controversial accounting look better eased the siege of the embattled oil giant slightly.
But it remains under huge pressure to sort out its problems. Some are even thinking the unthinkable and asking if it could be taken over.
The good news is that after Shell's latest downgrade of the reserves of Norway's Ormen Lange gas field, it looks more conservative than Ormen's co-owners BP or Norsk Hydro.
Shell has now 'booked' only 20pc of its Ormen reserves. It looks as if BP and Norsk may have booked 70pc-80pc. US watchdog the SEC is expected to broaden its probe into the industry's practices.
Shell edged up 3/4p to 3613/4p.
Broker JP Morgan rated Shell 'neutral'.
Shell's rating is the lowest of the big five oil companies (see table). Long thought invulnerable to a predator, it now looks less so. But any bidder would meet formidable obstacles.
The first is size. At [pounds sterling]89bn Shell/Royal Dutch still ranks third in the world. …