Europe, Middle East and Africa Oil and Gas Correspondent
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May 13, 2015

New tax powers for Scotland unlikely to bring big changes

LONDON (Reuters) – The government of Scotland, expected to win the long-coveted power to set some tax rates, is unlikely to make big changes despite pledges by its ruling Scottish National Party to spend more, reduce taxes on businesses and raise them on the rich.

The SNP, which already governs Scotland with the most seats in its provincial parliament, emerged as its dominant political force in UK national elections last week, winning 56 of 59 Scottish seats in Britain’s House of Commons despite having lost a referendum on independence last year.

Apr 28, 2015

Special Report: For UK political donors, an unintended tax break

LONDON (Reuters) – Some of Britain’s biggest political donors, including a dozen senior lawmakers, have benefited from a little-noticed loophole that lets them avoid tax on millions of pounds in donations to political parties, a Reuters analysis has found.

Reuters is the first to measure the loophole, which offers political parties – and in some cases, individual politicians or their families – an unintended gift from the taxpayer.

Apr 28, 2015

Political insiders benefit from tax break on UK party giving

LONDON (Reuters) – When British businessman Robert Durward decided to spend 1.9 million pounds ($2.9 million) funding a new free-market political party in the mid-2000s, friends said he was wasting his money. Years after his “New Party” collapsed, he agrees, telling Reuters it was “a complete and utter waste of time.”

But in one way at least, Durward was more astute than his friends gave him credit for. That’s because, rather than donating the money personally, he gave via his company, Cloburn Quarry Company Ltd.

Apr 13, 2015

Oil companies’ profits hit by quest for crude price exposure

LONDON (Reuters) – The drop in big oil companies’ profits in the past eight months isn’t just a function of lower crude prices – it also reflects strategic choices.

A Reuters examination of corporate filings by some of the biggest players in the industry, including BP (BP.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and France’s Total (TOTF.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), shows the sensitivity of these companies’ earnings to changes in oil prices has risen in recent years.

Apr 8, 2015

Shell-BG deal could face bumpy ride from partner rights

LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) agreed $70 billion takeover of rival BG Group (BG.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) could trigger pre-emption rights in key oil and gas fields that would erode the potential benefits of the deal for the Anglo-Dutch oil giant.

Shell said a main driver of its bid for BG Group was the gas-focused British group’s position in Brazil. Two exploration blocks, named BM-S-9 and BM-S-11, account for almost all the value of BG’s Brazil assets.

Apr 8, 2015

Shell takeover could net BG’s CEO over 32 million pounds

LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s agreed takeover of BG Group Plc will trigger payouts for BG Chief Executive Helge Lund that could see his pay for his first year top 32 million pounds ($47.8 million), a Reuters analysis of corporate filings shows.

In December, BG Group was forced to scale back a planned pay deal for Lund potentially worth around 25 million pounds for his first year, under pressure from investors.

Apr 8, 2015

Shell takeover could net BG’s CEO over $48 mln

LONDON, April 8 (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s
agreed takeover of BG Group Plc will trigger payouts for
BG Chief Executive Helge Lund that could see his pay for his
first year top 32 million pounds ($47.8 million), a Reuters
analysis of corporate filings shows.

In December, BG Group was forced to scale back a planned pay
deal for Lund potentially worth around 25 million pounds for his
first year, under pressure from investors.

Mar 25, 2015

Special Report: Top UK industrialist channeled millions through obscure company

ROCESTER, England (Reuters) – A leading British industrialist and political donor has channeled more than half a billion pounds through an obscure company that isn’t required to file financial accounts, a Reuters analysis of corporate filings shows.

Much of the money allegedly ended up being paid to the industrialist himself, according to claims in court documents.

Mar 25, 2015

Top UK industrialist channelled millions through obscure company

ROCESTER, England, March 25 (Reuters) – A leading British
industrialist and political donor has channelled more than half
a billion pounds through an obscure company that isn’t required
to file financial accounts, a Reuters analysis of corporate
filings shows.

Much of the money allegedly ended up being paid to the
industrialist himself, according to claims in court documents.

Mar 13, 2015

Weak euro to help European companies, force U.S. rivals to adapt

LONDON (Reuters) – The euro’s slide toward parity with the dollar will provide a much-needed boost for European companies this year and force U.S. rivals to adapt their businesses or risk losing market share.

While currency hedging arrangements mean the benefits may not be seen straight away, the currency’s weakness has already cheered European chief executives by making their products cheaper overseas and lifting the value of dollar-based sales.

    • About Tom

      "Tom leads our coverage of the oil and gas industry in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and is also author of 'Spills & Spin: The Inside Story of BP'. A former oil broker who turned to journalism 12 years ago, he is regularly interviewed on CNBC and other TV and radio stations on energy matters. Tom has reported from over twenty countries including Iran, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Tanzania, the U.S. and Russia. As Europe, Middle East and Africa Oil & Gas Correspondent, he has chartered the rise in oil prices to record levels, interviewed oil ministers and the CEOs of ..."
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