Shell's reserves revision: A critical look

Shell's downward revision of its worldwide reserves early this year created a big fuss among investors. Negative publicity surrounding the reserves revision forced the resignation of Shell's Chairman Sir Philip Watts and Vice-Chairman Walter van de Vijver.The company is now reviewing its governance structure,1 and more senior-level management changes may be in the offing at this writing in late March. Reserves management procedures are also under review.While part of Shell's reserves revision can be attributed to the inherent subjectivity in reserves booking, and is perhaps understandable, there appears to be little justification for most of the revision.To the extent that the...

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