Watching Government: Proving reserves

Regulators face growing scrutiny over how publicly traded oil and natural gas companies book proven reserves, thanks to shareholder lawsuits and election-year politics.Royal Dutch/Shell Group July 29 announced a settlement with US and UK financial regulators over revisions made to its proved reserves (see related story, p. 29). It admitted no wrongdoing; a US Department of Justice criminal investigation is still pending.Litigation roadThe decision drew an angry response from attorneys representing some of Shell's institutional investors.Bill Lerach of Lerach Coughlin Stoia & Robbins LLP, which filed a lawsuit against the company June 25 in New Jersey state court, called the Securities...

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