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Halliburton moves CEO to oil-rich Dubai

Stephanie Kirchgaessner, Financial Times
Halliburton’s decision to relocate its chief executive from Houston to Dubai and open a corporate headquarters in the emirate drew fire from critics in Washington on Monday, raising the spectre that the oil services group will be forced to defend the move before Congress.

The Texas-based company has long been the target of criticism on Capitol Hill because of its ties to Dick Cheney, the US vice-president who formerly served as chief executive, and allegations that KBR, the company’s government contracting unit, has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars in Iraq.

…Some lobbyists said that the move could revive debate on the tax implications of companies moving offshore.

Halliburton said that it anticipated “absolutely no tax benefits” from the creation of a headquarters in Dubai, which has a zero tax rate. It said Houston would remain the company’s principal executive office.

But Martin Sullivan, contributing editor at Tax Notes magazine, a non-partisan weekly tax journal, said Halliburton’s move would change its tax situation “significantly” even though the company would still be registered in the US.
(13 March 2007)
Related from ABC News: Halliburton’s Dubai Move Makes Democrats Suspicious.

Halliburton heeds the call to Go East

Jim Jelter & Laura Mandaro, MarketWatch
Oil riches of the other Gulf Coast lure oil services, chemicals companies
When Halliburton Co. said it would move its corporate headquarters to Dubai, the nation’s biggest oil field service company was acknowledging a major structural shift taking place in the global energy market.

Why Dubai? Because the city, a growing hub for Western business and investments sandwiched between Saudi Arabia and Oman, is surrounded by the world’s biggest proven oil reserves.

And the need to spend more time tending to the needs of the region’s biggest producers is a now a pressing part of the business for Halliburton and others in the industry. The region’s vast reserves are also spurring an investment wave from big oil and gas users, such as Dow Chemical Co.

“The Middle East, in terms of reserves and production capacity, is becoming the center of gravity for the industry,” said Peter Jackson, senior director of oil industry activity at the Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA).

“The focus of expansion in production capacity is moving eastward from the homeland of Houston,” Jackson said. In Halliburton’s case, the deployment of key staff to the Middle East amounts to a “shift in emphasis perhaps more than a shift in personnel.”
(12 March 2007)

The new Seven Sisters: oil and gas giants dwarf western rivals

Carola Hoyos, Financial Times
When an angry Enrico Mattei coined the phrase “the seven sisters” to describe the Anglo-Saxon companies that controlled the Middle East’s oil after the second world war, the founder of Italy’s modern energy industry could not have imagined the profound shift in power that would occur barely half a century later.

As oil prices have trebled over the past four years, a new group of oil and gas companies has risen to prominence. They have consolidated their power as aggressive resource holders and seekers and pushed the world’s biggest listed energy groups, which emerged out of the original seven sisters – ExxonMobil and Chevron of the US and Europe’s BP and Royal Dutch Shell – on to the sidelines and into an existential crisis.

The “new seven sisters”, or the most influential energy companies from countries outside the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, have been identified by the Financial Times in consultation with numerous industry executives. They are Saudi Aramco, Russia’s Gazprom, CNPC of China, NIOC of Iran, Venezuela’s PDVSA, Brazil’s Petrobras and Petronas of Malaysia.

Overwhelmingly state-owned, they control almost one-third of the world’s oil and gas production and more than one-third of its total oil and gas reserves.
(11 March 2007)

Arctic gas project costs top $16 billion

Dina O’Meara, Chronical Herald and The Canadian Press
Canadian Arctic gas remains the most feasible and economical natural gas project to feed energy-hungry southern markets, despite quadrupling costs for a proposed major northern pipeline, lead company Imperial Oil Ltd. said Monday.

New estimates of overall costs for the Mackenzie Gas Pipeline project have hit $16.2 billion, from an original $4 billion, Imperial revealed before stock markets opened early Monday.

The massive project’s in-service date was also rescheduled to 2014, three years past original estimates, due to significant delays in regional permits and approvals. However, continued strong demand for natural gas, and even slower progress in a rival proposed Alaska pipeline keep the shine on the 1,220-kilometre project, Randy Boiles, Imperial’s senior vice-president, told a conference call. ..
(13 Mar 2007)