Royal Dutch Shell takes control over Chinese methane venture

By Margarita Snegireva. Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN), a multinational oil company of British and Dutch origins, Thursday said it was taking control of a coalbed methane venture in China's Shanxi Province.

Shell is acquiring a 55% equity interest and will take over as operator in the project for an undisclosed amount.

China is actively seeking new ways to quench its thirst for energy, such as coalbed methane, which consists of etracting natural gas from coal beds.

China's Ministry of Commerce recently approved an agreement for Shell to acquire Verona .

Shell said in a statement that China's Ministry of Commerce had approved Shell's acquisition of Verona Development Corp.'s majority equity stake in the 30-year production sharing contract in the North Shilou block, an area of 1,015 square kilometres in the eastern part of the Ordos Basin.

It said Verona maintains a 5% interest in the venture with state-owned China United Coalbed Methane Co. holding the remaining 40% equity.

Royal Dutch Shell is one of the largest private sector energy corporations in the world, and one of the six "supermajors" (vertically integrated private sector oil exploration, natural gas, and petroleum product marketing companies). The company's headquarters are in The Hague, Netherlands, with its registered office in London, United Kingdom (Shell Centre).

The company's main business is the exploration for and the production, processing, transportation and marketing of hydrocarbons (oil and gas). Shell also has a significant petrochemicals business (Shell Chemicals), and an embryonic renewable energy sector developing wind, hydrogen and solar power opportunities. Shell is incorporated in the UK with its corporate headquarters in The Hague, its tax residence is in Netherlands, and its primary listings on the London Stock Exchange and Euronext Amsterdam (only "A" shares are part of the AEX index).

Shell's revenues of $318.8 billion in 2006 made it the third-largest corporation in the world by revenues behind only ExxonMobil and Wal-Mart. Its 2006 gross profits of $26 billion made it the world's second most profitable company, after ExxonMobil and before BP. Forbes Global 2000 in 2007 ranked Shell the eighth largest company in the world.

It operates in over 140 countries. In the United States, its Shell Oil Company subsidiary, headquartered in Houston, Texas, is one of Shell's largest businesses. In 2007, Fortune magazine ranked Shell as the third-largest corporation in the world, behind Wal-Mart and ExxonMobil.

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