Royal Dutch/Shell 'Oil Reserves' Controversy

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Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : BECG040 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400 ;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Unethical Business Practices
Case Length : 14 Pages
Period : 2001-2004
Pub. Date : 2004
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Royal Dutch/Shell
Industry : Oil and Energy
Countries : Netherlands/UK


Royal Dutch/Shell (Shell) has been reportedly involved in inflating its 'proven' oil reserves figures that has significantly tarnished its image as one of the best professionally managed companies in the world.

The case provides detailed insights into the role played by the top management at Shell leading to the oil reserves controversy. It describes the events leading to the Shell's announcement to revise its oil reserves figures.

Finally, the case examines a few initiatives taken by the company to restore investor confidence and the lessons to be learned from the controversy.


Unethical Business Practices


  Page No.
The Announcement 1
Background Note 2
The Revelation 3
The Controversy 5
The Aftermath 7
Lessons from the Saga 8
Exhibits 9


Royal Dutch/Shell, Oil Reserves Controversy, Philip Watts Walter Van de Vijver, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), SEC Definitions for Proved Oil Reserves, Reserve Replacement Ratio, Reserves Recategorization Corporate Governance, Business Ethics

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