Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 08:30 • Mat Hope

You’ve probably seen the startling headlines — “Air pollution linked to spikes in hospital and GP visits”,“Air pollution causes nearly 15,000 cases of type 2 diabetes in UK each year”, “Young girl's death first to be linked to illegal levels of air pollution”.

It’s obvious that the UK has a major air pollution problem.

Monday, May 14, 2018 - 16:02 • Chloe Farand
Read time: 24 mins

In the summer of 2008, as the price of oil peaked to a record high, a polar explorer and a group of City bankers decided to turn a former gaming company into an oil and gas investment company targeting one of Africa’s most unstable corners: Nigeria.

Investors were told the new business would find an oil asset in the shallow waters of the Niger Delta with the help of a local prince, partner with a company to extract the oil, and sell it on to an oil major for a profit.

To fund this new venture, Sirius Petroleum was listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), London’s junior stock market that allows small companies to raise funds by floating shares. Critics have denounced the market’s weak regulation, which has won the exchange a “casino” reputation

Behind the scheme was millionaire Andrew Regan and his Cayman Islands-registered investment vehicle Corvus Capital. Together with a group of established City operators, Regan reportedly made a fortune on AIM, buying into shell companies and transforming them into lucrative ventures. Sirius appears to be another example of this strategy.

Monday, May 14, 2018 - 09:34 • Brendan DeMelle
Read time: 1 min

Congratulations to our long-time colleagues Emma Gilchrist and Carol Linnitt, who are launching The Narwhal today to continue to advance more constructive conversations about energy and environment issues that are critical to Canada's future.

Check out their new website at thenarwhal.ca for top-quality independent news and analysis, and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram if you don't already.

Monday, May 14, 2018 - 06:06 • Mike Small
Read time: 2 mins

The Sunday Times Rich List is often used as a barometer of a nation's economic dynamism. So news that this year's list is topped by fracking mogul Jim Ratcliffe may have come as a surprise given the inactivity of the UK fracking industry neutered by legal action, community resistance and sanction.

The founder of chemical giant INEOS is, we’re told, worth a whopping £21.05 billion. But be sure of two things: he neither makes his money nor pays his taxes in the UK. Latest accounts for INEOS Upstream (parent company of INEOS Shale) show a £12,000 loss.

Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 07:54 • Chloe Farand
Read time: 6 mins

Over the last 10 years, four different companies have acted as a nominee advisor, also known as a nomad, for Sirius Petroleum.

A nomad is a private company which carries out due diligence on a company that wants to list on AIM. A company’s nomad is then responsible for the oversight and guidance of the company throughout its listing.

Each nomad is also paid by the company it regulates and sometimes acts as its broker advising it on the price of shares and investment opportunities. This means nomads can have a vested interest in the company they advise doing well on AIM.

This creates grounds for conflicts of interest.

There are currently 31 nomads operating on AIM, carrying out due diligence for nearly 950 listed companies.

Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 07:41 • Chloe Farand
Read time: 5 mins

In 2016, Nigeria reclaimed its position as Africa’s largest oil producer and remains one of the countries with the largest oil reserves in the world, including in the deepwater off the Nigerian coast.

Oil exploitation in Nigeria goes back a long way. Shell first discovered oil in the Niger Delta region in the mid 1950s with production starting in 1958.

Since then, the Niger Delta has been associated with industrial oil exploitation. It was put on the map when two major oil spills by oil giant Shell in 2008 and 2009 caused extensive pollution, ravaged the environment and destroyed the livelihoods of the local fishing and farming communities. To this day, the clean-up has not been completed.

Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 07:23 • Chloe Farand
Read time: 2 mins

A shell company is a company which has no assets and is used as a vehicle to hold and shift money in financial manoeuvres. Sometimes, this also refers to a dormant company which may be left for future use or that simply contains the skeleton of a previous business.

A cash shell company is similar but with cash in the bank. They are corporate vehicles floating on the stock exchange which have no operating business but can be filled with assets. Cash shells are often — but not always — used as investment vehicles. This means that the directors and shareholders of the shell may be looking for a business to fund.

Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 06:18 • Chloe Farand
Read time: 1 min

A nominee account allows a stockbroker to hold shares on behalf of a client, making buying and selling those shares easier. The investor remains the only beneficial owner of the shares.

This may be a way for the investor to make it more difficult for anyone to find out how many shares he/she owns in a company since the name of the investor does not appear on the company’s register of shareholders.

It also allows investors to own shares without being involved with any of the paperwork.

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