Royal Dutch/Shell, A Shell Game with Oil Reserves (A)
In January 2004, the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies announced that it would reduce its estimate of proved oil reserves by nearly 4 billion barrels, or 20 percent. The announcement set off a series of events, including a drop in the company’s share price, internal and external investigations, and the resignation of several senior officers. During this period, details came to light about the sometimes bitter disputes among company officials over its reserve practices. Company officials had to decide what changes to make to restore public confidence in the organization.