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Shell bows to investor pressure on climate risk

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Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 21.26.38WASHINGTON Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:49pm EST

(Reuters) – In a rare move, oil major Shell on Thursday backed a resolution proposed by activist investors to force the company to recognize climate change risks by improving its transparency.

Shell’s executive vice president of investor relations JJ Traynor said the company would urge shareholders to vote for the resolution at the annual general meeting in May.

The announcement coincided with Shell saying Thursday that it would cut $15 billion in spending but continue to drill in Alaska’s Arctic.

The resolution was filed by the Aiming for A coalition of UK investors representing close to £200 billion ($300 billion) in assets and calls on Shell to disclose additional information in five areas related to climate change in its annual reporting from 2016.

The group said in the resolution it was concerned about the “longer term success of the company, given the recognized risks and opportunities associated with climate change.”

The resolution requests more information on the company’s operational emissions management, the resilience of its assets to climate change, low-carbon energy research and development and investment strategies, relevant key performance indicators and its public policy positions on climate change.

Shell said the company will provide the additional disclosures in its next annual report.

With global oil prices falling around 60 percent since June, public interest and shareholder groups have been warning energy firms about the financial and climate risks of investment in carbon-intensive fossil fuel projects.

ConocoPhillips, which previously announced plans to cut 2015 spending by 20 percent in December, announced Thursday it would slash a further $2 billion in spending. South Africa’s Sasol also announced it would shelve an $11 billion gulf coast gas-to-liquid plant.

Andrew Logan, an analyst at sustainability-focused investor group Ceres, said such moves by a company to recommend an activist group’s resolution is rare and reflects the pressure placed on Shell to address climate change.

Logan said, however, that Shell is likely to face more investor scrutiny because of its decision to move ahead on drilling in Alaska’s Arctic.

“Investors will be watching closely to see how the company explains that decision in light of the concerns raised in the shareholder proposal that Shell itself now says it supports,” Logan said.

Barrister Elspeth Owens of shareholder group ClientEarth, which assisted with the filing of the resolution, said the Shell decision “throws down the gauntlet for BP,” which received the same resolution by Aiming for A earlier in January.

(Reporting By Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Grant McCool)

SOURCE

RELATED

Shell urges shareholders to accept climate resolution: The Guardian: 29 Jan 2015

Extract

Shell is set to confront the risk that climate change may pose to its future, after backing a resolution from activist shareholders. The move came on the same day it announced $15bn (£10bn) in cost cutting due to plummeting oil prices and said it wanted to resume drilling for oil in the Arctic.

Shell resumes Arctic drilling but cuts $15bn from global investment

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 15.57.27Royal Dutch Shell is reviving plans to drill for oil in Arctic in a move likely to intensify its battle with environmentalists.

The Anglo-Dutch giant’s chief executive Ben van Beurden accepted that Arctic drilling “divides society”, but said the world needs new sources of oil.

Greenpeace said Shell was taking a “massive risk” in a “pristine” region.

Shell also announced a $15bn (£9.9bn) cut in global spending, and profit figures that disappointed investors.

The cut in investment – spread over three years – comes after a fall in the oil price. Although the price is expected to remain lower in the medium term, Mr van Beurden said: “We are taking a prudent approach here and we must be careful not to over-react to the recent fall in oil prices.

“Shell is taking structured decisions to balance growth and returns.”

Shell also said profits for the last three months of 2014 had risen to $4.2bn compared with $2.2bn in the same period a year earlier.

The numbers were below analysts’ forecasts, prompting a big sell-off of Shell’s shares, down almost 5% in early afternoon trading.

‘Responsibly’

Shell put its Arctic plans on hold two years ago after a drilling vessel ran aground and legal wrangles in the US.

The company has already spent $1bn on preparing its drilling work in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea. It was costing Shell several hundred millions of dollars a year to keep the existing operations ticking over, the company said.

Mr van Beurden said there were still issues to resolve before drilling began, such as over operating permits and getting further facilities in place. But he hoped to see work begin in the summer.

“We will only do this if we feel that we can do it responsibly,” Mr van Beurden told the BBC. “I think that we are as well prepared as any company can be to mitigate the risks.”

He also pointed out that there are already other energy companies operating in the Arctic.

Mr van Beurden said that the world needs new sources of oil and gas to meet demand and that the Arctic offered potentially the biggest resource base ever found.

Estimates have put the estimates at some 24bn barrels in Alaska.

Environmentalists have campaigned against Shell for years. Greenpeace’s Charlie Kronick, said: “Despite announcing cuts [in global investment], Shell hasn’t taken the opportunity to cut its most high-cost high-risk project.

“Shell is taking a massive risk doggedly chasing oil in the Arctic, not just with shareholder value, but with the pristine Arctic environment.

“A spill there will be environmentally and financially catastrophic. It’s time for investors to recognise that it’s impossible for Shell to justify its continued pursuit of offshore Arctic oil.”

Analysis: Kamal Ahmed, BBC business editor

As the first of the major oil companies to report its figures for last year, Shell plays the role of the canary in the coal mine – or on the oil rig.

After a rather sickly 2013, profits are actually up.

But the impact of the low oil price is clearly biting. The company announced that it would be cutting investment over the next three years in new exploration and the development of oil and gas fields, a move that will raise fresh concerns about its business in the North Sea.

Last summer Shell announced the loss of 250 jobs in Aberdeen.

The chief executive, Ben Van Beurden, said that the company would not “over-react” to the oil price which has fallen by 60% since last June.

And of course a low oil price means lower prices at the petrol pumps for consumers.

He said though that Shell would look at further cuts if necessary.

As well as the North Sea, the company’s operations in Nigeria, where it recently paid a £55m bill to clean up pollution after a major oil spill, and the Arctic will also come under increased scrutiny.

Buybacks slow

Meanwhile, Shell’s profits for the quarter after stripping out one-off items, such as asset sales and accounting changes, were $3.26bn. That is a 12% rise on the same period a year earlier but down from the $5.85bn in the June to September quarter.

Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said: “As expected, fourth quarter performance has been impacted by the lower oil price, although downstream refining operations have provided some counterbalance.

“More broadly, the numbers are below forecast, with the news providing a difficult start to the oil majors’ results season.

“In all, and despite the disappointing numbers, the dividend payment remains core, with the payment being left unchanged.”

Shell said it was spending $12bn on dividends to shareholders in 2014, and also repurchased $3.3bn of its own shares.

The group said it had slowed the pace of share buybacks to conserve cash and that near-term oil prices would dictate how it progressed.

Oil prices have fallen by almost 60% since June because of weak global demand and a boom in US shale production.

Shell’s main rivals, BP and Total. have also announced large cutbacks in capital expenditure in recent weeks.

SOURCE

Shell says it plans to drill in Alaska’s Arctic in 2015: Alaska Dispatch News: 29 Jan 2015

Shell plans return to Alaska waters for 2015 Arctic drilling: KTUU.com

Shell determined to start Arctic oil drilling this summer: The Guardian: 29 Jan 2015

Extract

Shell is determined to drill for oil in the Arctic this summer if it can win the permits and overcome legal objections, although the energy giant accepts it will never win a battle with environmentalists over its reputation.

The oil group said the project would cost $1bn (£660m) whether it proceeded with drilling or not…

Ben Van Beurden Ringing NYSE Bell on Monday?

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Hi John,

I am an ex-Shell employee and appreciate your site very much. I still keep in touch with friends at Shell, and one of them is traveling to New York this weekend ahead of the NYSE bell ringing ceremony on Monday. My friend was told that BVB and Marvin Odum would both be in attendance. Apparently this event has been described as celebrating the launch of SHLX (Shell Midstream Partners LP) on the NYSE, however I am wondering if it could be about something bigger since Ben and Marvin are both going to be there. (Perhaps a merger Monday BP takeover?) Do you have any ideas?

REPLY

I do know that Shell Midstream Partners rang the closing bell at the NYSE on Friday 16 Jan 2015.

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Shell wants to resume drilling in Arctic this summer

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Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 09.31.18By Karolin Schaps and Ron Bousso

Jan 29 (Reuters) – Oil major Shell wants to revive its Arctic oil drilling programme this year after a near two-year suspension, angering environmentalists who say the risk of an oil spill is too high.

Remote and costly to develop, the Arctic is estimated to contain 20 percent of the world’s undiscovered hydrocarbon resources and despite fierce opposition, plans for drilling north of the Arctic Circle are under way in the United States, Russia and Norway.

Shell, Europe’s largest energy firm, is intent on restarting its Arctic drilling campaign in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea this summer. It was suspended in early 2013 following the grounding of a drilling rig.

“Will we go ahead? Yes if we can. I’d be so disappointed if we wouldn’t,” Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden told journalists at the company’s fourth quarter results conference in London.

The resumption depends on having the logistics in place, receiving necessary permits and fending off a number of legal challenges, he said.

Opposition to the Arctic drilling has been fierce.

“Shell is taking a massive risk doggedly chasing oil in the Arctic, not just with shareholder value, but with the pristine Arctic environment,” said Greenpeace environmental campaigner Charlie Kronick in a statement.

“No company is able to operate safely in this remote, fragile ocean where the nearest rescue fleets are hundreds of miles away.”

The Anglo-Dutch company has already spent $1 billion on preparing its Arctic drilling work and it is costing Shell several hundred millions of dollars a year even without progressing with drilling, Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry said.

Shell said time was pressing for oil production to start in Alaska as capacity use of a pipeline connecting the remote region to the main North American oil system was falling close to levels at which it cannot operate.

“That means not only new projects wouldn’t go ahead but the existing (ones) won’t be able to operate either,” Henry said.

(Editing by Jason Neely and John Stonestreet)

SOURCE

Shell Chief Pledges Everything to Maintain Its ‘Iconic’ Dividend

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BLOOMBERG: Shell Chief Pledges Everything to Maintain Its ‘Iconic’ Dividend

by Nidaa Bakhsh and Mark Barton

(Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden pledged to do all he can to maintain payments to shareholders of Europe’s largest oil company after crude prices fell by more than half in the past six months.

“We have a very long-term dividend policy and I’m not minded to change that,” Van Beurden said in an interview today with Bloomberg Television. “The dividend is an iconic item at Shell and I will do everything to protect it.”

Shell, which missed analysts’ expectations for fourth-quarter earnings today, plans to pay a first-quarter dividend of 47 cents a share, unchanged from the previous two quarters, the Hague-based company said in a statement. The company is cutting its capital spending by $15 billion over three years to help it weather the collapse in oil prices and keep paying shareholders.

The industry is scurrying to protect returns for investors as crude below $50 a barrel guts cash flows. Statoil ASA, Tullow Oil Plc and Premier Oil Plc have delayed projects or cut exploration spending. BP Plc has frozen wages and Chevron Corp. delayed its 2015 drilling budget.

“While Shell does not cover its dividend organically in a $50-$70 per barrel oil-price environment, other majors, e.g. BP, are worse off,” Kim Fustier, an Edison Investment Research analyst, said in an e-mailed note. “Shell’s robust balance sheet and ability to sell assets means it can comfortably maintain its current dividend over the medium term.”

Shell reported profit excluding one-time items and inventory changes was $3.3 billion in the fourth quarter, up from $2.9 billion a year earlier. That missed the $4.1 billion average of 13 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Shell “isn’t immune to low oil prices and that puts pressure on the investment program,” Van Beurden said in the interview. About 40 projects will be affected by the cuts, he said. “We can weather the storm.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Nidaa Bakhsh in London at [email protected]; Mark Barton in London at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at [email protected] Tony Barrett, Alex Devine

Royal Dutch Shell Reports 57 Percent Drop in Net Income

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Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 08.45.23LONDON — Jan 29, 2015, 3:42 AM ET: By DANICA KIRKA Associated Press

Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Europe’s largest oil company by market value, said Thursday that fourth quarter net income fell 57 percent to $773 million and that it would cap spending this year in response to falling oil prices.

Shell is one first big producers to report earnings since the recent plunge in oil prices, so the results are likely to set the tone for its peers. The price of Brent crude dropped about 50 percent last year.

Fourth quarter earnings on current cost of supplies basis, which excludes the impact of changes in the oil price on inventory, rose 93 percent to $4.2 billion. For the year, such earnings rose 14 percent to $19 billion.

Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden said Shell’s efforts to balance growth and returns had positioned the company well to handle the decline in prices. While lower oil prices and last year’s divestments are likely to reduce this year’s cash flow, the company must be careful not to “over-react.”

“We plan to cap our organic 2015 spending at 2014 levels, retain flexibility for both opportunistic, incremental plays and to further reduce spending should market conditions warrant that step,” he said in a statement.

SOURCE

Plan to allow Shell oil drilling fleet in Seattle draws ire

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Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 09.49.25BY PHUONG LE ASSOCIATED PRESS: 01/28/2015 9:43 PM: SEATTLE

A plan to allow Royal Dutch Shell PLC to use Seattle’s waterfront as a homeport for its Arctic drilling fleet is drawing opposition from environmental groups that say it’s not consistent with the region’s environmental goals.

Several state and national groups, and local city leaders on Wednesday urged the Port of Seattle to halt lease negotiations that would allow Shell to use 50 acres of port property across from downtown Seattle.

Shell could house about two dozen vessels, including exploration drill rigs, ice breakers, tugs and barges at the site in the winter when they’re not exploring for oil off Alaska’s coast.

Port commissioners this month approved moving forward with a short-term lease with Foss Maritime, whose clients include Shell. The port is renovating the terminal to handle bigger ships and was looking for interim uses that could bring revenue.

Port officials and Foss say the projects also would create good-paying jobs, as well as local and state tax dollars.

But environmentalists say there was little environmental review or time for public input, and they reject the idea of Seattle being tied to Arctic offshore oil exploration.

“We want the port to reconsider and follow the law. If they don’t, we’ll have to seriously consider going to court,” said Patti Goldman, Northwest managing attorney for Earthjustice.

She and others said in a letter to port commissioners that Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet has “an abysmal track record when it comes to water pollution and compliance with environmental laws”.

In 2012, Shell’s drill vessel Kulluk ran aground after it had broken free from its tow in bad weather near Kodiak, Alaska. And last month, a drilling company hired by Shell to operate a drill ship in 2012 agreed to pay $12.2 million after pleading guilty to committing environmental and maritime crimes while transiting to and from Arctic waters.

Curtis Smith, a Shell spokesman in Alaska, said in an email Wednesday that the company doesn’t comment on potential or pending commercial arrangements. Its focus remains on a potential future drilling program in the Chukchi Sea, he said.

“For that to materialize, we need to see progress on a number of fronts, including the necessary permits and complete confidence that we can execute a program safely and responsibly,” he wrote.

In a statement, the Port of Seattle said it would review the groups’ concerns.

“This opportunity has the potential to create hundreds of family-wage jobs and generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue for the region,” the port said Wednesday.

The lease between Foss Maritime and the port has not been signed, and it’s unclear yet when it would start, said Peter McGraw, a port spokesman.

“We’re in negotiations with the port to lease part of Terminal 5 for a project that would bring hundreds of good maritime jobs to the waterfront,” Paul Queary, a spokesman for Foss Maritime, said Wednesday.

He declined to comment on the specifics of the lease or the company’s commercial agreements. He noted that many people attended the port hearing earlier in the month and testified.

Mike O’Brien, a Seattle city councilman who urged port commissioners to reconsider, said the region and port can create sustainable jobs.

“But we have to start by rejecting this false premise that somehow the future of Seattle’s economy is going to be tied to drilling in the Arctic. That’s not the city that I’m part of.”

SOURCE

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Shell to cut spending by $15 bln over next 3 years

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 08.45.23Jan 29 (Reuters) – Oil major Royal Dutch Shell said on Thursday it would curtail spending by $15 billion over the next 3 years while keeping dividends stable in a bid to calm investors amid plunging oil prices.

Europe’s largest oil company by market value kept its fourth-quarter dividend stable versus the previous quarter at $0.47 per share and pledged to pay the same amount in the first quarter of 2015.

The company reported fourth-quarter 2014 earnings on a current cost of supplies basis at $4.2 billion, compared with $2.2 billion a year earlier, meeting expectations.

Oil prices have fallen by almost 60 percent since June because of weak global demand and a boom in U.S. shale production. OPEC in November decided not to cut output in a move the group of oil producing nations hopes will force higher cost producers to trim production.

Oil majors including Shell rivals BP and Total have said they do not intend to cut dividends even if oil prices stay low for longer.

Most oil majors have already announced cuts in capital expenditures of around 10-15 percent and sold assets worth dozens of billions of dollars.

But they have warned against cutting too much as it could derail long-term projects, destroy the value of companies and potentially even lead to an oil shortage in the future.

Shell said in October, when oil prices declined to $85 a barrel, that its organic capital spending in 2015 would likely remain unchanged from 2014 at $35 billion – one of the largest capital investment programmes in the industry.

On Thursday, Shell said it expected 2015 capex to drop but did not say by how much.

(Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov and Ron Bousso; editing by Jason Neely)

SOURCE

Oil tumbles; U.S. crude prices near six-year low on record stockpiles

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Goldman Sachs analysts said in a Tuesday note that they expected U.S. crude, also known as WTI, to remain near $40 a barrel in the first half of this year

REUTERS

By Barani Krishnan

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil slumped on Wednesday, with U.S. crude prices at near six-year lows, after the government reported record-high inventories in the United States that raised anxieties about the global oil glut that had pressured the market since last summer.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said domestic crude oil stocks rose by almost 9 million barrels last week to reach nearly 407 million, their highest since the government began keeping records in 1982.

A Reuters poll on Tuesday had forecast a build of just above 4 million barrels for the week to Jan. 23. The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, had estimated a far bigger growth of nearly 13 million barrels.

Oil prices, lifted by a weaker dollar in the previous session, tumbled anew on the stockpile data.

U.S. crude’s front-month contract settled down $1.78, or almost 4 percent, at $44.45 a barrel. It sank to as low as $44.08 before the close, marking a bottom since April 2009. Open interest in the front-month remained near record highs for a fifth straight day, according to Reuters data.

Benchmark Brent crude closed down $1.13, or 2.3 percent, at $48.47, after a session low at $48.29.

The spread between the two crude oils was its largest in a month, with Brent fetching a premium of about $4 a barrel due to the weaker fundamentals in U.S. crude.

Traders expected oil prices to come under further pressure in coming days…

Goldman Sachs analysts said in a Tuesday note that they expected U.S. crude, also known as WTI, to remain near $40 a barrel in the first half of this year.

FULL ARTICLE

Fracking failures lead to environmental harm

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 14.07.51Comment: These events appear to have happened on Paul Goodfellow’s watch?: According to his current Linked-in profile Goodfellow was Shell VP Unconventionals from 2012-2013

FROM AN ARTICLE BY SUSY KELLY PUBLISHED 28 JAN 2015 BY THE HERALD-STANDARD UNDER THE HEADLINE:

“Report: Fracking failures lead to environmental harm in area and state”

Extract

A report released Tuesday by a nonprofit environmental research group shows that despite assurances to the contrary, companies who develop unconventional natural gas wells have polluted the environment in Pennsylvania and will continue to do so under current regulatory standards.

In April 2013, EQT, Chevron Appalachia, Consol and Shell formed the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD), promising not only that safe, sustainable shale resource development was possible, but that they would do it of their own accord, according to the report. Data from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) shows those four companies failed to uphold state requirements at least 100 times, according to PennEnvironment’s research.

The report illustrates how drilling activity poses risks to water supplies, air quality, and human health.

“There are at least 243 documented cases of contaminated drinking water supplies across Pennsylvania between December 2007 and August 2014 due to fracking activities, according to (DEP),” the report states. “Beyond affecting drinking water supplies, fracking also produces vast amounts of toxic wastewater that must be stored, transported and ultimately disposed of – posing the threat of water contamination at each step.”

Regarding air quality, the report notes, “Air pollutants are released during at least 15 different parts of the oil and gas development process. Many of the chemicals used in fracking are known air pollutants, and wastewater produced from fracking operations includes volatile compounds that can evaporate into the air, and have been linked to human health problems.”

“A 2010 study by (DEP) found elevated levels of ethane, propane and benzene – all toxics associated with fracking – in the air near Marcellus Shale drilling operations. Impoundment ponds where fracking waste water is stored are also sources of air pollution, as chemicals evaporate from the open-air pits.”

The researchers suggested that the best course of action to protect the environment and public health would be to follow New York’s lead and ban fracking.

FULL ARTICLE

Pieter Schelte, the ship cursed with a Nazi name

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 13.54.46AN OPEN LETTER TO MR EDWARD HEEREMA, FOUNDER AND SOLE OWNER OF ALLSEAS

I am sure you are aware of the aggressive email I received at an early stage in my contact with Allseas. Your PR Manager Mr. Jeroen Hagelstein, informed me that Allseas reputation and integrity are extremely important. The last paragraph of his email amounted to a full broadside, with threats of immediate legal action. Shell can testify that I am not susceptible to threats. 

Dear Mr. Heerema

You are well aware of my petition trying to persuade you to change the name of your new ship, The Pieter Schelte, named after your father, an officer in the infamous German Waffen SS.

You have already paid a self-inflicted price for your good-intentioned, but wrongheaded decision and are apparently prepared to stick with the Nazi linked name in the long term.

I am referring to the collateral damage to your own reputation (for unwise decision making) and the reputation of your company, Allseas, as a result of being seen to brazenly operate a prominent ship under a Nazi linked name. That evil association will precede and follow the ship like an albatross, wherever it sails, for the rest of its days.

I will follow the ships progress and relentlessly publish related news stories about its Nazi heritage. Shell will testify to my long term determination.

I am sure you are aware of the aggressive email I received at an early stage in my contact with Allseas. Your PR Manager Mr. Jeroen Hagelstein, informed me that Allseas reputation and integrity are extremely important. (You should have kept that in mind when naming the vessel.) The last paragraph of his email amounted to a full broadside, with threats of immediate legal action. Shell can testify that I am not susceptible to threats.

What you may not know, is that during the recent high court case in London, which exposed some very shady activity, I was approached by solicitors acting for Paul Sultana, a defendant in the claims bought against him by your front companies in Malta and Panama. At the request of his solicitors, I supplied evidence entrusted to me by a whistleblower. I read the subsequent 85 page Judgement by Mr Justice Peter Smith released into the public domain just months ago. I think many members of the public would view all of the players, including you, with distaste, given the background of financial machination.

I suspect a degree of machination may have also been used in some of the anonymous comments posted online in response to the latest bout of international news stories on the naming controversy, which has now spread to The Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Turkey, Norway, Israel and France.  Some comments supportive of your naming choice seem oddly repetitive/similar, leading me to wonder whether some originated from an organised initiative by an unknown party.

I have no personal animosity towards you or your company.

If you do decided at some stage to change the name, perhaps because the current one frightens off clients, with the ship becoming an international pariah, then my campaign will cease immediately provided you do not switch to another Nazi linked name.

Article ends

Shell signs $11 billion deal to build petrochemicals plant in Iraq

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 21.26.38FROM REUTERS

Shell signs $11 billion deal to build petrochemicals plant in Iraq

(Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) signed deal with Iraq worth $11 billion (7 billion pounds) to build a petrochemicals plant in the southern oil hub of Basra, Industry Minister Nasser al-Esawi said on Wednesday.

Esawi told a press conference in Baghdad the Nibras complex, which is expected to come on line within five to six years, would make Iraq the largest petrochemical producer in the Middle East. The factory’s expected output was not immediately clear.

Shell, which is one of the main oil majors operating in south of Iraq, signed a memorandum of understanding with the ministry for the project in 2012.

(Reporting by Saif Hameed; Writing by Stephen Kalin; Editing by Louise Heavens)

SOURCE ARTICLE

Crude at $49: The New Reality for Big Oil Companies

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 18.34.00FROM BLOOMBERG

(Bloomberg) — Financial results from a fourth quarter that saw the collapse of the crude market will provide a window into how the world’s biggest oil companies are adjusting to a new reality of slowing growth and low prices.

Oil that topped $115 a barrel as recently as June has been trading below $50 a barrel since the first week of the year, portending a bleak 2015 for the world’s five so-called supermajors — Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Chevron Corp., Total SA and BP Plc. The companies, whose businesses combine oil and natural gas exploration with refining and chemical manufacturing, have historically been among the most resilient players during down cycles.

This could be the oil bust that breaks that pattern. 

“The issue for this group of companies is they don’t have bulletproof business models,” said Brian Hennessey, who helps manage $1.4 billion at Alpine Woods Capital Investors LLC in Purchase, New York. A 57 percent plunge in the price of oil since June “really tests your convictions.”

The industry’s stark change in fortune set off panic from corporate board rooms to drill-rig floors as companies that pump almost one-tenth of the world’s crude scramble to tighten budgets and preserve cash for dividends, buybacks and capital projects too far along to abandon.

BP froze wages, Chevron delayed its 2015 drilling budget and Shell canceled a $6.5 billion Persian Gulf investment; layoffs industrywide have topped 30,000, enough to fill almost every seat in Madison Square Garden twice.

Searching Clues

Investors will be sifting the data from the fourth quarter for clues to how long the current slump will last. Momentum from $109 a barrel oil during the first half of the year helped carry producers through the last three months, when the price of Brent, the benchmark used by most of the world, averaged $77.07 — well above the current price of $49.

The effects of lower prices will still take their toll as all except Shell are forecast to report earnings declines compared with the fourth quarter of 2013. Shell profits are expected to rise compared with unusually ugly results the year before.

Worldwide crude supplies appear likely to exceed demand for the rest of the year and beyond, even as the lowest oil prices since 2009 discourage new developments in high-cost regions such as Canada’s oil sands, said Paul Sankey, an analyst at Wolfe Research in New York. That would postpone any rebound in share prices of the five biggest oil majors, which have tumbled by an average of 8.1 percent since crude prices began to slide in June.

‘Dangerous’ Equities

That compares with a 28 percent decline in a Standard & Poors index of 18 smaller U.S. oil and gas producers.

“Buying oil equities here would be dangerous,” Sankey said in a Jan. 27 note to clients. “Our research suggests that the consensus view that oil markets will recover by the second half of 2015 may well be optimistic.”

The price collapse hobbles a segment of the industry that had already been struggling with years of soaring construction costs, project delays, missed output targets and depressed returns from refining crude into fuels, said Anish Kapadia, an analyst at Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. Aside from steady dividend payouts, the biggest oil companies offer no compelling reason to invest, he said.

“We see little to differentiate between the supermajors as no-growth yield plays,” Kapadia said in a note to clients.

Shell Increase

Shell kicks off the earnings season for the biggest oil companies on Jan. 29. The Hague-based company is expected to report profit, excluding special items and inventory changes, of $4.18 billion, based on the average of seven estimates from analysts in a Bloomberg survey. That would represent a 44 percent increase from a year earlier, when faltering production from wells and escalating costs trimmed earnings to a four-year low.

Chevron on Jan. 30 is expected to post fourth-quarter net income, excluding one-time gains and losses, of $3.17 billion, based on the average of nine analysts’ estimates. That would be a 36 percent year-over-year decline.

Exxon is next up when it reports results on Feb. 2. The Irving, Texas-based producer probably reaped $5.85 billion in net income, excluding one-time items, according to the average of 11 estimates from analysts. That would represent a 30 percent decline from a year earlier.

BP is expected to report profit of $1.98 billion, excluding one-time items and inventory changes, when it posts results on Feb. 3. That would compare with $2.81 billion during the final three months of 2013.

Price Sensitive

Total will round out the season on Feb. 12, when the French oil giant is expected to report an 11 percent decline in fourth-quarter net income to 2.19 billion euros ($2.49 billion).

As cash flows shrink this year, dividend protection will take precedence over finding new oil fields or repurchasing shares. The supermajors are exquisitely sensitive to price fluctuations; for example, every $10 decline in the oil price slashes $2.84 billion from Exxon’s annual cash flow, according to Barclays Plc. For Chevron, which is more dependent on crude than its larger U.S. rival, the cut is $3.85 billion.

The supermajors “are going to hunker down to protect the dividend,” Iain Reid, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets, said in a telephone interview. “The dividend will stay safe for two years.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Carroll in Chicago at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Susan Warren at [email protected]

SOURCE

Obama moves to block development in 9.8 million acres of Arctic Ocean

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Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 09.25.26Krestia DeGeorge,Nathaniel Herz: January 27, 2015

Citing biodiversity and Alaska Native subsistence whaling, the Obama administration moved to block development in 9.8 million acres within the Beaufort and Chukchi seas as part of a new five-year outer continental shelf oil and gas leasing program, the draft of which was released Tuesday morning by the Department of the Interior.

The announcement came two days after President Barack Obama said he planned to ask Congress to declare much of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Northeast Alaska as wilderness, including the possibly oil-and-gas-rich coastal plain — and a month after the president closed waters in and around Bristol Bay to oil and gas development.

Those moves come at a time of increased anxiety within Alaska over the future of the state’s oil and gas industry, as well as the impact falling oil prices have on the state’s budget.

Some of the leases sold in the 2008 sale, including leases acquired by Royal Dutch Shell, are just outside the Hanna Shoal exclusion area.

“There’s nothing we’re announcing today that impacts Shell’s plans,” Jewell said at  Tuesday morning press conference. “They have valid existing leases.”

Shell has struggled with a drilling program in those leases. A lawsuit challenged how the leases were awarded, and missteps — including the grounding of the drill rig Kulluk and thecriminal conviction of Shell drilling contractor Noble Drilling — also hurt the company’s efforts.

In a statement, Shell did not comment on whether today’s news affects it efforts to continue drilling in the U.S. Arctic Ocean, but it appears committed to moving forward.

The company looked ahead to future decisions that need to happen for it to complete drilling in the potentially oil-rich Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea, about 70 miles northwest of the Arctic village of Wainwright.

“As for Alaska, our focus remains the Chukchi leases we have and the potential for a future drilling program,” a statement from Shell said.

For that to happen, progress is needed in a number of areas, including the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management completing the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Lease Sale 193, involving the sale in 2008 when Shell spent about $2 billion to acquire leases.

The company also needs the “necessary permits” as well as “complete confidence that we can execute a program safely and responsibly.”

A Shell spokesman would not comment on how the plunge in low oil prices will affect the costly project.

As for the national sum of Jewell’s announcement on Tuesday, Shell said the decision affecting offshore development a is “positive recognition” that oil and gas development will continue playing an important role off the nation’s coasts. But the company said it was disappointed in Jewell’s decision to exclude promising acreage in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

FULL ARTICLE

U.S. Seen Limiting Oil Drilling in Arctic, May Open Atlantic

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26 JAN 2015

(Bloomberg) — The U.S. Interior Department will lay a framework as soon as Tuesday for oil exploration in the nation’s coastal waters in a five-year plan that is expected to withdraw areas off Alaska while possibly adding parts of the Atlantic.

Republican Lisa Murkowski said the head of the offshore energy office told her the agency will place areas of the energy-rich U.S. Arctic off limits. Those areas had been previously deferred from new leasing. Current leases in the Arctic, such as those held by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, won’t be affected.

“Maybe they’ve changed their minds after listening to the outrage from us. We’ll see,” Murkowski, the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told reporters Monday.

Jessica Kershaw, an Interior Department spokeswoman, didn’t respond to an e-mail asking about Murkowski’s comments.

The agency’s proposed plan will control leasing in the Outer Continental Shelf, such as the Gulf of Mexico and Arctic Ocean. The plan may open some areas in the Atlantic for the first time, especially off Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, where governors and many lawmakers support drilling.

“We have the sense that the Atlantic would be in there, and we’ll have to fight to get it out,” said Jacqueline Savitz, vice president of the environmental group Oceana. “If it’s in the plan, you can kiss your beaches goodbye.”

She said it’s not clear what parts of the Atlantic would be included.

Budget Gap

The administration of President Barack Obama provoked a furious backlash from Alaska’s political leaders after first pushing Congress to declare the disputed Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as a wilderness area, then disclosing plans to curtail future Arctic drilling.

Alaska’s leaders are struggling with a budget gap created by a plunge in state oil production and the price of oil. Governor Bill Walker said he is considering “aggressive options” against Interior’s proposal.

Walker said Interior won’t withdraw the leases held by Shell, which had mishaps in 2012 while trying to explore in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. Both Shell and ConocoPhillips put their exploration plans in those seas on hold in 2014. They must decide soon whether to try again this year.

The announcement would come as a decline in global oil prices has drillers cutting back on production. West Texas Intermediate for March delivery fell 44 cents to close at $45.15 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the lowest settlement since March 11, 2009.

Oil rigs have dropped by an unprecedented 258 in seven weeks, threatening to end the surge in domestic oil production that has turned the U.S. into the world’s largest fuel exporter.

Obama announced Dec. 16 he was blocking the leasing parts of Bristol Bay, Alaska, for oil and gas exploration and production.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Drajem in Washington at [email protected]; Jim Snyder in Washington at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at [email protected] Steve Geimann

SOURCE

RELATED

Stakes are too high with Arctic drilling, and Shell isn’t ready

Nazi rat lines and Pieter Schelte Heerema

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by Ton Biesemaat, Dutch investigative journalist

…there is overwhelming proof that Pieter Schelte Heerema remained a staunch Nazi until his death. Yet the world does not seem to care when one of the largest ships is named after this man 

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 14.10.42There is a lot of media noise about one of the world’s largest ships, which is now in its finishing building stage in the port of Rotterdam. The ship is named Pieter Schelte after his father by the owner of the Allseas company Edward Heerema. So far so good. Allseas is an international player in the offshore industry and the Pieter Schelte will be used for pipe laying on the seabed and decommisioning of obsolete oil and gas platforms in for example the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico. However Jewish organisations are angry because the ship is named after a Dutch Nazi and SS-officer who was vehemently anti-Semitic (1).

The defense of Allseas is that Pieter Schelte Heerema was an excellent maritime engineer and pioneer of the offshore industry and that’s why the mega-ship is named after this captain of industry. Besides that, the public relations machine of Allseas says with automated response: Pieter Schelte Heerema switched sides in the last part of the Second World War. They even get some assistance of a Dutch historian who by accident wrongly stated: ‘… any suggestions that he helped Nazis to escape to South America are untrue.’ (2) David Barnouw, formerly a Dutch historian of the respected NIOD (Netherlands Institute for War Documentation), refers to the so called Nazi rat lines, escape routes after the end of the war for Nazi’s to South America and that Pieter Schelte Heerema played no role in it. However this is historically inaccurate. During research into the life of Heerema, I found several sources who stated that he played in Venezuela an important role in these rat lines.

First we have to address the defense of Allseas that Heerema switched sides during the last part of the occupation of the Germans in The Netherlands. He did indeed have contact with a resistance group. However this resistance group (3) was in reality not a resistance group, but a bunch of Nazi collaborators. Heerema travelled in 1944 with the help of this group to neutral Switzerland. He tried to contact the Dutch government in exile in London but they did not trust him. So he stayed in Switzerland until the end of the war. Research into his time in Switzerland revealed that in his claimed status as a refugee, he had contact with Swiss lawyers. This adds to the rumours that he was perhaps in some way organising the funds of Dutch Nazi-companies in which he was involved, for example the Nederlandsche Oost Compagnie (4).

After the end of the war, Heerema returned to The Netherlands protected by influential friends (5) and the so-called resistance group. He was only stripped of his nationality because he had joined the Waffen SS. Then he was helped to make his way out to Venezuela – Lake Maracaibo, where he had very good contacts because he had lived and worked there until the Germans invaded The Netherlands in May 1940. (As a fanatical Nazi he had returned home in 1940 to join in ‘the great struggle against the Jews and communists’ of a Nazi led Holland joining the Reich.)

When Heerema returned to Venezuela after the war, he started working with his own companies for the big oil companies operating in Lake Maracaibo. It is here that he played his role in the rat lines. In the Heerema-files in the Dutch National Archives, there is a statement of a Dutch worker for Heerema (6) in Venezuela, who escaped to the Dutch Antilles when he felt threatened by Heerema. He says that while working for Heerema, he encountered many Germans, Russians, Lithuanians, Hungarians etc. with a SS-rune sign under their arm pits. According to this Dutch worker, an American ship with 1500 people on board arrived in May/June 1947 from the German port of Breemen and all these people began work in the oil industry in Maracaibo. This is only one source but while carrying out further research I found several other sources of Dutch SS-men (7) who fled to Venezuela with the assistance of Pieter Schelte Heerema. They were members of the Dutch Waffen SS-division Westland who fought on the eastern front or members of the Landwacht, another armed SS-group who carried out a reign of terror in the occupied Netherlands. Heerema employed these men and even nursed them back to health by paying for example for their stay in a hotel in the clean air of the Andes of Venezuela. He was already in contact with some of these Dutch Waffen SS when they were imprisoned in The Netherlands.

So Pieter Schelte Heerema was involved in the Nazi rat lines to South America. Based on several other facts it is accurate to say that he stayed a diehard Nazi until his death. He named his ships after Germanic gods, he was involved in a bid to obtain the Hitler-diaries which later turned out to be forgeries.(8)

Interestingly, *Gerrit A. Wagner of Royal Dutch Shell, praised this offshore pioneer during the funeral of Heerema, which was also attended by the prominent neo-Nazi figure Florrie Rost van Tonningen, widow of the Dutch Nazi-leader Meinoud Rost van Tonningen (9).

Hence, there is overwhelming proof that Pieter Schelte Heerema remained a staunch Nazi until his death. Yet the world does not seem to care when one of the largest ships is named after this man (10).

FOOTNOTES

(1) He was a member of a small Dutch Nazi-party called NSNAP led by major Kruyt. Quite interesting is that another member of this small party was Anton Schouten, who later became private secretary of the Hitler-backer and leader of the Royal Dutch Shell Group, Sir Henry Deterding. Heerema was for some time head of the Amsterdam-section of the NSNAP. During the Second World War Heerema had an intimate affair with the close friend of Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, Julia Op ten Noort. Heerema was also in contact with the leader of the SS industry and concentration camps, Oswald Pohl.

(2) http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/24/pieter-schelte-worlds-biggest-ship-ss-officer

(3) Called Geheime Dienst Nederland Groep Vogel led by Egbert Nieuwenhuis a former police officer. This group had good contacts with the Nazi occupiers. After the war they were involved in the rat lines from The Netherlands so Dutch Nazi’s could escape via Spain to South America. See files in the National Archives The Hague, among them the Heerema-files and investigations into several members of this group with fascist links.

(4) The Nederlandsche Oost Compagnie of which Pieter Schelte Heerema was a director started to colonise Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe. The company was only dissolved in the early sixties.

(5) Among them the influential General Koot, a friend of Prince Bernhard of The Netherlands. He was a former member of the Nazi party and an SS-man until his marriage with princess and later Queen Juliana. Dutch cabinet minister Ringers was another backer of Heerema.

(6) 22th of March 1948 Johan Kuipers statement to the police of Willemstad Dutch Antilles.

(7) Among them Klaas P., Henk S. and Hans S. in the files which deals with the special courts who decided over the fate – after the occupation of The Netherlands- of collaborators, traitors, Nazi-sympathisers, Dutch volunteers of the Waffen SS and so on. All in the National Archives in The Hague. Exact locations in the archives known by the author. There is in Lake Maracaibo, according to a file related to the Edward Heerema/Allseas scam with 100 million Euro (Paul Sultana/Marek Rejniak-affair), also a possible relation between the undercover Estonian SS officer Harry Männil and Heerema in Venezuela after the end of the war. According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Männil was involved in war crimes, murdering 100 Jews personally and rounding up thousands of others.

(8) Heerema hoped to prove Hitler did not know about the extermination of the Jews. This is the so called Stern-affair.

(9) Edward Heerema had contact with prominent figures of the neo-Nazi scene. Edward Heerema was accused by Dutch antifascist group FOK of supporting the neonazi group Nederlandse Volksunie (Trouw news paper 17th of October 1985). Edward Heerema denied that he provided a loan to this group (NRC newspaper 14th of October 1985). However he admitted meeting the neo-Nazi leader Joop Glimmerveen. According to the Flemish magazine Humo, Edward Heerema was involved in supporting the extreme right wing magazine Topics (Humo 10th of July 1986).

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 14.53.08(10) The logo of the Heerema Group looks a lot like the flag of the Third Reich – can one see this in the Allseas logo SS-runes? Or is the author now overheating because of his involvement?

*Gerrit A. Wagner was Group Chairman of the Committee of Royal Dutch Shell Group Managing Directors and later Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Royal Dutch until his retirement in 1987.

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Gerrit A. Wagner is the person standing in the centre. RED TEXT: After stepping down as chairman of the CMD in 1977, Wagner immediately became chairman of the supervisory board of Royal Dutch, where he served until 1987. Wagner is seen here chairing two AGM’s of Royal Dutch, left with Van Wachem as President, and right with De Bruyne as president.

PETITION TO RENAME THE PIETER SCHELTE 

Oil price lays waste to energy giants

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 08.45.23FROM AN ARTICLE BY DANNY FORTSON OF THE SUNDAY TIMES PUBLISHED 25 JAN 2015 UNDER THE HEADLINE: 

“Oil price lays waste to energy giants”

THE chaos unleashed by the collapse of the oil price will be laid bare in the next fortnight as BP reveals a halving of profits, Shell cuts billions in spending, and Centrica comes under pressure to slash its dividend.

Crude prices have fallen from $114 a barrel in the summer to just $47.12 on Friday.

This week, Shell is expected to slash 5%-10% from its $35bn (£23bn) spending plans for 2015. The company, which recently shut platforms at its Brent field in the North Sea after nearly 40 years of production, is likely to target pricy onshore operations in the US and Canada.

The cuts come amid growing concern over the future of the North Sea and potential industrial unrest as companies impose pay cuts, redundancies and changes to working conditions.

FULL ARTICLE

SS Pieter Schelte: The huge ship cursed with a Nazi name

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 19.09.50By John Donovan

The Observer newspaper, the Mail Online  and the Dutch Financial Times, plus a variety of other news outlets, all published articles over the weekend covering The Pieter Schelte Nazi Ship Controversy. 

SOME OF THE HEADLINES

Jewish outrage as ship named after SS war criminal arrives in Europe: The Observer/Guardian

Named after SS Nazi war criminal: World’s largest ship sparks outrage as it arrives in Europe just as 70th anniversary of liberation of Auschwitz is marked (Mail  Online)

Criticism swells of Heerema’s ‘bad name’ heavy lift (Dutch FT)

The response has been staggering.

Almost 500 comments and over 500 Tweets have been made on The Observer article alone, plus over a 1,700 Facebook shares. I have never seen such activity arising from one news story.

Those that argue that under free speech the owner of the huge ship, Mr Edward Heerema, is entitled to give it any name he likes are making a fair point. Furthermore, as far as I am aware, there is nothing illegal about his action.

He has for several years ploughed on relentlessly with his plan to name the vessel in his fathers name, ignoring the outcry in the US and European press, as he is entitled to do.

Shell has eagerly agreed to become one of its first clients and Lloyds Register has had a close involvement in the project right from the inception, as it proudly boasts in the January 2015 edition of its Horizon magazine. Wonderful spread: front page story leading to a multipage feature, all in splendid colour.

However, it is equally true that those who object to the Nazi name are free to exercise their rights to protest and agitative for the name to be changed.

Ports may decide to deny access to the ship because of the bad publicity. Existing and potential clients may decide that it would be imprudent to associate their companies/brands with a ship which has a toxic name. Drivers may decide to boycott Shell. All perfectly legal and proper.

AS I have remarked before, the name is a mark of distinction, but of the worst possible kind. Who would want to Captain a vessel with such a distasteful name? Who would want to be a member of its crew? Certainly no one of Jewish descent, or people who are superstitious and might view the Nazi SS name, with all its evil connotations, as being a bad omen attached to the ship.

No wonder Lloyd’s Register did not openly disclose the stigma attached to the Nazi linked name. No mention of it in their magazine PR fanfare saluting the new vessel.

The petition requesting a renaming can be read here:

Tomorrow I hope to publish an article by a Dutch investigative journalist who has searched the archives and found further damning evidence about Pieter Schelte Heerema. He was apparently well regarded by Royal Dutch Shell, whose founder, Sir Henri Deterding was also a fanatical Nazi and financial backer of Adolf Hitler. 

Oil giant Shell set for further cost cuts

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Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 08.45.23By GEOFF HO: Published Sunday January 25, 2015  

Royal Dutch Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden will outline how the company plans to deal with the collapse in crude oil prices when he unveils its results on Thursday.

The oil giant is expected to reveal further cost-cutting measures alongside a 4.6 per cent fall in its 2014 pre-tax profits to $35 billion (£23.4 billion).

Earlier this month, Shell dropped a $6.5 billion (£4.3 billion) project in Qatar due to the impact of falling oil and gas prices.

However, investors believe that Shell will maintain its dividend, despite the squeeze on its earnings.

The Anglo-Dutch giant is forecast to unveil a fourth-quarter dividend of $0.47 (31p) per share, which would take its total announced 2014 dividend payouts to $12 billion (£8 billion).

The price of oil has more than halved over the past six months to about $50 (£33.35) per barrel due to Opec keeping up production despite over-supply.

The oil cartel, led by Saudi Arabia, is pushing the price down in a bid to drive rival shale oil producers in the US out of business.

The fall in the price of crude is expected to also hurt oil services and equipment providers, as oil producers make cut backs.

Will Smith at New City Investment Managers said: “We’ll see investment cut back and that means the oil services companies’ growth will not be what it was.

“They had four years in clover, now it comes down to hard work.”

SOURCE

Outrage as it emerges world’s largest ship Pieter Schelte is named after SS Nazi war criminal

SCREENSHOTS OF ARTICLE PUBLISHED SUNDAY 25 JAN 2015 BY THE DAILY MAIL/MAIL ONLINE

Outrage as it emerges world’s largest ship Pieter Schelte is named after SS Nazi war criminal

FROM THE FRONT PAGE OF THE MAIL ONLINE

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SCREENSHOT OF PART OF THE ARTICLE

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FULL EXTENSIVE ARTICLE

Extract

While John Donovan, a former Shell contractor who has wrote a book on the company’s relations to the Third Reich added: ‘This public homage by Edward Heerema as the wealthy son of a Nazi war criminal is an affront to the relatives of tens of millions of souls who perished at the hands of Nazi Germany.’

Observer Newspaper: World’s biggest ship, the Pieter Schelte, sparks Nazi outrage on arrival in Rotterdam

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Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 16.39.25FROM AN ARTICLE BY ED VULLIAMY PUBLISHED BY THEGUARDIAN.COM AND THE OBSERVER NEWSPAPER, SUNDAY 25 JAN 2015 UNDER THE HEADLINE:

World’s biggest ship, the Pieter Schelte, sparks Nazi outrage on arrival in Rotterdam

Extracts

Leaders of Jewish communities and Holocaust memorial groups in Britain and the Netherlands have reacted with rage and despair at the arrival in Rotterdam of the world’s biggest ship, the Pieter Schelte, named after a Dutch officer in the Waffen-SS.

The vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Arkush, said: “Naming such a ship after an SS officer who was convicted of war crimes is an insult to the millions who suffered and died at the hands of the Nazis. We urge the ship’s owners to reconsider and rename the ship after someone more appropriate.”

Cidi cited a petition organised by a British-based website monitoring the affairs of Royal Dutch Shell, the energy group, which trumpeted the ship’s arrival in Rotterdam and which Allseas confirms in a press release to be among its early clients. The site, Royaldutchshellplc.com, is run by John Donovan, a former Shell contractor who is completing a book on the history of the company’s relations with the Third Reich. His petition reads: “Please change the ship’s name so that it no longer sails under the name of a former Waffen-SS officer jailed for war crimes.”

Donovan told the Observer: “This public homage by Edward Heerema as the wealthy son of a Nazi war criminal is an affront to the relatives of tens of millions of souls who perished at the hands of Nazi Germany. The name is unacceptable.”

Donovan has unearthed an extraordinary case in the high court in London last summer, brought after Allseas fell victim to a fraud scam.

The judge, Mr Justice Peter Smith, asked a witness about Pieter Schelte Heerema: “He was in the Dutch SS, was he?” “No, he was in the German SS,” came the reply. Counsel then asked: “And then he left the SS, you say, in the middle of the war?” Whereupon the judge remarked: “I didn’t know you could leave the SS. I thought it was a job for life.”

FULL ARTICLE

The photograph shown above right, which is not featured in the Guardian article, is of Mr Edward Heerema, the sole owner of Allseas, wearing a safety helmet. 

RELATED

World’s greatest ship, the Pieter Schelte, sparks Nazi outrage on arrival in Rotterdam: NATIONAL REVIEW: 24 Jan 2015

One of the world’s largest ships named after SS officer: Times of Israel: 25 Jan 2015

Jewish leaders outraged over Dutch ship named after SS officer: HAARETZ: 24 Jan 2015

Outrage as it emerges world’s largest ship Pieter Schelte is named after SS Nazi war criminal: DAILY MAIL – MAILOnline: 25 Jan 2015

Story trending on Twitter

Pieter Schelte: Criticism swells of Heerema’s ‘bad name’ heavy lift

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 15.40.22NON-PROFESSIONAL TRANSLATION OF AN ARTICLE PUBLISHED BY THE DUTCH FINANCIAL TIMES UNDER THE HEADLINE:

Criticism swells of Heerema’s ‘bad name’ heavy lift

Alexander Weissink
Sunday, January 25th, 2015, 11:26
Updated: Sunday, January 25, 2015, 16:56

The Dutch owner of offshore company Allseas in Delft is increasingly criticized for the naming of its newest vessel. Edward Heerema named the largest floating crane in the world after his father Pieter Schelte who was an officer in World War II in the German Waffen SS before he made his name as an offshore pioneer.

The Guardian

The Guardian Saturday citing various Jewish organizations complained about this tribute. The vessel with a size of eight football pitches and a cost of € 2.4 billion was early this month the subject of a ceremony on its arrival in the port of Rotterdam. In the backwater of Maasvlakte Pieter Schelte is being assembled in the coming months. After that lights the vessel obsolete oil platforms in the North Sea from their pedestal and drains.

Edward Heerema named the ship after his father deceased in 1981 because he considers him to be the founder of the Dutch offshore industry. Both Edward Heerema (67) with Allseas, as his younger brother Peter (63) with the Heerema Group, are recognised as market leaders in the field of services to the oil and gas industry at sea.

Jewish protest

The Vice-President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Arkush, calls it in The Guardian unpalatable that Allseas gave the ship a Nazi name. “A ship name after an SS officer who has been convicted of war crimes is an insult to the millions of people who have died by the Nazis,” says Arkush. “We urge the owner to reconsider the name of the ship.”

The Netherlands has seen little opposition to the naming of the vessel because the sheer size has attracted worldwide attention. Esther Voet, director of the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI) in The Hague, said to have protested in vain. “We are ten years been trying to convince the other parties that for many people is very offensive, but apparently not enough people find it objectionable that the largest ship in the world to a SS is called” explains Foot in The Guardian . “We can only try to convince the Rotterdam authorities not to accept it, but then it becomes a matter of employment.”

Port of Rotterdam

Port of Rotterdam, currently hosting the ship, will not interfere in the controversy. “We understand the sensitivities around the vessel, but it is not to judge us on how a ship is called, a spokesman said at the reception earlier this month. “We focus on what the arrival of a ship for the sector and Rotterdam means.”

Officer in the Waffen-SS
 
Pieter Heerema Schelte

Pieter Schelte Heerema was before World War II a sympathizer of the Nazis, according to research by the Dutch Institute for War Documentation (NIOD). As an engineer, he worked in the thirties in Venezuela and Iran. After the German invasion, he returned to the Netherlands, he enlisted in the Waffen SS. As an officer in combat he competed on the Eastern Front. His later responsibilities include the employment of workers in the occupied territories in eastern Europe. In late 1943 he turned, as they say, against the Nazis and fled to Switzerland.

After the war Heerema was indeed convicted but released because he is in custody for his sentence had been served. The civil engineer went back to Venezuela where he laid the foundation for his subsequent offshore company. Only in the sixties, he returned to the Netherlands and became an offshore magnate with clients like Shell and Exxon to install North Sea oil platforms.

Shell is the first client

Shell is one of the first customers for the new heavy lift Allseas. The Pieter Schelte will later this year dismantle three ageing oil rigs in the Brent field. A famous English critic of Shell, John Donovan of the activist website Royaldutchshellplc.com, has started a campaign against the use of the ship with the controversial name.

Parliamentary questions because subsidy

In the Netherlands, the issue has led to a parliamentary question time. In response to SP MP Sharon Gesthuizen confirmed Minister Maria van der Hoeven of Economic Affairs in November 2008 that Allseas had received 800,000 grant for a feasibility study for the Pieter Schelte. “It should be clear that I’m not happy with the names of ships that evoke negative associations,” said the minister over six years ago. “However, the naming of a ship is the responsibility of the owner. The grant regulations do not provide for any interference with the naming of a ship. ”

Tribute to offshore pioneer

Edward Heerema, the media-shy owner of Allseas, keeps himself in the background. Late last year he allowed himself to be interviewed only by the Telegraph. In the article under the headline ‘Hollands Glorie unprecedented “he said to take away from the war record of his father, but wanted to honor him as the offshore pioneer he was.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE IN DUTCH

Kritiek op ‘foute naam’ Heerema’s hefschip zwelt aan

Alexander Weissink
zondag 25 januari 2015, 11:26
update: zondag 25 januari 2015, 16:56

De Nederlandse eigenaar van offshorebedrijf Allseas uit Delft krijgt steeds meer kritiek op de naamgeving van zijn nieuwste vaartuig. Edward Heerema vernoemde het grootste hefschip ter wereld naar zijn vader Pieter Schelte die in de Tweede Wereldoorlog officier was bij de Duitse Waffen SS alvorens hij naam maakte als offshore-pionier.

The Guardian

In de Britse krant The Guardian van zaterdag doen verschillende joodse organisaties hun beklag over dit eerbetoon. Het monsterschip met een omvang van acht voetbalvelden en een kostprijs van €2,4 mrd werd begin deze maand met veel ceremonie in de Rotterdamse haven ontvangen. In het binnenwater van de Tweede Maasvlakte wordt de Pieter Schelte de komende maanden afgemonteerd. Daarna zal het vaartuig verouderde olieplatforms op de Noordzee van hun sokkel lichten en afvoeren.

Edward Heerema vernoemde het schip naar zijn in 1981 overleden vader omdat die beschouwd wordt als de grondlegger van de Nederlandse offshore industrie. Nog altijd worden de Heerema’s, zowel Edward (67) met Allseas als zijn jongere broer Pieter (63) met de Heerema Groep, gezien als marktleiders op het gebied van dienstverlening voor de olie- en gasindustrie op zee.

Joods protest

De vicepresident van het College van Afgevaardigden van Britse Joden, Jonathan Arkush, noemt het in The Guardian onverteerbaar dat Allseas het schip de naam van een nazi heeft gegeven. ‘Zo’n schip vernoemen naar een SS-officier die is veroordeeld wegens oorlogsmisdaden is een belediging voor de miljoenen mensen die zijn gestorven door de nazi’s’, aldus Arkush. ‘We dringen er bij de eigenaar op aan de naam van het schip te heroverwegen.’

In Nederland is weinig verzet geweest tegen de naamgeving van het vaartuig dat vanwege de enorme omvang wereldwijd veel aandacht heeft getrokken. Esther Voet, directeur van het Centrum voor Informatie en Documentatie Israël (Cidi) in Den Haag, zegt tevergeefs te hebben geprotesteerd. ‘We zijn tien jaar bezig geweest om de betrokkenen ervan te overtuigen dat dit voor heel veel mensen zeer beledigend is, maar kennelijk vinden onvoldoende mensen het bezwaarlijk dat het grootste schip ter wereld naar een SS’ers wordt genoemd’, verklaart Voet in The Guardian. ‘We kunnen alleen proberen de Rotterdamse autoriteiten te overtuigen het niet te accepteren, maar dan wordt het een kwestie van werkgelegenheid.’

Havenbedrijf Rotterdam

Havenbedrijf Rotterdam, momenteel gastheer van het schip, wil zich niet mengen in de controverse. ‘We kennen de gevoeligheden rondom het schip, maar het is niet aan ons te oordelen over hoe een schip wordt genoemd’, verklaarde een woordvoerder tijdens het ontvangst eerder deze maand. ‘Wij focussen ons op wat de komst van zo’n schip voor de sector en Rotterdam betekent.’

Officier bij Waffen-SS
Pieter Schelte Heerema
Pieter Schelte Heerema was al voor de Tweede Wereldoorlog een sympathisant van de nazi’s, zo blijkt uit onderzoek door het Nederlands Instituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie (Niod). Als ingenieur werkte hij in de jaren dertig in Venezuela en Iran. Na de Duitse inval keerde hij terug naar Nederland en meldde hij zich aan bij de Waffen SS. Als officier bij de gevechtseenheid streed hij mee aan het oostfront. Daarna werd hij onder meer belast met de tewerkstelling van arbeiders in de bezette gebieden in het oosten van Europa. Eind 1943 keerde hij zich, naar eigen zeggen, tegen de nazi’s en vluchtte naar Zwitserland.

Na de oorlog werd Heerema weliswaar veroordeeld maar vrijgelaten omdat hij in voorarrest zijn straf al had uitgezeten. De civiel ingenieur vertrok weer naar Venezuela waar hij de basis legde voor zijn latere offshore concern. Pas in de jaren zestig keerde hij terug naar Nederland en groeide uit tot een offshoremagnaat met klanten als Shell en Exxon om op de Noordzee olieplatforms te installeren.

Shell is eerste opdrachtgever

Shell is een van de eerste opdrachtgevers voor het nieuwste hefschip van Allseas. Met de Pieter Schelte zullen later dit jaar drie verouderende olieproductie-eilanden in het Brent-veld worden ontmanteld. Een bekende Engelse criticaster van Shell, John Donovan van de activistische website Royaldutchshellplc.com, is daarom een campagne gestart tegen de gebruikmaking van het schip met de omstreden naam.

Kamervragen wegens subsidie

In Nederland heeft de kwestie een keer tot Kamervragen geleid. In antwoord op SP-kamerlid Sharon Gesthuizen bevestigde minister Maria van der Hoeven van Economische Zaken in november 2008 dat Allseas ruim 800.000 subsidie had ontvangen voor een haalbaarheidsstudie voor de Pieter Schelte. ‘Het mag duidelijk zijn dat ik niet gelukkig ben met namen van schepen die negatieve associaties oproepen’, aldus de bewindsvrouw ruim zes jaar geleden. ‘Echter, de naamgeving van een schip is de verantwoordelijkheid van de reder. De subsidievoorschriften voorzien niet in enigerlei bemoeienis met de naamgeving van een schip.’

Eerbetoon aan offsore-pionier

Edward Heerema, de mediaschuwe eigenaar van Allseas, houdt zich op de achtergrond. Eind vorig jaar liet hij zich alleen door de Telegraaf interviewen. In het artikel onder de kop ‘Hollands Glorie zonder weerga’ zei hij afstand te nemen van het oorlogsverleden van zijn vader, maar hem te willen eren als de offshore-pionier die hij was.

SOURCE ARTICLE  (WITH COMMENTS)

Jewish Groups Outraged At Launching Of World’s Largest Crane Ship Named After SS Officer

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Article by Tibi Singer published Saturday 24 Jan 2015

The Swiss-based Allseas Group’s new ship, Pieter Schelte, is 1,146 feet long and 372 feet wide. Built by Daewoo Heavy Industries in South Korea, at a reported cost of $2.85 billion, it is capable of lifting loads of 48,000 tons. It is the world’s largest offshore pipelay and platform installation vessel, equipped with a Sonardyne Ranger 2 USBL acoustic positioning system. It’s also named after a Nazi.

Allseas is owned by Edward Heerema, a Dutchman, who is the son of Pieter Schelte Heerema, an officer in the Waffen-SS. And Edward insisted on naming his prized ship after his dad.

According to the Netherlands Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies’ David Barnouw, cited by the Guardian, Pieter Schelte was “a member of a small fascist party before the war, but was in Venezuela when the Germans invaded. Schelte saw it as a reason to return”.

He then joined the SS, “fought on the Russian front for the Wehrmacht, but was recalled to be part of the ‘East Company,’ working for the SS in the occupied East.”

According to one report, after gaining promotion in the Waffen SS, he was responsible for forcibly resettling unemployed Dutch workers into areas of Eastern Europe, where many died, writes John Donovan, whose website, royaldutchshellplc.com, has been campaigning relentlessly against the naming.

Seeing that the war was going “badly for Germany, he joined a resistance party, then went to Switzerland. He was interned after the war, tried and I think the judges found him one of their own – a good businessman, well educated.”

Among Schelte’s more memorable statements was his view that “the German race is model. The Jewish race, by comparison, is parasitic … Therefore the Jewish question must be resolved in every Aryan country.”

Well, he tried.

So, according to the company’s press release, the Pieter Schelte arrived at Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, at the beginning of January, and will remain at the port for installation and testing of its main mission equipment before commencing operations this summer.

And while it’s there, Europe’s Jews, who have been treated this month to a heap of bloody Muslim attacks, are throwing a righteous fit at this newest outrage.

The vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Arkush, said: “Naming such a ship after an SS officer who was convicted of war crimes is an insult to the millions who suffered and died at the hands of the Nazis. We urge the ship’s owners to reconsider and rename the ship after someone more appropriate.”

Esther Voet, director of the Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel (Cidi), based in The Hague, said that the timing of the ship’s arrival, just before the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, was “a coincidence, I’m sure, but a sign of the times. We lost our battle to have the ship’s name changed, and we are left eating dust.”

Voet says: “We’ve fought this for 10 years, tried to persuade everyone involved that this was offensive. But no, we’re left with this fact: the largest ship in the world is named after an officer in the SS, and not enough people are offended to get this changed.”

“Like many other multinationals involved with The Pieter Schelte project, including the oil company Shell (one of its first customers), and financial backers, ABN Amro, ING, RBS and NIBC, Lloyd’s Register has long known about the dark side of the name, but has remained silent on the toxic issue,” writes John Donovan, adding:

“Lloyd’s Register knew of his Nazi pedigree when commissioning, approving and publishing the above PR article, rejoicing in its close connection with the Nazi named ship. The name of the ship is mentioned 15 times in the overall feature, comprising the front page, the contents page and the article pages.

“Although numerous articles about the controversy have been published since 2007, Lloyd’s Register neglected to disclose what it knew about the astonishing background of the man being honoured in such a prominent way – having the biggest ship in the world named after him. This was not an individual of high distinction, nor a member of royalty, or a famous historical figure of high regard, but instead, a former officer from the murderous Waffen SS.”

Well, there’s nothing we can do now, other than expect to some day board the good ship Adolf Eichmann …

SOURCE

Jewish leaders outraged over ship named after Nazi war criminal

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The Pieter Schelte, named after a Nazi war criminal, arrived at the port of Rotterdam. Photo by FaceMePLS/CC

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 22.05.11UPI ARTICLE BY AMY R. CONNOLLY PUBLISHED 24 JAN 2015

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands, Jan. 24 (UPI) — Jewish leaders in Britain and the Netherlands are outraged that a massive ship bearing the name of a Dutch Nazi war criminal arrived in Rotterdam to work in the European offshore oil industry.

The Pieter Schelte, called the world’s biggest vessel, arrived in port as Jewish organizations asked the ship’s owners to change the name. Jewish leaders said the recent terrorist attack at a Paris kosher deli that left four dead and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz is making the decision to name the ship after the war criminal all the more difficult to understand.

Esther Voet, director of the Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel, told the Guardian the timing was “a coincidence, I’m sure, but a sign of the times. We lost our battle to have the ship’s name changed, and we are left eating dust.”

Schelte, a Dutch naval architect, was part of the Waffen SS, the combat arm of the Nazi party’s Schutzstaffel. He was arrested in March 1944 and tried for war crimes. He died in 1981. The ship belongs to the Swiss-based Allseas group, which is owned by Schelte’s son, Edward Heerema. The company said it does not plan to rename the ship.

The Pieter Schelte, a platform installation, decommissioning and pipe-laying vessel, is 1,565 feet long and has a lift capacity of 48,000 tons. The ship was built in South Korea.

SOURCE ARTICLE

World’s biggest ship named after Nazi

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 21.50.12THE JEWISH CHRONICLE

Article by Toby Axelrod, January 22, 2015

Follow The JC on Twitter

Should the world’s largest ship be named after a convicted Nazi war criminal? No, says retired British businessman John Donovan – and he’s not sitting idly by.

The Colchester resident has launched an online petition asking shipping magnate Edward Heerema of the Allseas Group SA to change the name of its giant new vessel, the Pieter Schelte.

Schelte was Mr Heereema’s father, a renowned maritime engineer but also an avowed antisemite who joined the Waffen SS. He eventually became an informant for the Dutch resistance in 1943.

After the war, he was sentenced in Holland to three years in prison for war crimes, but was released early due to his work for the resistance.

In 2008, when plans to name the boat after him became known in Holland, politicians and Jewish leaders spoke out against it. A spokesperson for Allseas said at the time: “Pieter Schelte Hereema was widely appreciated in the industry during his life and the companies that came from his heritage have an excellent name in the offshore industry.”

The Dutch government, which gave Allseas’ Netherlands subsidiary a hefty tax break to secure it a role in building the ship, said it first noticed the vessel’s name in an article by Dutch journalist Ton Biesemaat.
Dutch legislator Sharon Gesthuizen told Haaretz in 2008 that “funding this ship was a mistake which is offensive to many people”.

Mr Donovan addressed his petition to Edward Heerema “as the founder of [a] company that… has just entered service in the offshore oil industry, with Shell as one of its first clients.”

Mr Donovan has long followed the activities of the Shell Oil Company, for which he and his late father worked as consultants before successfully suing the firm for breach of confidence. He said: “Shell is …the first customer booked to use the Pieter Schelte [to decommission four North Sea Oil rigs later this year].”

Allseas and Shell did not comment.

SOURCE

Lloyd’s Register PR Fanfair Saluting Nazi named mega-ship The Pieter Schelte

THIS ARTICLE, INCLUDING THE SCREENSHOT OF THE FRONT COVER OF JAN 2015 EDITION OF HORIZONS MAGAZINE (IMMEDIATELY BELOW), WAS SUPPLIED IN ADVANCE OF PUBLICATION TO LLOYD’S REGISTER AND ALLSEAS WITH THE INVITATION TO CORRECT ANY INACCURATE INFORMATION. IT FOLLOWS THAT BOTH FIRMS HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEEK AN INJUNCTION TO PREVENT PUBLICATION. 

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Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 14.43.40By John Donovan

The above screenshot is from the front cover of the January 2015 edition of Horizons Magazine published by Lloyd’s Register. The front page lead story, is a multipage PR extravaganza trumpeting the key involvement of Lloyd’s Register in the creation and building of the Pieter Schelte, “the world’s largest-ever ship.”

The one thing that spoils the celebration about the gigantic vessel, which arrived in Rotterdam days ago, is that it is named in honour of a senior Waffen SS Nazi officer jailed for war crimes, Pieter Schelte Heerema.

According to one report, after gaining promotion in the Waffen SS, he was responsible for forcibly resettling unemployed Dutch workers into areas of Eastern Europe, where many died.

After release from prison, given the stigma attached to his name, Pieter Schelte prudently retreated to Venezuela, where according to a recent Forbes article, he allegedly helped German war criminals escape Allied justice.

Despite all of this toxic historical baggage, the founder of Allseas, the company that owns The Pieter Schelte, Dutchman Edward Heerema, named the giant ship after his father.

Like many other multinationals involved with The Pieter Schelte project, including the oil company Shell (one of its first customers), and financial backers, ABN Amro, ING, RBS and NIBC, Lloyd’s Register has long known about the dark side of the name, but has remained silent on the toxic issue.

Lloyd’s Register knew of his Nazi pedigree when commissioning, approving and publishing the above PR article, rejoicing in its close connection with the Nazi named ship. The name of the ship is mentioned 15 times in the overall feature, comprising the front page, the contents page and the article pages.

The explanation for the origin of the name fails to reveal the Nazi aspect:

“The 382-metre-long, 123.75-metre- wide, 403,342gt installation/ decommissioning and pipelay vessel is a twin-hulled vessel named after the offshore pioneer Pieter Schelte Heerema, father of the Swiss-based Allseas Group’s owner Edward Heerema.”

Classic PR spin. Some might describe it as a cover-up. “Offshore pioneer” is a much more appealing description than a Waffen SS Nazi officer jailed for war crimes.

Although numerous articles about the controversy have been published since 2007, Lloyd’s Register neglected to disclose what it knew about the astonishing background of the man being honoured in such a prominent way – having the biggest ship in the world named after him.  This was not an individual of high distinction, nor a member of royalty, or a famous historical figure of high regard, but instead, a former officer from the murderous Waffen SS.  

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 14.15.11The name is a mark of distinction, but of the worst possible kind. Who would want to Captain a vessel with such a distasteful name? Who would want to be a member of its crew? Certainly no one of  Jewish descent, or people who are superstitious and might view the Nazi SS name, with all its evil connotations, as being a bad omen attached to the ship. 

No wonder Lloyd’s Register did not openly disclose the stigma attached to the Nazi linked name.

All of the huge businesses associated with Allseas in the Pieter Schelte project, Royal Dutch Shell, bankers and Lloyd’s Register, have uniformly turned a blind eye to the Nazi linked name. (Shell and its Nazi boss, Sir Henri Deterding, financially supported Hitler and the Nazi party for several years in the run up to World War 2.)

On 11 January 2015, I sent an email to Richard Sadler, the Chief Executive Officer of Lloyd’s Register, an institution of global renown founded in 1760.

I received a response the following day on his behalf from the Group Legal Director of Lloyd’s Register, Mr Jim Harrison.

This is what he said in relation to the naming of the vessel.

The role of Lloyd’s Register in relation to this vessel is to provide our technical classification and statutory plan approval, survey and certification services to help ensure the safety of the vessel and its work. We play no part in the choice of, or the approval of, the name of the vessel which is a matter to be decided between the owner and the vessel’s national ship registry which is Panama in this case.

Extracts from my reply:

I note there is no denial that Lloyd’s Register has been well aware for a long time about the controversy surrounding the name.

Would Lloyd’s Register have remained silent and continued with the money spinning contract on the same grounds you have quoted, if the name had been Adolf Hitler? I think we both know the answer.

Personally, I think it is appalling that two global organisations – Lloyd’s Register and Royal Dutch Shell, have allowed a third, Allseas, to foist this affront to decency and the memory of all who perished at the hands of the Nazis.

Whether due to a lack of scruples, or extremely bad judgement, Lloyd’s Register is actively glorifying the project on your website and elsewhere, despite knowing that it is named after a Nazi War Criminal.

Mr Harrison ignored my question to Mr Sadler asking if Lloyd’s Register had raised the issue with Allseas or its owner, Dutchman Edward Heerema, about the wisdom of naming the ship after his father.

The controversy surrounding the Nazi linked name has not just been the subject of news articles since 2007, but was also the subject of a cross examination in a recent extraordinary trial and when I say extraordinary, that description, in this case, is no exaggeration.

The Pieter Schelte and its controversial name were all part of the case before the court. The judge, Mr Justice Peter Smith, thought the Nazi linked name to be of sufficient significance to include extracts from a relevant cross-examination in his judgement dated 26 June 2014 .

Some brief extracts from the cross-examination included in the Judgement:

MR JUSTICE PETER SMITH: He was in the Dutch SS, was he?

A. No, he was in the German SS.

MR JUSTICE PETER SMITH: The German SS,

MR TAGER: He joined the German SS, And then he left the SS you say in the middle of the war?

A. I don’t know the exact time but that is .. he changed his mind, that is ..

MR JUSTICE PETER SMITH: I didn’t know you could leave the SS, I thought it was a job for life.

A. I have no comment on that, my Lord.

MR JUSTICE PETER SMITH: Was he in the Waffen SS or the non-Waffen SS? Do you know?

A. I do not know that. 

MR TAGER: My Lord, some might regard that as a quibble. He was in the SS. And, after the war, he went to Argentina, didn’t he?

A. He went to South America, I think he went to Venezuela.

Q. Venezuela, I’m so sorry, With the help of the Vatican?

Q: And that is why the name of the ship is very controversial isn’t it? They’re not many ships afloat on the seas named after a former member of the SS, are there?

A. No.

Please see paragraph 33 onward of the High Court Judgement – link below. I took the trouble of making the entire judgement available online on a searchable basis.

Other pages from the Judgement provide the judges assessment of Mr Edward Heerema and the competence and gullibility of named Allseas directors. One short-duration Allseas director, Mr Merek Rejniak, was held by the Judge to be one of  the fraudsters responsible for the £100 million scam perpetrated on Allseas.

I think most ordinary people, if they read the information contained in the court documents and via the links below, might share my assessment of Mr Heerema as an arrogant sinister man, apparently normally protected when travelling in his home country by a team of four bodyguards, who employs a security manager (see below) and engages in shady financial machinations.

Leo van Wezel, a former police detective, has been the security manager of Allseas since 1995. It is fair to say that he was ridiculed by the Judge on the basis of his testimony, including his remarks about the notorious American security firm, Blackwater and the US government. His ethics and professionalism were also drawn into question as was the reliability of his testimony. The judge pointed out that Mr Wezel was given evidence by one of the fraudsters to hide from a UK Metropolitan police unit (which specialises in money laundering cases). He removed that evidence from the UK jurisdiction.  It ended up in the hands of solicitors overseas acting for his employer, Allseas.  The judge remarked that it was surprising conduct for a former police officer.

The judge rightly criticised Allseas attitude to the UK police and described it as “another example of the inadequacy of the evidence of Allseas in this case.”

It was the greed of Edward Heerema and his long-time fellow directors, Messrs Kooger and Visser, who the judge described as “unbelievably inept and naive,” that made them dupes in an elaborate pantomime of a scam in which the Pope, The Vatican, The Queen of England, The US Federal Reserve Bank, the UN, and others, were unwitting players. The judge ruled that Messrs Kooger and Visser were in breach of their duties as Allseas directors to the extent that it passed the threshold of potentially constituting contributory negligence in the £12 million loss to the company as a result of the scam – a loss that would have been £100 million if not for the timely determined intervention of the UK police and the action the police took despite opposition and threats from Allseas.

Extract from paragraph 29 of the judgement:

At the end the loss was confined to €12m not because of anything the Claimants did but because of the efforts of the Metropolitan Police who protected the balance of the monies in the Notable account despite the protests on the part of Allseas. They actually threatened the Metropolitan Police with claims for damages if the monies were not released.

Extract from paragraph 331:

Equally, but for the intervention of the Metropolitan Police I have no doubt that the balance of the £88m would have disappeared…

Many of the ingredients here for a good Bond movie. Subterfuge, intrigue, a huge sum of cash, cops, villains, a mysterious tycoon, court room drama, a prominent Nazi, international locations. Wonder who should play Mr Big?

I fully acknowledge that any degree of opprobrium or shame on the part of Lloyd’s Register for the vessel being allowed to sail under the name of The Pieter Schelte is minimal compared with that of its owner. However, Lloyd’s Register had the opportunity to raise the matter and even withdraw from the project at any stage after becoming aware of the Nazi linked name, but failed to to so and was therefore acquiescent to that extent.

Lloyd’s Register would not, under any circumstances, have anything to do with a huge new ship if it was named Adolf Hitler, but turned a blind eye to a less prominent, but still well known and detested Nazi.

I would be amazed if Lloyd’s Register had not, at some time, considered – probably with some trepidation – the possibility of a firestorm of negative publicity eventually arising from the Nazi name. If so, Lloyd’s Register still continued its close association with The Pieter Schelte project despite that obvious possibility.

I sincerely think that Lloyd’s Register should disassociate itself from the project unless this salute to a WAFFEN SS Nazi is dropped. It is offensive, particularly at this sensitive time, as pointed out by Eamonn Fingleton in his most recent Forbes article on the subject: After Charlie Hebdo, An Acute “PR Dilemma” For Big Oil.

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RELATED INFORMATION

Offshore brothers fight each other at sea: de Volkskrant: 17 March 2008 (Google Translation)

Google translation of an fd.nl article updated on 25 December 2014 (which contains a link to the source article in Dutch).

Google translation of a Quote Magazine article dated 18 December 2007: HEEREMA MISTREATED IN DUBAI

RELATED ENGLISH LANGUAGE PUBLICATIONS – OLDEST FIRST 

Offshore Engineer article about Pieter Schelte Heerema April 2008

Dutch outcry over naming giant ship after Nazi: USATODAY/ASSOCIATED PRESS 11 July 2008

Nazi name row torpedoes ship launch: Daily Express 07 Nov 2008

Dutch outcry over naming ship after Nazi: Telegraph 07 Nov 2008

Dutch critics cry foul over naming of giant ship after Nazi collaborator: 7 Nov 2008: The Prince Albert Daily Herald

Ship to be named after Nazi: UPI.com 08 Nov 2008

JEWS UPSET About Naming Of Giant Ship: 11 Nov 2008 TheState.com South Carolina

NAZI SHIP': GOVERNMENT MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO DUCK THE QUESTION: SP INTERNATIONAL 21 Nov 2008

Should Ireland oppose insult to jews: Ireland.ie 28 June 2009

Allegations made against Allseas Group: 30 Sept 2012

ALLSEAS PRESS RELEASE Friday 2 August 2013

You cannot escape history: Royal Dutch Shell and Allseas: 31 Jan 2014

Film of Royal Dutch Shell founder Sir Henri Deterding giving a Nazi salute: Article published 23 June 2014

High Court Judgement (INVOLVING EDWARD HEEREMA/ALLSEA’S DIRECTORS:  26 June 2014

Big Oil’s $3 Billion Homage to Nazi War Criminal: Forbes 20 Dec 2014

Petition over Allseas Nazi named ship, the Peter Schelte: 22 Dec 2014

World’s biggest ship, named after Nazi SS officer, stirs protest: The Jerusalem Post 12 Jan 2015

My campaign Against the Huge Nazi Ship: The Pieter Schelte: 12 Jan 2015

Detoxifying Shell’s online image: Possible or Impossible?  15 Jan 2015

After Charlie Hebdo, An Acute “PR Dilemma” For Big Oil: Forbes: 15 Jan 2015

SCREENSHOT BELOW FROM SHELL.COM WEBSITE 16 JAN 2015 WEBPAGE HEADING: News and media for the Brent Decommissioning project.Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 21.40.10

Blood in the water

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Mergers offer a chance to cut costs and save money. Prices are low. BP, now fit, lean and cheap, is not best placed to go shopping itself. So it could be on someone else’s list.Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 22.32.28

The oil giant’s troubles could make it a takeover target, especially if the price of crude keeps falling

INVESTORS in BP are a patient bunch, and well rewarded for it. Britain’s third-largest company pays generous and reliable dividends, making it a mainstay of many private and institutional portfolios. But in the run-up to the oil giant’s quarterly results on February 3rd, some investors are jittery. Although BP’s dividend yield is a juicy 5.8%, its shares have fallen by a fifth over 10 years, greatly underperforming the broader market (see chart) and making total shareholder returns slightly negative. This is mainly because of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, which cost 11 lives and a stonking $43 billion (and maybe more) in fines, legal bills, compensation and clean-up.

BP has slimmed since then. It has sold more than $40 billion of assets, cutting its size by a third, as it continues to fight (and mainly lose) lawsuits and appeals. Now cheap oil is adding a new edge to its woes. Until recently BP made plans based on an oil price of $100 a barrel. When it announced its latest $1 billion restructuring plan in December, it tried to reassure investors that its investment plans assumed an oil price of $80, but with a fallback level of $60. The price was $65 then. Now it is below $50. As we went to press on January 15th BP was announcing further job cuts.

Not only does existing capital spending (an annual $24 billion-plus) look unaffordable, but those generous dividends—the top priority—will gobble cash. An institutional shareholder wonders if BP may resort to paying next month’s dividend in new shares (or “scrip”). “They are being overwhelmed by events,” he says.

So the chances have grown that one of BP’s rivals will seek to capitalise on its weakness and bid for it. Although its value has fallen sharply, its market capitalisation is still $107 billion, so the list of possible buyers is short. The most talked-about potential suitors are Exxon Mobil (market value $380 billion) and Shell ($197 billion), with Chevron ($196 billion) as a possible “white knight” merger partner to fend off the other two. There are some state oil and gas firms big enough to afford BP (the Saudi, Qatari or Kuwaiti ones, say), but none seems to be in shopping mood just now.

All the firms involved decline to comment. But it is easy to see some advantages to a takeover by Exxon. The two companies fit, in that Exxon’s American business is smaller than its international operations. And BP, though nominally British, is strongest in America. Exxon has lots of cash and low borrowing costs. It did a good job of absorbing Mobil, another rival, in 1999. Moreover, the biggest blight on the BP share price is its American lawsuits. It has handled these badly. Exxon, with its unrivalled political clout, might do better.

Another attraction is BP’s nearly 20% stake in Rosneft, Russia’s biggest and best-connected oil company. Rosneft is in trouble: heavily indebted, cut off from Western capital markets by sanctions, and bailed out by the Russian state in December. But for a far-sighted outsider, Russia’s oil and gas reserves are hard to ignore. BP has made a lot of money there so far. Sanctions forced Exxon, which has deep ties with Russia, to cancel its Arctic drilling project with Rosneft. Buying BP could offer a way back in. It would take a brave boss to do this; but Exxon’s Rex Tillerson is made of stern stuff.

Perhaps the strongest reason for a takeover is not BP’s plight, but the oil industry’s general gloom. The S&P Global Oil index has performed only marginally worse than BP over the past 10 years—it is up just 2.6%. All the big energy companies were wrestling with rising costs and falling reserves even before the oil-price fall. Now they are grappling with its consequences. Mergers offer a chance to cut costs and save money. Prices are low. BP, now fit, lean and cheap, is not best placed to go shopping itself. So it could be on someone else’s list.

BP wants to stay independent. Its bosses believe they have done well since 2010, ending an era of bloat, excessive ambition and corner-cutting on safety. Any buyer would have to surmount some big obstacles. Britain’s former imperial oil company has close ties to the establishment. A sale to an American buyer would mean a political row, in an election year.

It is also uncertain that Exxon would be able to solve BP’s remaining American lawsuits. The biggest headaches are in Louisiana, a state where outsiders tend to fare poorly, whether they are foreigners or just from out of state. Many legal wheels have turned since Barack Obama ostentatiously referred to BP as “British Petroleum” in what some saw as opening the hunting season on the company. One would have to believe that the American legal system was open to influence from politics and money to think that switching ownership would help. Some might say it is, but Exxon would hesitate to argue that case publicly. Boards are usually nervous about buying a company embroiled in lawsuits.

You can’t be sure of Shell

Nor does the idea of Shell taking over its old partner and rival look quite so attractive when examined in detail. BP’s former chief executive, Lord (then John) Browne, did once consider a merger, at a time when his company was top dog. Shell is now the stronger party. It has a solid balance-sheet, and there are some attractive synergies and cost savings to be had.

But big, hostile bids are not the Anglo-Dutch company’s style. It has a lot on its plate. Its big bets on gas and Alaskan drilling are not going well. Whereas BP sold assets when oil prices were high, Shell is now scrambling to do the same at a time when takers are few. This week it had to scrap a huge petrochemicals project in Qatar.

Melding together the two firms’ cultures might be no easier than if Exxon were the buyer. BP has never quite shed its imperial ways, including a climate in which employees feel nervous about bringing the boss bad news. Shell is an engineering-driven company, which sees itself as flatter and more collaborative. Anti-monopoly worries would require complicated and risky untangling of downstream assets—and in hard times.

The risks and costs of trying to buy BP, and then absorbing it, may be enough to make potential predators think twice about having a go right now. And there are plenty of other oil firms they could buy, that would not come with BP’s baggage. But if the oil price stays low, or if BP’s condition worsens for other reasons, all bets are off. The company has changed a lot in the past decade. To guarantee its independence it will have to do even more now.

SOURCE

Shell fined nearly $1 million for falsely selling green motor fuel

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 21.26.18SHELL FOUND TO HAVE MISLABELLED ULTRA-LOW SULFUR DIESEL

From ClickGreen staff. Published Tuesday 20 Jan 2015 under the headline:

Shell slapped with near-$1 million fine for falsely selling green motor fuel

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a settlement with three companies affiliated with Shell Oil Company to resolve Clean Air Act violations, including selling gasoline and diesel fuel that did not conform to federal standards.

The violations resulted in excess emissions of harmful air pollutants from motor vehicles, which pose public health threats and environmental impacts. The companieswill pay a $900,000 penalty to resolve these violations.

“Fuel standards established under the Clean Air Act play a major role in controlling harmful air pollution from vehicles and engines,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 21.40.11“If unchecked, these pollutants can seriously impair the air we breathe, especially during summer months when they can reach higher levels. This settlement makes clear that if companies fail to produce fuels that comply with federal standards, they will be held accountable.”

Actions by three companies affiliated with Shell Oil Company—Deer Park Refining Limited Partnership, Motiva Enterprises LLC, and Equilon Enterprises LLC, which does business as Shell Oil Products US—are alleged to have resulted in violations of the provisions of the Clean Air Act that ensure the production, testing and sale of high-quality vehicle and engine fuels in the United States. Specifically, EPA alleged that:

• Shell sold mislabeled diesel fuel—fuel labeled ultra-low sulfur diesel that was actually low sulfur fuel—at two gas stations in Northern Virginia. EPA inspectors discovered the violations at the stations, one of which came after receiving a complaint from a consumer. Low sulfur diesel fuel contains up to 500 parts per million of sulfur; ultra-low sulfur diesel may not exceed 15 parts per million of sulfur.

• Shell sold over 4.2 million gallons of gasoline that exceeded a fuel standard for volatility, known as the Reid Vapor Pressure level, that helps control ground level ozone during summer months. Gasoline with higher volatility results in increased emissions of volatile organic compounds, which contribute to the formation of ground level ozone. Breathing ozone can trigger a variety of health problems, particularly for children, the elderly and people who have lung diseases such as asthma.

• Shell distributed about 700,000 gallons of gasoline from its Sewaren, New Jersey terminal that contained elevated levels of ethanol. Excess ethanol in gasoline can harm emission control components on some vehicles and engines. The Reformulated Gasoline Survey Association, an organization that works to improve industry compliance with Clean Air Act fuel standards, identified the fuel with excess ethanol after surveying Shell retail stations in Irvington, N.J. and Staten Island, N.Y., and notified EPA.

• Shell failed to follow various protocols for sampling, testing, reporting and recordkeeping requirements that help ensure compliance of its fuel with federal standards. Shell proactively reported some of these violations to EPA. Recordkeeping, reporting, sampling and testing violations reduce EPA’s ability to know whether fuels meet certain standards and can lead to increased vehicle emissions.

SOURCE ARTICLE

RELATED

Shell Oil Co. affiliates to pay $900,000 to settle EPA charges: The Hill.com

In a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency, three Shell Oil Co. affiliates will pay $900,000 for violating the vehicle fuel standards.

Shell companies violate Clean Air Act: Joplin Independent

The companies will pay a $900,000 penalty to resolve these violations.

Proof Errant Shell employees can end up in jail 

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 12.36.53By John Donovan

Shell employees can potentially end up financially destitute or in jail for acts of negligence, for lying or falsifying records on behalf of Shell, or when giving misleading evidence on behalf of Shell in a court case.

The news story below – Oil Worker Faces Stiff Penalties After Airport Spill – comes after years of claims from Shell senior management about the top priority it gives to safety issues.

Shell appointed a safety Czar in July 2007. 

In 2008, it was discovered that even the life boats on a Shell North Sea Oil rig were unseaworthy.

The Shell employee who is the subject of the news report is currently facing a long prison sentence for negligence and falsifying safety records – exactly the type of activity uncovered by a Shell official, Bill Campbell, when he led a safety audit on the Shell Brent Bravo North Sea platform in 1999. His report was ignored and Shell employees subsequently lost their lives in an explosion on the platform.

Basically, nothing seems to have changed at Shell in relation to safety issues, despite all the promises.

According to the news report by Curt Epstein:

A former Shell Pipeline employee is facing up to 15 years in prison and $19 million in restitution costs after pleading guilty in federal court to negligence that caused a 9,000-gallon jet fuel spill in 2012 at Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport. The worker, who had been with the company for two decades, was responsible for checking the integrity of pipelines that delivered fuel to the airport in accordance with the Pipeline Safety Act.

Lacking functioning monitoring equipment, which he apparently never sought to have replaced, he neglected to perform his bimonthly examinations and later, upon learning of a pending federal audit of the pipeline, falsified data suggesting the testing had been conducted and that the pipeline was in good condition. In fact, the pipeline was suffering from dangerous levels of corrosion. For six months in 2012, repairing the pipeline caused sporadic disruption in operations from the airport’s nearly 10,000-foot-long Runway 1/19.

Detoxifying Shell’s online image: Possible or Impossible? 

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 15.17.55By John Donovan 

Royal Dutch Shell has appointed Possible as its global digital agency, starting with corporate brand work.

Seems a safe assumption that one important aspect will be an attempt to detoxify the reputation of Shell, which has recently agreed to pay huge settlements of litigation arising from environmental pollution in Nigeria and the USA. Shell is said to be suffering from buyers remorse on the latter settlement deal.

Shell settles Nigerian oil spills claim for $83.5 million

Shell Halts $90-Million Payout for Toxic Neighborhood after Judge Says Deal Can’t Be Secret

Shell’s track record stretching back through the decades is horrendous. It includes financial and moral support for some of the most evil regimes in history, starting with Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.

The worlds biggest ship, The Pieter Schelte, named after an officer in the murderous Waffen SS jailed for war crimes, is currently having final equipment installed in Rotterdam before starting work for Shell in the North Sea. Shell has not disassociated itself from this obscene affront to the many millions of Jews and other victims, who perished in the holocaust. 

Possible will find that there is a certain amount of confusion on the Internet over the online presence of its client. According to some search engines the website on which this article appears is the official Royal Dutch Shell website. Just search Royal Dutch Shell on Bing. 

There is also some online confusion about who founded and owns Royal Dutch Shell?  

Some would say that the Internet has been poisoned for Shell as a result of it being a relatively low cost medium, which its many detractors, including NGO’s and ordinary people, can use to draw attention to Shell’s activities, including Shell’s plunder, corruption and pollution in Nigeria. 

There has also been extensive online coverage of Shell’s disastrous foray into Alaska/Arctic waters.

Interior secretary: ‘Shell screwed up’ drilling in Alaska Arctic

Lets hope Possible welcomes a challenge. It might prove to be an impossible task. 

Worlds leading source of information about Royal Dutch Shell

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 10.01.10Free access to over 37,000 articles, comment, historical information and news archive relating to corporate tax dodgers Royal Dutch Shell, the worlds largest company by revenue.

A TV documentary feature about our co-founder John Alfred Donovan, has aired in many countries. A related article was published in 10 languages.

John Alfred Donovan is credited on zoominfo.com as being the founder, owner and Group Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell. In a highly reputable book published in 2014, he is unmasked as being a former employee of Shell Corporate Affairs Security. He is in fact a long term shareholder in Royal Dutch Shell Plc and its predecessor, Shell Transport & Trading Company Limited.

This website provides a global platform, on a responsible basis, for Shell whistleblowers to put confidential information, including insider information and leaked documents, into the public domain e.g. Sakhalin2

This non-profit website is tacitly endorsed by Shell

For nearly a decade, we have operated under the Royal Dutch Shell Plc top level domain name, dealing on Shell’s reluctant behalf with redirecting job applications, business proposals, Shell pension enquiries, shareholder and investment enquiries, complaints, invitations to speak at conferences, an approach from the Dutch Defence Ministry, contact on behalf of Fox Business News and CNBC, and even terrorist threats. All communications meant for Shell. A humiliation that Shell continues to endure

If confused about the relationship between John Alfred Donovan and Shell, please be assured that the same applies to Shell.

Shell's Ben van Beurden bows to Putin on Good Friday, 18 April 2014

Bootlicker: Shell’s Ben van Beurden bows to Putin on Good Friday, 18 April 2014, weeks after Russia had invaded and annexed Crimea

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