29 October 2006
By John Donovan
A posting on our Live Chat facility on Saturday (28 October) questioned the authenticity of an outspoken email that former senior Shell manager Hans Bouman sent to Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer. The posting said that the email is “very worrying if its genuine”.
In fact its authenticity has been verified by more than one source including a Shell insider who has direct contact with Mr Bouman. To say that the email is “very worrying” is a massive understatement bearing in mind the seriousness of the allegation that Van der Veer is surrounded by “sycophants, bullies and those without personal integrity”. Some are even described by Bouman as “megalomaniacs”.
It is important to stress that these astonishing comments were not made by some uninformed outside source, but by Hans Bouman, the senior Shell manager who ran the giant Groningen field in the Netherlands. According to our contacts, Bouman worked for Shell for over 30 years and is known personally by Van der Veer and other most senior Shell directors. The credibility of his comments is heightened by the fact that he is apparently held in the very highest regard by his peers as being a man of vision and integrity with a wide ranging expert knowledge of Shell operations. In other words, a man who knows what he is talking about and whose candid well informed views should be treated with the utmost respect.
The blunt analysis set out by Hans Bouman in his email to Van der Veer is compatible with our own conclusions about the deep malaise at the top management level which has destroyed Shell’s reputation for honesty and competence. As we have pointed out many times, Shell management has been saved by the one all important issue not in its control – the high price of oil. Matters in their control are going so disastrously wrong that Wikipedia has launched a new page focused entirely on Shell environmental and reputation issues, including the sinking flagship Sakhalin II project:
Leaked Shell internal emails containing illuminating comments about the Sakhalin II project were the subject of a recent MarketWatch article. The email correspondence was on that occasion between Hans Bouman and Engel van Spronsen, the then Technical Director of Sakhalin Energy (subsequently a Shell Vice-president). Both gentlemen are now retired from Shell: It is plain from reading the exchange that Spronsen valued the opinion of Bouman.
Related article: ShellNews.net: The Hans Bouman, Engel van Spronsen Sakhalin emails
We have more Bouman emails which will be published in due course. As we have previously stated, they are apparently viewed by Shell insiders as prized collectible items because of his outspoken, prophetic and lucid writing style.
This brings me to the case of a Shell Asset Integrity Engineer who expressed dissident views internally at Shell concerning serious management misdeeds which put profits before principles (and the safety of Shell employees lives). Former Shell geologist, Dr John Huong, a loyal decent Shell employee for almost 30 years, is still under threat of imprisonment in Malaysia at the behest of Shell management.
Dr Huong made the mistake of speaking the truth about this ethically flawed multinational giant. It was he who first questioned in internal correspondence a policy of duping shareholders about Shell’s hydrocarbon reserves. Eight Royal Dutch Shell companies subsequently joined forces to crush him in an unprecedented legal action launched in June 2004. Since then every conceivable trick has been used by Shell to drag out the litigation (year after year) and intimidate Dr Huong. The strategy is clear. Shell management is determined to silence him at all costs and to this end is prepared to destroy him physically and financially.
Please think about it? Have you ever heard of EIGHT giant companies ganging together to bury an unemployed family man in draconian High Court litigation involving multiple proceedings, including contempt of court?
I hold Shell management in contempt for such evil behaviour.
Jeroen van der Veer ignored an email from Dr Huong (prior to the onset of litigation) just as he appears to have done with the email he received from Bouman. Mr Van der Veer apparently only wants to hear good news. It is that policy which brought about the demise of the Tell Shell Forum for open discussion on www.shell.com.
It is now clear that we were not the only people ringing alarm bells about the unscrupulous arrogant bullyboys at the top of Shell.