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SHELL EMPLOYEE HEALTH AND SAFETY: THE PROPAGANDA VERSUS THE ATROCIOUS TRACK RECORD

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SHELL EMPLOYEE HEALTH AND SAFETY:

THE PROPAGANDA VERSUS THE ATROCIOUS TRACK RECORD:

A GREEDY OIL GIANT TOO MEAN AND RUTHLESS TO EVEN MAINTAIN SERVICEABILITY AND SAFETY OF NORTH SEA OIL PLATFORM LIFEBOATS… 

THE PROPAGANDA: FROM Royal Dutch Shell plc Annual Report and Form 20-f for the year ended December 31, 2007

Extracts from Page 13: Risk Factors

HEALTH, SAFETY, SECURITY AND ENVIRONMENT (HSSE)

Given the range and complexity of Shell’s daily operations, our potential HSSE risks cover a wide spectrum. These risks include major process safety incidents; failure to comply with approved policies; effects of natural disasters and pandemics; social unrest; civil war and terrorism; exposure to general operational hazards; personal health and safety; and crime. The consequences of such risks materialising can be injuries, loss of life, and environmental harm and disruption to business activities. Depending on their cause and severity, they can affect Shell’s reputation, operational performance and financial position.

Extracts from Pages 68/69:

OPERATING OUR FACILITIES SAFELY

We are committed to preventing incidents – such as spills, fires and accidents – that place our people, the environment and our facilities at risk. We are investing to keep our facilities safe and we are working hard to strengthen our safety culture further. We require that all Shell companies, contractors and the joint ventures we control operate in line with our HSSE standards. This means managing HSSE risks in a systematic way, including having each site understand all major risks and be able to show, through regular audits, that they are managing them to a level “as low as reasonably practicable”. It also involves having major facilities certified to international environmental standards, such as ISO14001, and having emergency response plans in place – and regularly tested – that minimise damage in the event of an incident. In 2007, we clarified, simplified and tightened our requirements further, introducing new process safety and road safety standards to make it easier to understand the requirements and check they are being implemented.

We investigate serious incidents and near misses, and share the lessons we learn with other parts of our business and other companies in our industry to help prevent similar incidents happening again. We know that processes and systems must be translated into safe behaviour. In 2007, we launched “Goal Zero” which aims to achieve zero fatalities, zero accidents and zero significant incidents. We held two company-wide safety days – inviting our main contractors to participate – to recognise the importance of safe behaviour; and we launched the Chief Executive’s HSSE awards to reward and share examples of excellent safety performance. Our award-winning Hearts and Minds programme, introduced in 2004, continues to drive home the need for every employee to stop unsafe behaviour when they spot it in line with the three easy-to remember prompts of our HSSE Golden Rules: “comply, intervene, respect.” We continue to check that staff responsible for tasks with a significant HSSE risk have the necessary training and skills.

http://www.shell.com/static/investor-en/downloads/financial_information/reports/2007/2007_annual_report.pdf

THE TRACK RECORD: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Royal Dutch Shell safety concerns

Oil and gas production platforms in the North Sea have always been a hazardous work environment. On 6 July 1988 there was a devastating fire as a result of leaking gas on the “Piper Alpha” drilling platform owned by Occidental Petroleum. 167 of the 226 men on board perished in what according to a BBC report is still “the world’s worst-ever offshore oil disaster”.

By comparison, the record of other operators is good. The energy multi-national Royal Dutch Shell, has faced campaigning activity on its safety record and Health and Safety working practices, particularly in relation to its North Sea platforms, following the tragic death of only two offshore workers after a gas leak on its Brent Bravo platform on 11 September 2003. Representations made by offshore unions and by Bill Campbell, the retired HSE Group Auditor of Shell International, have attracted the attention of the news media resulting in numerous articles being published on the subject. Shell has consistently maintained following the Brent Bravo accident, that it gives first priority to the safety of offshore workers and all Shell employees.

Contents 

Developments in March 2007

In March 2007, several newspapers published articles in relation to Royal Dutch Shell safety issues.

On 5 March 2007, The Guardian newspaper published an article under the headline “Shell safety record in North Sea takes a hammering”. It reported that Shell had been warned repeatedly by the UK Health and Safety Executive - the “HSE” – regarding the poor state of the company’s North Sea platforms. The article stated that on 13 November 2006, Shell had been served with “a rebuke and a legal notice that it was failing to operate safely”. An Aberdeen sheriff’s court had previously ruled in a Fatal Accident Inquiry that Shell could have prevented two deaths on the Brent Bravo platform if it had properly carried out a repair. Shell had earlier admitted responsibility for the Brent Bravo accident. According to The Guardian, on the day of the sheriff’s report, the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee had complained that the Brent Bravo platform still had “leaks, dangerous stairs, and lifts left broken for six months”.The article went on to say that in the summer of 2006, Shell had said that it was in the middle of a $1bn (£515m) programme to upgrade the platforms, claiming: “Safety is and will remain our first priority.” The Guardian report drew attention to the HSE website which said that Shell was “issued with 10 improvement notices during 2006” and also pointed out that “Notices are served where the HSE considers a company is operating unlawfully with unacceptable risks”. The article also revealed that “Last year, Shell was embarrassed when Bill Campbell, one of its senior safety consultants, claimed the company was operating a weak safety regime and said some employees had been falsifying documents. Shell denied the charges, but Mr Campbell has been threatening the company with a defamation case”.

On 15 March 2007, The Wall Street Journal published an article on its online “Energy Blog” under the headline: “Shell’s Safety Problem”. The article compared the safety record of Shell with its rival BP, which has been heavily criticised for its poor safety standards since the deadly Texas City Refinery (BP) explosion in 2005. The Wall Street Journal highlighted the fact that “Royal Dutch Shell was a far more dangerous company to work for in the past two years” and also pointed out that according to an annual report filed by Shell with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on 14 March 2007, 37 Shell employees and contractors died in 2006, compared with just 7 BP employees. In the same filing, Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer was quoted as stating: “Our safety performance in 2006 was mixed” and “We have responded by reinforcing our safety focus through a dedicated global safety function that will improve compliance with standards and procedures worldwide.”

On 20 March 2007, The Wall Street Journal published an “Energy Blog” article on its website under the headline “Shell’s Record Worse Than BP’s”. The article cited a comment in a Wall Street Journal “Energy Roundup” report which said “…though BP has been chastised for its safety record in the past two years, it has not lost as many employees and contractors to death as rival Royal Dutch Shell, which employs roughly the same number of people”. The article also referred to a Financial Times story published on 20 March 2007 under the headline “Safety record is put in the spotlight” which had expanded the Shell/BP comparison to include several oil majors over more years. It quoted from the FT story: “Since 2003, the first year of the Times’s study, Shell has had more global employee and contractor deaths than the other four”. Shell has appointed a global vice-president for health, safety and environment to tackle safety problems and has pointed out that it operates in the dangerous Niger Delta, where militant attacks accounted for 9 of its fatalities in 2006. An update has subsequently been added to the Wall Street Journal article explaining why the headline has changed to “FT Data: Is Shell’s Record Worse Than BP’s? It explains “While it may be true Shell has had more deaths than BP in at least the past couple of years (which we’ve confirmed in their annual reports), it’s worth noting that these tallies are not necessarily the best measure of a company’s safety record, as they do not account for the number of accidents per worker.”

Resolution of Shell safety problems may impact on CEO succession

Concern over Shell safety issues has led to media speculation that the subject may impact on the appointment of a successor to Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive, Jeroen van der Veer, who is retiring in 2009. An article published by The Guardian on 29 March 2007, under the headline “Van der Veer – a safe pair of hands?” stated in reference to Van der Veer, “The one big area where he has fallen down is safety”. It went on to remind readers that the newspaper had revealed a few weeks earlier that Shell had “continued to receive warnings from theHealth and Safety Executive that it is acting illegally with regard to safety in the North Sea”. The article concluded that “Mr van der Veer needs to bring a halt to this, and so does exploration and production boss Malcolm Brinded if he wants to stand any chance of taking over the top job”. Another article published by the Guardian on the same day, 29 March 2007, under the headline “Shell chief to stay an extra year beyond company retirement age”, also contained commentary linking the succession with safety issues. It stated: ”There will be a struggle to replace Mr van der Veer among the three managing directors: Malcolm Brinded, head of exploration, Linda Cook at gas and power, and finance director Peter Voser. Mr Brinded, 54, has been seen as a frontrunner but might be vulnerable over North Sea safety after revelations an internal audit found violations of safety procedures and the alleged falsification of compliance documents. Shell denied the latter charge”.

The Brent Bravo accident and aftermath

The only fatal accident for which there is detailed information available is for the Brent Bravo North Sea platform tragedy. Brent Bravo, located about 180 miles east of the Shetland Isles, is one of four oil production and storage platforms in the UK northern sector of the North Sea that make up the Brent field. On 11 September 2003, two platform workers, Sean McCue, 22, of Kennoway in Fife, and Keith Moncrieff, 45, of Invergowrie, Tayside, lost their lives after a sudden escape of gas in a platform leg where they were working. Sixty non-essential staff were evacuated from the platform by helicopter after the gas was detected. According to a BBC News report published the following day, Shell Expro Managing Director Tom Botts said that the emergency response system immediately shut down the platform. Jake Molloy, the leader of the offshore union Offshore Industry Liaison Committee -”OILC”, was quoted as saying that unions had already complained to the HSE about a backlog of maintenance and staffing issues in the Brent Field, particularly on the Brent Bravo platform. The article revealed that the HSE were investigating the accident. On 9 February 2005, a BBC News report revealed that Shell had been charged following the deaths of the two offshore workers. On 31 March 2005, The Scotsman newspaper reported that Shell had admitted at Stonehaven Sheriff Court breaching three health and safety charges in connection with the deaths.

On 27 April 2005, BBC News reported that Shell had been fined £900,000, “thought to be the biggest fine on a company following a North Sea accident” after admitting breaching health and safety regulations. Sheriff Patrick Davies said that a “substantial catalogue of errors” caused the deaths of the two men, but he had taken into account that Shell had “tendered guilty pleas at an early stage”. The two offshore workers who died had been asked to inspect a temporary repair patch on a safety-critical pipeline in the leg. The patch “had been a temporary repair for 10 months”.

On 18 July 2005, a BBC News report revealed that Scotland’s senior law officer, The Lord Advocate, had overturned a decision made by Crown counsel not to hold a fatal accident inquiry into the deaths of the two men on Brent Bravo on the basis that it would be in the “wider public interest” for an inquiry.

The Fatal Accident Inquiry Report into the deaths of SEAN SCOTT McCUE and KEITH SCOT MONCRIEFF was released in July 2006.

On 19 July 2006, an article about the findings of the Inquiry was published by The Times under the headline: “Unions call for manslaughter law after Shell deaths inquiry”. It reported that“The six-month investigation into the deaths on Brent Bravo in September 2003 concluded that the accident could have been avoided if Shell had done a proper repair of a pipe”. It went on to say “The victims, Keith Moncrieff and Sean McCue, died from a huge gas escape from an illegal repair to a corroded pipe when they descended into the concrete leg of the platform to make an inspection”. Shell was said to have accepted the inquiry findings. The Times article pointed out that Bill Campbell, a former Shell engineer, had come forward with details of a platform safety maintenance review carried in 1999 on the Brent Bravo platform. It said that Campbell’s audit team found “widespread violations of safety procedures and alleged falsification of records”. The article revealed that “Mr Campbell, who retired from Shell in 2002, believes that the Brent Bravo deaths could have been prevented had the company responded adequately to his finding that platform maintenance was being delayed to sustain oil and gas output. He tried to put his evidence to the inquiry, but the presiding sheriff declined to admit it on the ground that it was beyond the inquiry’s scope”. Shell was quoted as accepting the 1999 audit’s findings, saying that it responded with improvements. However Shell insisted that there was no verifiable evidence of falsification by platform management as Campbell had alleged.

Allegations made by Bill Campbell, former HSE Group Auditor of Shell International

In June and July 2006, over a dozen articles were published by the news media revealing serious allegations by Bill Campbell, a former Shell International Group Auditor, whose name, as a result, is now inextricably linked with the Brent Bravo story.

Campbell’s allegations were the subject of a programme broadcast by BBC Scotland’s investigative current affairs BBC 1 TV programme Frontline Scotland in a feature entitled: “The Human Price of Oil”. An article relating to the programme was published by BBC News under the headline “Shell ignored accident warning”, one of a number of BBC news reports on the subject. The Guardian newspaper published three articles, the first with the headline “Shell accused over oil rig safety”; the second entitled “Call for inquiry into oil rig safety regulatorand the third “Shell confesses to poor North Sea safety record and pledges reform” A series of articles was also published by Upstream Online a respected weekly petroleum industry publication which also operates a related petroleum news website.

One of the most astonishing allegations was that “top directors of Shell Expro in Aberdeen, the UK arm of the Anglo-Dutch group, allegedly sanctioned a policy widely known as Touch Fuck All (TFA) whereby offshore installation managers were told to stop any work with the potential to cause unplanned shutdowns”. The following paragraph is also taken from the same article by UpstreamOnline entitled “Shell in the safety firing line”.

“The allegations levelled by Campbell against Malcolm Brinded, Shell’s group chief executive for global E&P, who was in charge of the UK business at the time, and his oil director Chris Finlayson, who is now country president of Shell Russia, claim the two men ran an operation where production took priority over safety concerns”.

Shell was quoted as rejecting Campbell’s charges. Shell said “The allegation regarding operating with high-risk levels is untrue and we absolutely refute this. Safety is and will remain our first priority offshore”.

On 31 August 2007, The Guardian newspaper published an article profiling Jeroen van der Veer, the Chief Executive of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. The article by Guardian journalist Terry Macalister stated in reference to Van der Veer: “He also makes clear he was hurt by the coverage of another fiasco – when a Shell consultant, Bill Campbell, blew the whistle on safety breaches in the North Sea.”

Concerns expressed by Bill Campbell

On 1 September 2007, The Daily Mail newspaper published an article about a safety campaign conducted jointly by Bill Cambell and the website royaldutchshellplc.com. The article said: “ROYAL Dutch Shell is getting rattled by a ‘gripe site’ that alleges there are safety problems with its North Sea oil platforms.” The article revealed “An internal Shell email admits the firm has been thrown ‘on the back foot’ because of claims put forward on the Royaldutchshellplc.com website.” It went on to say “Campbell has emailed hundreds of MPs alleging Shell hasn’t yet properly tackled health and safety failings.” The article featured a number of quotes from Shell internal emails revealing a state of uncertainty at Shell about how to deal with the allegations. One stated: “As it stands we’re on the back foot and our aim should be to develop a strategy (or options) that puts us in a more positive and secure position.”[citation needed]

In his letter to MP’s, Campbell stated: “I am a former Group Auditor of Shell International. I am writing to you on a matter of conscience in an effort to avert the inevitability of another major accident in the North Sea“.

In response to the allegations, a Royal Dutch Shell spokesman was quoted in the Daily Mail article as saying: ‘Safety is Shell’s foremost priority at all times. Shell strongly disputes any suggestion that we would compromise safety offshore. No fatalities are acceptable.’

The Daily Telegraph published an article on Saturday, 9 September 2007 with the headline: “Pressure on Shell over safety of platforms.” It said: “Royal Dutch Shell is facing a growing campaign about alleged poor safety on several North Sea oil platforms, with Britain’s biggest trade union and a former executive of the company calling on MPs and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to investigate.” It went on to say “Mr Campbell, who has teamed up with a website that has been highly critical of Shell, appears to be of increasing concern to the company.”

Offshore unions voice safety concerns over pending sale of Shell North Sea assets

On 6 September 2007, BBC News reported that “Two offshore unions have called on the Health and Safety Executive to investigate Shell’s operations in the North Sea The unions were seeking “reassurances over worker safety”. They claimed “Morale is also at an all-time low and the departure of several key personnel has created gaps in safety critical positions…” The concerns stem from the pending sale of some Shell North Sea assets. The unions said that following Shell’s announcement that the installations were for being put up sale“communications between the company and the offshore workforce had deteriorated to the point it was impacting on operational safety.”

An article also published on 6 September 2007 by The Aberdeen Press & Journal, stated “Graham Tran, regional officer with the Unite union’s Amicus section, and the OILC’s Jake Molloy, say there are gaps in “safety-critical positions” on Shell installations which are up for sale.” The article went on to say “A joint statement from the unions says morale on the Shell installations is at an all-time low and that several key workers have left the company in disgust at the treatment they have received.”

On 4 October 2007 Christopher Hopson of UpstreamOnline, the leading oil industry publication, reported on high level talks between the UK’s Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and Shell in relation to complaints by off shore worker unions over important safety issues. The article said that sources who attended the HSE meeting with management and staff on Cormorant Alpha revealed that the safety watchdog discovered a number of serious problems in the way the installation was being operated. According to the UpstreamOnline article, Jake Molloy, the general secretary of OILC, claimed his members on Cormorant Alpha “believed the validity of their complaints had been upheld and were awaiting the final HSE report to confirm this was the case.”

Oil majors send safety chiefs to summit as criticisms mount

On 14 September 2007, The Independent newspaper reported in an article headlined “Oil majors send safety chiefs to summit as criticisms mount” that “Senior directors from the world’s largest oil companies have agreed to attend a summit meeting next month in order to discuss working together to tackle health and safety issues.” The article went on to say that “Heads of safety from oil majors including BP, Shell and Total will meet together for the first time in order to agree a joint approach to improving the industry’s safety record.” According to the article the “summit meeting” results from increasing concern among oil company executives “that a series of disasters and safety failures is jeopardising their reputation and damaging business prospects.” Shell was said to be sending its head of safety, Kieron McFadyen, to the safety summit.

Health and Safety Executive partially uphold claims about Shell safety

On 8 November 2007, BBC News reported that “The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has partially upheld claims that Shell was not doing enough to ensure safety offshore” and thatShell has taken action to address the matters. The article said that the offshore unions Unite Amicus and OILC had asked the HSE to investigate claims from their members which “focused” on manning levels and the attitude of platform management. The article went on to say: “The investigation concluded that aspects of the complaint were justified”. Graham Tran, an official of the Unite Amicus Union was quoted as saying he believed Shell should leave the North Sea as it has “no credibility”. Shell said the company was fully co-operating with the HSE and that it continues to keep its staff and the HSE informed.

Under the headline “More safety breaches found on Shell’s North Sea rigs”, The Guardian newspaper reported on the same day, 8 November 2007, that “Shell has once again been rapped over the knuckles by the Health and Safety Executive for safety problems on its North Sea platforms despite pledges from chief executive Jeroen van der Veer that he was determined to change the culture after problems in the past”. The HSE confirmed that it had upheld complaints about staff levels and operational procedures on five platforms, including Cormorant Alpha and Dunlin Alpha, and asked Shell to take immediate action. The article went on to say: “Shell, which earned £1.5m an hour last year, has been through a torrid time over North Sea safety since one of its own most experienced inspectors, Bill Campbell, blew the whistle on his employer claiming that safety procedures were being repeatedly ignored on some platforms.” Shell said it would not comment “in-depth” on the HSE statement saying that an investigation was continuing. Shell pledged to fully co-operate with the HSE and keep Shell staff informed. The article ended with forthright comments attributed to Gran Tran of the Unite Union expressing fears for the ongoing safety of the workforce on the platforms.

On 22 November 2007, the Guardian newspaper published a further article, this time under the headline: “More than half of North Sea oil rigs fail safety checks”. It stated that “The safety regime at Britain’s North Sea oil operators was condemned yesterday in a report by the Health and Safety Executive.” According to the HSE report, which was based on a study covering nearly 100 North Sea rigs and platforms, inspections had revealed almost 60% had problems that oil companies should have addressed. The article said “Shell is one of those that has been handed a large number of HSE ‘improvement notices’ in recent years and been criticised by its own workforce, although the group itself denies that safety is not top of its agenda.”The HSE report was also covered in a Daily Telegraph article published on 23 November 2007, headlined: “HSE sounds alarm over rigs”

February 2008 allegations of safety concerns over Shell North Sea rigs

On Friday 1 February 2008, Channel 4 News led its flagship evening news programme with a 7 minute package entitled: “Shell North Sea safety concerns”. A related article on its website, where a video clip of the TV news report can be viewed, said: Shell is Britain’s highest ever earning company, announcing profits of £13.9b, but the oil giant is being accused by its workforce of “a severe lack of commitment to safety”. The package contained allegations from a “Royal Dutch Shell insider” alleging critical safety systems on one platform were not working properly and that the safety culture at Shell has shifted from ‘doing the right thing’ to ‘mend and make do’. The presenter Jon Snow said that although Shell had declined an invitation for an interview, the company had insisted the claims were unfounded and safety is its top priority.

On 4 February 2008, The Sunday Telegraph published an article by Russell Hotten entitled “Shell rejects North Sea rig safety fears”. According to the article: Safety conditions on Shell’s five oil platforms in the North Sea have been called into question amid a row over alleged “industrial gangsterism” and claims that a manager in charge of the rigs believes the backlog of maintenance has reached “appalling levels”. The newspaper said that it had seen a leaked email in which a manager said “Backlog on safety critical systems is at appalling levels by any standard and is an issue with the HSE.” The manager warned that the HSE could close the operations. Jake Molloy, the general secretary of the OILC Union claimed it was an admission by Shell that standards on the platforms were poor. He called on the company to put some of its record profits into improving things. Shell said in response: “Safety is our top priority. Two years ago Shell started a $1.2bn asset integrity programme. It is approximately 70 per cent complete.” Shell is further quoted as saying “A number of allegations have been made by unions and staff regarding safety since an announcement on June 14 2007 of plans to offer these assets to potential purchasers. These allegations have been investigated by the HSE and a number of issues have been worked on. However, the HSE has seen no need to either seize any production or to serve any improvement notices.”

On 17 February 2008, the Glasgow Sunday Mail (Scotland) published an article by Kurt Bayer headlined “Shell Shock”. The same email from The Sunday Telegraph article was quoted, including the part saying “Backlog on safety critical systems is at appalling levels…” The article said that the manager who sent it, but denies using the term “appalling”, “seems frantic about a backlog of safety work and terrified of action by Government watchdogs”. It was described as a “foul-mouthed email” demanding the workers do overtime to tackle a “safety crisis”. Graham Tran of Unite Union, was quoted as saying: “Every time I get a call from Shell I dread somebody is going to tell me there has been a major accident. The situation has become a ticking time bomb, an accident waiting to happen“. A Shell spokesman maintained: “Safety is our top priority.”

Shell admits blame for near disaster at Merseyside Refinery

On 23 February 2008 The Liverpool Post published an article under the headline: “Shell admits blame for near disaster at Stanlow”. It reported that “OIL giant Shell has admitted blame for a potentially lethal gas leak at a Merseyside refinery” and said that Shell had pleaded guilty on 22 February 2008 at Chester Crown Court to charges that for several years in the run up to the incident in May 2003, it had failed to comply with regulations covering control of major accident hazards. The article stated: “The energy company has admitted blame for allowing a safety pipe to corrode so badly that it split wide open.” Although no-one was injured Judge Roger Dutton was advised that “if it had exploded, there would have been multiple casualties.”Simon Parrington, prosecuting for the Health and Safety Executive was quoted as saying: “The escape of gas was caused by Shell’s failure to properly inspect and maintain the pipe. The issue we are concerned with is the toxicity of the gas. It is lethal and could have caused many fatalities.” Mr Parrington stated in court that “if, by chance, the jet of toxic gas leaked from the bottom instead of the top of the pipe, it could have sparked a chain of events leading to death and the destruction of key sections of the plant”. He said that the six-inch pipe in question had been neglected for years. Mr Parrington made the point: “This is a company which has posted £13.7bn in profits and it has huge resources at its disposal.” Graham Wells, acting for the defendant Shell UK, disputed the exact cause of the corrosion inside the pipe but conceded: “The defendant accepts this was a serious matter. The process is one which uses hazardous chemicals and the escape happened because the pipe was corroded. Pipes should not corrode and this is the basis of the guilty plea.” Yuri Sebregts, the General Manager of the Stanlow plant, was quoted as saying: “We responded quickly after the event and since then we have co-operated fully with the HSE in their investigation. Changes have been made to the plant and procedures to ensure the problem will not re-occur.” The Judge adjourned the hearing for sentencing at a later date. A report of the same news story by The Press Association featured in Fleetwood Weekly News on 22 February 2008 stated that: “A HSE inspection of the entire Stanlow site after the incident found no further cause for concern.”

Shell safety critical issues raised in March 2008

On 14 March 2008, UpstreamOnline published an article under the headline: “Pressure rises on Shell”. The article by Christopher Hopson said that Shell is still “feeing the heat” from its Brent Bravo safety record and reported “Shell is under mounting pressure to explain its poor North Sea safety record after fresh revelations showed it has been by far the worst performer in the play, receiving six out of a total of 18 legal notices issued by the UK’s Health&Safety Executive (HSE) over a two-and-a-half year period.” The article revealed that Shell had received more notices than any other operator working in the UK North Sea. The disclosures emerged after a Channel 4 TV News report about serious safety failings on Brent Bravo following an inspection of the platform carried out by the HSE in 2005. Shell was quoted as saying: “On our platforms we employ systems under which our people inspect and maintain safety critical equipment. Our goal is 100% compliance on planned corrective safety critical maintenance on all our platforms.”

In a separate article headlined “Lifeboats trouble at Brent field” also published on 14 March 2008, UpstreamOnline revealed “SHELL’s safety record on its Brent Bravo platform in the UK Northern North Sea is once again under scrutiny after the discovery of technical problems with two lifeboats on the installation that resulted in both of them being removed from service.”Jake Molloy, general secretary of the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee was quoted in the article by Christopher Hopson as claiming “If they had loaded up this particular lifeboat, the chances are it could have been launched into the sea in an uncontrolled fashion which would have caused death or injury as it was held in place by corrosion and not by the designed system”. The article said that problems had been found with a second lifeboat on the Brent Bravo platform. It also reported that a lifeboat had launched itself into the sea from Shell’s Tern platform because the brakes and clutches were “dysfunctional” and had damaged the launch mechanism off the platform. Shell confirmed problems had been discovered with two lifeboats on Brent Bravo during “routine maintenance”. Shell was quoted as stating that it viewed the matter seriously and had “mobilised an investigation team on the platform”.

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