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Shell Out of Africa? An email sent yesterday on behalf of Shell CEO Peter Voser

By John Donovan

The Daily Nation reported earlier this week speculation that Shell is “planning to quit 20 African countries” saying that it had received confirmation that “Shell intends to sell its refinery, storage and retail businesses from nations where it still operates”.

According to the article, on January 4, the French State-funded public broadcaster Radio France Internationale reported that Shell is expected to make a partial withdrawal from the African continent this year.

The article goes on to say: “In 2008, Royal Dutch Shell, Europe’s largest oil company moved away from 15 African countries, although it holds on to its most lucrative activities; exploration and production.”

A former Shell employee was in email correspondence yesterday with Shell on this subject. Printed below is self-explanatory reply sent on behalf of Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive Officer, Peter Voser, plus my own related emails to the author of the reply, Shell Global Spokesperson, Shaun D. Wiggins.

The former Shell employee who initiated the email correspondence says:

“Shell is a healthy economy onto itself in Africa. Should they pull out, the impact on the African economy would be devastating . Think of little people working at refineries, gas stations etc. The objectives of the potential buyers such as the government of  Libya or China is yet to be determined and I don’t believe either government really cares about individual citizens of the African Continent. With African well-being hardly inching up the development indices, we must realize that Libya and China are not the answer.”

Readers can draw their own conclusions on Shell plans from the correspondence.

EMAIL DATED 6 JAN 2009 SENT On BEHALF OF ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC CEO PETER VOSER

From: <[email protected]>
Date: Jan 6, 2010 3:31 AM
Subject: Shell in Africa
To:

Mr.

News Year’s greetings to you and  good day, I hope you are doing well.  My name is Shaun Wiggins, and I am writing you because Peter asked me to respond to your recent email concerning Shell pulling out of Africa.

Like any competitive business, Shell actively manages its global portfolio and is always seeking opportunities to improve profitability.  We continuously review our global downstream portfolio in line with our More Upstream, Profitable Downstream approach to capital allocation.  As part of our strategy we talk with third parties from time to time.  These conversations are confidential.  We do understand that these matters can cause a wide degree of interest.  Even so, I can say that we are currently not in negotiations with any third parties.

Best,
Shaun

Shaun D. Wiggins
Shell International B.V.
Global Spokesperson
Carel van Bylandtlaan 16
2501 AN The Hague, The Netherlands
Tel: +31 70 377 6201
Mobile: +31 62 559 9672
Press Office: +31 70 377 3600
Duty Pager: +44 7659 129 454
Email: [email protected]
Internet: <http://www.shell.com/media>
Internet: <http://blogs.shell.com/climatechange>
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShellMediaRDS

EMAIL FROM JOHN DONOVAN TO SHELL GLOBAL SPOKESPERSON, SHAUN WIGGINS

From: John Donovan <[email protected]>
Date: 6 January 2010 17:13:05 GMT
To: [email protected]
Cc:
Subject: Shell pulling out of Africa

Dear Mr Wiggins

I have been supplied with a copy of an email response you sent earlier today on behalf of Mr Peter Voser. It is reproduced below.

I operate a news based website royaldutchshellplc.com.

What is striking about your email is that you did not simply state that Shell is not pulling out of Africa. Although you said that Shell is not currently in negotiations, as matters stand, there is no categorical denial, thus leaving the impression from your mention of undefined confidential discussions with third parties, that such a withdrawal is in prospect.

Could you kindly clarify the situation?

Best Regards
John Donovan

EMAIL FROM JOHN DONOVAN TO SHELL GLOBAL SPOKESPERSON, SHAUN WIGGINS

From: John Donovan <[email protected]>
Date: 7 January 2010 09:40:14 GMT
To: [email protected]
Subject: Out of Africa

Hello Mr Wiggins

Unless I hear from you by noon UK time today to the contrary, I will take the lack of a denial as confirmation that Shell is planning to exit Africa and will publish an article along with the entire chain of email correspondence.

You may also wish to comment on the article below which I have just published. If you are able to categorically state that the rumor is without foundation, it will be removed immediately.

Graeme Henderson, MD of Brunei Shell, given 24 hours to leave the country?

Best Regards
John Donovan
RoyalDutchShellPlc.com

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