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Criminal investigation of allegations concerning Shell employee safety issues

By John Donovan

Printed below is self-explanatory email correspondence relating to a Grampian Police investigation arising from allegations made by Mr. Bill Campbell, the former HSE Group Auditor of Shell International. His allegations relate to the Shell Brent Bravo Scandal and related issues, and a pending decision by the Scottish legal authority – the Procurator Fiscal – on whether to bring a prosecution.

The role of Royal Dutch Shell executive director Malcolm Brinded in this matter almost certainly cost him the top job at Shell. This is an extract from a Guardian newspaper article published on 29 March 2007: 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”.

EMAIL TO KEITH RUDDOCK, GENERAL COUNSEL UPSTREAM INTERNATIONAL, SHELL INTERNATIONAL B.V.

—-Original Message—–
From: John Donovan [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: 31 January 2010 14:39
To: Ruddock, Keith A SI-LSEP
Cc: [email protected]
Subject: Fwd: Update on dealings with CPS and Shell Chairman

Dear Mr Ruddock

Printed below is a self-explanatory email with attachments received from Mr Bill Campbell, the meticulous and highly respected former HSE Group Auditor of Shell International Limited.

Does Shell take issue with his account of his contact with Shell on these important matters and the related conclusions he has passed on to the Scottish legal authority? Does Shell take issue with the authenticity of any of the attachments? Does Shell object to the immediate publication of the email and/or any of the attachments? Does Shell wish to supply any comment for publication on an unedited basis along with the Campbell email and attachments?

If I have not received any response from Shell tomorrow, Monday 1 February, I will take that as confirmation that Shell accepts that the attachments are authentic; does not take issue with the conclusions reached by Mr Campbell; does not object to publication of any information in the Campbell email and attachments, and does not wish to provide any comment for publication.

If you need more time to consider your reply, that would not be a problem. Please advise accordingly tomorrow.

Kind Regards
John Donovan

EMAIL FROM BILL CAMPBELL

From: CambellXXXX.xxxxxx.com
Date: 29 January 2010 11:18:21 GMT
To: [email protected]
Subject: Update on dealings with CPS and Shell Chairman

John

Your comment re an update.

See below the line recent correspondence with Procurator Fiscal, Grampian Police and Shell Chairman and his Counsel Corporate a few days ago.  The Fiscal has not raised any objections as yet to the statement that in highlighting the criminal neglect of Shell, its Chairman and its then CEO that making this public is not in the public interest and contrary to that in Scotland as elsewhere members of the public are actively encouraged and supported in so doing. For Shells’s part Ollila has yet raised no objections or otherwise to the statements listed and to my opinion that he accepts these statements as factual.

What I mean by acceptance is not that he has formally written that he accepts them but that they are so serious, evidence for example that he and his CEO have been part of a criminal conspiracy, that if they were in any part not factual, not accurate, then he would have very quickly put pen to paper in robust denial.  Why he cannot, and I suggest will not do that, is that it compounds the evidence that he continues to be complicit.  Any rebuttal by Shell being seen as coming from him, and any rebuttal given to any journalist or other party (you for example) who approaches Shell giving then right of reply will I hope be passed to me and then passed straight to the Procurator Fiscal.

I am not able at present to make a final statement but when I do I suggest that with your encouragement and help we send that again to all MP’s as a follow up to the original Note to them in 2007.

It would be helpful if you approached Shell to test their reaction and if you want to print any of this you should do so as you see fit.  In due course I will copy the journalists who were fed lies in 2006. There should be no need to reply to this other than if you get push back to let me be aware of what this is if it is given in writing but otherwise you can use your execlent editorial skills as you see fit to make a story out of this if that is your wish.

My great desire is to clear my name and your web pages are obviously visited regularly by many Shell employees past and present.

———————————————————————————————————————————————–

Dear Procurator Fiscal

My understanding is that you may be nearing a decision point in your ongoing investigation.

To the matter of evidence, something that you are interested in, not perception, not allegation, but evidence, I pass to you some more, but only some of the evidence, you may not have seen. What I would not welcome is a failure to take action by you on the basis of insufficient evidence when in fact there is an abundance of evidence.

If you do not prosecute in the public interest then that is another matter and a decision you will have to stand audit against.

This evidence in the attachments shows clearly and beyond reasonable doubt that the Shell CEO supported as you are aware by his Chairman made strenuous, and in the case of the CEO personal efforts, to cover up the failures attributed to their Directors in Aberdeen both in 1999 and 2003.

I am sure Jorma Ollila has been advised to say very little for fear of incriminating himself.  However any denial from any Shell spokesman I suggest Procurator Fiscal should be viewed as a personal denial from him. Any such denial would give added substance to my allegation that he has acted as an accessory after the fact and was complicit in covering up the criminal neglect of his Directors for their negligence both in 1999 and from 2003 onwards. The Chairman will accept that the documents with header (as) marked confidential or strictly confidential are genuine documents, (as) standing for Shell Expro Audit Services.  Document 1 is a copy of just one page of many by Shell spokesman Stuart Bruseth who was a Vice President for Global Media Relations in 2006 as is an example of on the record responses at the time to the oil industry magazine Upstream.  The page in question was part of a response given to Upstream on Wednesday 14th June 2006, the day BBC Scotland televised its programme The Human Price of Oil.  Although asked to contribute to the programme both Shell and HSE declined to do so.  The Chairman will accept that this document is also genuine and if you require the full set of responses by Shell to Upstream then this can be provided.

My last involvement with the PSMR work was the Management Presentation in October 1999 and I had no part in the development of the documents after that date, including their issue or approval.  I say this because as you are aware the Shell press releases in June 2006 and thereafter clearly stated that the allegations against Shell were based on my perception, my false understanding or elaboration of the circumstances.  In some cases, for example in the correspondence between Stuart Bruseth and the Upstream Magazine, he on behalf of Shell, clearly states that my allegations in relation to falsification of maintenance records were simply not true. Subsequently in 2007 the Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer stated to the Guardian Newspaper and I paraphrase that he was personally hurt by my allegations and he claimed that BBC Scotland had much exaggerated the case against Shell to make its programme more appealing to its viewers.

The evidence I speak about is contained in the attachments as mainly Documentation where Shell via its Internal Audit Manager sets out in some detail the findings from the 1999 audit, the actions he recommends as a result of those verified findings and Doc 6 lists the agreed actions, the action party and the action implementation plan.  In total the documentation runs to about 50 pages with 25+ actions covering neglect of maintenance, unapproved design changes, operating plant in a dangerous condition, and violation or deviation from Company procedures all of which were determined by the public inquiry to be the factors leading to the fatal accident.  Part of the evidence clearly incriminates the Shell CEO in relation to falsification of maintenance records for safety critical equipment as explained below.

DENIAL – THE ATTACHED EVIDENCE

REFER to Documents 1 through to Document 5C

These cover denial of Goal Widening, denial that PSMR was an Audit, denial of Non Compliance, denial, including a personal denial by the CEO Van der Veer, that maintenance records were falsified.

FAILURE to IMPLEMENT the Recommended Actions that had been accepted by Directors

REFER to Documents 6 through to Document 9

Here you can follow the evidence trail from Actions related to the initiating event, that is a release of hydrocarbons from an unapproved temporary repair,  through to the Inquiry determination citing this as a main causal factor in the deaths.

As a second example I refer to failure in 1999 to rectify the violation of the Permit system.

The documentation trails from the initial audit findings through to the Inquiry determination.  This provides clear and irrefutable evidence in both cases that despite the 1999 audit findings being accepted with agreed actions, and with a timetable for implementation, there was clearly a failure to implement these actions, not only on Brent Bravo, but throughout the field.

That the Shell CEO and others were party to a cover-up of these failures is clear and you can compare the documented evidence with just a smidgen of the Shell rebuttals given to the press at the time.

Shell report highlighted lax safety standards

The Times of London dated June 18, 2006

An internal presentation of the PSMR report (1999) cited alarming instances of management failure: Violations included falsification of maintenance records for safety critical equipment and Violations of operating procedures were witnessed during the audits; these violations were in one case known and accepted by the asset manager. Many violations were known about by the workforce.

The Times of London dated June 23, 2006

Unions call for inquiry into safety at Shell

The PSMR report, details of which have been seen by The Times, indicates that the auditors found extensive violations including long deferrals of the testing of key safety equipment, including emergency shut-down systems, and the alleged falsification of maintenance records for safety equipment.

Shell’s response to the PSMR was inadequate, Mr Campbell said, pointing to a Shell internal integrity review after the accident at Brent in 2003 which found hundreds of procedure and maintenance violations and evidence that staff were afraid to flag up safety problems.   Shell rejects Mr Campbell’s allegation, in particular that it would do anything to compromise offshore safety. Shell said yesterday that a subsequent investigation failed to find definitive evidence of falsification. It said it responded in detail to the PSMR finding, setting up a team to confirm the integrity of offshore installations.

The CEO Mr van der Veer wrote to me directly after I had complained bitterly to him asking that he apologise to the Times and his reply of 3rd August 2006 is attached as Document 5B.  In this correspondence the CEO clearly denies that there was any evidence that falsification of test results was verified in 1999 and in so doing he appears to deny the results of his own internal Audit.

The CEO is also contradicted by his own Production Director.  See for example that the Production Director Greg Hill in 2006, and prior to the BBC Scotland Frontline Programme, THE HUMAN PRICE OF OIL, a copy of which has been obtained you I understand, contradicts the personal statement by Van der Veer in Doc.5A.

Andrew MacFadyen is now a Producer with ITN/Channel 4.  He will confirm that what he wrote in 5A is an accurate account of his dealings with Greg Hill prior to the transmission of the Frontline Scotland programme on 14th June 2006.   Also present at a meeting with Hill was the BBC programme Director Dorothy Parker who I have not approached but who no doubt will validate this point also.

In summary Procurator Fiscal it is clear that despite the Shell stated ‘vigorous response’ that this response was ineffective for reasons that may only be fully determined in a Court.

I am confident that the Shell Chairman Jorma Ollila will not now refute that the failures by his Directors to implement the actions they accepted but did not fully and effectively implement, from 1999 onwards, contributed directly to the deaths in 2003. If he does I would suggest that he puts himself in further jeopardy as being complicit in the covering up of criminal wrongdoing by his Directors both in 1999, 2003 and 2006.

I would welcome a statement from the Shell Chairman in which he now

  • accepts that there were significant shortcomings in the follow-up to the 1999 audit and that these shortcomings as a consequence directly contributed to the deaths on 11th September 2003.
  • accepts that in order to protect Shell’s reputation, and specifically to cover up the neglect of the Shell Directors who in 1999 accepted the findings of their audit that these Directors failed to follow through on the recommended actions, and that in consequence the press releases made by Shell on 16th June 2006, and thereafter, were false and misleading
  • accepts that his own internal investigation found that there was no evidence that the short term actions were ever undertaken and the longer term actions to correct inappropriate behaviour at all levels in the organisation were truncated when only 20% complete
  • accepts that in November 2003 the then Shell Expro Production Director presented the findings of his post fatalities Integrity Review to officials of the industry safety regulator the HSE.  This review amongst other things verified that there were hundreds of unapproved temporary repairs, there was neglect of maintenance throughout the field, it had become common practice to operate equipment knowingly when it was in a dangerous condition, and violation of key safety procedures such as the permit to work had become custom and practice

I will wait a few days or so but if such a statement is not provided by the Chairman I will distribute my own statement in the public interest.  Since in Scotland and the UK generally the Police and the CPS welcome the intervention of the public (examples being Crimestoppers and Crimewatch) in bringing evidence to them which relates to criminal wrongdoing unless the Procurator Fiscal raises any objections I will preface my statement with the comment that in making the said statement I have received the encouragement and support of Grampian Police and the Scottish CPS in the issue of the statement.  Certainly I think I am right in saying that telling the truth in Scotland is not an offence in Law whilst subverting the truth in relation to criminal wrongdoing is.

Bill Campbell

ATTACHMENTS AVAILABLE ON EMAIL REQUEST TO: [email protected]

REPLY FROM KEITH RUDDOCK TO JOHN DONOVAN: 1 FEBRUARY 2010

From: [email protected]
Date: 1 February 2010 12:06:46 GMT
To: [email protected]
Cc: [email protected]
Subject: RE: Update on dealings with CPS and Shell Chairman

Dear Mr Donovan

I have received your email of 31 January below. I do not intend to comment. As previously indicated on a number of occasions, the lack of a rebuttal from, or comment by, Shell does not in any way constitute an acceptance on Shell’s part of the accuracy of any of the points made by you whether now or in the future, and whether on this or on any other matter, and we continue to reserve our position accordingly in respect of those matters.

Yours sincerely

Keith Ruddock

Keith Ruddock
General Counsel Upstream International
Shell International B.V.
The Hague, The Netherlands – Trade Register no. 27155369
Address: c/o Kessler Park 1, 2288 GS Rijswijk, The Netherlands
Email: [email protected]
Internet: http://www.shell.com

EMAIL FROM BILL CAMPBELL TO JOHN DONOVAN COPIED TO KEITH RUDDOCK

From: [email protected]
Date: 1 February 2010 18:00:23 GMT
To: [email protected], [email protected]
Subject: Re: Update on dealings with CPS and Shell Chairman

John

As I suggested Shell will not make any denial.  You observe Mr Ruddock does not answer as to the authenticity of the documents because he is aware that they are genuine.

I will update the Procurator Fiscal with his reply shortly as evidence of the impasse reached.

Bill

REPLY EMAIL FROM JOHN DONOVAN TO KEITH RUDDOCK 2 FEBRUARY 2010

From: John Donovan <[email protected]>
Date: 2 February 2010 01:32:08 GMT
To: [email protected]
Cc: [email protected]
Subject: Re: Update on dealings with CPS and Shell Chairman

Dear Mr. Ruddock

I am grateful to you for your reply. You will have seen the related email subsequently received from Bill Campbell.

I note the comment that Shell continues to reserve its position. I assume this is a threat directed at Mr. Campbell bearing in mind written confirmation from a Shell internal document that Shell wisely decided long ago that it would never take us to court.

However, my guess is that the same immunity policy also applies to Bill Campbell because Shell is aware of the testimony he can give, supported by copious documentary and taped evidence in his possession, and witnesses to relevant events.

Whether the strength of the overall evidence is deemed sufficient by the Procurator Fiscal to bring criminal proceedings likely to secure convictions remains to be seen.  It is certainly adequate to ensure that Shell will never be foolish enough to take any legal action against Mr. Campbell, which would allow the facts about Shell’s unscrupulous Touch F*** All culture and other equally serious matters, also relating to the safety of its North Sea offshore workers – including the falsification of safety records – to be publicly exposed and scrutinized in open court.

Despite all of the pledges by Shell management about relevant safety issues in the intervening period, not much seems to have changed since the Shell Cormorant Alpha disaster in 1992, through to the Brent Bravo explosion in 2003, and more recently, Shell’s provision of unseaworthy life boats. Production and profits apparently remain the overriding priority. The record fine Shell received in respect of the avoidable deaths of employees on the Brent Bravo Platform speaks for itself.

On a personal note, I wondered if you realized that it is now over a decade since my father and I sat around a conference table with you at a London firm of solicitors sealing a peace treaty between Shell and us. It was unfortunate that because of his continuing acrimony towards us after the formal signing, Richard Wiseman could not resist the temptation to subsequently act in breach of the treaty. That act of revenge has cost Shell billions of dollars.

Best Regards
John Donovan

EMAIL FROM BILL CAMPBELL TO SCOTTISH LEGAL AUTHORITIES, COPIED TO GRAMPIAN POLICE & SHELL

From: [email protected]
Date: 2 February 2010 11:30:17 GMT
To: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
Cc: [email protected], [email protected]
Subject: Reaction from Shell

Procurator Fiscal

John Donovan, a proprietor of a website has asked Shell in a right of reply fashion to comment on the information I passed to him.  I enclose what he asked and the Shell reply.  In terms of the lack of denial and the ‘acceptance’ by Ruddock that the documentation is authentic I believe that John Donovan should publish as he sees fit the information passed to him in the public interest and I am sure you will raise no objections to that.  ASs you can observe Shell also raise no legal or other objections.

Keith Ruddock is in fact the Lawyer acting on behalf of Shell who drafted a proposed statement to employees copied to me and an independent witness David Richmond accepting shortcomings in the follow up to the 1999 Audit but could not get Malcolm Brinded to issue same.  He gave his reasons for this as that it would cause concern to Shell employees who had been informed that Shell had vigorously responded to the 1999 audit and that safety had improved over the period up to and including the fatal accident in 2003.  Ruddock also raised concerns that such a statement would again stimulate the interest of the media in this subject because of the strong rebuttal given to them also at the time.  Mr Ruddock will not deny this and his correspondence can be passed to you if you see fit. In summary the statement was not issued, not because it was not factual and correct, but because it would incriminate Shell and be used against them if it came into the hands of the media.

With regard to the 1999 findings.  An audit is as formal process.  The findings were agreed between the team members and the opinion that Shell Expro had demonstrated lack of essential controls to ensure the health and safety of its employees in 1999 and a major cause of this was the messages and drivers coming down the line from the Managing Director Malcolm Brinded was a key factor in this, and was an opinion reached through consensus.  This indeed being a basic requirement of a formal audit.

The internal audit manager and the team with no input from me then had these findings converted in consultation with the responsible parties into actions with an implementation plan and nominated action parties.  That the correspondence provided to you provides proof of this is beyond reasonable doubt and as you can observe Mr Ruddock does not question the authenticity of the correspondence.

So in terms of the fatal accident determinations and the prosecution findings re the unlawful deaths of the deceased in 2003 there were actions accepted by Shell Directors in 1999 to stop violation of key procedures such as the Permit system, actions to stop unauthorised design changes, actions to stop the operation of hydrocarbon process equipment in a dangerous condition, and actions to correct chronic non-compliance resulting in the neglect of maintenance of safety critical equipment.  There was also actions to correct the behaviour of people at all levels in the operation who appeared to be conditioned as a result of the TFA policy and the pressures from above to violate and deviate from Shell Internal Codes of Practice resulting in much increased risks to those persons offshore who in the main were left completely ignorant of those risks.

Bill Campbell

———————————————————————-

Dear Mr Ruddock

Printed below is a self-explanatory email with attachments received from Mr Bill Campbell, the meticulous and highly respected former HSE Group Auditor of Shell International Limited.

Does Shell take issue with his account of his contact with Shell on these important matters and the related conclusions he has passed on to the Scottish legal authority? Does Shell take issue with the authenticity of any of the attachments? Does Shell object to the immediate publication of the email and/or any of the attachments? Does Shell wish to supply any comment for publication on an unedited basis along with the Campbell email and attachments?

If I have not received any response from Shell tomorrow, Monday 1 February, I will take that as confirmation that Shell accepts that the attachments are authentic; does not take issue with the conclusions reached by Mr Campbell; does not object to publication of any information in the Campbell email and attachments, and does not wish to provide any comment for publication.

If you need more time to consider your reply, that would not be a problem. Please advise accordingly tomorrow.

Kind Regards
John Donovan
—————————————————————-
Dear Mr Donovan

I have received your email of 31 January below. I do not intend to comment. As previously indicated on a number of occasions, the lack of a rebuttal from, or comment by, Shell does not in any way constitute an acceptance on Shell’s part of the accuracy of any of the points made by you whether now or in the future, and whether on this or on any other matter, and we continue to reserve our position accordingly in respect of those matters.

Yours sincerely

Keith Ruddock

Keith Ruddock
General Counsel Upstream International
Shell International B.V.
The Hague, The Netherlands – Trade Register no. 27155369
Address: c/o Kessler Park 1, 2288 GS Rijswijk, The Netherlands
Email: [email protected]
Internet: http://www.shell.com

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