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The Shell whistleblower buried alive in Shell injunctions

“My deeply held religious beliefs and moral convictions put me into a very difficult position when I realised that Shell shareholders were being deliberately deceived in regards to hydrocarbon reserves: I also had reservations in regards to certain health and safety issues of conscience which caused me great concern because it is not in consonant with my values and belief system.”

Dr John Huong: an employee of Shell Malaysia for 29 years, a Production Geologist and Asset Integrity Engineer

By John Donovan

Dr Huong, a deeply religious man with high principles, blew the whistle internally on Shell senior managements deliberate inflation of claimed proven hydrocarbon reserves. As a consequence he was the subject of unprecedented collective litigation by EIGHT Royal Dutch Shell companies who waged a campaign of terror against him for several years trying to silence him.  He was buried alive in multiple injunctions, many seeking his imprisonment. This was in blatant breach of his human rights.

Because of sinister events surrounding the litigation, including spying activities, Dr Huong used bodyguards to protect his personal safety when appearing in Court.

Printed below is a letter Dr Huong prepared for a prospective employer in 2005 in the hope of finding employment to support his family. It was of course a hopeless task bearing in mind the draconian litigation, which would frighten off any would be employer in the oil industry. No company in the industry would wish to upset Shell.

Attention is drawn in particular to the text displayed in bold print. Some personal information has been redacted.

After several years of litigation, in which Shell falsified evidence, Shell settled both cases: Their claim against Dr Huong in respect of postings on this website and his claim against Shell for wrongful dismissal.

We always advised Dr Huong that Shell would never allow evidence in the defamation case to be heard in open court and this analysis turned out to be correct.

THE LETTER FROM DR HUONG.

1 October 2005

My name is Dr John Huong Yiu Tuong and was employed by Sarawak Shell Berhad and Sabah Shell Petroleum Company Limited. I am 48 years old (DOB: XXXXXXX), married with two children.

Up to May 2003, I had been working from rank and file in the above upstream E&P companies for 29 years as a geologist specialising in geo-sciences. My expertise evolving over the years are Micropalaeontology, Petrology, Sedimentology, Field Geology, Bio-Sequence Stratigraphy, Well-site Geology, Operation Geology, Exploration Geology, Reservoir Geology and Production Geology. I am experienced in Petrophysics, Well Engineering, Reservoir Engineering, Production Technology and Petroleum Economics acquired after working both onshore and offshore for long time in a multi-disciplinary team-based environment.

My role was to find, appraise and produce petroleum recovered from both clastic and carbonate rocks that were deposited under diverse palaeo-environment (terrestrial to deep submarine sediments) from Cenozoic to Mesozoic age stretching throughout the North West Borneo Shelf containing hundreds of wells. My recommendations to management to drill the offshore Western flank of the D18 Field was the result of an appraisal core study from which several million barrels of added oil were recovered.

I was a custodian for integrated data for source rocks, reservoirs petrophysical data and cap rocks properties. I had contributed actively in geological and engineering data as inputs for correlation, geo-modeling, source rocks and charge studies, prospects generation, inter-field development, block biddings, assets swap, notional to full Field Development Plans, Wells and facilities designs. In 1993, I was invited by the Russian Oil & Gas Ministry and the Eisenhower Foundation of USA to the Ural-Volga valley, Kazakhstan and Siberia to study oil and gas basins in former Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).  I have presented technical papers (i.e. Evolution of the Baram Delta since the last 5,000 years to present; Differentiation of hydrocarbon types from ditch-cutting analysis; Geology of Labuan Island, etc) for international audience at the Geological Society of Malaysia. With two other colleagues we invented the Mobile Suitcase Exhibition for which I was responsible for visiting and motivating students to pursue further studies in geosciences at every high schools located in East Malaysia as part of the government programme on the Malaysianisation Policy.

In 1997, I was the Production Geologist for the Kinabalu Field Development project and when the first oil was produced, I was transferred to the Ketam Field. Next I was again transferred to Corporate Affairs to deal with Issues or crisis Management, and Community Programmes. Then I was moved to geology as a Stratigrapher to integrate subsurface data for all key wells and I published a Sabah regional correlation framework used for predicting the hydrocarbon habitat within the various System Tracts.  At the same time I was consulting geologist to Petronas Carigali for an offshore Well Bokor Tenggara that encountered extremely hard overpressures with well flowing far beyond the casing burst strength.  It was safely brought under control. Subsequently I was given to work on Umbrella contracts for Surface Production Engineering facilities and techno-benchmarking for best practices. Finally, I became an Asset Integrity Engineer for both onshore (Liquefied Natural Gas Plant, etc) and offshore (platforms, etc) production facilities. My last job position was an Assistant Technology Coordinator.

I had attended many seminars, conferences, third party courses, Shell in-house courses and regional courses conducted at Leeuwenhorst in the Netherlands, Belgium, Brunei, Indonesia, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, etc. In the same way, I have conducted many technical courses in geosciences for many Petronas staffs between late 1970s -1980s, university graduates training, newly recruited Well petroleum engineers before they commence their offshore work in petroleum engineering. I was Quality assurance team leader for technical library documentations and disaster recovery plans.  While in the company, I was once its Vice President to the Malaysian Senior Staff Council (MSSC).

Outside office hours, I like to teach, coach and mentor on various subjects.  I have taught Organisational behaviour University of Southern Queensland; prepare training manual and conducted Capacity building workshops for biologists and forestry staffs from Yayasan Sabah at Forest Research Centre located within the Danum Valley Conservation; workshops on Customer Care Services for staffs at Curtin University of Science and Technology-Sarawak, financial planning and project management courses for firms.  I have also carried out community work in serving the needy. Currently, I am a District Fellow for Lion Clubs International District 308-A2 for Kuching Kota Samarahan and Director for Education for environmental protection and prevention of drug abuses in collaboration with various government ministries and non-governmental organizations.

I left Shell under unfortunate and unhappy circumstances. Because litigation is under way, matters are sub judice. As a consequence I am constrained to a large degree in commenting on specific issues involved, including for example details of my claim for wrongful dismissal. I will however provide general background information, including what I believe to be the major causal factor of my dismissal and the subsequent litigation.

My deeply held religious beliefs and moral convictions put me into a very difficult position when I realised that Shell shareholders were being deliberately deceived in regards to hydrocarbon reserves: I also had reservations in regards to certain health and safety issues of conscience which caused me great concern because it is not in consonant with my values and belief system.

Being a loyal employee, I raised matters strictly on an internal basis, but my reservations were frowned upon by Shell management. The senior management figures principally involved in the reserves scandal and other controversies were subsequently forced to resign and the parent companies have now been unified. A new management team is in the process of being formed, with a new Chairman recruited in an effort to restore Shell’s former reputation. With the same objective in mind, much of the litigation connected with the scandal is being settled out of court. Commonsense suggests that this policy will in due course result in Shell settling the litigation in which I am currently regretfully involved. I genuinely wish the new Shell management well for the future, but I am, under the circumstances, keen for a fresh start with a different company.

In the meantime, I am grateful for the kind support given to me by the New York based Shell Shareholders Organisation (www.shell2004.com or www.royaldutchshellplc.com) which is campaigning for Shell directors to act at all times in accordance with Shell’s own ethical code: The Statement of General Business Principles.

Finally I would like to stress that I was always a loyal Shell employee. It was out of respect for the once proud reputation of Shell and its ethical code that I felt honour bound to bring serious matters to the attention of Shell management. If my well intended warnings had been heeded, perhaps the whole reserves scandal and the huge damage inflicted globally on Shell’s reputation could have been avoided.

I would be very happy to provide more information and/or referees needed by your good office.

Dr. John Huong Yiu Tuong

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