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Posts from ‘August, 2011’

Rosneft Deal Shows Exxon To Be The Only Supermajor With Heft In Russia

In Sakhalin… Exxon has fared much better than rival Royal Dutch Shell, which has led the development of Sakhalin-2. In 2005 Shell disclosed $10 billion in cost overruns on the $20 billion project, and in 2007 it was forced by the Kremlin to sell half of its Sakhalin stake to Gazprom. Though Shell and Rosneft signed a “strategic alliance” in 2007, it has proven to be all show, no go. In May, Rosneft and Shell were reportedly in talks over a deal to explore the Arctic. The Exxon announcement indicates that those talks have ended.

Christopher Helman, Forbes Staff

From Houston 8/31/2011 @ 12:46PM

More than a black eye for BP, the Rosneft deal is a gold star for ExxonMobil, one that illustrates that the company is not only the world’s biggest international supermajor, but the only one that can claim any lasting success in Russia.

Contrary to the conventional wisdom that Exxon is stepping into dance shoes that had been knocked off BP’s feet — the Exxon/Rosneft venture has been a long time in coming. What’s more, the lovey-dovey deal increases the likelihood that Exxon and the Kremlin might soon be able to come to terms on the development of massive untapped natural gas reserves held by Exxon’s Sakhalin Island development.

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Another Denial of Service Attack on Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com website?

“Distributed Denial of Service attack, is when a server is bombarded with so many requests that it can’t respond to legitimate traffic.”

By John Donovan

Apologies for this website being down earlier today. Our dedicated server may have been the target of a denial-of-service high load attack by an unknown party. This information comes from our hosting company in Dallas. DoS attacks generally involve organised efforts by a third party with malicious intent, to prevent an Internet site or service from functioning efficiently or at all. Should this website disappear from the Internet as a result of legal or illegal action by a third party, please visit where we will post information. DoS attacks are unlawful.

The site was down for several hours in the last 24 hours due to what was described  by the hosting company as being “under severely heavy load.”

We cannot be certain if it a problem caused by the popularity of the site, or deliberate coordinated denial of service attacks by an unknown party.

By coincidence or otherwise,  it often seems to happen when we publish the most negative information about Royal Dutch Shell, for example about Shell’s highly sensitive activity in Syria.

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U.K. Shell Deal Spotlights Value of Common Law Model for Human Rights Litigation

Michael D. Goldhaber:  The American Lawyer August 31, 2011

Royal Dutch Shell has been sued so many times over its conduct in Nigeria that its cases offer a laboratory experiment for human rights litigation. After thirteen years of arduous U.S. alien tort litigation, Wiwa v. Shell resulted in a piddling $15.5 million settlement in 2009. Kiobel v. Shell has done even worse. Nearly a decade after the case was filed, it has succeeded only in abolishing the corporate alien tort within the Second Circuit, and if the U.S. Supreme Court accepts cert, it may do the same nationwide.

Now comes the “Bodo” case, which emerged from obscurity three weeks ago. On Aug. 3, four months after farmers and fishermen from the village of Bodo filed a common law complaint in London high court, Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary admitted liability for a pair of oil spills in return for the parent company’s dismissal from the suit. The Financial Times trumpeted the potential for a payout of over $400 million, although the Shell Petroleum Development Company called this number “massively in excess of the true position.”

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Exxon Reaches Arctic Oil Deal With Russians


A version of this article appeared in print on August 31, 2011, on page A1 of the New York edition

MOSCOW — Exxon Mobil won a coveted prize in the global petroleum industry Tuesday with an agreement to explore for oil in a Russian portion of the Arctic Ocean that is being opened for drilling even as Alaskan waters remain mostly off limits.

The agreement seemed to supersede a similar but failed deal that Russia’s state oil company, Rosneft, reached with the British oil giant BP this year — with a few striking differences.

Where BP had planned to swap stock, Exxon, which is based in Texas, agreed to give Rosneft assets elsewhere in the world, including some that Exxon owns in the deepwater zones of the Gulf of Mexico and on land in Texas.

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Exxon Rosneft deal major setback for BP and Shell

Royal Dutch Shell PLC… declined to comment on the Exxon-Rosneft deal and had no update on the status of Shell’s talks with Rosneft. Shell CEO Peter Voser said in July that his company was in early-stage talks with Rosneft over Arctic exploration opportunities.

Exxon, Rosneft Sign Global Pact To Jointly Drill For Oil

By William Mauldin and Isabel Ordonez of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

MOSCOW -(Dow Jones)- Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and Russia’s OAO Rosneft (ROSN.RS) Tuesday announced a global partnership that would grant the Texas oil giant more access to Russia’s vast oil riches and provide Rosneft a piece of the red-hot U.S. oilpatch.

The deal, which includes $3.2 billion in exploration offshore of Russia, marks Russia’s most decisive step forward to attract international oil heavyweights since the demise of a similar venture between Rosneft and BP PLC (BP, BP.LN).

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Shell won’t stop oil production in Syria unless EU mandates a boycott

By Associated Press, Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 5:00 PM

AMSTERDAM — Royal Dutch Shell PLC will not stop producing oil in Syria unless it is directed to do so by the European Union, media in the Netherlands report.

National broadcaster NOS news cites Dick Benschop, head of the company’s Dutch arm, as saying Shell thinks halting its operations there would hurt the Syrian people more than its government.

Benschop’s remarks came after a behind-closed-doors meeting Tuesday with members of Dutch parliament who have called for a boycott to protest the Syrian government crackdown on an uprising the U.N. says has left 2,200 dead since it began in March.

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Big oil companies may have to give up Iraq gas

Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:25am EDT

By Ahmed Rasheed and Daniel Fineren

DUBAI (Reuters) – Many of the world’s biggest energy companies may have to surrender most of the gas from Iraq’s vast southern oilfields to a processing and export project led by Shell, a final draft contract between Baghdad and Europe’s biggest company, obtained by Reuters, shows.

Oil giants including Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote), BP (BP.L: Quote), U.S.-based Exxon (XOM.N: Quote), China’s CNPC, and Italy’s Eni (ENI.MI: Quote) signed technical service contracts to develop three oilfields in southern Iraq in 2009-2010.

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The Irish Times: Protecting our resources

The Irish Times – Monday, August 29, 2011

OF ALL the big questions facing the State, few have more profound long-term implications than the management of our natural resources. Official estimates suggest a potential reserve of hydrocarbons equivalent to 10 billion barrels of oil off the west coast alone. Were all of this to be recovered, it would be enough to supply Ireland’s gas and oil needs for a century.

With the stakes so high, it is imperative that the State gets its approach right. It has to balance the need to get companies to spend vast sums drilling wells with the public interest in maximising benefits from resources that belong to the Irish people. There is some urgency. A new round of applications for exploration licences in Atlantic waters closed at the end of May. Fifteen applications were received – the largest number of any licensing round to date and an indication that Irish waters are an increasingly attractive prospect.

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Nigeria’s then acting President Goodluck Jonathan with President Obama in 2010



President Goodluck Jonathan constituted a special committee on oil pollution in Ogoniland recently, according to him; to perform a “holistic review of the UNEP report.” The committee is chaired by Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, Minister of Petroleum Resources and former Shell Oil Company employee. The committee also has Mr. Austen Oniwon, Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) as a member. Technically, this committee is a consortium of oil conglomerate. NNPC and Shell Oil Company are partners in the operation of oil business in Nigeria. A child of circumstance, the ad hoc committee was born as an aftermath of the recent shocking revelation in the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) report that almost all the Ogoni environment is contaminated by oil pollutants.

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Shell FuelSave wakens memories of Formula Shell debacle

By John Donovan

Here we are again in the midst of a major Shell advertising campaign with huge colour adverts in the UK national press for a new Shell wonder fuel, this time invented by “Shell Fuel Scientists”: Its called Shell FuelSave

Shell’s Fuel Scientists are being rather cagey about the secret formula – Shell Efficiency improvers – inviting drivers to “guess what they do.” Doesn’t Shell know?

The adverts claim: “Our Fuel Scientists are more than satisfied with the results” described as “a remarkable benefit.”

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Shell fuels Syrian Tanks?

By John Donovan


On Wednesday 24 August 2011, I sent an email to Mr Michiel Brandjes, Company Secretary & General Counsel Corporate, Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

I asked him whether an email sent earlier that same day to a third party, purportedly by Graham Henley, General Manager of Syria Shell Petroleum Development B.V. was authentic. I supplied a copy.

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MEP claims gardaí assaulted him at Corrib gas protest

The Irish Times – Friday, August 26, 2011

LORNA SIGGINS, Western Correspondent

SOCIALIST Party MEP Paul Murphy says he intends to lodge a complaint with the Garda Síochána over his treatment at a Corrib gas protest in north Mayo yesterday.

Mr Murphy says he was “assaulted by gardaí” as he participated in a sit-down protest on a public road close to the Corrib gas terminal at Ballinaboy.

“I was punched in the head, I had my pressure point targeted – as in my ear was deliberately twisted to a point of excruciating pain and my stomach was repeatedly poked and prodded at very sensitive points,” Mr Murphy said.

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EU Embargo on Syrian Crude Likely to Hurt Italy Most

Although the document only covers one month of Syrian petroleum exports, it provides a recent snapshot of ordinarily confidential trading activity in which European oil companies Repsol SA and Royal Dutch Shell PLC loaded Syrian crude, and Trafigura and Total SA loaded Syrian oil products in July.

AUGUST 26, 2011


LONDON—A shipping document suggests a European Union embargo on Syrian crude oil—expected to be finalized next week—would hit Italy hardest, even as the southern European country continues to make do without Libyan crude.

Nearly half of the crude oil exported by Syria ended up in Italian ports last month—the equivalent of about 55,132 barrels a day out of 110,521 barrels a day of total Syrian oil shipments, according to a Syrian ports document. Italian oil giant Eni SpA and refiners IES Italiana and Saras SpA said they do refine some Syrian crude as part of a broader slate of oil grades.

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Free online library of over 27,000 Royal Dutch Shell related articles and documents

Free Research Access on Royal Dutch Shell Plc (over 27,000 articles and documents)


We have the worlds largest online library of news articles and leaked documents about the oil giant Royal Dutch Shell and related matters. They are all available FREE for educational and research purposes.

Over 27,000 are stored here and on our sister website:

Over 20,000 articles and documents are available on this website by using our internal Search facility at the top of the far right column. There are no charges of any kind.

For free access to over 7,000 further articles/documents, click on the link below…

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South Africa: Shell fracking in semi-desert Karoo

How do farmers prove that Shell has polluted their lands, what lengths people have to go through to get their rights?

From pages 35, 36 & 37 of “Royal Dutch Shell and its sustainability troubles” – Background report to the Erratum of Shell’s Annual Report 2010

The report is made on behalf of Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands)
Author: Albert ten Kate: May 2011.

Farmers, scientists, NGOs, a Dutch princess, a business tycoon, a long-distance swimmer, a Facebook account with already 6,500 members as of 19 April 2011. Royal Dutch Shell is facing strong opposition to its plans to get an exploration license to seek shale gas in South Africa’s semi-desert Karoo region.

The consulting firm Golder Associates, working on behalf of Shell, drafted an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for three exploration areas, each comprising 30,000 kilometres. Until 5 April 2011, the public was allowed to comment to these plans. The drilling of a maximum of 24 wells was not expected to commence before 2012. Golder stated in its conclusions to the EMPs that there was no material evidence that a small number of exploration wells could result in an unacceptable level of environmental impact, and that therefore the determination of the resource potential of the Karoo shale gas formations not should be prevented or delayed. As long as the siting and management of the wells would be controlled through a rigorous, scientific Environmental Impact Assessment process, it would be unlikely that the construction would result in unacceptable environmental damage, the company continued.

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Shell’s failure to protect Nigeria pipeline ‘led to sabotage’

Shell Nigeria’s declaration this week that it cannot meet its international commitment to export 300,000 barrels a day of crude oil was caused by the company withdrawing contracts to pay people to monitor and protect the pipeline, Shell and independent reports indicate. home

Attacks on key pipeline force company to declare ‘force majeure’ and reduce exports by 300,000 barrels a day

A man holds a shell coated in oil from a polluted river in the Niger delta. Photograph: Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters

Shell Nigeria‘s declaration this week that it cannot meet its international commitment to export 300,000 barrels a day of crude oil was caused by the company withdrawing contracts to pay people to monitor and protect the pipeline, Shell and independent reports indicate.

Nine oil spills in three weeks along one pipeline in the Niger Delta have forced Shell Nigeria to declare that it cannot meet its international contracts to export 300,000 barrels a day of crude oil.

Nine oil spills in three weeks along the Adibawa-Okordia pipeline in the Niger Delta are believed to be the result of sabotage by disaffected youths using hacksaws. An unknown quantity of oil has been lost and, since 2 August, fishing grounds and farmland have been polluted . With three more spills reported in the last 24 hours it appears that the company has now lost some control of the pipeline.

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EU prepares to embargo Syrian oil in line with US

The new measures if approved are unlikely, however, to prevent European oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell or Total from continuing to produce crude in Syria through joint ventures.

By Justyna Pawlak: 25 August 2011

European Union governments are likely to embargo imports of Syrian oil next week to ratchet up pressure on president Bashar al-Assad, although new sanctions may be less stringent than those imposed by Washington, EU diplomats said.

A round of discussions was held in Brussels on Tuesday and EU capitals raised no objections to banning Syrian crude imports, in a move similar to a decision by the US earlier this month

The new measures if approved are unlikely, however, to prevent European oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell or Total from continuing to produce crude in Syria through joint ventures.

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Shell defends reporting of North Sea oil spill

The government also announced that an independent investigation is underway into the causes of the spill and Shell’s response.

By James Murray: 24 August 2011

Shell has defended its much-criticised reporting of this month’s North Sea oil spill, but has stopped short of providing a full picture of how the decision to announce the spill was made.

The company has recently been under fire from green groups. These have accused the oil giant of failing to provide transparent information on the largest UK oil spill in the past decade, after it emerged that the spill was first detected on Wednesday 10th August, but was not publicly confirmed until two days later.

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Nigeria’s oil-tainted Ogoni weary of blame game


Skillfully scooping water from beneath a thick black carpet of crude, veteran Nigerian fisherman Suagelo Kpalap gives a shrug of resignation at the mention of the latest twist in an oil spill blame game he’s watched for decades.

A United Nations (UN) report released in August told Kpalap and the other inhabitants of Ogoniland, a region within the vast, oil-rich Niger Delta, what they’ve known for years — their environment is dangerously polluted and Royal Dutch Shell and the government aren’t doing enough to clean it up.

“Oil spills have wasted my life, my environment and livelihood. There isn’t much for me to enjoy at my age,” the 57-year old said, wiping oil-stained hands on ragged clothes. “My fishing nets are all soaked in oil, I don’t have money to get new ones and my canoes have been destroyed by the spills.”

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Shell’s North Sea Reputation sunk by severe corrosion

“The drip, drip, drip of negative information has been every bit as corrosive to the company’s reputation as the oil leaking from its pipe. It was not until a week after the oil was first spotted that the company apologised.”

By John Donovan

We have printed below extensive articles published over three pages of The Sunday Times on 21 August 2011.

It was this development which sparked a number of other major news stories published the following day.

The Sunday Times approached us for our help, which we were pleased to provide over a number of days. We put the newspaper into contact with our Shell related sources, including Bill Campbell. We provided a considerable volume of information from our extensive files. We also supplied documents referred to in the article, including the letter the HSE offshore division sent to Shell on 18 July 2011, which we now put into the public domain. This was kindly supplied to us by the HSE press office.

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Royal Dutch Shell blames 6 recent spills in Nigeria’s oil-rich delta on ‘sabotage’

By Associated Press, Updated: Monday, August 22, 6:35 PM

LAGOS, Nigeria — Six recent oil spills from a Royal Dutch Shell PLC pipeline running through Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta were the result of “sabotage,” the company said Monday, blaming another nearby spill on a similar attack.

Shell’s comments come after someone set fire to the spreading spill in recent days, and as a U.N. report suggests it could take as much as 30 years to clean another region of the country’s Niger Delta.

Shell has blamed the majority of recent spills on oil thieves and militants roaming the delta’s winding creeks. Environmentalists and locals blame the oil company for 50 years of poverty and pollution there.

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Shell plans to remove oil from damaged North Sea pipe, U.K. says

Houston Chronicle: August 22, 2011 at 12.31 pm by Bloomberg

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, plans to remove crude remaining in a North Sea pipeline that leaked this month, the U.K. government said.

“Shell now plans to continue to secure the pipeline to protect it from the threat of storm or tidal damage,” Hugh Shaw, a government representative overseeing the operation, said today in an e-mailed statement. The work may take about 36 hours.

Shell divers closed the Gannet Alpha platform flow line off Scotland on Aug. 19. The company identified the leak after spotting a sheen on the water on Aug. 10. The pipeline still holds as much as 660 metric tons of crude, according to Glen Cayley, an Aberdeen, Scotland-based technical director at Shell’s exploration and production unit in Europe.

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Investigation into leak at Shell’s North Sea platform to get under way news

It has also emerged over the weekend that an internal investigation into Shell’s Gannet plaforms in 2003 had raised concerns over unapproved repairs and unreliable fire sensors. This is clear from papers held by Bill Campbell, a former senior Shell employee, who has questioned the company’s environmental and safety record.

22 August 2011

Shell says according to its estimates a leak at one of its platforms, 110 miles east of Aberdeen, Scotland had spewed 1,300 barrels of oil. The leak was detected on 10 August.

Following the spill, UK government inspectors are preparing to question a number of key players involved in the North Sea oil leak. This would include staff on the platform, officials at the company’s headquarters and the helicopter pilot who spotted the sheen.

Meanwhile, even as the investigation gets under way, an analysis of oil and chemical leaks from Shell’s Gannet platforms showed that the platform had seen at least 34 spillages since 2002, ranging from 1litre to 590 barrels.

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Oil spill investigation begins as Shell plugs North Sea leak home

Successful plugging of two Gannet Alpha leaks come as a Scottish newspaper reveals Shell’s poor safety record in the region

An investigation by the Sunday Herald found that Shell had been officially censured 25 times in the past six years for breaking safety rules, giving it one of the worst safety records of any major oil company in the UK.

The oil sheen from a leak at Shell’s Gannett Alpha platform, 112 miles east of Aberdeen. Photograph: Marine Scotland

The oil sheen on the surface of the North Sea that followed the UK’s worst oil spill for a decade has finally disappeared, according to Shell, after the company managed to plug its leaking pipeline on Friday.

Government officials are now launching an investigation into the leak as part of an effort to discover how the spill came about and how to prevent such damage recurring.

Richard Lochhead, the Scottish cabinet secretary for rural affairs and the environment, also called on Shell to review its procedures for handling oil spills, after the company was heavily criticised for being too slow to disclose the leak to the public. Lochhead has written to Chris Huhne, the UK climate and energy secretary, to ask for a meeting on the procedure for communicating incidents.

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Oil production in North Sea scrutinized

Bill Campbell, whom The Daily Telegraph described as a “former senior Shell employee” questioned the company’s performance at Gannet as claims from 2003 surfaced over the platform’s maintenance record, the newspaper in London reports.

Published: Aug. 22, 2011 at 8:52 AM

LONDON, Aug. 22 (UPI) — Internal documents and British safety records indicate there were problems with North Sea oil production after Shell announced it closed its oil leak last week.

Royal Dutch Shell said that divers shut a relief valve and stopped an oil spill from its Gannet platform. At the height of the spill, reported Aug. 10, around 1,500 barrels of oil was dumping into the North Sea.

Bill Campbell, whom The Daily Telegraph described as a “former senior Shell employee” questioned the company’s performance at Gannet as claims from 2003 surfaced over the platform’s maintenance record, the newspaper in London reports.

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Shell denies swindling gov’t of excise taxes

“Shell has paid all the right taxes and strongly denies having engaged in any fraudulent activity, especially smuggling, as this is very much against its business principles…”

Posted at 08/22/2011 8:36 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. denied it has defrauded the government of billions of pesos of excise taxes for importing a blending component for unleaded gasoline.

In a statement, the oil importer said the product in question, alkalyte, is not a finished product and therefore not subject to an excise tax.

“However, when the alkylate is further processed into finished unleaded gasoline product that is fit and ready for consumption, the finished product is subject to the payment of excise taxes before the same is released from Shell’s refinery. In other words, no excise tax is lost on the alkylate imports in question,” it said.

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Shell: too early to return to Libya


Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell is keeping an ear close to the gound in Libya, but says it’s still much too early to consider returning there, a spokesman told Dutch news agency ANP.

Shell withdrew its personnel from Libya earlier this year because of heightening political tension. The company was conducting exploration for natural gas with the help of two drilling towers.

“We are watching the situation carefully and monitoring it to see when one can make contact [with the rebels] and when we can go back in and operate,” said Shell. “It’s too early to make a call.”

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Shell defends safety after North Sea oil leak

22 August 2011 Last updated at 09:55

Shell has said safety is its “foremost priority” after calls for North Sea activities to be restricted in the wake of the oil leak.

The company has been tackling the release of more than 200 tonnes of oil near the Gannet Alpha platform.

A relief valve was closed by divers on Friday.

Environmental organisation WWF Scotland said operations should be restricted pending an infrastructure audit. Shell said safety was always paramount.

The company said in a statement: “Safety is Shell’s foremost priority at all times.

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Halt Shell projects in North Sea, says WWF

Extracts from “Halt Shell projects in North Sea…”:

Shell technical director Glen Cayley has apologised and admitted the existing pipeline inspection and maintenance programme had let the company down.

WWF Scotland also described Shell’s performance during the spill as a “lesson on how to look evasive and shifty”.


A LEADING environmental charity has called on the UK Government to restrict all Shell operations in the North Sea until a full audit of its installations is carried out.

WWF Scotland made the plea after it was revealed that the UK Government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) had censured the oil giant 25 times in six years for breaking safety rules.

It was also reported yesterday that an internal investigation by Shell eight years ago raised serious concerns about safety in the Gannet oil field, where the company has been fighting to stem the worst North Sea oil leak in over a decade.

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Investigation gets under way as Shell plugs North Sea oil leak

It also emerged over the weekend that there was an internal investigation into Shell’s Gannet plaforms in 2003 raising concerns about unapproved repairs and unreliable fire sensors. The claims are made within papers held by Bill Campbell, a former senior Shell employee, who has questioned the company’s environmental and safety record.

Government inspectors are preparing to interview a number of key players involved in Shell’s North Sea oil leak, including staff on the platform, officials at the company’s headquarters and the helicopter pilot who spotted the sheen.

Government investigators are preparing to take a close look at Shell’s physical assets, including the pipeline where the source of the leak was discovered. Photo: Alamy

By , Energy Correspondent 5:30AM BST 22 Aug 2011

The start of their investigation comes as an analysis of oil and chemical leaks from Shell’s Gannet platforms shows that there have been at least 34 spillages since 2002, ranging from one litre to 590 barrels.

Data from surveys conducted on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency show that most of these 34 came from Shell’s Gannet Alpha platform, whose pipeline suffered the 10-day leak that ended on Friday.

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Shell, PetroChina Unit Arrow Bids $540 Million for Australia’s Bow Energy

By James Paton – Aug 22, 2011 8:09 AM GMT+0100

Arrow Energy Ltd., owned by Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and PetroChina Co., offered about A$520 million ($540 million) for Bow Energy Ltd. (BOW), seeking more resources to underpin a proposed liquefied natural gas project in Australia.

Arrow, a coal-seam gas explorer and producer in Queensland state, offered A$1.48 a share in cash, Brisbane-based Bow said today in a statement. That’s 67 percent more than Bow’s price of 88.5 cents in Sydney trading on Aug. 19. The shares surged 60 percent today to A$1.415 at the 4:10 p.m. close.

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Fracking: Shell admits safety is not a given

GUY ROGERS | 22 August, 2011 00:44

The petroleum company heading calls for the Great Karoo to be opened up for exploration for natural gas has admitted that it cannot guarantee the safety of its operations.

This concession by Shell SA boss Jan Willem Eggink was made as the findings of a UN investigation of oil-industry pollution in Nigeria, with particular reference to the culpability of Shell, were released.

Shell wants to explore the Karoo for natural gas and recover it using hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”.

In fracking, shale several kilometres beneath the surface is ruptured to release tightly bound gas.

Fracking has been outlawed elsewhere in the world because it has been shown to pollute ground water reserves.

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Revealed: Shell’s poor safety record in the UK

“Shell’s poor regard for safety and their terrible communications over the last 10 days should be ringing major alarm bells…”

Last week’s North Sea oil spill was not the first time Shell had found itself in trouble. Environment Editor Rob Edwards reports

Shell has been officially censured for breaking safety rules 25 times in the last six years and has one of the worst safety records of the major oil companies in the UK, an investigation by the Sunday Herald has revealed.

The British oil multinational has been prosecuted, fined and formally reprimanded for repeatedly failing to maintain pipelines and other vital equipment in the North Sea, for failing to report a dangerous incident, and for failing to protect workers from hazardous chemicals.

The revelations, from records held by the Government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE), have led to renewed criticism of Shell in the wake of last week’s oil leak from a pipeline to the Gannet Alpha platform 112 miles east of Aberdeen. The company has been slammed for failing to be open about the leak, which it claimed to have sealed on Friday.

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More details needed on oil incidents, says government

“More steps need to be taken to promote a culture of openness and transparency…”

21 August 2011

The public must have better information on oil incidents in UK waters, the Scottish government has said.

The plea came in the wake of the oil leak near the Gannet Alpha platform, in the North Sea.

Shell initially faced criticism that it was not being open enough about the incident, which happened last week.

Oil industry regulation is reserved to Westminster, but Scottish ministers have asked the UK government to hold a review on the issue.

Shell has been dealing with the release of what is estimated to be 218 tonnes of oil after a leak from a relief valve near the platform, 113 miles (180km) off Aberdeen.

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Royal Dutch Shell closes oil valve after 12 day North Sea battle

Royal Dutch Shell has finally managed to stop oil from spilling into the North Sea after a 12-day battle with the Gannet field leak.

Shell’s work is not over as it will have to remove oil trapped in the pipeline between the sealed off well and the platform. The Marine Coastguard’s latest estimate is that the sheen currently covers an area of 6.7 square kms and 26 barrels by volume. Photo: REUTERS

By , Energy Correspondent 6:41PM BST 19 Aug 2011

Divers switched off a valve from which just one barrel per day was trickling over the last couple of days, but in total around 1,600 barrels has made its way into the ocean over the course of the spill.

Shell’s work is not over as it will have to remove oil trapped in the pipeline between the sealed off well and the platform. The Marine Coastguard’s latest estimate is that the sheen currently covers an area of 6.7 square kms and 26 barrels by volume.

“Closing the valve is a key step,” said Glen Cayley, technical director of Shell in Europe. “ It was a careful and complex operation conducted by skilled divers, with support from our technical teams onshore. But we will be watching the line closely over the next 24 hours and beyond.”

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Shell stops North Sea leak after 10 days home

Scottish government launches investigation into safety procedures after worst oil spill in UK waters for a decade

The Shell oil spill in the North Sea. The marine coastguard has estimated that the oil on the sea surface covers about 6.7 sq km. Photograph: Marine Scotland

Shell has finally stopped the leak from its faulty oil pipeline in the North Sea, ending the flow of oil undersea after 10 days of the worst oil spill in UK waters for a decade.

Divers closed a relief valve which was the source of a small secondary leak, discovered after the first major leak in the pipeline at the Gannet Alpha platform had been plugged last week. Government officials are now opening an investigation into how the leak occurred and whether the correct procedures were followed. They will also have to decide whether Shell should pay for government expenses incurred in the clean-up operation.

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Shell spill: What happened and why it matters to Shell

By Damian Kahya Business reporter, BBC News 19 August 2011

Environmental groups are furious that the largest North Sea spill in a decade was not revealed to the public for three days.

Why did it happen and will Shell’s recent environmental problems affect the company’s ambitious plans?

On 10 August, a routine helicopter flight over the North Sea spotted a “sheen” on the sea’s surface near Royal Dutch Shell’s Gannet Alpha platform.

The oily sheen covered just 0.5 sq km to begin with, according to figures provided to the BBC by Shell.

But it was an indication that below the surface, something was leaking.

Shell immediately informed regulatory bodies, including the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the government’s Joint Nature Conservation Commitee.

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US oil sanctions send strong signal to Syria

Extracts from the Financial Times

By Anna Fifield in Washington, Alex Barker in Brussels, James Blitz in London and Daniel Dombey in Istanbul: 18 August 2011

With the sweeping sanctions it has imposed on Syria’s energy sector, the Obama administration has stepped up its efforts to isolate Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which earns as much as one-third of its income from oil exports.

The measures certainly look punitive – Washington has prohibited any Syrian petrol products from being imported into the US, and has forbidden any US citizens and companies from involvement in Syria’s oil sector or exporting any products to Syria.

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EU Urges Syria’s Assad To Quit, Mulls Energy Sanctions

Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) has interests in three production licences in Syria covering some 40 oil fields, with its share of production in 2010 approximately 20,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day. It also has exploration interests in the south of the country.

By Laurence Norman


BRUSSELS (Dow Jones)–The European Union for the first time Thursday called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down as EU leaders threatened strong new sanctions, which could include an embargo on imports of Syrian crude oil and a ban on refined product sales to the country, a person familiar with the situation said.

In a statement promising further sanctions, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton condemned the continued crackdown on protesters.

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Shell vows to improve inspections!!!!!

Shell said it needed to improve its inspection policies. “We’re making every effort to improve our inspection program and revisit our maintenance priorities,” Cayley added.

Spilled crude oil from the Gannet field, co-owned by Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil Corp., floats off the coast of Scotland. The platform will be shut down for routine maintenance on Thursday.

Photograph by: PIUS UTOMI EKPEI AFP, GETTY IMAGES, Reuters 18 August 2011

Major oil producer Royal Dutch Shell said a large volume of oil remained in its leaking pipeline, raising the possibility that Britain’s worst oil spill for a decade could worsen, but said the extra amount would only seep out in a worst-case scenario.

Oil leaked into the sea off the coast of Scotland for a seventh day on Wednesday as Shell said it was planning extensive activity, including the deployment of divers, to completely stop the flow of oil.

The company told reporters on a conference call its estimate of the total volume of oil that had leaked remained at just over 218 tonnes, in line with a figure given on Monday, as oil continued to trickle out at the rate of one barrel a day. Up to 660 tonnes could remain in the pipeline at the Gannet field, however, said Glen Cayley, technical director of Shell’s European exploration and production activities, and the company was focusing on how to deal with it.

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No wonder bits are falling off the Shell Brent Platforms



No wonder bits are falling off the Brents.

I’m an ex Shell employee with no axe to grind but I’m also fat and wouldn’t trust those gratings to hold me.


(name and email address supplied)


Related comment by a retired Shell North Sea Platform manager:


This short video demonstrates severe corrosion of a stair tread. They are in a horrendous condition and a disgrace not only to the scheduled maintenance programme but to the respective OIM’s, Safety reps and the HSE Inspectors.    Pay particular attention near the end of the clip where the leading edge of the stair tread is fitted with an anti skid strip to assist in the prevention of workers slipping in the stair treads.  Notice how badly worn it is, should have been replaced a long time ago!

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No to Arctic Drilling


A version of this op-ed appeared in print on August 18, 2011

ABOUT 55,000 gallons of oil have escaped into the North Sea since last week from a leaky pipeline operated by Royal Dutch Shell, about 100 miles off Scotland.

Last year, Americans watched in mounting fury as the oil industry and the federal government struggled for five disastrous months to contain the much larger BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

Now imagine the increased danger and difficulty of trying to cope with a similar debacle off Alaska’s northern coast, where waters are sealed by pack ice for eight months of each year, gales roil fog-shrouded seas with waves up to 20 feet high and the temperature, combined with the wind chill, feels like 10 degrees below zero by late September.

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Shell Defends Its Efforts to Stanch North Sea Spill

Shell has been trying to stop a leaking line from its Gannet Alpha platform for the last seven days amid mounting public criticism of its perceived lack of transparency about the spill.

AUGUST 18, 2011


LONDON—Some 660 tons of oil are still inside a leaking Royal Dutch Shell PLC pipeline in the U.K. North Sea, the Anglo-Dutch energy producer said Wednesday, explaining that efforts to stop the relatively light flow of crude are taking considerable time in order to minimize further leakage.

Shell has been trying to stop a leaking line from its Gannet Alpha platform for the last seven days amid mounting public criticism of its perceived lack of transparency about the spill.

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Oil spill off Scotland ‘could worsen’

By Richard Hall

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Hundreds of tons of oil could still be inside an offshore pipeline which has been leaking for a week off the Scottish coast, raising the possibility that Britain’s worst oil spill for a decade could worsen.

As oil giant Royal Dutch Shell continues to try to stem the flow on the seabed about 112 miles east of Aberdeen, the company said there is still a risk an estimated 660 tons of oil that remain in the pipeline could leak out.

“We are talking about hundreds of tons of additional oil in the pipeline that we need to preserve and keep there,” Shell technical director Glen Cayley said.

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Shell could face fines over Gannet oil spill

Royal Dutch Shell may face a criminal investigation and hefty fines in the Scottish courts for its oil leak, which is still trickling into the North Sea.

Shell is currently working to stop 4,500 barrels still in the pipeline from leaking into the sea. Photo: REUTERS

Rowena Mason

By 7:49PM BST 17 Aug 2011

The Government said last night it will make recommendations to the Scottish Procurator Fiscal about whether to prosecute Shell, as its inspectors began to investigate what went wrong on the Gannet Alpha platform’s pipeline.

Hugh Shaw, the Government’s representative for maritime salvage and intervention, said he believed the leak was now “under control”, though it is still leaking around one barrel per day into the sea.

He became involved in the operation on Friday night, three days after the leak started, when it became clear there was “potential for significant pollution”.

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Shell, govt spin machine keeps lid on worst UK oil spill for decade


Shell’s Touch Fuck All culture on North Sea Platforms

By John Donovan


In June 2006, The Guardian published an article by Terry Macalister  under the headline “Shell accused over oil rig safety“.

It reported on criticisms leveled at the oil giant by its former HSE Group Auditor Bill Campbell (right) “who worked directly for Shell for 24 years, says he brought his concerns to the attention of directors as far back as 1999 – and again in 2004 – but still feels safety is compromised.”

Mr Campbell was asked by Shell to lead an expert team carrying out a review of Shell’s North Sea platforms in 1999. His subsequent report included allegations of falsification of maintenance records for safety critical equipment, non-compliance with routine maintenance and bodged repairs.

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Shells admits risk of further North Sea oil spill home

Hundreds of tonnes of oil estimated to still be inside an offshore pipeline that has been leaking for a week

  • Press Association
  •, Wednesday 17 August 2011 13.59 BST
The Royal Dutch Shell platform Gannett Alpha in the North Sea. Photograph: Ho/Reuters

Shell has admitted that there are hundreds of tonnes of additional oil in the pipeline that has been leaking for a week in the North Sea.

The estimate was revealed as Shell continues to try to stem the flow on the seabed near the Gannet Alpha platform, about 112 miles east of Aberdeen.

Since the leak started last Wednesday, more than 200 tonnes of oil has spilled into the North Sea, making it the worst single leak in the region for more than a decade.

The initial large leak was stopped the following day, but it later emerged that a smaller flow from the same source had been detected.

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Shell admits oil leak fix could take weeks

ENERGY giant Shell has made a full apology for its response to the North Sea oil spill and admitted it could take weeks to fix the leak. After days of criticism for keeping details of the spill from its Gannet Alpha platform secret, the oil company conceded it had made mistakes.

17 August 2011

By Jenny Fyall: Environment Correspondent
ENERGY giant Shell has made a full apology for its response to the North Sea oil spill and admitted it could take weeks to fix the leak. After days of criticism for keeping details of the spill from its Gannet Alpha platform secret, the oil company conceded it had made mistakes.
In an interview with The Scotsman, Steve Harris, head of external affairs and communications at Shell Upstream International Europe, confirmed a remaining leak was in a spot so difficult to access, 800ft below the waves, that it could take weeks to stop. He also revealed:

• A first seabird had been seen covered in oil. The breed is not known, but it was spotted flying from the spill area with oil on its wings.

• The pipe that sprung a leak is more than 30 years old and was not spotted by surveys testing the integrity of equipment.

• The size of the spill had grown again to cover 16sq miles. This compares to half a square mile on Monday, and 19 miles by three miles on Sunday. He said this could be because the spill had spread into smaller sections in windy conditions at the weekend, but with yesterday’s calmer weather had joined back together again.

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Oil spill exposes Shell’s ticking timebomb home

The Gannet Alpha spill in the North Sea is a stark reminder of the dangers of ageing rigs and oil company PR

The Royal Dutch Shell platform Gannett Alpha in the North Sea. Photograph: Ho/Reuters

For Shell, the timing of a spill at its Gannet A facility in the UK North Sea couldn’t have been worse. For months, it has been selling its reputation as a responsible and cutting-edge oil company in its bid to drill in the Beaufort Sea in the US Arctic – and it recently won approval.

The Gannet Alpha platform spill and a damning report by the UN, undermining Shell’s PR strategy. The company has been castigated over its lack of transparency in reporting the leak and for downplaying its magnitude and potential impacts. We now know that the spill is the single largest in UK waters in the last 10 years. While the spill is unlikely to approach the devastating impacts of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, its significance lies in the fact that it took place under the much vaunted “gold standard” regulatory regime of the UK and by a company that has been trading on its reputation as a responsible corporate citizen.

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