The Guardian reports today that several hundred senior scientists employed by Shell at the Thornton Research Centre in Cheshire “will be scattered to other offices” in what is described as a more general retreat by Shell from the UK.
Shell staff, who are said to be “seething,” apparently believe the retreat from the UK is a consequence of the reserves scandal that came to light in 2004.
Shell executive directors including Group Chairman, Sir Phillip Watts (above right), were forced to resign. Basically Shell had repeatably filed false Form 20F returns to the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission each year, inflating claimed proven hydrocarbon reserves.
Confidence in the filings was built up by references to Shell’s claimed General Business Principles pledging: honesty, integrity, transparency etc. (A confidence tricksters charter)
Shell ended up being fined for massive securities fraud. There were also several successful class action lawsuits.
Dutch directors of the Royal Dutch Shell Group seem to have blamed its British executive directors for the scandal. As a consequence, shareholders in Shell Transport And Trading Company have been demoted into 2nd class members of the merged company (Royal Dutch Shell Plc) that emerged from the ashes of the Shell Transport/Royal Dutch partnership.
There is no annual AGM held in the UK for British shareholders in Shell, as they had been for the 100 years prior to the scandal, but instead, a mere satellite event at which no executive directors of Royal Dutch Shell Plc are present. All requests for the AGM to alternate between the Hague and London have been bluntly rejected.
At least one shareholder in Shell Transport And Trading Company Plc, my father, Alfred Donovan, was robbed of his shareholding during the share transfer process. His shares vanished. This probably happened to many other shareholders. If so, all were, like my father, innocent victims of wrongdoing by the relevant greedy, dishonest Shell executive directors, British AND Dutch, who left the company in disgrace, but with huge settlement packages, no doubt to buy their silence.
The disinformation machine at Shell continues. It is only a matter of months ago that the Chester Chronicle reported: Shell says there will be a ‘presence at Thornton for the foreseeable future’. The report went on to say: Shell has begun a consultation process about the changes but says there are no immediate and definite staff impacts.
That assurance has proven to be very short lived.
The Guardian says that the facility will be closed completely in 2014.
THE ROYAL DUTCH SHELL RESERVES FRAUD UNFOLDS IN NEWS HEADLINES
Daily Telegraph: Shell drops bombshell on reserves: 9 January 2004
The Times: How Shell blew a hole in a 100-year reputation: 10 January 2004
The West Australian: Investors howl for Shells blood: 12 January 2004
London Evening Standard: Shell bosses lied to the City: 19 April 2004
(Former executives, led by ex-chairman Sir Philip Watts, admitted they had repeatedly lied to investors about the true level of Shells oil and gas reserves.)
Houston Chronicle: Sick and tired about lying at Shell: 19 April 2004
Bloomberg: Shell Loses AAA Credit Rating: 19 April 2004
Shell bosses fooled the market: 19 April 2004
The Guardian: Shell admits it misled investors: 20 April 2004
The Scotsman: Shell admits reserve lies: 20 April 2004
The Scotsman: Shells reputation left in tatters: 21 April 2004
TheStarOnline: Shell report exposes lies, CFO sacked: 21 April 2004
Daily Telegraph: Shell suffers second cut to credit rating: 21 April 2004
Daily Telegraph: Sacked Shell boss escorted from HQ: 22 April 2004
Daily Mail: Shell attacked from all sides: 26 April 2004
(OIL giant Shell urgently needs to embark on a damage limitation offensive with investors before regulatory probes and lawsuits send the crisis spiralling out of control.)
Daily Telegraph: Watts pension pot tops £10m: 28 May 2004
fin24: Shell directors under fire: 20 June 2004
Extract: The report came just a day after Dutch paper NRC Handelsblad quoted a former executive of one of the oil groups subsidiaries as saying half of the companys 400 most senior managers were aware of the problem.
London Evening Standard: Shell has lied for 10 years: 26 June 2004
Sadistic sacking of a Royal Dutch Shell whistleblower: 27 October 2010