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Shell accused of deceit, trickery and fraud by a group of over 100 former employees

LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA FROM THE DELTA RIGHTS GROUP OF OVER 100 FORMER SHELL EMPLOYEES

By John Donovan

Printed below is a letter recently sent to the President of Nigeria by The Delta Rights Group, a group of over 100 former Shell employees who allege that they are the victims of deceit, trickery and fraud on the part of Shell.

All reminiscent of what happened to Shell employees in Ethiopia and Malaysia.

Angry Shell Ethiopia employees accuse Shell of discrimination and infringement of Human rights: 2 August 2008

Shell Employees in Africa Protest Against Being ‘Sold’ by Shell: 29 July 2008

Ethiopian employees accuse Shell of raiding retirement fund: 18 December 2007

Dear Mr John Donovan: Warm greetings from Shell employees in Ethiopia: 26 November 2007

The Delta Group has promised to supply us with evidence of alleged misdeeds by Shell management, which we will publish in due course, if deemed appropriate.

THE LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA

April 13, 2012
President Goodluck Jonathan
Office of the President of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria,
Aso Rock Villa,
Asokoro District,
Abuja.

Dear Sir,

IMPENDING DISASTER ARISING FROM THE SALES OF OML 42 (BATAN, JONES CREEK, EGWA 1, EGWA 2, ODIDI 1 AND ODIDI 2 FIELDS)

This mail is being sent to you to know of the dangers that will arise from the sale of OML42 by Shell. The current Joint Venture is made up of NECONDE and NPDC, with NPDC being the Operator of the Joint Venture.

Shell sold her stake in OML 42 to the NECONDE Consortium, and custody transfer was made on Dec 01, 2011. After which Batan Flowstation (a part of OML 42) was run by Shell staff who were transferred to NECONDE as part of the Divestment of OML 42. Oil production was sustained at circa 29,000 bbls/day.

Due to issues arising from Operatorship of the Joint Venture, NPDC took over the running of Batan F/S on February 01, 2012 and oil production has nosedived to 7,000bbls/day since they took over. NPDC does not have the competence to run such a Flowstation, and if they are allowed to continue running it, oil production will get to 0bbls/day very soon, thereby, threatening the income accruable to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In OML 42, there are other Flowstations that were shutdown during the Niger Delta crisis. Under the few weeks that NECONDE ran Batan Flowstation before it was taken over by NPDC, they had already drawn up plans on how to re-enter the other assets in OML 42. These are Jones Creek, Egwa 1, Egwa 2, Odidi 1 and Odidi 2 Fields. With NPDC running this JV, these assets won’t be re-entered because they don’t have the expertise to re-enter abandoned fields. And if this continues, NPDC will be economically sabotaging Nigeria’s income due to their vested interests.

When Shell was divesting her stake in OML 42, 115 staff were also transferred to NECONDE to run these assets. With NPDC taking over, these ex-Shell staff are now jobless because NECONDE has laid them off due to the fact that NPDC is the operator. These are trained staff with all the technical know-how and expertise to run such assets.

The role of Government is governance and not to run businesses. These should be left to private companies with the expertise so that government can focus on governance and oversight functions. Compare Batan Flowstation was producing 29,000bbls/day before NPDC took over and currently, it is producing a mere 7,000bbls/day.

Other issues arising from OML 42 Divestment:

  • 115 able-bodied men and women were transferred from Shell to NECONDE as part of the Divestment. With NPDC clinging to the operatorship, these people have been rendered jobless. Due to the mental, psychological and physical trauma, one of the personnel slumped and died (Mr. Daniel Anyanwu) and some others have been admitted as a result of hypertension and high-blood pressure-related illnesses.
  • Mainly people from the Niger Delta were transferred from Shell to NECONDE. Now, they are jobless. The Niger-Delta has been relatively peaceful for sometime and we would want it to remain so. Lots of people are sympathetic to the plight of these jobless 114 people.
  • With NPDC being operator, oil will be locked-in in OML 42 because they don’t have the capacity to run such an asset and to bring in abandoned fields.
  • Shell tricked the affected personnel into OML 42 and NECONDE knowing fully well that they transferred operatorship to NPDC. How can you transfer staff to NECONDE when you know that you are transferring Operatorship to NPDC? This smirks of fraud and utter deceit.
  • In the final pay-off by Shell to the 115 staff transferred to NECONDE, the personnel were seriously short-changed and different formulae were used to calculate their terminal benefits. Any formula that suits an individual was the one that Shell applied, thereby, shortchanging the 115 people after forcefully pushing them away from their jobs.
  • Shell is partaking in a lot of lies and is treating the personnel of NECONDE with double-standards. These are people who gave their active years serving Shell. They have peddled lots of lies. For example, they claimed to have been the ones that paid NECONDE staff salaries for Jan and Feb 2012 so as to push through another OML Divestment (See the attached note from Shell.)

From the Shell angle, since the present MD (Mutiu Sunmonu) took over, it has been one form of severance to another, and these exercises mainly affect people from the South-South and Niger-Delta, this is because he is from the South West. He protects the interest of the South West people, and the people of the South South are always chosen for such exercises. To buttress this statement, consider the following:

  • More than 60% of the 115 people transferred from Shell to NECONDE are from the Niger Delta (Ijaw, Urhobo, Isoko, etc). These are young boys in their mid 20’s to early 40’s who were not due for pension in Shell before they were forced out.
  • The few Yorubas affected are elderly people in their 50’s who have already qualified for pension in Shell. And even transferring them to such OML is an added income stream for them. People who should be retired are dragging opportunities with the younger ones.
  • There is nobody to protect the interest of the Niger Deltans. Mutiu protects the interests of the Yorubas, and there are other Managers in Shell protecting their people. For example, a certain Theophilus Odigie, aManager in Shell is a serious tribalist and protects the interests of theEdo people. The Niger Delta people are like headless chickens in their own land. The oppression is too much and you have to do something about it.
  • Most employments are in favour of the South West people and our people are further impoverished in their land.

Also, during the Sendforth of ex-Shell staff transferred to NECONDE, the Shell MD said that the personnel are like daughters given to 2 men in marriage and that they should make the marriage work. Which sane man will give out the hands of his daughter to 2 men in marriage? From the onset, this whole OML 42 Divestment was riddled with lies, irregularities, etc.

And if these things continue, there will be serious poverty and idleness in the land. And there is a saying that “An idle mind is the Devil’s Workshop”

Sir, for there to be peace, the operatorship should be reverted to NECONDE and the 114 staff who have been disengaged by NECONDE should be recalled to run these assets. Alternatively, Shell should recall the 114 staff that they transferred to OML 42 due to the Divestment since the Divestment is not working.

Yours sincerely,

Delta Rights Group.

UPDATE FROM DELTA RIGHTS GROUP

More info…

– Delta Rights is an Advocacy Group fighting for the aggrieved 115 personnel.
– You can refer to the ex-Shell staff as ‘Group of 115 ex-Shell staff tricked out of their jobs by SHELL under the guise of OML 42 Divestment’.
– This is April 17, the personnel have not been paid their March salaries. The new Employer, NECONDE ENERGY LTD is blackmailing them to sign the letter of severance before they will be paid. The employees refused and they haven’t been paid until now.
– If the employees sign the letter, they have given up their rights and will free SHELL and NECONDE of all liabilities.

We will be furnishing you with more information as it progresses.

Sincerely,
Delta Rights.

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