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TRUSTING SHELL TO DRILL IN THE ARCTIC OCEAN

Copy of an email sent by John Donovan to every UK MP: 25 APRIL 2012

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL SENIOR MANAGEMENT HAS HAD ADVANCE SIGHT OF THIS EMAIL AND THEREFORE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEEK AN INJUNCTION IF ANYTHING STATED IS UNTRUE

This issue transcends all geographical (and constituency) boundaries.

In September 2011, The Independent published an article under the headline: “Oil exploration under Arctic ice could cause ‘uncontrollable’ natural disaster.  One of the world’s leading polar scientists has warned: “If there is serious oil spill under ice in the Arctic it will be very hard, if not impossible to stop it becoming an environmental catastrophe…”

What should be given the greatest weight in deciding if Shell can be trusted to drill in the Arctic Ocean – Shell’s promises about being able to react quickly and effectively to any incident/disaster arising from its pioneer Arctic drilling commencing in July, or its horrendous track record of environmental pollution on an epic scale and deceiving host governments?

Shell won drilling rights in the USA after spending millions of dollars lobbying the Federal government.

I operate the entirely non-commercial website royaldutchshellplc.com, the worlds leading online resource for information about Royal Dutch Shell, with free access to over 30,000 articles, documents and commentary relating to Shell. The website and my network of “moles” inside Shell, was the subject of a recent major article by the German broadsheet newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, translated and published in multiple languages by presseurop, an EU funded news source.

I am therefore in a unique position to provide examples of Shell misdeeds.

SAKHALIN ENERGY, SAKHALIN II PROJECT IN RUSSIA (IN WHICH SHELL WAS THE MAJORITY SHAREHOLDER)

In October 2006, Oleg Mitvol, the then Russian Deputy Minister of the Environment, confirmed he intended to take Sakhalin Energy to court claiming $10 billion in damages for alleged environmental violations based on evidence I provided to him, including high level Shell internal emails. He said: “I have email correspondence between executives in Sakhalin Energy management from 2002. I received these letters from John Donovan, owner of the anti-Shell website www.royaldutchshellplc.com. I received them on 19 October and forwarded them to Sakhalin Energy with a request for an official reply. But I have not received any reply so far. I presume that they are in shock.”

During a television documentary feature about me broadcast by ARD on Germany TV on Saturday, Mr Mitvol confirmed again that he got the above evidence from me. He said: “Yes, Mr. Donovan’s documents really helped us.”  “His evidence proved without a doubt that documents had been forged and that problems had deliberately been kept secret.” Faced with the overwhelming evidence of blunder and cover-up, Shell surrendered its majority stake in the project at a cost of tens of billions of dollars. Shell had deliberately hidden from the Russian government high level internal warnings of a potential environmental catastrophe.

SHELL’S APPALLING TRACK RECORD IN NIGERIA

In 2004, I published a 93 page leaked confidential Shell internal report admitting that the companies activities had fuelled corruption, violence and poverty in Nigeria. Shell has been promising for decades to end gas flaring in Nigeria, but has not done so. Oil spills have destroyed the environment in the Niger Delta. Shell partly blames the oil spills on attacks made on its pipelines. However, based on insider information, I revealed in 2009 Shell’s financial dealings with the leaders of militant groups attacking the pipelines. In October last year, The Guardian published a related article: “Shell accused of fuelling violence in Nigeria by paying rival gangs.” In December 2010, WikiLeaks revealed that Shell had embedded spies throughout the Nigerian government. In 2009, Shell settled for $15.5 million a case accusing it of complicity in human rights abuses in Nigeria. As you probably know, a jurisdiction issue concerning a related case is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2010, Shell paid a $48 million Nigerian fine for corruption.

THE CONTROVERSIAL CORRIB GAS PROJECT IN IRELAND

I have regularly published Shell internal documents and internal emails relating to the controversial Corrib Gas Project in Ireland.  In 2007, I published the confidential minutes of a 2002 meeting of Shell group managing directors recording the intent to seek out and influence “well placed” contacts in the Irish government and regulators in relation to planning consent. A police investigation of alleged death threats against my Corrib whistleblower sources (who disclosed that internal warnings about safety issues have been suppressed), has been underway for over a year. I found out from Shell internal documents obtained in response to a SAR application, that Shell has initiated a global spying operation trying to trace my insider sources. See Reuters article.

SHELL’S NOTORIOUS “TOUCH F*** ALL” APPROACH TO SAFETY ISSUES ON NORTH SEA PLATFORMS

In 1999, Bill Campbell, a senior Shell official, led a safety audit on the Brent Bravo platform. His team discovered to their horror, a “Touch F*** All” safety culture was in place. Worse still, safety records were routinely falsified and repairs bodged. Shell management failed to honour pledges about taking remedial action and in 2003 an explosion took place on Brent Bravo in which platform workers lost their lives. Shell received a recording breaking fine for an avoidable accident. After Mr Campbell retired as Group HSE Auditor, he mounted a campaign for improved safety for offshore workers and in July 2007, sent this letter to every MP. Amazingly, despite his continuing campaign and Shell’s pledges, its North Sea safety record has got worse, not better. In 2008, even the lifeboats on Shell platforms were found to be unseaworthy

SHELL’S DISREPUTABLE CONDUCT IN THE USA

Bearing in mind Shell’s involvement in major scandals involving U.S. oversight authorities, I am surprised that the U.S. government has been prepared to place its faith in Shell. In 2004, news broke of a reserves scandal. Shell had filed FORM 20F Returns to the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission containing false information about the volume of its proven oil and gas reserves. Shell bolstered confidence in the inflated figures by including references to Shell’s Business Principles, pledging honesty, integrity and openness in all of Shell’s dealings. Three Shell executive directors, including the Group Chairman, were forced to resign. I supplied evidence from Shell insiders to the lead plaintiff lawyers in the subsequent class action. In 2008, Shell was found to have plied U.S. Department of the Interior officials with improper gifts in a sex and drugs corruption scandal.

Shell has for many decades put profits before mere ethical considerations, whether it be resorting to subterfuge to disguise its shipments of Iranian crude, or dealing with despots such as General Sani Abacha in Nigeria, or Gaddafi in Libya. There is also irrefutable evidence that Shell conspired directly with Hitler, heavily financed the Nazi Party, was anti-Semitic and sold out its own Dutch Jewish employees to the Nazis.

Moving back to current events, in August 2011, Shell attracted adverse publicity for hiding information about an oil spill in the North Sea.

Don’t hide facts about oil leak: The Herald

Leader: Onus is on Shell to come clean on North Sea oil spill: The Scotsman

Shell accused of secrecy over North Sea platform oil leak: Aberdeen Press and Journal

Shell needs to come fully clean: The Independent

Shell’s reputation is tarnished by North Sea oil spill: TheNewsTribune.com

In view of the above track record, do you feel at ease trusting Royal Dutch Shell to drill in the Arctic?

This email is also being sent to every U.S. Senator.

Regards

John Donovan

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