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Stirring up a Hornets’ Nest at Shell’s Geelong Refinery

According to an insider source, the information that appeared on this website regarding alleged Intellectual Property theft has stirred up a hornet’s nest at Shell’s Geelong Refinery. It would also appear that an investigation is under way to find the person responsible for sending it to me, which has the objective of subjecting that person to Disciplinary Action.

By John Donovan

I have permission from the sender, Mr Warwick Williams, to publish an email he sent to me concerning the alleged theft by Shell of intellectual property owned by an employee at Geelong Refinery in Australia, Diana Newman.

According to an insider source, the information that appeared on this website regarding alleged Intellectual Property theft has stirred up a hornet’s nest at Shell’s Geelong Refinery. It would also appear that an investigation is under way to find the person responsible for sending it to me, which has the objective of subjecting that person to Disciplinary Action.

In related email correspondence with Royal Dutch Shell Company Secretary, Mr Michiel Brandjes, it appeared that Shell intended to investigate the allegation.

Mr Brandjes said: Thank you for forwarding this. We will certainly look into this and action as appropriate in accordance with the Shell Code of Conduct etc.

From the latest news, it seems that the investigation may have actually been directed at finding out who leaked the information to me, rather than discovering if the allegation has substance. That is a much more predictable reaction by Shell: track down and shoot the whistleblower.

THE EMAIL FROM MR WARWICK WILLIAMS

Hi John

This is my first email to you and it is motivated by my stumbling across an article on your website pertaining to alleged Intellectual Property theft by Shell at Geelong Refinery in Australia.

As an introduction, my name is Warwick Williams and I am a retired Refinery Operations Team Leader previously employed by ExxonMobil at the now defunct Adelaide Refinery located in South Australia.

I often browse the Web keeping up with the news in developments of technology in the oil refining universe;  Incidents – Cause and effect etc, and I was amazed when I stumbled upon the mention of one of my old work colleagues, Diana Newman.

Prior to 2001 Diana Newman worked at Adelaide Refinery as a qualified Laboratory Analyst. She was admired for her work ethic and especially for her integrity in sample analysis reporting.

In 2001 Diana changed Career direction when she applied for, and was accepted, to become an Operations Technician in the Lube Oil Refinery at Adelaide. It was a quantum leap for her as she became the first female to break into the all male bastion Operations Dept. However, despite the obstacles she sometimes encountered, Diana proved to be up to the job and she gradually won the approval and respect of her Shift team members. ( I was not her Team Leader during this time, but, respecting her previous work in the Lab. I had an interest in how she coping in her new work environment).

In 2003 ExxonMobil closed Adelaide Refinery in a Global Asset rationalisation program and our Operations folk became a diaspora of oil expertise and excellence, (and, I retired).

Diana Newman was the sole Operator from Adelaide to get a start with Shell Geelong. I remember this was celebrated when the Ops Team had a Farewell party for her. She had thought that her Operations career would be at an end when Adelaide Refinery closed.

It was no surprise to me that she would continue her career development at Shell, and, she kept in touch with her old “Mobil mafia” friends via email about her progress. In particular, she was excited by the prospect of doing some research with Heat exchangers that were salt water cooled and required intensive maintenance. She did not give much detail of her work, but, was delighted that she had the patronage of one of the Refinery Managers and Deakin University in Geelong.

I was under the impression that all was going nicely for her until I read the article on your website.

I felt it my duty to contact you as an outsider, with no axe to grind, and give you some personal background on Diana so that she can be seen for what she has been, a dedicated worker who gives her all.

I certainly hope that Shell management will look at her situation and remedy the wrongs that seem to have eventuated.

Sincerely
Warwick H Williams
Assistant Shift Team leader (Retrd) 1979 -2003
Mobil Adelaide Lube Refinery

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