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ROYAL DUTCH SHELL SCREW UP IN THE ARCTIC

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 10.34.44In case you are not aware, ***I have already supplied Shell insider information and leaked documents to the Department of the Interior. A senior person requested our help on behalf of the DoI, which we were happy to give. We will of course be pleased to assist in any further requests made of us.

EMAIL FROM JOHN DONOVAN TO U.S. INTERIOR SECRETARY KEN SALAZAR: SENT 7 APRIL 2013

Secretary Salazar
Department of the Interior
1849 C street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240

Dear Mr. Salazar

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL SCREW UP IN THE ARCTIC

I am contacting you in your capacity as the Secretary of the Interior.

With my father, who will be 96 this month, I operate an independent, entirely non-commercial website – *royaldutchshellplc.com – that monitors the activities of Royal Dutch Shell.

We regularly publish Shell internal information supplied by a network of insiders who have provided information in relation to what you have aptly described as a “screw-up” by Shell in its Arctic drilling campaign.

As recent Wall Street Journal, Fox News, Nasdaq and Forbes articles have all kindly acknowledged, we were the first to break the news about the firing of David Lawrence, chosen as the scapegoat for Shell’s Arctic misadventures. Possibly an attempt to save his incompetent bosses, Marvin Odum and **Peter Voser, from the same fate. 

I received a Shell internal document – “Alaska 2008 Summer Drilling Campaign PSUA”  – from the same source that tipped me off about the sacking of David Lawrence. What immediately took my eye is that Shell was well aware at that early stage of the need for de-icing equipment on helicopters, yet in 2012, allowed its employees to be passengers on helicopters that had insufficient de-icing equipment. I am not a lawyer, but that strikes me as amounting to criminal negligence.

I passed the leaked PSUA on to an offshore exploration expert, Mr. Bill Campbell, retired Group Health & Safety Auditor of Shell International. I asked him to kindly compare it with the recent DOI Report. His initial response was published in an article entitled: “Sudden Demise of Lawrence of Alaska“.

Mr Campbell cited related information kindly supplied by a contributor to our “Shell Blog”. It was a quote from an outrageous statement by Marvin Odum, the President of Shell Oil Company, made in a Shell magazine.  Mr. Odum downplayed the Kulluk drilling rig ending up on the rocks, culminating in an abandonment of ship and a salvage operation, as amarine transport issue. Forbes rightly described Mr. Odum as being “disingenuous” for resorting to such a dishonest portrayal of what was, in fact, a PR disaster for Shell.

When Mr Campbell was in related email correspondence with Mr. Michiel Brandjes, the Company Secretary and General Counsel Corporate of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mr Brandjes made a veiled threat of legal action in respect of our intention to publish the more detailed findings by Mr Campbell in a document entitled: Misadventures in the Arctic Region in Alaskan waters. The article contains the relevant email correspondence with Royal Dutch Shell dated 27/28 March 2013. I hope your experts will review the comments made by Mr. Campbell.

In case you are not aware, ***I have already supplied Shell insider information and leaked documents to the Department of the Interior. A senior person requested our help on behalf of the DoI, which we were happy to give. We will of course be pleased to assist in any further requests made of us.

****I have performed a similar service to the Russian government in respect of the Sakhalin II project. Another story of screw-up and cover-up by Shell.

For several years we have been involving in ringing alarm bells over Shell’s Arctic ambitions.

For example, in 2006, we were approached by an Arctic Wilderness Associate of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG), which was leading a broad coalition of environmental groups, financial organizations, investors, religious groups, students, activists and citizens in a campaign targeting oil companies that had expressed interest in drilling in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  We acted at their request in related contact with Shell and its then shareholder registrar, Lloyds Registrars.

More recently, in April 2012, I sent an email to every UK MP entitled “Trusting Shell to Drill in the Arctic“. I mentioned Shell’s notorious approach to safety issues on its North Sea platforms. An audit team led by Bill Campbell, discovered to their horror, that a “Touch Fuck All” safety culture was in place. Worse still, safety records were routinely falsified and repairs bodged. Shell management failed to honour pledges about taking proper remedial action and in 2003 an explosion took place on the Brent Bravo platform in which workers lost their lives. Shell was prosecuted and received a record breaking £900,000 fine for an avoidable accident. Since then, despite 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

We were far from alone in issuing warnings. A 51 page report – SHELL OIL A record of environmental and corporate malfeasance – also mentions Bill Campbell, who has campaigned tirelessly for Shell to improve its horrendous offshore safety record. He wrote to every UK MP on the subject in July 2007.

This is not the first time that Shell’s misconduct has come to the notice of your department.

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 is currently accused of corruption on an industrial scale in relation to the controversial Corrib gas project in Ireland.)

Nor are you the first U.S. Regulator to be candid about Shell’s behavior.

In 2005, The then SEC Chairman, Christopher Cox, described the Royal Dutch Shell reserves debacle as a ‘fraud’ on a par with the Enron and WorldCom scandals (FT article published 7 October 2005)

Notes

*DOMAIN NAME SCREW UP: We were able to obtain registration of the top level domain for Royal Dutch Shell Plc due to another screw up by Shell, which subsequently failed in its attempt to seize the domain name.

**VOSER SCREW-UP: In May 2010 Shell defied calls for a moratorium on offshore exploration in the Arctic.  Voser assured shareholders at the AGM that Shell would only drill there if it thought it could be done “safely and responsibly”. He was responsible for sending antiquated drilling vessels blundering into Alaskan waters, putting cost savings before safety considerations. The Noble Discoverer had departed Singapore on its way to New Zealand without even being certified. As a consequence of the botched processes, the ancient ship repeatedly broke-down on the high seas during the move to New Zealand. Because almost everything went wrong, the well it had attempted to drill had to be abandoned before reaching its objectives so that the jinxed drilling ship could be moved to the Arctic with all speed. This did not stop Peter Voser, who is a bean-counter, not an oil man, from launching a “blistering attack on beleaguered rival BP over the devastating Gulf of Mexico oil spill.” So he is not only incompetent, but also an opportunist and a hypocrite.

*** (THIS INFORMATION REDACTED FOR SECURITY/CONFIDENTIALITY REASONS)

****A Russian environmental minister, Oleg Mitvol, confirmed in a TV interview last April that I supplied him with Shell insider information and leaked documents relating to the Sakhalin II project, which were of great assistance to his department. A WikiLeaks document confirmed that it was this important evidence that cost Shell its majority stake in the project. Basically Shell had not been candid with the host government and as a result, suffered a humiliating penalty that has cost its shareholders many billions of dollars, as confirmed in several UK newspaper and magazine articles. As a result of further leakage of Shell documents to me, David Greer, a Shell Managing Director and Deputy CEO of Sakhalin Investment Company was forced to resign.

Finally, since you are moving on very shortly, I hope you will kindly pass on this information to your successor.

Yours sincerely

John Donovan

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