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Sultan of Oman Spying On Shell Oil Oman

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Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 13.34.0520 May 2015 at 11:42, Alastair Sloan

Spy-tech firms Gamma and Trovicor target Shell Oil in Oman

Extracts

The Sultan of Oman’s intelligence services are spying on the local operations of British oil company Shell with the aid of controversial European tech companies, the Register has learned.

Documents seen by el Reg reveal that the internal phone systems at Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) – a joint venture between the Omani government and various Western energy companies including Shell – have been tapped on behalf of the Sultan’s intelligence service. The work was carried out by two notorious European firms specialising in “lawful interception” of communications: Gamma International and Trovicor.

Shell owns a 34 per cent interest in PDO, in a “production sharing agreement” with the Omani government, who own sixty percent of the firm. Overall, PDO is responsible for extracting most of the country’s gas supply and around 70 per cent of its oil reserves.

Numerous current and former Shell engineers and management staff, known for their expertise in delivering long term energy projects, are seconded to or directly employed by PDO, and are using the phone systems listened into by the Omani security services. These include Managing Director Raoul Restucci, who was previously Executive Vice-President for Shell in the Middle East and North Africa Division.

Though the company is joint owned, industry insiders with experience working on similar “production sharing agreements” say the ability of the Omani government to listen in on the phone conversations of Shell employees seconded to PDO could prejudice regular commercial negotiations between the two parties over the sharing agreement.

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