Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image

Posts under ‘Ben van Beurden’

Inquest on BG Group/Shell merger

Even the remuneration committee’s ethics were questionable as they acted with impunity by awarding obscene annual bonuses to executives, despite multiple fatalities at operational locations.

By John Donovan

Further comments have been posted overnight on our Shell Blog in an ongoing discussion about Shell’s controversial takeover of the BG Group. To my certain knowledge Shell had its eyes set on British Gas back to at least the mid 1990’s. An important meeting I had in July 1995 with the then Chairman and Chief Executive of Shell UK Limited Dr Chris Fay was interrupted by matters relating to British Gas. A takeover bid was being actively considered. It was not until Ben van Beurden became Shell’s CEO that anyone at Shell had the guts to take a gamble. And it is a gamble. Oil prices are on the brink of a possible and even likely collapse. BTW, I very much agree with the comments made by “regular browser” about Shell’s claimed business principles.

read more

Shell news update 4 May 2017

Shell Pumps a Torrent of Cash as Takeover, Cost Cuts Pay Off: Bloomberg.com: 4 May 2017

The Anglo-Dutch company’s performance helps validate Chief Executive Officer Ben Van Beurden’s $54 billion purchase of BG Group Plc — for which some shareholders complained he overpaid — and the deep spending cuts and asset sales he undertook to protect the balance sheet.

Nigeria: Despite Malabu Scandal, Shell, Eni Will Continue to Operate OPL 245 – Govt: Premium Times: 3 May 2017

The Federal Government says the Zabazaba deepwater project in Oil Prospecting Lease (OPL) 245 will continue in spite of controversies surrounding the oil block.

How Earthquakes Might Be Crimes in Netherlands: Bloomberg.com: 3 May 2017

Can a natural disaster be a crime? That’s the question in The Netherlands, where an investigation has been ordered into whether Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp. are criminally responsible for earthquakes triggered by production at Europe’s largest natural gas field, Groningen. Some of the earthquakes have been strong enough to damage homes…

read more

Steve Phimister, mastermind behind Shell’s takeover of BG Group?

By John Donovan

Yesterday, the sub-headline in a PR article about Steve Phimister published by EnergyVoice.com proclaimed: “The mastermind behind Royal Dutch Shell’s £36billion takeover of BG Group has been appointed to the board of industry trade association Oil and Gas UK”.

I wondered if the very impressive claim, perhaps made in the heat of excitement about his latest appointment, might upset his boss, Shell CEO Ben van Beurden, who might believe that he masterminded the deal, not Phimister. Lo and behold the claim vanished overnight from the online article without explanation.

read more

More analysis of wiretapped BvB/Simon Henry phone call

By Bill Campbell (Retired HSE Group Auditor Shell International)

I have read through the Ben van Beurden/Simon Henry phone transcript but frankly cannot understand the apparently relaxed attitude, with many chuckles and laughter on the phone.

It seems clear also that RDS had been or were still pursuing some kind of internal investigation into the matter.

They raised but then thought lightly it would seem, of the emails that are incriminating, as though these did not involve their own employees whether direct or indirect, ex MI6 etc.

read more

OPL 245: Bernardus Cornelis Adriana Margriet Van Beurden

Extracts from Milan Prosecutors letter relating to Royal Dutch Shell and its current/former executives and employees.

Notification of completion of preliminary investigations Art. 415-bis of the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure The Public Prosecutor, having regard to the above criminal proceedings against

Royal Dutch Shell PLC with registered office in The Hague (Netherlands), at Carel Van Bylandtlaan, 30 legal representative pro tempore: Bernardus Cornelis Adriana Margriet Van Beurden, born in Roosendaal en Nispen on 23 April 1958 Defended by the lawyer Bruno Lorenzo Cova of the Court of Turin, and by the lawyer Francesca Petronio of the Court of Milan, with chambers at in Milan, Via Rovello, 1 With address for service at the Paul Hastings (Europe) LLP law firm in Milan, at Via Rovello, 1 for the crimes and administrative offences listed below:

read more

Transcript of Wiretapped Ben van Beurden Simon Henry phone call

Transcript: Tap 5 – 716
TITLE: TAP 5 – 716
PERSONS NAME: Ben van Beurden (Shell CEO) & Simon Henry (Shell CFO)
DATE: 17 February 2016
TIME: 19:53:12
DURATION: 00:13:53

TIMECODE Name Dialogue
0:00 BVB Hey Simon
00.24 SH Hi Ben
00.25 SH Sorry, your missed call. I was, er, having something to eat.
00.30 BVB Yeah, I know you’re on leave, so am I. You obviously know what happened at the office today, so I just wanted to check in with you…
00.37 SH I’m actually in the office tomorrow morning.
00.40 BVB Oh will you be…
00.42 SH I’m leaving at lunchtime. I’ve been in Brussels today.
00.45 BVB Oh, I thought you were in Switzerland this week?
00.50 SH I fly down tomorrow afternoon, evening.
00.55- BVB Oh OK, so I… as I said I… just hold on, I just want to get away from the nanny. And so I just wanted to check in and see whether you’re alright. I trust you have been informed about what happened at the office and the fact that they have gone through both our rooms to get whatever information they needed to get.
1:20 SH Yeah. I spoke to Ronan [Cassidy, Shell Chief Human Resources & Corporate Officer] and Souli [Bouchla, Shell Executive Assistant] and I heard that. I hadn’t heard much else actually. That’s about it, all that I’ve heard…
1:302:00

2:30

3:00

BVB Yeah well I don’t know exactly of course the details of the events but I spoke with Michiel [Brandjes, Shell Company Secretary] and Ronan [Cassidy] three times during the day, and with Donny [Ling, Shell Legal Director] who is in Barcelona. So it looks as if they have some form of coordination between the Italian prosecutor, possibly … with a link into the DoJ, but we’re not sure yet. But, er, clearly something they have been preparing for and need to do now apparently also because of a statute of limitations that expires next month in Italy. But it… they were apparently … quite, er, firstly well prepared but also quite forceful and brusque this morning when they got hold of Annette [van Lisse, secretary to Ben van Beurden], they rattled a few people in the office probably. But during the day it sort of all turned into a fairly sort of professionally run organisation, certainly from our side, but also from the side of the prosecutor. Annette was… I spoke with Annette at the end of the day, apparently they had been in my office for 3 or 4 hours going through everything. I have nothing on OPL245 … but anyway they managed to take one folder which they thought was of relevance … no idea what that would be. Apparently they had been in your office … they were still in your office when I spoke with Annette at the end of the afternoon so they were going through things…
3:20 SH OK, I do know [unclear] apparently, a lot of papers. There’s nothing on OPL245 that I’m aware of. They’d be better off looking through electronic records.
3:33 BVB Yeah. And I think they were going to go to Chad’s office [Holliday, Shell chairman], which of course used to be Malcolm’s [Brinded, Shell Executive Director, Upstream International] office. And according to Souli [Bouchla] there is [unclear] there is a whole stack of Malcolm’s stuff in there…
3:48 SH Really? Mmm…
3:50 BVB …so I have no idea what it is, what that could be, yeah.
3:54 SH [Chuckles] Probably more interesting.
3:57 BVB [Chuckles] Yes. Er, you are aware of the sort of, not status, er, Donny [Ling] and the legal team have been up to in terms of the OPL245 forensic investigation that we doing ourselves?
4:16 SH I spoke to Donny [Ling] a couple of weeks ago… But I’m… Not in a forensic sense, to say where are you, what have you found, is there anything to be concerned about…? I didn’t have that kind of conversation with him. You may have had more, particularly if you spoke to him today.
4:375:00

5:30

BVB Yeah, well, they have gone through all the old email exchanges etc. I think the… I’ve been briefed a few times, verbally. They’ve given me a briefing the day before the audit committee because they were going to give a verbal update to the audit committee… So I take it you have [SH: Yes] heard the verbal update so you are probably also up to date with everything. But, er, to the extent that they may not have shared sort of the very latest… I don’t think they have found anything that was clearly incriminating or that sort of suggested thst we were colluding or doing anything inappropriate. But there was apparently some loose chatter between people from the team, particularly the people that we hired from MI6 who, er, must have said things like, “Well, yeah, you know, I wonder who gets a pay-off here and whatever”, so it’s unhelpful email exchanges. It’s, it’s … I haven’t seen them but apparently they were judged to be, you know, just pub talk in emails which was stupid. But nevertheless it’s there, so it, er…
5:57 SH And that was from the time of … the ENI payment, or from a subsequent investigation by us using people with that background?
6:076:30

7:00

7:30

8:00

BVB No, no, no. This is from the time of the ENI payment where, you know, it all was sort of figured out how to do this, and whatever. Apparently there was some really unhelpful emails in there, which then subsequently needed to be followed up with interviews to say, well, what do these emails mean? Well, we’re never going to get a good answer out of that, of course, but they had a list of people that they were going to interview. They have done a few like Anne Pickard [Shell Executive Vice President: Arctic; formerly Vice-President: sub-Saharan Africa] and a few others who still work for us. But they were also going to interview Peter Robinson [formerly Shell Vice-President: Africa]. I’m not sure whether they in the end managed to speak to him, because of course he can decline to be interviewed, he doesn’t work for us anymore. And they were going to interview Malcolm [Brinded] and they were going to interview Peter Voser [formerly Shell Chief Executive]. So, I’m not sure whether they were going to interview you but if you haven’t been approached then they’re probably not going to. It, er. So it’s, yeah, the whole… I got a briefing at some point from them… [unclear]… the law firm, who said, yeah, we don’t think we, we have, there is anything troublesome here but, yeah, at some point in time when it’s all done we have to make up our mind whether we just say “Well, that’s it, we’ve investigated everything that could be investigated and we conclude there is nothing wrong and we will put it to rest”. Or whether we just say, “Well, you know, there’s a few funny things here and maybe we should just disclose it to the DoJ.” Because it all happened at a time we were of course under deferred prosecution agreement, so, we should have maybe at the time been a more open with the DoJ than we now find we have been. Anyway we were not at that point of clarity or conclusion, so, in that sense… this dawn raid is, I won’t say premature, but it’s, we were not, we hadn’t concluded our own work.
8:27 SH I saw DoJ referenced. You mention that… I don’t think there for a moment that with the Dutch side with the possible Italian connection, that do we know definitely it’s definitely DoJ, then, in the US?
8:42 BVB Sorry, say that again. You were…?
8:45 SH I only saw from the, when I spoke to Ronan [Cassidy], plus early messages from Mikhail [Brandjes], that it was the Dutch director of public prosecution and essentially found the Italian link, but did it pick up anything formally, like the DoJ and the Americans?
9:039:30

10:00

10:30

11:00

BVB No, no. It didn’t. When I spoke with Michiel [Brandjes] this morning, and Donny [Ling], it… at some point in time they said that the DoJ was involved and that it was coordinated with the DoJ etc. And then when I spoke with them this afternoon that story had been clarified and they said no there was no DoJ involvement. And the crisis team met at 1 o’clock and, er, sort of went over who do we need to inform. So do we need to inform the DoJ, do we need to inform the Serious Fraud Office, do we need to inform the SEC? And they were going to reflect on that. And so I thought, spoke with Ronan [Cassidy] and said OK let the team properly reflect on that legally and everything and else. For what it’s worth my view on it would be: the DoJ, yes, because we have been asked to collaborate earlier on in an investigation that they were doing in ENI, so it would only be logical we would inform them and most probably they are informed anyway so it doesn’t really matter too much. The Serious Fraud Office, same thing, I would think. Inform them: it’s probably better anyway. [SH: Yes, I agree]. The SEC, I don’t know, to be perfectly honest. So I asked them to contact Joe Babits [Shell Associate Counsel (US Securities)] to get a view on this, whether it was necessary or appropriate or desirable, or whatever. Because the last thing you want of course is some sort of request to issue a stock exchange release when there is nothing to be said other than that we are being asked to provide information. So I said let Joe [Babits] take a view on it. I know that Joe [Babits] has been informed and involved in all this in the lead up to the prospectus issuance, so he will be sensitised to it all, it will not get him cold.
11:13 SH My instinct would be the same. The SFO because, ultimately, they are following [unclear] in to Etete, in the UK, where Etete is, I think they’re trying to extradite him. And, er, in the US the DoJ … The FCPA is a DoJ issue, not the SEC.
11:38 BVB Yeah, exactly. So it’s er, the SEC has no jurisdiction here. It’s more, you know, is there anything that is share-price sensitive. Well, yeah I guess, depending on how you look at it there is – but everything is share-price sensitive if you’re not very careful, huh.
11:56 SH [Laughs] At this particular point in time, that seems to be the case…
12:00 BVB Sorry?
12:02 SH OK… At this point in time, everything seems to be share price sensitive [chuckles].
12:05 BVB [Chuckles] Exactly, exactly. Anyway, so, I just wanted to touch base with you, see whether you, whether you had any reflections [SH: Well, thanks], you were alright, etc. If you are in the office, I’m in France, so, let’s see whether there’s a need to, or, why don’t we just check in tomorrow with each other and see how things are going?
12:25 SH I will go in because if I don’t it will look odd because [unclear] I was due to go in just for a couple of hours, well, four hours, tomorrow morning at least. And [unclear] because she stayed with them until they had finished. She wasn’t clear if they were coming back, I don’t think they were clear if they were coming back [laughs]. And if they are there, then we’ll just deal with it…
12:53 BVB Sorry, say that again?
12:55 SH If they are there, then we’ll just deal with it in a professional manner.
12:59 BVB Yeah, yeah. You probably … know this, so don’t, don’t volunteer any information that is not requested. So it, er… And we just… I think probably they have gone through everything that they need to go through. They may just request your PC and your phone to be imaged. But it, er…
13:24 SH I wonder if [unclear] anyway, of course, do it [tonight/offline?].
13:28 BVB Offline, yeah.
13:29 SH Offline.
13:30 BVB Yeah.
13:31 SH OK.
13:32 BVB OK, very good.
13:34 SH Thanks for the follow up, then. I’ll let you know if anything happens tomorrow [chuckles].
13:38 BVB Yeah, yeah. Well, we’ll talk.
13:40 SH Hopefully nothing tomorrow. I suspect nothing happens for quite a while, but let’s see…
13:46 BVB Yeah. OK, thanks Simon. You have a good evening, then. Bye.
13:50 SH Thanks, mate. Take care. You too. Bye.

Ben van Beurden distracted by a wiretapping incident

Extract from an email reply sent by John Donovan, 18 April 2017

Sorry, Sheikh Irfan Abdullah

If the Chief Executive of Royal Dutch Shell Plc cannot even be bothered to give you the courtesy of a response, there is nothing I can do other than publishing this correspondence, including your complaint. I guess he must have other matters to deal with that he considers more important. He has recently suffered the embarrassment of being caught in a wiretap intercept instructing a fellow Shell director to withhold any Shell internal evidence from police investigating a $1.3bn Nigerian corruption scandal in which Shell is a key player. Hence his distraction. Poor chap panicked after Shell HQ offices were raided. 

read more

Unsubstantiated allegations against Shell CEO Ben van Beurden

By John Donovan

On 13 April I received a serious allegation by “David Byrne” made against Shell CEO Ben van Beurden. It was submitted for posting on the Shell Blog.

The comments in question will not be published unless verifiable supporting evidence is supplied. In that event, I would investigate further. I invite “David Byrne” to provide such evidence.

As far as I am aware in relation to the OPL 245 corruption scandal, BvB is guilty only of cover-up tactics, gross hypocrisy and a failure to take proactive measures to deal with the unfolding PR debacle.

read more

Can Shell CEO Ben van Beurden Survive OPL 245?

Amazing that after that experience, his reaction was to opt for the same cover-up culture/mentality of Shell senior management which led to Watts being escorted from Shell Centre in London by security staff.

By John Donovan

Ben van Beurden had no involvement in the $1.3bn OPL 245 corruption scandal until after he became Chief Executive Officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. He was not involved in the shady negotiations or the eventual deal.

Based on what he said in the surreptitiously recorded telephone conversation with his then-subordinate Simon Henry, the then Chief Executive of the company, he is, however, guilty of cover-up tactics and gross hypocrisy.

The intercepted call took place on the day that Shell’s Netherlands HQ was raided. The police spent hours searching his office and removed a folder of documents.

read more

Headline selection on Shell OPL 245 debacle

Nigeria: Malabu Scandal – After Telling Lies for Years, Shell Admits It Knew Etete Would Benefit From $1.1 Billion: PremiumTimes

After repeated denials in various countries, Anglo-Dutch oil giant, Royal Dutch Shell, on Monday finally admitted it had foreknowledge that the $1.3 billion itself and ENI paid to Nigerian government for the OPL 245 oil block licence would ultimately be used to settle convicted former Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete.

Shell dealt with money-launderer to ‘resolve impasse’: EveningStandard

Only 24 hours after claiming it had no knowledge of “improper payments” to a convicted money-launderer over a $1.3 billion (£1.1 billion) oil field acquisition in Nigeria, Shell has admitted it had known it was dealing with the controversial figure but doing so was “the only way to resolve [an] impasse”.

read more

OPL 245 Scandal: Wiretapped phone call between Ben van Beurden and Simon Henry

By John Donovan

On 17 February 2016, Shell CEO Ben van Beurden and his scandal-prone CFO Simon Henry thought they were having a private telephone discussion about a dawn raid carried out by Dutch police on the HQ of Royal Dutch Shell Plc in the Hague.

The raid was in relation to the $1.3 bn OPL 245 oil block Nigerian corruption scandal involving Shell, ENI and Nigerian fraudsters, including former Nigerian Oil Minister Dan Etete. Police spent many hours during the raid searching the offices of various Shell executives.

read more

Shell News Wednesday 5 April 2017

%d bloggers like this: