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Shell’s Nigerian Quagmire

Bearing in mind the avalanche of recent news stories about Shell’s Nigerian problems, it is interesting to reflect on the content of a 93-page report by WAC Global Services commissioned by Shell over a decade ago. I can only assume that no one at Shell bothered to pay attention to the warnings in the report arising from its evil activities feeding corruption, violence and pollution.

Some extracts

(Please note SCIN = SHELL COMPANIES IN NIGERIA)

From page 8

It is easy to conclude that any type of company or trade bringing resources to the Niger Delta will be confronted with the same problem. While this view is valid, it is also true that the manner in which the SCIN operates and it staff behaves creates, feeds into, or exacerbates conflict. After over 50 years in Nigeria, it is therefore reasonable to say that SCIN has become an integral part of the Niger Delta conflict system.

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Benzene exposure risks and the Norwegian Oil and Gas Industry

By Bill Campbell, retired Shell International HSE Group Auditor

Benzene exposure risks and the Norwegian Oil and Gas Industry

Just some related background that may be of interest in the debate about this subject re health and safety at the Nyhamma gas plant et al.

The Petroleum Safety Authority in Norway were concerned enough about health aspects of benzene exposure that it held a meeting of experts on the subject in 2015 including representatives of the industry*, Norske Shell does not appear to be on the participants list!

Suffice to say PSA had a general concern that much more needed to be done re the prevention of exposure to Benzene in the industry and they would be including this concern looking for improvements in their future audits and inspections.

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A/S Norske Shell Secret Meeting With Whistleblower 

On Friday 27 January 2017, a meeting took place at the Radisson Blu Hotel at Oslo Airport. It was attended by two senior Shell directors, Tor Arnesen and Odin Estensen, respectively the Managing Director and Chairman of N/S Norske Shell. They met with former Shell employee/whistleblower Runar Kjørsvik, together with Hilde Marit Rysst and Roy Erling Furre, both representing the SAFE Union. 

The purpose of the meeting was to find a solution to the various issues raised by Mr Kjørsvik and SAFE, including the surveillance/monitoring of Shell employees at the Nyhamna gas plant and their health and safety.

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Shell’s tacit acknowledgement of a ‘culture of fear’

By a Regular Browser

Well it is refreshing that there is tacit acknowledgement of the ‘culture of fear’ not just in Norway but more broadly in the company. Although Shell does indeed welcome ‘alternative viewpoints’ to do so is a career ending decision. This is supported by numerous Shell People Surveys over many years where this has been raised as an issue time and again. Management ‘listen’ but the status quo remains. Like all large corporations Shell is not interested in anything which disrupts the existing power structures and fiefdoms – though there are some places where the culture is a little more open. Those who do choose to speak out either get sanctioned via their IPS or CEP and are marginalised, while the sycophants and nepotists rise to the top to ingrain the culture. This has been particularly apparent since the merger with BG and the message is Shell folk should be grateful that they have a job and should put up and shut up. Rocking the boat on HSE, the pay freeze, filling of jobs with unqualified graduates or brown losers etc. Management have succeeded over a number of years in taking a once great company and turning it into a mediocre shadow of its former self characterised by mismanagement and poor strategic choices. This is a great shame as there are a lot of dedicated and talented employees across the company, though they do not stand a chance in a culture that does not reward competence but sycophancy.

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Shell Upstream Director Admits Culture of Fear Among Shell Employees

By John Donovan

Shell Upstream director Rich Denny has tacitly acknowledged a culture of fear among Shell employees at the Nyhamna gas plant in Norway. He claims that although it is not the dominant culture, he cannot dismiss that some Shell employees apparently do feel afraid to speak up.

The admissions were contained in another message from Rich Denny published on the Shell web which is Shell’s response to the report commissioned and published by the SAFE Union. The comments from Mr Denny can only be construed as a comprehensive attack on the integrity, content and findings of the SAFE report.

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OPL 245: A falling out of thieves

The unbecoming squabbling between the crooks involved in the OPL 245 corruption scandal has taken a new turn.

Malabu Oil and Gas has filed a lawsuit in the Nigerian Federal High Court against the Nigerian Federal Government and six other parties involved in the $1bn plus scandal. 

The new action arises from the Nigerian court decision a few days ago to pass ownership of the OPL 245 block back to Shell and Eni/Agip. 

The defendants include: 

  • Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited
  • Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited
  • Nigerian Agip Exploration Company Limited
  • Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
  • Former Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete
  • The Nigerian Minster of Petroleum

I have not indicated which parties are honest and which are crooks. It is impractical to do so because, in matters involving Nigeria, it is sometimes difficult to separate one from the other, bearing in mind that three Nigerian Presidents have all been implicated in the amazing unsavoury spectacle. The judiciary is also riddled with corruption.

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Disillusioned Shell Whistleblower Runar Kjoersvik

We have published a series of articles about Runar Kjoersvik, the Norwegian safety expert who in 2014 was dismissed by Shell on trumped-up charges.

Evidence was gathered in a covert surveillance operation as part of a vicious campaign conducted against him by Shell Norway senior management.

Runar was twice elected by his fellow workers, first as a SAFE Union representative and subsequently as the Main Safety Delegate.

His election was not a fluke. The employees who elected him at the Nyhamna Gas Plant in Norway knew Runar was fully qualified. He had attended several Norwegian law and HSE courses where he learnt how to protect legal rights according to rules, regulations and Norwegian Law. He also earned a diploma of strategic leadership from college university.

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Shell Sinking in OPL 245 Quicksand

By John Donovan

Did Shell senior management and their spook advisors really think that it was possible to get into bed with a shyster such as Dan Etete and remain uncontaminated?

There were too many crooks, too many players and too much money involved to keep the $1bn plus OPL 245 deal secret. It was only a matter of time before the corruption scandal was bound to unravel.

The facts emerged gradually, in various litigation, in multiple jurisdictions, including the USA, mainly over the division of the spoils.

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LEAKED EMAIL FROM SHELL MD TOR ARNESEN ABOUT SHELL SPYING ON ITS OWN EMPLOYEES

Displayed below is a leaked email about Shell spying activities sent last month by Tor Arnesen (above), the Managing Director of A/S Norske Shell, who knows a trick or two.

It was addressed to Roy Erling Furre, a Vice Chairman of the SAFE Union in Norway. He had requested a meeting to discuss concerns about Shell’s monitoring of trade union activities in Norway. Extract from the SAFE letter dated 2 February that triggered the emailed response:

To what extent is the use of surveillance using email, internet traffic, photography, filming, Facebook surveillance, espionage with agents and other agents.

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Shell oil sands exit, mired in OPL 245 scandal, wary over Iranian Oil

Links below to a selection of news stories posted on
our sister website royaldutchshellgroup.com.

They include, among other developments, news that Shell is rightly wary of buying more Iranian crude oil. This is because of the legal minefield relating to sanctions. 

Also coverage of the latest news about the OPL 245 Nigerian corruption scandal involving Shell and ENI.

Plus Shell’s fire sale of most of its Canadian oil sands operations and the jump in total pay for Shell CEO Ben van Beurden, an issue likely to be raised at the forthcoming AGM. 

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Web Attack on Whistleblower by Shell Upstream Director

By John Donovan

This article incorporates comments I have made previously about a web-based attack that a senior Shell executive made on a Norwegian whistleblower, Runar Kjørsvik. Until 2014, Runar was the elected Main Safely Delegate for the SAFE Union at the Nyhamna Gas Plant in Norway. 

On 31 January 2017, three years later, Shell published internally on the Shell web “A MESSAGE FROM RICH DENNY” – an Upstream Director of Shell International. It was a sly cowardly attack on Mr Kjørsvik, who was not named. A copy of the relevant Shell web page can be seen below. 

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Employees Exposed to Benzene Contamination at Shell Nyhamna Gas Plant

An investigation by the safety division at the Shell Nyhamna Gas Plant in Norway discovered that many employees carried out maintenance in areas where Benzene concentration was far over the limit for required safety gear, such as over-pressured fresh air mask, and total body protection. The investigation found that from October 2007 until September 2014 Shell had not enforced Norwegian law requiring systematic chemical monitoring. Benzene is carcinogenic to humans, and no safe level of exposure can be recommended. 

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