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APRIL 2017: TOP U.S. LAW FIRMS BATTLING TO FRUSTRATE ESTHER KIOBEL LITIGATION AGAINST SHELL

Esther Kiobel (left) addressing supporters

15 YEARS ON, SHELL STILL FRUSTRATING LITIGATION TO HOLD IT ACCOUNTABLE FOR EVIL DEEDS IN NIGERIA

By John Donovan

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP – a global law firm, which has Shell as a long term client, has recently hired another global law firm – Hogan Lovells US LLP – to represent it in an attempt to frustrate litigation being brought against Shell in the USA and the Netherlands. 

We have published several articles in recent months concerning a petition brought in the US courts on behalf of Esther Kiobel.  

She is seeking access to more than 100,000 Shell internal documents gathered by Shell and handed to Cravath. This happened as part of the discovery process in the litigation Esther brought against Shell in 2002, in the US courts. Among many serious allegations was a claim that Shell was complicit in the murder of her husband, a leader of the Ogoni people in Nigeria. 

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SHELL NEWS UPDATE FRIDAY 31 MARCH 2017

Shell shuts Bonny Light oil export line to remove theft points: Reuters/Daily Mail

LONDON, March 31 (Reuters) – The Nigerian subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell Plc said it had shut down the Nembe Creek Trunk Line, which exports Bonny Light crude oil, in order to remove theft points.

Shell plans to double Hazira LNG plant capacity – India head: Reuters/Daily Mail

March 31 (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell Plc plans to double the capacity of its liquefied natural gas import facility at Hazira on India’s west coast to 10 million tonnes a year, a top company executive said on Friday.

Shell Opens New Technology Hub in India: RIGZONE

Royal Dutch Shell plc has opened a new major technology hub in Bangalore, India, which can house up to 1,500 workers.

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Latest Shell News

Shell’s top oil trader defends North Sea Brent activity: Financial Times

Royal Dutch Shell’s top oil trader has launched a staunch defence against accusations that the company’s activity in the North Sea crude market had skewed the benchmark that underpins global oil prices. Shell is alleged to have traded aggressively in the region last year, contributing to heavy losses among rivals…

Shell Throws The Blame To Residents on Slow Cleanup of Oil Spills In Nigeria: The Science Times

EXTRACT: Oil and petroleum giant Shell blamed the Nigerian residents in the Delta community for its slow response in cleaning up the two oil spill incidents in 2008. Amidst almost a decade-long effort, Shell wasn’t able to fully contain the spill. However, there is a possibility that the clean-up might start next month.

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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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Shell News Saturday 25 March 2017

EXTRACT: A whistleblower has accused oil giant Shell of concealing data on the health effects of two major oil spills on communities in Nigeria. In a letter seen by the Independent, Kay Holtzmann, a former employee at the company, said data gathered in the Bodo community which was devastated by two huge oil spills in 2008 and 2009, showed levels of pollution were “astonishingly high”. He also accused the company of refusing to make the findings public. Mr Holtzmann was the former director in charge of Shell’s project to clean up oil spills…

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More Shell News Friday 24 March 2017

Geologist for Shell says company hid Nigeria spill dangers: Associated Press

Royal Dutch Shell’s Nigeria subsidiary “fiercely opposed” environmental testing and is concealing data showing thousands of Nigerians are exposed to health hazards from a stalled cleanup of the worst oil spills in the West African nation’s history, according to a German geologist contracted by the Dutch-British multinational.

Shell says to start cleaning up 2008 Nigeria oil spills in April: Seeking Alpha

The head of a group helping organize Royal Dutch Shell’s (RDS.A, RDS.B) clean-up of 2008 oil spills at a Nigerian Delta community says he hopes work can begin next monthShell agreed in 2015 on a £55M ($68.6M) settlement with the Bodo community after accepting liability for two pipeline leaks…

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Shell News Stories Friday 24 March 2017

Shell sells onshore Gabon oil assets to Carlyle for $587 mln: Reuters/Daily Mail

EXTRACT: For Shell, the deal marks a further step in a $30 billion asset disposal programme to help cut debt after its $54 billion acquisition of BG Group last year. The Anglo-Dutch oil company has sold assets for more than $15 billion since 2016.

WSJ: Shell report cites “astonishingly high” pollution from Nigerian oil spills: Seeking Alpha

EXTRACT: Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) oil spills that have not been cleaned up for more than eight years have contributed to “astonishingly high” levels of pollution in a Nigerian community, WSJ reports, citing a consultant who helped produce a confidential damage assessment for the company and its partners. The former director of the cleanup project says Shell has denied him permission to publish the study’s results, which dictated a need for health screenings in the Bodo community.

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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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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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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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SHOW TRIAL OF A SHELL NORWAY SAFETY REP

The current hardline regime at the Nyhamna gas plant seems determined to intimidate its employees. 150 of them were ordered to attend for this purpose so that they could witness the entire cringe-making spectacle.

By John Donovan

I briefly mentioned in an earlier article an unusual meeting held in a canteen located within the Shell Nyhamna Gas Plant in Norway. 

It seems to have been some kind of show trial with evidence only being presented by the prosecutors – belligerent senior Shell managers who had already reached a guillotine verdict on the accused party, Runar Kjørsvik.

The plant manager Trond Lofstad read from a pre-prepared indictment. A non-professional translation can be read here.

The current hardline regime at the gas plant seems determined to intimidate employees. 150 of them were ordered to attend for this purpose so that they could witness the entire cringe-making spectacle.

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