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Posts under ‘Netherlands’

US Legal Battle over 100,000 Shell Internal Docs

There is a major legal battle in progress in the US courts relating to over 100,000 Shell internal documents and witness depositions arising from the famed Kiobel vs Royal Dutch Petroleum Co case.

Shell lawyers Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP has just obtained a stay of a Court Order which had required the discovery materials to be made available to Esther Kiobel by 27 February 2017. The details and the associated court imposed deadlines flowing from the stay are indicated in the above COURT ORDER dated 14 February 2017. 

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US appeal against order to hand over Shell docs for Dutch case

 The most audacious argument being made by Cravath against the Court Order is that since Esther Kiobel has already waited more than twenty years in pursuing Shell, what’s the problem in her waiting even longer!

By John Donovan

Yesterday, despite the fact that the petition case resulting in the recent Court Order had been officially closed, Cravath filed an appeal against handing over the Shell discovery documents for use in the Dutch courts. This is for an imminent human rights action being brought by Esther Kiobel against Shell in its home country.

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Brexit, Trump, Populism and Royal Dutch Shell Plc

By John Donovan (right)

Brexit and Trump are the most visible current manifestations of populism – examples of ground-breaking nationalist movements backed by a large proportion of a voting population.

Populism is on the rise in a number of EU countries including Germany, France and the Netherlands, where there is mounting concern over PVV leader Geert Wilders.

What is described as “encroaching populism and negativism” is apparently viewed as a serious threat by Dutch multinationals, including Shell, Philips and Unilever.

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A deserved shitstorm of Shell Nigerian litigation

A boatload of heavily armed Shell employees? Photograph: Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images

Shell is facing what Americans might describe as a shitstorm of lawsuits arising from its Nigerian activities since the 1950’s. Litigation is current or pending in Nigeria, the USA, Italy, the UK and the Netherlands.

According to Wikipedia, shitstorm is a vulgar dysphemism for a chaotic and unpleasant situation. It does seem appropriate in a reputational nightmare of Shell’s own making. Related human rights allegations against Shell and the evil Nigerian regimes it has supported include torture, murder, toxic pollution, spying and corruption on a grand scale.

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Esher Kiobel v Shell article published in Dutch FT

The Nigerian Esther Kiobel will drag Shell before the Netherlands courts in a civil lawsuit. She holds the oil company responsible for complicity in the death of her husband Barinem Kiobel in 1995. Kiobel has returned to the US courts years after a legal action against Shell. With a view to a trial in the Netherlands Kiobel requested access to documents in the American action that were introduced by Shell. Kiobel claims these documents can prove that Shell colluded with the Nigerian regime to commit human rights violations. A US judge has approved in late December a request to use the documents in a Dutch court. The Dutch lawyer Channa Samkalden representing Kiobel in the Netherlands, says that the aim is to start the case in the Netherlands’ in the first months of this year.  “In the case going to Shell’s liability will be due to the role of the company at the events that led to the death of Kiobels husband,” says Samkalden.

Human Rights Violations

Barinem Kiobel along with environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and seven others who were protesting against oil exploration in the Niger Delta, were executed by the Nigerian military. Because Shell according to Kiobel supported and provided funding to the army in the fight against groups protesting against oil companies in the Niger Delta, the company was complicit in his death.

In 2009, Shell settled a US case for more than $ 15 million with some relatives of the executed Nigerians, who were known as the Ogoni nine, but the case of Kiobel did not lead to a settlement. The US Supreme Court, however, ruled in 2013 that it had no jurisdiction to rule on her claims.

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Resurrection of Kiobel v Royal Dutch Shell litigation

32 page U.S. Federal Court Order dated 20 December 2016 

U.S. Related FederalCourt Order dated 6 January 2017

Shell is being buried up to its corporate neck in a toxic swamp of current or pending litigation arising from its activities in Nigeria.

In 2013 Shell thought it had killed Nigeria related long-standing litigation in the U.S. courts when the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the Alien Tort Claims Act does not apply extraterritorially

Esther Kiobel was the bitterly disappointed lead plaintiff seeking justice in the USA on human rights grounds against a company she considers to be evil. She holds Shell responsible for the murder of her late husband, Ogoni leader Dr Barinem Kiobel.

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Financial tremors for Shell and Exxon from Groningen earthquakes

By John Donovan

A Dutch court has just upheld a government decision to cap production at the Groningen gas field, a giant natural gas field located in Groningen province in the northeastern part of the Netherlands. The largest natural gas field in Europe.

It is operated by the Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij BV (NAM), a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil, with each company owning a 50% share. 

For decades, the venture has been a money spinner for the oil giants and the Dutch government.

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Shell’s complicity in human rights abuses in the Niger Delta


By John Donovan

As we approach the start of 2017, Shell’s conduct in Nigeria is coming under intense scrutiny by prosecution authorities and is also the subject of civil litigation, both current and pending.

The charges include corruption, environmental contamination, and gross human rights abuses, including cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. 

Shell senior management cannot say that it was not warned. The following is an extract from a letter sent in February 2012 to Shell executives in London, Nigeria and Den Haag.

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A devastating blow for Shell in U.S. Federal Court

By John Donovan

Earlier this week, on Tuesday, December 20, 2016, a U.S. website -Law360 – which reports American court proceedings, published an article about a decision made that same day by Federal U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Esther Kiobel had filed a petition seeking documents used in her case against Shell brought in the United States, which was ultimately thwarted by a US Supreme Court decision on extraterritoriality grounds in 2013.

The case is now being brought in the Dutch courts.

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THE OPL 245 SCANDAL INVOLVING SHELL

By John Donovan

Following the raids earlier this year by Italian law officials on the headquarters of Eni in Milan and Royal Dutch Shell in The Hague, I was advised by a Shell insider that this subject, above all others, is the one of most concern to Shell senior management.

Now we have news that Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commision – has just filed fresh proceedings.

Investigations are already underway in a number of countries, including the UK and the United States.

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Kashagan oil field allegations ignored by Shell exec Andy Brown?

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By John Donovan

Printed below are extracts from a communication received from a Shell Civil Engineer who, until recently, worked on the construction of the ill-fated Kashagan oil field.

He says his dire warnings in regard to construction issues were escalated to Shell top management, including Andy Brown, but were ignored.

He has also raised the subject of Shell depriving sacked workers tax breaks on redundancy pay. A policy he describes as theft.

The same source supplied related, apparently authentic, Shell emails.

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Polluted water in hand, Nigerian king takes Shell to court in London

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By Editor   |   22 November 2016  

King Emere Godwin Bebe Okpabi holds up a plastic bottle containing contaminated water from his community in Nigeria, proof of oil pollution that he blames on Royal Dutch Shell — and on which he hopes a London court will deliver justice.

“My people are drinking this water,” said the tribal king of the Ogale community in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

Okpabi has flown to London for a High Court hearing on Tuesday in which lawyers for more than 40,000 Nigerians are demanding action from Shell to clean up oil spills that have devastated their communities for decades.

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