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Posts under ‘Paddy Briggs’

Separating ‘Shell Marketing’ from the Upstream

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Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 13.33.20One of the issues surrounding the takeover of BG by Royal Dutch Shell that most commentators have missed is that it will make RDS even more of an “Upstream” company than it is now. The exploration and production of hydrocarbons is ALL that BG does.

It is also by far Shell’s core business. In the circumstances it makes little sense for RDS to continue with its “Downstream” (Refining, Marketing, Chemicals, Trading …). 

These Shell-branded businesses cry out to be freed from the yoke of having to exist in a largely alien world where they are starved of attention and capital. 

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Shell/BG needs Downstream like a hole in the head

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 13.33.20RETIRED SHELL EXECUTIVE PADDY BRIGGS SAYS:

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Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 09.03.45Above is a comment by retired Shell executive Paddy Briggs posted on an article published 23 Dec 2015 by The Independent: “The many reasons why Shell’s deal with BG will happen in 2016

BG acquisition offers Shell opportunity for major strategy change

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Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 08.12.04By Paddy Briggs

As a Shell “lifer” – more than forty years if you include my time as a Director of the Pension  Fund – I cannot recall a bigger strategic shift than the acquisition of BG. It offers the Corporation a unique opportunity to do what Tom Peters called “stick to its knitting” – to concentrate on what it’s really good at.

BG is an “Upstream” company. It only does exploration and production of oil and gas. And that is what Royal Dutch Shell (RDS) is good at too. To the man or woman in the street it is the Shell emblem standing over a Shell petrol station for which it is best known. But over the years this part of the business – never, in truth, that important to the heavies at the top – has declined in importance. The “Downstream” – the refining and marketing of oil, gas and chemicals – is pretty much cast adrift from the Upstream. The engineers, geologists and accountants in the highest echelons of Shell never really understood it anyway! There are no longer any economies of scale from being involved in oil from wellhead to petrol pump, if there ever were. 

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Scandal hit bosses of HSBC and Shell are both ordained priests!

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By John Donovan

I wonder if Paddy was thinking of Shell when he published this on this Facebook page?

The grotesquely high “compensation packages” of the Directors of the likes of HSBC as well as being morally repugnant are also bad for business. The rewards for making it to the top are so obscene that ladder climbers will do anything to make it. So every decision they take is driven by their own ambition and their need to kowtow to those who might appoint them to these golden jobs. This is a brake on creativity and innovation and on long-term thinking.

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Big oil is exposed to falling prices who can survive?

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BRENT CRUDE PRICES HAVE SLUMPED SINCE PEAKING AT $115 IN JUNE

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By John Donovan

The news media is waking up to the potential seismic impact on big oil from falling oil prices. Our headline – “Big oil is exposed to falling prices who can survive?” – is taken from an article by John Ficenec published today by the Telegraph, which poses the question:

Which FTSE 100 oil stocks to hold Shell v BP?

It mentions a prediction by Goldman Sachs “that the price for Brent Crude, will fall as low as $80 per barrel in the second quarter of next year.”

The article points out that according to analysis from Bloomberg “Of the two oil majors, Shell is slightly more exposed to a fall in the oil price as about 30pc of its future projects requires a price above $95 per barrel, compared to 20pc for BP.”

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Royal Dutch Shell News Roundup 25 August 2014

RUSSIA

Jeroen van der Veer, the former Royal Dutch Shell CEO who evaded responsibility for his role in the cover-up of the Shell reserves fraud, claims that the sanctions against Russia are not working and are counter-productive. This analysis comes from the man who badly misjudged the Putin regime in 2006 and as a result, ended up meekly surrendering Shell’s majority stake in the Sakhalin 2 project. 

UK

The British government has just introduced a rule requiring oil, gas and mining companies registered in the UK to disclose all payments made to the governments of countries in which they operate. The new rule, which comes into force in 2015, is designed to result in greater transparency, something alien to oil companies such as Shell. Problems may arise in relation to Nigeria where Shell has a decades long history of corruption involving a succession of odious regimes.

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Upstream and Downstream – always oil and water

PADDY BRIGGS

RETIRED ROYAL DUTCH SHELL EXECUTIVE, PADDY BRIGGS

When I retired I was presented with a small silver Shell emblem which I still wear with pride from time to time. It once stood for excellence in marketing and was one of the world’s most familiar brand symbols. Now it’s a bit of a collectors item symbolising a world that has long gone…

By Paddy Briggs

Most of my 37 year Shell career was spent in the “Downstream” but from time to time I had contact with the Upstream operations and in my final assignment in the Middle East I was very close to Upstream issues. Both Shell’s exploration and production activities (the Upstream) and their refining and marketing business (the Downstream) had the Shell emblem (the “Pecten”) flying over them – but that was about the only thing they had in common!

EP is a top down business. The experts in The Hague, mostly products of the best geology and technology Universities, built unrivalled expertise in the tasks of finding and exploiting hydrocarbon assets. They were also pretty good at building the necessary alliances with partners that virtually all upstream operations require. Their world was the world of oil reservoirs, horizontal drilling, fracking and all the other thousand and one technologies and techniques that made the business work.

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The scandal of Corporate bonuses, and why they continue:

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Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 14.32.05Extract from an informative article by former Royal Dutch Shell senior executive, Paddy Briggs, published 27 Feb 2014

Seven-figure bonuses are common across the corporate world – at the very top of course! Here, for example, is what “The Guardian” reported about the remuneration of Peter Voser the then top man in Shell just under a year ago:

“Royal Dutch Shell Chief executive Peter Voser received a €3.3m (£2.8m) cash bonus in 2012, a year in which the Anglo-Dutch oil group reported a fall in profits from $28.6bn to $27bn. The bonus took his total salary package to €5.1m, down from €5.2m the previous year.”

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The Miners’ strike – a personal story I haven’t told before

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An article I found on the website of Paddy Briggs…

By Paddy Briggs

The Miners’ strike – a personal story I haven’t told before 

I was the Commercial Manager for Shell in Scotland from 1983-1986. In this job I had the overall responsibility for serving the needs of our customers in (inter alia) the Road Transport sector. As the miners’ strike intensified concern was expressed about the future of the huge Ravenscraig steelworks. The furnaces at Ravenscraig required coal to keep them functioning and if the fire in a furnace was extinguished then that furnace was lost – at huge cost. To keep the furnaces operating, even at a low level, required huge quantities of coal. This was normally supplied directly from Scottish mines – mostly by rail. Because of the Miners’ strike this supply source was stopped so British Steel sourced their Coal from overseas and imported it through a Terminal at Hunterston in Ayrshire. The coal then had to be road-bridged by truck from the Terminal to the Steel Plant – a distance of about 50 miles. The Haulage contractor appointed by British Steel for this task was a company called “Yuill and Dodds” of Hamilton run by the well-known Mr James Yuill (known to all as Jimmy). Yuill and Dodds was a Shell customer for the diesel and the lubricants their trucks needed. One day I was asked by one of my staff to visit Jimmy Yuill who was concerned that the supplies of diesel he needed might be interrupted because the Transport and General Workers Union (T&GWU) would order their members working for Shell not to make fuel deliveries to him.

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Jeroen van der Veer: Hypocrite Supreme

Screen Shot 2013-05-18 at 23.12.50Mr Van der Veer (shown right) is no fan of this website. In January 2008, as was reported in The Times, we published a leaked email from him in which he forecast that world demand for oil and gas would outstrip supply within 7 years. Events has shown that he was talking nonsense on that occasion as well.

By John Donovan

The fuelfix headline encapsulated the theme of the speech given last Thursday by former Royal Dutch Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer at the KPMG Global Energy Conference in Houston:

Former Shell CEO: Safety must come first. And second. And third.

This qualifies as sheer hypocrisy on his part.

On his watch, Shell had an absolutely atrocious safety track record for which he was publicly criticised.

(Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer “hurt” by criticism: 3 Sept 2007)

On his watch, even lifeboats serving Shell North Sea platforms were found to be unseaworthy.

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Ruthless and bad behaviour at the top of Royal Dutch Shell

Screen Shot 2013-01-13 at 00.04.46The foot soldiers, of whom I was one in Shell, often took their leads from what they saw as ruthless and bad behaviour at the top – and, unsurprisingly, sometimes behaved badly themselves.

(Disgraced Shell Chairman Sir Philip Watts shown right)

Article by retired Royal Dutch Shell executive Paddy Briggs.

I received my first monthly pay check from a Shell company back in October 1964. It was for £200 and I was probably a bit overpaid in truth. I started work at seventeen so the not infrequent visits to pubs and wine bars with my new colleagues during those first couple of months before my 18th Birthday were on reflection a bit dodgy. Paddy 1963067The colleagues paid of course understanding that my lowly status as a dogsbody was matched by an appropriately low wage. They were jolly times and though everyone seemed to play hard, especially at long liquid lunches, they worked together quite effectively as well. The team that played together stayed together – and there was a high level of integrity around. At no point during my “induction” months did anyone read out rules to me – and if you had used the term “Mission Statement” people would have thought that you were a Jehovah’s Witness. The rules that mattered were mostly informal – the dress code was fairly tight – dark suits and ties de rigueur.  But the idea that you needed to be told what to do with some “code of behaviour” booklet would not have occurred. And if you were uncertain someone would put you right – the informal organisation was far more important than the formal.

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Jeroen van der Veer exit from Shell

I am only surprised that an ex CEO of Shell leaves the board at a young age. Is Jeroen washing his hands in innocence or trying to put light between him and Shell?? In the past they used to hang in there for long periods until they had to get up too often to take a pee during shareholders meetings. But in recent times Herkstroter left premature, so did Moody-Stuart. And Watts sought salvation…

13/12/2012

Royal Dutch Shell plc has announced today that Mr Gerrit Zalm has been appointed a Non-executive Director of the Company with effect from January 1, 2013. Mr Zalm is the Chairman of the Board of Management of ABN AMRO Bank N.V., a position he has held since February 2009. Prior to that Mr Zalm was the Minister of Finance of the Netherlands from 1994-2002 and from 2003-2007. Mr Zalm will seek re-appointment by shareholders at the next Annual General Meeting (AGM), scheduled to be held in May 2013. (information taken from Shell website)

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How Shell’s Move To Revamp Culture Ended in Scandal

FROM OUR NOVEMBER 2004 SHELL NEWS ARCHIVE

How Shell’s Move To Revamp Culture Ended in Scandal: “The root of the problem, however, goes significantly further back than Sir Philip’s reign, which began in 2001”: “These deeper roots are significant because the company has yet to make a full break with its past. Mr. van der Veer is a longtime Shell executive who sat on the committee that received — and dallied over — warnings about the accounting problems.”: “In addition to its ambitious plans to discover new oil and gas cheaply, Shell under Sir Mark was redefining how it counted existing reserves.”: “Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, chairman from 1998 to 2001, remains on the board of Shell’s English parent… He declined to comment about reserves issues. And Shell still can’t seem to get a handle on its reserves.”

As New-Age Style Came In,
Geology Skills Lost Out;
Imitating Jerry Springer
Oilmen at a Rainy Playground

By CHIP CUMMINS and ALMAR LATOUR Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

November 2, 2004; Page A1

In late 2000, the head of the Dutch exploration unit at Royal Dutch/Shell Group asked his planners to deliver five-minute skits pitching ideas for discovering oil and gas.

In one skit, a naked employee ran on stage to catch the boss’s attention, say two people who attended. Another featured a mock episode of the Jerry Springer show, the incendiary daytime TV talk program. A third, after a bit of fun and games, promised to extract large quantities of natural gas cheaply from seemingly declining Dutch fields.

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How Shell’s Move To Revamp Culture Ended in Scandal

FROM OUR NOVEMBER 2004 SHELL NEWS ARCHIVE

How Shell’s Move To Revamp Culture Ended in Scandal

Paddy Briggs, a retired Shell communications executive, recalls one event where he and about 40 executives were issued shovels and pick-axes and dispatched to a Dutch village to help it restore an old playground. The oilmen gave up around lunchtime amid heavy rain. Such gimmicks became the butt of jokes, “but nobody said, ‘Hey, have we lost our minds here?’ “says Mr. Briggs.

As New-Age Style Came In,
Geology Skills Lost Out;
Imitating Jerry Springer
Oilmen at a Rainy Playground

By CHIP CUMMINS and ALMAR LATOUR

Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

November 2, 2004; Page A1

In late 2000, the head of the Dutch exploration unit at Royal Dutch/Shell Group asked his planners to deliver five-minute skits pitching ideas for discovering oil and gas.

In one skit, a naked employee ran on stage to catch the boss’s attention, say two people who attended. Another featured a mock episode of the Jerry Springer show, the incendiary daytime TV talk program. A third, after a bit of fun and games, promised to extract large quantities of natural gas cheaply from seemingly declining Dutch fields.

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Can Shell survive reserves affair?

FROM OUR SEPT 2004 SHELL NEWS ARCHIVE

PRWeek.com: News Analysis: Can Shell survive reserves affair?

Last week, the FSA imposed the largest fine in its history on Shell for market abuse over the oil reserves scandal. A Shell PR veteran traces the firm’s reputational demise.: “the reputation of Shell has been destroyed by hypocrisy, mendacity and deceit. Whether we will ever be able to be ‘sure of Shell’ again is very doubtful indeed.”

Written by Paddy Briggs

Published on September 03 2004

Posted 12 Sept 04

In 1997, advertising legend Maurice Saatchi was called in by the Royal Dutch/Shell Group to help it improve its image. Saatchi produced a number of adman slogans – but among all the hyperbole he said one very wise thing: ‘No communication can work effectively unless backed by real action.’

The years that followed Saatchi’s brief involvement with Shell were characterised by a plethora of comms initiatives – but also by actions at the top that have mortally wounded its reputation.

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European Journal: Shell’s Enemy No. 1

European Journal – The Magazine from Brussels

European Journal is a 30 minute magazine on DW that delivers the inside take – reports on important political, economic and cultural developments in the EU with a strong focus on the European integration process. European Journal features issues that move Europeans and shows Europeans on the move.

Entire TV programme broadcast in English language across Europe can be viewed here.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYusVi-qVRk&noredirect=1

The images shown below are all screenshots.

THE VIDEO: Narration by Nina Haase

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Great Britain: A lone fighter against Shell

John Donovan at the Shell Centre, 4 April 2012

Professional translation (by OneHourTranslation) of the German narration in the ARD TV Europa Magazine documentary feature: Great Britain: A lone fighter against Shell. Broadcast Saturday 21 April 2012.

Great Britain: A lone fighter against Shell

Next to the London Eye, the Shell Centre stands tall. Its enemy stands at the door.

“You might find that interesting,” says John Donovan. He distributes flyers to inform people about the oil company’s drilling projects.

“Shell destroys communities,” is what the banner says. An older gentleman and a handful of like-minded people are aggravating one of the world’s largest oil giants.

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United Kingdom: a lone fighter against Shell

ARD TV in Germany – the German equivalent of BBC TV – on Saturday, 21 April, broadcast a feature about me and this website (royaldutchshellplc.com) as part of the EUROPA MAGAZINE programme.

By John Donovan

ARD TV in Germany – the German equivalent of BBC TV – on Saturday, 21 April, broadcast a feature about me and this website (royaldutchshellplc.com) as part of the EUROPA MAGAZINE programme.

LINK TO VIEW FILM SEGMENT

Click here to read a translation of the narration.

During the film, *Oleg Mitvol, the Russian Environmental Minister in 2006, confirmed what he has said before on the subject  of Sakhalin II i.e. that he got the evidence from me (Donovan) that cost Shell its majority stake in the project (and many billions of dollars).

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Shell, Ferrari and the controversial 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix

Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) has contractual obligations to Ferrari which it must honour. However there is no reason why Shell  should not take the action I have outlined above in order to protect its reputation…

EMAIL FROM RETIRED ROYAL DUTCH SHELL EXECUTIVE PADDY BRIGGS TO SHELL CEO PETER VOSER

—– Original Message —–
From: Paddy Briggs
To: [email protected]
Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2012 4:22 PM
Subject: Bahrain Grand Prix

Dear Mr Voser

Bahrain Grand Prix

I write this open letter as a private individual, a former long-term employee, a shareholder and a Pensioner of Royal Dutch Shell. I call on Shell to take the following action in respect of the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix:

  1. To instruct Ferrari to remove all Shell branding from their competing cars (and other items) for the duration of this year’s Grand Prix event.
  2. To rescind invitations to customers and other third parties in respect of Corporate Hospitality in the “Formula One Club” and elsewhere at the event.
  3. To withdraw all staff from the event other than those required to fulfil Shell’s contractual obligations to Ferrari.
  4. To remove or otherwise cover up any Shell branding and advertising at the Bahrain Grand Prix circuit.

Rationale

  1. Royal Dutch Shell has made a commitment to Human Rights in the past and has communicated in public its support for the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS of the United Nations.
  2. A recent comprehensive report by Amnesty International documented the continued and flagrant abuses of Human Rights in the Kingdom of Bahrain and by its Government.
  3. The leaders of Formula one, and the teams, have decided to go ahead with the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix despite the fact that the Kingdom of Bahrain oppresses its citizens and denies them the Human Rights to which under the UN Charter they are entitled.
  4. Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) has contractual obligations to Ferrari which it must honour. However there is no reason why Shell  should not take the action I have outlined above in order to protect its reputation and to show its concern about the going ahead of an event which has been strongly condemned by all who take the UN Declaration seriously.

 I hope that you will feel able to take the action I have asked for.

Sincerely

Paddy Briggs

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Shameless, unrepentant and corrupt, Bertie Ahern

So there you have it. An Irish Prime Minister who has a track record of corruption associated with planning matters and a greedy ruthless oil giant, also with a track record of corruption. A true meeting of like minds.

By John Donovan

Earlier today the The Mail Online reported an announcement by the corrupt, disgraced former Irish Premier Bertie Ahern, that he is quitting Fianna Fáil, the political party he joined some 40 years ago and led for 14 years.

He left knowing that he was about to be ejected from the party after Mahon Tribunal judges, investigating allegations of corrupt payments to politicians, relating mainly to planning decisions, said they did not believe any of the evidence he had given to them.

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Corporate Social Responsibility – what it really means

…if Shell had been treating an oil field in the U.S. or Europe in the way that it has its assets in the Niger Delta, where 2,000 major spillage sites have never been cleaned up, then the political and media fallout would be similar to what BP is now struggling with in the United States.

By Paddy Briggs

The calamity of BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster continues to put corporate reputation as a subject very much in the spotlight and, hardly surprisingly, many commentators contrast BP’s past attempts to claim the moral highground on environmental matters with the stark reality of what happened in the Gulf of Mexico. The idea that corporations should be “socially responsible” whilst fashionable is not new – and it remains an extremely controversial concept. Let me try and delve into what Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) really means – and explain that all too often CSR has been just a tool of a company’s reputation management/Public Relations activities rather than something that sets strict behavioural norms. In all too many cases CSR reports are selective, partial and glossy window-dressing – leading to charges of “Greenwash” – rather than true reflections of a corporation’s actual non-financial (Health, Safety, Environment etc.) performance.

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Royal Dutch Shell CEO Peter Voser on a Swiss roll…

Introduction by John Donovan

It seems timely, in view of recent postings on our Shell Blog, to republish an article about Shell CEO Peter Voser authored by retired Royal Dutch Shell Executive, Paddy Briggs (right). It was first published on 27 July 2009. Paddy is currently a Member Nominated Trustee of the Shell Contributory Pension Fund.

On a Swiss roll…

By Paddy Briggs

Here’s the story. You are a Swiss accountant with a proven record of ruthlessness and synthetic business acumen. You are comfortable with numbers – that’s what you do – but you know little about the minutiae of the oil business. How can you be – you are not an “oil man” you are a “dollars man”. By guile, good fortune and the Peter Principle you find yourself at the helm of one of the world’s biggest oil and gas companies. You know that you will struggle with the difficult things – like creating an organisation that finds, develops, transports, refines and markets hydrocarbons. You know nothing at all about the oil and gas chain from exploration to consumption. You’ve never really worked in it – other than seeing spreadsheets which show you how much it costs. But you are now in charge. So what you do is retreat to the familiar world of numbers. That world where there is certainty – where something that costs “$100m” is only supportable if an adequate ROACE is assured. And where, even though future earnings are always, by definition, unpredictable you find a way of getting bogus certainty where there is none. By appointing more accountants and listening to them.null

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Shell arch-critic emailed over 400 Royal Dutch Shell senior execs

In a front page lead story in the Financial Times, our site was properly credited with breaking news of the restructuring plans of Peter Voser.

FROM OUR ARCHIVE: EXTRACT FROM A RELATED EMAIL MESSAGE SENT BY JOHN DONOVAN TO OVER 400 SENIOR SHELL EXECUTIVES

Congratulations!

I am writing to offer our best wishes on your appointment/new title, as announced on our website royaldutchshellplc.com within the lists of Shell senior executive appointments we published on 22 June and 3 August.

The unauthorised publication of leaked Shell confidential information on our site has become a news event in its own right, regularly reported by The Wall Street Journal and other news organisations.

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Corrib – Ireland’s Last Offshore Development for a Generation

Printed below is an article by Tony Allwright, a retired Irish Shell EP manager. (SOURCE ARTICLE)

26 November 2011

Protests – overwhelmingly unfounded and politically unchallenged –
have trebled the cost of developing Ireland’s offshore Corrib gasfield.
This huge “
political risk” will deter further such investments for a generation.

Many years ago, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was a Dutch company with an Irish name, Shell Teoranta BV, whose raison d’être was to seek and hopefully find oil offshore Ireland (“Teoranta” is Irish for ““Limited”).  It drilled a number of wells – for  example, on 19th December 1979, the Irish Times featured a photo of a jack-up rig drilling an exploration well just offshore Dublin – but to no avail.  All the holes were dry.  Concluding that Ireland was a lost cause, Shell Teoranta packed its bags and shut up shop, though not before claiming a huge write-off from the Dutch taxpayer for all its futile Irish expenditure, a provision of Netherlands law which explains why Shell Teoranta was registered there. Shell reckoned it had better uses for its shareholders’ money than to fritter it away on the ultra-long-shots of Irish exploration.

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Flood closes Shell Centre

The London Central Office of Royal Dutch Shell has been closed as a result of there being a major flood in the basement during the night of 15th November 2010. Heating, air conditioning and water supplies are all affected. The flood caused the building to be closed today and it will remain closed tomorrow. Current expectations are that Shell Centre will reopen on Thursday 18th – but this has yet to be confirmed. null

Royal Dutch Shell Nazi Secrets: Authors relationship with Shell

Royal Dutch Shell Nazi Secrets: Authors extraordinary relationship with Shell

Shell Corrib Gas Project, Bertie Ahern and Corruption

VIDEO FEATURING COMMENTARY BY FORMER ROYAL DUTCH SHELL EXECUTIVE, PADDY BRIGGS

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DySF-3b2D0

By John Donovan

In the YouTube.com video above, *Paddy Briggs quotes from the minutes of a meeting of Royal Dutch Shell Group Managing Directors held on 23 July 2003 (MARKED “MOST CONFIDENTIAL”.

“It was noted that development of the Corrib field may be delayed until 2004 as planning consent had been refused for the terminal. The Committee queried whether the Group had sufficiently well placed contacts with the Irish government and regulators. Paul Skinner undertook to explore this issue further in consultation with the Country Chairman in Ireland.”

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BP, Arts sponsorship – and the fat cats…

Paddy Briggs’ letter, published in “The Guardian” 28th June 2010

It is understandable that, as you report, many artists and green groups are protesting against arts institutions receiving sponsorship from BP – but it is important to describe what such corporate charitable donations are – and what they are not. They are not in any way ever a meaningful contributor in a company’s overall obligations to its stakeholders. The amounts are collectively too small and the selection of recipients is far too random for the largesse to be anything than incidental in the context of a big company’s finances.null

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A review of “Corporate Social Responsibility” in the light of Deepwater Horizon

Please visit this link

for an article by Paddy Briggs about Corporate Social Responsibility in the light of BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Retired Shell Global Chief Petroleum Engineer Iain Percival comments on BP oil slick

Article by former Royal Dutch Shell executive Paddy Briggs…

“Obama is not being anti-British over BP

…stimulates following comments on Shell Blog from retired senior Shell staff

MUSAINT on Jun 12th, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Paddy, I cannot fully support your comments concerning those made by Obama over the BP oil spill. Certainly BP have a less than acceptable safety record which needs to be immediately addressed. However, I believe that Obama is using this spill as an ideal way to deflect the problems he has in America and his very low support ratings from the voters there. (Bad news is Good news when it is used to hide major political problems.) What I sincerely hope is that Transocean and Cameron-Hydril also start to get their long overdue bashing from Obama and the American public.

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Has Shell’s advertising budget been wisely spent?

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JUNE 2010

Shell’s latest corporate advertisement followed by candid commentary/analysis by Paddy Briggs (right)…

LET’S DELIVER ENERGY
FOR A CHANGING WORLD.
LET’S GO

Today’s consumers are smarter than ever about energy. Naturally they want it to heat, cool and light their homes, get them to work, and power their mobile phones. But they are also keen to help build an energy system that sustains the lives of future generations. They want their energy to come from cleaner sources. They want to get the most out of every drop. And they want to see positive results now.

At Shell, we’re listening. Consumers’ raised expectations inspire us to come up with ever more innovative products and services.

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Reputation Management

ROADSIDE RETAIL

The maintenance of a good corporate reputation in today’s febrile multimedia age is no easy task – not least because the needs of a company’s various stakeholders are all too often contradictory. Investors may seek cost efficiencies which boost earnings and dividends whilst employees seek job security. The need to boost the resource base, especially for oil and gas companies, will often conflict with the needs of local communities and environmentalists. And in some industries, like tobacco, the very nature of the business activity itself can be hard to defend and virtually incapable of being painted in a positive light. So does that mean that there are no firm guidelines that can be established to help companies manage their reputation – is it all too difficult? This article will argue that the reverse is the case – so long as companies understand that brand management and reputation management are the same thing – and so long as they have an imperative to integrate what they say with what they do – and then tell the truth. And as long as they have the confidence not to have their reputation management decisions taken by lawyers!

Let’s start with the key premise that there is really no difference between a company’s corporate brand and its reputation. This is not semantics – the need to understand this principle is an essential condition before we can go on to put a reputation management plan together. But first lets clarify what we mean by corporate identity or brand. In a company like Unilever the corporate brand is the company name and it is the multitude of product brands that comprise the consumer offer. Lipton and Lux and Persil stand alone as distinctive brands and although there is some measure of endorsement from the Unilever parent brand this is not crucial to the product brands’ success. When Unilever experienced some problems with the reformulation of their Persil brand back in the 1990s it did little harm to their corporate brand or to their business performance. It was a costly error – but it was confined to one product line – albeit an important one.

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Shell decides to “stick to its knitting”

Posting by former Shell Executive Paddy Briggs on the article “Shell defends continued focus on fossil fuel-paper“: Mar 2nd, 2010 at 11:20 am

Tom Peters seminal book “In Scarce of Excellence” was first published in 1982 and in it there were eight themes for success in business one of was “Stick to the knitting” – i.e. stay with the business that you know. It has taken Shell quite a while to acknowledge Tom Peters’ truism – ironically as there is no major corporation which has made more of a mess of diversification than Shell. Along the way there have been failed ventures in Coal, Mining, Nuclear Power, Electricity Generation, Forestry, Wind Power, Solar, Convenience Stores, Home insulation…

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Shell Internet Censorship

“One of the principles underlying all of our work on the Web has been that we should be true to the spirit of New Shell. This means that we are seen to be open, listening, interested in the views of others…”: SHELL CENSOR – MARCH 1999

Shell Internet Censorship

By John Donovan

Printed below is a Shell internal email sent in March 1999. Shell was obliged to supply it to us in accordance with an application we made under the UK Data Protection Act. The “X’s” denote sections redacted (censored) by Shell, which includes the name of its author and apparently an extensive circulation list – 4 lines deep.

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Shell says former Shell exec Paddy Briggs should choose his friends more carefully

A SHELL INTERNAL EMAIL DATED 25 JUNE 2007 SUPPLIED TO JOHN DONOVAN UNDER DATA PROTECTION ACT LAW

From:
Sent: 25 June 2007 13:57
To:
Subject: RE: DONOVAN – WEBSITE

FYI, xxxxxs latest contribution – I think he should choose his friends more carefully….

In the absence of “Tell Shell” I think that this is possibly the best forum for those of us who care about Shell and have informed opinions about the company to share with others. The Donovans perfume (subsequently corrected!) a very useful function and, whilst I don’t always agree with them, I do admire them and certainly do not question their motives or their integrity.

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Shell apologises for Poppy Appeal shambles

By Paddy Briggs

The important words in the media release below are “We apologise”! Well done Shell!

“Having reviewed our policy and listened to customers, we are happy to immediately endorse collection boxes for the Poppy Appeal at Shell petrol stations. We realise our customers have been upset by our original policy. We apologise. Our policy for some years now has been to have no collection boxes on site. The main reason for the policy was to reduce the risk of robberies that sometimes occur at site and hence minimise on-site risks for staff and customers, as we take HSSE very seriously. We support The Royal British Legion and the Poppy Appeal. We have collections in our offices. Furthermore we had already arranged with The Royal British Legion for a projection of poppies onto our building in central London to help publicise the Poppy Appeal.”

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Shell shoots itself in both feet on Remembrance Day

By Paddy Briggs

The real question to ask about Shell’s unbelievably crass decision not to allow the sale of poppies at their petrol stations this year is at what level the call as made.

Ignore the statement from Shirley Cinco, at Shell’s “Customer Service Centre” in Manchester, that: “Rather than simply giving to worthy causes, Shell prefers to donate skills, time and knowledge as well as money. It is in the context of this strategy that Shell Retail will not be allowing any further charities, including the poppy appeal, to use its forecourt network to collect monies.” This is corporate speak of the worst kind and misses the real issue by many a mile. That issue is, of course, not about the decision itself but about who took it and about how it is perceived.

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Paddy Briggs elected as a Trustee of Shell Contributory Pension Fund

It has come to our attention that former Shell executive Paddy Briggs (above) has been elected to serve the thirty-three thousand Shell pensioners in the UK as a Trustee of the Shell Contributory Pension Fund for four years commencing January 2010. In addition to the elected members, the Board of Trustees has seven Shell appointees, including UK country chairman James Smith and Clive Mather, the Chairman of the Board.

The manifesto on which Paddy Briggs was elected was:

“I joined Shell Mex and B.P. in 1964 and retired from Shell in 2002 having worked in Shell UK Ltd, Shell International and operating companies in The Netherlands, Hong Kong and Dubai. The Shell that most of us once worked for is long gone – as the “reserves” scandal and the recent furore over top executive remuneration have shown. Such events, coupled with the deteriorating financial position of many pensioners (which was exacerbated this year by a derisory 0.9% annual pension increase) illustrate the extent of the changes in Shell and confirm the urgent need for a strong defence of SCPF member interests by the one elected MNT Trustee directors. I was “First reserve” in the elections in 2007 and hope to go one better this time around. If elected I will do my upmost robustly to represent the interests of the Pensioner constituency and all other beneficiaries of the fund.”

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Arch-critic emails over 400 Shell senior execs

Richard Wiseman, Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer (Photo supplied by him for display on this website)

EMAIL MESSAGE SENT BY JOHN DONOVAN TO OVER 400 SENIOR SHELL EXECUTIVES

Congratulations!

I am writing to offer our best wishes on your appointment/new title, as announced on our website royaldutchshellplc.com within the lists of Shell senior executive appointments we published on 22 June and 3 August.

The unauthorised publication of leaked Shell confidential information on our site has become a news event in its own right, regularly reported by The Wall Street Journal and other news organisations.

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Debate flares over Shell/Motiva refineries

Yesterday we published an article authored by “Jo Blow”, a contributor whose real name is known to us.

The article stimulated the Shell Blog comments published below:

From Motivaman

Jo blow,
On the contrary, I did not take offense at all to your post. Actually it made me see that I was making mistakes in my post. I am very sorry. I have been posting about our managers/leadership, but I guess I need to be more specific in what I am saying. I know there are a bunch of great people that make up our management. A lot more good people than are bad!

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The writing is on the wall for Shell’s downstream business

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The days when it was beneficial for an oil company to be vertically integrated with business all the way from the well head to the petrol pump are long since gone. Shell’s decision to move out of refining in the United Kingdom is logical and almost certainly the precursor of a complete withdrawal from the “downstream”.

In the past the “Seven Sisters” secured an almost monopolistic control of the production, transportation, refining, distribution and marketing of oil. This gave them incremental margins all the way along the supply chain and meant that they developed competencies at every step along the way. Although the production of crude oil involved wholly different skills and disciplines to, say, the marketing of automotive fuels and lubricants through petrol stations Shell and the rest were quite comfortable with the creation and management of organisations that had all of these competencies. Indeed when I joined Shell in the mid 1960s those of us in marketing did not see ourselves in any way as the poor relations in the Shell Group. But over the years this began to change.

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Retired Shell Group Auditor questions integrity of Jorma Ollila

By Bill Campbell (above), retired HSE Group Auditor, Shell International

On the subject of the integrity of Royal Dutch Shell Chairman, Jorma Ollila, raised by former Shell executive, Paddy Briggs, the information below was copied to Nokia yesterday, it should be self explanatory, if Nokia do not act they could find themselves guilty by association:

The attached information explains why Royal Dutch Shell along with the UK Oil Industry Health and Safety Regulator the HSE are currently being investigated by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in Scotland.

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Time to reflect on the integrity of Shell Chairman, Jorma Ollila

By Paddy Briggs

Time to reflect on the integrity of Jorma Ollila (above), Chairman of the Board of Directors of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. In his time as Chairman it seems, if we judge from the actions of Shell’s new CEO Peter Voser, he has allowed Shell to become an over-staffed, unfocused, top heavy bureaucracy. A company that requires urgent and invasive surgery. A Company that no longer has confidence in its staff at the top to the extent that it makes them re-apply for jobs…and so on.

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Shell Blog reaction to Shell 2nd Quarter Results – fire Brinded

Comments posted on our Shell Blog this morning by two regular contributors in reaction to the 2nd Quarter 2009 results announced by Royal Dutch Shell Plc  at 7am today. Guest1 is a senior Shell insider. Paddy Briggs is a highly esteemed former Shell executive.

guest1
on Jul 30th, 2009 at 8:05 am

Just read: “We are in the middle of a programme to build 1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe) of additional Upstream capacity”. But Brinded has been in the middle of building extra production capacity since many years. So why would we now believe Shell? If Voser has any sense he fires Brinded asap. And all the sycophants around him. Thereafter he may hear the truth and bad news occasionally….

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On a Swiss roll…

Here’s the story. You are a Swiss accountant with a proven record of ruthlessness and synthetic business acumen. You are comfortable with numbers – that’s what you do – but you know little about the minutiae of the oil business. How can you be – you are not an “oil man” you are a “dollars man”. By guile, good fortune and the Peter Principle you find yourself at the helm of one of the world’s biggest oil and gas companies. You know that you will struggle with the difficult things – like creating an organisation that finds, develops, transports, refines and markets hydrocarbons. You know nothing at all about the oil and gas chain from exploration to consumption. You’ve never really worked in it – other than seeing spreadsheets which show you how much it costs. But you are now in charge. So what you do is retreat to the familiar world of numbers. That world where there is certainty – where something that costs “$100m” is only supportable if an adequate ROACE is assured. And where, even though future earnings are always, by definition, unpredictable you find a way of getting bogus certainty where there is none. By appointing more accountants and listening to them.null

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Shell retiring CEO Jeroen van der Veer: a candid assessment by Paddy Briggs

By Paddy Briggs

Denis Healey recently said that he would prefer people to wonder why he hadn’t been Prime Minister rather than have them wondering why he had been. Jeroen van der Veer (above) was never meant to be Shell’s top man and had he not reached that position few would have wondered why. As he now retires, having held the job for five largely ineffective years, many observers will wonder why on earth he got the post in the first place. And virtually every stakeholder – employees, suppliers, customers, local communities, investors and pensioners has seen their status and well-being lessened over the five years that van der Veer has been at the helm.

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File of outspoken articles about Royal Dutch Shell 2004 – 2009

File of outspoken articles about Royal Dutch Shell published by this website since 2004.

Shell Blog Posting by Iain Percival, Royal Dutch Shell retired Global Chief Petroleum Engineer

By Iain Percival

I have now caught up with the news / comments having returned from a most refreshing break at my home in Scotland – no internet connection which is good, for a while at least 🙂

My two pence of observations are as follows.

1. I have written on several occasions that Shell upstream is populated by many, many seriously good and dedicated technical professionals who wish for nothing more than (i)an interesting and rewarding career coupled with recognition for good / original / innovative contribution , (ii) progression based not on WHO you know but on what you know (capability) and demonstrable delivery of technical and / or commercial contribution, (iii)  courageous, knowledgeable & honest leadership, (iv) minimal burden of dealing with “stuff”, (v)association with a well respected company name (brand Paddy??).

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What on earth happened under the van der Veer leadership that has got Shell into its present mess?

Paddy Briggs

on May 30th, 2009 at 10:57 am 

Excellent Post by Guest1.

It is indeed “corruption” and the irony is that it got far worse under Jeroen who was meant to be sweeping away the dishonesty and the self-first mindset that characterised the Watts years. I’m genuinely puzzled by this. I knew Jeroen reasonably well and found him a decent bloke – at least back in the late 1990s and into the new millennium. He seemed devoid of ego at that time and was an effective if modest communicator with staff at all levels. He lacked charisma and didn’t strike me as very original or creative – but he didn’t seem a phoney. What on earth happened under the van der Veer leadership that has got Shell into its present mess? Jeroen was paid an order of magnitude more than even quite recent CEOs like Moody-Stuart. He must surely have been aware of the public affront at the Watts/Reserves scandal. And given Jeroen’s Dutch Christian background and his (apparently) personal austerity and principal what went wrong? Anyone who worked for Shell over these years (I didn’t) throw any light on this contradiction?

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Peter Voser’s message to Shell staff presages a gloomy future for all of Shell’s employees and stakeholders

Posted on May 28th, 2009 by Paddy Briggs

Shell’s CEO designate Peter Voser would have to have been terminally naïve to assume that his extraordinary internal Email to staff would not immediately be placed in the public domain – as indeed it was within minutes of its transmission. Assuming that Voser knew exactly what he is doing let’s analyse what this message means for Shell’s battered stakeholders.

The fact that Voser chose to send out the Email when there is a still a month to go before he takes over as CEO is remarkable – and crassly insensitive to the feelings of the current man in charge Jeroen van der Veer. Van der Veer will no doubt also be aggrieved that the tone of the Email is so fiercely critical of the Shell of today – a Shell that has been moulded over the past six years by his efforts. Outside stakeholders will also want to ask why, if things at Shell are quite so bad as Voser says, van der Veer has been remunerated to the extent of around 10million Euros a year, why he is to receive a pension of well over one million Euros a year and why his contract with Shell was extended well beyond the normal Shell retirement age of 60.

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