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Posts under ‘Paddy Briggs’

Shell cost-cutting plan will undermine the welfare of its pensioners

By John Donovan

Today we publish below a notification letter dated 8 December 2016 sent by a Shell HR VP to all Shell UK pensioners. 

Basically, Shell is intending to scrap the network of 45 Pensioner Liaison Representatives established over 40 years ago, who currently represent 28,000 Shell UK pensioners. Although Shell still rakes in billions of dollars in annual profits, the reason given is cost-cutting arising from the BG takeover and the low price of oil. 

The letter, pdf copy attached, is signed by a Shell HR VP Jonathan Kohn who openly admits that what is proposed is a “significant change”. 

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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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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


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. 


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



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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