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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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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) read more

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. read more

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. read more

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. read more

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 read more

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. read more

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). read more

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 read more

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. read more

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. read more

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 read more

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. read more

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. read more

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