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WikiLeaks cables: Saudi Arabia cannot pump enough oil to keep a lid on prices

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US diplomat convinced by Saudi expert that reserves of world’s biggest oil exporter have been overstated by nearly 40%

John Vidal, environment editor: Tuesday 8 February 2011 22.00 GMT

Saudi oil refinery. WikiLeaks cables suggest the amount of oil that can be retrieved has been overestimated. Photograph: George Steinmetz/Corbis

The US fears that Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude oil exporter, may not have enough reserves to prevent oil prices escalating, confidential cables from its embassy in Riyadh show.

The cables, released by WikiLeaks, urge Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom’s crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300bn barrels – nearly 40%. read more

Overnight ‘crippling load’ on Royal Dutch Shell plc.com website

By John Donovan

As regular visitors will be aware, this website, which is operated on a dedicated high traffic server hosted in the USA,  is being brought down on a regular basis. By coincidence or otherwise,  it often seems to happen when we publish negative information about Royal Dutch Shell, such as in WikiLeak cables, or revelations concerning Shell Malaysia whistleblower, Dr John Huong.

“Distributed Denial of Service attack, it is when a server is bombarded with so many requests that it can’t respond to legitimate traffic.” read more

Shell: Clean-up goes on for Niger Delta – and oil company’s reputation

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Shell’s image is still mired by claims over oil spills, Ken Saro-Wiwa’s hanging and WikiLeak’s revelations of infiltration

John Vidal, Environment editor

Thursday 3 February 2011 19.07 GMT

Ogoni leader Ken Saro-Wiwa was hanged by the Nigerian military regime after organising opposition to Shell’s activities in the Delta. Photograph: Greenpeace/AFP

Despite today’s soaring profit figures, Shell remains a company under siege for its lucrative activities in Africa.

At a parliamentary hearing in the Netherlands last week, Amnesty International, Friends of the Earth, Nigerian and British activists, Dutch MPs and others accused the company of breaches of safety, human rights abuses, destroying lives and the environment, hiding information, gas flaring and blaming locals for oil pollution in Nigeria. read more

WikiLeaks: Cable reveals Shell funded Nigerian rebels ‘peace camp’

Confidential Diplomatic cable from the U.S. Embassy in Abuja in 2005, Nigeria, reveals Shell paid $100,000 to fund a gathering of Nigerian rebels, supposedly a “Peace Camp”. When militiamen discovered that the meeting was funded by Shell, they rioted and gang members fought among themselves.

THE CABLE

251052Z Apr 05

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 LAGOS 000605

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/W
STATE FOR DS/IP/AF
STATE FOR INR/AA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/25/2015
TAGS: NI, PGOV, PHUM, PREL

SUBJECT: MILITANT DELTA YOUTH SET ASIDE ARMS AND DIFFERENCES read more

WikiLeaks: Royal Dutch Shell machinations over Iran sanctions

Latest leaked diplomatic cable from U.S. Embassy in The Hague confirms Shell exports oil to Iran, yet pressed for imposing broader UN trade sanctions on Iran and forcing Chinese and Russian firms to comply, so as to “level the playing field”. Shell’s Chinese and Russian partners in various multibillion dollar projects may not be impressed. Cable says Netherlands’ gas reserves are forecast to run out by 2030.

Reference ID: 09THEHAGUE596

Created: 2009-10-02 16:04

Released: 2011-01-22 17:05

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Origin: Embassy The Hague

VZCZCXRO0249 RR RUEHIK DE RUEHTC #0596/01 2751600 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 021600Z OCT 09 FM AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3320 INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 THE HAGUE 000596

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG EPET PREL NL
SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS: SCENESETTER FOR SPECIAL ENVOY
MORNINGSTAR,S VISIT TO THE HAGUE, OCTOBER 7-9, 2009

THE HAGUE 00000596 001.2 OF 004

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Post warmly welcomes you to The Hague to
convene the 2009 Regional Energy Officers Conference. During
your stay, you will also meet the Foreign Minister, Economic
Affairs Minister, Royal Dutch Shell's Executive Director
responsible for Russia/Central Asia, and address Dutch energy
industry and policy leaders at the Netherlands' premier think
tank. No high-level U.S. official has discussed energy
security in the Netherlands (the world's fifth-largest
natural gas exporter) in several years. The Dutch
fundamentally share our commitment to enhancing Europe's
energy security through diverse sources and supply routes.
However, we would like the Dutch to take on a more prominent
role within the EU to achieve these objectives and avoid
backsliding into narrow commercial diplomacy. END SUMMARY.

---------------------
DUTCH ENERGY OVERVIEW
---------------------

2. (U) The Netherlands' energy position is unique within the
EU. It is the world's seventh largest gas producer and the
EU's largest net exporter of gas by a wide margin. The
Netherlands produces about 14 percent of the natural gas
consumed in Europe and has observer status at the recently
formed Gas Exporting Countries Forum. Since its discovery in
1959, the giant Groningen field has helped underwrite the
Dutch welfare state. (Note: Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil
are 50/50 partners in Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij
(NAM), the country's largest gas producer and 60 percent
shareholder of the Groningen field; the Dutch state operator
EBN owns the remainder. End note.) The Dutch economy runs
on natural gas -- it accounts for 45 percent of primary
energy supply and 58 percent of electricity production.

3. (U) The Netherlands' gas reserves are forecast to run out
by 2030, forcing the Dutch to rethink their energy policy.
To remain a regional energy player after its own resources
are depleted, the Dutch government is patiently cultivating
energy relationships with Russia, Algeria, Kazakhstan, Libya,
Qatar, and Angola as long-term supplier countries. The
Netherlands wants to develop as a natural gas roundabout --
a hub that gathers natural gas from various sources (North
Sea, LNG, Russia) and then distributes it via pipeline to
continental Europe.

4. (U) The Dutch are also pursuing opportunities to develop
gas storage reservoirs. The prevalence of depleted gas
fields means the Netherlands has huge storage potential,
either for natural gas or carbon dioxide (CCS). Abu Dhabi
national energy company TAQA announced in December 2008 it
would lead a consortium developing a USD 1 billion, 4.1
billion cubic meter gas storage facility in Bergermeer (in
conjunction with Gazprom and EBN) to be operational by 2013.
The Dutch oppose EU regulations that would require each EU
member state to have adequate gas storage capacity of its
own. The Dutch want to provide storage service to others in
the region -- for a price.

5. (SBU) The Port of Rotterdam is one of the world's major
centers for crude oil imports, trading, refining, and
petrochemical production. Key oil import sources include
Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Norway. Vitol, Trafigura, and
Shell operate there and export oil to Iran.

6. (U) The Dutch want Rotterdam to become an important
destination for LNG as well. Dutch companies Vopak (liquid
storage) and Gasunie (gas pipelines) are teaming up to build
a 12 billion cubic meter (bcm) per year LNG terminal at the
port, due for completion in 2011. TAQA is planning a
sea-based LNG terminal near Rotterdam. On the other side of
Qsea-based LNG terminal near Rotterdam. On the other side of
the country, energy company Essent (now owned by Germany's
RWE) is developing an LNG terminal with Vopak and Gasunie in
Eemshaven, near the German border.

7. (U) Despite the GONL's enthusiastic support for strict EU
renewable energy targets, the country derives only 2.5
percent of its total energy supply from renewables, mostly
biomass and wind. Grand plans and subsidy schemes abound for
offshore wind parks in the North Sea, but these have not left
the drawing board.

8. (U) The Netherlands has one 485 MW nuclear plant in
Borssele, co-owned by utilities Delta and Essent. Delta
wants to build additional reactors on the same site, but
nuclear energy is a political taboo, and the current
government is reluctant to approve any expansion plans.

9. (U) The Netherlands embraced full ownership unbundling of
its electricity and gas utility companies in order to attract
new investment capital and increae competition. Local
THE HAGUE 00000596 002.2 OF 004
government authorities have retained ownership of regulated
network businesses, but foreign energy giants RWE and
Vattenfall acquired the two largest Dutch energy supply and
production companies -- Essent and Nuon, respectively -- in
2009. The Dutch government was frustrated when Germany and
France succeeded in watering down the EU's unbundling rules
in favor of national champions.

-----------------------
GASUNIE AND NORD STREAM
-----------------------

10. (SBU) Dutch gas pipeline company Gasunie is 100 percent
state-owned, unlike most other European gas infrastructure
companies. The GONL maintains an arms-length relationship
with Gasunie's management, expecting it to operate like a
publicly traded company and earn a reasonable return of
around 7 percent for the government, according to Finance
Minister Wouter Bos.

11. (SBU) Gasunie holds a 9 percent stake in Gazprom's Nord
Stream pipeline. This participation was announced during
Prime Minister Balkenende's November 2007 visit to Russia.
Gasunie CEO Marcel Kramer told post the GONL gave positive
feedback to the deal as a way of retaining a significant
role for the Netherlands in Europe's energy equation. To
burnish Nord Stream's image, Gasunie has tried hard to
portray the project as ambitious but realistic; to
characterize Gazprom as driven by commercial concerns, not
political ones; and to leverage the Dutch reputation as
transparent, trustworthy businesspeople.

12. (SBU) Gasunie has a 60 percent share in the Bacton
Balgzand Line (BBL), operational since 2006, which transports
natural gas from the Netherlands to the UK (although it is
bi-directional). Belgian gas transport company Fluxys and
German energy giant e.ON Ruhrgas each have 20 percent shares.
In exchange for Gasunie's share in Nord Stream, Gazprom
received an option to buy a 9 percent stake in BBL. If
Gazprom exercises this option, the shares will come from
Gasunie, leaving it with a majority 51 percent. According to
Kramer, Gasunie had to explain to Gazprom that BBL meets EU
rules, meaning the shareholders just own and operate the
pipeline but cannot dictate who runs gas through it. Post
has heard that BBL did not reverse flow (i.e., send gas from
UK to continental Europe) during the winter 2009
Russia/Ukraine gas crisis.

13. (U) Gasunie bought BEB Transport -- the gas transport
division of a German Shell/Exxon joint venture -- in November
2007. BEB's pipelines tie into Gasunie's existing network,
linking the Netherlands to northern Germany, Berlin, Denmark,
and the landing points for Norwegian gas.

--------------------------------------------- ---------
MEETING FOREIGN MINISTER AND ECONOMIC AFFAIRS MINISTER
--------------------------------------------- ---------

14. (SBU) Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen and Economic
Affairs Minister Maria van der Hoeven constitute an active
tag team on energy diplomacy with producer countries as they
pursue the Netherlands' vision of becoming a gas hub.
Verhagen, a career politician, and Van der Hoeven, an
educator before embarking on politics, both belong to the
center-right Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party, the
ruling coalition's largest. When you meet Van der Hoeven,
she will have just returned from the Kazakhstan International
Oil and Gas Expo and a September 23-26 visit to the U.S.
where she met with Energy Secretary Chu. A planned meeting
with Commerce Secretary Locke did not happen. Her Ministry
of Economic Affairs (MEA) spans energy, commerce, and trade.
Qof Economic Affairs (MEA) spans energy, commerce, and trade.
In the past year, she has visited Angola (March 2009 to lobby
for future LNG shipments to Rotterdam), Algeria (January 2009
also for LNG supplies), Russia (December 2008 for broad
energy investment), Qatar (October 2008 for LNG), and Saudi
Arabia (October 2008 for broad energy investment). Verhagen
visited Qatar and Saudi Arabia (May 2009) and Algeria
(November 2008) to push for closer economic and energy
cooperation as well as human rights.

15. (SBU) Under Van der Hoeven's lead, the Netherlands'
overarching goals in the energy sector are similar to ours:
maintain open markets, ensure diverse and secure supply
sources, and develop new and clean alternatives to fossil
fuels. As she said in a speech during her recent trip to
Washington, The way to improve energy supply security is to
build and maintain good relations with energy suppliers ...
The solution is a variety of sources and suppliers ... to
stimulate an energy mix for Europe that consists of the whole
palette: fossil fuels, sustainable energy, and nuclear energy
THE HAGUE 00000596 003.2 OF 004
on a way to sustainable energy. The Dutch support the main
points of EU strategic energy policy, especially
interconnections. However, they are reluctant to be Europe's
producer of last resort in the event of a gas crisis as they
plan to draw down their reserves slowly, prolonging the
buffer they enjoy by virtue of their domestic production.

16. (SBU) We expect Verhagen and Van der Hoeven to raise the
following issues:
-- U.S.-EU Energy Council: The Netherlands will want to play
an active role in the proposed UEEC and will be eager to hear
the U.S. vision for this body.
-- Caspian Basin: The Ministers will be interested to discuss
how the United States and the Netherlands can align our
energy strategy in the region. They will also want to
exchange views on the Caspian Development Corporation.
-- Energy Charter Treaty: Russia's decision to withdraw from
the ECT caught the Dutch by surprise. They judge it to be a
self-defeating move but will want to maintain other channels
of EU-Russia dialogue on energy matters.
-- Turkey/Southern Corridor: Minister Verhagen will likely
share the Dutch perspective on Nabucco and relations with
Turkey. (Note: Former Nabucco coordinator and Dutch
Foreign Minister Jozias van Aartsen is now Mayor of The
Hague. End Note.)
-- International Energy Forum: The Dutch have firm advocates
of IEF's producer-consumer dialogue. (Note: IEF Secretary
General Noe van Hulst is a Dutch national and former DG for
energy at MEA. End note.)
-- Russia: The Dutch acknowledge we have some differences
concerning Russia (see below) and will want to discuss them.
-- Iran: The GONL and Shell (see below) are both concerned
about proposed U.S. legislation to impose sanctions on
companies selling refined products to Iran. They think this
will only succeed in giving Chinese and Russian companies
access to Iran's hydrocarbon resources at the expense of U.S.
and European competitors.

17. (SBU) Commercial interests are always central to Dutch
economic relations and nowhere is this more evident than with
Russia. For example, during President Medvedev's June 2009
visit to the Netherlands, he met with representatives from
major Dutch companies including Shell, Phillips, and ING.
According to a well-placed MEA official, Prime Minister
Balkenende hit if off with Gazprom Chairman (and former
Russian PM) Viktor Zubkov during the visit and they agreed
that energy and gas cooperation remains central to their
relationship. The two countries committed to increasing
Russian companies' investment in the Port of Rotterdam, and
Russia's Lukoil acquired a 45 percent stake in a Total
refinery in south Holland. However, the Dutch are defensive
about the clubby atmosphere of these twice-yearly high-level
visits. GONL energy officials have told us bluntly in the
past, Don't lecture us about Russia. They are especially
sensitive to criticism about Nord Stream; MEA took offense at
the September 2008 editorial written by the then U.S.
Ambassador to Sweden raising objections to the pipeline.
Despite close commercial relations with Russia, the GONL
supports the so-called Gazprom clause and would likely try
to block a Russian takeover of a Dutch utility without
reciprocal market access.

-----
SHELL
-----

18. (SBU) As Forbes' number two global corporation (after
GE), Rotal Dutch Shell exerts strong influence on Dutch
foreign economic policy. For example, Simon Smits (MFA's
Director for Economic Cooperation whom you will meet October
Q7) recently returned from a secondment to Shell's government
relations group. Finance Minister Bos also held executive
positions at Shell in the 1990s before turning to politics.
You will meet Matthias Bichsel, Shell's Executive Director
responsible for Russia/Central Asia, on October 9. Large
Dutch dredging and energy infrastracture companies such as
Boskalis, Van Oord, and Fugro also enjoy substantial
political influence.

19. (SBU) Shell tries to keep the U.S. government updated on
the Persian LNG (PLNG) project. Shell is a minority partner
in PLNG and has successfully delayed a final investment
decision for several years. Shell wants to keep a foothold
THE HAGUE 00000596 004.2 OF 004
on the project and not let (yet another) lucrative, long-term
Iranian energy contract go to China, but knows it cannot move
ahead on the project in the current climate. Shell would
welcome another UNSC resolution that levels the playing
field by imposing broader trade sanctions on Iran and
forcing Chinese and Russian firms to comply, thereby reducing
the IOCs' competitive disadvantage.

-----------
CLINGENDAEL
-----------

20. (U) Your participation in the Eurasian Energy Security
roundtable with Minister van der Hoeven at the Clingendael
International Energy Program will send a positive signal
about U.S. willingness to engage with European allies on this
issue. The audience will include Dutch energy executives and
policy makers eager to hear your remarks and ask you
questions about U.S. international energy strategy.
LEVIN

SOURCE CABLE  read more

WikiLeaks revelations: Pernicious influence of Royal Dutch Shell

It is clear from these cables that Royal Dutch Shell has the Dutch government in their hip pocket. No surprise there, the Queen must get her dividends. Royal Dutch Shell management apparently thinks it has so much influence it can dictate foreign policy matters to ALL of the G8 governments? Isn’t that a revelation. Maybe not after all we have learned about Shell’s not so secret ‘shadow government’ in Nigeria.

Article by a former employee of Shell Oil USA

No matter what you or I may think about the Wiki-leaks gang, they do produce some important revelations that I am sure the US government, et al, and RD Shell would just as soon not disclose to the public. read more

WikiLeaks: More embarrassment for Royal Dutch Shell

WikiLeaks: Leaked U.S. diplomatic cable from the U.S. Embassy in The Hague reveals that the Dutch government would not support any targeted sanctions against Royal Dutch Shell in respect of its activities in Iran.

Also contains embarrassing information for Shell about its dealings with the Russians.  John Croker, a senior Royal Dutch Shell executive, is reported to have complained that Russia’s treatment of Shell in relation to the Sakhalin II project “does not fit” within internationally accepted norms. The Russians (Gazprom) offered less than 30% of what Shell considered fair for a stake in the project. read more

Shell to be grilled over Nigerian oil tensions

Royal Dutch Shell will be questioned by politicians over its operations in Nigeria – two months after tensions over oil exploration in the region flared up again.

Members of the militant Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) on patrol. Photo: EPA   By Rowena Mason 6:30AM GMT 05 Jan 2011

Dutch lawmakers have arranged a hearing, described as a “fact-finding session”, after several MPs travelled to the troubled Niger Delta region.

A ceasefire between militants opposed to foreign oil exploration and the government broke down in November.

Pipeline bombings caused output to fall 40pc in Africa’s top oil producer until a ceasefire in July 2009. However, this collapsed when 13 hostages were taken from Afren and ExxonMobil’s oil installations this autumn.

Nigeria’s army, navy and air force launched a large offensive six weeks ago, storming rebel camps and jailing insurgents. read more

Shell to Face Nigeria Grilling

JANUARY 4, 2011

Dutch Parliament Hearing Expected to Touch on Corruption in Oil-Rich Delta, as Spills Spur Concerns

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

November protests marked the 15th anniversary of Nigeria’s then-military regime’s execution of activists who challenged degradation of Ogoni land in the Niger Delta.

By GUY CHAZAN

Royal Dutch Shell PLC will this month be grilled by Dutch lawmakers for the first time over its operations in the Niger Delta, reflecting growing concern in the West about oil spills in west Africa.

Critics of Shell’s record, both in parliament and among non-governmental organizations, are expected to use parliamentary hearings, scheduled for Jan. 26, to quiz the company over its activities in Nigeria. The country’s oil sector has long been plagued by militant violence, corruption, organized crime and, by extension, environmental damage. read more

Allegations against Royal Dutch Shell: Truth is not libel

COMMENTS FROM A FORMER EMPLOYEE OF SHELL OIL USA

Read your comments about Shell not suing Bill Campbell for libel. Obviously, they have not done so because they could not win. Truth is not libel.

One might ask why RD Shell has not sued you for libel. You have accused them publicly of all manner of nefarious undertaking. As I recall, you recently even accused them of engaging in espionage against a sovereign government and military ally of the United Kingdom, the United States. Yet not a word out of RD Shell management. Why? Obviously, this particular allegation must probably be true as well. In the US that is a crime that has no statute of limitations and carries with it a life sentence, without possibility of parole, by the way, when the object of such endeavors are nuclear weapons design secrets. read more

WikiLeaks: Shell’s astonishing revelations about Nigerian corruption

By John Donovan

This U.S. diplomatic cable, classified as “secret”, reports on a briefing given to the American Ambassador to Nigeria, Robin R. Sander, in February 2009  by Shell Executive VP, Ann Pickard, now Country Chairman of Shell Australia.

During a discussion of the high level of corruption in Nigeria, Pickard gave as an example, a bribery demand by Nigerian Attorney General Aondoakaa that he would sign a document only if paid $2 million immediately, and another $18 million the next day. read more

WikiLeaks: Shell says ‘amateur technocrats’ run Nigerian oil and gas sector

By John Donovan

According to a U.S. diplomatic cable classified as “confidential”, a senior Shell executive Peter Robinson, informed a U.S. Assistant Secretary for African Affairs that “amateur technocrats run the oil and gas sector” in Nigeria.

This damning verdict, of great embarrassment to Royal Dutch Shell, was made in February 2010 and was recorded in a confidential cable from the U.S. Consulate in Nigeria reporting on a meeting between Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson, and members of the International oil community in Lagos, including Peter Robinson and another Shell VP, Ian Craig. read more

WikiLeaks: Oman secret plans to take gas fields away from Royal Dutch Shell

By John Donovan

Secret cable from U.S. embassy in Muscat records a meeting in March 2008 between U.S. Admiral William J. Fallon and Sultan Qaboos. During the meeting, the Sultan expressed concerns about Iran and also revealed intent to “boost production by taking smaller and less productive gas fields away from Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) — 60% owned by the government and 34% owned by Royal Dutch Shell — and awarding them to outside companies such as
British Gas and BP.”

Viewing cable 08MUSCAT174, ADMIRAL WILLIAM J. FALLON’S MEETING WITH SULTAN

Reference ID: 08MUSCAT174 Created: 2008-03-01 05:05 Released: 2010-11-28 18:06 Classification: SECRET//NOFORN Origin: Embassy Muscat

VZCZCXRO2105 PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHROV DE RUEHMS #0174/01 0610549 ZNY SSSSS ZZH P 010549Z MAR 08 FM AMEMBASSY MUSCAT TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9318 RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 MUSCAT 000174 

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NOFORN
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/01/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER ENRG KWMN IR IZ MU
SUBJECT: ADMIRAL WILLIAM J. FALLON'S MEETING WITH SULTAN
QABOOS 

Classified By: Ambassador Gary A. Grappo for Reasons 1.4 (b, d) 

-------
SUMMARY
------- 

1.  (C) Sultan Qaboos discussed both domestic and regional
issues during his February 19 meeting with Admiral William J.
Fallon, CENTCOM Commander.  On the domestic front, the Sultan
described his desire to empower the government to be more
responsive to citizen concerns.  Seeking to strengthen the
role of Omani women, the Sultan plans to convene a conference
in 2009 designed to increase the participation and leadership
of women in all aspects of Omani society.  Sultan Qaboos also
shared plans for continued infrastructure development in Oman
and described efforts underway to obtain more natural gas.
On Iraq, the Sultan advised against a premature withdrawal of
U.S. forces and stated that more regional assistance would be
forthcoming if Iraqis would "come together" to take charge
of, and invest in, their own country.  Sultan Qaboos shared
U.S. concerns about Iranian meddling in Iraq and elsewhere,
but contended that Tehran knew confrontation with the U.S.
was not in its interest.  Iran's "charm offensive" in the GCC
had succeeded in lessening suspicions of some officials about
the true intentions of Iranian policies.  End Summary. 

2.  (C) CENTCOM Commander Admiral Fallon, accompanied by the
Ambassador, met February 19 with Sultan Qaboos bin Sa'id for
approximately 2 hours at one of the Sultan's castles -- Husn
al Shumugh -- in the interior of Oman.  (Note:  The Sultan
was outside of Muscat on his annual 4-6 week "meet the people
tour" during which he visits selected sites outside the
capital.  End Note.)  The Sultan appeared in good health and
was cheerful, although he commented that his role as ruler of
Oman was demanding and did not allow him time to do all the
things he wanted to do, such as reading more books.  "My
office is wherever I am," he stated, noting that he
constantly had to attend to paperwork and urgent requests
from his staff, among other tasks.  The Sultan added that
despite his busy schedule, he always made time to "watch the
news," though he did not elaborate on his preferred media
outlet. 

-------------------
CONCERNS ABOUT IRAQ
------------------- 

3.  (C) The Sultan expressed concern over a premature
withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.  Recognizing recent
improvements in the security situation, he counseled that
American troops should only leave "when the time is right."
He stressed that Iraqis had to "take charge" of the fate of
their country, but questioned whether the different factions
would be able to "come together" to accomplish this.  He
pointedly asked the Admiral, "Do you really think Prime
Minister Maliki and his government are capable of pulling the
country together?"  The Sultan did not directly respond to
Admiral Fallon's comment on the need for assistance and
investment for Iraq from elsewhere in the region.  Instead,
he stated that if the Iraqi people helped themselves and
invested in their own country, others would follow suit. 

4.  (C) The Sultan appeared to follow events in Iraq closely.
 He commented, for example, that the Kurds had apparently
"come out well" in recent central government talks on budget
issues, and asked about the status of electricity production
in Iraq.  The Sultan seemed to take a particular interest in
Admiral Fallon's discussion of Iraqi Shia leader Abdul Aziz
al-Hakim, including the status of Hakim's health and his
possible successors. 

--------------------------
INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT
-------------------------- 

5.  (C) In addition to emphasizing the need for outside
investment in Iraq, Admiral Fallon highlighted the importance
of assistance from regional states for infrastructure
development in Afghanistan and other Central Asian nations.
Again the Sultan sidestepped the issue and shifted the
conversation to the critical role of roads and highways in
economic development.  He then mentioned infrastructure
projects for Oman currently under consideration, including
construction of a new dam and a freight rail line from the
northern port of Sohar to the planned port in Duqm.  The
Sultan hoped that the southern port of Salalah could be
linked by rail to Muscat and, eventually, to other GCC
states. 

MUSCAT 00000174  002 OF 003  

--------------
IRANIAN ISSUES
-------------- 

6.  (C) The Sultan commented that the Iranians are "not
fools," and claimed that Tehran realized there are "certain
lines it cannot cross" (i.e., direct confrontation with the
U.S.).  Regarding GCC relations with the Iranian government,
he stated, "Iran is a big country with muscles and we must
deal with it."  He continued that Iran's "charm offensive" in
the region had achieved a degree of success as some GCC
authorities (he did not mention names) were now less
suspicious of Iranian intentions.  The Sultan added,
laughing, that "I must say that as long as (the U.S.) is on
the horizon, we have nothing to fear." 

7.  (C) Responding to Admiral Fallon's frustration with
Iranian interference in Iraq, the Sultan remarked that
Iranian meddling abroad was "almost a game" to the regime in
Tehran, and said that Iran's leaders would have to stop this
practice if Iran wanted to "join the world as a noble
country."  The Sultan hoped that Iraqi leaders would clearly
tell and convince Iranian President Ahmadinejad during his
upcoming visit to Iraq to cease Iran's unhelpful interference
in their internal affairs.  On the possibility that Iran is
waiting out the President's final term before re-assessing
its strategy, the Sultan said that Tehran should realize that
it has to deal with the U.S. as a country, and not just the
current administration. 

------------------
THE SEARCH FOR GAS
------------------ 

8.  (C) After noting Iranian dependence on imports of refined
fuel, the Sultan described Oman's efforts to obtain more
natural gas to fuel growing domestic power needs and
large-scale industrial projects.  Oman had committed too much
of its limited gas production to long-term liquefied natural
gas (LNG) export contracts.  As a result, the government was
trying to boost production by taking smaller and less
productive gas fields away from Petroleum Development Oman
(PDO) -- 60% owned by the government and 34% owned by Royal
Dutch Shell -- and awarding them to outside companies such as
British Gas and BP.  The Sultan claimed these firms were in a
better position to increase productivity in these fields, and
pointed to the progress of U.S.-based Occidental Petroleum
Company in raising oil production in former PDO concession
areas, such as Mukhaizna. 

9.  (C) Looking offshore, the Sultan said he hoped that new
gas fields would be found in the Gulf of Oman to help ease
the country's natural gas shortage.  India's Reliance
Industries was currently exploring a deepwater oil and gas
block in this body of water, but had made no significant
discoveries yet.  Qatar would begin supplying gas to Oman by
2013, the Sultan noted, but not in quantities sufficient to
meet outstanding needs.  He added that Oman was still
supplying limited gas from Musandam to Ras al-Khaimah in the
UAE due to an agreement he made with its emir -- and which
the Sultan felt he could not break -- well before Oman was
squeezed for this resource. 

---------------------------
THE IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION
--------------------------- 

10.  (C) Sultan Qaboos shared that he placed a great deal of
importance on education, and noted that a study of history
provided the context needed to better understand present
trends and events.  Regarding claims that some rulers in the
region wanted to keep their people uneducated in order to
more easily control them, the Sultan explained that this
strategy could easily backfire as it also left the populace
more susceptible to influence by extremists, such as the
Muslim Brotherhood.  Former Egyptian president and
pan-Arabist leader Gamal Abdal Nasser, the Sultan said, had
"set the region back" by being "anti-everything" and engaging
in vitriolic rhetoric designed to keep the masses ignorant. 

-----------------------------------
EMPOWERING THE GOVERNMENT AND WOMEN
----------------------------------- 

11.  (C) On domestic politics, the Sultan announced that he
would hold the first-ever combined meeting of his Cabinet of
Ministers and the Majlis al-Shura (the directly elected lower 

MUSCAT 00000174  003 OF 003  

house of Oman's bicameral advisory body) on February 26.  By
meeting together, the Sultan hoped that the Cabinet and the
Majlis would learn how to cooperate better and jointly focus
on important issues.  He commented that both bodies also
needed to "demonstrate more leadership" and avoid past
foot-dragging on promises made to the populace.  "People need
to see the results of decisions," the Sultan stated. 

12.  (C) Letting Admiral Fallon and the Ambassador in on a
"secret," the Sultan confided that he planned to call for a
conference of all "notable women" in Oman in 2009 in a bid to
encourage Omani women to expand their participation and
leadership in different aspects of Omani society.  Minister
of Social Development, Dr. Sharifa bint Khalfan al-Yahyaiya
(one of Oman's three female cabinet ministers) will chair the
meeting on the Sultan's behalf.  Lamenting that no women won
seats in the October 2007 election for the Majlis al-Shura,
Sultan Qaboos observed that Omani women were stuck in
tradition and needed to be empowered to "take more charge"
and to be "less shy."  "Some customs (regarding women)," he
added, "shouldn't be kept."  Nevertheless, gradual change is
occurring in Oman, the Sultan asserted.  His philosophy was
to "let it happen," rather than hold it up to public debate,
as the latter course of action often led to factional
fighting, internal strife, and other ills. 

---------------------------------------------
A RECURRENT THEME: MORE RESPONSIVE GOVERNMENT
--------------------------------------------- 

13.  (C) In concluding the meeting, Sultan Qaboos returned to
his goal of improving the responsiveness of the Omani
government to citizen concerns.  He stated that he would be
pressing "harder" on his ministers to engage in more and
better public relations efforts before the Omani police and
to effectively enforce their decisions so that the people
could see the benefits of announced actions.  Giving one
particular example, the Sultan said that rather than simply
announce a new development project, the government should
explain the downstream employment opportunities the project
would generate for Omani citizens.  Effective cooperation
between ministries and the Majlis Oman was also needed to
strengthen the civil institutional framework in Oman, the
Sultan added. 

-------
COMMENT
------- 

14.  (S/NF) In discussing his desire for operational change
in the senior government ranks, the Sultan twice implied (but
did not directly state) that such change was needed to
prepare the country for his eventual departure from power.
The Sultan's comments indicated that he may feel the
government is too dependent on his authority and should be
empowered to run more effectively without constant direction
from the palace.  End Comment. 

15.  (U) This message has been reviewed by Admiral Fallon.
GRAPPO  read more

WikiLeaks: Shell’s secret speculation about Irish gas fields

guardian.co.uk home

23 December 2010

A senior figure in Shell said that there could be dozens of gasfields similar to a major one off Ireland’s west coast that has become the focus of a bitter battle with local people, according to a cable from the US embassy in Dublin.

It reported that Julian Cetti, Shell Ireland’s head of commercial and business strategy, had said Shell’s highly lucrative Corrib gas field and another facility planned in the Shannon area by the US oil firm Hess would be enough to meet Ireland’s domestic gas demand for many years. read more

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL: THE MOST EVIL COMPANY ON THE PLANET?

*CORPORATE TERRORISM AGAINST A FORMER SHELL EMPLOYEE
*ROYAL DUTCH SHELL NAZI SECRETS EXPOSED
*INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT: GALE NORTON, SHELL SCANDAL
*Shell employee guinea pigs in study of carcinogenic properties
*1000?s of Shell workers asked to reapply for their own jobs
*SEX, DRUGS & CORRUPTION IN USA SPONSORED BY SHELL
*ROYAL DUTCH SHELL NIGERIAN CORRUPTION SCANDAL
*WIKILEAKS: SHELL EMBEDDED SPIES IN NIGERIAN GOV
*Shell embedded spies in governments of Nigeria, Dubai and Iraq
*PDF ORIGINAL ARTICLE SHELL EMBEDDED SPIES IN NIGERIA
*SHELL SETTLES CLAIM FOR MURDER & TORTURE IN NIGERIA
*SHELL COMPLICITY IN NIGERIAN MURDER OF CIVILIANS
*UNLOVEABLE SHELL, THE GODDESS OF OIL (NIGERIA +)
*CLEAN-UP FOR NIGER DELTA AND SHELL’S REPUTATION
*Shell fueled Nigerian violence by paying rival militant gangs
*SHELL CHIEF HAD A PRIVATE ARMY (IN NIGERIA)
*SHELL PAYS $10 MILLION CORRUPTION FINE TO NIGERIANS
*SHELL ACCEPTS LIABILITY FOR TWO OIL SPILLS IN NIGERIA
*NIGER DELTA CRISIS THREATENED SHELL’S GLOBAL BRAND
*SHELL GLOBAL SPYING ON ITS OWN EMPLOYEES
*DEATH THREATS AGAINST SHELL WHISTLEBLOWERS?
*Irish Police investigate death threats to Shell whistleblowers
*SHELL “TOUCH F*** ALL” OIL RIG SAFETY CULTURE
*PAYBACK TIME FOR CORPORATE VILLAINS?
*SHELL HIDES ITS TRADING WITH FANATICAL IRANIAN REGIME
*SHELL HID TRADING IN IRAQ OIL IN VIOLATION OF EMBARGO
*SHELL IN BED WITH GADDAFI, STATE SPONSOR OF TERRORISM
*SHELL INVOLVEMENT IN AL-YAMAMAH OIL FOR ARMS SCANDAL
*ROYAL DUTCH SHELL WORLDS LARGEST “SPECULATOR”
*Shell accused of supporting Syrian regime
*Whistleblower accuses Shell of psychological torture
*Blood for oil? (The invasion of Iraq)
*Why is Shell still present and operating in Syria?
*SHELL EVEN DEFRAUDED ITS OWN SHAREHOLDERS
*IRREGULARITIES IN A SHELL TENDER PROCESS read more

Activists demand prosecution of Shell over Wikileaks revelations

Shell had gone beyond merely doing business in Nigeria but had “perfected its despicable act of corporate rule through which it has over the years evaded justice for all its atrocious activities against the environment and the Niger Delta People.”

By Ayo Okulaja

Environmental activists have urged the Nigerian government to begin criminal prosecution of executives of oil giant, Shell, for alleged treasonable activities committed by the corporation as revealed by an online whistleblower, WikiLeaks.

In the released cables of US diplomats in Nigeria, WikiLeaks revealed that Shell’s vice president Ann Pickard admitted to a former US envoy to Nigeria that its employees were seconded to all the relevant ministries and agencies of the Nigerian government and thanks to the infiltration, the company was able to keep a tab on all governmental policies and deliberations. read more

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