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Shell Arts Sponsorship Protest at the National Gallery

By John Donovan

Royal Dutch Shell has suffered a string of PR debacles. 

In October 2013, Shell Out Sounds, a group of singers, musicians and activists who opposed Shell’s sponsorship of Southbank Centre, staged an unsanctioned performance from the Royal Festival Hall’s choir seats in protest of a Shell Classic International concert. 

The campaigners condemned the so-called ‘oil-branded concerts’ and condemned Shell for its record of environmental damage.

The venue dropped Shell: “Campaigners celebrate end of Shell’s Southbank sponsorship”Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 17.18.29

This was followed by a further PR set back in August of this year when “Shell to Sea” campaigners in Ireland mounted a public protest about Shell’s sponsorship of the largest traditional Irish music Festival, “Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.” 

Within days, the Irish Times published an article reporting that “The organisers of Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann have bowed to pressure and rejected sponsorship of the annual traditional music festival by oil giant, Shell.”

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A few days ago, the official media launch of the National Gallery’s Shell-sponsored Rembrandt exhibition was interrupted by an unexpected musical protest. Ten performers launched into an energetic reworked musical version of “Dr Faustus” in front of surprised journalists, staff and gallery-goers.

At one point in the song, the narrator sang:

Museum man, he bought their plan / To sell his staff, to private hands

Make deals with corporate monsters / Like Shell the oily sponsor

Security guards attempted to stop the singers but could not prevent the performance from happening. The performance finished with the singers symbolically casting the oily Shell-devil from the building.

The campaigners protest included targeting Shell’s tar sands operation in Canada. 

A link to the full article, from which some of the above extracts are taken, is provided below.

The article mentions the recent success of the Greenpeace campaign against Shell’s Arctic plans, resulting in Lego dropping Shell as a sponsor. 

SEE: “Musical anti-oil and privatisation  protest disrupts launch of National Gallery exhibition”

Shell 15 page confidential statement about OSSL allegations

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By John Donovan

I have provided a link to a 15 page document dated 3 October 2014, which Shell supplied to OSSL, the Irish company that has made serious allegations against Shell.

The information in the document may be of interest to some readers who have followed the long running saga and likewise newspapers and TV and radio stations who have covered the story.

As will be seen, Shell repeatedly states that OSSL has demanded money from them when all claims by OSSL against Shell have, according to Shell, already been settled. 

Shell has provided the most comprehensive statement of events that I have seen thus far. 

It includes Shell transcripts of discussions between Mr Desmond Kane of OSSL and top people at Shell, including Peter Voser, Ben van Beurden and Jorma Ollila at Royal Dutch Shell AGM’s held in 2013 and 2014. 

As can also be seen, Shell is still withholding information – this time on the grounds of legal privilege. 

OSSL – Shell SAR Response

So has the saga come to an end? Were the corruption allegations unfounded?

No, on the contrary, the allegations are factual and the story will soon become even more interesting. 

Michiel Brandjes a key executive at Royal Dutch Shell

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 16.29.29By John Donovan

On 12 October 2014, The Sunday Times Business Section published a front page article about the departure of Jonathan Lloyd, the company secretary of Tesco:

See Tesco turmoil grows as key executive quits

His position at Tesco seems to have been identical to MIchiel Brandjes, the Company Secretary and General Counsel Corporate of Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

“…Lloyd was listed as part of the board on Tesco’s website…” He advised the board on legal and governance issues.

Brandjes is listed as part of the board of Royal Dutch Shell Plc on shell.com. He advises the board on legal and governance issues.

Lloyd is described by The Sunday Times as a key senior executive.

It follows that the same applies to Mr Brandjes, who is approaching retirement.

FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS WEBPAGE ON SHELL.COM

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 19.17.03Michiel Brandjes

Company Secretary

Born December 14, 1954. A Dutch national, appointed as Company Secretary and General Counsel Corporate of the Company in February 2005.

He joined Shell in 1980 as a Legal Adviser and was later appointed Head of Legal in Singapore. Following a period as Head of Legal in China, he was appointed Company Secretary of Royal Dutch Petroleum Company. In June 2014 he was appointed a Non-executive Director of Constellium N.V.

Oil Price Slump

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By John Donovan

I have already highlighted the recent wishful prediction by Shell CEO Ben van Beurden that oil will return to “very robust” pricing in the long-term.

We have all witnessed the subsequent slump in oil prices.

Some extracts from a current Bloomberg article:

The global crash in crude prices is reverberating through the oil and gas industry, pressuring producers to curtail investment to protect profits and avoid cuts to dividend payments.

Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA are already paring back as new investment fails to yield positive returns.

The largest oil companies are also pulling back from U.S. shale projects to avoid the investment necessary to keep production buoyant. Shell, for example, sold acreage in August in the Haynesville and Pinedale shale areas.

An illustration of the challenges oil companies have faced in recent years in bringing large discoveries to market is the $48 billion Kashagan venture. Partners in the Caspian Sea project include Exxon, Shell, Total and Eni SpA. Long-delayed and over-budget, it entered production only briefly last year before being shut down due to leaks. It’s now undergoing expensive repairs and may not start back up again before 2016.

Brent crude fell to the lowest level in almost four years on concern global supply is outpacing demand yesterday.

FULL ARTICLE: Oil Slump Means Canceled Projects as Investment Declines

 

Royal Dutch Shell News 15 Oct 2014

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By John Donovan

WHISTLEBLOWER ALLEGES ROYAL DUTCH SHELL TAX EVASION IN NIGERIA 

A former manager of Shell Production Development Company in Nigeria has accused Shell of massive tax evasion. He also alleges that the Nigeria Economic and Financial Crimes Commission demanded a bribe from him as part of a related cover-up plan for Shell. The whistleblower also claims that his safety is in jeopardy. All strangely reminiscent of allegations surrounding the Corrib gas project in Ireland. MORE INFORMATION HERE.

SHELL FIRE SALE OF NIGERIAN ASSETS

A consortium led by Aiteo Group has won the auction for Shell oil block OML 29 in Nigeria, with a bid of N434b. The total cost of the acquisition is said to be $2.7 billion, allowing for working capital. MORE INFORMATION

FRACKING IN THE USA

According to an article by Geoffrey Lean in The Telegraph, Marvin Odum, the Chairman of Shell Oil, is concerned that anti-fracking campaigners may try to outlaw the technology. Opposition to fracking is said to be mounting in Texas and may spread, possibly having a negative impact on the shale gas boom. MORE INFORMATION

OIL PRICES

Ever since Ben van Beurden went out on a limb with his forecast that oil prices would stabilise, oil prices have actually fallen and are continuing to drop.

See “Oil price fall hits energy stocks

And: “Crude settles down 4.6%, lowest since June 2012

Oil Price Collapse Sinks BP plc And Royal Dutch Shell Plc

A BIG BOOST FOR ELECTRIC CARS – INFORMATION FROM A REGULAR CONTRIBUTOR

It seems that every few days a new ‘breakthrough’ announcement is made. Today it is about lithium ion batteries (see links). If true the electric car will get a big boost. By the way, the electric-hybrid cars are now selling at a rate of about 500,000 per year in the US. Toyota’s Prius dominates. There are about 10 million of them now on the road in the US. They are definitely here to stay, and this latest announcement, if true, will ensure that is the case.

Breakthrough batteries last 20 years, charge 70 percent in two minutes: From PCWorld

Li-Ion Battery Breakthrough Recharges Battery 70% In 120 Seconds: From Coolest Gadget Reviews

NTU researchers make breakthrough with fast-charge batteries: From Channel News Asia-Oct 12, 2014

Really? Breakthrough said to be the “next big thing” in battery …: From Smart Grid News

New batteries charge 70 percent in 2 minutes: From In-Depth-CNET

Breakthrough batteries recharge 70 hper cent in 2 minutes, last 20 :  From In-Depth-CTV News

ARCHIVE ARTICLES ABOUT SHELL TAX EVASION ISSUES

Shell India to challenge tax evasion order: 4 Feb 2013

Shell and ABN Amro ‘masters in tax avoidance’

Starbucks a novice at tax dodging compared with Shell

Shell’s disastrous tax dodge: 23 March 2014 (In Alaska)

Royal Dutch Shell Plc Tax Dodgers: Offshore – and out of reach to the Revenue

Shell legal machinations over Nigeria in the London High Court

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On 8 October, the High Court in London blocked an agreement between the oil giant Shell and the UK law firm CW Law in relation to thousands of Nigerians, which the Marble Arch based law firm claimed it represented, in a dispute over oil spills in Nigeria.

CW Law was accused, by law firm Leigh Day, of unlawfully entering into settlement talks with Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) on behalf of many villagers of Bodo, in the Niger Delta, who they didn’t represent and who were not clients of the firm.

With a population of 14,000 adults, the great majority of the villagers are represented by London based law firm Leigh Day in one of the largest environmental legal cases in history following two massive oil spills in 2008 from pipelines operated by Shell.

Leigh Day has spent 3 years gathering witness statements and verifying its list of clients on the ground, in Nigeria, to fight the case against Shell in the UK Courts.

In August 2014 Leigh Day learned that SPDC had entered into a settlement with CW Law, English Solicitors, who claimed to represent 7,400 of the villagers. Leigh Day, visited Bodo and spoke to the Chairman of the Council of Chiefs & Elders in Bodo, the Chiefs of the Council and the Village Heads of the 35 villages that make up Bodo and confirmed that they had not heard of CW Law or the Nigerian lawyers Egbegi & Co, who claimed to be working with CW Law.

Speaking after the judgment, the Senior Partner of Leigh Day, Martyn Day, said:

“We are very pleased that the Judge agreed to block the deal between Shell and CW Law as far as our clients are concerned.

“This paltry deal may have been lucrative to the lawyers involved but it would have meant peanuts ‎for those of our clients caught by it. The Bodo Creek is damaged for decades to come. We will only resolve the claims when Shell is prepared to pay properly for the damage it has caused.”

Background

Shell is accused of two leaks from its pipelines in 2008/09, which devastated the environment surrounding the community of Bodo*, in Gokana Local Government Area, Rivers State, Nigeria.

Bodo is a fishing town. It sits in the midst of 90 sq km of mangroves swamps and channels, which are the perfect breeding ground for fish and shellfish.

The Bodo community is a rural coastal settlement consisting of 31,000 people who live in 35 villages. The majority of its inhabitants are subsistence fishermen and farmers. Until the two 2008 spills Bodo was a relatively prosperous town based on fishing.

According to Leigh Day, the spills have destroyed the fishing industry. Expert evidence indicates 1,000 hectares of mangroves have been destroyed by the spills and a further 5,000 hectares have been impacted.

The United Nations, Amnesty International and the Nigerian government have all expressed deep disappointment with Shell’s lack of action in the region.

Impoverished local fishermen have been left without a source of income, and have received no compensation. The Ogoni fishing and farming communities have accused Shell of applying different standards to clean-ups in Nigeria compared with the rest of the world. Amnesty has described the oil spill investigations ‘a fiasco’.

FROM A LEIGH DAY PRESS RELEASE

RELATED

FROM THE GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER:

‘Poaching’ row in legal battle over Nigerian oil spill 

Representatives of the Ogoni people against Shell complain that their legal action is being sabotaged by rival law firms

Will Shell try to crush Greenpeace again?

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By John Donovan

James Delingpole of Breitbart fame,”the world’s best political blogger”, says in an outspoken article about the Greenpeace Lego victory over Shell, that the oil giant should “crush” Greenpeace, who he describes as bastards.

Obviously not a man to mince his words. 

It is an article well worth reading. He is a brilliant writer.

SHELL OIL, LEGO, GREENPEACE AND THE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT’S WAR ON CAPITALISM

Some extracts

For too long, big businesses like Shell have sought to escape the attentions of leftist attack dogs like Greenpeace (much as shopkeepers in Little Italy used to pay protection money to the Mob) by paying lip service to all the green orthodoxies and sponsoring worthy green causes. But it just doesn’t work because however much greenwashing it attempts, Shell will always be an oil company. And Greenpeace will always hate it – and try to destroy it – because Greenpeace hates oil companies. So the first step towards escaping this cycle of humiliation is to recognise who your enemy is and, instead of appeasing him, to face up to him and crush him. Trust me, Shell. It’s the only language these bastards understand.

Mr Delingpole does not seem to be aware that Shell has acted against Greenpeace. It was responsible for a covert operation umasked by The Sunday Times. Hakluyt, the private spy firm in which senior Shell directors were major shareholders and the ultimate spymasters, used a serving secret agent working on a freelance basis to sink Greenpeace oil protests.  

So the question should be, will Shell try to crush Greenpeace again? 

Arctic Drilling: a spectacular failure of good judgment by Shell

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 09.25.26Kim Elton accuses Shell’s management of “a spectacular failure of good judgment” and points out that “Company managers ordered the Kulluk towed south through the winter-storm-lashed Gulf of Alaska before the 2013 new year — partly to avoid Alaska taxes.”

By John Donovan

Kim Elton, a former senior adviser to the U.S. Department of the Interior, who was involved in oversight of Shell’s 2012 Arctic drilling plans, has made some very blunt comments about the debacle. 

Kim admits that she “fell for Shell’s promise that their drill fleet was ready to tackle the Arctic.”

She says Shell’s “dive into the Arctic Ocean was a spectacular belly flop”and lists the disastrous chain of events, reminding us that “Shell incurred more than $1 million in fines for air quality violations.”

Kim accuses Shell’s management of “a spectacular failure of good judgment” and points out that “Company managers ordered the Kulluk towed south through the winter-storm-lashed Gulf of Alaska before the 2013 new year — partly to avoid Alaska taxes.”

Her conclusion: “Shell, by its actions in 2012 and its new efforts to avoid reasonable safety regs, is proving this multinational is unworthy of the Arctic.”

Kim Elton served four years as senior adviser on Alaska affairs to former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

For more information read her article in Alaska Dispatch News:

Shell has no business asking for fewer requirements in Arctic drilling

EU investigates price fixing in energy markets

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 18.53.03The latest development follows the Libor rigging scandal and the raids carried out in May 2014 on the oil majors BP, Shell and Statoil, seeking evidence of manipulation of oil prices.

By John Donovan

On Tuesday, investigators for the EU Commission raided several companies producing and trading in biofuels.

According to the commission, the surprise inspections resulted from possible collusion when submitting price information to a price reporting agency.

The latest development follows the Libor rigging scandal and the raids carried out in May 2014 on BP, Shell and Statoil, in an investigation seeking evidence of oil price manipulation.

More information can be found in a Financial Times article by Alex Barker:

EU raids ethanol groups in energy price fixing probe

Extract

While Brussels has never fully disclosed whether its 2013 investigation specifically related to a suspected cartel in petrol or oil prices, traders and oil companies feared it marked the start of a regulatory assault on big commodity hubs such as the $100bn Brent futures market.

Shell CEO dubious prediction on oil prices

Today we have another forecast from a Chief Executive of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, no doubt based on an assessment by the crystal ball gazers at Shell, the famed Scenarios team. Is it a case of wishful thinking on the part of Shell? Can we have faith in the prediction made by the current CEO?

By John Donovan

Today we have another forecast from a Chief Executive of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, no doubt based on an assessment by the crystal ball gazers at Shell, the famed Scenarios team. 

According to Catherine Boyle of CNBC, Ben van Beurden, Shell’s current CEO is confident that oil will return to “very robust” pricing in the long-term.

This is despite the fact that as a result of increased production by Saudi Arabia and the USA, Brent crude dropped to less than $93 a barrel last week, the lowest price for two years. 

Is it a case of wishful thinking on the part of Shell?

Can we have faith in the prediction made by the current CEO?

In January 2008, the then CEO Jeroen van der Veer forecast that demand for oil and gas would outstrip supply within 7 years. The prediction was based on an assessment from the Shell Scenarios team. 

So will peak oil occur in four months time?

No, because the prediction turned out to be wildly inaccurate. 

Since Jan 2008, the outlook has transformed as a result of the shale revolution leading to what the Sunday Times has recently described as a huge surge in production, leading to America snatching Russia’s crown as the world’s biggest producer of fossil fuels. 

I must therefore conclude that it is a self-serving worthless prediction by a team with a flawed record in recent years of crystal ball gazing. The same team that failed to predict the shambles in Shell’s Arctic campaign. 

RELATED

Shell seers who failed to predict Arctic debacle offer latest scenarios

We’ll begin to run out of oil within 7 years: Daly Express 26 Jan 2008. 

Lego surrender in Greenpeace anti-Shell Arctic drilling campaign 

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By John Donovan

The Greenpeace campaign demanding that Lego should end its 50 year partnership with Shell has resulted in a surrender by Lego.

According to a Guardian article published today, the toymaker will not renew the current multimillion pounds deal for Shell branded Lego to be sold at Shell petrol stations in 26 countries. 

Lego had previously resisted the relentless Greenpeace campaign protesting about Shell’s plans to drill in Arctic waters.

The campaign targeting the world’s biggest toy maker, included a popular YouTube video – “Everything is not awesome” – which has attracted nearly 6m views. 

RELATED

Lego bows to Greenpeace pressure and ends Shell marketing partnership (MARKETING MAGAZINE)

Extracts

Commenting on Lego’s decision to terminate the relationship, Vig Knudstorp said: “We want to clarify that as things currently stand, we will not renew the co-promotion contract with Shell when the present contract ends.”

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Lego to Scrap Shell Deal After Arctic Protest (ABC News)

Extract

Greenpeace, which described Lego’s announcement as “fantastic news,” vehemently opposes drilling in Arctic waters, saying an oil spill in the area would have a disastrous impact on the marine environment.

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