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The assault on Lego

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 14.33.21By John Donovan

The Greenpeace led assault on Lego continues with an article published today by The Guardian newspaper under the headline: “How Lego lost its innocence”


“A co-promotion with Lego is a lucrative PR stunt for Shell. But as Greenpeace is keen to point out, Shell is an appalling choice of partner, not least because of its controversial plans to extract oil from under the melting Arctic region.”

It is one in a series of recent Guardian articles highlighting the Lego/Shell connection in relationship to Shell’s Arctic drilling plans.

Interesting to note that thus far there is not a single mention of the campaign on the Wikipedia “lego” article

Perhaps like the Wikipedia article on Royal Dutch Shell, any critical information is removed by those paid to protect brand reputation. 


The Lego logo is courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

Royal Dutch Shell slashing North Sea jobs

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

250 full time Shell employees and contractor staff in Aberdeen will be culled over the next year. 

According to a Shell spokesperson:

Shell is reorganising its operations to better serve the needs of its offshore facilities and to build a stronger long-term business in the North Sea. Following staff consultation, Shell expects to reduce employee and contractor headcount by a total of around 250 positions over the next year. Revisions to the onshore organisation will be implemented by the end of 2014. Shell is determined to ensure that it continues to deliver safe, competitive operations in its North Sea portfolio and maximises value from its operated assets.


Shell to shed 250 jobs

Energy giant shell is set to cut 250 jobs at its North Sea headquarters.

Aberdeen workers hit as Shell axes 250 jobs

Shell to cut 250 North Sea jobs

President Obama Scuttling the good ship UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

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Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 15.55.11By John Donovan

I am a UK citizen and therefore have no say in US politics. 

I am just an observer who has travelled extensively in the USA over many decades and as a result grew to love America and its people. 

President Obama seems like a thoroughly nice man with a lovely family.

That’s the positive bit.

Some fanatical right-wingers have claimed that he is not a US Citizen.

Some have suggested he is a Muslim hell bent on the destruction of America.

All ridiculous, but the truth is that his misguided liberal/socialist/pacifist policies seem to be having a far more destructive impact on the USA than any terrorist group. 

Immigration is out of control.

Russia is out of control.

The US Internal Revenue Service is out of control. 

The US economy remains troubled, with a huge ever-growing deficit.

Obamacare is now seen by the majority of Americans as a wrong move in the first place, which was then incompetently executed. 

And there is one scandal after another; Operation Fast and Furious, the Benghazi shambles and cover-up, the Veterans health admin debacle and the IRS being used for political purposes. All occurring while the President is preoccupied either with touring overseas apologising for America’s past conduct, playing golf, vacationing, or engaged in political fundraising. 

The man doesn’t seem to have a care in the world, while we all watch the good ship UNITED STATES OF AMERICA slowing sinking in power, prestige and respect. That is not good for the freedom loving people of this world. 

The USA still remains the sole superpower, but not for much longer and its decline will continue and perhaps even accelerate if it remains on the current downwards trajectory.

In frightening contrast, China is growing in economic and military strength at breakneck speed, as is its territorial ambitions. 


Obama, With Reluctance, Returns to Action in Iraq: New York Times newspaper 8 August 2014

Fear of ‘Another Benghazi’ Drove White House to Airstrikes in Iraq: New York Times 8 August 2014

Shell’s unwelcome sponsorship of the arts

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Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 15.18.48By John Donovan

Earlier this year campaigners and climate activists applauded the end of the Shell Classic International series at the South Bank Centre in London. 

SEE: Campaigners celebrate end of Shell’s Southbank sponsorship

Protestors, including from the Shell OUT SOUNDS organisation and strongly objected to what has been aptly described as “oil-branded concerts.”

All take particular exception to Shell’s atrocious track record in Nigeria.

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 15.26.32Today The Irish Times has published an article reporting that the Shell to Sea campaign group in Ireland intends to mount a public protest about Shell’s sponsorship of the largest traditional Irish music Festival, “Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.”  

The festival is due to be held in Sligo from the 10th to 17th August and is expected to attract an attendance of up to a quarter of a million people.

Shell to Sea claim that the Irish President Michael D Higgins has been placed in an awkward position of opening the event, bearing in mind that he has  previously spoken out against the controversial Shell led Corrib Gas project in Ireland.

UPDATE 17:10 Wednesday 6 August 2014

The Irish Times published an article this evening 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.”

SEE: Fleadh bows to pressure and gives money back to Shell

UPDATE Saturday 9 August 2014

SEE: If the Fleadh can go ahead as planned without Shell’s money, why did the organisers seek the sponsorship in the first place?

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First oil produced from SNEPCO-operated Bonga North West deep-water project in Nigeria

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06 Aug 2014

Shell’s deep-water subsidiary in Nigeria, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Ltd (SNEPCo) started oil production from the first well at the Bonga North West deep-water development off the Nigerian coast on Tuesday 5 August 2014, another milestone for the country’s energy industry.

“This is an excellent addition to our deep-water portfolio – a key growth theme for Shell’s world-wide upstream business,” said Andrew Brown, Shell’s Upstream International Director. “It’s also good news for Nigeria, as it is a new source of oil revenues and strengthens Nigeria’s deep-water expertise, a key driver of economic development.”

The Bonga project, which began producing oil and gas in 2005, was Nigeria’s first deep-water development in water depths over 1,000 metres. Bonga North West represents a significant step forward for the project.

Oil from the Bonga North West sub-sea facilities is transported by a new undersea pipeline to the existing Bonga floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) export facility. The Bonga FPSO has been upgraded to handle the additional oil flow from Bonga North West which, at peak production, is expected to contribute 40,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, helping to maintain the facility’s overall output.

Four oil producing wells and two water injection wells in the Bonga North West development will be connected to the FPSO, from where oil is loaded onto tankers for shipping around the world.

The Bonga North West project is part of Shell’s long-standing commitment to developing deep-water engineering skills in Nigeria. The investments made by SNEPCo and its other project partners in the Bonga North West project include upgrades of local contractors’ facilities and providing specialised training for Nigerians to work in the energy industry.

The Bonga project is operated by SNEPCo, which holds a 55% stake. The other project partners are Esso Exploration & Production Nigeria (Deepwater) Limited (20%), Total E&P Nigeria Limited (12.5%) and Nigerian Agip Exploration Limited (12.5%) under a Production Sharing Contract with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

Notes to editors:

Facts about the Bonga North West project:

  • A number of new production manifolds, subsea umbilical systems, oil production and water injection flowlines and subsea tree systems were installed on the sea bed around 1,000 metres below the surface.
  • A significant part of the project was carried out by Nigerian companies, including a local contractor that fabricated and installed the FPSO topsides.
  • The project leadership and majority of staff working on the Bonga North West project are Nigerian – testament to the growth of deep-water engineering experience in SNEPCo.
  • The project has been implemented according to high safety standards. SNEPCo and contractor staff worked in 10 locations in the USA, Europe and Nigeria on various aspects of the project.

SNEPCo was incorporated in 1993. The company holds interests in four deep-water blocks, two of which it operates: OML 118 (Bonga) and OML 135 (Bolia).


Russia Sanctions Failing to Stanch Energy Deals With Japan

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By John Donovan

Nato says that Russia has amassed 20,000 combat-ready troops on the border of eastern Ukraine.

The US and the EU have stepped up sanction measures on Russia moving from targeted to sector sanctions. 

Unfortunately for Royal Dutch Shell its current business and future prospects depend on maintaining good relations with Putin.

Hence the bootlicking by Shell CEO Ben van Beurden when he met with Putin following the Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea. 

The Sakhalin II project in which Shell used to be the majority stakeholder still remains an important asset to the oil and gas giant. Sanctions may yet impact on Sakhalin II.

Extracts from a Bloomberg News article by Chou Hui Hong, Anna Shiryaevskaya and Tsuyoshi Inajima published 6 August 2014

Japan will freeze assets of individuals or groups involved in increasing instability in Ukraine and in the annexation of Crimea, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said July 28. Russia’s foreign ministry said July 29 that Japan’s new sanctions are “unfriendly, shortsighted” and will hurt bilateral relations.

Russia’s Sakhalin facility near Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido provides almost 9.5 percent of Japan’s gas, according to Royal Dutch Shell Plc, which owns a quarter of the project.

Russian President Putin’s continued support for separatists in eastern Ukraine has prompted the U.S. and European Union to impose restrictions on the operations of some banks and energy companies in an effort to isolate the Russian economy.


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Russia’s annexation of Crimea took place in March 2014. Shell’s collaboration is being seen as a hugely important event to be fully exploited for propaganda purposes by Putin. 

Greenpeace attacks Lego in second anti-Shell partnership video

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By John Donovan

With its usual determination, Greenpeace continues to mount a sustained innovative campaign against the plans of Royal Dutch Shell to drill in Arctic waters. 

It is worth remembering that Shell has in the past used dirty tricks, including undercover activity by its paid spies/infiltrators, in an attempt to combat and undermine Greenpeace.

See: MI6 ‘firm’ spied on green groups” 

Shell still has its own internal army of spies now operating under the name of Shell Global Security (previously as Corporate Affairs Security). I am sure they continue to closely monitor Greenpeace (and me). 

Extract from a related current article by John McCarthy published by the 5 August 2014

Sara Ayech, Arctic campaigner at Greenpeace, said: “Lego’s promotional deal with Shell is really damaging, because it helps Shell pretend it’s a caring, family-friendly company. In reality, it’s not. Shell wants to drill in the Arctic. But a spill there would be impossible to clean up and the only reason they can even drill in the Arctic is because climate change is melting the ice. That’s something that threatens all kids around the world.”



ASRC, North Slope Village, Shell announce offshore Alaska venture

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Arctic Slope Regional Corp. (ASRC) and six North Slope village corporations have joined to create a company known as the Arctic Inupiat Offshore LLC (AIO). AIO and Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. have entered a binding agreement that allows AIO the option to acquire an interest in Shell’s acreage and activities on its Chukchi Sea leases. This interest will be managed by AIO.


Shell connection?: Garda laptop found in a Dutch brothel

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By John Donovan

The Irish Independent newspaper has published an article reporting that a worker at a Dutch brothel discovered a bag apparently containing “a laptop and documents as well as an “insignia” that allegedly identified the owner as being a member of An Garda Siochana”  - the Irish Police force. 

I note that comments have already been posted on the article raising the subject of the free alcohol given by Royal Dutch Shell to the Garda as part of Shell sponsored corruption surrounding the Corrib Gas Project. 

The corruption charges came from a supplier company working for Shell EP Ireland: OSSL. 

I seem to recall that an officer from the Garda Ombudsman Commission was recently in the Netherlands attending a meeting at the HQ of Royal Dutch Shell Plc in The Hague, in connection with the OSSL allegations.  

The Hague is 52 minutes driving time from the attractions of Amsterdam. 

I have no idea whether there is any connection.

Is an officer from the Garda Ombudsman Commission a member of the Garda? 

The Ombudsman Commission investigation mistakingly concluded that there was no evidence to support OSSL allegations. Their verdict was in line with cover-up tactics already used by the Garda and Shell. 

It is only a matter of time before the whole rotten scandal, involving senior Garda officers, is exposed. 


On 1 Apr 2014, at 10:03, “Johan Groenewald” <[email protected]> wrote:

Dear OSSL,

The investigation is still ongoing.

One of my investigators are in The Hague, Netherlands today to interview Frances van Dam in relation to Shell’s internal investigation.

Garda members to be interviewed on Thursday in Belmullet.


Johan Groenewald
Senior Investigating Officer
Garda Ombudsman Commission

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Department of Justice had ‘shared culture of secrecy with Garda’, report finds: The Irish Times 29 July 2014

Purcell profile: civil servant could not escape scandal that engulfed policing and justice: The Irish Times 29 July 2014

Curious about the wording of Shell’s announcement of Bichsel’s departure..?


I’m curious about the wording of Shell’s announcement of Bichsel’s departure….

The announcement focusses almost entirely on Brekelmans, and simply says that Matthias Bichsel (right) is leaving after 34 years – hardly a glowing valedictory for the person who has been number two in Shell (worldwide) for the past few years.

Surely some words of thanks for Bichsel’s years of sterling service and achievements at Shell should have been in order? Or perhaps not, as the case may be.


Harry Brekelmans joins Royal Dutch Shell Plc Executive Committee: 31 July 2014

Is Shell Executive Director Matthias Bichsel Trustworthy?: 27 February 2013

Harry Brekelmans To Become Shell Exec VP For Strategy, Planning: 10 September 2009

Failure to clean Niger Delta oil pollution still devastating people’s health: Amnesty

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Extracts from an Associated Press article by MARAM MAZEN published 3 August 2014

LAGOS, Nigeria – Little action has been taken to clean up pollution caused by oil production in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region, either by the government or Shell Oil, Amnesty International and other groups charged Monday.

Oil production has contaminated the drinking water of at least 10 communities in the Ogoniland area but neither the Nigerian government nor Royal Dutch Shell’s Nigeria subsidiary have taken effective measures to restore the fouled environment, said the new report by Amnesty International, Friends of The Earth Europe, Center for Environment, Human Rights and Development, Environmental Rights Action, and Platform.

A detailed assessment of pollution in the oil-producing area was published in 2011 by the United Nations Environment Program, which said it will probably take up to 30 years to fully clean the area.

“In the three years since UNEP’s study was published, the government of Nigeria and Shell have taken almost no meaningful action to implement its recommendations,” said the joint report.

“The people of Ogoniland continue to suffer the effects of fifty years of an oil industry which has polluted their land, air and water,” the groups said. “Only some of the emergency measures have been implemented — and then only partially.”

The groups accused Shell of putting the blame on oil theft, rather than taking responsibility and acting on the findings of the UN report.


FT: 12 Shell staff and family members killed on flight MH17

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 16.29.29Extract from FT “Week in review” published 2 August 2014

Majors brace as sanctions against Russia tighten

Ben van Beurden, chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, said: “It’s a bit early to say how it will play out. We will obey sanctions without hesitation.” Shell, which also has LNG interests at Sakhalin, has suspended work exploring shale resources in eastern Ukraine. Twelve Shell staff and family members were killed on flight MH17, shot down in Ukraine last month.


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