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Eternal Shame of Shell over North Sea Platform Safeguards

Posting by Bill Campbell, Retired HSE Group Auditor, Shell International

In the 25 years following Piper Alpha (commemorations were held in Aberdeen a few weeks ago) the man who presided over a potential Piper Alpha rerun was Chris Finlayson. Although he blamed Brinded it is Finlayson who had the line accountability for health and safety offshore when in September 2003 two men died when an estimated 6800 cubic metres of gas flooded a into an enclosed support column on Brent Bravo.

Lord Cullen, who was passed all the documentation from the Shell internal technical report into this near catastrophe was under no allusions. The lives of 156 workers could have been put a jeopardy if the gas had ignited. His safety case system had failed and it had almost led to a repeat. read more

Protesters storm Shell crude flow station in Niger Delta

The protesters complained they were not benefiting from oil production in their area, a common refrain in the impoverished swampland that produces most of Nigeria’s oil. They also demanded an end to oil pollution in the area.

Soldiers and security guards did not disperse the crowd as it entered the Belema Flow Station in Rivers State, which feeds oil into Shell’s Bonny export terminal.

But the army sent reinforcements after protesters said they would stay at the facility for two weeks.

“I am a graduate for about eight years without a job,” said Anthony Bouye, one of the protest leaders. “Shell won’t employ me despite us having so much wealth in our backyard.” read more

Trump Rolls Back Anti-Corruption Efforts in the Oil Industry

By : 11 August 2017

The rule, which was mandated by a law co-sponsored by former Republican Senator Richard Lugar, of Indiana, and Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, of Maryland, was designed to combat bribery and corruption, especially in poor countries governed by kleptocrats. Thirty other countries, including Canada and the members of the European Union, had already adopted similar requirements. Yet the American Petroleum Institute and companies such as ExxonMobil, at the time when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was still its C.E.O., had lobbied against the rule. They said that it was costly to implement and gave unfair advantage to overseas competitors to which it did not apply. When Trump took power, the lobbyists got their way. read more

One Shell Square in New Orleans will become Hancock Whitney Center in 2018

Shell will still be the building’s largest tenant, though it will now occupy 18 floors of the building its employees once filled. The company has cut its local workforce from about 2,300 to 1,400 over the past two years, part of global staff reductions spurred by low oil prices.

Rick Tallant, general manager of Shell’s assets in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, said the company is not reducing staff in New Orleans. He said the company has learned to do more with less space.

Giving up naming rights to the building Shell once built and owned is tough, but Tallant said the company is committed to running efficiently and keeping jobs in New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. read more

Shell Is Said to Aim for Full Restart of Pernis by End of August

Royal Dutch Shell Plc is aiming to return its Pernis refinery in Rotterdam to full operations by the end of this month, according to a local resident who was briefed on the matter by the company. The company held a meeting for about 200 local residents late Wednesday, giving a first indication of when Europe’s largest refinery would resume normal operations after a fire in late July halted both crude units. The company said earlier this week that the first supporting units had been brought back online, without elaborating on the resumption of operations. READ MORE read more

Shell Knew, Exxon Knew, They All Knew

In 2015, the Union of Concerned Scientists published its landmark exposé  “The Climate Deception Dossiers,” which show that not only Exxon, but also Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, Chevron and coal giant Peabody Energy were aware of the climate change reality since the 70s. Even so, through special interest groups, they invested tens of millions “to sow doubt and promote contrarian arguments they knew to be wrong.”

The fuel that powers this planetary sabotage is called greed. The fossil fuel industry worldwide has accumulated stratospheric levels of wealth over the decades. Moreover, according to a report just published by World Development, in 2015, fossil fuels received a staggering $5.3 trillion in subsidies around the world. This includes not only taxpayer money but also the costs of deaths caused by pollution and these fuels’ contribution to the climate crisis. READ MORE read more

$2.47bn at stake in US case: Shell/Exxon v Nigerian National Petroleum Corp

By John Donovan

Provided below are links to a selection of US court documents I have published online about a dispute being litigated in the US courts involving Shell, Exxon and the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (NNPC). A gigantic sum (including interest) of $2.47bn USD is at stake.

In an echo of the Esther Kiobel v Shell case, also currently being heard in the US courts, the current arguments are about the discovery process. (Esther is actually suing Shell’s US lawyers, Cravath Swaine & Moore.) read more

Shell suffering legacy of BG Group negligence in maintaining safety critical equipment

Shell suffering legacy of BG Group negligence in maintaining safety critical equipment

Opinion from a contributor to our Shell Blog

A media article has revealed that Shell is already suffering from the legacy of BG Group negligence in maintaining safety critical equipment.

The HSE have issued an improvement notice for failing to install gas detection equipment on the Lomond Platform, despite recommendations from two separate studies.

A second improvement notice was issued for failing to test a High Integrity Protection System (HIPS) since 2014, despite the associated Performance Standard requirement to test annually.

It could be assumed that Finlayson encouraged the infamous Brent TFA during his tenure at the helm of BG to maximise production volumes (an obsession with executives), at the expense of safety system testing. That assumption would not be entirely accurate, the same culture was evident in BG Group long before. Previous failures of a HIPS testing regime had been exposed at another BG operational location, yet despite this no one was held accountable. Maybe if they had been the ‘management team’ in question would not have been implanted in Aberdeen in 2012. read more

Is Shell’s Lower Oil Forever Really So Unrealistic?

“Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s chief executive drew a collective gasp with his “lower forever” comment as one recent story put it.”  Funny, in 2012 when I said at an OPEC conference that the price was likely to return to the $50-60 range, it was not even taken seriously enough for gasps:  the moderator actually thought I was joking, and an oil company CEO replied, ‘Well, you hate to call someone an idiot’ apparently unaware I’ve been called much, much worse. FULL ARTICLE WITH CHARTS read more

FINAL EXTRACT ESTHER KIOBEL WRIT SERVED ON SHELL 28 JUNE 2017

By John Donovan

Published below are the final pages – 113 to 138 – inclusive, from the Writ served on multiple companies within the Royal Dutch Shell Group on 28 June 2017 on behalf of Esther Kiobel. These pages provide supporting information about the claim, including a List of Exhibits. The formatting is not 100% accurate, but the content is correct.

Extract begins

CLAIM

The claimants request the court to enter judgement, provisionally enforceable as far as possible:

  1. to rule that the defendants acted unlawfully towards the claimants and are jointly and severally liable to them for the damage that they have suffered and will suffer in the future as a result of the defendants’ unlawful actions, which damage is to be assessed during separate follow-up proceedings and settled according to the law, all this plus the statutory interest up to the date of settlement in full;
  2. to order the defendants within 21 days of the judgment to compel the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, in any case the CEO of SPDC, to make a public apology for the role that Shell played in the events leading to the death of the claimants’ spouses and to publish the text of this statement clearly visible on its website, subject to a penalty of €20,000 per day (or a sum to be determined by the court in accordance with the proper administration of justice) that they fail to comply with this order;
  3. to order the defendants jointly and severally to pay the extrajudicial costs;
  4. to order the defendants, jointly and severally, to pay the costs of these proceedings, including the subsequent costs.

The cost of this: €80.42 read more

FINAL EXTRACT FROM SHELL’S LEAKED TRANSFORMATION PLANS

By John Donovan

Published below is the final multi-page segment from Shell’s leaked internal document mentioned in a Reuters/New York Times article published last week: Shell Plans 400 Job Cuts at Dutch Projects and Technology Department. The plans are much greater in scope than suggested by the headline. Their implementation will result in a managerial jobs upheaval and significant job cuts as a consequence of the acquisition of BG Group and the decline in oil prices. Once again, I have left in the page numbers, which appear at the foot of each page and sometimes interrupt paragraphs. The formatting is not 100% accurate but the content is correct. read more

Kiobel Writ: The Dutch battlefront against Shell

For years, Shell encouraged the Nigerian regime to take (more) effective measures designed to ensure Shell’s return to Ogoniland. Shell did this despite the fact that it had meanwhile learned from experience that in its actions, the regime frequently violated human rights and many people were killed.

By John Donovan

Earlier today we published an article about the latest legal moves on behalf on Esther Kiobel in the US courts against a Shell law firm. We now return to the publication of information about her legal action against Shell in the Netherlands. The numbered paragraphs below are extracted from the 138 page Writ served on multiple Royal Dutch Shell companies on 28 June 2017. As can be seen in the footnotes, the allegations are supported by voluminous evidence.

Extracts begin

8.8 Shell Nigeria Shell operated as a single entity

8.8.1 Introduction read more

Shell Leaked Transformation Plans Part 6

By John Donovan

Published below is a further multi-page segment from Shell’s leaked internal document mentioned in a Reuters/New York Times article published last week: Shell Plans 400 Job Cuts at Dutch Projects and Technology Department. The plans are much greater in scope than suggested by the headline. Their implementation will result in a managerial jobs upheaval and significant job cuts as a consequence of the acquisition of BG Group and the decline in oil prices. Once again, I have left in the page numbers, which appear at the foot of each page and sometimes interrupt paragraphs. read more

Europe’s Biggest Oil Refinery Plans to Restart Key Unit

Rise of electric cars challenges the world’s thirst for oil

by: , Energy Editor: 8 Aug 2017

Ben van Beurden, chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, made no attempt to disguise the challenge facing “Big Oil”. Companies must become more discriminating about which oilfields to develop, he said, with only the most low-cost and productive likely to remain competitive. “We have to have projects that are resilient in a world where demand has peaked and will be declining,” he said. “When will this happen? We do not know. But will it happen? We are certain.” FULL FT ARTICLE read more

Esther Kiobel US Court battle for 100,000 Shell docs continues

Esther Kiobel with legal team and supporters in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington DC, 2012 © Private

Extracts: Cravath put the mountain of Shell discovery items into secure US storage. My guess is that Shell would have preferred an accidental fire. 

Petitioner has already waited over twenty years for a forum that will hear her claims for her husband’s execution. At this point, Petitioner’s co-plaintiffs in the Dutch litigation face increasingly fragile health, and now fear that “further delaying litigation in the Netherlands might impede their ability to bring their claim in the future.”

By John Donovan

Several months ago, a US Federal Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein after carefully considering arguments made by the involved parties ordered Shell’s US lawyers Cravath, Swaine & Moore to give Esther Kiobel access to more than 100,000 Shell discovery documents for use in the Dutch courts. Dutch proceedings against Shell commenced on 28 June 2017.

The Shell internal documents were assembled for Esther Kiobel’s thwarted US action against the oil giant which commenced over a decade ago. That litigation ended with a US Supreme Court decision that she could not bring a human rights claim against Shell in the US for alleged misdeeds committed in Nigeria, including involvement in the judicial murder of the ‘Ogoni 9′. Cravath put the mountain of Shell discovery items into secure US storage. My guess is that Shell would have preferred an accidental fire. read more

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