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The Times: SHELL SHOCK: BBC Two, 9.50pm 15 July 2004

The Times: SHELL SHOCK: BBC Two, 9.50pm 15 July 2004

“I am becoming sick and tired,” he wrote, “of lying about the extent of our reserves.”

15 July 2004

A clear and merciless indictment of Shell, a company that prided itself on being a safe investment for widows and orphans.

In the late 1990s, BP and Exxon expanded through acquisition, leaving Shell lagging behind. Sir Philip Watts, head of exploration and production at the time, was determined to restore the company’s pre-eminence. Its proven reserves were exaggerated by 4.5 billion barrels.

When Sir Philip became chairman, his successor, Walter van de Vijver, was appalled and fired off numerous warnings. “I am becoming sick and tired,” he wrote, “of lying about the extent of our reserves.”

(Posted by John Donovan)

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