Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image Extracts from Shell Insider emails regarding Brent Fatal Accident Inquiry

We have received a number of emails from Shell insiders commenting on the Brent Fatal Accident Inquiry published yesterday. 

With the kind consent of the individuals involved, we have published the extracts unedited.

We apologise in advance for the strong language, but we felt it important to allow our readers to judge for themselves the strength of feelings held about these matters.  

There are comments and news reports (in Dutch) about a more recent accident – a tank explosion in which two more workers lost their lives.  We would be grateful if anyone can provide information in English about that accident. 


“We really need to nail some bastards that simply are out getting rich themselves at the cost of hard working sods who are put under intense pressure to do things they know are wrong. And they buy the most expensive lawyers in the world with the money of the shareholders. Well, you know how I feel about the top management in Shell, they fucked what was once the best company in the world and now they do not want to admit they were wrong.”


“While focussing on Brent is fine, it might also be worth highlighting the more recent accident in the Netherlands when another two people were killed.”

“This is what I can find on the NRC. Both are copyrighted articles. First one simply mentions it has happened, nothing else. Second states the welders did not know the dangers of their work. They were unaware there still was condensate in the tanks. Miscommunication. Investigation between NAM and GTI the contractor.”

“An accident like this would be completely unthinkable some 4-5 years ago. Safety was beaten into the heads of all NAM staff and their contractors. Welding on vessels went always with extreme tight protocols. But since the introduction of new maintenance, run from faraway Aberdeen (invention of Botts) it has all gone to shit. Supervisors and managers all the time in meetings, planes, sorting out miscommunications and not checking in the field where the work is done!!”


We have replaced the original Dutch article with an English translation kindly supplied by one of our visitors in response to the above appeal: –

Assen/Bunnik,  1 juni 2005

Tuesday May 31st 2005, GTI received the tragic news that two fatalities have been caused by a water condensate tank explosion at a NAM location near Warffum. The two victims were contractors working for GTI on maintenance and construction activities. A third contractor was injured. Our thoughts will be with the family and friends.

For further information please contact:
GTI nv
Leen Geschiere, Concern marketing and communications
Kosterijland 50, 3981 AJ Bunnik; P.O. Box 210, 3980 CE Bunnik, the Netherlands
Telephone: +31 (0)30 656 94 00; fax: +31 (0)30 656 94 15;
[email protected] ; internet:

Press release NAM, 31 May 2005 19.00 PM ( 

Water condensate tank explosion causes two fatalities at NAM location Warffum
May 31 2005
The Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij B.V. (NAM) today regrets to announce that two fatalities have been caused by a water condensate tank explosion at a NAM location near Warffum. The two victims were contractors working for GTI on maintenance and construction activities. The next of kin of both people have been informed.
Deputy Director Rien Herber said: “Our heart goes out to the family members. We are shocked by this tragic incident. This is a black day for our company”.
Two people were injured by the explosion. One person was another contractor who was carrying out activities at the location, who was admitted to hospital for treatment. A fire fighter was also injured but returned home after treatment.
The explosion occurred at approximately 9 o’clock this morning. After the explosion a fire broke out. By approximately 10:30 the fire had been extinguished. The explosion occurred in a water condensate tank. In this tank, water and condensate (light oil, similar to petrol) was stored. These are fluids released during gas production.
Since April of this year maintenance and construction activities have been carried out at the Warffum location. The two victims were on the roof of the water condensate tank conducting work. Exact activities at the time of the explosion have not yet been established, but will be part of the investigation conducted by NAM and by several other agencies.
During a press conference arranged by Mayor Renkema of the Eemsmond municipality, where the NAM location near Warffum is based, NAM Deputy Director Rien Herber announced a thorough investigation. “These types of activities are carried out according to strict safety procedures, yet this tragic accident occurred.  We must know what has gone wrong and learn from it so that this cannot happen again.”
NAM has launched its own investigation, as have the State Supervision of Mines (SodM). SodM are coordinating their action with the Onderzoeksraad voor Veiligheid [Safety Investigation Council] and the Labour Inspectorate. The Public Prosecution Ministry (OM) has also established an investigation.
Herber: “Of course we will cooperate entirely in the investigations, and we will share our findings with the agencies. Also, when our investigations are complete, our results will be made public, so that everyone in the industry can use the knowledge.”
The location Warffum is one of dozens of gas production facilities in the Netherlands that NAM uses to produce gas from small gas fields. The installation at Warffum has been in use since the late seventies.

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