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Response to the leaked Jeroen van der Veer email concerning the Shell Brent Scandal

The following document has been supplied to us for immediate publication. We will leave it to our readers to speculate as to the identity of the author.

It deals with the coments made by Royal Dutch Shell CEO, Jeroen van der Veer, in the leaked email we recently published:

The Response

Shell continue through press releases etc to give false and misleading Information to staff and media. 

ESD valves are an example of how ineffective the follow up to the 1999 findings were.  Here we have an example of a concern in 1999 about three valves, the oil riser ESD valve on BB, and the Gas and Oil Riser ESD valves on BD growing until in 2003 their are chronic weaknesses and deficiencies in the testing and recording of performance standards in 15 offshore installations covered in your 2003 review. 
This is true in many other areas, but specifically related to the recent determination, exponential increase in temporary repairs 1999 – 2003, and ongoing violation and deviation from PTW system. 
Emergency Shutdown Valves
However lets stick to ESD valves, a vital component in the reduction of residual risks offshore.
Your recent internal e-mail to all Shell staff
Part of the background is a debate around whether we as a Company, acted in sufficient depth and breadth on recommendations from our own 1999 review of platform safety management.  We genuinely believe we did
Lets take an example, falsification and misreporting of ESD valve performance and tests i.e. continually operating with ESD valves known to be functionally impaired or in a failed state was a key finding in 1999.. 
As you are aware the Sheriff covered in his determination from the Fatal Accident Inquiry that Brent Bravo started up with a ESD valve known to be functionally impaired.
This is not surprising as the evidence in 1999 and 2003 shows to operate with PRINCIPAL ESD valves on main incoming and export gas and oil pipelines in a functionally impaired or failed condition was normalised.  And so was the false reporting of the performance under test of these valves, which coincidentally is an offence and tantamount to criminal neglect. 

In a rebuttal in Chris Mortished’s article 0n 20th July from Times Online Shell states
Shell says that it accepted the 1999 audit findings and responded with improvements, although it said that subsequent inquiries found no verifiable evidence of falsification by platform management
See the attachment, the data from 1999 and 2003 is your data Mr Vander Veer, perhaps you should write an apology to Mr Mortished specifically for misleading him and to other members of the media who have taken an interest in these affairs in general.
Improvement Plans
The Media need to be aware of the misleading nature of these reports. 
As you state Shell are committed to achieving continuous improvement in safety performance and part of this commitment includes a $1 billion integrity upgrade programme. This statement is extremely misleading. 
Shell, as with other operators in the North Sea, have submitted Safety Cases for all their offshore installations.  In summary the Offshore Installation Safety Case Regulations places a duty on a Duty Holder to insure offshore installations are operated in compliance with their Safety Case at all times, it is a criminal offence not to do so. 
In allowing all of its 15 offshore installations (as covered in the technical integrity review in 2003) to deteriorate to the condition that now requires $1 billion expenditure Shell have operated with criminal neglect in that the risks on all its installations are not at ALARP (as low as is reasonably practicable) levels but are at levels probably unacceptable to society. 
Their workers who should have been made aware of these increased risks at the time the risks arose, and the remedial action to immediately reduce those risks in 2003, were not so made aware. 
This again is in breach of legislation related to the requirements to formally pass information related to health and safety to the workers on offshore installations, as and when, these risks arise.
The improvement, if this is what you call it, is in reality JUST RETURNING THESE PLATFORMS TO THE CONDITIONS COVERED IN THEIR PUBLISHED SAFETY CASES, its an improvement from a state of degradation to a state of normality.


Related articles: –

Shell Brent: Progress with safety – fact or fiction

Shell Brent: Is the current safety case regime failing?

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