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UpstreamOnline: Shell creates new post to boost safety: Safety tsar: Kieron McFadyen

Kieron McFadyen appointed to improve company’s performance

SHELL has moved to improve the safety performance of its oil and gas operations with the appointment of Kieron McFadyen to the newly created post of global health and safety chief.

McFadyen is currently European technical director for Shell Exploration & Production, a post he has held since 2003. He joined Shell in 1985 as a trainee petroleum engineer and rose to a succession of senior roles, several overseas.

In a leaked internal memorandum to staff, Tom Botts, the head of Shell’s European upstream business, said the new role, effective from 1 November, would be “a new focused position in the Group”, which reinforces Shell’s commitment to improve its global HSE performance.

McFadyen will be the first individual to take overall responsibility for Shell’s HSE performance worldwide. However, the new position, which will see him moving from Aberdeen to The Hague, will not be a main board position.

Shell has suffered from a long-running series of safety problems across many of its North Sea installations/particularly on the Brent field, where serious safety problems first emerged in the late-1990s.

Speaking to Upstream in June, former Shell International group auditor Bill Campbell revealed details of a 1999 platform safety review in which he discovered equipment was being operated in a dangerous condition and vital maintenance was being ignored on the Brent field.

In July, Shell was slammed for management failures and equipment defects by a Scottish Fatal Accident Inquiry in Aberdeen into the September 2003 deaths of two workers in the utility leg of the Brent Bravo platform in the UK North Sea.

Shell had already been fined £900,000 ($1.7 million) at Stone-haven Sheriff Court in Scotland last year after pleading guilty to breaches of the 1974 Health & Safety at Work Act, including failing to carry out a risk assessment on the platform.

An internal communication to staff from Shell’s chief executive Jeroen van der Veer in mid-July admitted the company’s safety performance had reached a plateau and remained below best-in-class in the industry.”Our statistics show it. We know it. Are we not trying hard enough, focusing hard enough, or haven’t we accepted that we have a problem?” he suggested.”I think it’s a mixture. All these aspects are probably parts and parcel of the safety problem”

McFadyen’s successor to his current post will be John Gallagher, currently west asset manager for the Gulf of Mexico. He was previously Aberdeen-based development manager for Shell North Sea Northern Business Unit, which comprised Brent and other northern North Sea fields in the East Shetland basin.

“His operational and technical experience means he is well placed to understand the challenges and opportunities of the European oil and gas industry,” said the company. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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