Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image leaked internal email from Royal Dutch Shell ‘Expatriate Policy Manager’, Stephanie Boyde

23 October 2005

Received today from a Shell Insider…

Dear Sir

I like your frank site and here perhaps is something you might care to publish. I refer to the Shell HR email I have supplied. Naturally I want my name kept secret as you will understand.

Here is another HR activity that escaped the attention of the big chiefs (who are quite busy with their own spin stories). All other oil companies (big and small) will smile because this is certain to trigger another exodus of competent Shell engineers.

It is stated not to be a cost cutting exercise. But Shell has lied before and words from the MBA schools (or was it Dilbert?) are used: ‘some will be negatively impacted’. 

And  I raise my hat to their ability to catch all politically correct stuff  in one sentence:


The International Mobility Review is not a cost-cutting exercise, nor is it a method to reduce the number of expatriates.  International mobility, including expatriation, is a key component of our business strategy of “more upstream and profitable downstream” 


Whatever trust there was, is now gone, because they want to cut costs, reduce number of expats and send people to Nigeria!!! But quoting Jeroen’s wish ‘more Upstream and profitable Downstream’ always goes down well. All this at a time when salaries are quite out of line with the rest of the industry (except for the directors obviously, they benchmarked theirs very precisely  against the highest  salaries in the industry while ensuring that the minions are benchmarked against the lowest!)

Why not state what the real problem is ? We need more competent staff to go to Nigeria and some other bad places. All the changes since the 90’s have resulted in more expats (while the wish was for fewer), more people in head office (while the wish was for fewer), more bullshitters and powerpoint jockeys (while the wish was more designers and engineers). But then, the chiefs also wished for more reserves, more production, bigger  elephants, and better projects. 

Obviously this project  has been carried out by some females  who were recruited to make up the only deficiency in the wish lists that can be managed: more women. Never mind what they do or destroy, this wish is granted by the genie. Perhaps this shows that the genie in the bottle is also a female and wants to do something for her sisters? I bet that none of these girls ever worked in a real tough environment, making money for Shell.

If it was not so horribly incompetent, poorly thought through and bad for morale and the business, one could almost laugh about all these goings on.

Do these girls really think this will drive Americans to Nigeria? Hell no, those only want a few years in London or if that is really impossible, The Hague. At salaries that could be used to employ a handful of local staff!!!

The pot of Dutch Engineers is empty so you cannot find people to go to Nigeria anymore. Only the dregs  who are only interested in the money or because nobody else wants them. I do realise there are exceptions, but those are  ever fewer and further between.

Yes I am a frustrated Dutchman, but the system is too big for me to battle.  


—–Original Message—–

From: Marin, Diana SUKEP-EPE-H-P 

Sent: Wednesday, October 11, 2006 12:18 PM

Subject: FYI: International Mobility Review 

Dear Colleague,  

In October we will implement the first phases of our International Mobility Review.  This will result in changes to the Group’s policies and programs for employees who work and travel internationally.  Over the next eighteen months we  will put in place a wider range of resourcing options for  Shell and for individuals, and adjust our programs, where  necessary, to ensure they are competitive, simple, standard  and more transparent.  

The International Mobility Review is not a cost-cutting exercise, nor is it a method to reduce the number of expatriates.  International mobility, including expatriation, is a key component of our business strategy of “more upstream  and profitable downstream”.  

Review content and timing 

The outcomes of the review are being implemented in phases, starting in October 2006.  Some of the early implementation  may not be directly applicable to you, but we wanted to give  you advance notice that there will be changes next year which  may have an impact on you as an expatriate.  

In October 2006, we will put in place a revised international mobility framework.  This clarifies and standardises key elements of our approach to international mobility. We do not anticipate that these will have an impact on your current assignment. 

In January 2007 we will be implementing revised policies for international business travel and short term international assignments. From 11 October you can click on the web link below to see this information. 

The next phases are still being finalised and require approval from the Executive Committee. Our proposed timing is: 2nd Quarter 2007 update our expatriate terms and conditions (for example housing and education); 4th Quarter 2007 simplify and update the EBAS system. 

A key feature of the review has been to look at rebalancing our international mobility spend to provide more support to get people to harder-to-resource locations.  Proposals for expatriates are still being finalised so the impact of this rebalancing is not yet determined.  However, while the objective has not been to cut costs some expatriates may be negatively impacted – these employees will be protected for a reasonable period of time. Where upgrades to the expatriate package have been agreed, all expats in such location will be appropriately adjusted.  A detailed transition approach will be developed once the proposals have been finalised.

Further information 

We have begun to build up our new international mobility website where all new policy information will be available once it is agreed (existing policies can still be found on  the same websites). Click here to see the information about international business travel, short term international assignments, the framework and the international mobility review. You can also sign up for regular update e-mails on the website. 

We can’t answer detailed questions about what this means for you until the proposals have been finalised. However, if you have immediate questions about the process then you will be able to send an email from the website. 

Kind regards, 

Stephanie Boyde
Manager Expatriate Policy
Central HR – The Hague

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