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Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Putting a happy face on oil drilling

I hate getting unsolicited CDs and DVDs. When one fell out of my current copy of National Geographic Magazine for a split second I thought it might hold promise. “Eureka” it was titled, “The best ideas come from the most unlikely places.” Then I noticed the “A Shell Films production” label.

What on Earth?

“Eureka” is a heartwarming tale with sweeping orchestral music recounting the life and times of Shell Oil Co. chief engineer Jaap Van Ballegooijen. Van Ballegooijen (let’s just call him VB) is trying to figure out how to pump some oil out of underwater reserves in Southeast Asia. For ecological reasons it’s tough to get to, but you can’t just leave it to “otherwise go to waste.”

Enter a troubled teenage son back in Amsterdam to save the day.

On a trip home, VB’s son Max asks him, “Which beautiful part of the world are you drilling to pieces?” VB tells him to grow up and reminds him that you have to have oil so you can have trucks so he can have soda pop. Duh, Max. Then at a trip to a diner Max obnoxiously sucks a shake with a bendy straw, triggering the marvelous idea of a bending drill to get to that illusive oil. Hurrah, we’re saved!

You, too, can follow the adventures of Jaap and Max right here.

So is it any coincidence that this little bonus disc showed up a couple of months after National Geographic had this great story about Nigerian oil — a place where Shell has faced accusations of environmental harm and a failure to support community development programs?

From February 2007 NG:

Oil fouls everything in southern Nigeria. It spills from the pipelines, poisoning soil and water. It stains the hands of politicians and generals, who siphon off its profits. It taints the ambitions of the young, who will try anything to scoop up a share of the liquid riches–fire a gun, sabotage a pipeline, kidnap a foreigner…

(O)il companies, led by five multinational firms–Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Italy’s Agip, and ExxonMobil and Chevron from the U.S.–transformed a remote, nearly inaccessible wetland into industrial wilderness. The imprint: 4,500 miles (7,200 kilometers) of pipelines, 159 oil fields, and 275 flow stations, their gas flares visible day and night from miles away.


Posted by Lisa Stiffler at July 16, 2007 11:10 a.m.

#42336Posted by unregistered user at 7/22/07 1:01 a.m.

Is Shell skulduggery in Nigeria pumping up global oil prices?

When the news media reports on rising high oil prices, militant attacks in Nigeria are inevitably cited as a factor e.g. the following extract is from a report in The Scotsman, Friday 13 July 2007: “The attacks have contributed to a drop in production of about 25 per cent, driving up oil prices worldwide with no end to the kidnappings in sight”.

Shell is the leading oil producer in Nigeria. To the outside world it appears to be an unfortunate victim of regular attacks by militants on its employees, pipelines and installations which drive up the price of oil. As readers who check out the link below will see, the truth is more sinister and bizarre.

Posted by John Donovan of the website:

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

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