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‘Simon’ comments on our article: How long until Shell admits defeat and pulls out of Sakhalin…

The article in question: –

How long until Shell admits defeat and pulls out of the $26 billion Sakhalin project in Russia?


I would like to differ from you on one point. Shell was a good Company when the likes of professionals like Van Sponsen, Greer and Bouman worked for them. They were all excellent professionals and I knew them all. Too bad for Shell that they have all gone.

Today, it is only the weak that rule the roost at Shell and it is they you should scrutinise and criticise. You only have to look at the calibre and incompetence of Chadwick, Craig, Botts, Brinded, Finlayson etc, etc, etc to get a flavour of who Shell values most today.

I hope they all go to Hell with Shell.

Where did you get the $26 billion estimate for Sakhalin from? Is it reliable? Brinded was the one who sanctioned the project for only $10 billion !!!!!

Any news on the cost of their other big projects?


Reply to Simon


I agree with much of what you say. As far as David Greer is concerned, he seems to be a man who was loathed by some and admired by others. I do not know a lot about him other than the unfortunate General Patton incidence. It was a sad end to a 27 year career. The $26 billion figure comes from a reliable insider source. I suspect that we will see further dramatic events on the Sakhalin-2 project. Our sources say that other mega projects are also encountering huge cost increases. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

1 Comment on “‘Simon’ comments on our article: How long until Shell admits defeat and pulls out of Sakhalin…”

  1. #1 Hakkodate Man
    on Aug 13th, 2007 at 17:00

    I read with interest Simon’s above note and your response. I disagree that Engel Van Spronsen, Technical Director of SEIC and Deputy Project Manager at times (also Greer’s predecessor) was a ruthless bully who acted as if he owned SEIC and Sakhalin. He destoyed careers and lives of anybody who would not agree with him or pasuse slightest risk to the company. Van Spronsed reigned I think right from the beginning of Shell’s entrence in around 1999-2000 till about 2004-5. Van spronsen spent a short spell in Moscow with Shell EP in Russia (Chris Finlayson’s organisation) then was moved to the Hague for another short spell looking after Russian Bussiness as “advisor” to Malcolm Brinded’s EP organisation. THese were very high level postings with a lot of accountabilities and responsibilities in what Shell do in Russia. I guess Van Spronsen’s views and heavy handed style was welcomed in Shell senior quarters, neverthless he was an erratic bully who behaved and acted on personal emotion than logic. That is what is wrong in Shell, their senior managers at Letter Category level do not always demonstrate the expected technical and leadership qualities that posts they occupy necessitates. They are often over-rated, fast promoted lucky individuals that are picked up since graduation where at the age of 21 their destiny in Shell family has alrady been etched in HR books regardless they become later achievers or bullies, space wasters.

    My point is this, why keep blaming all the second generation of Sakhalin II management their masters in Moscow or in the Hague, I would carefully look at those initial “rosy” days of first generation of SEIC Shell managers notably Technical Director (Engel van Spronsen, the-hard-man) who often acted as if he was in full charge of all affairs in the Company despite two superiors above him ie Project Manager and the invisible CEO.
    No Sir, there are at least half a dosen or more of ex Shell career men (good , hard working , smart talents) out there who fell victim for Van Spronsen’s claws and lost their careers and wellbeing. Do dig their books of 2000-2005 era, you get surprises. In their days project development budged was 10-11Billion and overnight it becomes clear they atre short of another 10Billion and this Van Spronsen guy has nothing to anser has no finger in it to say he only followed orders?

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