Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image Shell’s corporate culture – letter from an insider

Thu Aug 09, 2007 5:19 pm   

Last month Bill Campbell, former Group Auditor of Shell International, sent this letter to parliamentarians in Britain.

Since Shell’s safety record is a matter of importance in Ireland, especially for those unfortunate enough to live downwind of the proposed Bellanaboy gas refinery site, the letter has recently been forwarded to members of the Dáil and Seanad.

It gives a chilling insight into the corporate culture of Shell, and should be borne in mind by anyone who who supports the company’s experimental scheme in Mayo.

From Mr Bill Campbell

subject: This could be the most important whistleblower email you have ever received

Link to view evidence:

Please do not copy and paste material from other websites, especially when that website says “This website is the subject of multiple High Court Actions by EIGHT Royal Dutch Shell Companies” because of what its publishing. 


Thu Aug 09, 2007 11:21 pm     

With regard to the letter from Bill Campbell, the quoted text on the website co-owned by me, John Donovan, has been changed. It now states: “Some articles/documents published on this website are the subject of High Court Injunction/Restraining Order/Contempt proceedings by EIGHT ROYAL DUTCH SHELL GROUP companies”.

The injunctions on certain specific articles are not against the website but against a former Shell production geologist, Dr John Huong. There are no court proceedings against me or the website or in respect of any matters relating to Mr Bill Campbell.

I assisted Mr Campbell in drafting his letter and in sending it to some 600 UK MP’s. Royal Dutch Shell General Counsel had advance sight of the letter and took no action to prevent its circulation to MP’s. The correspendence with Shell is published – link available on request. I have with Mr Campbell’s consent, published the letter on a number of websites so it is definitely already in the public domain.

This is the content.

This could be the most important whistleblower email you have ever received

Some unfortunate Royal Dutch Shell workers have already lost their lives. More lives are at stake.

My name is Bill Campbell. I am a former Group Auditor of Shell International. I am writing to you on a matter of conscience in an effort to avert the inevitability of another major accident in the North Sea. The consequences could potentially impact on families in many constituencies, including your own.

As Royal Dutch Shell and the Health & Safety Executive would acknowledge, I am an expert on safety matters relating to offshore oil and gas platforms.

In 1999, I was appointed by Shell to lead a safety audit on the Brent Bravo platform. The audit revealed a platform management culture that basically gave a higher priority to production than the safety of Shell employees. To our astonishment we discovered that a “Touch F*** All” policy was in place. Worse still, safety records were routinely falsified and repairs bodged.

I personally brought the shocking situation to the attention of senior management including Malcolm Brinded, the then Managing Director of Shell Exploration & Production. I revealed that ESDV leak-off tests were purposely falsified, not once but many times and that Brent Bravo platform management had admitted responsibility for the dangerous practices being followed. In response to my team ringing alarm bells, management pledged to rectify the serious problems which had been uncovered.

When I later complained that the pledges were not being kept, I was removed from my oversight function.

Four years later, a massive gas leak occurred on the platform. Two workers lost their lives. I have no doubt at all that the inaction of the relevant Asset Manager, the General Manager, the Oil Director and Malcolm Brinded, contributed in some part to the unlawful killing of two persons on Brent Bravo in September 2003.

Shell subsequently pleaded guilty to breaches of the HSE regulations and a record-breaking £900,000 fine was imposed. I thought this would bring about a real change in policy to put the emphasis on safety.

Unfortunately I was wrong. Although I supplied the evidence related to 1999, and the fact that there had been a collapse in controls of integrity from 1999 to 2003 on all 16 of Shell’s North Sea offshore installations covered in a post fatality integrity review to the HSE for review by the Procurator Fiscal, none of this evidence was presented before the Sheriff at the subsequent Inquiry. The situation is explained in a letter to the Procurator Fiscal and the Sheriff (on 24th February 2007).

Shell management has engaged in spin to try to pretend that it is getting to grips with its safety problem. However, its atrocious safety record – the worst in the North Sea in terms of accidental deaths and absolute number of enforcement actions – tells a different story. This fact has resulted in a number of newspaper articles.

I have had meetings with senior Shell people including its CEO Mr. Jeroen van der Veer. I regret to say that I have found him to be economical with the truth. He prefers to support cover-up and deceit rather than confronting the underlying problems. Brinded is now Executive Director of Shell Exploration & Production. He believes in burying evidence.

My family and friends would probably prefer me to give up on this matter and enjoy my retirement after so many years working for Shell.

However, by writing to every MP in the UK, no one can ever say that I did not do my best to avert an inevitable further major accident event in the North Sea. When it happens (I pray that I am wrong) I will make this warning communication available to the media together with the vast amount of evidence in my possession.

At least my conscience is clear. I have done everything possible to ring the alarm bells about Shell management and its unscrupulous attitude to the safety of its employees.

Yours sincerely
Bill Campbell

Link to view evidence: 

Readers may also be interested in the related Wikipedia articles:-

“Royal Dutch Shell safety concerns”


“Controversies surrounding Royal Dutch Shell” and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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