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Caustic comments by Walter van de Vijver on Petroleum Development Oman

27 November 2007

Scathing comments were made in May 2002 by Walter van de Vijver, the then Chief Executive of Shell EP, about the management team of Petroleum Development Oman (34% owned by Shell). 

The comments were contained in an extract from a document which formed part of his deposition filed in the current Royal Dutch Shell reserves fraud litigation.

Van de Vijver described PDO management in the following terms:

“Overall my patience has been tested too long with PDO and it’s management, progress over the last year (is it not just about delivered production!) has been less than expected, less than promised and less than could have been possible. Changes will have to be made.” 

“Leadership at the top is very poor and not aligned.”

“Credibility of PDO, and therefore of Shell, is at a very low level.”

His assessment of individual senior managers was particularly forthright.

He said of Steve Ollereanshaw, the then Managing Director of PDO: –

He has a somewhat negative approach and does not engage well with his team, nor energizes the organization. He is prone to “panic management”, rapidly changing the direction, not adequately thinking through the consequences of his actions…  He is a poor listener… the bottomline is that he lacks fundamental leadership characteristics.

(Ollereanshaw is now MD of EG LNG)

His comments on Saif Al-Hinai (oil director North)

Lacks leadership skills and foremost decisiveness, which he acknowledges. Has gone through a difficult period, as he was last year responsible for all operations in Oman, clearly a role that was beyond his capabilities.

(Still Oil Director – Northern Assets, Petroleum Development Oman) 

On Kees Ruitenbeek (Technical Services Director)

Basically the job was beyond his capability.

(Now Corporate Affairs Director of PDO) and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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