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BusinessDayOnline: Shell CEO states condition for Nigerian operations

BusinessDayOnline: Jeroen van der Veer

Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer

15 January, 2008 12:00:00

Following persistent attack on Shell workers and facilities by Niger Delta militants, Jeroen van der Veer, chief executive of Royal Dutch has stated the conditions under which the company will continue to operate in the country.

This is coming as the company intensifies plans to select the next chief executive before van der Veer leaves office in 2009.

In the January 2008 publication of Royal Dutch Shell’s in-house magazine, the Shell boss outlined the company’s strategy in its operations in the country.

He stated that the company would continue to invest in the country provided its employees can work there safely.

According to him, the company’s global output will decline rapidly if the company discontinues its investment in the country’s oil and gas sector.

“Nigeria is very rich in oil and gas, onshore and offshore. If you look at the long term, i.e. over decades, these reserves will indeed be produced. We can and want to participate in this, but only if our people can work safely there,” he said.

He also lamented that high oil prices are slowing down new joint venture projects because governments are taking longer to negotiate their slice of revenues.

“It is evident that active government interest is delaying projects. Government negotiations for their share of the revenues are lengthier than in the past,” he said.
He stated that the company prefers to go it alone, in contrast to the old-style joint venture partnerships with international oil companies, which were designed to spread risk.
He refuted claims that higher oil prices would actually accelerate decision-making, saying that in reality, the reverse is the case.

Although the company declined to comment on the issue of who will take over from van der Veer, its chairman, Jorma Ollila said it would likely be an insider.

Meanwhile, company sources say three executives have the best chances for van der Veer’s job.

They include: chief financial officer, Peter Voser; head of gas, Linda Cook and head of exploration and production, Malcolm Brinded.

Peter Voser, 47 is currently the chief financial officer, a position he’s held since July 2005.
Born in the UK in 1953, Malcolm Brinded, head Exploration and Production, graduated in Engineering from Cambridge University in 1974 and joined Shell in The Hague.

Linda Cook, head of gas, took a petroleum-engineering job with Shell after graduation from the University of Kansas . A company executive since 1998, Cook, 47, formerly ran Shell Canada. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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