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Email correspondence with former Shell International HSE Group Auditor Bill Campbell involving Royal Dutch Shell Plc Company Secretary Michiel Brandjes

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Email correspondence with former Shell International HSE Group Auditor Bill Campbell involving Royal Dutch Shell Plc Company Secretary Michiel Brandjes

Please note that the correspondence below is published without seeking prior approval from Mr Campbell. We accept responsibility for publication of his extremely blunt assessment of Shell EP Production Director, Mr Greg Hill.  


From: John Donovan
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 2008 09:05:44 +0100
To: “Cambell@
Cc: “michielbrandjes@
Conversation: Shell
Subject: Shell

Hello Bill

Welcome back to the UK. I trust your batteries are fully recharged. This is in response to your recent mails.

I will publish extracts from your evidence to the Department of Works and Pensions Committee later today together with links to the Session 2007/8 Third Report which has placed your evidence to the Committee into the public domain.

With regard to your question about my editorial work on Wikipedia, yes I did read the article and as a result, subsequently *brought completely up to date the Wikipedia article on Shell safety, including mention of the Brent lifeboats debacle. That seems to be taking cost cutting to a dangerous level. I will however add reference to the above report, including extracts from your important evidence.

Coincidentally, I am about to add a large volume of information to the Shell controversies article. It all comes from independent reputable sources and as per normal, I will supply verification links. I have been in correspondence in regard to expansion plans and other matters with a former Shell CEO who supervises my editing work on Wikipedia in relation to Shell to ensure it complies with Wikipedia guidelines e.g. balance and neutrality. I have probably contributed more positive sections about Shell than any other Wikipedia editor.  I have also played a major role in two offshoot articles from the original article covering Royal Dutch Shell. I have notified the former Shell CEO of my plan to originate a third subsidiary article. As I have explained to him, the information setting out Shell’s track record is likely to be of interest to investors. Informed assessment can then be made on whether Shell deeds match promises of ethical trading, as pledged in Shell’s General Business Principles.

With regards to the appropriate job title to use when mentioning your role at Shell, unless Mr Brandjes takes issue with the description, I intend to follow the example of by describing you as a former “Shell International HSE Group Auditor.” If this is deemed to be inaccurate, I trust Mr Brandjes will kindly indicate the specific job title which should be used. If we hear nothing further from him, I will assume that this description is correct.

Best Regards

Relevant Wikipedia information.

*Shell safety critical issues raised in March 2008

On 14 March 2008, UpstreamOnline published an article under the headline: “Pressure rises on Shell”. The article by Christopher Hopson said that Shell is still “feeing the heat” from its Brent Bravo safety record and reported “Shell is under mounting pressure to explain its poor North Sea safety record after fresh revelations showed it has been by far the worst performer in the play, receiving six out of a total of 18 legal notices issued by the UK’s Health&Safety Executive (HSE) over a two-and-a-half year period.” The article revealed that Shell had received more notices than any other operator working in the UK North Sea. The disclosures emerged after a Channel 4 TV News report about serious safety failings on Brent Bravo following an inspection of the platform carried out by the HSE in 2005. Shell was quoted as saying: “On our platforms we employ systems under which our people inspect and maintain safety critical equipment. Our goal is 100% compliance on planned corrective safety critical maintenance on all our platforms.”

In a separate article headlined “Lifeboats trouble at Brent field” also published on 14 March 2008, UpstreamOnline revealed “SHELL’s safety record on its Brent Bravo platform in the UK Northern North Sea is once again under scrutiny after the discovery of technical problems with two lifeboats on the installation that resulted in both of them being removed from service.” Jake Molloy, general secretary of the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee was quoted in the article by Christopher Hopson as claiming “If they had loaded up this particular lifeboat, the chances are it could have been launched into the sea in an uncontrolled fashion which would have caused death or injury as it was held in place by corrosion and not by the designed system”. The article said that problems had been found with a second lifeboat on the Brent Bravo platform. It also reported that a lifeboat had launched itself into the sea from Shell’s Tern platform because the brakes and clutches were “dysfunctional” and had damaged the launch mechanism off the platform. Shell confirmed problems had been discovered with two lifeboats on Brent Bravo during “routine maintenance”. Shell was quoted as stating that it viewed the matter seriously and had “mobilised an investigation team on the platform”.


From: Cambell@
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 2008 05:03:16 EDT
To:  [email protected]>
Cc:  michielbrandjes@
Subject: Re: Shell

The title you mention is perfectly accurate in that as EPT-OM I was under contract to the HSE department EPS-HE in The Hague since 1996/7 as a Lead Auditor to carry out HSE audits on behalf of SIEP and after retirement from 2003 till mid 2006 had a contract as a external Consultant with the same title a Lead Auditor.  
I only wish Michiel who I have no reason to believe is other than an honourable and good person was so concerned about correcting other statements for example the ongoing embarrasment and concern his Company has caused the HSE and the Scottish Crown prosecution service with the lies issued by its obedient servant Greg Hill on 16th June 2006, this will in due course come home to roost.  
Bill Campbell

Email correspondence ends.

The following are links to written evidence submitted to the Department of Works and Pensions in relation to Heath & Safety Executive matters. The House of Commons published the evidence a few days ago.  Rather than providing extracts from Mr Campbell’s evidence, interested parties can read everything he had to say about Shell. His evidence is now on the record in the public domain.

Memorandum submitted by Bill Campbell

Memorandum submitted by the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee (OILC)


7.4  The OSD Inspectors often appear reluctant to take such conduct into account in their dealings with dutyholders. They do not seem to understand that leopards rarely change their spots—even when subject to an Improvement Notice. The principle must surely be that Inspectors do not accept assurances from those dutyholders who have failed to honour previous undertakings. The impression given to the workforce and observers is that compliance is regarded as an unpopular and unnecessary option by both industry and Regulator.

7.5  This pattern is exactly what happened on Brent Bravo. The Brent Field operator, Shell, had been the subject of workforce complaints since 1998 that equipment was not being properly maintained. A Shell internal audit in 1999 showed that key procedures and arrangements set out in the Safety Cases for many platforms were being ignored. Complaints continued through 2000-03 and in September 2003 two men were killed in an accident on Brent B. As part of the investigation OSD became aware of the 1999 audit and that many of the deficiencies found then had not been remedied. Many Shell operated platforms were not complying with the law or with their submitted Safety Cases. OSD did nothing. They subsequently accepted a number of Safety Cases submitted by Shell despite knowing that safety arrangements set out in previous Safety Cases had been ignored and that undertakings from Shell management were meaningless. Further evidence of non-compliance with Shell’s safety arrangements was found in 2004 but little was done. By mid 2005 an internal OSD e-mail confirmed that on many Shell operated platforms little or no progress had been made to remedy serious safety defects found in 2003.

Memorandum submitted by Unite the Union


4.16  Directors’ duties: As previously mentioned, we believe that there should be legal duty on directors to ensure that their organisation does not put the health and safety of their workforce at risk. Individual employees, managers and suppliers have duties; it seems illogical and immoral then that an important group such as directors does not, particularly in view of directors’ stringent legal requirements with regard to upholding financial law. Unite has been campaigning on this issue for many years and we enclose (Appendix 2) our report A hard day’s work never killed anyone (2003) and the draft bills; and subsequent briefings on Directors’ Duties.

(perhaps they had Malcolm Brinded in mind?)

4.17  We also urge that the range of penalties is expanded including corporate probation, and “naming and shaming” orders available, as well as much more use of disqualification for directors for health and safety offences.

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