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Live Chat Postings 19 September 2008 to Friday 10 October 2008


Latest on Fri, 10:15

Paddy Briggs: Thanks for your question John The Shell Contributory Pension Fund was funded 130% or thereabouts a couple of years ago. This meant that it could meet its future actuarially calculated commitments + 30%. Some of us at the time (certainly me) argued that Shell should recognise this strength by alleviating the financial plight of many of the poorer pensioners in the fund. For example those thousands with annual pensions of less than £7500 per annum, who had worked for Shell for 20+ years and who were now in their seventies (or older). Shell had previously given a commitment that ??the real value of your pension [will be] maintained? ? a promise that was clearly not be honoured insofar as poorer pensioners was concerned. The case that we made was rejected by Shell. Instead of helping pensioners they decided to help themselves by stopping contributions to the fund. There were two effects of this ? one I am sure about and one I surmise. The first effect is that the retention of cash rather than its move into the fund helped Shell?s UK bottom line/cash generation. The second is (my guess here) that by improving Shell?s UK bottom line certain executives at the top of Shell in the UK befitted in their bonus payments!

John Donovan: QUESTION TO FORMER SHELL EXEC PADDY BRIGGS: Paddy a year ago Shell UK said its pension scheme was so well-funded that it could take a contributions holiday. I seem to recall someone saying this was safe unless there was a stock market crash. The link below is to a related FT article… Is there any possible adverse consequence to the Shell UK pension fund from the current “collapse” in equities (and the Shell share price), as reported by the FT this morning?

  1. #1Paddy Briggs
    on Oct 6th, 2008 at 9:40 am  

    One of the reasons that Shell’s Corrib development got into difficulties is that the Irish Government failed to commission a proper Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) into the project. CBA assesses not only the P&L and conventional (mainly local) HSE implications of a project but ALL aspects, including the social and extra-environmental. The same applies to Tar Sands. Oxfam is quite right to raise the issue at this time when the risks and very real dangers of failed regulation of corporations are in the public eye. The Canadian Government should go ahead with a thorough CBA at a global impact level and not be blinded by the chimera of the attractions of Energy Independence.

  2. #2MUSAINT
    on Oct 5th, 2008 at 5:54 pm  

    Sokari Ekine states that people in Ogoniland believe that Shell are again going to come back into Ogoniland under the guise of NNPC (what nonsense!!). Of course he/they will say this as they are fearful that NNPC will be worse than any international oil company. NNPC will NOT be as tolerant as Shell, NNPC will NOT provide money for communities as Shell have, NNPC will not listen as Shelldoes. Ogoni’s need to wake up to reality.

  3. #3FAWiKi
    on Oct 3rd, 2008 at 8:05 pm  

    Hi! The post is really interesting! I’ve read your blog and can say it’s a good job.

  4. #4ex employee
    on Oct 3rd, 2008 at 10:12 am  


  5. #5John Donovan
    on Oct 2nd, 2008 at 8:32 pm  

    REPLY TO “In the business”: I have never stated or thought that Shell and everyone who works for Shell is bad. On the contrary, I have no doubt that the vast majority of its employees are decent hardworking people. With regard to the positive initiatives of Shell, I am the person who added the sections about the Shell Foundation, LiveWire etc to Wikipedia. As you correctly say, we publish all news about Shell, the good, the bad and the ugly – some of the latter is in the pipeline. We have always published all positive news about Shell. I am pleased that you have a high regard for the company. I can tell you that many current and former employees of Shell in African nations e.g. Ethiopia, and in Malaysia, have a strikingly different opinion. Several hundred are suing Shell for unlawful deductions from Shell pension funds. As to carrying out research, we decide on what stories to pursue. This seems reasonable since it is our website. If you want to speak out on behalf of Shell you are very welcome to do so either on Live Chat (as you are doing) or by supplying articles for publication. If you want to put in the effort, we will publish your Shell related articles on an unedited basis provided they are to the same standard as your previous contributions. The same invitation extends to Shell or anyone who has informed intelligible comment to make about Shell. I have never spoken out in any depth regarding Shell benefit packages. I will leave that to the former Shell executive Paddy Briggs who has a much greater knowledge than me in such matters.

  6. #6In the business
    on Oct 2nd, 2008 at 4:14 pm  

    Ok Donovan – do some research and post how Shells benefit package compares to others. I have done this and can tell you that is is in the top 5 percent of the globe. Do some research and see how well our poor employess are paid. Do some research and see how Shell takes care of its people when there is a natural disaster tha impacts them, Employee assistance surpassed by none. You post a very distorted view of Shell and you know it. Ask people who leave Exxon, Lyondell, Dow, Dupont, Chevron, Total, etc why they left – Benefits and values. Do your research.

  7. #7In the business
    on Oct 2nd, 2008 at 4:10 pm  

    #36 Ali Zachari
    What a joke you are. You would be lucky if Shell was to invest in your country. There are many quality operators and Shell is one of them. If I had a vote, I do not, we would never invest a single penny in your country. Do some research on the web, outside this site where the lenses are so clouded you will never get a real picture of the company Shell is.

  8. #8In the business
    on Oct 2nd, 2008 at 4:06 pm  

    So you do post the good articles on Shell, but where is your editorial comment praising shell for its top of the league access to annual reports? For an evil company with no ethics, as you claim, one would not excpect such transparency eh. I can tell you that as an ee, I would rather work for no one else. When we have a choice to make on startup up facilities, we will never compromise our values. We are expected to do it right, and we always strive to. Get a grip, there are operators out there who knowingly violate permits and mis manage emissions, not Shell. If you only knew the internal standard we are held to as unit operators, you would change your tune.

  9. #9John Donovan
    on Oct 2nd, 2008 at 4:05 pm  

    REPLY TO “In the business”: I am unaware of ANY misquoted numbers on our part. If you care to point out any alleged misquoted numbers originated by us, it will give us the opportunity to put you right, as we did on this occasion in relation to the numbers quoted by Paddy Briggs. I am aware of the false reserves numbers given by Shell to the SEC. Ours are rather more reliable.

  10. #10In the business
    on Oct 2nd, 2008 at 3:32 pm  

    You are correct he did say ex employees. I am so use to seeing so many misquoted numbers on this site, that I made that mistake. No response to the fact that the current and ex employees were paid very well. These pensioners who did not planning on their own and can not live on their poor pension, get no sympathy. If I tried to retire today just on my pension, I would be in the same boat. But I have lived within my means and saved additional money to supplement the pension. Do not ignore that we all have some accountability of our own, it is not up to Shell to do it all from a retirement standpoint.

  11. #11Nowrooz
    on Oct 2nd, 2008 at 11:46 am  

    I take it this is on top of the 7,000 pounds that the UK state married pension approx is

  12. #12Paddy Briggs
    on Oct 2nd, 2008 at 9:04 am  

    Whilst it is true that many of the 30,000 Shell Pensioners in the UK receive very good pensions and are comfortably off a large minority are on pensions of well under £10,000 per annum and a significant number much less than that. There are plenty of Pensioners in their late seventies or eighties, who retired twenty years ago after a lifetime’s service who really struggle to make ends meet. For some of these (a tiny percentage) there is a Shell sponsored charity which helps alleviate some hardship. But most of the poorer pensioners are understandably too proud to be candidates for charitable help. Shell has the power to make the lives of this disadvantaged community much better by supplementing their modest pensions – pensions which have failed to keep up with the substantial increase in basic living costs of recent times. Through various channels I am calling on Shell to do something for this group of many thousands of their once loyal employees.

  13. #13Nowrooz
    on Oct 1st, 2008 at 10:22 pm  

    I’m sick of hearing about these shell pensioners. They are very well paid compared to the majority of ordinary pensioners.

  14. #14John Donovan
    on Oct 1st, 2008 at 9:32 pm  

    Further reply to posting by “In the business”: You say persuadably in reference to the posting by Paddy Briggs “get your numbers right”. Paddy was quoting a figure of 30,000 “ex Shell employees”. He was not referring to the current “workforce” which is the 108,000 figure you quote. I suggest you read comments by other Live Chat contributors more carefully before posting unfounded criticism.

  15. #15John Donovan
    on Oct 1st, 2008 at 8:55 pm  

    Reply to posting by “In the business”: Are you talking about the money Shellpaid to us for devising promotions such as Shell Make Money which boostedShell sales by 30%, or the series of High Court settlements made by Shell for stealing ideas we disclosed to Shell in strictest confidence? We had a mutually beneficial business relationship with Shell on an international basis for over a decade before a new influx of managers decided that Shell is so rich and powerful that smaller companies would not dare to take action if their intellectual property was stolen by Shell. In our case, those dishonest hypocritical individuals, some of whom such as Malcolm Brinded remain at the helm of Shell, picked on the wrong people. That error has cost Shell billions of dollars. We rung alarm bells far and wide about the culture of dishonesty and cover-up at the highest levels of Shell but no one paid any heed. The reserves fraud proved that our warnings were well founded.

  16. #16In the business
    on Oct 1st, 2008 at 6:29 pm  

    You are so off base on this site. Shell execs are paid very nicely, but nothing like the other oil majors. Do some research, even Jeroen with his very nice package of 7-10 Million, pales to the Exxons, BP’s etc. By the way, this poor workforce of 108,000, get your numbers right, are paid very well. We are in the top 25 percentile in our industry and paid very well compared to other industries. It is so obvious that you have no objectivity it is sad. Yes we know about how you were so poorly treated!! Tell folks about how much money you made off ofShell Donovan. What a joke.

  17. #17Paddy Briggs
    on Oct 1st, 2008 at 9:19 am  


    When it comes to greed it would be difficult to beat Shell’s very high priced help – as they reward themselves ever more generously with remuneration and pension packages that would make even their predecessors of ten years ago go green with envy! Not to mention the scandalous “retention” bonuses and the rest. The only difference with the Gordon Gekkos (”Greed is good”) of the financial world who are in the news at the moment is that Van der Veer, Brinded, Cook and the rest of the avaricious fat cats happen to be sitting on top of a pretty solid business. And the robustness of that business is in no small measure a result of the efforts and skills of 30,000 ex Shell employees who are now pensioners. Pensioners whose purchasing power has declined over the past few years at about the same rate as the remuneration packages of the ShellPolitburo have increased!

  18. #18smell
    on Oct 1st, 2008 at 1:55 am  

    Coming to think of it I think you do have a little common sense but as Paddy the great said, it is nice also to believe in the divine providence.

  19. #19MUSAINT
    on Sep 30th, 2008 at 5:31 pm  

    Excellent news that the price of oil is coming down – any bets that it gets below $50 / bbl before mid-2009? Hopefully this comes about despite greedy Opec countries and futures traders (who need their crown jewels chopped off for what they’ve done). Also glad to see that the Americans are cutting back a little – maybe they are actually trying to walk now and trying to loose their obese image. Just need Greedy Gordon and his band of robbers to decrease tax & VAT – “every little helps” as they say.

  20. #20guest2
    on Sep 29th, 2008 at 2:14 pm  

    Any one heard that there is a new case brewing in Malaysian High Court againstShell and allegations of?

  21. #21MUSAINT
    on Sep 29th, 2008 at 1:16 pm  

    I sure bet the Ogoni’s don’t like NNPC coming in and replacing Shell (albeit Shellhad withdrawn many moons ago). As I’ve said before, locals will always “attack” the international oil company (Shell et al) as that is far far easier than trying to “attack” the corrupt Nigerian and local Governments, who don’t give a damn about their own people.

  22. #22smell
    on Sep 28th, 2008 at 8:57 pm  

    Save Our Wetlands (SOWL) , Can we hear your voice from the Wetlands without having Musaint calling all others rubbish!

  23. #23None
    on Sep 28th, 2008 at 6:38 pm  

    Hello people, your site is best!

  24. #24MUSAINT
    on Sep 28th, 2008 at 4:22 pm  

    Up to your usual mischief Twaddle Master (”smell”)?? Blaming all the world’s problems on Shell now are we? Even donations from Shell are wrong to accept – what nonsense. Let’s see what other conspiracy theories you will come up with next!!

  25. #25smell
    on Sep 27th, 2008 at 11:46 pm  

    American Red Cross may like to assess whether it is appropriate to accept monies known as donations, which by the way is tax deductable? Have a look at the Royal Dutch Shell Controversies and also the issues of wetland destructions. ARC you were there in New Orleans, Baton Rouge etc and did you see what flooding devastation that was short of the vegetated levees? Even the huge alligators came out of the Bayou to join the crowd!

  26. #26smell
    on Sep 27th, 2008 at 1:03 am  

    Musaint who has the monies to screw the politicians?

  27. #27MUSAINT
    on Sep 26th, 2008 at 3:30 pm  

    NNPC flexing its corrupt muscles over LNG. What a joke they are. Millions & millions of dollars have been set aside over the years for power stations to be built in Nigeria. Guess what, its all mysteriously disappeared. Plans have also been submitted to the likes of NNPC/Govt. several years ago – nothing has progressed (probably not enough options to skim money from contracts by NNPC staff). As I’ve said many times, most of the local Nigerians are great, friendly and would like to get themselves and the country off the ground. It is corrupt NNPC, DPR, State Governors and most politicians that are screwing the country.

  28. #28MUSAINT
    on Sep 26th, 2008 at 8:58 am  

    Where oh where do you get your numbers from “Smell”. Pollution certainly has occured in the Niger Delta, but, not Shell alone and not with that number you quote. It appears that the Twaddle Master is back in disguise!!

  29. #29MUSAINT
    on Sep 26th, 2008 at 8:51 am  

    I certainly do Paddy. When John Terry slipped & missed I thought “thank you”.

  30. #30Paddy Briggs
    on Sep 26th, 2008 at 8:32 am  

    I wonder if MUSAINT believes in Devine Providence?

  31. #31guest
    on Sep 26th, 2008 at 7:02 am  

    John, new format of your site is great, please keep this for a long time! On another subject: Shell has been invaded by americans and their greed. They cannot help it to be solely focussed on own profit. See what that did to the USA. I hope the non-executives have still more sense left and will keep Cook out of the #1 position.

  32. #32smell
    on Sep 26th, 2008 at 2:58 am  

    Yes, Shell and tree canada planted one million trees, small one that is and kill 100 million other trees from pollutants emitted by gas flares in Nigeria. More acid rain and green-house effects. That is not a good balance sheet is it?

  33. #33Guest
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 11:28 pm  

    This site has acquired the gravitas which was previously absent…I suspect thatShell will not be happy as the credibility and impression of impartiality given by the site is now much improved

  34. #34MUSAINT
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 6:17 pm  

    Firstly, like the updated site Mr.D. Secondly, I hardly believe that there has been a “spike” in oil prices!! It has been a sustained upward price just about – most of which has indeed been caused by speculators on both sides of the “pond”. I really hope these bastards get caught by the regulators. Finally, indeed Red Devil I am a season ticket holder to the “Theatre of Dreams” – and you??

  35. #35Red Devil
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 2:57 pm  

    MUSAINT is an MU Saint. A red devil!

  36. #36MUSAINT
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 12:52 pm  

    Ah, but what sort of Saint?

  37. #37Smell
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 10:48 am  

    Only musaint is a saint.

  38. #38MUSAINT
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 8:53 am  

    A Kennedy pontificating about the oil industry / Palin etc. is a bloody joke. The Kennedy clan is as corrupt as they come and for him like that is ridiculous.

  39. #39Nowrooz
    on Sep 25th, 2008 at 8:51 am  

    Fantastic looking site.

  40. #40Nowrooz
    on Sep 24th, 2008 at 10:57 am  

    Ali Zachari: Should your post say ‘our” and not “my”, other people do have a say and want Shell into Iraq. Where do you live at the moment?

  41. #41Nowrooz
    on Sep 24th, 2008 at 9:16 am  

    Ali Zachari: I have to laugh, which country are you actually living in at the moment

  42. #42watchman
    on Sep 23rd, 2008 at 11:55 pm  

    Thank you, I like this new format on live chat

  43. #43John Donovan
    on Sep 23rd, 2008 at 7:38 pm  

    If you have a question please send it to [email protected]

  44. #44Ali Zachari
    on Sep 23rd, 2008 at 5:36 pm  

    Shell – please keep out of my country, you are not welcome in Baghdad.

  45. #45dedeSobia
    on Sep 23rd, 2008 at 12:29 pm  

    How i may contact the administrator of a site? I have a question.

  46. #46John Donovan
    on Sep 22nd, 2008 at 4:20 pm  

    MUSAINT, Shell threatened to sue the relevant hosting companies for an alleged breach of Shell copyright by us on our website. This did not relate to the domain name. In fact, there was no breach, but the hosting companies could not be expected to take on a multinational giant on behalf of a low cost website from which they receive very little income. Both hosting companies had initially refused to disclose the identity of the complainant. One shut down the site in response to the threat. We later cornered Keith Ruddock, General Counsel ofShell EP into confirming that Shell was responsible for the threats.

  47. #47MUSAINT
    on Sep 22nd, 2008 at 9:41 am  

    Thanks for the clarification Mr.D – I have to say it’s amazing that Shell admitted in writing that they had issued threats against website hosting companies. If this is the case, surely they should call in the police?

  48. #48MUSAINT
    on Sep 21st, 2008 at 5:50 pm  

    Pity the format on Live Chat has changed – much less easy to read through the postings.

  49. #49voice of concern
    on Sep 21st, 2008 at 9:40 am  

    this is all old stuff. Donovan, you are you losing steam

  50. #50John Donovan
    on Sep 19th, 2008 at 8:32 pm  

    Comment posted by guest_569 : Ireland’s Energy Minister stated today that he will engage with local opponents to Corrib in North Mayo. Hopefully a genuine effort to make the project safe rather than just more soft talk.

  51. #51Paddy Briggs
    on Sep 19th, 2008 at 5:42 pm  

    As a recent member of the Executive Committee of the Shell Pensioners Association I can assure you that I’ve seen the figures (they are not secret) and the Average Pension received by 30,000 Shell Pensioners in receit of a Penison is indeed around £15K.

  52. #52John Donovan
    on Sep 19th, 2008 at 4:34 pm  

    Comment by guest_2532 : Paddy I think your figures are way out as you know. I’ve got 35 yrs in and my pension is well well over 15,000 pounds

  53. #53John Donovan
    on Sep 19th, 2008 at 4:29 pm  

    COMMENT BY MUSAINT : £15000 seems a VERY low number, particularly when you consider Greedy Gordon and his band of robbers take a chunk of that. When you say average Paddy, does that include all job group levels (i.e. all LC and above)?? If it does, then Shell should really do something for their pensioners.

  54. #54John Donovan
    on Sep 19th, 2008 at 4:22 pm  

    Comment by Paddy Briggs : 5517 The average Shell Pension is indeed around 15000 pounds and the average length of service is indeed around 30+ years. The post was pretty accurate of a typical situation. The only lump sum such pensioners would have received would have been if they chose to commute part of their pension entitlement.

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

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