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Retired Shell Global Chief Petroleum Engineer Iain Percival comments on BP oil slick

Article by former Royal Dutch Shell executive Paddy Briggs…

“Obama is not being anti-British over BP

…stimulates following comments on Shell Blog from retired senior Shell staff

MUSAINT on Jun 12th, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Paddy, I cannot fully support your comments concerning those made by Obama over the BP oil spill. Certainly BP have a less than acceptable safety record which needs to be immediately addressed. However, I believe that Obama is using this spill as an ideal way to deflect the problems he has in America and his very low support ratings from the voters there. (Bad news is Good news when it is used to hide major political problems.) What I sincerely hope is that Transocean and Cameron-Hydril also start to get their long overdue bashing from Obama and the American public.



Please note that:

1. The blowout preventer (BOP) and controls for the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico were not manufactured by Hydril.

2. Cameron International is an entirely separate company and entity to Hydril (which is part of the Drilling & Production business within GE Oil & Gas).

Iain Percival on Jun 12th, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Paddy – I also cannot agree with all of what you write. BP has a serious case to answer; 11 deaths and extensive marine pollution is a dreadful situation. However, the whipping up of anti BRITISH Petroleum (excuse me, I believe the company’s registered name is BP) hysteria does Obama and the US no credit at all. In the aftermath of the 167 deaths caused by US Oil company Occidental in the North Sea in the 1980’s there were no calls by Mrs Thatcher to place a boot on Oxy’s neck or to vilify Armand Hammer as a mass murderer. In fact, although Oxy was found guilty of gross negligence in maintenance and safety procedures at the public enquiry no legal action was taken against any of the company’s officers – in contrast to the shrill utterances of members of the US administration and government. At the time, Mrs Thatcher had enough political problems of her own (including a rise of populist nationalist sentiment in Scotland) but she chose not to use the tragic event to divert attention by flaying a US company and its CEO in public. Recently, we have all seen the outcome of the Bhopal trial of local former Union Carbide company officials – not a single US citizen amongst them. The deaths of anywhere between 4000 & 15000 individuals and the continued leakage of around 400 tons of toxic chemicals into the ground water warrants no hand wringing in US political circles. It would appear that bad stuff occurring to non US companies, environments or citizens is measured by a different yard stick. To paraphrase the “low punch” observation made by the Guardian’s John Vidal on BP ” If industrial accidents  occur in a developing country, say off the east coast of Scotland or in India, the US media would probably ignore it, some government officials may mutter some platitudes in public and in general conspire to escape starting a clean-up for ever.” I regret to note that Obama is no different inspite of what we were all led to believe a year or more ago. In this matter he displays the all American traits of an excess on Hype, Hypocrisy and hyperbole and a deficit of honesty and humility. Boris Johnson and many others are absolutely right in voicing concern.


The following information, links and photograph of Iain Percival are all sourced from the Internet. They were not supplied or suggested by him.

Iain Recognised for Mentoring Work

Shell retiree and former Group Chief Petroleum Engineer, Iain Percival, took the award for Outstanding Individual Achievement at the Energy Industry (EI) Annual Awards, for his work mentoring a number of young professionals, both in Shell and other organisations.

Iain is currently spending time with students and staff at RGU and the University of Aberdeen, and visits schools in his home area of the north of Scotland. Iain retired from Shell in 2006 after 33 years of service.

Iain remarked, “It is an honour I appreciate but of course I do derive a great deal of personal satisfaction from my activities.”


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