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Shell declines to comment on alleged industrial espionage targeting U.S. Navy Dept

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 09.22.43By John Donovan

Printed below is email correspondence with Mr Richard Wiseman, Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. I am grateful to him for his response.

It seems reasonable to conclude in view of his response, that there is substance to astonishing allegations of Shell industrial espionage in the USA directed at the US Navy Department, involving classified military information.

Mr Wiseman must have checked with his American colleagues before replying, yet has been unable to issue the requested denial – see below – which would have resulted in non-publication.


From: John Donovan [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: 27 June 2010 16:48
To: Wiseman, Richard M RDS-LSX

Subject: Shell Oil

Dear Mr Wiseman

I received the self-explanatory information below from a confidential source.

If there any foundation to what is stated? If you say it is all untrue – that there is no substance to anything stated – then we will be not publish anything on the subject.

Please feel free to check with your US colleagues. There is no urgency. We will await a response from you and are also awaiting a response from another party.


John Donovan


If you want some more dirt on Shell Oil, you need to go to the Inspector General’s Office, Defense Security Services, US Dept. of Defense. In 2006 DSS initiated a counter-intelligence operation and Shell USA was implicated as the prmary ‘culprit’. The FBI had declined to take the case because they could not get an investigation through the US Attorney Generals office (Alberto Gonzalez)  without fear of reprisal. The Houston office of DCIS (the law enforcement arm of the DoD IG’s office) had also tried to initiate an investigation but it was outside their purview.

Shell was implicated by their attorneys, the law firm of Vethan and Waldrop, and Matt Waldrop, principle partner of the law firm. Shell had been attempting to gain unlawful access to technical material that had been classified by the Navy Dept., Office of Naval Research in 2001. This material was the IP of a former employee. Shell was apparently trying to ‘muscle’ their way into gaining ownership of the IP material.  This material was classified under DoE/DoD nuclear weapons classification authorities.

The above (alleged) conduct by Shell constitutes a capital crime under US law and there are no statutes of limitations regarding this conduct, for the company or the Shell officials involved. Because of the highly classified nature of the material Shell attempted (unsuccessfully) to gain access to the matter could well trigger a ‘diplomatic’ incident, and Shell plays ‘rough’.



From: [email protected]
Date: 29 June 2010 09:05:37 GMT+01:00
To: [email protected]

Subject: RE: Shell Oil

I have no comment to make on this.  You should not take this as an indication of our accepting or denying the allegations.


Richard Wiseman
Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer

Royal Dutch Shell plc
Shell Centre, London SE1 7NA

Registered in England and Wales number 4366849
Registered Office:  Shell Centre, London, SE1
Headquarters: Carel van Bylandtlaan 30, 2596 HR
The Hague, The Netherlands

Email: [email protected]


I also sent an email to Mr Matt Waldrop, the lawyer named in the information supplied by our source.  There has been no response.

I also supplied a copy of the information to a knowledgeable source. Printed below are extracts from the response received.

It’s possible that it has something to do with digital spread spectrum acoustic signaling – this was developed by a company called Nautronix. Nautronix were based in Perth, Australia, but had an office in California and there were some issues relating to IP – it’s quite likely that Shell tried to patent the use of spread spectrum signaling for controlling a BOP in a noisy environment, based on the number of other things they tried to patent which had been disclosed to them under CA’s. Digital spread spectrum acoustic signaling is also used in a number of naval/military applications.

If anyone who reads this article has information on this extraordinary matter, please contact me: [email protected]


From: John Donovan <[email protected]>
Date: 29 June 2010 10:48:30 GMT+01:00
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: Shell Oil

Dear Mr Wiseman

I am grateful for the response. It is however difficult not to draw the conclusion which I have in the draft article below, which includes information you have not yet seen.

Shell has in the past indicated when information supplied to us is not authentic e.g. an email we once received purportedly from David Greer, the then Deputy Chairman of Sakhalin Energy, which you correctly said was a hoax. It was not from Mr Greer.

This time you are unable to say that there is no substance to the allegations.

The draft article will be published at 3pm today. If you want to make any comment in the light of the content of the draft article, it will be published on an unedited basis with the article.

John Donovan




From: [email protected]
Date: 29 June 2010 10:53:57 GMT+01:00
To: [email protected]
Subject: RE: Shell Oil

Dear Mr Donovan,

No comment, means no comment and as ever you should not draw any conclusions from my not commenting.  Shell’s response to previous allegations is not relevant.


Richard Wiseman
Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer

Email correspondence ends

In view of the immediate response from Mr Wiseman, there was no point in holding off publication. Please note that Mr Wiseman does not deny checking this matter out with his US colleagues.

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