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Deadheads at Shell

A short time ago I learned that one of these moron drilling managers had made to a very high management level within Shell. What can I say, ‘Crap floats’.

Comment by a former employee of Shell USA

Many years ago I worked for Shell USA. I did exploration work mostly and for two different onshore divisions. In the mid-1980’s Shell was a non-operating partner with Hunt drilling in the central basin of Michigan. On one particular well a geo-pressured carbonate was pegged at 8000 feet. Big surprise. Reservoir pressure was about 8000 psi. We were expecting about 4500 psi. Needless to say the well blew out. The grossly underrated BOP’s didn’t have a chance of controlling the thing. Flung drill pipe all over the site. Luckily it was a gas well and it caught fire immediately. The flow rate was upwards of about 25 mmcfpd with an H2S content in excess of 30%. Nobody was killed. Don’t asked me how we lucked out. Maybe it was because Hunt was operating. We never did kill that well. It did burn with a pretty blue flame however. It roared like a high speed train and was throwing chunks of rock like a volcano. After a few weeks it finally bridged off naturally. Good thing because we had no idea how we were going to kill it. Too much open hole.

The prospect was abandoned because it was too small to be economic. And we didn’t have a market for the sulfur.

From that time forward our drilling managers kept insisting that we shouldn’t be drilling exploration wells unless we knew we were going to make a discovery. It was simply too dangerous. The meetings between exploration and production on each new exploration well became surreal with these idiots prattering on endlessly about safety issues and ‘unacceptable risk’.

A short time ago I learned that one of these moron drilling managers had made to a very high management level within Shell. What can I say, ‘Crap floats’.

I recall a discussion I once had with a senior VP at Shell about the promotion of several individuals to division manager positions. EVERYONE was dumbfounded at the selections. The answer I got back from this very surprised VP to my very impertinent question was: ‘We didn’t have a choice. They were all that was available.’

Shell had been decimated by staff turnover in the 1980’s, losing upwards of almost 25% of their technical folks every year. Even after the oil price crash of 1986 they lost in excess of 10% a year. The good people left out of disgust and frustration and the dead heads stayed on.

I see that the dead heads have truly indeed inherited the company. And that they have prospered and multiplied. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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