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Shell Pakistan business ethics under attack

Junior employees of Shell Pakistan are scared, as their fate is unclear, as was the case of Shell Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti in 2008 and they may also end up being left to protest against being SOLD like slaves.

Dear John Donovan,

I joined Pakistan Burma Shell almost 30 years ago as a fitter. I used to repair dispensers installed at petrol pumps of Pakistan Burma Shell. When Burma Shell was purchased by, Shell Pakistan, all the technicians like me were removed from service without proper benefits, (some cases of which are still pending in court).

Because of that experience, I launched a small firm of my own and started doing repair and minor repair work projects as a contractor at Shell petrol pumps in city of Sargodha Pakistan.

About two years ago an incident of fire took place at a Shell petrol pump. In this incident a motorcycle caught fire while it was getting fuel. Tragically, the daughter of a motorcycle owner who was sitting on the fuel tank, during filling, died in the fire.

Unluckily my staff were working at that petrol pump when this incident took place, but were at a distance from the motorcycle which caught fire and had no connection with the motorcycle, the dispenser, or area near the dispenser.

Shell management at Pakistan, arranged an enquiry and officially held my firm responsible for this incident and black-listed it. I was however assured by Senior Shell management that they would re-register my firm under a different name if I took  responsibility for the incident.

I have left Shell and I am living a happy life and do not intend to join it back. But at times a question pricks my mind, i.e.

Had the same incident occurred in a developed country, say in America or in UK, could Shell have so easily avoided the publicity of its misdeeds by using trickery to escape a proper inquiry or judicial action. In other words, are the claims about Shell’s integrity, transparency etc just applicable to developed countries in which Shell operates?

Shell Pakistan has seen many reversals in all fields in last two years as a result of misdeeds by its management, and is facing the worst time of the history in Pakistan. The unethical dealings, and wrong policies of its management, have changed its attractive petrol pumps and agencies in to grave yards. Repairs at petrol pumps are delayed for years with no funds available for normal maintenance.

There is big financial problem for Shell Pakistan , its petrol pumps and agencies do not get fuel and lubricants for weeks, even after making payments in advance.

Managers at Pakistan are considered to be the worst enemy of company contracting staff and other stake holders.

Engineering branch, consumer sections and quality control units at regions have been done away with and the staff from sales department are running the show with no ethics and business codes.

There are rumors in the market that Shell is running away from the country and that Shell Pakistan is being sold to some other oil company.

Junior employees of Shell Pakistan are scared, as their fate is unclear, as was the case of Shell Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti in 2008 and they may also end up being left to protest against being SOLD like slaves.

Shell Pakistan policy bears no resemblance to official Shell CSR. Shell Pakistan management is instead busy covering-up its flaws, including entrapment of contractual staff / agency holders, deception of innocent co-workers of Shell. Their prime interest is in saving their own own skins through undercover moves, while setting aside ethical considerations chalked out by Richard Wiseman, instead of enforcing and upholding the Shell’s General Business Principles.

At your website I read following statement by Mark Moody-Stuart that, (“…the Statement provides, for our employees to follow and for the outside world to judge us by, an ethical framework which is mandatory, not optional… just having those principles is not enough.  In the past… an oil company could say ‘trust me’ and expect that to be enough.  Today, people say, ‘tell me – listen to me – show me’.   Trust has to be earned by transparency.  That’s one of the most important lesson’s we’ve learned in Shell…”)

Unfortunately this is not the reality of what is happening in Shell Pakistan. We have listened, we have seen and we have had enough of the double-talk. As Moody-Stuart also said: “It is deeds, not words, which count”. The actions of Shell Pakistan management do not match with the  words of Moody-Stuart or Richard Wiseman.

Please mark my words. With many of other cases like mine likely to be publicly revealed, and with present business policy being incompatible with claimed business ethics, Shell has many more reversals to see in the whole world and Pakistan might be the start of it.

Abdul Ghafar.


ABOUT SHELL PAKISTAN: The Shell began its operation in this region in 1899 by importing Kerosene from Azerbaijan. In 1970 Burma Shell divested 51% to the public and became a listed company. After acquisition in 1993 it was finally renamed as Shell Pakistan. With annual sale approaching $ 1 billion, Shell is one of the leading private sector companies in Pakistan and holds about 22% share of hydro-carbon business. It employs over 12000 persons in Pakistan and operates through a retail net work of 1100 petrol pumps. Being a responsible corporate organization The Shell has so far contributed over Rs.30 million in community development in Pakistan.

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

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