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Graft and Corruption at Shell Oil USA


When I worked for Shell USA years ago we had an incident with one of our major supplies of oil field services. As it happened the VP of marketing complained to our Shell VP in New Orleans about the fact that their service reps kept handing out free tickets to ball games, took the engineers out to dinner, etc., but that they weren’t ‘getting any’ business. This particular vendor marketing VP thought that Shell’s engineering staff were taking advantage of them (which they were) and they wanted some business in return for all the ‘favors’, etc., they had done for the staff.

Well, that particular VP at Shell was rather incensed at being ‘shaken down’ for business like that so he banned the acceptance of vendor ‘gifts and gratuities’ except under special circumstance. That ban lasted only until he was transferred about six months later. After that the vendor gift ‘shake down’ went on as usual.

In the field, on drilling rigs, it was not uncommon for the vendors to hand out hunting rifles, color TV’s, stereos, etc., to the company foreman in return for a site well services contract. We even had a case where one fellow was given a vintage Ford Mustang convertible. Senior management thought that was a bit much and after much consideration reluctantly fired that fellow, but less expensive gifts were still allowed.

When I worked overseas Shell Pecten in country management (Shell USA’s overseas division) always complained about not being allowed to ‘grease the palms’ of the necessary local authorities ‘sufficiently’ to get things done in a timely fashion. Some of the internal Shell memos were extremely interesting in this regard.

I even had some idiot vendor send me a 30 lb Alaska King salmon packed in ice one time. It was left on my front door step in Houston,TX one hot August day. I was gone out of town for a week. When I came back the stench that I was greeted with from that maggot ridden fish was utterly incredible. Needless to say the retarded fool that sent it to me, hoping to ‘curry favor’ for a big well services contract, got the a** chewing of a life time. As did his supervisor and his supervisor’s supervisor. These people were rather unhappy with my attitude. It is the thought that counts, right? Needless to say, their clumsy efforts proved futile, and this made them even unhappier.

‘Graft and corruption’, G&C as it is called, was and undoubtedly is still a way of life at Shell. From my experience at Shell I can tell you that Shell was and clearly still is a company that suffers from corruption at virtually every level.


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