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More on Graft and Corruption at Shell Oil USA

Shell Oil Manager on gifts (bribes) given to Shell employees by vendors:

“And yes John, there are acceptable levels of gifts, and if you do not think there are then you are living in la la land.”


When I was at Shell Research many years ago I was in a position of evaluating vendor services and making recommendations about those services to the rest of the company.

The two biggest companies I dealt with were, of course, Schlumberger and Halliburton. My work required access to proprietary material from both companies so it was absolutely imperative that the relationships were kept completely professional.

As such, I would not allow these guys to buy me so much as a bottle of Coke. Nor would I buy their people so much as a Coke. When you are in such a position you can not play favorites and you cannot get ‘cozy’ with any particular vendor or with any of their people. It is inevitable that you do develop ‘professional’ relationships with your contacts in these companies, but they must be kept ‘professional’. I essentially followed the ethical standards of conduct of the US Navy’s Naval Reactor Program Office in my dealings with the vendors, which I was familiar with.

Unfortunately, that is not how the vast majority of engineers in Shell operate, nor is it company policy, which it should be. But people are fond of their ‘freebees’ and ‘G&C’. Management gets their share of goodies as well. And this is how the system gets corrupted. Everyone ‘plays’ to their advantage. Management plays games with reserve bookings to boost performance bonuses, and on it goes.

In the Federal government the ethical rules of conduct are quite strict, and under those rules the majority of Shell personnel would be facing disciplinary termination or even criminal prosecution for their conduct and relationships with vendors. Sad but true.


It was a posting by “USCITIZEN”, a regular long term contributor to our “Shell Blog” who is in a managerial position and is ferociously loyal to Shell Oil, which sparked the recent and above comment from another regular contributor, a former employee of the same company, whose identity, exceptional ingenuity and related US government connections, will be well known to Shell.

USCITIZEN genuinely takes the view – read what he has said for yourself – that gifts from vendors are perfectly acceptable and seems to consider them an entitlement.

Extract from a recent posting by “USCITIZEN”

“And yes John, there are acceptable levels of gifts, and if you do not think there are then you are living in la la land.”

More proof of a deeply ingrained culture of corruption at Shell Oil USA. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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