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Shell’s intent to lean on the Financial Times

By John Donovan

This is the first story arising from the 2010 crop of Shell internal communications Shell was legally obliged to supply to us following a further application under the Data Protection Act.

It provides evidence of Shell’s intent to lean on a major newspaper publisher in connection with an article published on this website:

Previous Shell internal emails provided proof of Shell’s intent to pressurize The Sunday Times to “kill” a story about us and our website. The half-page article which revealed how our intervention in the Sakhalin2 project had cost Shell £11 billion was read to me over the telephone by the Sunday Times journalist, but the story was killed hours before publication It contained an interview with the so-called Kremlin Attack dog, Oleg Mitvol, who confirmed our pivotal role and made a most unflattering comment about Shell management.

This time the was the target of Shell’s censorship ambitions.

The FT sent an email to Shell on 27 July 2010 containing article links published on “The Energy Source” – an feature. One link was to an article we published on 26 July 2010 under the headline: “A close call for Shell on North Sea platform.

The article criticized Shell and its CEO, Peter Voser.

That single article link on sparked the following email correspondence involving Shell.

Some information has been redacted by Shell.

Sent: 27 July 2010 16:39


Subject: FW: Energy Source

Voices from the past.

If you look in the attached you will see that Mr Donovan has managed to get to refer to his website as if it was a respectable source.

This really irritates me and gives him undeserved credibility. Has shell tried to do anything with the FT? If not or it has not worked I could have a go with

Best wishes,

Tel:                        Fax:


Sent: 27 July 2010 17:17


Subject: RE: Energy Source

I will find out from the media people what we have done to try to engage with the FT on this. Incidentally, you should be aware that Donovan has access to most of the emails written to and from Shell about him through his regular Data Protection Act requests.


Royal Dutch Shell plc

Shell Centre, London SE1 7NA
Registered in England and Wales number 4366849

Registered Office: Shell Centre, London, SE 1

Headquarters: Carel van Bylandtlaan 30, 2596 HR
The Hague, The Netherlands

I assume that the response was sent by Richard Wiseman (Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer – now retired), the official then designated within Shell to deal with all matters relating to us.

I note the warning in the response, that “Donovan has access to most of the emails written to and from Shell about him…” According to the Data Protection Act, I should have access to ALL emails written to and from Shell about me.

If it was Mr Wiseman, he failed to inform the other party that I had been in email correspondence with him a few days earlier inviting Shell to point out any inaccuracies on the basis that they would then be deleted from the article. I also invited Shell to supply for unedited publication with the article, any comments it wished to make. Shell decided not to take up either invitation. The correspondence was published as part of the article.

I do not know of any other publisher that would bend over backwards to ensure accuracy and provide an opportunity for unedited comment by Shell to be published with an article.

It is ironic that we do not receive due credit from people who have the breathtaking audacity to accuse us of not being respectable, while they once again conspired behind the scenes to lean on another global news organization. It is amazing that Shell should lower itself to act in this manner.

The email exchanges reveal the fear which Shell has for this site. It is well placed, as will shortly become even more evident.

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

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