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Shell Shock – The Secrets and Spin of an Oil Giant

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Shell Shock – The Secrets and Spin of an Oil Giant: “The financial wires and reporting services went into meltdown. In banks, boardrooms, newsrooms, bourses, investment offices and oil ministries across the world, there was incredulity and disbelief. Careful, ultra-conservative, Calvinist Royal Dutch/Shell caught by its own admission massaging the numbers? And by almost four billion barrels?

Posted Saturday 18 June 2005

A new book by Ian Cummins and John Beasant,

Published by Mainstream Publishing £16.99

Click on this link to purchase the book

Summary of the book:

Royal Dutch/Shell is a multinational behemoth. Every four seconds of every day, 1,200 cars fill their tanks with petrol on Shell forecourts, while at airports around the world civil airliners are refuelled with Shell aviation spirit every ten seconds.

The company has long been regarded as a world leader and a model for other corporations. That is, until January 2004. In a truly dramatic statement, the company told an incredulous world that estimates of Shell’s reserves had been inflated by a staggering 3.9 billion barrels. It was the first of a series of admissions that brought into question Shell’s reputation for rectitude and sent its share price tumbling.

Shell Shock is an engrossing account which reveals details that have never been included in any company accounts. Prominent amongst these is the confirmation that one of the corporation’s two ‘founding fathers’, Henri Deterding,was a passionate supporter of fascist dictators such as Gómez in Venezuela, Franco in Spain, Mussolini in Italy and Hitler in Germany.

Shell Shock then exposes the company’s appalling environmental record, notably in Nigeria and the United States, and reveals the possible ecological consequences of current plans to extract oil from Sakhalin Island, off Russia’s Pacific coast. As the company – threatened with multi-billion-dollar legal action in America and West Africa – struggles to recover from what amounts to self-immolation, this timely account of its history shows how an internal cultural revolution and an obsession with spin besmirched the company’s good name, the quality that mattered most to Shell’s founders.

The First Page:

First sightings of the iceberg were made in London in the early hours of Friday, 9 January 2004. For flickering on the monitor screens of bankers, brokers, oil traders and journalists was a communique from the energy giant Shell.

In tortured language made bafflingly opaque by jargon, the company appeared to be saying that it had, as though in a fit of absence of mind, overstated its reserves by 3.9 million barrels. At a stroke, the British-Dutch multinational was effectively cutting its stock in trade by a fifth and at least $70 billion from future revenues. That, when held up to the light, subjected to forensic scrutiny and decrypted by business code-breakers, was what Shell’s statement was finally revealed to mean.

Given that most industry analysts value oil companies on the basis of their proven reserves, it was a profoundly shocking message.

The financial wires and reporting services went into meltdown. In banks, boardrooms, newsrooms, bourses, investment offices and oil ministries across the world, there was incredulity and disbelief. Careful, ultra-conservative, Calvinist Royal Dutch/Shell caught by its own admission massaging the numbers? And by almost four billion barrels? It was like discovering your mother moonlighting as a pole dancer – not so much unlikely as unreal, surely? Initial bemusement turned, in a market all too recently mauled by the Enron scandal …

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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