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Donovans mud throwing campaign against Shell

“It looks like the Donovans, the Royal Dutch Shell humiliators and mud throwing campaign initiators, the donors of cheat and steal approach are indemnified, otherwise they could have been sued for their below the belt statements derogating human dignity and respect. And the methods they use are outrageous examples of brainwashing of the people not involved in the petroleum industry, mixing true and false facts making it almost impossible to separate the wheat from the chaff. I am writing this because I have worked on the Sakhalin 1 and 2 Project…”

By John Donovan

Printed below is an extraordinary email circulated overnight by a disgruntled former employee of Sakhalin Energy to various recipients, including senior people at Sakhalin Energy, Gazprom, Royal Dutch Shell, the Financial Times, Dow Jones Newswires, Bloomberg, the Russian government and the UK Police. It was originally sent to Thomas Zengerly, a director of Sakhalin Energy.

As can be seen, the sender does not seem to be particularly fond of us or our involvement in the Sakhalin 2 project as a conduit for whistleblowers.

The disgruntled translator, who has circulated veiled threats against us, is apparently also upset by the departure some time ago of Egbert Wijnen-Riems from SNGS (SakhalinNefteGasService).

This is but one of countless emails sent by the same disturbed person, many of which make reference to us, and contain all kinds of allegations. Corruption also rears its ugly head in some of the emails.


Dear Mr. Zengerly,

I do believe that SNGS has potential for its further growth and development. Despite of all, the base load has been formed and the team has been built and I do feel attached to people and still trying to do something “4my people”, because my concern is that like with STS Service taken over by Orensakh, Gazprom has got its plans for SNGS to bring their branch or subsidiary to take over the company.

It’s a multi-phased Project and 4 years have passed since Gazprom’s takeover and Greer’s resignation and 1 year since Wijnen-Riems has gone — quite enough time to look back and to ponder whether those actions weren’t right and whose management style was more efficient.

To err is human and nobody is perfect, and it’s more pleasant to deal with somebody vivacious, alive, and human rather than with somebody as emotionless, as alive as wax figures in the Madame Tussaud’s museum and let me be the blatant plagiarist and repeat: “I am sure EWR has learnt the lessons, he had enough time to think them over and he is ready to come back with new ideas and strategies to go through the phase of restructural changes and to bring SNGS to the level of sustainable development, stability and prosperity for the sake of the Sakhalin II Project, SEIC, SNGS and for people’s benefit.”

Certainly, I don’t know all of the details of what was going on between Mr. Wijnen-Riems and Ms. Gremblat, but from what I saw on the surface, it looked awful and terrible, totally against my personality and conscience. And I still remember the day of the New Year’s party when the audit was in full swing. It was too much for me to attend the New Year’s party, because all of my energy was given to support the audit team. However, Ms. Gremblat and Mr. xxxxxxxxx came to the party as if nothing had happened that it’s not really her who had started everything and nothing inappropriate had been done.

In such a small world and especially in a small town like Yuzhno the news is spread very fast and reputation of the company has been derogated just because of the conflict driven by greed and arrogance. Eat or be eaten — this is a very good example of following this principle. And does Ms. Gremblat share the same values with me? Trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship? Has she built a good reputation of the company she works in? What kind of example can she set for others being a Contracts Manager? Has she been accountable for her words, actions, and attitudes? Speaking about manager’s duty to lead by example, EWR was “unhappy” with Gremblat’s discipline and when the procedure for registration of absence from the office was introduced by him, Gremblat got outrageous and called it a chasing policy. But how come I saw her at the notary’s office, when notarizing translations for the Shutdown, doing her own business, resolving her personal issues?

In view of those risks and further escalation of non-conformance to ethical values, thus bringing company to an end, I believe that Mr. Wijnen-Riems is to be called back and Ms. Gremblat be removed and replaced, probably by me.

Perhaps, Wijnen-Riems wasn’t always aligned with the Client in terms of assignments and jobs like demolition of the camp at the LNG site, but he considered the consequences and potential hazards and was protecting SNGS against legal troubles and that particular work was given to Wakkor and they earned money and that was used against Wijnen-Riems too as an inappropriate management decision and who can say now that SEIC was right and his decision was wrong? And considering all those challenges Mr. Wijnen-Riems had to face, I doubt that he is the one who came here to reinforce his CV. Power over money, money over power? But he started his own business in Germany, a VP of Airstream Gourmet.

Many times I’ve heard a story about the person from Fluor who worked in Russia, committed some financial crime and was put to prison, hinting that the audit was aimed to check EWR’s integrity and honesty and here is another question: is it a shady person or a shady company, a fly in the ointment or a routine?

And for me to find a hot news spreader, who will try to put my name to shame behind my back, I just open an X-file about my relationship with my ex to find out whether this person is a fly in the ointment, a hidden threat for me, or a person who wouldn’t hurt a fly.

Certainly, General Manager bears personal responsibility for what’s going on in the company, but how could Wijnen-Riems control xxxxxxxxx on a business trip in Korea, who screwed up everything? How could EWR intervene and see xxxxxxxxxxx improper act in Korea and get involved and take action? Is it a failure of General Manager or his subordinate who, when not even fired, felt downgraded when transferred to a lower position, started blaming EWR? In Korea xxxxxxxxx was more concerned about his private life and personal problems — divorce and affair with Gremblat — rather than about business and the purpose he was sent for. Why should xxxxxxxxxxx actions and his mistakes and losses of the company due to his gross negligence have impacted SUP and other activities going simultaneously? And how come the Directors could say that two last years were a complete failure, due to whom, I wonder?

Egbert Wijnen-Riems has worked for SNGS since its foundation and was going through all its evolution stages and it’s quite enough time to be “Sakhalinized” and to gain popularity among his supporters, men and women, who expressed their supportive attitude during the audit either in their conversations with the Directors or in a letter, the authenticity of which was questioned, as well as good will of people. Even the Directors admitted that the majority was for him but, alas, didn’t take it into consideration. And my dignity was hurt by suspicions and allegations again that EWR told me what to write, thus doubting authenticity of my messages. What can be expected from the cunning linguist keeping her mouth shut? Let me quote: “translators have good memory recall and many other remarkable skills; they are omnivorous readers typically in the middle of 4 books at once in different languages, subjects.”

It’s amazing how quickly the Directors have changed their opinion, firstly, the bonus to pay EWR for his excellent performance was discussed and then, all of a sudden, two last years were a complete failure and I don’t understand why Gremblat is still at SNGS and Wijnen-Riems is gone, ignoring his input and contributions to the development of SNGS. Could the Directors have a fair-minded attitude and make an impartial assessment of EWR’s work if Polyansky imposed his biased approach? In all fairness, one has to recognize that the audit was carried out in the biased manner.

Ms. Gremblat referred to different mentalities, yes, indeed, there is cultural diversity and it should be taken into consideration as well as people’s conservatism reluctant to accept new ideas and concepts because CHANGE is the scariest word, especially in Russia, where the political regime can change within a few days.

If in Mr. Greer’s case it’s unknown who was the source of the leaked email, in EWR’s case it’s obvious who was providing the incognito emails. What is not clear to me, how come this person stays on the project though has failed to follow SEIC requirement “I will comply with the law, standards, and procedures”. Tandems are quite popular nowadays in Russia and I wouldn’t be surprised that Gremblat wasn’t alone when sending her allegations on emails, allegations that never came true, and two are needed to dance tango. Or was it a triumvirate like in the ancient times? But they used to, alas, collapse like the USSR.

It’s not only failure to fulfill ex-officio manager’s moral obligations, not only incompliance with “Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor”, this is derogation of human dignity and a violation of human rights protected by the RF Constitution since business is going on in the Russian Federation.

“We are programmed to receive. You can check out any time you like, But you can never leave!” I feel attached to Sakhalin like Scarlett O’Hara to Tara regaining her strength and vitality from “the green cotton fields of home” I am regaining my strength and vitality from the karma of the territory and beautiful nature of the Island(ers). And that’s why Egbert Wijnen-Riems can already be considered a Sakhaliner. Would anyone keep the photos of the place if not attached to it?

I can’t disagree with Eric Arkenstein’s speculation that the source of the leaked email was someone from Gazprom. I believe him, Gazpromers are not Sakhaliners. A Sakhaliner wouldn’t possibly have done that, it’s against his/her “Mother Nature”, instincts, and karma and the human nature rather than human factor and character should be counted as well. I’d like to ask the Sakhalin-2 personnel from different countries and companies working on the Project — are you Sakhaliners, too? or just guests on the Gazpromised land?

As far ass the Donovans is concerned, every time I visit their website I can’t help “getting too emotional, sarcastic, pesky, and peshky”. Both of them used to work for Royal Dutch Shell, they got all the information, saturated with the necessary data, and left the Company to establish their International Whistleblowers Center.

Who are the Donovans?  They are thieves. Are thieves the prophets nowadays and moral voices? Save Our Souls – oh, no, nowadays SOS is more likely to be interpreted as Sell Our Souls, and “faith, hope, and charity” are now “vanity, brutality, and hypocrisy” of the modern world? O tempora! O mores!

It looks like the Donovans, the Royal Dutch Shell humiliators and mud throwing campaign initiators, the donors of cheat and steal approach are indemnified, otherwise they could have been sued for their below the belt statements derogating human dignity and respect. And the methods they use are outrageous examples of brainwashing of the people not involved in the petroleum industry, mixing true and false facts making it almost impossible to separate the wheat from the chaff. I am writing this because I have worked on the Sakhalin 1 and 2 Projects and know what I am talking about and do feel the difference between the guns and butter.

The plain fact is that if the Donovans had abided themselves with the SGBP values or The Ten Commandments, would they have collaborated with a former KGB officer and sold the stolen information and blatant lies? I am saying this more in sorrow than in anger because I feel hurt for my country, my small motherland and my President and Prime Minister for applying such methods and rules of the game.

And if Mr. Greer can be reproached for using the General Patton’s speech, yet, he is a man more sinned against than sinning, nobler than such honorable men as the Donovans and their collaborators, the social email leakers. Politics makes strange bedfellows.

To continue my humble efforts to expose the Donovans’ hypocrisy, just worth mentioning that nothing is said about contributions and input made by Shell worldwide for the sustainable development of any environment the Corporation works in, including environmental protection and social programs. The SGBP is being been used as a PR tool to promote undeserved confidence in the scruples and honesty of Shell senior management. Or maybe it’s the Donovans who use as sensationalism of the media? This is not a Shell website nor is it endorsed by or affiliated with Shell, but it is a Shell affiliate of wormtongues and poisonous snakes warmed on the bosom of their master compared to Gremblat gambling behind EWR’s back.

Shell, SEIC, and the Sakhalin-2 Project have always been under great public scrutiny, spotlight of the authorities and close monitoring of the Donovans requiring validation of every step taken and every cost spent.

Can Gazprom provide a model for better management of the offshore and onshore commercially exploited oil and gas fields?

There might be other anti-Shell websites and whistleblowers, just the Donovans are much more aggressive than anyone else, more sophisticated in their approaches of getting information, doing everything possible and using every leverage to put Shell’s name to shame. But what’s disappointing is that despite all critical remarks the Donovans will continue to provide the information and hatchet job available to them, they will follow the low road once taken because of their distorted values and lost integrity.

Some criminals are forgiven if they turn in politicians who provided protection to them and Mr. Putin and his government are the perfect protection rackets for the Donovans? Like Polyansky and DEM are the protection rackets for Gremblat.

And the game is still the same and Gazpromers have an impressive ideologue, equally at home in economics and in politics, the one who is usually holding back letting everyone stay put and then, suddenly, things will start happening. Surely, with his background as a professional KGB man, he is adept at playing the challenging role of “a friend among foes” and ” a foe among his own”.

It’s hard to be God, it’s hard to be czar, it’s hard to be the RF President and it’s hard to be an SEIC CEO. This is not rocket science, it’s the petroleum industry and drilling operations and hazardous process facilities requiring maximum attention and alignment amongst management and any misalignment is concerning, because should there be any breach in the process chain or a glitch in the system – crash, boom, bang – and no treasure island called Sakhalin on the map and it looks like this is a no-brainer for Vladimir Vladimirovich to rule the roost and keep the oil and gas project, which is the largest of its kind, under control, brawn and background as a professional KGB man instead of brains.

By looking at the situations have been exposed to and by reading, I just can’t help saying and quoting: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. But I am confident of the successful future of the Sakhalin-2 Project, SEIC, and SNGS and “tomorrow is another day”.



For the record:

We were never employees of Shell.

We have never solicited or received any payment of any kind from any party in relationship to our website. That includes the Russian government. Our whole operation is non-commercial. There are no subscription or any other charges. We turn down all offers from parties wishing to advertise on our site. All of our Shell related websites have always operated on an entirely non-commercial basis. 

We do not throw mud at Shell. We bombard the company with unpalatable facts. If this was not the case, Shell would have sued us for defamation long ago. Eight companies within the Royal Dutch Shell Group did for several years hold an injunction over information published on this website, but withdrew the action rather than allow the evidence to be aired in open court. A very wise decision under the circumstances.

We did supply crucial evidence to a Russian Government Minister, Oleg Mitvol, as he confirmed at the time in media interviews and has confirmed again in a TV interview earlier this year. The documents including a leaked Shell/SEIC email provided evidence of a cover-up by Shell in relation to important environmental issues. The cover-up cost Shell its control of the project.

With regards to David Greer, he was the author of his own misfortune, or to be more accurate, it was US General George S. Patton. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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