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SHELL IGNORED REPEATED ALARM BELLS ABOUT MALCOLM BRINDED, AS HAS THE ENERGY INSTITUTE

Brinded’s reaction to the devastating findings and recommendations of the Campbell led review was to shoot the messenger, namely, Bill Campbell. Brinded chose to ignore the stunning findings by the audit team and the recommendations made by its leader Mr. Campbell in relation to the Asset Manager. Instead, Brinded supported the mentally unhinged “foaming at the mouth” Asset Manager who was able to return to his tyrannical TFA regime shortly thereafter, despite his instability. Compared with him, Captain Bligh was a sweetie. The inevitable fatal outcome accurately foretold in the review, resulted from the ruthless, unprincipled criminal decision by Brinded to put production before safety. Astonishing stuff bearing in mind that the Asset Manager repeatedly blamed “his master” Brinded, who he colourfully described as a “bastard”

SHELL HAD ADVANCE SIGHT OF THIS ARTICLE AND ATTACHMENT, AND THEREFORE THE OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE LEGAL ACTION TO PREVENT PUBLICATION. THE SAME APPLIES TO BARONESS HELEN LIDDELL 

LINK: THE PLATFORM SAFETY MANAGEMENT “STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL” REVIEW NOTES IN WHICH ALL OF THE INFORMATION BELOW, AND MUCH MORE, CAN BE SEEN IN JAW-DROPPING CONTEXT

By John Donovan

In November last year the brother of Keith Moncrieff, one of two workers who in 2003 tragically died in an accident on the Shell Brent Bravo North Sea oil platform, sent a heart-rending letter to Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chairman Charles Holliday.

He pleaded for help in bringing “these evil men to justice” – a reference to the Shell executives and officials he now knows were responsible for what the Scottish courts determined were “avoidable deaths“.  As far as I am aware, no reply was forthcoming. Not even the courtesy of an acknowledgment. (UPDATED 3 Oct 2018 PM: IN FACT MR HOLLIDAY DID REPLY AND DID OFFER HIS CONDOLENCES – SEE THE BOLD BLUE TEXT FURTHER DOWN)

Based on information I have seen, it is plain that Malcolm Brinded, currently the President of the Energy Institute, is one of “these evil men” Keith Moncreff was referring to in his letter.

It is important to note that the full damning facts were withheld from the Fatal Accident Inquiry at the Aberdeen Sheriff Court. Many people, if in possession of the overall background information about the “avoidable deaths”, would consider what happened as criminal behaviour closer to manslaughter or murder. Keith Moncrieff and Sean McCue died after a massive gas escape on the platform. Shell was fined £900,000 after admitting a series of breaches of health and safety regulations.

Malcolm Brinded, currently standing trial in the OPL 246 oil deal corruption case, was the most senior Shell executive involved. At that time, he was Managing Director of Shell UK Exploration and Production and Shell Country Chairman in the UK.

The most significant evidence was in the form of official type-written “Strictly Confidential” audit notes authored by a safety audit team led by a man of high integrity and impeccable credentials, Bill Campbell. His qualifications at various times: B.Sc DMS MBIM MIEE C.Eng.

Bill and his expert team were “stunned” by what they found. Deception; falsification of records relating to safety critical condition; falsification of ESDV tests; unapproved temporary repairs; unacceptable bullying of staff and independent inspectors. All conducted within a *”Touch Fuck All” “brutal” regime in which production was given a higher priority than any concern about risk.

THE SHELL INTERNAL AUDIT NOTES INCRIMINATING MALCOLM BRINDED, WHICH VANISHED FROM A SAFE AND SECURE VAULT

The Brent Bravo audit notes rightly considered so toxic and dangerous to Brinded and Shell’s reputation were placed in a supposedly safe and secure vault in the Shell internal audit department UEFA in Tullos, Aberdeen. According to Royal Dutch Shell Chief Auditor Jakob Stausholm, who led a subsequent investigation, the audit notes vanished from the secure vault. Related documents held by Shell’s Safety Department in the Hague also disappeared. A recorded telephone conversation exists confirming the information disclosed by Mr. Stausholm about the convenient disappearance.

There was another subject of great sensitivity attached to the Brent Bravo audit notes. The references to a ‘special relationship’ between Malcolm Brinded and the then Scottish energy minister, Helen Liddell. Since elevated to the House of Lords with the title Baroness Liddell.

Relevant extracts from the audit notes:

UEFA confirmed that Macolm had requested Helen Liddell to intercede. ~ Brinded and Liddell had some sort of relationship, not known if this was sexual or just as the committee minuted ‘a special releationship ‘.

…you are aware that your internal audit committee interviewed Brinded who accepted he asked his friend the Energy Minister to intercede to prevent the OSD investigation into the workforce concerns…

I contacted  Baroness Liddell via her House of Lords email address. I supplied her with a draft article authored by Bill Campbell entitled: Love hurts: How a special relationship between a Shell oil executive and a Government Minister contributed to offshore deaths. See below. I invited her to comment and correct any inaccuracies. There  was no response. 

Negative references to Brinded appear throughout the audit review notes, which prove that the fatal accident that occurred four years later was foretold as being “inevitable”:

Relevant dire prediction:

…if we continue operating Bravo in its current condition a major incident involving injury or fatality, and with the potential of Impairing the TR is inevitable. It may take a week or a year, It doesn’t matter, it will happen.

Many people, if in possession of the overall background information about the “avoidable deaths” that followed, would consider what happened as criminal behaviour under a criminally negligent, deceitful, bullying and totally ruthless, stressed out platform management. A *Touch Fuck All criminal regime.

Brinded’s reaction to the devastating findings and recommendations of the Campbell led review was to shoot the messenger, namely, Bill Campbell. Brinded chose to ignore the stunning findings by the audit team and the recommendations made by its leader Mr. Campbell in relation to the Asset Manager. Instead, Brinded supported the mentally unhinged “foaming at the mouth” Asset Manager who was able to return to his tyrannical TFA regime shortly thereafter, despite his instability. Compared with him, Captain Bligh was a sweetie. The inevitable fatal outcome accurately foretold in the review, resulted from the ruthless, unprincipled criminal decision by Brinded to put production before safety. Astonishing stuff bearing in mind that the Asset Manager repeatedly blamed “his master” Brinded, who he colourfully described as a “bastard”:

Bill, you can report what you like, I guarantee when your report is gathering dust I will still be here and you’ll be gone, they need me to run these four big beasts, its all that bastard Brinded’s fault, he even has the cheek to ask me to get more involved in all this Enhance Expro shit, its unbelievable, I’m under a great deal of stress, I’m doing what he wants me to do, big numbers and straight lines, your living in the past Bill, this is today’s reality.

Within weeks of Brinded’s astonishing decision to shoot the messenger, he also gave his backing to a Shell UK executive who masterminded a carefully contrived Shell conspiracy to steal IT property from a significant number of firms participating in a corrupt Shell contract tender process. I have all of the paper work to prove exactly what happened. The contract race was awarded to a firm that never participated in the tender. Akin to a horse miraculously winning a race in which it never ran.

Brinded took these blatantly improper decisions despite being reminded of the much proclaimed Shell Statement of General Business Principles and his claimed dedication to them. Hence, on top of everything else, he is also a hypocrite. He actions changed lives. Bill Campbell’s and mine. With much more catastrophic outcomes for the tragic Brent Bravo victims and their loved ones. The solemn pledges of integrity, honesty, transparency, and respect for employees, as enshrined in Shell’s supposed ethical code, were flouted and exposed as PR propaganda designed to fool ethical investors. Including the Church of England.

I have rung alarm bells about Mr. Brinded for nearly two decades. His colleagues, including successive Shell Chief Executives, ignored the repeated warnings. They ignored me and the warnings about Brinded from Bill Campbell. Mr. Campbell did have one success when Jeroen van der Veer issued a Letter a Censure against Brinded following a meeting between the then Royal Dutch Shell CEO and Bill.

Fortunately, being meticulous and cautious, Mr. Campbell retained copies of a substantial number of pages from the audit notes clearly potentially dangerous to Shell and Brinded. The relevant audit notes are published today for the first time. In view of the the references in the audit notes to the mental health of the relevant Brent Asset manager, I have redacted his name. The yellow highlighting in the audit notes is by me. 

Extracts relating to the Brent Asset Manager

In truth you don’t seem to care a hoot for the 1600 or so crew working in your brutal regime, foaming at the mouth and blaming Brlnded isn’t going to save you should the inevitable happen, vour streetwise enough to know that…

…its obvious you are under stress\ you appear unbalanced in your decision making, remote from your decisions with an apparent lack of empathy for the guys working for you, I seriously suggest vou seek medical advice…

Regularly flouts or breaks the Law; Lies and Deceives others; Little regard for safety of others, no empathy for staff he treated abysmally or whom he put at occupational risk; Doesn’t feel remorseful for the effects his behavior has on others. 

Extract relating to Touch Fuck All Culture

The bottom line is that TFA is alive and well breeding in what we witness as a brutal regime with ongoing denial of the risks.

As already indicated, Campbell was dismissed by Malcolm Brinded from his role as lead auditor. No reason was given by Shell Expro or Brinded for the sudden inexplicable decision to remove the independent Shell International auditor, whose team had uncovered so much criminal malpractice and reckless deceit. Mr Campbell left Shell in 2002, but was asked to return in 2003 to lead HSE Audits world wide.

In 2005, just 12 months after the reserves crisis, an internal investigation was completed into Brinded’s misconduct in 1999. This evidence finding him culpable for the deaths was accepted and the investigation team thought Brinded would be dismissed. Much to the surprise of the team the then CEO chose to retain Brinded to keep a lid on this Pandora’s box.

At that juncture, a year before the FAI was held Campbell passed evidence to the then Lord Advocate, the Procurator Fiscal in Aberdeen handling the FAI, the Police, the HSE and the Scottish Justice Minister. Campbell also volunteered to present this technically complex evidence at the Inquiry. It was an ideal opportunity to bring corporate Manslaughter charges against Shell, a lost opportunity.

It is to the abiding shame of the Scottish Government and its Legal  system that NONE of this evidence was presented at the subsequent public inquiry held in Aberdeen in 2006. How this was allowed to happen is yet another story.

Anyone reading this will be incredulous, how can this all happen in modern day Britain in the most heavily regulated industry in Europe, and will ask the question, if it was that bad how can it have remained such a secret scandal?

Brinded’s track record at Shell:

  • His role in the Brent Bravo scandal is discussed above.
  • As mentioned, he gave his full backing to a corrupt Shell tender process.
  • Brinded also played a role in the 2004 Shell reserves securities fraud and the humiliating aftermath. His credibility (and Shell’s) diminished each time he was forced to announce further oil reserves downgrades despite assurances he had publicly given to Shell shareholders. Nearly a third of Shell’s booked reserves vanished in five successive downgrades. According to the Financial Times, his job was at risk. Related extract from a Guardian newspaper article: Shell’s presentation was marred by the admission that on top of the three announcements of reserve downgrades this year – totalling 4.47 billion barrels – there could be more to come. Malcolm Brinded, head of Shell’s exploration and production division, said there could be a further 900 million barrel ‘potential reduction’. Brinded was clearly embarrassed. The fiasco has dragged Shell’s name through the mud, and led to the departure of his and van der Veer’s predecessors amid allegations of cover-up and lying.
  • In 2006, a Shell insider called on Brinded to resign because of his financial miscalculations in relation to the then Shell led corruption ridden Sakhalin 2 project. Costs doubled. The Guardian said: Now there are mutterings about further management heads rolling, with the focus on exploration and production head Malcolm Brinded. The Russian government seized Shell’s majority holding in the project because of improper conduct by Shell.
  • Brinded was tainted by his controversial dealings with the Libyan massmurderer, Omar Gaddafi on behalf of Shell.
  • To cap it all, there is irrefutable evidence of him being a key participant in the OPL corruption case in which two fellow participants have already been found guilty and jailed. Brinded remains as a defendant in the on-going criminal trial.

HOW ON EARTH CAN A PERSON WITH SUCH A FLAWED HISTORY AND LACK OF ETHICS STILL BE PRESIDENT OF THE ENERGY INSTITUTE?

I was under the impression that the President of the Energy Institute has to be a paragon of virtue, a person of exemplary character. Mr. Brinded falls somewhat short. He is not a fit and proper person to preside over such an important organisation and is damaging its credibility and reputation while continuing to remain at the helm in such dubious circumstances.

UPDATED INFORMATION AS OF 3 Oct 2018: Mr Holliday did reply, claiming the matters were fully investigated by the relevant authorities and it was decided no criminal charges should be brought. He also said he was sorry about the loss the family had suffered and that he hoped they understood that it would be wholly inappropriate for him to become involved in matters that had been fully and properly addressed in the past.

In fact, the full damning evidence was withheld from the authorities including the Fatal Accident Inquiry. Furthermore, no member of the audit team or its leader has ever been invited or allowed to give evidence in any hearing relating to the deaths. 

DEFINITION OF SHELL’S “TOUCH FUCK ALL” BRENT FIELD REGIME

*TFA – touch nothing  – was intended to ensure that no maintenance interventions were carried out that had the potential to interrupt production and applied to safety critical equipment as well as production plant. (Extract from a related Aberdeen Press & Journal article)

RELATED ARTICLE BY BILL CAMPBELL

Love hurts

How a special relationship between a Shell oil executive and a Government Minister contributed to offshore deaths 

In 1999 things had been going swimmingly for Malcolm Brinded.  He as a young man had been assessed at recruitment into Shell as a potential high flyer.  And by 1999 he was well on his way up the ladder, already serving as Managing Director of the oil and gas exploration and production business for the company Shell Expro in the UK.  He was bound for the top of the slippery pole, marked down as a future leader of the super multi national. 

But in 1999 he ran into very serious problems, his future prospects were in jeopardy.  

A major internal audit requested by Shell Expro management, and which commenced in August that year in Aberdeen, found criminal neglect of maintenance offshore was on an industrial scale especially within the operations of the Brent field.  The audit found that there was nothing wrong with the Shell standards, its codes of practice, its business processes, no, it was the messages from the top of Shell Expro, the business drivers, that were causing the unacceptable behavior observed both on and offshore. Much of the blame was pointed upwards, at the door of Malcolm Brinded himself. 

Running parallel with the Shell internal audit at the time, were the concerns of offshore workers about the state of affairs offshore. The trade unions had raised these concerns with the Offshore Safety Division of the HSE in Aberdeen.  These concerns being made public when they were aired by the media highlighting what the unions thought to was the root cause of the problem, the notorious Touch F All instruction, issued by the Brent Asset Manager to his people offshore. 

Malcolm Brinded was in a bind, he could see his bright future slipping away, so he asked his close friend Helen Liddell, then the Minister for Energy, to intercede on his behalf, and use her influence to get the HSE investigation into the unions concerns halted. This is what Malcolm admitted at the time to his Chief Auditor under interview.  

This intervention cleared the then Oil Director, Chris Finlayson, to issue a robust press release with a complete denial saying that the workers concerns were exaggerated, just an inappropriate use of language, and that the HSE supported this statement putting the matter to rest.  The author, acting as Lead Auditor in 1999, tried several times to get Finlayson to retract his press release but he couldn’t do this he said, his boss wouldn’t let him. 

Brinded also used this denial of the implications of Touch F All to survive.  To dampen and cover-up the workers genuine concerns, with his bosses at the Shell international corporate headquarters in The Hague. 

On the 22nd October 1999 at an Audit presentation to the assembled Shell Expro managers in Aberdeen, the author recommended that the Brent Management Team, i.e.  the General Manager, his Asset Manager and Deputy, all located in Seafield House, remote from the main Shell Expro office at Tullos, be suspended pending an investigation into their conduct. This did not happen.

During the audit from August till late October they had done nothing to reduce risks to workers. They had allowed the Brent offshore installations specifically to continue in operation with no immediate remedial actions to reduce the intolerable risk levels as advised.  But in 1999 Malcolm Brinded as MD couldn’t and didn’t suspend his Brent managers or shutdown the Brent installations to carry out remedial work, and he couldn’t let his own Audit run to conclusion.  Any of this would have set the alarm bells ringing in corporate headquarters in The Hague, and would give the game away, so he did nothing.  

As a direct consequence of this four years later two workers were killed on Brent Bravo when gas escaped from a materially defective and temporary pipe repair. In 2004 at Stonehaven Sheriff Court, Shell had pled guilty on all counts to operating the installation Brent Bravo whilst it was known to be in a dangerous condition.  This all brought about by the criminal neglect of essential maintenance, over a prolonged period of time, on equipment that was critical to the safety of employees on that installation.

An internal investigation completed by May 2005, into what had happened in 1999, and specifically into Malcolm Brinded’s behaviour at that time, found that his actions to cover-up the true effects of Touch F All in 1999,had contributed in the words of Shell’s top lawyer to the deaths on Brent Bravo.

Thus it was, that a special relationship, thought not to be sexual, but a close bond, formed over a year or two when they worked together on a variety of North Sea projects, between Brinded and Helen Liddell had compromised the Government Minister whose actions in 1999 clearly contributed towards the deaths on Brent Bravo. 

She must have known at the time that if the union’s concerns were as Shell stated,  an over exaggeration, a misunderstanding, that condescendingly the Touch F All instruction was only written that way so as to be clearly understood offshore in a language that they would use and understand, then Malcolm Brinded would not have needed her to intervene on his behalf.

So in the secret society that is modern day Scotland, despite Alex Salmond’s reply to the author, that in all respects related to the health and safety of employees at work there should be openness and transparency, this whole affair was covered up by the Scottish authorities, to avoid the embarrassment flowing from the personal intervention of a Government Minister, who by 2003 was now in the role of Secretary of State for Scotland, and whose personal intervention had led inexorably to the deaths on Brent Bravo.

Bill Campbell

ENDS

Related

Fatal Accident Findings (No mention whatsoever of the TFA regime on Brent Bravo or of the safety audit findings arising from the review carried out four years earlier by the audit team led by Bill Campbell.)

Related

Posts about the Brent Bravo Scandal

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