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Shell, Eni: Partners in Crime

By John Donovan

No, the headline is not referring to the OPL 245 oil deal in which former Shell and ENI executives and the companies themselves are currently on criminal trial in Italy on corruption charges.

Both companies have prior convictions for illicit joint activity that most people have forgotten.

In September 2006, the European Commission fined Shell $137m for their role in a cartel that fixed the price of bitumen. According to a report published in the Houston Chronicle“the EU Commission said the company was an instigator, took the leadership in the cartel and was a repeat offender”. The report went on to state that “Shell’s fine was increased by 50 percent because of its involvement in previous cartels and another 50 percent for instigating and leading the cartel.” 

BBC news report revealed that Shell has previously been fined by the EU Commission for price-fixing in other markets (PVC and propylene). An article in The Daily Mail stated that Shell’s fine was increased by 1Opc for “obstructing the probe”. On 29 November 2006, it was reported that the European Commission was imposing “its second-largest cartel fine against Shell, Dow Chemical, ENI, Unipetrol and Trade-Stomil.” The fine was imposed for “fixing prices of synthetic rubber, used mainly in tyre production.”

According to an article in The Times newspaper“Shell’s fine, as well as ENI’s, was increased because it was a repeat offender.” All three of the featured quotations are from The Times article.

According to a BBC News report, also published on 29 November 2006, Royal Dutch Shell Plc was fined 160.8 million euros.

Two years earlier, Shell revealed that it had overstated its claimed hydrocarbon reserves. The US Securities & Exchange Commission and The UK Financial Services Authority found Shell guilty of securities fraud. Shell had to pay huge fines. 

For all of this time period, covering several Shell scandals, Shell has claimed to operate within a self-imposed ethical code – the Statement of General Business Principles. Shell seems to treat the public, investors and its own employees as gullible fools. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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