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Royal Dutch Shell


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Carel van Bylandtlaan 30 HR The Hague The Netherlands



Royal Dutch Shell (formerly Royal Dutch/Shell Group) sits on an oil and gas throne that is only slightly lower than that of ExxonMobil. The company has worldwide proved reserves of 11.8 billion barrels of oil equivalent. It also produces bitumen, refined products, and chemicals, transports natural gas, trades gas and electricity, develops renewable energy sources, and owns more than 45,000 gas stations. Revelations of overestimated oil reserves in 2004 prompted a push for greater transparency in the company's organizational structure. This led to the 2005 merger of former publicly traded owners Royal Dutch Petroleum and The "Shell" Transport and Trading Company into Royal Dutch Shell.


[edit] Criticism

Protest against Shell's activities in Ireland
Protest against Shell's activities in Ireland
"You should be ashamed of yourself" (in Irish) - A man erects a banner on the Irish embassy in London in protest over the Irish government's collusion with Shell's activities in North West Ireland.
"You should be ashamed of yourself" (in Irish) - A man erects a banner on the Irish embassy in London in protest over the Irish government's collusion with Shell's activities in North West Ireland.

Throughout its history Royal Dutch Shell has courted controversy in many of its operations. These have been environmental and health and safety related as well as in respect of its businesses practices and priorities. In recent times Shell’s management has acknowledged some of the more recent and damaging of these problems and has taken steps to repair damage done both to the affected parties and to its own reputation.

Shell's endeavours to restore its reputation were marked by tightened internal controls, a more open commitment to corporate social responsibility, an extensive global communications campaign and other initiatives in the late 1990s early 2000s. The major corporate restructuring of the Group which took place after the reserves scandal of 2003 was to a significant extent prompted by a recognition that this scandal, and other controversies, had happened because the corporate governance structure of Shell was inadequate.

[edit] An Early Critique

Criticism of Shell on environmental and exploitation grounds is nothing new. As early as 1928, the satirical play Öl-Konjunktur (Oil-Economy) by Leo Lania and Felix Gasbarra was staged in Berlin, dealing with a backward Balkan country over which Shell and two other international oil companies are fighting for sole rights to its oil production. The production had music by Kurt Weill, now partly lost, but including the still-extant Muschellied (Mussel-Song), with words by Gasbarra specifically attacking Shell. The famous scallop logo is here changed to a mussel, and reference is made to the firm’s origin in 'an old man selling shells on Margate promenade'. From these beginnings it has grown to ein Naphtha und Benzine Cartel, Shell! Shell! Shell!. After verses about environmental pollution and exploitation of labour, the song climaxes

… da fing das Öl zu brennen an, Von Aserbeidschan bis Tibet. Es stecke die Welt in Brand, Petroleum heisst unser Vaterland. Dafür zerlöchern wir uns das Fell: Shell! Shell! Shell!

(… the oil began to burn from Azerbijan to Tibet, It set the world on fire. The name of our Fatherland is Petroleum, And for the sake of it we’ll drill Each others’ hides full of holes: Shell! Shell! Shell!)

[edit] Henri Deterding

Sir Henri Deterding dominated the world of oil in the first three decades of the twentieth century as the head of Royal Dutch Shell - his primary goal was to stabilise the price of oil by restricting competition. Deterding negotiated agreements that discouraged competition and promoted cooperation among the major oil companies. He was at the centre of almost every major decision affecting the global oil industry and the countries that produced, refined, or depended on that oil and was one of the more powerful business leaders of his time. Some critics saw Deterding as a volatile and dictatorial business leader who unscrupulously propped up the price of oil. This was supported by a 1952 U.S. Federal Trade Commission report which confirmed Deterding’s place at the centre of an international plot to control the price of oil.

Deterding was also a Nazi sympathiser. He was accused, as Edgar Ansell Mowrer testifies in his book “Germany Puts the Clock Back”, of putting up a large sum of money for the Nazis on the understanding that success would give Shell a more favoured position in the German oil market.

[edit] Sanctions busting in Rhodesia

In 1965 the British Crown Colony of Rhodesia unilaterally declared independence from Britain which led to the imposition of sanctions by the United Nations. These sanctions included strict controls on oil and petroleum product sales to the rebel colony.

In 1978 the "Bingham report" into sanctions busting revealed that Shell’s local offices in southern Africa, along with those of BP p.i.c., had been breaking the government's oil embargo from the moment it was imposed. This conflicted with a letter to the British Government which had been written by Shell's Chairman Sir Frank McFadzean in June 1976 which said that "... no company in which we [Shell] have an interest is supplying to Rhodesia".

The Bingham report revealed that shipments to Rhodesia had arrived at the old petroleum port of Lourenco Marques (now Maputo), and from there the oil had been shepherded by Shell Mozambique, a UK-incorporated firm, into the hands of South African brokers, who sent it north by rail through Mozambique to Rhodesia. Senior executives of Shell were criticised in the report for failing to monitor what local employees were doing.

[edit] Corruption in Italy

In the early 1970s Shell decided to dispose of the heavily loss making business of Shell Italiana - its "downstream" operation in Italy. Assets were sold to the Italian state company Eni in 1973. Subsequent to the sale Shell’s accountants and outside auditors discovered that in the five years prior to the sale to Eni Italian politicians had received “political contributions” totalling around $6 million from Shell Italiana’s local management. These had been recorded in the company’s books as “advertising and publicity” expenses. Shell’s General Manager in Italy, who had operated without authority and who had misrecorded the payments, was dismissed.

[edit] South Africa

During the 1980s Shell was accused by anti-apartheid activists of supporting and sustaining the apartheid regime while pursuing business opportunities in the Republic of South Africa. Annual General Meetings of the two Group holding companies were disrupted by protesters and Shell was also accused of sanctions breaking. Shell always argued that unlike other multinationals who withdrew (e.g. Mobil), it could be more of a force for good by staying in the country than by leaving.

As the largest global company remaining active in South Africa, Shell became the figurehead scion of big business tied to the Verwoerd and De Klerk administrations. Anti-Shell activists went as far as a moonlighting terrorist group RaRa (Revolutionary Anti-Racist Action, but also Dutch for 'Guess Who') raiding gasoline pump stations and cutting through filler tubes and setting them on fire.

After Apartheid was dissolved and the ANC legalised, it was a shocker for many European anti-apartheid activists that the African National Congress (ANC) decided to rent floors in the South-African Shell office building to make it their party headquarters.

[edit] Formula Shell

In the post war years Shell was one of the leaders in fuels technology – in particular the development of additive packages designed to enhance the performance of petrol (gasoline) in automobiles.

Amongst the new products of the 1950s and 1960s was “Super Shell with ICA” a fuel/additive mix which controlled ignition (ICA stood for Ignition Control Additive). However after the oil price hikes caused by OPEC raising the price of crude oil in the 1970s Shell and other oil companies suspended advertising and marketing programs and “fuels differentiation” (as this strategy was known) ceased. Shell scientists and technicians continued to carry out research into the subject and by the mid 1980s Shell felt able to introduce a new initiative. A fuel/additive package which was claimed to “significantly improve your car’s performance” was launched in the United Kingdom, Europe and elsewhere from 1985 onwards. It was known as “Formula Shell”.

The initial customer response to Formula Shell was very positive and drivers claimed to notice a genuine improvement in their car’s performance. Shell’s sales responded significantly in all markets where the new brand was introduced. However within a few months in some countries reports began to appear of problems with a small number of cars running on Formula Shell. There were reports of damaged engines and even of cars having to be taken off the road because of mechanical defects. One particular example was of a police force in Scotland which suffered damage to many of the cars in their fleet. This was highly publicised in the British media.

Shell’s initial response to these problems was denial. They claimed that the Formula Shell product had been extensively tested and denied that there could be any problem. However as reports began to come in from around the world Shell started to take the matter more seriously and conduct their own laboratory experiments into the problem. Eventually Shell was forced to acknowledge that in a small number of instances with particular cars running on leaded petrol one of the components of the product (known as the “Spark Aider”) could cause problems. Formula Shell was withdrawn in the United Kingdom and some other markets – although the brand continued to be sold (without the Spark Aider) elsewhere. Compensation was paid to those car owners whose cars had been damaged by the product. An internal report criticised Shell’s management for its slow response to the problem, its initial denials that there had been a problem at all and for other aspects of the management of the affair which was seen to have damaged Shells’ reputation for technical excellence.

The problems of Formula Shell were confined to a small number of markets and to a small number of cars in these countries - but the damage to the brand was such that it was completely withdrawn in most of these countries (e.g. the United Kingdom). However Formula Shell continued successfully in many other markets and the brand name still exists today as an automotive lubricants brand [1]

[edit] Pollution at Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Denver, Colorado

In a working paper published by the University of Colorado, Boulder, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal - the “RMA” - located some six miles northeast of downtown Denver, Colorado was described as ”27 square miles of toxic horror” with the reputation of being "the most polluted piece of ground in America." Originally used by the United States Army from 1942 as a chemical weapons plant, the RMA was until 1982 utilised by Shell Chemical Company to produce pesticides and herbicides. The list of chemicals and contaminants polluting the RMA is described in the paper as “mind-boggling”.

From 1983 onwards, a number of lawsuits arose from contamination at the RMA. The State of Colorado sued Shell and the U.S. Army for natural resource damages under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, known as “CERCLA”. At the same time that the State of Colorado was pursuing its damages claim against the Army and Shell for $50 million per toxic discharge, the Army filed a lawsuit against Shell in respect of the contaminant liability. Shell issued proceedings against the Army, claiming $1.8 billion. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a related lawsuit against Shell, claiming almost $1.9 billion.

In 1988, Shell and the Army settled by filing a consent decree. Each agreed to pay 50 percent of the first $500 million in clean-up costs. A formula was also agreed to cover substantial additional cleanup costs. Shell lodged a claim with its insurers for reimbursement.

On 13 November 1988, The New York Times reported that Shell Oil Company and a Denver law firm Holme Roberts & Owen had been charged in a lawsuit brought by Travelers Insurance Company seeking $66 million in damages, with conspiring to conceal years of pollution at the RMA. The RMA was said to be “contaminated by the residues of nerve gas and other chemical weapons the Army made from the early 1940’s until the late 1960’s and by waste from the production of pesticides and herbicides by Shell on land leased at the arsenal from 1952 to 1982”. The article said that “chemicals have seeped into fresh water and underground water supplies in the area”. The article explained that the settlement required Shell to contribute at least $500 million towards the clean-up. Shell had found it necessary to seek reimbursement through the courts from 250 insurance carriers, including Travelers, one of the primary insurance companies covering the relevant risk. In its counterclaim, Travelers had alleged that Shell ��’knowingly and intentionally released pollutants into the environment since commencement of its operations.'’ Their lawsuit also charged that Holme Roberts “conspired with Shell to mislead Travelers about the extent of the pollution”. The Travelers lawsuit sought the return of $16 million already paid to Shell, plus $50 million in punitive damages.

On 21 December 1988, The New York Times published an article announcing that a jury had found in favour of Travelers and the other insurers against Shell on the basis that Shell was not covered by any of its 800 insurance policies because “it knew it was polluting the ground water” at the RMA and that “the jury was persuaded that Shell was an intentional polluter”. The article revealed that the total cleanup cost, to be split by Shell and the Army, was estimated to be as much as $2 billion. The Supreme Court reviewed the State of Colorado RMA case early in 1994 and ruled in its favour.

[edit] Explosion at Shell Louisiana refinery

On 5 May 1988, a major explosion occurred at a Shell Oil refinery in Norco, Louisiana. The New York Times reported six deaths, one person missing and 42 people injured. The blast shattered windows up to 30 miles away and "damage was sustained on both sides of the mile-wide Mississippi river". According to the same report, Norco residents were "fed up over recurring emergencies that had forced them to evacuate their homes eight times in 12 years". An article published by AlterNet in February 2005 concerning the explosion and its consequences said that it “spewed 159 million pounds of toxic chemicals into the air, requiring the evacuation of 4,500 people” and that Shell subsequently “paid out $172 million in damages to some 17,000 claimants”. An article published by The Times-Picayune newspaper on 19 February 2007 reported that a lawyer involved in bringing a federal class action lawsuit against Shell in relation to the explosion was at risk of disbarment for paying a Shell employee $5,000 in 1991 for inside information about what the lawyer alleged to be “misconduct by Shell in preparing its witnesses for depositions”. The lawyer further justified the payment by claiming “genuine belief that paying the Shell insider for information would compensate for Shell's refusal to cooperate."

[edit] Shell fined $19.75 million for oil spill from Martinez Refinery

On 1 December 1989, The New York Times reported that Shell Oil Company had agreed to pay $19.75 million “for spilling more than 400,000 gallons of crude oil into San Francisco Bay”. Shell said that it had “spent an additional $14 million in cleaning up the spill, when oil flowed from a pipe at its Martinez refinery in April 1988”. Oil leaked out from a 12.5-million-gallon storage tank at the manufacturing complex 40 miles northeast of San Francisco. The Government said that several Federal regulations were broken. According to the article at least 250 birds and 50 other animals were found dead and a valuable wildlife habitat was ruined and tidal marshlands would take 10 years to recover.

[edit] Shell settles Martinez Refinery dumping suit for $3 Million

On 8 February 1995, an article in the The New York Times headlined “Shell Settles Dumping Suit for $3 Million” revealed that Shell Oil Company had agreed to settle a lawsuit alleging that it had been “dumping illegal amounts of selenium into San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta”. As part of the settlement, Shell agreed “to reduce the selenium released in wastewater at its Martinez refinery”. The article said that selenium is a nutrient in small amounts but is toxic in larger doses. While admitting Shell had exceeded permitted limits, company officials claimed that the selenium discharges in the strait were not enough to harm the environment.

[edit] Intellectual copyright and breach of confidence litigation

On 23 April 1998, Marketing Week magazine published an article reporting that a UK sales promotion agency, Don Marketing, had already brought three High Court actions against Shell alleging breach of copyright and had issued High Court proceedings in respect of a forth claim. All revolved around ownership of promotional ideas. The article revealed that “Shell has already lost three copyright battles in the past four years with the promotional agency which issued a High Court writ against the company two weeks ago (MW April 16) ”. The article said that the details of three similar cases of ownership of intellectual copyright had emerged as “similar fact evidence” in its new claim in respect of a "Shell Smart" multibrand loyalty card programme. The article also revealed that “details of the three cases, all of which were settled out of court and stretch back six years, have always been kept secret”. The article went on to say that “No compensation figures are given for any of the out-of-court settlements but in the Hollywood case Don Marketing is believed to have received more than £200,000 in settlement”. In June 1999, a High Court trial commenced in respect of the "Smart" claim alleging breach of contract and misuse of confidential information. In an article published by The Sunday Telegraph on 6 June 1999, Don Marketing Director, John Donovan, alleged that Shell had used an undercover agent, Christopher Phillips, in the run up to the trial. According to the article, Shell’s lawyers admitted that they had hired Mr Phillips, but only to carry out “routine credit inquiries”. An article published in February 2007 by Prospect magazine, stated in relation to the outcome of the Smart trial that"Shell agreed to settle out of court, paying the Donovans a sum "in the thousands" as part of a "peace treaty" stipulating that neither party speak about the matter in future". The acticle, which focused on the key role of Donovan and his father Alfred, in the Russian takeover of the Sakhalin-2 project, quotes Donovan as alleging that Shell subsequently broke the "peace treaty". The most recent litigation involving the same parties took place in 2005 and related to the dotcom domain name for Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

[edit] Shell connection with controversial Bilderberg Group

A BBC article published on 3 June 2004 commented on the “shadowy aura” and “mystique” surrounding the Bilderberg Group, described “as perhaps the most powerful organisation in the world.” The members were said to include “the West's chief political movers, business leaders, bankers, industrialists and strategic thinkers…” The article headlined "Bilderberg: The ultimate conspiracy theory" stated “Not a word of what is said at Bilderberg meetings can be breathed outside. No reporters are invited in and while confidential minutes of meetings are taken, names are not noted. The article went on to say that conference venues are kept secret and the group does not even have a website.

With regard to reporting the meetings, an article published in the August/September 2005 edition of Nexus magazine said: Bilderberg, at one time or another, has had representatives of all major US and European newspapers and network news outlets attend. High-ranking members of the inadequately named "international free press" attend on their solemn promise to report nothing. This is how Bilderberg keeps its news blackout virtually complete in the United States and Europe.

According to a BBC article published on 29 September 2005, “the Bilderberg, has often attracted speculation that it forms a shadowy global government”. The article said “Every year since 1954, a small network of rich and powerful people have held a discussion meeting about the state of the trans-Atlantic alliance and the problems facing Europe and the US”. The article concluded by saying “Informal and private networks like Bilderberg have helped to oil the wheels of global politics and globalisation for the past half a century. In the eyes of critics they have undermined democracy, but their supporters believe they are crucial to modern democracy's success. And so long as business and politics remain mutually dependent, they will continue to thrive”.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chairman, Jorma Ollila and CEO, Jeroen van der Veer, have been rumored to be among those in attendance.

[edit] Emission violations at Shell Wood River Refinery in Illinois

On 9 September 1998, the U.S. Justice Department announced a settlement with Shell Oil Company relating to “hundreds of environmental violations at Shell Oil Company's Wood River oil refinery“ located on over 2,000 acres on the banks of the Mississippi River in Roxana, Illinois, near St. Louis. Shell and its affiliates agreed to a judicial decree requiring Shell to “achieve and certify compliance with all environmental laws at the Wood River refinery”, and to carry out environmental projects valued at over $10 million including added protections of Mississippi River water quality, and pay $1.5 million in civil penalties -- of which the sum of $500,000 would be paid to the U.S. co-plaintiff, the State of Illinois.

According to the Justice Department release, “Environmental problems at Wood River included: illegal levels of sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide air emissions, violations of emission standards for benzene (a hazardous air pollutant), violations of solid waste labeling, reporting, and manifesting requirements, untimely reporting of emissions of extremely hazardous substances such as ammonia and chlorine, and violations of Illinois water regulations”. Under the decree, Shell was required to purchase $500,000 worth of land adjacent to the Mississippi River and then transfer ownership to the State of Illinois on the basis that the land must be appropriate for "wetlands preservation, water quality protection, and wildlife conservation purposes".

Steve Herman, EPA's Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance was quoted as saying: "In settling this case, the federal government has followed the basic principle that polluters will be required to pay for and correct the damage they cause, as well as prevent future damage." W. Charles Grace, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois commented: "These severe penalties will not only force Shell Oil into environmental compliance, but will also reinforce the message that we will not tolerate environmental degradation of our country's greatest natural resources."

[edit] $2 million fine by UN for violation of embargo against Iraq

On 26 April 2000 The New York Times reported that the United Nations had fined the Royal Dutch Shell Group $2 million for shipping Iraqi oil on April 5 2000 in violation of the then international embargo against Iraq. The tanker, the Akademik Pustovoit, was boarded by American-led naval forces in the Persian Gulf. Royal Dutch/Shell had maintained that the tanker carried only Iranian oil, loaded at the port in Bandar Mahshur. However, a spokesman for The Pentagon, Kenneth H. Bacon, was quoted as confirming that tests on the cargo had determined that 20 percent of the oil was from Iraq. The article reported that with high prices increasing demand, there had been a sharp increase in illicit oil shipments and Iraqi officials were believed to be earning millions from smuggling oil.

[edit] US Clean Air Act violations

On March 21, 2001, the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement committing nine refineries owned by Motiva, Equilon Enterprises, and the Deer Park Refining Limited Partnership to a program to ensure compliance with important provisions of the United States Clean Air Act. The companies agreed to invest $400 million over eight years to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and particulate matter. Motiva Enterprises LLC, is a joint venture between Shell and Saudi Refining Inc. Equilon Enterprises is a subsidiary of Shell Oil Co. Shell Oil Products is a partner in Park Refining Limited partnership.

[edit] Shell espionage

On 17 June 2001, The Sunday Times published an article headlined “MI6 ��Firm’ Spied on Green Groups”. It revealed that a private intelligence firm, Hakluyt & Company Limited, “with close links to MI6 spied on environmental campaign groups to collect information for the oil companies, Shell and BP p.i.c.. The article revealed that an undercover agent, German-born Manfred Schlickenrieder, a serving member of the German secret service, infiltrated and “scuppered” environmental campaigns directed against the oil giants. Schlickenrieder was said to have “posed as a left-wing sympathizer and film maker”.

The Nigerian Connection: According to the article, Schlickenrieder tried to dupe The Body Shop group to pass on information about its opposition to “Shell drilling for oil in a Nigerian tribal land”. The spying operation began in 1996, when Mike Reynolds, a director of Hakluyt and former MI6 head of station in Germany, “was asked by Shell to find out who was orchestrating threats against its petrol forecourts across Europe”. The threats apparently followed an outcry over Shell’s attempts in 1995 to “dump” the redundant Brent Spar oil platform at sea and allegations of environmental damage caused by Shell’s oil drilling in Ogoniland, Nigeria. Schlickenrieder made a film on Shell in Nigeria called “Business as Usual: the Arrogance of Power”. Using this cover story, he interviewed friends of Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Nobel prize nominee hanged by the military regime in 1995 after leading a campaign against Shell.

“Schlickenrieder was known by the code name Camus and had worked for the German foreign intelligence service gathering information about terrorist groups, including the Red Army Faction”. The Sunday Times also reported that it had seen documents which confirmed that “the spy, German-born Manfred Schlickenrieder, was hired by Hakluyt, an agency that operates from offices in London’s West End”. Confronted by The Sunday Times, BP and Shell admitted hiring Hakluyt, but said they were unaware of the tactics used on their behalf. Shell said it had wanted to protect its employees against possible attack. One of Schlickenrieder’s spying missions was to gather information about the movements of the motor vessel “Greenpeace” then operating in the north Atlantic. Greenpeace alleged that the scandal had “echoes of the Rainbow Warrior affair”, when in 1985 its ship campaigning against nuclear testing in the South Pacific was blown up by the French secret service. Schlickenrieder was hired by Mike Reynolds.

According to The Sunday Times report, “Reynolds and other MI6 executives left the intelligence service after the cold war ended to form Hakluyt in 1995. It was set up with the blessing of Sir David Spedding, the then chief of MI6”. The article stated that Christopher James, the managing director of Hakluyt, had been head of the MI6 section that liaised with British firms. The Sunday Times article also revealed “MPs believe the affair poses serious questions about the blurring of the divisions between the secret service, a private intelligence company and the interests of big companies. Hakluyt refutes claims by some in the intelligence community that it was started by MI6 officers to carry out “deniable” operations”. Sir William Purves, a Shell director was Chairman of Hakluyt & Company. A former Group Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell, Sir Peter Holmes, was President of The Hakluyt Foundation, an associated organisation.

There is an earlier example of Shell's admitted involvement with undercover activity. In connection with a letter dated 23 June 1998, Shell Legal Director Richard Wiseman admitted that Shell had used undercover activity involving a Mr Christopher Phillips in the course of litigation. The letter from Mr Wiseman refers to a related letter to the Office for Supervising of Solicitors. According to an article published in the Sunday Telegraph, although Shell lawyers admitted that they hired Mr Phillips, they said it was only to carry out "routine credit inquiries". Shell subsequently settled the relevant litigation.

On 12 September 2001, under the headline: “No Secret's Safe From These Sharp Eyes”, The New York Times published an article focused on corporate “cloak-and-dagger escapades”. An executive of Shell International Exploration and Production, Mr Stephen J. Wade, was revealed as being a "competitive intelligence analyst -- management-speak for corporate America's equivalent of a spy”. The report said that Mr. Wade “uses every trick in the book” and “may even dish out erroneous information...” Mr Wade was quoted as commenting: It isn't James Bond. The article went on to say: “Still, like any good spy, Mr. Wade declined to give detailed examples of information gleaned this way”. It also pointed out that corporate spying “sometimes skirts ethical bounds”.

An article published in the Financial Times on 5 October 2005, revealed that a Mr Ian McCredie was in September 2004 appointed as a Shell Vice-President responsible for security. McCredie was described as “head of Global Security Services at Shell International”. The FT article said of McCredie “He had worked for the UK Foreign Service since 1976 in security and intelligence”. This is believed to be a reference to the naming of Ian Forbes McCredie OBE, as being a former MI6 officer.

[edit] $153.6 million damages for U.S. patent infringement

On 3 October 2005 a U.S. Federal Appeals Court upheld a patent infringement verdict against Shell Oil Company in a case brought by Union Carbide. The federal court also told a lower court to consider increasing the $153.6 million damages already awarded in the case. According to a news report, the “U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected an appeal by Shell and its subsidiary, Shell Chemical Co,. which sought to overturn a jury verdict that it infringed a Union Carbide patent on chemical processes used to make ethylene oxide”. The appeals court reportedly said there was "substantial evidence" to support the jury verdict.

[edit] Release of chemical pollutants at Shell Texas Deer Park complex

On 16 May 2007, Bloomberg News reported that Royal Dutch Shell Plc had shut two ethylene plants at a Texas production complex after it lost steam power and released tons of chemicals into the air around Houston. The report went on to say that Shell’s Deer Park, Texas, complex lost steam from an external supplier on 2 May 2007 and that consequential shutdowns “resulted in the airborne release of dozens of contaminants, including 2,420 pounds of ethylene, 1,782 pounds of propylene, 1,622 pounds of sulfur dioxide and 4,700 pounds of volatile organic compounds in the Houston area.

[edit] Emission violations at Shell Martinez refinery in California

On 9 May 2007, the Houston Chronicle newspaper reported that Shell Oil Products, a subsidiary of Shell Oil Company, had been fined $2.9 million for equipment failure “that sent 925 tons of excess carbon monoxide into the air”. According to the article, “the pollution-causing emissions escaped the refinery in Martinez, California over the course of a week”. Karen M. Schkolnick, a spokeswoman for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, was quoted as saying that “The fine reflects the size of the incident and the fact that human errors compounded the situation” and that "It was a series of either bad judgments or mechanical failures and it led to this acute situation". Steve Lesher, a spokesman for the Martinez refinery, was quoted as conceding that Shell had not contested the Air District's claims, “but is proud of its pollution control record”. Lesher went on to say "We have rigorous maintenance standards, and you hope something like this never happens and you work to make sure it doesn't happen."

[edit] Jiffy Lube International

In December 2004, an Oklahoma state judge approved a class action settlement between Royal Dutch Shell subsidiary Jiffy Lube International and millions of U.S. plaintiffs. The agreement reported in the New York Times, settled nine similar lawsuits from California to New Jersey over environmental surcharges Jiffy Lube imposed on its oil change customers. Under the terms of the settlement, Jiffy Lube provided more than seven million customers with a coupon good for $5 off an oil change. An earlier report in the same newspaper said that Jiffy Lube added surcharges to drivers’ oil-change bills over the past five years on the pretext of being an environmental surcharge, in an attempt to fool customers into thinking it was a tax. Scott R. Shepherd, a Pennsylvania attorney who sued the Jiffy Lube was quoted as saying: "It was just a straight rip-off for $1.25 every time someone came in."

[edit] Environmental infringements by Shell in Louisiana

On 14 March 2007, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced that Shell Chemical Company has settled six years of environmental infringements with a $6.5 million agreement covering charges that “it violated air and other emissions standards between 1999 and 2003”. The settlement includes a $1 million fine which will go into the state's hazardous waste cleanup fund and $5.5 million which will be invested in beneficial environmental projects to reduce flare reduction systems at four Shell Chemical plants. Under the terms of the settlement Shell does not admit any wrongdoing and in mitigation pointed out that many of the violations were self-reported. DEQ Assistant Secretary Harold Leggett was quoted as saying: ����This is an important settlement, not just because both parties have addressed past violations, but because we have also agreed to address the needs of the future.'' The improvements, to be located at the company's Norco plant, are scheduled to be completed by 2014. The agreement also calls for Shell Chemical Company to improve its leak detection and repair program at its plants in Norco, Taft and Geismar and a petroleum refining plant in St. Rose.

[edit] Shell Pipeline rupture in Washington

The U.S. Justice Department, acting for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), filed a civil settlement on January 17, 2003, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in relation to an action against United States v. Shell Pipeline Co. LP fka Equilon Pipeline Co. LLC and Olympic Pipe Line Co. The civil settlement resolved Clean Water Act claims for environmental violations which led to a fatal pipeline rupture in Bellingham, Washington in 1999. The original complaint filed in May 2002 alleged that the pipeline rupture was caused by “gross negligence in the operation and maintenance of the pipeline”.The consequences of the rupture were tragic. Over 230,000 gallons of gasoline were discharged. The gasoline ignited in a fireball which created a plume of smoke some six miles high. As a result of the explosion, two ten-year-old boys and a teenager were killed and at least nine other people were injured. According to the EPA, the gasoline spill and resulting fire "killed more than 100,000 fish and other aquatic organisms in the impacted area". Other species of wildlife were also killed. The settlement required Shell to pay a federal civil penalty of $5 million and institute a spill prevention program on four other Shell operated pipelines. Shell was also required to enter into an agreement with the State of Washington to include payment of $5 million to the State as a contingency fund in case or other State-approved expenditures. Federal and State civil penalties were in addition to criminal fines of $15 million levied against Shell in a separate criminal case.

[edit] Groundwater contamination by Shell in USA

Shell Oil Company, along with many other defendants, has been sued in the USA by public water suppliers and governmental agencies, alleging responsibility for groundwater contamination caused by releases of gasoline containing oxygenate additives. Most of the lawsuits seek recovery of alleged damages and clean-up costs. Some claim punitive damages.

In October 2006, Shell Oil Company and a subsidiary company, Equilon Enterprises, agreed to pay $6.5 million in a lawsuit settlement with Riverside County California. The agreement included $3.6 million in civil penalties and ordered Shell and Equilon to stop any future violations of California state Health and Safety laws. The lawsuit alleged 56 state law infringements regarding maintenance of underground storage tanks and handling of hazardous materials and waste. Stephanie Weissman, Riverside County senior deputy district attorney with the office's Environmental Crimes Unit alleged leaks from underground gasoline storage tanks can contaminate groundwater and have long-term negative impact on the environment. According to a report published by the Press-Enterprise newspaper, “The court action stemmed from a discovery in 2003 by the Riverside County Department of Environmental Health Hazardous Materials Division that Equilon had failed to report or fix leaking underground storage tanks at three Coachella Valley gas stations.” The article went on to say that “Violations were later found at two other sites in western Riverside County”. Shell and Equilon, which owns and operates the gas stations, denied any wrongdoing. Equilon president, David Sexton, claimed in a statement that Shell had spent $55 million in the previous nine years to improve underground storage tanks and equipment at its gas stations in California. As part of the settlement, over $1 million is being spent by Equilon for the installation of sensors and locking mechanisms at its stations.

According to information on pages 146 and 147 of Shell’s Annual Report and Form 20-F for year ending December 31, 2006, there were approximately 69 pending lawsuits as of the December 31, 2006 date, asserting claims against SOC and other defendants including other major energy and refining companies. The report states that “In 19 of the lawsuits, plaintiffs allege aggregate compensatory damages of approximately $1.25 billion and aggregate punitive damages of approximately $3.35 billion.” Shell considers the amounts claimed by plaintiffs in the pleadings to be “highly speculative”. For this reason no financial provision has been made for the relevant cases. Shell also says that there are “significant unresolved legal questions”. The report states that monetary damages have not yet been claimed in the other 50 lawsuits.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on 16 March 2007 that Shell Oil Company and two railroad corporations must pay the costs of cleaning up a toxic waste site near Arvin the Central Valley, in California. The Court confirmed an earlier ruling regarding both the railroad corporations and Shell’s liability, deciding that “The railroads and Shell are jointly and severally liable for the harm at the Arvin site”. A local newspaper, the Central Valley Business Times, reported twenty years of leakage and spread of “Shell-produced agricultural chemicals: the soil fumigants D-D and Nemagon. D-D and Nemagon — members of a class of chemicals called nematocides hazardous materials in violation of several hazardous waste laws”. According to the newspaper report, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency investigated separately and found evidence of soil and groundwater contamination at an Arvin facility.

On 29 June 2007 The Bakersfield Californian newspaper reported that Shell Oil which had shut down on a temporary basis a soil cleanup operation at the Rosedale Highway refinery two years ago and had not restarted it despite repeated requests from state authorities. The article stated: “The shutdown had stalled efforts to clean up extensive groundwater contamination beneath the refinery, state officials said, allowing pollutants like MTBE, gasoline, diesel and benzene to seep further into the water table”. The oil refinery has been the site of many releases of oil and other petroleum products into the ground going back over two decades. In 1987 a pipeline leak resulted in an estimated 2 million gallons of partially refined fuel seeking into the ground. The leaks have continued with the most recent occurring in June 2007. On 27 August 2007, The Bakersfield Californian [2] reported that California State Senator, Dean Florez, had "asked the state’s attorney general to take legal action against Shell for the company’s inaction".

On 27 November 2007, The Bakersfield Californian published a further article this time reporting Shell Oil had restarted the clean up of pollution underneath the Rosedale Highway refinery that environmental regulators stated was shut down over two years previously without their consent. The article said: "The outer edge of the contamination comes close to the Kern River and a city well, both sources of drinking water for Bakersfield residents." The article went on to state that in 1987 an underground pipeline had leaked "an estimated 4 million to 5 million gallons of partially refined fuel into the ground." This was a substantially larger volume than had previouly been reported. A Shell spokeswoman was quoted as saying "the cleanup system will continue to remove pollution from the ground at the refinery for an additional 12 to 15 years."

[edit] Unauthorised venting and flaring of gas by Shell in USA

On 5 August 2003, the United States Department of Justice announced that Shell Oil Company had agreed to pay $49 million USD “to settle claims under the False Claims Act and various administrative provisions relating to its unauthorized venting and flaring of gas...” at its Auger platform, located some 150 miles off the coast of Louisiana and at other Shell facilities in the Gulf of Mexico. The settlement also resolved claims that Shell had failed to properly report, or pay royalties on the vented and flared gas. This was the third case settled by Shell Oil Company in the period 1999 to 2003 alleging that it had underpaid royalties owed to the United States. In 2000, Shell agreed to pay $56 million to settle claims that it undervalued gas produced from federal leases. Shell paid $110 million in 2001 to settle US Department of Justice claims that it undervalued crude oil extracted from federal lands.

[edit] Dutch Advertising Authority rules Shell advert misleading

On 5 July 2007, Reuters reported that the Dutch Advertising Standards Authority had ruled that a complaint made by Friends of the Earth Netherlands about a Royal Dutch Shell “green” themed advertising campaign was well founded and that the advertising was misleading. According to the article: “The environmental group had complained about an ad designed to show how waste carbon dioxide grew flowers and depicting a “refinery emitting flowers from its chimneys instead of smoke.” Shell maintained that it was creatively using its waste carbon dioxide to help grow flowers. The Financial Times also covered the story reporting that Friends of the Earth had “concluded that only a tiny proportion of Shell’s carbon dioxide emissions were piped into greenhouses”. The FT stated that “The environmental group took a similar argument to the Belgian advertising authority, which rejected it.” The FT went on to conclude that “Win or lose, the cases have brought attention to a clever term that the environmentalists hope will challenge claims dreamt up by big advertising agencies: greenwashing.”

[edit] The Vietnam War

Between 1972 and 1975, the last three years of the Vietnam War, Shell Vietnam (the local "operating company" of the Shell Group) controlled half of Vietnam’s oil supply. A book by Louis Wesseling, the President of Shell Vietnam during that period, revealed that Shell failed properly to control the oil shipments which flowed through indirect channels to the Vietcong. According to his book “Fuelling the war: revealing an oil company’s role in Vietnam”, <ref>Template:Cite book</ref> Shell knowingly employed as a manager a notorious former senior police official with a “fearsome and well-deserved reputation” who “had already shown his inclination to settle security matters by military action with little compunction about killing, innocents along with suspects”. Wesseling later served as CEO of Shell companies in South America and the Middle East and collaborated on drafting the "Shell Group Business Principles".

[edit] Nigeria

Template:See also Shell operates a joint venture with the government in Nigeria under the name Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC). In the early 1990s, Ken Saro-Wiwa, president of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), led a non-violent campaign against environmental damage associated with the operations of multinational oil companies, including Shell and British Petroleum, in the Ogoni homelands of the Niger delta. In January 1993, MOSOP organised peaceful marches of around 300,000 Ogoni people – more than half of the Ogoni population – through four Ogoni centres, drawing international attention to his people's plight. That same year, Shell ceased operations in the Ogoni region. Shell's involvement in Nigeria came to the fore again in October 1990 when a peaceful protest in Umeuchem escalated. Eighty people were killed by the police and 495 homes were destroyed. Shell states that it merely asked for police protection. In 1995 Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others were executed. Ken Saro-Wiwa had implicated Shell during his “treason” trial by saying “…the ecological war that [Shell] has waged … will be called to question sooner than later and the …crime of the Company's dirty wars against the Ogoni people will also be punished.” Shell was also found to be providing money and supplies to the Nigerian military.<ref>Sierra Club, "Defending Those Who Give The Earth A Voice", 2000.</ref> When Saro-Wiwa was executed on trumped-up charges, some of the world-wide condemnation of the act was aimed at Shell, which was implicated by association.

In February 2002, a United States District Judge ruled that a case brought against Royal Dutch Shell by close relatives of Ken Saro-Wiwa could proceed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York under the Alien Tort Claims Act, the Torture Victim Protection Act and RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act.

Shell has continued to be condemned by bodies such as Christian Aid, who reported that despite Shell claims of "honesty integrity and respect for people" it had "failed to use its considerable interest in Nigeria to bring about change in the Niger delta".<ref>Christian Aid, Behind the Mask</ref> The report also found evidence of failures to clean up oil spills, pollution of rivers and water courses, and non-completion of promised projects for community improvement. In 2001 a study into the community projects was leaked to The Economist. It reported that of 81 projects visited by the reviewers of the scheme, 20 did not exist, 36 were partially successful and 25 were working.

June 30th 2009, Amnesty International released a report titled Nigeria: Petroleum, Pollution and Poverty (Summary) extremely critical of Shell Petroleum Development Company’s (SPDC) human rights violations in the Niger Delta.

[edit] Darfur region of Sudan

The Board of Trustees of Amherst College located in Amherst, Massachusetts, passed a resolution on 14 January 2006 to divest all investments in multinational companies “identified as having direct business ties to the Sudanese government or companies whose business activities are in direct support of these companies and the activities of the government”. The divestment action was taken based on alleged human atrocities "wholly inconsistent with the moral and ethical values of Amherst College" and alleged evidence of genocide against the people of the Darfur region allegedly committed by the Sudanese government. Royal Dutch Shell Plc was identified as one of the multinationals banned for investment purposes because of its business operations in Sudan.

[edit] Exchange Control speculation in Japan

Shell (Showa Shell) petrol station in Japan

Showa Shell Sekiyu KK is a Joint Venture downstream oil company in Japan in which Shell had a 50% share (now 40%) and which markets under the Shell brand. In 1993 the company sustained losses of 165 billion yen (approx US$1.4billion) from unauthorised forward currency transactions. The company's treasury department, expecting the U.S. dollar to rise against the yen, bought forward dollars on futures markets at around 145 yen. Unfortunately, the dollar decreased to 120 yen in 1993 causing huge foreign exchange losses for the firm. The scandal prompted Shell to review its internal controls, especially in Joint Ventures, and according to a report in The International Herald Tribune published on 26 February 1993, resulted in the resignations of four top executives of Showa Shell Sekiyu and the firing of a fifth. John Jennings, then a Shell Group Managing Director, was quoted in the article as saying that the unauthorised currency speculation was “a gross contravention of established rules and practices which was deliberately concealed."

[edit] Job reference violation in the United States

In 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court in a unanimous decision ruled that under Federal law, U.S. employers must not write bad job references, or otherwise retaliate against former employees as a punishment for filing job discrimination complaints. The case involved a former Shell employee, Charles T. Robinson, who claimed Shell Oil Company fired him from his sales job because he is black. While his race discrimination lawsuit was pending, Robinson applied for a job with another company who contacted Shell seeking a reference. Shell gave Robinson an unfavourable rating and said it would not rehire him. According to an article published by The Washington Post in February 1997, The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission submitted a "friend of the court" brief, saying that if former employees were not protected, they "would be chilled from taking action to report or oppose discrimination." The article went on to say that the Court agreed with the view expressed by the EEOC. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the court, "EEOC quite persuasively maintains that it would be destructive to [the purposes of anti-bias law] for an employer to be able to retaliate with impunity." Robinson eventually lost his original race discrimination case against Shell Oil Company.

[edit] Environmental law infringements in Brazil

In 1951, Shell Chemicals of Brazil built a storage tank and terminal in its chemical plant in Paulinia, 120 kilometres north-west of São Paulo, beginning operations that last to the present. A related pesticide plant was also founded, but moved out during a regional de-industrialisation in the 1970s. While both plants' operations were in general accordance with local and international standards for disposals of waste, these standards were later found to be lacking. Furthermore, among the pesticides produced were "drins" -- endrin, dieldrin and aldrin, pesticides later discontinued due to their toxic, persistent and bioaccumulative nature. In the early 1990s, Greenpeace and the Union of Workers in the Mining and Petroleum sector (Sinpetrol) first raised charges that the area's soil, air and water were contaminated with heavy metals (most notably, lead) and drins.[3]

In February 2001, Shell admitted responsibility according to a Greenpeace report, for the contamination by the organochlorin pesticides. The report indicates that drins were found in the groundwater and soil under the farms located between the plant and the Atibaia River, a tributary of the Piracicaba River, providing water to cities in the region. Shell still denies responsibility for the lead contamination, pointing out that the contamination is organic lead, while theirs was rendered inorganic before disposal. According to the report, while Shell accepted responsibility for the pollution, it claimed that it has not been established whether the pollution threatens the health of the local population. Shell conducted blood tests among local residents and concluded that the levels of toxins present in their blood were not harmful. In June 2002, São Paulo state's environmental watchdog Cetesb, fined Shell “for toxic pesticide pollution”. According to a March 2003 article in Ode, an international magazine, a Shell official stated: “If there is proof that our products have caused harm then we will immediately take responsibility for it. That is our global policy”. According to the same article, many people were allegedly sick with ailments including cancerous growths, intestinal disorders, lung diseases and children with neurological defects.

According to Jose Antonio Puppim de Oliveira, a professor at the Brazilian School of Public and Business Administration, Shell's stance toward the case has been: "The company wants to treat the case purely from the scientific point of view by using the best methods and techniques of risk assessment and risk management. They see no point in spending huge amounts of resources to clean up the area completely because the risk is overcome if no one drinks the subterranean water. Moreover, Shell claims other companies may also be responsible and the problem quite possibly may continue into the future. The cleanup will not improve the quality of life of Vila Carioca or São Paulo's inhabitants since underground contamination and other environmental problems such as air and water pollution are common in the city. Shell argues that it prefers to use its resources to contribute to the society in a more sensible way with other social and environmental initiatives."[4]

In January 2005, Shell was reportedly ordered by a judge to stop dumping chemical wastes and to decontaminate drinking water sourcesTemplate:Fact. The company was additionally fined four times by the state environmental agency between 1993 and 2003. The report by Friends of the Earth claims health problems for employees and those living nearby, who were allegedly found to have high concentrations of heavy metals and pesticides in their blood. Neither Shell nor the state environmental agency (CETESB) recognised the test as valid, claiming that the methodology was flawed.[5]

[edit] Brent Spar

Template:See also Shell was also challenged by Greenpeace for plans for subsea disposal of the Brent Spar, an old oil transport and hub station located in the North Sea, into the North Atlantic. Shell eventually agreed to disassemble it onshore in Norway, although it has always maintained that its original plan to sink the platform was safer and better for the environment.

On disposal, it was proved that the Greenpeace claims for toxic content were wrong.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] Brent Bravo

Template:See also

Brent Bravo is an offshore production platform operated in the North Sea by Shell UK Exploration and Production (Shell Expro). On 11 September 2003 two workers on the platform, Sean McCue and Keith Moncrieff, were inspecting pipework when they were overcome by a large release of gas and died. On 27 April 2005, following a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation, Shell was fined £900,000 after pleading guilty to offenses under health and safety legislation.[6]. The HSE said after the case that “…Shell … has admitted to fundamental failures in health and safety management on Brent Bravo. This has been reflected in the penalties imposed by the court today. Essential barriers to the unplanned release of hydrocarbon gas that should have been in place were not [and] as a direct consequence of these failures, two men died.” The results of a subsequent Fatal Accident Inquiry released on 18 July 2006 concluded that the deaths “might reasonably have been prevented”. On 13 March 2007, BBC News reported that Shell had settled out of court a claim for £800,000 pounds brought by the partner of Keith Moncrieff.

On 1 September 2007, the Daily Mail newspaper published an article saying Shell was “rattled” and put on the “back foot” by a joint Shell North Sea safety campaign conducted by Bill Campbell, the former Group Auditor of Shell International and the owners of the website, Alfred and John Donovan.

On 1 January 2005 another worker, electrician Graeme Burns, died while carrying out maintenance work on Brent Bravo [7]. On 31 May 2005, a water condensate tank exploded at a NAM gas production facility near Warffum in The Netherlands. The two victims were both contractors’. NAM, a Shell/Esso joint venture, operating in The Netherlands issued a press statement on 31 May 2005.

[edit] Tainted Shell gasoline in North America

In May 2004 a Shell spokeswoman confirmed that over 500 Shell and Texaco service stations in Louisiana and Florida had stopped selling tainted gasoline which caused fuel gauges to malfunction. Shell set up a hot line for drivers concerned they might have purchased the tainted gasoline. There were a number of news reports about the tainted fuel, alleged inadequate response by Shell and of the filing of lawsuits. Shell issued a press statement, extracts from which were quoted in a press release from the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office in June 2004.

In April 2007, a U.S. District Judge sealed the records on how he had divided $6.8 million in legal fees among lawyers representing plaintiffs in the 2004 federal class action lawsuit which arose from the fuel gauge damage. The case was brought on behalf of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida residents whose fuel gauges broke after they purchased Shell Oil Co. gasoline containing too much sulfur over several weeks starting in May 2004. The tainted gasoline had been produced at the Shell-Motiva oil refinery in Norco, Louisiana. An article published by The Times-Picayune newspaper stated: “Soon after the problem emerged, Shell volunteered to fix broken gauges in tens of thousands of vehicles at a cost of $200 to $1,000 each, depending on the car model. By September 2004, Shell had processed about 81,000 claims, meaning the firm by that time could have spent tens of millions on the repairs”. The article said that “attorneys for both sides reached a settlement that called for Shell to expand the repair program and provide $3.7 million to cover general damages”.

In Canada, Shell Canada experienced similar problems also stemming from sulfur contamination of fuel which created malfunction of fuel gauges. An article published by The Toronto Star in June 2004 alleged that "The reaction by Shell in the United States differs from how the company handled customers in the Toronto region last spring and summer".

[edit] Retirement fund deficiencies in Malaysia

In September 2004, 399 ex-employees of Shell won a lawsuit at the Miri High Court in Malaysia concerning the administration by the defendant Shell Group companies of Shell employee retirement funds. The Shell companies in question - Sarawak Shell Bhd and Sabah Shell Petroleum Co Ltd - were ordered to pay nearly RM100 million to the plaintiffs, 399 former employees known as Project Team A, who filed their suit on 29 November 2002 alleging an unlawful deduction from their retirement funds. According to a report of the hearing, counsel for the plaintiffs objected to an application by Shell for a stay on the grounds that “a majority of the plaintiffs are well over the age of 60 and in weak and declining health”. A story in the New Straits Times published on 7 October 2004 reported in relation to the former Shell employees, that “Some have died. Others are losing their memory and many are ailing.” According to another news report, the suit was said to be the first "in the legal history of Malaysia involving the largest number of ex-employees suing their former employers and involving such a big claim". The defendants filed an appeal against the decision.

The Malaysian Court of Appeal decided in October 2005 that it had jurisdiction to hear the appeal and in a judgment dated 30 March 2007, overturned the judgment. According to one report, when announcing the decision in court, one of the three Appeal Court judges stated as grounds for the decision: “we don’t believe a company like Shell would do anything like this to employees”. In paragraph 26 on page 24 of the judgment it was stated in reference to Shell: “…to deduct employer’s EPF contributions from the lump sum would not only expose them to accusations of illegal action and fraud on employees but would result in no employee getting any benefit from the RBF and in the RBF becoming a futile exercise, and it is inconceivable that those companies would embark on such an absurd, pointless and perilous undertaking.”

On 20 November 2007, an [8] article published by the Borneo Post reported "The Federal Court (FC) here has granted leave or permission to 399 former employees of two major petroleum corporations to appeal against their ex-employers in connection with their pension funds. The FC yesterday agreed that there was merit to their application for leave."

[edit] Refinery contamination in Texas

In 1901, Port Arthur, Texas was fortunate in being the nearest port to the first oil gusher in the state of Texas. Motiva Enterprises LLC, a US company jointly owned by Shell and the government of Saudi Arabia, own and operate an oil refinery in Port Arthur which was originally founded by the oil company Texaco in 1903. The refinery has been the subject of an environmental campaign led by Hilton Kelley, who together with 1,200 fellow residents of Port Arthur, has launched a class action lawsuit against Shell alleging breach of environmental human rights. In a report in The Guardian newspaper published in the UK on 24 June 2004, Kelley claimed “the Shell refinery was emitting 200-300 times the allowed emissions of chemicals - many of them carcinogenic. He was also quoted as alleging that "children suffered from asthma and cancerous tumours while women, including members of his family, had had their uterus and ovaries removed". According to a BBC TV News programme in the UK, “Newsnight”, broadcast on 28 October 2004, a study in the year 2000 found that residents “have high levels of have levels of respiratory disease and immune-system problems way above those of a similar control group sited 60 miles away.” Newsnight also reported that “when a federal air quality van toured the area in January 2003, it found hot spots of cancer-causing and toxic chemicals”. However, the origin of the pollution is unclear because four other oil facilities operate in the town.

[edit] Oil Refinery in Durban

The Sapref, oil refinery in Durban, the largest in South Africa (172,000 barrels per day) , is jointly owned by Shell and BP, and has been accused by protesters of having a "dismal pollution record which has claimed the lives of many residents" [9]. Sapref themselves admitted in writing to residents, that the plant did not have a "perfect environmental and social performance record". The main accusation is that Shell/BP applied double standards allowing the South African plant to be far lest circumspect on environmental controls than in its refineries elsewhere in the world. [10]. Critics of Shell pointed to the company’s “Statement of General Business Principles” [11] which stated: “We aim to be good neighbors by continuously improving the ways in which we contribute directly or indirectly to the general well-being of the communities in which we work.”. Protest groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth said that Shell fell far short of this ambition at its Joint Venture refinery in Durban.

[edit] Ireland

Template:See also In Ireland, Shell has been criticised, along with Statoil and Marathon Oil, for its plans to pipe unrefined gas from the Corrib Gas Field onshore through a pipeline that would pass close to people's houses (often within the pipe's blast radius), en route to a refinery 9 km inland, in northwest County Mayo. The plans were originally made by Enterprise Oil and inherited by Shell when they acquired this company in 2002. In the summer of 2005 five local men were sent to prison for three months on the basis of an injunction obtained by the company - these men became known as the Rossport Five. There is currently a campaign by local residents, Shell To Sea, whose main aims have been to get Shell to change their plans for the pipeline and refinery. In April 2007, in a victory for the Shell to Sea campaign, the Irish High Court ruled that Shell cannot use their original intended pipeline route. As of May 2007, they have no plan for bringing the gas from the sea to the site of the refinery at Bellinaboy, although they have optimistically decided to continue construction there. There is also a solidarity camp where people from outside the locality who support the campaign have come to live and help out.

The opposition to Shell's plans have been for a number of reasons:

  • Questions over the safety of the proposed pipeline - protestors have called for the gas to be refined at sea (as is the case with the Kinsale gas field, Ireland's only gas field currently being exploited), instead of running a pipeline through residential areas and areas that have a history of major landslides.
  • Shell's attempts to force the project through without any meaningful consultation with local residents.
  • The Fianna Fáil-led Irish government's decision to allow the consortium of companies led by Shell to pay no royalties, and to enjoy what a director of Statoil called "the most generous terms in the world for oil and gas companies". Ray Burke, who along with current Taoiseach Bertie Ahern changed the laws in the late 1980s and early 1990s to benefit the oil companies, was jailed for six months in 2005. Burke and Ahern are currently being investigated by the Mahon Tribunal on suspicion of corruption.

Despite the protests Shell - aided by scores of Gardaí (police) from throughout the Republic of Ireland - attempted to restart work at the onshore terminal site at Bellanaboy on 3 October 2006.

Since then contractors employed by Shell have been escorted to the site by a large force of police. A political decision by the Irish government to avoid arresting protestors in order to damp down the negative publicity around the project led inevitably to a more physical police operation. At a demonstration on November 10th 2006 the police forced a group of protesters off the road by beating them with batons, causing many injuries and some hospitalisations. Over twenty Gardaí are currently being investigated on charges of police brutality.

Shell has claimed that the development is welcomed by most of the local population, that all planning regulations are being followed and that it has been responsive to local concerns. See [12]. These claims have been rubbished by the local parish priest, Fr. Nallen, who told an Environmental Protection Agency hearing in Belmullet that a majority of locals are against the project. The original planning inspection report declared that the project was "in no way sustainable" and "unsuited for such a scenic and remote environment". This report was ignored after pressure from the government on An Bord Pleanála resulted in a U-turn by the planning body.

[edit] Oil and gas reserves recategorisation

The announcement on 9 January 2004 by the Royal Dutch Shell Group of the downgrading of its hydrocarbon reserves drew fire from shareholders, financial analysts, the media (e.g. news report 20 April 2004) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after announcing the recategorisation of its hydrocarbon reserves, admitting that a significant share of reserves previously booked as proven did not fulfill the requirements for proof under the US regulatory provisions. According to the SEC Cease and Desist Orderof 24 August 2004, Shell overstated proved reserves reported in its 2002 Form 20-F by 4.47 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe), or approximately 23%. The order further concludes that Shell also overstated the standardised measure of future cash flows reported in this filing by approximately $6.6 billion. Shell corrected these overstatements in an amended filing on 2 July 2004, which reflected the degree of Shell's overstatements for the years 1997 to 2002. At the time of announcing the order against Shell, the SEC simultaneously made known its intention to "pin the reserves scandal on individuals" reportedly stating that it intended to take action against people inside and outside the company.

Shell's Annual Report and Accounts 2003 restated proven reserves reduced by 6.648 mn USD in 2001 and reduced by 6.469 mn USD in 2002. This corresponds to roughly 13% of the previous proven reserves base. In addition, it was identified that in previous years leading management's bonus payments were linked to the proven reserves base. This practice has since been discontinued. The controversy over the exaggeration of the oil and gas reserves of Shell resulted in the resignation of the then chairman Sir Philip Watts[13], and the departure of the head of the Exploration and Production business Walter van der Vijver and the CFO Judy Boynton.

In March 2004 The Economist reported that American law firm Berger & Montague had claimed that Shell “recklessly violated accounting rules and guidelines, which resulted in an enormous and shocking overstatement of oil and gas reserves" (the law firm was then suing Shell on behalf of shareholders claiming that the overstatement had harmed shareholders as they had “severely overstated” the firm's market value). The Economist further reported that Berger was only one of several law firms launching cases. The article went on to imply that the reserves recategorisation was the result of active, long term problems, calling it "a scam of Enron proportions." [14]

As a further consequence of the reserves recategorisation, on 19 April 2004, Bloomberg reported that the Royal Dutch/Shell Group had lost its AAA credit rating with Standard & Poor's which it had previously maintained for 14 years.

On 24 August 2004, the UK financial regulator, the Financial Services Authority (the FSA) announced that it had imposed a penalty of £17 million pounds (UK) on The “Shell” Transport and Trading Company P.l.c. and The Royal Dutch Petroleum Company NV. The FSA considered that: "Shell announced false or misleading proved reserves and reserves replacement ratios to the market throughout the period 1998 to 2003 inclusive." The FSA also considered that Shell’s misconduct amounted to “market abuse” on the basis that the market “was likely to have been, given a false or misleading impression as to the price or value of UK listed Shell shares…”(p11: para60) The FSA further considered that Shell’s actions were particularly serious, meriting a substantial penalty. However, the level of penalty reflected the high degree of cooperation which Shell had shown during the FSA investigation. On the same date, the SEC announced a fine of $70 million USD on Shell making a combined fine of approximately $150 million USD by the UK and U.S. financial regulators.

In July 2006 Shell confirmed [15] that the company had set aside $500m to settle outstanding class action litigation in respect of the reserves mis-statement issue.

In January 2006, Shell was also sued by a group of Dutch pension funds allegedly holding about 5% of Shell's shares[16].

A section of page 147 of Shell’s Annual Report and Form 20-F for year ending December 31, 2006, published in March 2007 deals with the "Recategorisation of hydrocarbon reserves". It relates to the consolidated shareholder class action pending in the US District Court for New Jersey. The lead plaintiffs are the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System and the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System. The remaining defendants in the action are Royal Dutch Petroleum Company (merged into Shell Petroleum N.V.), The “Shell” Transport and Trading Company, plc, former Shell directors, Sir Philip Watts and Judith Boynton, and Shell auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, KPMG Accountants N.V., and KPMG International. Related class actions filed on 6 January 2006 by Dutch pension funds, and German and Luxembourg institutional shareholders, are consolidated with the existing class action for pre-trial purposes. The preliminary stage of the litigation is completed. An amended complaint has been filed and answered by the defendants. Discovery has commenced. According to the same Shell Annual Report, the Court will hold hearings in June 2007 on various legal issues including plaintiffs’ motion for class certification and on whether federal securities laws apply to the claims of non-US potential class members who purchased Shell’s securities on foreign markets. The court will also decide various summary judgement motions being filed by Shell.

[edit] Sakhalin

Sakhalin-II is an oil and gas project led by Shell on Sakhalin Island in Russia that involves the piping of oil and gas to an oil terminal and the construction of Russia's first liquefied natural gas LNG plant. The project was controversial from the start for cost, environmental and community relations reasons. In the summer of 2005 Sakhalin Energy, the project operator, doubled its estimated capital costs to around $20 billion and LNG production was delayed until 2008. Shell expressed surprise at this huge increase. Environmental reasons accounted for part of the budgetary errors.

The originally negotiated contract was a “production sharing agreement” which gave the Russian state revenues only after Shell and the other partner companies had recouped their costs and made a substantial return on their investments. Thus Shell was substantially protected from cost overruns which would lead to lower and later income for Russia (and for Shell). This was the main reason for the Russians to insist on a new deal, involving Gazprom and for the charge of greed being levelled at Shell by many independent observers of the project.[17]

The environmental and social concerns came to a head at the end of November 2005 when the Chief Executive of WWF said that it would have a "negative impact on Sakhalin's people and environment". The timing of this attack was difficult for Shell and the other consortium partners as they were seeking financing for the project from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) at that time.

The spiraling project costs and other difficulties have continued to undermine confidence in Shell's reputation for good project management. On 22 October 2006 an article in The Observer reported that a leaked internal report by the Russian government estimated that the final cost would now reach $28 billion.

In late 2006, Shell and its partners in Sakhalin Energy reached an agreement with Gazprom for the Kremlin controlled company to become the majority shareholder in the venture. This was described as a "Capitulation" by The Economist. [18]. Russian President Putin attended the signing ceremony in Moscow and indicated that environmental issues had been resolved. In a news report on 23 December 2006, The Sunday Telegraph claimed that Shell had been bullied into the deal by the Russian authorities.

[edit] The Shell Foundation

On 28 September 2006, an article published in The Guardian newspaper alleged that "An attempt by Shell to portray itself as a model of corporate social responsibility was undermined last night after Whitehall documents showed its charitable arm discussing a key commercial project with a British government minister." The article entitled "Campaigners attack Shell’s charity arm over Sakhalin talks" related to The Shell Foundation. The Charity Commission subsequently conducted an inquiry and according to an article published in The Guardian on 17 October 2006, concluded that 'The Shell Foundation “has fallen short of the good governance and decision-making that we expect from large charities”.

[edit] Bonus schemes

In 2004 Wall Street regulators investigated [19]whether members of Shell’s management were encouraged by executive bonus schemes to over-state the oil giant’s reserves. It was reported that some 5 per cent of the performance score-card of about 200 executives in Shell’s exploration and production unit was tied to the company’s reserves replacement ratio. Shell's remuneration policy changed significantly between 1990 and 2005 with senior executives in all functions being substantially rewarded for achieving short-term performance related targets. When Shell's Sakhalin deal unravelled in 2006 there was comment that many of the senior managers who negotiated the deal in the first place had received bonuses based on the earnings expectations of that deal as they then applied. Although much less favourable terms were forced on Shell in the 2006 renegotiations it is not believed that any return of personal bonuses from these executives were requested.

[edit] Domain name oversight

Due to an oversight, Shell failed to register the top level internet domain name for the new company, In May 2005 it launched proceedings to request the transfer of the domain name, along with two other domain names relating to Shell including, from their holder, Alfred Donovan, a long-standing activist against Shell. Shell lost the case.

[edit] Tell Shell Forum

In 1999 Shell was the first multinational to set up an online discussion facility for its stakeholders and the public to engage in open debate about its activities – known as the "Tell Shell Forum". Shell said at the time “We genuinely do welcome all comments, positive and negative... this website is in itself evidence that we are interested in seeking your views and willing to listen and respond.” Shell was criticised for withdrawing the forum in late 2005. A replacement to the forum was promised, but has not appeared. The discussions on the Shell Forum have been archived and are available. [20]

[edit] Fictitious trades

In January 2006, Royal Dutch Shell Plc agreed to a $300,000 settlement in respect of allegations that “two of its subsidiaries engaged in “fictitious” crude oil futures trades on the New York Mercantile Exchange.” Shell Trading U.S., located in Houston and London-based Shell International Trading and Shipping, agreed to pay $200,000 to settle a Commodity Futures Trading Commission case. Nigel Catterall, then head of the futures desk for Shell Trading U.S. agreed to pay $100,000. Bloomberg reported that Catterall and Shell engaged in prearranged trades for oil futures at least five times between November 2003 and March 2004. The CFTC acknowledged that Shell had cooperated in the investigation. According to the Bloomberg story (one on many news reports on the case), a commission spokesman, Dennis Holden, would not comment on how the trading violations came to light.

[edit] Participation in price fixing cartels

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." A 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 lOpc 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.

[edit] Use of charity fund raising song as internal motivational anthem

Shell attracted further controversy in 2006 [21] when they adopted the music, and some of the lyrics, of the song We Are the World (renamed “Growing and Winning” for an internal motivational anthem. Intended to inspire staff the words included such phrases as “Now we’re on a journey, to streamline the way we work, and build a global enterprise” and “…we have moved on, growing day by day sharing strengths, we practice what is best - we are all a part of Shell’s global family” To listen follow link: Image:We are all Winners2.ogg

[edit] Iran

Shell courted controversy in January 2007 when they announced that they had signed a deal to help Iran develop a major gas field in defiance of pressure from the United States. [22]

Shell has been active in Iran for many years. Shell Iran has an office in Tehran [23] from which various downstream businesses are managed and which is also the centre for new exploration and production and other projects. In 1999 Shell signed an agreement with the National Iranian Oil Company to redevelop the Soroosh and Nowrooz offshore oil fields and Shell executives made it clear at the time of the signing how much the company valued its relationship with Iran [24]. Drilling commenced in 2001. Whilst American oil companies were prohibited by sanctions from working in Iran Shell, along with some other European companies (e.g. Repsol), continued to operate and pursue new opportunities in the country. This was in contrast with BP who decided not to be involved at a time when the Iranian regime was criticised for its anti-western stance, its suspected nuclear weapons programme, its support for the insurgencies in Palestine and Iraq and its institutionalised anti-Israeli and holocaust denial rhetoric.

On 27 July 2007, The Daily Telegraph published an article under the headline “Shell’s Iran venture to continue”. It reported that “Royal Dutch Shell’s chief executive Jeroen van der Veer said there were no plans to halt preparatory work on possible investments in Iran, despite renewed pressure about the risks of operating in a country where America has imposed economic sanctions.” The article said that Shell had signed an initial “$10bn (£4.9bn) agreement with the Iranian government to develop two phases of the South Pars gas field”. It also revealed that a number of U.S. pension funds had warned Shell about potential consequences of business links with Teheran when worsening US-Iran relations could “impact companies doing business there.” On 22 September 2007, The Times newspaper reported “Washington has repeatedly pressed European banks and energy companies to cease investing in a state it lists as a state sponsor of terrorism. Firms that could be hard hit include the Anglo-Dutch oil giant, Shell, which is considering a multi-billion pound project in Iran to produce natural gas.” On 20 September 2007 The Houston Chronicle reported “Florida to drop $1.3 billion in Iran, Sudan investments”. It said that Florida’s largest investment, $303 million, “is with Royal Dutch Shell PLC, headquartered in London, which operates in Iran but not Sudan.” A Shell spokesperson was reported as saying that Shell was “monitoring Florida’s law and similar proposals in other states and Congress to assess their potential affect on the company’s operations.” The Associated Press reported on 18 September 2007, that Royal Dutch Shell plc had paid Covington & Burling LLP $100,000 to lobby Congress and the U.S. State Department “to oppose economic sanctions against Shell...”

[edit] Plagiarism controversy over Sakhalin-2 motivational memo

On 5 June 2007, the Financial Times published on the website, an article under the headline: Pipeliners All!’ Shell's memo to Sakhalin The following morning, ironically in view of subsequent developments, D Day the 6th of June , a revised article was published on and on the front page of the Financial Times newspaper under the headline: 'Pipeliners All' memo urges Shell workers to bounce off the bottom. The FT article, also published by other news sources including MSNBC, was about a leaked Shell internal motivational memo in the form of an email circulated to Shell staff by David Greer, the Deputy Chief Executive of the Sakhalin Energy Investment Company - SEIC - described as "the consortium that has run Royal Dutch Shell's Sakhalin-2 project". Mr Greer is a senior Shell executive on assignment to the Sakhalin-2 project in Russia. The article featured a number of stirring quotes from the memo which according to the article "reveals the pressure the company is under to hit its schedule of delivering its first shipments of liquefied natural gas by the second half of next year and the unusual management techniques he is using".

The article stated that "The memo was leaked to the website, which has long been a thorn in Shell’s side. It also said that Shell had confirmed the e-mail was genuine but "was reluctant to discuss it further". The entire memo was published on the website. The FT also conducted a separate online poll asking the question: "Is this the worst motivational memo ever?"

One passage in the motivational memo was so striking that Time Magazine published it in their “Quotes of the Day” feature on 6 June 2007: “… So Lead me, Follow me or Get out of my way; Success is how we bounce when we are on the bottom”.

A keen eyed FT reader subsequently noticed that inspirational passages were appropriated from a famous speech given by the legendary U.S. General George S Patton, on 5 June 1944 on the eve of D-Day. On 7 June 2007, a quarter page follow-up article was published in the Financial Times newspaper and on the website, under the headline: "Sakhalin motivational memo borrows heavily from Patton”. Two photographs were displayed side-by-side of General Patton and David Greer. Under each photograph quotes were compared from the Patton speech and the Greer memo. The first quote from Patton stated: "When you, here, everyone of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players." The comparison quote from Greer stated: "When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the big league ball players, the toughest boxers." The FT article recalled the saying "Talent borrows, genius steals". It gave another example of the alleged plagiarism saying "Mr Greer's declaration that 'I despise cowards and play to win all the time' is almost straight from the Patton script. The article went on to say "Another of Mr Greer's ringing phrases, 'Lead me, follow me or get out of my way' is also from General Patton, who was himself adapting quotation from Tom Paine, the radical, in 1776".

On 9 June 2007, The Moscow Times published a front page article under the heading: Sakhalin Pep Talk From 'Old Blood and Guts' The article said: “Greer's memo, which was leaked to an anti-Shell web site,, appears to show the pressure that he and his fellow managers have been under, as it talks of "the risk of becoming a team that doesn't want to fight and lacks confidence in its own ability." It went on to quote from some of the same passages featured in the FT articles and then stated “In substituting "pipeliners and engineers" for Patton's "American he-men" heroes, however, Greer's memo reads more like a cross with a pep talk by David Brent, the haplessly self-deluding boss from the BBC's television comedy show "The Office." The article recounts how The Moscow Times attempted without success to make contact with David Greer and with recipients of the email, who either claimed they had not seen it or were unwilling to comment. The Moscow Times did manage to interview Oleg Mitvol the Russian environmental official who “had led the charge against Shell's management of Sakhalin-2”. Mitvol was quoted as saying “Greer's bombastic memo had made him laugh”. and that “It was very much in Sakhalin Energy's style and highlighted the cause of the project's troubles”. The quote attributed to Mitvol continued: "Everyone thought that the problems with the pipeline on Sakhalin were all because of me, but now from this text you can see that the problems have to do with Sakhalin Energy and some of their managers."

On Monday 11 June 2007, the Financial Times published a further article on the subject, this time headlined: “Motivational memos must make their message clear”. One of the opening paragraphs stated: “The memo ( is crass, poorly punctuated and most of it wasn't even written by its author, David Greer, deputy chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell's Sakhalin Energy Investment Company. He had lifted the words of General George S. Patton with no attribution, and clumsily adapted them to spur on his team of recalcitrant pipeline engineers”. The author of the article, Lucy Kellaway, went on to say: “But does his memo really deserve to be named the worst ever? The verdict from visitors to is that yes it does, just”. Kellaway answered her own question writing: “I don't agree. Each time I look at it, I like it more. Not only is it not the worst motivational e-mail ever written, it is actually one of the better ones”. Her article set out her reasons for reaching that conclusion. Kellaway went on to say “Though I admire the style of Greer I still don't expect his exhortations will make any of his deviant engineers work harder”.

On Friday 22 June 2007, The Moscow Times published a front page story with the headline: "Sakhalin Energy's Greer Steps Down". The newspaper reported that "David Greer, the Sakhalin Energy deputy CEO running the giant Sakhalin-2 oil and gas project, has left the company unexpectedly just weeks after a leaked e-mail he wrote revealed the pressure that managers working there were facing". The article said that Greer had been a 27-year Shell veteran and was leaving to pursue other business interests.

[edit] Nicaragua

In 2002, a $490 million judgement was made in favour of 466 plaintiffs by a Nicaraguan court jointly against Shell Oil Company (SOC) and three other named defendants (not affiliated with SOC), for alleged injuries resulting from alleged exposure to dibromochloropropane (DBCP), a pesticide manufactured by SOC. According to information on page 147 of Shell’s Annual Report and Form 20-F for year ending December 31, 2006, the pesticide was manufactured prior to 1978 and was not shipped or sold by SOC to any party in Nicaragua. The report states on page 147 that “As of December 31, 2006, nine additional Nicaraguan judgements that have been entered in the collective amount of approximately $1.2 billion in favour of 1,737 plaintiffs jointly against Shell Chemical Company and three other named defendants...” Shell claims that the Nicaraguan DBCP judgements are unenforceable in a US court.

[edit] Alaska

Shell is a major partner in a controversial oil exploration project in the Beaufort Sea off the northern coast of Alaska and 15 kilometres from the protected Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The project has been opposed by environmental protesters who have questioned the content of environmental impact assessments, stated that the project has been rushed with inadequate consultation and who have launched legal challenges against the scheme. “Green Groups act to halt Shell Plans” [25]

[edit] Safety

A number of incidents over the years led to criticism of Shell's Health and Safety record: Template:Main

[edit] Shell Canada Ltd stock acquisition

In 2003 Royal Dutch Shell appointed a British executive, and former Chairman of Shell in the UK, Clive Mather as president and CEO of Shell Canada. In this post Mr Mather was entitled to stock options in the Canadian company which at the time was traded on the Toronto stock exchange. In 2007 Royal Dutch Shell commenced an $8.7-billion takeover of the 22% of Shell Canada that it didn't own. In March 2007 the shareholders of Shell Canada Ltd. accepted a $45.00 per share cash offer from Royal Dutch Shell Plc <ref>[26]</ref>. In the year up to the acceptance of this offer shares in Shell Canada increased in value from $28.90 to just under $45 <ref></ref>.

As a consequence of the acquisition by Royal Dutch Shell of Shell Canada’s stock Mr Mather was able to benefit from the over 50% appreciation in the stock for which he held options. Shell Canada announced on Mr Mather’s retirement from the company shortly after the acquisition was completed that his total pay package for his final year (2007-07) was $4.9-million Including bonuses, stock options and pension contributions and that on leaving the company, Mr. Mather was additionally eligible for a lump sum payment equal to his annual gross salary. His total benefit in that year was, therefore $9.8 million of which some $5 million was from exercised stock options [27], making him one of the highest remunerated employees in Royal Dutch Shell.

[edit] Iraq

Shell has been criticised by some activists for seeking to benefit from the regime change in Iraq. The NGO "Hands off Iraqi Oil" has charged that "Shell has been working closely with the occupying powers to create a framework that will allow multinational companies to take control of Iraq's oil." And that they lobbying of Shell and other oil majors "...could result in multinational oil companies controlling and profiting from most of the country's oilfields for up to 20 years". [28]

[edit] Shell 93 out of 100 in Best Global Brands 2007 rankings

In the 100 Best Global Brands 2007 rankings compiled by Interbrand and published in August 2007 by Business Week magazine, BP was ranked at 84 out of 100. Information given alongside the ranking said that Oil spills in Alaska and a disastrous 2005 refinery explosion in Texas have undermined the promise of “Beyond Petroleum.” Shell was ranked lower at 93 out of 100 on the stated basis that “Shell was damaged by a scandal over overstated reserves but it is back on track in a strong oil market”.

[edit] Profound impact of the website

An "Accountability in Action" newsletter published in July 2007 by the One World Trust, an independent research organisation associated with the UK legislature and the United Nations, said: "As The Royal Dutch Shell plc website shows, a gripe site can have a profound impact on global organisations". The newsletter went on to say: "The site has not only cost Shell billions of dollars in Russia... "even Shell insiders unhappy with the company use it". The article concluded: " is just one of many examples of how the Internet makes it possible for concerned individuals to initiate discussion about global organisations, post and share information about organisational actions and their impact, and provide a common forum for affected stakeholders. At the very least, ��gripe sites’ such as this have a valuable watchdog function and remind global companies of the power of public opinion – thus forcing them to confront weaknesses in their own accountability".

[edit] Wiki-face lift for Shell?

On 26 August 2007, The Boston Globe in “a Globe Editorialpublished an article about Wikipedia, described as a “democratic fountain of facts” and related “WikiScanner” technology. It reported that the technology had exposed the fact that “Corporations, or at least people who use their computers, are brushing up their Wikipedia entries, deleting descriptions of controversies or buffing up facts. The companies giving themselves wiki-face lifts include Pepsi, Wal-Mart, and ExxonMobil”. The article went on to reveal: “In 2005, someone using a computer inside Royal Dutch Shell, the oil company, rewrote a benign description of the company, claiming it is "run by a group of geriatrics who find it impossible to make timely decisions and have an aversion to highly-profitable ventures."

[edit] Change of early retirement scheme in Ethiopia

On November 20, 2007 Shell Ethiopia Workers Union, which claims to represent around 90% of the total Shell Ethiopia workforce, filed a law suit at the Federal First Instance Court in Ethiopia alleging that Shell has illegally changed its early retirement policies in order to save money on lay-offs ahead of a possible closure of its operations in Ethiopia.

The complain states that Shell scrapped its “Special Early Retirement Scheme”, which pays up to 55 months salary to employees who leave company service earlier than their retirement date and replaced it with a ��Voluntary Severance Package’. The new package is alleged to reduce the amount of money to be paid to departing employees by up to 70pc while management members will get an additional payment ranging from 40pc to 100 pc.

The Statement of Claim points out that a few years ago Shell took over Agip Ethiopia and accepted 34 employees, 13 of whom opted to avail themselves of the special early retirement scheme, thereby receiving 55 months of salary.

On 2 December 2007, the Addis Fortune Newspaper in Ethiopia published an article entitled "Labour Union Sues Shell Over Severance Benefits".

On 17 December 2007, an Ethiopian newspaper, the Jimma Times, published an internet article under the headline “ETHIOPIAN Employees accuse Shell of raiding retirement fund”

The case is scheduled for hearing on December 28, 2007.

[edit] Brands & Subsidiaries

  • Shell Oil Company, Shell Nigeria, Shell Canada
  • 1 of the 6 "supermajors" [29]: "the 6 largest, non state-owned energy companies, as seen in popular financial mediums around the world" [30]

[edit] Notes


[edit] External links

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