From time to time we like to highlight events from the long often-dark history of Royal Dutch Shell.
From time to time we like to highlight events from the long often-dark history of Royal Dutch Shell.
We have previously published evidence that Shell conspired directly with Hitler, financed the Nazi Party, was anti-Semitic and sold out its own Dutch Jewish employees to the Nazis.
This article reveals how Shell collaborated in the Nazi annexation of Austria and Czechoslovakia in the run up years to World War 2.
Royal Dutch Shell and its long-term leader, Sir Henri Deterding, who became an ardent Nazi, had a close relationship with Adolf Hitler and his henchmen. Deterding was the subject of gushing praise by Hitler.
Rhenania-Ossag was the operating company for the Royal Dutch Shell Group in Nazi Germany. Shell was seeking an oil monopoly in the German market.
As one of the two biggest German oil companies and the main lube oil manufacturer, Rhenania-Ossag was an industry leader in Nazi Germany. Many of its workers and directors were Nazis.
The Nazi regime did not take control of Rhenania-Ossag until January 1940.
Following Hitler’s annexation of Austria on 12 March 1938 and the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, Royal Dutch Shell Group managing directors sanctioned Rhenania-Ossag taking over the Shell operating companies in those countries. This meant that a company dominated by the Nazis gained control over Shell companies in Austria and Czechoslovakia.
This clearly fell in with the Nazis plans, or otherwise it would not have been permitted.
This all took place before the outbreak of World War2 and while Royal Dutch Shell was still in control of all subsidiary companies, including Rhenania-Ossag.
Most of the above information comes directly from Volume 2 of “A History of Royal Dutch Shell” (page 78) and the remainder from Wikipedia.
We have already noted the Nazi government’s appointment of a Verwalterfor Rhenania-Ossag in January 1940; the Bataafsche Verwalter subsequently assumed formal control over the companies in countries under German occupation or in the German sphere of influence, such as Hungary.
Of the Group’s companies under Nazi control only Astra, Rhenania-Ossag, and Nafta Italiana continued operating at their former levels. As we have already seen, Astra was drawn into the German war effort. As one of the two biggest German oil companies and the main lube oil manufacturer, Rhenania-Ossag was an industry leader in the country. Following Hitler’s annexation of Austria and Czechoslovakia, Group managing directors sanctioned Rhenania-Ossag taking over the Shell companies in those countries.142 With the rupture of overseas supplies, Rhenania-Ossag turnover plummeted, but the company formed part of the official oil cartel and thus had a share in the processing and distribution of any oil coming in, which assured a steady, if meagre, flow of revenues. In December 1940 the Verwalter activated the hidden financial reserves built up during the 1930’s to raise the company’s capital from 75 million to 120 million Reichsmarks. A year later Rhenania-Ossag floated a bond loan of RM 60 million to payoff an old loan from Bataafsche and finance some new installations.143 Meanwhile, the relationship between parent company and subsidiary had to some extent been reversed by the appointment of Rhenania-Ossag’s research director as Verwalter over Bataafsche’s Amsterdam laboratory, to ensure that it would contribute to the German war effort.
Astra was the operating company of Royal Dutch Shell in Romania.
Nafta Italiana was the operating company of Royal Dutch Shell in Italy.
Austria was annexed into the German Third Reich on 12 March 1938.
Following the Anschluss of Nazi Germany and Austria, in March 1938, the conquest of Czechoslovakia became Hitler’s next ambition. The incorporation of the Sudetenland into Nazi Germany left the rest of Czechoslovakia weak and it became powerless to resist subsequent occupation. On 16 March 1939, the German Wehrmacht moved into the remainder of Czechoslovakia.
Staff meeting of the Shell oil factory in Hamburg Curio-Haus, 8 April 1935.
March of Rhenania-Ossag employees on 1 May 1938 (on the accompanying sign says: “Operating-cell Rhenania Ossag”)
What’s going on with Ireland’s natural resources? Many people believe that our government have given our oil away, and that ownership and control of the oil belongs completely to the various oil companies. Have our government really given it away? There’s so much speculation and spin around the whole topic – no one seems to be able to give a clear assessment of the situation. When confronted, politicians do what they do best – avoid answering questions. Isn’t it time we had some transparency?
On a recent trip to Oslo, I spoke with an engineer who worked on the first oil finds in Norway. Before Norway began producing their own oil, it was a poor country which mainly produced timber and fish. The illusion that the Norwegians initially knew how to produce oil needs to be smashed. There is a distinction between a drilling/exploration licence and a licence to extract/produce. When Royal Dutch Shell declared itself capable of producing oil in the North Sea, the Norwegian government said “great, now it’s a joint venture”. Essentially, they said “this is Norwegian oil and if you’re going to take it out of our territory – it is going to be a joint venture – we’re in.”
Norway didn’t become a wealthy country overnight. When the oil industry was in its infancy in Norwegian waters back in the 1970s, the Norwegians paid dearly; people don’t work for free. For example, each barrel worth $109, Shell say “we want $87 of that because we need to recover our huge investment.” This is where government need to be strong in their negotiations and get the best deal for the state. The Norwegians learned quickly and invested heavily in education and over time have become leading experts in oil exploration and production. Where did they attain this knowledge?
In the 1970s, engineering professionals from the Gulf of Mexico (the birthplace of off-shore drilling) and Britain came to Norway with their expertise. It wasn’t long before Shell and other companies were in the North Sea. The Norwegians participated; they watched and learned the techniques of the industry and since the 1980s have been exploring and producing around the globe with their own company, Statoil. Their main political objective has been to ensure that the values on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) benefit the entire country.
It appears that a country would be better off to put out contracts to drill and extract the oil out to tender; however, the industry is not structured this way. Off-shore oil production by its nature is very costly because the crude oil extracted has to be refined. To save on transportation costs, the oil company builds a platform to refine the oil at sea. It takes three years and costs billions to complete this project. Once the oil is refined, it can then be piped to the mainland or more favourably into huge tankers, which can then be shipped across the globe to the highest bidder.
Who makes the lion’s share of the profits? Of course, the company who makes the biggest investment into the research, scientific work, development, drilling, production, and when they get the oil up and out of the sea bed, the share that the country gets depends on the contract made between the oil companies and the government of the country. Shell is a company who often invests 100% of the costs of exploration and then leases out drilling rights to companies who come in and produce. Shell and the government negotiate the terms. The Irish government appear to be gravely inept at bargaining with multinationals. One only has to look at the IFSC and the minuscule rate of tax they pay the state. Why don’t we demand more?
If we want to emulate the Norwegians success, we must be willing to invest wisely in ascertaining the necessary knowledge and educating professionals in the field thus creating our own company, which we could appropriately name, Emerald Oil. However, this will be impossible for us to do because we are paying billions of euros to unsecured bondholders in Europe, and to our International bailout masters.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has given us a bailout package along with European financial institutions. The IMF has a reputation for being repaid through the sale of a country’s natural resources; asset stripping is their forte. Their ability to manufacture and offload massive debt onto countries, and then take control of their state assets has been fine-tuned over the last 50 years, from Latin America to Africa to Asia. Our energy reserves alone are worth potentially trillions and anything else is a bonus for them. They succeed via complicit government and elite that is thrown a few bones to keep them accustomed to the life they live. What they don’t like is a well-informed, educated public, capable of engaging in critical thinking. Let us be critical, vocal, resolute and disobedient, and demand more.
One hates to be pessimistic, but it looks like we’ve been set up and are about to be completely robbed of our natural assets. Wouldn’t we be better off to leave our oil in the ground until we’re ready to profit from it? The IMF and co are expecting to be repaid with the sale of Ireland’s forests, cheap oil, and cash payments in the form of further cuts in public spending. Austerity doesn’t work; it has never worked anywhere, ever. We should have already repudiated this toxic debt, which is not ours, and left the euro. Only then can we create better opportunities for future generations on this abused island. Support the campaign to Own Our Oil http://www.ownouroil.ie.
There is still plenty of ire left in Ireland as campaigners ready themselves for another summer of action against Shell and their plans to despoil the coast of County Mayo with a new gas pipeline. The project is already a decade late and three times over budget; pretty impressive for a small community fighting one of the biggest multinationals in the world.
However three times over budget suggest a hell of a lot of drinking by Jesus lads the Garda drinks delivery system is believed to have run up an massive overtime bill and you will pay for it once again.
With Royal Dutch Shell, price fixing is not a matter of conjecture, but normal operating procedure. Its in the company DNA. Shell has a disgraceful history of price fixing/cartel activity stretching back over a century, including a cartel operated with its Nazi partner, I.G. Farben, found guilty of war crimes. Shell’s history of market manipulation, stretches back almost to its inception, including cartel participation, price fixing, fictitious trades, monopoly, securities fraud etc. Shell was a founding member of the “Seven Sisters“, the first global oil cartel.
By John Donovan
The news media is giving huge coverage of the EU investigation into alleged price-rigging by oil companies, including Shell and BP.
It remains to be seen whether Shell is guilty on this occasion.
With Royal Dutch Shell, price fixing is not a matter of conjecture, but normal operating procedure. Its in the company DNA. Shell has a disgraceful history of price fixing/cartel activity stretching back over a century, including a cartel operated with its Nazi partner, I.G. Farben, found guilty of war crimes.
Winston Churchill attacked Shell for secret oil price rigging. Even if not well founded at that time, Churchill’s instinct was bang on.
Shell’s history of market manipulation, stretches back almost to its inception, including cartel participation, price fixing, fictitious trades, monopoly, securities fraud etc. Shell was a founding member of the “Seven Sisters“, the first global oil cartel.
The Royal Dutch Shell Group was built on price-fixing.
Some more recent examples.
New York Times: “Shell to Pay $180 Million” (Price fixing case): 3 Jan 1987
New York Times: “California Oil Price-Fixing Case Settled”: 17 August 1991
New York Times: Settlement for Coral Power: 15 November 2003
Bloomberg: Shell, Unipetrol, Bayer Are Sued Over Rubber Cartel (Update2): 20 May 2008
May 20 (Bloomberg) — Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., the second- largest U.S. tiremaker, and 25 other companies sued Unipetrol AS, units of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Bayer AG, and as many as 20 others over an alleged rubber cartel in Europe.
Unipetrol and units of Shell, Dow Chemical Co., Eni SpA and Trade-Stomil Sp were fined a total of 519 million euros ($813 million) in a 2006 European Union antitrust case over material used to make tires and shoes. The companies are appealing.
The Times: Supermarkets and tobacco firm are fined £173m for price fixing: 12 July 2008
Reuters: EU fines “paraffin mafia” wax makers’ cartel: 1 October 2008
The Times: ‘Paraffin mafia’ comes unstuck after €676m fines: 2 October 2008
Guardian: ‘Paraffin mafia’ firms given £500m fines for price-fixing: 2 October 2008
Financial Times: Brussels fines paraffin wax cartel: 2 October 2008
The Wall Street Journal: Wax Price-Fixing Is Alleged: 2 October 2008
Financial Post (Canada): GREECE FINES BP, SHELL $80M FOR PRICE-FIXING: 26 November 2008
ChannelNewsAsia: Greece fines BP, Shell for price-fixing: 26 November 2008
International Herald Tribune: Greece: BP, Shell fined for competition breaches: 25 November 2008
Bloomberg: Chevron, Total, Exxon, Shell Fined on Air France Fuel: price fixing cartel: 4 Dec 2008 (Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Chevron fined 41.1 million euros ($52 million) by the French antitrust authority for fixing the price of fuel for certain Air France-KLM Group flights.)
Shell, Dow lose court challenge to EU antitrust fine: 13 July 2011: Reuters
(Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) and Dow Chemical (DOW.N) lost a court appeal on Wednesday against a fine levied by EU regulators five years ago for taking part in a cartel…
…the Court upheld the 160.88 million euro fine on the Royal Dutch Shell group.
Shell settles South Africa cartel case: 21 February 2012
The owners of The OSSL Company who have blown the whistle on a massive police corruption scandal in Ireland sponsored by Shell, are intending to confront the board of Royal Dutch Shell Plc at the AGM being held in The Hague on Tuesday 21 May.
Desmond Kane and Neil Rooney of OSSL say that they have been threatened by Shell with imprisonment and black listing if they continue to spill the beans.
What started out several years ago as Shell paying for some free alcohol given as festive gifts to a few local Garda, expanded in more recent years into a river of free booze for hundreds of Garda officers policing environmental protests against the controversial Corrib Gas Project.
We are talking about bribery and corruption. How could the Garda be impartial when so many officers were being personally rewarded by Shell. The integrity of the Garda has been damaged as a consequence of Shell’s actions.
Note that we have dropped any legal preamble such as “alleged”.
We are satisfied that the evidence we have seen, including leaked Shell emails, is authentic.
If Shell and/or the Garda dispute the facts as stated, then please sue us for defamation.
Lets get this dirty laundry aired in open court.
So what’s the prospect of either party actually issuing proceedings? None at all. They know that truth is a complete defence.
Tagged: Corrib Gas Project · Gas · Ireland · John Donovan · Litigation · Royal Dutch Shell Plc
Opinion: Shell, with its enthusiastic embrace of fracking, has a credibility problem
‘Shell faces up to climate change challenge” ran the headline in this paper last week. I wish it were true but the company has a credibility problem when it comes to the issue. It is betting everything on the presumption that we will keep burning the fossil fuels that it keeps pulling up out of the ground.
It is hard for Shell to be talking climate one minute and a new “golden age of gas” the next. It is a major player in the energy game and that cannot but affect how it sees our energy future.
It makes sense when Shell says that the capture and storage of carbon in power stations will be one of the solutions we will need, but relying on that crutch is not enough of a response to the scale of crisis we face. Its own New Len s Scenarios analysis recognises as much.
Shell’s scenario planning is always very professional, which makes its latest document all the more scary to read. No matter what way it slices and dices the future, it cannot seem to find a way to keep the global temperature increase beneath the 2-degree safety barrier that scientists say we should not pass.
My only hope is that Shell is missing out on what might be possible because as a fossil fuel company it cannot imagine what it might be like for us to live fossil-free. The company is sceptical that renewable power supplies can provide the energy we will need, but solar power has increased 100-fold in the last 10 years.
In Ireland, wind power alone could power our computers, run our cars and heat our homes. The price of solar and wind power is consistently falling and the finance gurus in Bloomberg New Energy Finance say that 70 per cent of all investment in power generation between now and 2030 is going to go into renewables. There is a war raging for who will be our preferred power supplier and I think Shell is backing the wrong horse. However, it is winning the PR battle hands down. The European council of energy ministers met in Dublin last month. They came out of with nothing but fear on their lips about the competitive advantage that the US now has as it fracks its way to energy independence. North Dakota is visible from space at night, as the oil companies flare off their excess natural gas. Shell is heading into the Arctic to drill and is chasing the shale gold rush right across the US and China.
It is a risky bet, not just for climate reasons but also for the known unknowns that surround the whole shale revolution. No one is certain what the long-term supply will be, whether there will be enough clean water to flush the gas out and what the real economic price of the gas is. Europe could try to beat the Americans at the shale game by drilling across the Continent or we could instead lead the alternative energy efficiency and renewables revolution.
The Shell scenario planning estimates that we will be able to bring the level of carbon emissions down to sustainable levels by the end of this century, but that might be a couple of decades too late. Is it beyond possibility that we could bring that change forward and create a stable economic system that will work as long as the sun still shines?
Eamon Ryan is leader of the Green Party and a former minister for energy
Shell Corrib Corruption & Community Complaints
That these events go almost universally unreported by the Irish media is a great hindrance to that justice being secured, but your website’s ongoing work in exposing the wrongdoing of Shell and it’s agents worldwide is a vitally important one. Rest assured, the most recent events on the subject of the Corrib Gas project are being closely watched – and acted upon – by many people on the west coast of Ireland and beyond, and together we can expose the corruption that far too many are trying their best to ignore.
Corrib Corruption & Community Complaints
By JM (long-time Shell watcher)
Your recent posting on the Corrib controversy concludes with a point about Irish citizens apparently not raising a fuss over the whole situation, and the latest allegations/revelations in particular.
Living with the ongoing project, many in the local community have had cause to report a multitude of matters to various bodies and State agencies during the course of the last dozen years or so. There are two recurring themes in all such cases: (1) an abuse of process/standards by Shell and/or it’s agents, and (2) a total lack of action/accountability for Shell and/or the agents supposedly “responsible” for the abuse.
The complaints range from the relatively mild (poor consultation, breaches of pollution limits) right through to the atrocious (threats of rape and attempted murder) but the response is almost always the same… it’s someone else’s problem.
A few examples. When it was discovered that a diesel spill at the refinery site was leaking into the Bellanaboy river, the Environmental Protection Agency was contacted. After initially showing great concern and interest in the situation, on hearing the location was part of the Corrib Gas development the EPA immediately backtracked, and said it was a matter for Mayo County Council. When Mayo County Council were approached, no-one was available to investigate. The Gardai (police) then intervened and prevented people from taking water samples until the following day, after a hasty clean-up was initiated. No action was taken by MCC.
After dozens of people were man-handled by Shell’s unidentifiable “security” workers on a public beach at Glengad (proposed offshore pipeline landfall) the Gardai were informed, but they refused to take statements of complaint and – when pressed – instead told people to contact the Private Security Authority. When the PSA were contacted they said they would only take action in the event of a criminal conviction secured by the Gardai. To date, no case has ever been taken by Gardai against security violence on the Corrib project towards members of the public (including hospitalisations) even when witnessed by Garda members.
When it was discovered that Shell had illegally installed and operated a septic tank discharging into a Special Area of Conservation at a compound in Rossport, Mayo County Council officials were informed, and a site inspection was arranged. In spite of the obvious physical evidence, MCC took no action.
When Shell workers used an excavator as a battering ram against neighbours preventing trespass onto private property in Pollathomas, Gardai committed criminal damage, trespass and multiple assaults on the public to force the workers through. Subsequent complaints to the Gardai, the Health & Safety Authority and the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission were passed between those authorities and eventually all washed their hands of the affair. No action taken.
There are many other examples, such as Shell’s illegal drilling in a Special Area of Conservation (no sanctions); illegal road built through the same SAC (no prosecution); damage to and theft of fishing gear (no action taken); deliberate sinking of a trawler near offshore pipeline works (no investigation); EPA disallowing Oral Hearing questions as planning matters, then the planning authority (An Bord Pleanala) disallowing the same questions as EPA licensing matters; the list could go on and on.
There is what can perhaps best be described as a grotesque version of pass-the-parcel going on. Everyone knows that there is something unpleasant inside the box, but it keeps getting passed around in the knowledge that the music will never stop (at least, not while the current participants are in the room) and all the while Shell’s taboo Corrib project – and associated abuses – continue unchecked.
To say that people have lost faith in the authorities is a gross understatement, but in spite of all this complaints are still lodged and due process followed, and people still await justice.
That these events go almost universally unreported by the Irish media is a great hindrance to that justice being secured, but your website’s ongoing work in exposing the wrongdoing of Shell and it’s agents worldwide is a vitally important one.
Rest assured, the most recent events on the subject of the Corrib Gas project are being closely watched – and acted upon – by many people on the west coast of Ireland and beyond, and together we can expose the corruption that far too many are trying their best to ignore.
(long-time Shell watcher)
Under the circumstances, I wondered if a pilot scheme was underway in Ireland already, with Shell sponsoring the Garda? Was some foolish government official or department conned into believing that Royal Dutch Shell is reputable? If so, I would have thought the sponsorship should flow into state coffers, rather than down the throats of apparently very thirsty police officers.
EMAIL TO JUSTICE MINISTER OF IRELAND, MR ALAN SHATTER TD.
Acting on Shell’s instructions, OSSL has distributed gifts (bribes) on Shell’s behalf to parties connected with the controversial Corrib Gas Project. This includes the Irish police force (the Garda) who have been the subject of serious accusations of wrong doing by environmental activists protesting against the project. If this statement of fact, or any of the allegations we have published on this matter since September 2012 are untrue, why have no defamation proceedings been issued against OSSL, or against us? What is the Irish Justice Ministry doing? Why no action by Shell’s Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer? How long can this disgraceful state of affairs continue? The scope of the corruption of the Irish state by Shell has yet to be revealed.
EMAILS SENT BY OSSL ON 1 MAY 2013 TO SENIOR PEOPLE AT SHELL AND SENIOR IRISH POLICE OFFICERS
From: THE OSSL COMPANY <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 1 May 2013 07:51:37 BST
To: Michael Crothers <email@example.com>, Peter Voser <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Michiel Brandjes <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Ann Hamilton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Shell threaten small vendor in a Dublin restaurant..
A senior Shell executive from the Corrib Gas project threatened two members of a small supply company in a Dublin restaurant that “if they revealed details of cash payments to householder and supply of alcohol to local police “that he would see to it that they would “never work in the industry again”
Michael Crothers has full details ..but others in Shell say they were not aware of this until now .. Has this information been suppressed ?
CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT JOHN GILLIGAN ARE YOU LISTENING? THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU COMPLY WITH SHELLS WISHES ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THIS SITUATION?
Sent from my iPad
SECOND EMAIL – THE CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE
From: THE OSSL COMPANY <email@example.com>
Date: 1 May 2013 08:22:24 BST
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Michael Crothers <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: It’s not the outstanding booze money that matters …
……it’s that the conspiracy of silence has cost decent people their jobs ….if you need to know more just ask …
Sent from my iPad
(We have deleted the identity of one recipient)
Posted in: Bribery, Business Principles, Corrib Gas Project, Corruption, Gas,GoogleNews, Ireland, Royal Dutch Shell Plc.
Tagged: Corrib Gas Project · Gas · Ireland · Michael Crothers Shell · Peter Voser · Royal Dutch Shell Plc
(Video: Includes a warning by Superintendent John Gilligan at 4.40 on the dangers of alcohol – amusing presentation glitch at 4.15)
“If I do not receive a response on Monday 29 April, I will assume that you do not wish to comment and I will publish this email on Tuesday. If you need more time to consider the matter, please let me know tomorrow when I can expect a reply. If there is no denial, people will be entitled to draw their own conclusions.”
From: John Donovan <email@example.com>
Subject: Shell Corrib Gas Scandal: email to Detective Superintendent John Gilligan
Date: 28 April 2013 08:10:57 GMT+01:00
Dear Detective Superintendent John Gilligan
As I am sure you are aware, we have over the past several several months published a series of articles (headlines below) relating to the supply by Shell E&P Ireland of free alcohol to the Irish police, on what we have described as being on an industrial scale. We understand that the legitimate retail cost in Ireland for the river of free booze could approach €100,000 euros. So it’s not small beer.
We have copies of related correspondence between Shell’s “Mr Fixit” company in Ireland – OSSL – and yourself. I refer to the letter from OSSL dated 28 February 2011 and a response letter from you dated 5 May, when you effectively declined to comment. You have been on the circulation list of a number of OSSL emails sent subsequently to Shell and other parties. As I am sure you are also well aware, I drew these matters to the attention of Alan Shatter TD, the Irish Minister of Justice early in April. Although I received acknowledgements for receipt of the information supplied, I have not heard anything further. Perhaps an investigation is underway?
The matter is obviously a serious one given the background circumstances, with allegations that the Garda has acted as an offshoot of Shell security in policing protests against the controversial Corrib Gas Project. You will be aware of the serious related accusations against the Garda made by some protestors.
Since OSSL claim that you have had a hand in these matters, and bearing in mind the articles we have published without receiving any comment from involved parties, other than OSSL, I thought it appropriate to offer you the right to reply?
If you wish to take up this invitation, anything you have to say will be published on an unedited basis.
If I do not receive a response on Monday 29 April, I will assume that you do not wish to comment and I will publish this email on Tuesday.
If you need more time to consider the matter, please let me know tomorrow when I can expect a reply.
If there is no denial, people will be entitled to draw their own conclusions.
HEADLINES THUS FAR
Shell exploration manager Roland Spuij – deluded or ignorant?
Printed below is a deluded article written by a Shell exploration manager – Roland Spuij (person on the right) – who apparently is totally ignorant of Shell’s track record of giving a higher priority to production and profits than to the safety of its offshore workers. Either that, or he is trying to deliberate mislead New Zealanders? Same applies to his comments about Shell’s conduct in Nigeria. Has he forgotten that in 2009 Shell paid $15.5 million (£9.7m) as an out-of-court settlement in a case accusing it of complicity in human rights abuses in Nigeria. 17 pages of correspondence between Shell and the Nigerian Police – authentic exhibits from the litigation – prove Shell supplied arms and ammunition to the Nigerian police force (part of a corrupt murderous regime)
Otago Daily Times
Shell proud of its safety record
It’s good to see Rosemary Penwarden outlining her concerns and for Shell to have the right to respond, something we were unable to do in our recent meeting in Dunedin brought to a halt by other protesters.
Shell welcomes any discussion, including on climate change, so long as it has a chance to present its views. Whether there is oil or natural gas present in any basin is not determined by us or any opponents, but by nature. We have strong scientific evidence, including information from wells previously drilled in the Great South Basin, that we can expect to find gas there, with some associated liquid gas ”condensate”; the chance of finding oil is very low. The first step is to prove the presence of hydrocarbons as part of the exploration phase. It is too early to talk about options for future development concepts, assuming the presence of hydrocarbons is proven.
Shell did not leave anything off the table with our Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessment.
At the earliest opportunity we were presenting some of the preliminary findings in order to get feedback. Rafting birds were indeed identified as potentially being affected in the very unlikely case of an uncontrolled release of gas and condensate. Much research was included on the feeding and migratory patterns of rafting birds, including albatross and shearwaters.
Shell operates under detailed processes, using the latest equipment and technology to minimise any credible risk a drilling spill could have on birds and marine life, particularly whales and dolphins. If we proceed to drilling, we will have a complete range of responses to deal with the consequences of any spill, however unlikely.
The video footage acquired by Niwa’s research vessel Tangaroa under contract to Shell does indeed indicate there is little marine life apparent on the surface seabed at the potential drilling site. Shell received the video footage only a few days before the meeting and chose to share it. Our preliminary conclusion is that drilling a single exploratory well over a month would have very limited impacts. We are open to further input.
Shell does not take lightly its often stated commitment to environmental and personal safety. We are a major player worldwide and publish our performance on environmental metrics on an annual basis. The number and volume of operational spills has steadily reduced over recent years but we continue to learn from all our incidents to improve our performance further in the future.
For the record, we were not involved in the 2010 Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, or the Elgin platform gas leak in the North Sea. We agree that the health and safety record for New Zealand is poor across all industries compared with Britain and other countries. The head of Shell New Zealand, Rob Jager, is at present chairing the Government’s Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety.
As for Nigeria, as recently as last week, the US Supreme Court refused to hear a case attempting to link Shell with claims of human rights abuses in the Niger Delta – claims that Shell has always strongly denied. Shell remains firmly committed to supporting fundamental human rights, including those of peaceful protest. Shell acknowledges improvements can be made to our operations there and has made significant progress in reducing spills and gas flaring in recent years. It is important to note that the vast majority of spilt oil in Nigeria is caused by rampant criminality – oil theft and illegal refining. This leads to widespread environmental damage and is the real tragedy of the Niger Delta.
Shell shares concerns about climate change and we see gas as a clean and affordable energy source. Wind, solar and bio fuels are some 1% of the energy mix today and they will have an important role to play beyond 2030. Over the past five years, we have spent US$2.2 billion on developing alternative energies, carbon capture and storage, and other CO2-related R&D.
But industry will need to see more technology development to make renewables cost-competitive with hydrocarbons and less reliant on subsidy; we are working on that for the long term. We do not have coal reserves. Our 2012 total production was split almost equally between oil and gas. Given that natural gas has around half the carbon emissions of coal and about a third that of diesel, this should provide some common ground for discussions on how we address climate change in a world with ever-increasing energy demands. We remain committed to debating all these issues and urge anyone with an interest in New Zealand’s energy future to engage constructively with us.
– Roland Spuij, Shell’s New Zealand exploration manager.