Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com: Statement by Bill Campbell: The Shell Brent Scandal: His detailed response to recent comments by Shell: Published 8 July 2006

 

W.M Campbell - B.Sc.  MIEE C, Eng.

 

In 1999, SIEP Lead Auditor for PSMR review

Right of Reply

 

Who is this note intended for?

 

Directed to Chairman, Executive and Non Executive Directors of Royal Dutch Shell

 

Copied to CEO of HSE UK, my MSP who is helping me with my discussions with the Solicitor General for Scotland, OILC, and selected media links

 

What is this Note about?

 

In response to the article in Upstream newspaper Shell issued a note worldwide within its Exploration and Production (EP) business sector to its employees. 

 

While it is disappointing that I did not get to read the Upstream article in advance, and would have not written it in parts as published in the manner chosen, and not mentioned WoodGroup whose people were in essence acting under instruction, and not used names but job titles, nevertheless I stand by every word printed.  I also wanted both BBC and Upstream to concentrate on Shell and others, but also on my general concern about the weakness apparent in the current offshore safety regime.

 

Your statement released to EP staff stated that the article made

 

·        a number of very serious allegations against Shell in its operations of the Brent Field and some very personal and completely unjustified attack on current and former members of staff.  Shell strongly refutes these allegations.

 

Newspapers have also carried strong rebuttals for example

 

·        The allegations regarding operating with high-risk levels are untrue, and we absolutely refute this.  Safety is our first priority

·        The recent Shell EP internal investigation which Shell took very seriously showed there had been a vigorous and significant response to the safety review

 

This Note is my reply to the Shell statements, and in defense of my integrity and character, because clearly implicit in the rebuttals is that Campbell is a slightly loopy guy, who works on perception rather than fact, with the result that he is defaming the good name of Royal Dutch Shell. 

 

Also to the fact that I was told that my input to the Shell internal investigation during 2005 was valued, may be rewarded (take that with a pinch of salt) but certainly not punished.  I view the round robin e-mails as punishment through defamation of my character because they are inaccurate to the point of being deceitful when compared against the verified facts. 

 

The verified facts not, allegations, but opinions reached by consensus from their Platform Management Safety Review in 1999, led by me, and their review into the Technical Integrity of their 15 offshore installations immediately after the fatal accident. 

And these facts further supported by HSE documents received by me under the Freedom of Information Act (FIA) which clarify that the situation from an HSE perspective was that the conditions in 2003 in the Brent Field had if anything worsened since 1999 and had further deteriorated by 2005.

 

It was also the HSE position, as discussed with David Bainbridge, in October 2003, that if they had been aware of the conditions prevailing on Brent Bravo in September 1999, and this is speculation, but still a reasonable probability that they would have at a minimum issued

 

·        A notice prohibiting the continued operation of the test separator

·        A notice prohibiting the continued use of firepumps to augment service water via a full bore connection to the seawater system

·        Improvement notice to make more secure the management arrangements preventing explosion vents from the columns being impaired

·        And, general improvement notices, change control, maintenance and the setting of performance criteria for safety equipment, improvements to control room procedures re the logging and prior approval of inhibits and overrides an on ad nauseam

·        All this done request the Duty holder to assess the risks as to whether the installation could continue in full production and otherwise ensure the Duty Holder informs the safety representatives of its remedial actions to reduce risks on the installation to the original ALARP levels

 

One reason that the HSE were not aware was and I quote Mr. Bainbridge ‘is that their investigation into workforce concerns in September 1999, i.e. Touch F All et al, was incompetently handled by the HSE at that time’. 

 

Culpability rested on the shoulders of the Shell Oil Director who did not revoke statements made on the 9th September, covered on TV, Radio and in Newspapers that Touch F All.  He described workforce concerns re TFA as not a serious issue.  His conversation is recorded on the BBC Scotland web site, the interviewer being Colin Wight of the BBC in Aberdeen.

 

On the morning of the 5th October and The 22nd October and at the PSMR presentation on the 22nd October the Oil Director was advised to revoke these statements but he did not.  He was advised that not to do so would be greatly detrimental to Shell’s reputation, after the fact, as not to revoke the statements was unethical, immoral and potentially illegal.

 

Preamble – my prolonged engagement with Shell on these issues

 

On the constant use of the word allegation by Shell I think they will find in due course that they have been careless in its use.  Some of the robust wording in the rebuttals, one assumes a knee jerk reaction from your crisis team, to get the boot in first, can not be justified.

 

But as they say, attack can sometimes be the best form of defense

 

An allegation is an unproven assertion the substance of which is tested for validity in some arbitration or judicial process.  You need to understand that these ‘allegations’ are significantly based on Shell internal audit and review reports, output from the Shell prosecution at Stonehaven Sheriff Court, and confidential papers obtained from the HSE under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

In forming the opinion in 1999 as to the condition of controls in Shell Expro, the findings specifically on Brent Bravo, the recommended actions that should be taken, in all these, in line with Group audit practice, the outcome was unanimous, and reached through consensus. 

 

Of the 5 members of the audit team, 4 were Shell Expro employees and I led the Audit being at that time an employee of Shell International EP in The Hague. 

 

The Shell reports mentioned above are the fully owned property of Shell Expro as it was, so independent persons looking at these note, may think it paradoxical, that a Company, can call findings in its own internal Audit Report for 1999, allegations.  The Oil Director reluctantly perhaps, but nevertheless accepted these findings at the time.

 

The dialogue process to Date

 

You may not be aware that these ‘allegations’ as you call them were first copied in a personal letter to M Brinded (MB) in December 2004.  He was informed at the time that the ‘allegations’ would come out in a book or article entitled from Cullen to Chaos.  I specifically asked MB if he had any objections to me disclosing these allegations since it seemed to me that in so doing I was compliant with the Shell business principles.  I received no reply.

 

I engaged at that time in dialogue with Shell through Jakob Stausholm (JS) who is the Shell Group Chief Internal Auditor and later Richard Sykes (RS) who assisted JS and is the Shell Group Environmental Adviser. 

 

I feel they handled my concerns with respect and honesty and did the best they could given that 1999 is a long time away.  Also, the self-interested and opposing factions were still to a degree locked into their original positions, and it must have been difficult for them to make sense of all this. 

 

In about May last year I received information in an envelope (about the same time the OIM’s on Brent Bravo were in the preliminary stages of being disciplined) which was data on defects and weaknesses in the maintenance and testing of Safety Critical Equipment (SCE) on 15 offshore installations.

 

At that time, as a technical expert, I was able to complete a picture that demonstrated, in at least my opinion, that there were strong causal linkage between the state of affairs recorded in a major audit in 1999, and the fatal accident, on 11th September. 

 

I put this together in a document called ‘ A Comparative Analysis Brent Bravo 1999 c.f. 2003’.  All this was noted on a letter sent through JS to the Chairman and Board of Royal Dutch Shell in May 2005.

 

I got no reply on this from Shell, I also question whether this Note got to the Chairman, Directors or non-executive Directors, the latter being said to have a more hands-on role, via the reserves fiasco.

 

Frustrated at the time by the slow progress of the investigation I made at least two offers through JS for myself and perhaps members of the 1999 PSMR team come to London.   I hoped at some blood on the wall session, we could all vent steam, clear the air and through some deep learning process move forward.  And I could drop the matter.  This request was denied.

 

Finally at a meeting with the CEO, Legal Counsel, JS and RS in The Hague in July, 2005, we discussed the investigation findings to date.  All this is explained in the other attachment ‘The evidence the Sheriff did not hear’.

 

Bottom line was that I was not satisfied.  Although the findings in the main supported in important issues my position, there were no summary or conclusions, and Shell would not disclose to me what these were, and what action if any they would be take against the individuals concerned . 

 

I am sorry to say, and somewhat ashamed to say, that in their statements that ‘Shell took these allegations seriously’, my opinion shaped at that time, was the seriousness related to the risk to their reputation through the exposure of these issues, rather than determining why we Shell, had allowed the deaths on Brent Bravo to happen.  And what learning’s we could extrapolate from that.

 

At the end of the session I informed the CEO that I would put forward evidence to the upcoming Fatal Accident Inquiry.  No objections were raised about this by the Legal Counsel or the CEO.

 

The Fatal Accident Inquiry

 

It’s a long story, but suffice to say my evidence was not heard at the Inquiry and concerns about the way the evidence was handled and assessed are under investigation by the Solicitor General of Scotland.  You should also be aware so also are the allegations made in the attached document ‘The evidence the Sheriff did not hear’.  If you have any issues re this I am sure you can take these up directly with her. 

 

Whatever action Shell take, my main concern was to get this evidence heard so that improvements to the safety regime can be made.  And this is still my wish, and I would welcome the continued support of the media to achieve this.

 

In my letter to the Procurator Fiscal in November 2005, there was a conciliatory tone, it just described the history of PSMR, the comparative analysis etc and 50% of the letter was looking ahead with proposals that I thought could, with little effort, improve the current safety regime.  The letter was an attempt to get my evidence into the FAI that I thought would help a critique of the safety regime if the evidence would be led before the Sheriff.

 

Has my approaches to Shell been reasonable or dogmatic?

 

In Scottish law there is based the concept of reasonableness.  As the accuser if you like, I have demonstrated openness in my dealings with Shell. 

 

At no time since December 2004 has Shell ever refuted, or challenged these allegations directly to me.  A Sheriff, Judge or Magistrate I would suggest, consider it unreasonable, for Shell not to have formally challenged these allegations if they are as you now say completely unjustified and that you now, in June 2006, for the first time strongly refute these allegations. 

 

He indeed I suggest would also consider it unreasonable, when given the chance for Directors to hear these allegations at first hand, that these opportunities were ignored by the said Directors.

 

Now in the further application of this Logic, even the dullest QC from the class of ’86 could, in a summing up say that, the reason Shell did not take up the offer of my client to better understand these allegations, was that in they already knew the allegations to be true.  And also to support this the QC would extrapolate, why did Shell, given that these allegations are they claim quasi-defamatory, not appear on the Frontline Scotland programme, and why also, did the HSE, as a public authority, not also take up the offer.  The Scottish people aren’t thick, they know why. 

 

Even now Chairman, the Producer of the programme ‘The Human Price of Oil’ could arrange an interview with Mr. Paxman, for Mr. Brinded or Mr. Van der Veer to explain why these allegations are the strings and arrows of their outrageous shareholder and ex employee.

 

The Shell internal investigation

 

As discussed and shown to me by JS and RB in July the investigation findings listed were that

 

·        The investigation found no evidence that the short term measures in 1999 recommended to immediately reduce risk on Brent Bravo were ever carried out and the long term actions to reverse the negative safety culture were truncated when only 20% complete

 

·        I understood that in general the members of the PSMR team interviewed were supportive of me and corroborated in great measure what I alleged, and, like me had this abiding sense of failure, abject failure, that our attempt in 1999 to get Directors of Shell to accept the validity of their own internal audit findings – we fought against a hostile environment of extreme denial, it was a surreal experience

 

·        That the Oil Director Chris Finlayson (CF) has never answered the charge of why he did not revoke his misleading remarks to media re Touch F All and it appears he only reluctantly accepted the findings in 1999 ‘to prevent a bun fight between Auditors and the Brent team’  - nevertheless he accepted the findings and in the acceptance was obliged to follow then through

 

·        That the decision of MB to keep the Brent Asset Manager in position was described by RS as ‘inexplicable’, no explanation was given why he did not consider the position of the General Manager, and Deputy Asset Manager

 

·        That Peter Wyatt (PW), at that time HSE Manager in Shell Expro could not remember in 2005 the contents and discussion of a prolonged meeting at which he arbitrated between the audit team and the Brent General Manager in 1999 at which amongst other things it was admitted that ESDV leak-off tests had been purposely falsified.  RS stated he was ‘disappointed’ by PW

 

·        That MB’s decision to dismiss the SIEP Lead Auditor was because the Brent Management team would not be perceptive to his continued involvement in remedial actions – not surprising when the Audit Leader had requested their suspension from duty

 

·        That the General Manager of Brent refused to attend the 22nd October meeting although he knew most of the flak was coming his way.  Despite my plea to the Oil Director to postpone the meeting, in line with Shell Group audit principles (that is not to discuss the findings of an audit without the auditee being present), the meeting went ahead

 

·        That almost no files were now available in UEFA (Internal Audit) department in Aberdeen related to PSMR, they had gone missing

 

·        That the PSMR files held by EPS-HE library in the Hague had to be replaced in 2003 by me, they had also gone missing

 

·        That contrary to recent Shell press statements, no audit was carried out on Brent Bravo in 2000, but on Brent Charlie

 

This I think puts an entirely different reflection on things and suggests that Shell press releases, indicating that their internal investigation exonerated them, and that Campbell’s accusations were perception, rather than fact, have been misleading to the point of deception.

 

A number of very serious allegations against Shell in its operations of the Brent Field and some very personal and completely unjustified attack on current and former members of staff.  Shell strongly refutes these allegations

Shell PA Global Press Release

 

The allegations about staff including Directors are covered to a degree in ‘the Evidence the Sheriff did not hear’.  It is difficult for me to understand how Shell can refute these allegations since they were based on structured interviews with at all times a minimum of two internal auditors present. 

 

The interviews with the GM, AM and Deputy AM had three independent auditors present.  The interview with the GM and Deputy AM, where the latter agreed that ESDV tests had been falsified, and many other deficiencies, was attended by two independent auditors and the HSE manager. 

 

Audit Notes were held on these interviews, but they have gone missing.  Substantial documentation was filed supporting the interviews e.g. logbooks, maintenance records, statements by inspectors etc, but these also have gone missing. 

 

However, in any court hearing, the auditors could be called to give testimony and the Lord Advocate, can instruct a Procurator Fiscal, in the case of a Fatal Accident in Scotland, to seize documentation from a Duty Holder.

 

The matter could be better resolved if Shell could indicate to me what allegations against the conduct of officials it considers unjustified, this also would seem reasonable request after the fact.

 

But so that we are clear on this, the main allegation I make, put already to the Solicitor General, is that the Asset Manager, the General Manager, the Oil Director and the Managing Director in 1999, through their inaction to reduce risks on Brent Bravo, and failure to revoke misleading statements made to the workforce and the enforcing authority, contributed in some part to the unlawful killing of two persons on Brent Bravo in September 2003, in that the installation continued to operate from the 3rd of September till I left on the 22nd October with no action being taken to reduce risks on the installation.   Further there is no evidence available that any action was ever taken to reduce risks and the negative safety culture persisted, and was sustained, because actions to redress bad behavior were also not closed out properly.

 

I would welcome any opportunity to give testimony to that allegation in a court of Law.

 

You should also be aware that the Procurator Fiscal Depute in Aberdeen, singularly responsible for the investigation of sudden deaths offshore in Scotland, at the behest of the HSE reviewed the evidence from the PSMR, and the comparative analysis, in May 2005. 

 

He concluded, not that the evidence was invalid, but that it would be difficult to pursue these allegations given the passage of time.  He and the HSE have since indicated on more than one occasion that they took the evidence presented to them very seriously.

 

The allegations regarding operating with high-risk levels is untrue, and we absolutely refute this.  Safety is our first priority

The recent Shell EP internal investigation which Shell took very seriously showed there had been a vigorous and significant response to the safety review

Shell PA Global Press Release

 

Your Press Releases continue to mislead your employees and Society as a whole.  I do not dispute that there may have been a vigorous and significant management response to the safety review.  It is not the vigor of the response that I challenge, but the effectiveness of the response.  When in dire straights, and when in danger, when in doubt, run in circles scream and shout, is in my opinion not an effective response.

 

If the response to the situation had been effective, the improvements from 1999, both hardware related and behavioral, should now be reflected in the pristine condition of your installations, certainly by 4 years later in 2003.

 

What were the conditions in 2003

 

As an example on Brent A, Brent D, Brent C and Brent Delta in the weeks following the major accident event it was observed by the Shell Technical Integrity Review team, set up by Greg Hill, the Production Director that there were

 

·        97 temp repairs on pipework of which 40 of which were not approved

 

·         56 gas detectors, 26 toxic gas detectors, 9 oil mist detectors, 5 flame detectors, 1 smoke detector, and 1 General Platform Alarm point that failed to danger, that is, may not have operated on demand in the event of a major release of hydrocarbons. And many detectors were observed to be inhibited for long periods

·        A number of ESDV's had their leak-off test results falsified which may be a criminal offence and which coincidentally was exactly the same finding as in 1999

 

I am sorry to inform you that this litany of deficiencies was common on all 15 Shell Europe installations, all 15!

 

But the following is just an example of these

 

Auk Alpha

 

·        21 temp repairs of which 19 not approved

·        237 gas detectors, 10 oil mist detectors, 14 flame detectors, 2 smoke detectors, and 2 General Platform Alarms failed to danger

·        Inappropriate testing of ESD valves

 

Gannet

 

·        32 repairs of which none were approved

·        293 gas detectors, 24 oil mist detectors failed to danger

·        Inappropriate testing of ESD valves

 

and, Fulmar

 

·        32 repairs of which 15 not approved

·        156 gas detectors, 150 flame detectors, 36 smoke detectors, 92 General Platform alarms failed to danger and detectors were observed to be inhibited for long periods

·        Inappropriate testing of ESD valves

 

Against all this is the Shell continuing statements in the press releases and to their employees concerning my involvement in this whole affair that

 

‘safety is our foremost priority at all times and we absolutely reject suggestions that we would ever compromise safety offshore’

 

But, on the basis of the data above, are these not empty words!

 

How can a Company with Shell's reputation, its published ethics and world class Statement of General Business Principles issue such a statement against the bare facts as documented above, its your data, from your people.

 

And it gets worse, as previously mentioned, the HSE as enforcing authority in their own internal Notes state that the conditions on Brent facilities have deteriorated from 1999 to 2003, and were if anything worse in 2005.  Note that this being two years after the fatalities.

 

The allegations regarding operating with high risk levels is untrue, and we absolutely refute this. 

 

What is the implication of all above in relation to the Offshore Installation Safety Case Regulations

 

·        In summary, Regulation 10 places a duty on a Duty Holder to insure offshore installations are operated in compliance with their Safety Case at all times, it is a criminal offence not to do so

 

·        In summary, Regulation 8 makes it an offence for a Duty Holder not to comply with the SMS as described in the Safety Case and to ensure all hazards have been identified as they arise, and the risks from these hazards have been evaluated.  And that such risks are demonstrated to be at the lowest level that is reasonably practicable - or ALARP

 

Well I think any rational person will agree that the examples listed above do not appear to comply with the requirements of the Safety Case

 

And, how do you assess the risks of operating an installation with say 120 people on board, producing hydrocarbons a high pressure when there are

 

·        32 repairs on hydrocarbon pipework of which 15 not approved, and 56 gas detectors, 150 flame detectors, 36 smoke detectors, 92 General Platform alarms failed to danger and detectors were observed to be inhibited for long periods and there was inappropriate testing of ESD valves, and in addition ‘violation of the permit to work system is common, operators are conditioned to accept the unacceptable and not ‘Flag’ concerns they have’.  Shell Expro’s words, not mine

 

The simple answer is you can’t. 

 

Such analysis is outwith the conventional use of quantitative or even qualitative risk analysis.  So how can Shell ‘strongly refute that the risks in its operation were not dangerously high’.  The bottom line is they can’t.

 

But here is the rub.

 

In the post Cullen legislative regime it is the Duty Holder who must demonstrate what the risks are, not any other person.  So what were the risks on the 15 installations in November 2003?   How many of them were shut down or had production or activities curtailed until the Duty Holder carried out immediate remedial actions to demonstrate that the SCE equipment would actually function on demand?

 

The answer to that is none, but perhaps the Chairman can confirm.

 

When did Shell tell their workforce of these heightened risks and when did they share with them the remedial actions with timescale to complete?

 

And when did Shell place the Review findings on the installation in question and discuss these with the Safety Representatives?

 

These are all pertinent questions that the media on behalf of Society have a right to ask, because if these questions cannot be answered, and that you failed at the time to assess the risks to your employees on the 15 installations, and take immediate action to reduce those risks, then you broke the Law. 

 

If Shell can provide evidence in their rebuttal to the media on this note, namely that in 1999

 

1.      Actions were taken to reduce risks on BB in Oct. 1999 with derails of job cards, work instructions, 14 day plans, daily reports to support that the test separator and the fire-main were restored to good working order

2.      Actions were take to redress the many other issues

3.      Risks were assessed to allow continued operation, after all your audit team stated these risks were likely to be intolerable, not acceptable to society

4.      And that you consulted your workforce on the risk levels, remedial action plans, and supplied them with a copy of the PSMR findings related to their platform

5.      And you can supply an internal audit report on BB dated 2000 showing as you say significant improvement

 

2003

 

6.      And that in 2003 you can produce under para (3) and (4) similar data for the 15 offshore installations

 

Then I will walk away from this, forever and a day after humbly apologising to the Chairman and Board, and signing up to any Press Release they may wish to send out in my name. 

 

You don’t need to show me the material, just box it up and present it to any reporter that inquires either in Aberdeen or London

 

Note it all should be available, so it should be able to be presented in say 48 hours, if not my friends from the 4th Estate, you can report that it doesn’t exist

 

Mr. Geoffrey Podger has already been asked the questions some months ago about the HSE reaction to the 15-installation situation in 2003, he is the CEO of the HSE in the UK, and I still await an answer.  He is copied on this Note. 

 

NB

Could I take a moment to thank him, at least he took the allegations seriously, and complied with the Law in disclosing information to me.

 

Compare all the above to the comments by Tom Botts last year ref Online Times et al that ‘Shell Europe facilities had been subject to a intensive review by the HSE and given clean bill of health’ or words to that effect.  It will not be until Shell expends the 800m GBP + it is currently planning to correct the degradation that these facilities will again run with residual risks at ALARP

 

Directors should be more careful in their public announcements.  They have a duty not to misinform the public, or give them false assurances.

 

A troublesome culture of blame and fear - the case of Mr. A, B and C

 

Things were going wrong offshore in 1998 and 1999, gas release on Cormorant Alpha, problems on North Cormorant, leakage of radioactive scale on pipework in bound from Brent Bravo.  The PSMR was implemented to ascertain if these incidents were statistical anomalies or was there systemic weakness in the way safety was being managed? 

 

The audit findings in summary was that there were

 

·        systemic weaknesses in essential controls

·        bad behavior was sustaining a negative safety culture

·        the drivers, the causes of the negative safety culture permeated from Managers and Directors who demonstrated by their actions a lack of leadership and commitment to health and safety. 

 

Auditors witnessed in particular an unhealthy culture of blame and fear both offshore, and more so in Seafield House where the Brent field was being managed. 

 

The immediate reaction to the problems was for Asset Managers to discipline the technicians and supervisors involved, irrespective of their culpability.

 

Mr. A

For example, the 1999 PSMR review highlighted unsafe disciplinary actions on a technician on Cormorant Alpha (after the gas release).  He had been disciplined following an early and hurried investigation.  This investigation was then discarded and replaced by another investigation, which led in turn to the disciplining of the OIM.  The same OIM had been party to the earlier disciplining of the technician.  The Audit team asked Shell to revisit this, but this plea was ignored

 

Mr. B

As part of the General Managers (GM) drive to reduce numbers the Brent Management team decided to half the numbers of Permit Coordinators and Safety Officers in the Brent field. 

 

These were two different jobs, with two different competence requirements.  So the plan entailed a force fitting of single competence staff into a two-competence job.  This was achieved by combining the roles so that Mr. B who was a competent Permit co-ordinator became a combined Permit Coordinator and Safety Officer. The fact that he was a not yet competent Safety Officer did not seem important.  They would learn on the job.  Both these jobs in the Safety Case SMS were listed as being safety critical.

 

Mr. B now in the combined role, working 17 hours a day (all this recorded on timesheets) screwed up with the radioactive scale tubing causing Shell Expro to be fined lots and lots of money. He had to be punished and he was.  Despite the pleas from the OIM’s the Asset Manager proceeded with disciplinary action. 

 

When challenged by the auditors and requested to revoke this action he, the AM,  simply stated that he could not do that because he would be seen to lose face with his people offshore.

 

Perhaps this is an example of what Shell means by ‘some very personal and completely unjustified attacks’.  It certainly is an attack on the ethics and morality, nay Christian values of the AM, but I would countenance it is not unjustified.

 

Mr. C

Mr. C was an independent inspector working for DnV and allocated to the Brents.

His testimony was that he was coerced and bullied by the AM and his Deputy to sign off in advance of the work being done.  Subsequently, in one example, he signed as in good working order, all the oil-mist detectors on Brent D.  When he eventually got to Brent D a year later, the oil mist detectors were still unserviceable and isolated.

 

In legal proceedings Mr. A, Mr. B and Mr. C could be called to give testimony to these facts.

 

At the same time as the lower orders were being punished and bullied, the Directors were also breaking the rules, but that was OK I assume, because lets face, it if a Director can’t break his own rules who can.

 

We interviewed Gerbrand Moyes the then Internal Audit Manager.  He showed the auditors extracts from his Shell Expro 1998 Internal Audit Services Annual Report. In the finance and commercial section it was noted that a decision agreed and supported by the Financial Director (FD), and the MD, was taken not to report '‘significant defalcations’’.

 

The assurance letter duly signed off as accurate was returned to The Hague, making no mention of the defalcation. Or so Mr. Moyes said in his interview witnessed by 4 auditors. 

 

Now Mr. A, and Mr. B did not in the audit teams opinion break any rules, but they were still punished.  The FD and the MD did break the rules, but they go unpunished.

 

And we see this again with the deceased.  Early press releases indicate Shell think that the guys were culpable in some part for their own deaths.  Shell Counsel at the FAI returned to this theme towards the end of the FAI.  And of course we have the statement of the CEO on 25th July 2005, that whatever the circumstance in 1999 and whatever the relationship with the events of 2003 ‘Directors don’t sign permits’.

 

But as in the case of Mr. A and Mr. B is it not morally deficient to blame employees for making mistakes when they  work in an environment where non-compliance is normalized behavior?

 

And where essential management controls have broken down? Perhaps the readers should reflect on all of this when considering a sample of the published Shell business principles

 

Shell companies have at their core values honesty, integrity and respect for people

 

To employees: To respect the human rights of employees, and to provide employees with good and safe conditions of work.

 

@ Royal Dutch Shell Group of Companies

 

In Conclusion

 

Shell are a wonderful Company in my book.  Only two times was I ashamed of my Company and one of these was the PSMR debacle.  Otherwise it was a was a pleasure to give them 24 years of my life. 

 

All that is written here is about 5 employees.

 

Strip away the grand titles and the lofty positions some have achieved, they are still employees, just like Mr. and Mr. B.  The Chairman and Board of Directors have a commitment to all their employees, and not as in a novel by Orwell, to treat some as more equal than others.

 

It seems for some of the employees of Royal Dutch Shell that the business principles that we all in Shell aspired to, and which gave us great pride, were to some employees, just presentational, just propaganda.

 

My sin, for which I give no apology, is that I believed in these principles, it’s what made Shell stand out, but being naďve, has always been my weakness.

 

Its up to the media to pursue these matters if it has the inclination or energy, I hope it has.  After all this is not about reserves and the fact that a few fat cat investors have lost a dollar or two.  To make my point, what happened to the Deputy Asset Manager who accepted he falsified those ESD tests.  Well he stayed on, and was never suspended from duty, only a year or so later, to be sacked for fraud or embezzlement. 

 

Shell says, safety is its highest priority, but as is said, actions speak louder than words.

 

This is about people, who died needlessly.

 

ln the same way as my hero Edward R. Murrow did, and the Washington Post did, when only were armed only with the truth, I hope the media can give this the energy it deserves and assist me in getting this incompetent offshore safety regime improved

 

Hope springs eternal that the truth will win out in the end, it always seems to. 

 

W.M Campbell - B.Sc.  MIEE C, Eng.

 

In 1999, SIEP Lead Auditor for PSMR review

 

Published by Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com: 8 July 2006

ENDS

(Please note that all of the blue highlighting above is by ShellNews.net - not by Mr. Campbell) 

   Bill Campbell
Image: Shell 'ignored accident warning'

 

Related BBC Audio/Video clips: BBC: Shell Brent Scandal Audio/Video clips

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