ShellNews.net: NOT ALL BAD NEWS FOR SHELL: 15.45: Thursday, 28 July 2005
By John Donovan
The fall out from the Shell reserves scandal continues to hit the headlines. Sir Philips Watts has been battling the Financial Services Authority despite that fact that he was not named in their report on the debacle. When will he turn his attention to the news media which was not as reticent as the FSA in naming names?
To take just one example, in an article published in The Independent on 30 December 2004, under the headline “Gaffes, duds and scandal: a year that had it all”, the paper awarded Sir Philip a special prize of “Grandest Deception of the Year”.
The following two paragraphs are taken from the article:
The biggest challenge to Lord Black this year came from Sir Phil Watts, former chairman of Shell, so to him goes the special consolation prize of "Grandest Deception" of the Year for the breathtaking discovery that Shell had been overstating its reserves of oil and natural gas by more than one-fifth. With characteristic arrogance, Sir Phil attempted to pass this off as little more than a bookkeeping error. He even failed to host the press conference at which the disclosure was made, leaving it instead to his head of investor relations to explain events to an incredulous world. For this, he said later, he was "very, very sorry" - not for the deception, you understand, but for his absence from the press conference.
One of the characteristics of business leaders who fall from grace is that they can never admit to themselves the game is up. Sir Phil clung grimly to his position for a full two months after the announcement, and even then he had to be fired and given a £1m pay-off to persuade him to leave the building.
In addition to the continuing reverberations from the reserves debacle - what has been described on BBC TV as the biggest investor fraud in history, Shell announced shortly after its unification AGM’s, a slight mistake in the budget projections for the Sakhalin-2 project in Russia: a “staggering” $10 BILLION dollar overrun in project costs. The apt description - “staggering” - was uttered by Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive, Jeroen van der Veer, who today was the bearer of more bad news, this time a further delay on the offshore project at Bonga, Nigeria.
On top of everything else, there is the continuing PR disaster in relation to the Corrib pipeline in Ireland, with signs that the Irish government may turn on Shell if protests over the imprisonment of the "Rossport 5" grow even larger this coming weekend.
The only good news of any significance is the announcement today of soaring Shell profits due to the high cost of oil – the one factor over which Shell’s discredited incompetent management has no involvement.
THE QUOTED ARTICLE FROM THE INDEPENDENT: http://www.royaldutchshellplc.com/2004%20Documents/independent30dec04.htm
LEGAL STUFF (NO NEED TO READ UNLESS YOU ARE A SHELL LAWYER, OR SOMEONE WITH A DEEP INTEREST IN SHELL, OR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION OR COPYRIGHT ISSUES)
LEGAL STATEMENT BY THE ROYAL DUTCH SHELL GROUP REGARDING THIS WEBSITE: I, Alfred Donovan, would like to remind Shell lawyers that the "group" has placed on record its acknowledgement of my freedom to air my opinions about Shell on ShellNews.net. I did of course already have rights under various freedom of expression conventions and declarations but its nice to know that Shell, one of the multinational rulers of our planet, recognises this fact. The Royal Dutch Shell Group made the following unusual statement in a legal document in regards to this website: - "The... Group... have been aware of the site since the beginning and whilst they would not endorse or agree with many of the comments made by the Respondent on the website, they have taken the view that the Respondent is entitled to express his opinions and to use the Internet as a medium for doing so." This statement drafted by Shell lawyers and authorised by the "Group", amounts to tacit approval/acceptance/recognition of this website by Shell. It was submitted to The World Intellectual Property Organisation in May 2005 by Shell International Petroleum Company Limited on behalf of the Royal Dutch Shell Group in proceedings against me, Alfred Donovan, as the "Respondent" (owner) of three domain names, including www.royaldutchshellplc.com. It remains a mystery why Shell has taken an entirely different view regarding the fundamental human right to freedom of expression in respect of the former Shell geologist Dr John Huong, the well-known Shell whistle-blower, in relation to postings under his name elsewhere on this same website. Eight companies within the Royal Dutch Shell Group collectively obtained a High Court Injunction to silence him. The Injunction remains in force.
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