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Posts on ‘February 13th, 2006’

EMAIL TO SHELL MALAYSIA COUNTRY CHAIRMAN JON CHADWICK

Dear Mr Chadwick
I read with great interest the article by Lyna Mohamad recently published by the Borneo Bulletin and BruDirect.com under the headline: –
“Brunei Shell Companies Recognize Long-Serving Employees”
It is certainly puts Shell in a rosy light. Several hundred of your former long-serving employees in the region will be aware that it paints a false picture if Shell’s conduct in Malaysia is any guide.
The following are headlines and extracts from two news reports about an on-going legal action against Shell brought by one group of 399 former employees of Shell in Malaysia.
“New Straits Times: Ageing and sickly, ex-Shell staff wait on court: “Some have died. Others are losing their memory and many are ailing.”: “399 former employees of Sarawak Shell Bhd and Sabah Shell Petroleum Co Ltd engaged in a protracted legal battle with their ex-employers…” “claiming that they unlawfully deducted money from their internal retirement funds…”: “They won their case at the Miri High Court on Sept 20 but their employers filed an appeal.”: “For now, all they can do is hope their time doesn't run out.”
“Sarawak News: 399 Ex-Employees Of Shell Win Suit For Refund Estimated At RM100 Million: “The Miri High Court has ordered Sarawak Shell Bhd (SSB), Sabah Shell Petroleum Co Ltd (SSPC), the Trustees of Shell Sarawak and Sabah Retirement Fund (SSSRBF) and Shell Sarawak and Sabah Provident Fund (SSSPF), to pay nearly RM100 million to 399 former employees” (Sabah Shell Petroleum Co Ltd is a UK company)”
Mr Chadwick, as you know this case is still dragging on years later while Shell tries to exploit a legal loophole in an attempt to evade its moral obligations. It is unseemly and ruthless behaviour for a multinational making record breaking multibillion dollar profits. Instead of using such excessive funds to settle this legitimate claim from former loyal employees, Shell senior management has been distracted ordering a fleet of luxury executive jets equipped with cocktail bars and thick carpeting. That is disgusting.
I will now turn to the extraordinary case of another former long-serving employee of Shell in Malaysia – Dr John Huong, an employee of 29 years standing.
As you are also well aware EIGHT Royal Dutch Shell companies ganged together in June 2004 to sue Dr Huong for libel in respect of articles published under his name on my website – ShellNews.net (AKA RoyalDutchShellPlc.com). Shell obtained a High Court Injunction and a Restraining Order against him and subsequently threatened him with imprisonment.
Shell has been aware throughout the last 18 months that in fact my son and I had far greater responsibility for the drafting and publishing of the prohibited articles than Dr Huong. Most of the commentary cited in your High Court documents was originated by my son or me, not by Dr Huong. Yet you persist in suing him alone.
I have subsequently posted the offending articles and extracts thereof on a host of other websites including for example the “TellShell” section on Shell’s OWN website (shell.com) on the BruDirect website located in Brunei, a neighbouring Country of Malaysia and now even on an award winning Malaysian website:-
http://www.jeffooi.com/2006/02/wither_malaysian_journalism.php
Dr Huong had no knowledge or involvement in any of these postings/publications.
So when will you be suing me? How can you explain Shell’s written statement in May 2005 recognising my right to use the Internet to criticise Shell, while coming down as you have on a former employee for telling the truth? Why have you taken action against a Malaysian national but not against a white European?
Here are brief extracts from each of the offending articles: –
FIRST ARTICLE: “In my experience Shell directors” and Shell managers, “believe that truth is a precious commodity to be used as a last resort. It has to be squeezed out of them. They prefer to deceive, make empty pledges (Shell's code of ethics), intimidate,” ostracize, “hide information from their own shareholders”, employees, the government who gave them the license to operate and, and finally “retreating behind their army of lawyers” for shelter “whenever there is a prospect that management misdeeds will be exposed.”
SECOND ARTICLE: “I have been unable to obtain any redress from this hypocritical Shell management which says one thing yet does another; a bunch of lying and deceitful bunglers, as has been revealed to the whole world by the oil reserves catastrophe which has pulverized Shell’s reputation.”
THIRD ARTICLE: DEFAMATION, SLANDER AND LIBEL: Mr. Lompoh and Mr. Kandiahpillai, no matter how much you like to talk about defamation, be it slander or libel about Shell management (including the Malaysian henchmen) there's no way for you to stop the continuous avalanche of bad news. You were the first to sour a wonderful and cordial communal relationship built up around Miri since 1910 and for the last years the inheritance built by our fore-fathers were destroyed and have come to a grinding halt; you just have to listen to the coffee shop talk. I now feel ashamed being identify with Shell.
END OF EXTRACTS
Shell’s draconian litigation has focused far more attention and public exposure on the grievances of a disgruntled employee than if it had simply allowed him to freely express his opinions on the Internet, which is a fundamental right in almost all free Countries. How can Shell’s actions be reconciled with your claimed support for the UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights, including the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of conscience?
Has Shell no idea of how bad it looks that EIGHT companies have ganged up on one unemployed Malaysian and have insisted that the libel case is heard in Kuala Lumpur High Court, some 1300 kilometres from where he lives? He cannot get a job in his profession while the case hangs over his head and consequently cannot afford to keep travelling and staying in KP to attend hearings.
Of course you will soon leave all of the Shell employee litigation (I have only mentioned two cases – they are others) to take up a highly paid, fat cat appointment elsewhere, thereby leaving someone else to deal with the dreadful and wicked mess you have created. I will continue to follow the progression of your career with interest.
THE TRUE SITUATION ABOUT SHELL EMPLOYEES IN THE REGION IS INDEED VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE ROSY PICTURE PAINTED IN THE AFORMENTIONED ARTICLE.
Please feel free to respond. I will happily publish any response in full, unedited.
Yours sincerely
Alfred Donovan read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

ShellNewsnet Archive: ROYAL DUTCH: 2004 Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Fraud Lawsuit in NJ

20040323 ROYAL DUTCH Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Fraud Lawsuit in NJ
C L A S S A C T I O N R E P O R T E R
Tuesday, March 23, 2004, Vol. 6, No. 58
Headlines
ROYAL DUTCH: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Fraud Lawsuit in NJ
————————————————————–
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class
action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for
the District of New Jersey against Royal Dutch Petroleum Company
and:
(1) Shell Transport,
(2) Shell Petroleum N.V.,
(3) the Shell Petroleum Limited,
(4) Maarten van der Bergh,
(5) Judy Boynton,
(6) Malcolm Brinded,
(7) S.L. Miller,
(8) Harry J.M. Roels,
(9) Paul D. Skinner,
(10) M. Moody- Stuart,
(11) Jeroen van der Veer, and
(12) Philip R. Watts
The suit was filed on behalf of purchasers of the securities,
including the common stock traded in overseas markets and the
American Depository Receipts trading on the NYSE, of Royal Dutch
Petroleum Company (NYSE: RD) and/or The Shell Transport and
Trading Company, PLC (NYSE: SC) between December 3, 1999 and
January 9, 2004, inclusive, seeking to pursue remedies under the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
According to the complaint, defendants violated sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder by the Securities and Exchange
Commission, and all amendments thereto by issuing a series of
material misrepresentations to the market during the Class
Period.
The complaint alleges that defendants' deliberately violated
accounting rules and guidelines relating to oil and gas reserves
which resulted in a shocking and unprecedented overstatement of
oil and gas reserves, the eventual disclosure of which damaged
purchasers of Royal Dutch and Shell Transport securities and
rocked the investment community.
The complaint alleges that
Royal Dutch and Shell Transport had classified and reported, in
SEC filings and other public documents, certain reserves as
“proved reserves” from a project off the western coast of
Australia called the Gorgon Joint Venture, and various projects
in Nigeria.
In fact, unbeknownst to investors, the reserves did not meet SEC
and industry requirements necessary to be classified as
“proved,” and were improperly reported as proved reserves in
Royal Dutch's and Shell Transport's financial reports, thereby
materially artificially inflating a key measure of the
companies' financial position and competitive standing. As a
result of these material misrepresentations, Royal Dutch and
Shell Transport's true value in the marketplace was severely
overstated and misunderstood.
On January 9, 2004, Royal Dutch announced that it was going to
write-down its proved oil and gas reserves by 20%, or 3.9
billion barrels, from 19.5 billion barrels to 15.6 billion
barrels. The write-down:
(i) cut Shell's reserve life from 13.4 years to 10.6 years;
(ii) increased its worldwide 5-year average reserve
replacement cost per barrel from $5.49 to $12.57 —
$7.06, or 128% greater than the industry average of
$5.51;
(iii) increased Shell's finding and development costs to
$7.90 per barrel — well above the costs of its
competitors; and
(iv) reduced Shell's Appraised Net Worth downward by up to
7.1%, or $9.6 billion.
Following the announcement, Royal Dutch ADRs fell 7.87% from
$52.76 to $48.61 on the NYSE and Royal Dutch ordinary shares
fell by 7.10% from the U.S. equivalent of $52.91 to $49.15 on
the Amsterdam exchange. Shell Transport ADRs were down 6.96%
from $44.81 to $41.69 on the NYSE and Shell Transport ordinary
shares were down 6.84% on the London exchange from the U.S.
equivalent of $7.36 to $6.86. In addition, Moody's placed the
Aaa rating of Royal Dutch and Shell Transport under review for
possible downgrade because the write-down materially and
adversely affected the companies' reserves-to-debt ratio.
Following the belated disclosure, most analysts and commentators
concluded that, because of the magnitude of the write-down and
the clear SEC and industry guidelines relating to reserve
classification, the reserve overstatements could not have been a
result of error or accident, but rather, that the reserves were
knowingly overstated to preserve the companies' credit rating
and to shore up their competitive position.
For more details, contact Marc S. Henzel by Mail: 273 Montgomery
Ave., Suite 202, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 by Phone: 610-660-8000 or
888-643-6735 by Fax: 610-660-8080 or by E-Mail:
[email protected] read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Houston Chronicle: Shell CEO Urges Britain to Cut Oil Taxes

Feb. 13, 2006, 6:38AM
© 2006 The Associated Press
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — Britain's government should lower taxes on domestic oil producers if oil prices fall, in order to increase investment in North Sea drilling projects, Royal Dutch Shell PLC's chief executive said Monday.
Britain's Treasury chief Gordon Brown doubled a “windfall” tax on oil production in the British North Sea from 10 percent to 20 percent in 2006, bringing protests from oil companies and free market advocates.
“If oil prices fall we'd like to see taxes fall,” Shell Chief Executive Jeroen van der Veer said, Dow Jones newswires reported. “That may be enough for additional investment in the North Sea.”
Van der Veer was speaking at an energy conference alongside Britain's Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks.
Last week, the Hague-based company reported a 37 percent increase in full year earnings to US$25.3 billion (euro20.8 billion), a record for any British or Dutch corporation. The earnings also brought complaints from consumer groups that the company is profiteering on the current high price of oil. Shell denies that.
Industry observers say the British taxes will lead Shell and other offshore drillers to shift their investment projects away from the North Sea to other areas where taxes are lower and profits higher _ costing British jobs.
The U.S. government has debated windfall oil taxes but rejected them until now.
Free-market advocates like think-tank The Cato Institute have argued that such taxes distort market forces and discourage the investment that is needed to create new projects that will ultimately bring prices of gasoline at the pump down. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

London Evening Standard: New delay warning over Shell gas project

Evening Standard
13 February 2006
ROYAL Dutch Shell's $20bn (£11.5bn) Russian natural gas project, Sakhalin 2, may face further delays, according to a top executive.
'I'm hoping we can meet the target but there's always a risk for further delay,' said Ian Craig, chief executive of the Sakhalin Energy consortium.
Shell said last July that it had delayed the first liquefied natural gas shipment from the project from the initial target of the end of 2007 because the Russian authorities had repeatedly postponed approval of annual capital expenditure plans.
Craig did not say where the risk of delays come from, although the project has angered environmentalists who say it threatens the habitat of many marine mammals.
However, he said the Sakhalin 2 project expects to secure financing of between $200m and $300m from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and added that Shell was also seeking financing from Britain's Export Credits Guarantee Department, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and the ExIm bank of the US.
Other stories: read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

BruneiDirect.Com: Royal Dutch Shell Companies in Malaysia

Published on BruneiDirect.Com (Borneo Bulletin) 13 February 2006

THIS IS ON A PAGE ENTITLED: HAVE NO FEAR HAVE YOUR SAY!

From Alfred Donovan

I have read your article entitled “Brunei Shell Companies Recognize Long-Serving Employees”.

A great example of Hype and Spin from Shell…

Here is what one former Shell employee of 29 years standing had to say about Shell. This article happens to be the subject of a High Court of Malaya Injunction and Restraining Order against the former employee in question: Dr John Huong. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

THE NEW YORK TIMES: Bugs Could Be Key to Kicking Oil Addiction

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The key to kicking what President Bush calls the nation's oil addiction could very well lie in termite guts, canvas-eating jungle bugs and other microbes genetically engineered to spew enzymes that turn waste into fuel.
It may seem hard to believe that microscopic bugs usually viewed as destructive pests can be so productive. But scientists and several companies are working with the creatures to convert wood, corn stalks and other plant waste into sugars that are easily brewed into ethanol — essentially 199-proof moonshine that can be used to power automobiles.
Thanks to biotechnology breakthroughs, supporters of alternative energy sources say that after decades of unfulfilled promise and billions in government corn subsidies, energy companies may be able to produce ethanol easily and inexpensively.
''The process is like making grain alcohol, or brewing beer, but on a much bigger scale,'' said Nathanael Greene, an analyst with the environmental nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council. ''The technologies are out there to do this, but we need to convince the public this is real and not just a science project.''
Using microbes may even solve a growing dilemma over the current ethanol manufacturing process, which relies almost exclusively on corn kernels and yielded only 4 billion gallons of ethanol last year (compared to the 140 billion gallons of gasoline used in the U.S.). There's growing concern throughout the Midwestern corn belt that the 95 U.S. ethanol plants are increasingly poaching corn meant for the dinner table or livestock feed.
The idea mentioned by Bush during his State of the Union speech — called ''cellulosic ethanol'' — skirts that problem because it makes fuel from farm waste such as straw, corn stalks and other inedible agricultural leftovers. Cellulose is the woody stuff found in branches and stems that makes plants hard.
Breaking cellulose into sugar to spin straw into ethanol has been studied for at least 50 years. But the technological hurdles and costs have been so daunting that most ethanol producers have relied on heavy government subsidies to squeeze fuel from corn.
Researchers are now exploring various ways to exploit microbes, the one-cell creatures that serve as the first link of life's food chain. One company uses the microbe itself to make ethanol. Others are taking the genes that make the waste-to-fuel enzymes and splicing them into common bacteria. What's more, a new breed of ''synthetic biologists'' are trying to produce the necessary enzymes by creating entirely new life forms through DNA.
Bush's endorsement of the waste-to-energy technology has renewed interest in actually supplanting fossil fuels as a dominant energy source — a goal long dismissed as pipe dream.
''We have been at this for 25 years and we had hoped to be in commercial production by now,'' said Jeff Passmore, an executive vice president at ethanol-maker Iogen Inc. ''What the president has done is — perhaps — put some wind in the sails.''
Ottawa-based Iogen is already producing ethanol by exploiting the destructive nature of the fungus Trichoderma reesei, which caused the ''jungle rot'' of tents and uniforms in the Pacific theater during World War II.
Through a genetic modification known as directed evolution, Iogen has souped up fungus microbes so they spew copious amounts of digestive enzymes to break down straw into sugars. From there, a simple fermentation — which brewers have been doing for centuries — turns sugar into alcohol.
Iogen opened a small, $40 million factory in 2004 to show it can produce cellulosic ethanol in commercial quantities. In the last two years, it has produced 65,000 gallons of ethanol that is blended with 85 percent gasoline to fuel about three dozen company and Canadian government vehicles. Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC has invested $40 million for a 30 percent ownership stake in Iogen; Petro-Canada and the Canadian government are also investors. Now the company is ready to build a $350 million, commercial-scale factory in Canada or Idaho Falls, Idaho, next year if it can secure financing — long one of the biggest stumbling blocks to bringing the stuff to gas pumps.
While conventional lenders are wary of investing in a new technology, the company is banking on winning a loan from the U.S. Department of Energy. Even under a best-case scenario, Passmore said Iogen won't be producing commercial quantities until 2009.
Other significant hurdles include how to widely distribute the fuel; getting auto manufacturers to make engines that will use it; and persuading gas stations to install ethanol pumps. There's hope that funding shortfalls and the remaining technological problems such as how to ship large amounts of ethanol will be overcome in the next few years.
Despite the challenges, Bush's endorsement and advancements in the field have re-energized alternative energy types.
While no commercial interest has advanced as far as Iogen, other biotech companies are engineering bacteria to spit out similar sugar-converting enzymes, and academics are pursuing more far-out sources.
At the California Institute of Technology, Jared Leadbetter is mining the guts of termites for possible tools to turn wood chips into ethanol. Leadbetter said there are some 200 microbes that live in termite bellies that help the household pest convert wood to energy.
Those microbes or their genetic material can be used to produce ethanol-making enzymes. So scientists at the Energy Department's Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, Calif., are now sequencing the microbe genes in hopes of finding a key to ethanol production.
''We have this idea that microbes are pests,'' said Leadbetter, who has been studying termite guts for 15 years. ''But most microbes are beneficial.''
On the Net:
National Resources Defense Council: http://www.nrdc.org
Iogen: http://www.iogen.ca
Leadbetter's lab: http://www.its.caltech.edu/jaredl read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Irish Times: Dempsey under pressure for Corrib gas decision

Lorna Siggins, Marine Correspondent
Feb 13, 2006
Minister for the Marine Noel Dempsey is under pressure from Shell E&P Ireland to award the next stage of consents for the Corrib gas field project, following a report to him by his high level ministerial advisory group.
The Corrib technical advisory group has completed its work on the safety review of the onshore pipeline by Advantica consultants, and has given the Minister recommendations based on its assessment of the consultants' findings.
The draft report by Advantica had recommended reducing the pressure in the onshore pipeline, among a number of measures which have done little to allay fears of residents in Rossport.
The five Mayo men who were jailed for 94 days for contempt of court last year over their opposition to the onshore pipeline, are due to appear in the High Court today to face possible punishment.
That hearing was deferred late last week and may now take place after the Minister has made his decision. A series of protests to mark the reopening of the Rossport solidarity camp has been planned for later this week by the Shell to Sea campaign.
Mark Garavan, spokesman for the five men, said they had no indication as to what form this punishment would take as it was a matter for the president of the High Court. The five men recently suspended participation in the mediation established between Shell and them by Mr Dempsey, following a series of comments made recently by the Minister, including his assertion that he never meant mediation to be confined to the five men and Shell.
The men have said that a clear discrepancy has emerged as a result of Mr Dempsey's comments in relation to the role of the mediator, former Ictu secretary-general Peter Cassells, and have called on Mr Dempsey to stop interfering. They have referred to Mr Dempsey's speech in the Dail on October 4th, 2005 where he referred to “both sides” (the men and Shell) in relation to mediation.
Dr Garavan referred also at the weekend to an interview which the Minister gave to RTE's Morning Ireland on September 30th, which the men heard while still in jail. In that interview, Mr Dempsey referred to having appointed “someone to mediate between the two of them” – as in the two parties, Shell and the imprisoned men.
The Minister said last night that mediation was a matter for Mr Cassells. Mr Cassells has already said he understood mediation to be between Shell and the Rossport five, and also with several other non-consenting landowners.
A “wider consultation” had been taking place separately, he told The Irish Times earlier this month. Mr Cassells has invited the five men to a meeting to clarify the situation. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Philippine Daily Inquirer: Palace tells gas firms to explain price hikes

Christine O. Avendao and Jamie Alarcon
Feb 13, 2006
MALACAYENANG WANTS oil firms in the country to justify their new round of price increases in the wake of record profits that global oil companies are reaping.
President Macapagal-Arroyo has directed the Department of Energy to ask oil firms to give a “written explanation” on why they had raised prices, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said yesterday.
“We must ensure that there is a clear justification for such increases in accord with the situation in the world market,” Bunye said.
The increases came despite the strengthening of the peso against the dollar.
Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., Caltex Philippines Inc. and Petron Corp. led other oil firms in jacking up the prices of gasoline, diesel and kerosene by 50 centavos per liter over the weekend.
The oil firms cited high international prices and competitive market forces as reasons for the adjustments.
Since January, oil firms have raised the prices of gasoline, diesel and kerosene three times by a total of P1.50 a liter. The price of LPG has also risen three times by P1.61 per kilogram or P17.71 per 11-kg cylinder.
The adjustments were apart from those brought about by the increase in the value-added tax from 10 percent to 12 percent on Feb. 1.
The price of unleaded gasoline went up by 70 centavos per liter and that of diesel by 60 centavos per liter as a result of the 2-percentage-point increase in the VAT rate. The price of LPG rose between P8.90 and P9.80 per kg.
Cooperate
In a text message, Bunye said the Palace expected the oil companies to cooperate “in the spirit of transparency.”
“We know they (oil firms) are deregulated, but it should not prevent the executive from making this initiative in the public interest,” he said.
Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said the President conveyed her instructions to him yesterday morning when she was informed about the oil price increases.
“(The President) inquired whether we do that (seek explanations from oil firms) and we said yes,” Lotilla said in a phone interview.
The energy secretary said oil firms had been told to make the written explanations. They will be given a few days to submit them.
Strong message
Since the start of the year, the DOE has asked the oil firms not to immediately increase prices in one blow after global oil prices went up in December last year. Instead, the companies were asked to adjust prices in increments.
Presidential Chief of Staff Michael Defensor described the Palace demand for an explanation from the oil companies as “a strong message” from the President.
While Malacaang recognized the oil firms' logistical requirements in importing, processing and bringing out oil, “they also have to recognize the fact that the President is vigilant in protecting our people, particularly the riding public,” Defensor said.
“Any increase (in oil prices) to the detriment of our people will be closely monitored,” he said in a phone interview.
The high prices not only in the Philippines, but also in other parts of the globe, are giving the big oil companies record profits.
Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest publicly traded oil company, surpassed Wall Street expectations when it reported $10.7 billion in fourth quarter profits on Jan. 30.
Biggest profit in US history
Exxon's profit of $36.1 billion for all of 2005, which rose 42 percent from 2004, was the largest annual net income of any corporation in US history. The amount was bigger than the economies of 125 countries.
Industry critics have called for a tax on excess profits following Exxon's disclosure of its record net income.
The previous week, California-based Chevron Corp. reported annual profits of $14.1 billion, up from $13 billion in 2004. Chevron owns Caltex Philippines.
Pilipinas Shell's earnings soar
Royal Dutch Shell announced on Feb. 1 that it earned $5.4 billion in the last quarter of 2005. Analysts said Shell's profit for the entire year, $22.94 billion, an increase of 30 percent from the previous year, was a record for a company listed in the United Kingdom.
It was not known how much of this amount was contributed by its local subsidiary, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. But as early as June 2005, Pilipinas Shell had already earned P2.87 billion, almost matching its earnings of P2.98 billion for the entire 2004.
Another of the Philippines' top oil firms, Petron, surpassed its net income target for 2005 by the third quarter. Petron reported P4.8 billion in profits from January to September, exceeding its P3.6-billion net income target for the year by almost P1 billion.
It attributed its earnings to the lucrative export market, while Pilipinas Shell cited better refining margins and nonfuel retailing revenues, such as those derived from its Select convenience stores.
Bunye said the series of oil price increases “should serve as a constant reminder to all sectors-public and private-of the need to conserve our precious fuel.”
He said Malacaang would continue to step up its efforts to search for alternative energy sources.
Bunye called on Congress to immediately act on pending energy bills, “including the one providing incentives for the production of ethanol and biodiesel.”
His call was similar to the one made by US President George W. Bush in his State of the Union speech on Jan. 31. Bush proposed funding additional research into alternative energy sources because America needed to stop being “addicted to oil” from the Middle East.
The Philippines imports most of its oil requirements from the Middle East.
Biggest importers
Four oil companies-Caltex, Shell, Petron and Total-made it to the top 10 importers in 2005 based on the amount of customs duties and taxes they paid, according to the Bureau of Customs.
The only government office to make it to the list was the National Food Authority, which ranked second. Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. took the top spot.
But the companies' contributions were hardly enough to help the bureau meet its target collection last year as it struggled to come up with P151 billion in cash for most of 2005.
The BOC, which was headed by three different commissioners last year, only met, and slightly exceeded, its 2005 target after it was allowed to count non-cash collections as part of its revenue.
Toyota paid P10.79 billion in duties and taxes last year, while the NFA paid P10.23 billion, according to bureau figures.
The rest of the top five slots were occupied by the three big oil companies. Third was Caltex Philippines, which paid P7.68 billion; followed by Pilipinas Shell, P7.39 billion, and Petron, P5.28 billion.
Nestl Philippines ranked sixth with P2.66 billion in customs duties and taxes paid. It was followed by Isuzu Philippines (P1.91 billion), Total Philippines (P1.71 billion), Fortune Tobacco (P1.60 billion) and Ford Group Philippines (P1.38 billion). With a report from Leila B. Salaverria
> read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Financial Times: Observer: Unreserved energy

By Sheila McNulty
Published: February 13 2006
Charitability seemed the order of the day at the oil summit, hosted by Cambridge Energy Research Associates. And why not, with sky-high petroleum prices allowing the industry to pump out record profits. Jeroen van der Veer, enthusiastic chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, was another keynote speaker – putting well behind him Shell's 2004 humiliation when its figures for proved reserves were, er, proved wrong.

Nobody pressed van der Veer on the issue that powered him to the top job. Indeed, expounding on extraction methods, he was even able to assure the gathering: “The world is not running out of energy.” That's handy.
read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Rutland Herald (Vermont): ExxonMobil recently reported record 2005 profits of more than $36 billion

Rutland Herald (Vermont) staff writer Bruce Edwards: Although awash in record profits, don't look for other major oil companies to follow the lead of CITGO and make discounted home heating oil available to low-income residents in Vermont and other cold-weather states
CITGO last week delivered its first shipment of home heating oil to Vermont at a 40% discount. It's part of an offer CITGO, the Venezuelan-owned oil company, made in November to sell discounted home heating oil to low-income residents in the US.
Shane Sweet of the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association said so far no other oil company has come forward with a similar offer. “If they did that, we would do what we could to make it go off seamlessly,” said Sweet, the association's executive vice president. “I'm not getting out of the bed in the morning to solicit that.”
Sweet said right now he's too busy working out the logistical details of the CITGO deal. Sweet apparently won't have to worry about another oil company following CITGO's example. Instead, ExxonMobil, the nation's largest oil company, said in an email that it supports full funding of the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
Citing a American Petroleum Institute letter sent to US senators in November, ExxonMobil noted that higher prices have substantially increased royalties and income taxes paid by oil and natural gas companies to fully fund LIHEAP.
“ExxonMobil incurred in 2004 more than $11 billion in state and federal taxes (income, excise and other). Our 2005 taxes will reflect higher earnings recorded,” Exxon Mobil spokesman David Gardner said in response to a reporter's question.
Gardner also pointed out that the “industry mounted a major effort to return Gulf Coast facilities to full operation following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the energy industry sustained between $18 and 31 billion in capital losses from the hurricanes. Restoration costs will be absorbed without government assistance.”
ExxonMobil recently reported record 2005 profits of more than $36 billion.
The response from Shell Oil Company was nearly identical. “It is Shell and Motiva's view that public service funding decisions, such as funding and administering the low-income heating oil assistance program (LIHEAP), are a role and responsibility of the government,” Shell spokeswoman Karyn Leonardi-Cattolica said in an e-mail. “We do, however, appreciate the strain that rising energy prices are putting on the family budget. We are working aggressively to do what we do best, which is to increase supply, directing our efforts to find more energy so that Americans can not only affordably heat and cool their homes, but also fuel their vehicles and power their businesses.”
Shell Oil Company is a 50% owner of Motiva Enterprises LLC, along with Saudi Refining Inc. Motiva distributes heating oil in the Northeast. Shell posted a 2005 profit of $23 billion.
Sunoco, which earned $974 million last year, has no plans to follow CITGO's lead either. But Sunoco spokesman Jeff Peters said for the second consecutive year the company has given away $1 million in home heating oil that's distributed through charitable or nonprofit organizations in New York and Pennsylvania, primarily in the Philadelphia area.
Asked whether given the oil companies' record profits that a $1 million donation was sufficient, Peters said, “If you compare it to overall charitable giving, we think it's a significant investment.”
At the current average New England price of $2.43 a gallon, Sunoco's donation would buy 411,522 gallons of home heating oil. By comparison. CITGO will make available to Vermont alone 2.5 million gallons of fuel oil at a 40% discount, saving Vermonters $2.4 million off the current price.
Vermont is one of several states that has taken CITGO and the Venezuelan government up on their offer.
Last week, Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez joined Rep. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., as the first shipment of discounted oil was delivered to the John Graham Emergency Service Shelter in Vergennes. Under the deal brokered by Sanders, 2.4 million gallons of heating oil will be sold at a 40% discount to LIHEAP recipients, Crisis Fuel Assistance Program, and the WARMTH Program. The remaining 108,000 gallons will be distributed free of charge to homeless shelters throughout Vermont.
Sanders said that other oil companies should follow CITGO's example, especially with the industry reaping record profits. “It is absolutely outrageous for companies like ExxonMobil, which earned a record-breaking $36 billion this past year, to be raking in obscene profits while millions of Americans are struggling to pay skyrocketing fuel prices,” Sanders said in a statement.
“If ExxonMobil can afford to give their CEO $81.7 million in compensation, they should be able to lower gas and home heating oil prices for consumers. They should also be able to establish programs similar to CITGO that would provide significant discounts to lower-income consumers in need.”
The offer by CITGO and Venezuela has been viewed with skepticism by the Bush administration who view the deal as a gimmick to embarrass the administration. Venezuela President Hugo Chavez is a harsh critic of President Bush.
Bruce Edwards
[email protected] read more

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BruneiDirect.Com: Brunei Shell Companies

POSTING ON BruneiDirect.Com (Borneo Bulletin)
I have read your article entitled “Brunei Shell Companies Recognize Long-Serving Employees”
The following is a recent published article which reveals a rather different reality in regards to the way that Shell companies in Malaysia treat Shell employees. It relates to Shell's attitude to FREEDOM OF SPEEECH and health & safety issues.

ROYAL DUTCH SHELL SUPPORT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS & FREEDOM OF SPEECH: PR HYPE & SPIN VS. REALITY
By Alfred Donovan (All of the underlining below is mine…)
THE HYPE & SPIN
THE RIGHTS OF NOBEL LAUREATE *KEN SARO-WIWA TO FREELY HOLD AND AIR HIS VIEWS (ABOUT SHELL):
EXTRACTS FROM Shell.com website:
“We did, however, speak out both publicly and privately about human rights issues on a number of occasions. For instance, during the trial of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogonis, we publicly stated that the accused had a right to a fair legal process. Before the trial, we said Ken Saro-Wiwa had a right to freely hold and air his views.”
THE RIGHTS OF ALFRED DONOVAN TO EXPRESS HIS OPINIONS (ABOUT SHELL)
FROM SHELL INTERNATIONAL PETROLEUM COMPANY LIMITED LEGAL SUBMISSION TO THE WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANISATION REGARDING THE WEBSITE OF ALFRED DONOVAN: 18 MAY 2005
“The Complainant and the Group it represents 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.”
SHELL’S SUPPORT FOR THE UN UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS (FROM THE SHELL DOCUMENT – BUSINESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS: A MANAGEMENT PRIMER: © Shell International Petroleum Company (SIPC) 1998)
“We have also lent our support to international declarations and standards that were developed to foster human rights, including the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights…”
3.12. So what does all this mean for Shell companies and the individuals within those companies?
The Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies supports the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.
(The document republishes the entire text of The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights or UDHR – reproduced in full on pages 27-31)
Article 19
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of
frontiers.”
2.1 What Are Human Rights?
The key document providing an answer to this question is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR consists of a preamble and thirty articles, which list both “civil and political rights” (such as the right to a fair trial, freedom from torture, freedom of conscience…
ENTRACTS FROM SHELL DOCUMENTS ENDS
THE REALITY i.e. WHAT SHELL MANAGEMENT DOES AS OPPOSED TO WHAT IT SAYS
EIGHT Royal Dutch Shell companies collectively obtained a HIGH COURT INJUNCTION and RESTRAINING ORDER against a former employee, Dr John Huong, a Malaysian who, driven by his conscience, blew the whistle on Shell management misdeeds including the fabrication of hydrocarbon reserves and health and safely issues which put Shell employee lives at risk. The sole purpose of the draconian litigation against this unemployed Malaysian, who was sidelined, humiliated and ultimately sacked for speaking the truth, was to prevent him exercising HIS RIGHTS to freedom of conscience and freedom of expression following his wrongful dismissal.
We also have evidence that Shell has succeeded in using the action against Dr Huong to frighten former Shell Malaysian employees from speaking out against the injustices heaped upon them by Shell. Several hundred of them, many elderly, sick, and dying, recently won a retirement funds case against Shell when a Judge ruled that Shell had acted “unlawfully” in making inappropriate deductions. Shell is however ruthlessly dragging out the case by appealing the judgment based on a legal loophole relating to time limits.
In June 2005 Shell had five Irishman – now known as the “Rossport Five”, jailed for 3 months for engaging in an entirely peaceful campaign against the Corrib pipeline project on entirely valid health and safety grounds. They were released after thousands of Irish people engaged in street protests in response to such oppressive behaviour by an arrogant multinational giant whose actions are dictated by a bungling management drunk on power and corrupted by greed.
This scandal ridden company has a reputation for incompetence, misjudgement and dishonesty (and as indicated above) blatant ruthlessness towards some Shell employees. Led by a CEO, Jeroen van der Veer, himself facing fraud allegations in the US courts, Shell has recently demonstrated breathtaking arrogance by indulging itself in a fleet of luxury jets. This is at a time when according to The Sunday Times, other multinationals are getting rid of their executive planes. It seems that the rights of some Shell employees – its ego driven bosses – are more important than others.
Thus the reality of Shell management actions is totally at odds with their Spin & Hype.
* Ken Saro-Wiwa was hanged by the evil Nigerian military regime which was closely associated with Shell at that time. Sir Philip Watts is being sued in connection with allegations that while head of Shell in Nigeria he personally helped to create and arm a 1400 strong private spy force. Furthermore, Shell has admitted that an undercover agent working for them carried out operations in Nigeria. His cover story involved making a film in Nigeria called “Business as Usual: the Arrogance of Power”, during which he interviewed friends of Ken Saro-Wiwa. Shell’s spy, German-born Manfred Schlickenrieder, engaged in espionage missions involving deception, sabotage, betrayal and intelligence gathering. 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.
How such activities are compatible with Shell’s supposed commitment to ethical trading, human rights and its STATEMENT OF GENERAL BUSINESS PRINCIPLES is beyond my comprehension. The right of Ken Saro-Wiwa to the most basic human right of all – the right to live – was taken away from him in the most terrible circumstances. We wonder if anyone at Shell management has a conscience about what happened to this courageous Nigerian who always insisted on peaceful campaigning against Shell's activities? His voice might have been useful in the Nigerian Delta these days.
Reply…
Alfred Donovan – [email protected]
13/02/2006 read more

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BruneiDirect.Com: Brunei Shell Companies Recognize Long-Serving Employees

By Lyna Mohamad
Bandar Seri Begawan – Long-serving employees of Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP) and Brunei Liquefied Natural Gas (BLNG) were recognised at the MD Long Service Emblem conducted at the Rizqun International Hotel in Gadong last Saturday evening.
Present as the chief guest was Pehin Dato PadukaAwg Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar, Minister of Energy cum Chairman of BSP and BLNG Board of Directors.
In his speech, Dr Grahaeme Henderson, the Managing Director amongst all reiterated that safety takes priority announcing that BSP had the best safety programme ever in its history last year.

He further disclosed that BSP is also the best in the Shell Group, a very prestigious honour given that Shell has one of the best safety performances of any company in the world today.

Dr Henderson added that they have recently reported the success of the fifth successive oil strike in the Seria North Flank and will be bringing them on stream soon.
“We were equally proud to have commenced production of crude oil from Phase III of Champion West, two months ahead of schedule, utilising leading edge technology and carrying the stamp “made in Brunei” having been built at the KB construction yard.”
He also noted that the Brunei Shell Companies have always put the well being and development of staff in the forefront of their minds and they continue to invest enormous amounts of time and effort to allow everyone wherever they work to feel part of the Brunei Shell family and enjoy fulfilling work.
Applauding the strong dedication and loyalty of the recipients, he noted that like true family members, the recipients continue to be loyal and the marvellous achievement does not simply happen.
“An extraordinary level of staff dedication and teamwork make all the difference. I have always believed that if we, as employers, genuinely look after our people, they will in return reward our trust and faith.
“As everyone comes to the office wanting to do a great job, it is the role of managers and supervisors to provide staff with the right environment, tools and motivation to bring out the very best at the workplace,” he added.
Another speech was delivered by Awg Hj Samuil Hi Mohiddin, who represented the emblem recipients where over 100 employees from the two companies were honoured during the dinner as an appreciation for their loyalty and dedication throughout their careers with the companies.
The list of recipients included 10 receiving their 35-year service award, 63 receiving 30-year service awards and 124 receiving their 25-year service awards.
Dr Henderson and MD of BSM Pg Hj Yasmin Pg Hj Mohamad were amongst the 25-year service award recipients who received their award from the guest of honour.
The highlight of the dinner was the presentation of long service emblems to the recipients.
The minister consented to present the long-service awards to employees who have served the company for 30 and 35 years. The 25-year service emblem on the other hand was presented to BSP and BLNG employees by their respective Managing Directors.
Adding colour to the evening's event were performances by local singers and dancers of the BSP Gerak Budaya group as well as a special guest artist, the Jazz Queen of Malaysia, Sheila Majid, who was specially flown in to perform at the event. — Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin
Brudirect.com News read more

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BLOOMBERG: Shell, Statoil LNG Project Expansion Setbacks May Worsen a Fuel Shortage

Shell, Statoil LNG Setbacks May Worsen Fuel Shortage (Update1) Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Statoil ASA are among liquefied natural gas producers that may miss output targets and worsen a scarcity of the fuel because of insufficient construction staff. The shortage of engineers and other workers plus higher materials prices led to a 30 percent jump in building costs for new LNG plants over two years, Frank Harris at Wood Mackenzie Consultants Ltd. estimated. That may delay startups and worsen a “tight'' market through 2010, he said. LNG producers are planning to build plants that will boost global output of the fuel 94 percent within five years, according to Citigroup Inc. The boom has stretched capacity at contractors such as Halliburton Co.'s KBR and threatened to swell an estimated $67 billion of capital investment in LNG plants, import terminals and ships in 2005-09. “The level of activity on LNG construction is eating into the expertise and the resource base; we're seeing a big squeeze,'' said Andy Flower, an independent LNG consultant in London and a former executive at BP Plc. “It's being manifested in delays in start-ups of new trains and in the cost increases, akin to the fact that there's big demand and limited supply.'' Demand for LNG may double to 264 million metric tons a year by 2010 because of increased consumption in the U.S. and sales to new markets such as China, India and Mexico, Citigroup said in an Oct. 24 report. About 97 million tons of LNG production capacity is under construction.

`Things Going Wrong'
“We're definitely talking about increased costs and/or delays and/or things going wrong when you try to start it up,'' said Susan Farmer, a London-based partner at law firm Watson, Farley & Williams and an adviser on international LNG projects. Farmer is working in a group with MW Kellogg Ltd., a joint venture of Halliburton and Japan's JGC Corp., to advise the Cyprus government on setting up an LNG import terminal.
Farmer will join senior executives from Shell, the world's biggest non-government owner of LNG production capacity, and Korea Gas Corp., the world's biggest LNG buyer, as a speaker at the LNG Asia Pacific 2006 conference in Seoul, starting today. James Boyd, California's Energy Commissioner, and P. Dasgupta, chief executive of Petronet LNG, India's only LNG importer, will also speak at the two-day conference.
Development costs at Sakhalin-2, the world's largest oil and gas project, may double to $20 billion because of soaring metal prices, higher contractor fees and a declining U.S. dollar, Shell said June 14. LNG deliveries will start in the summer of 2008, about eight months behind schedule, Shell said.
Revised Targets read more

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Reuters: Shell's Sakhalin-2 warns of more LNG delays

Mon Feb 13, 2006 5:32 AM GMT
YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, Russia (Reuters) – Russia's giant Sakhalin-2 natural gas project could face further delays, although it is currently still on track to start up in mid-2008 after a six-month setback, a top executive said on Monday.
Sakhalin-2, led by Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research), still aims to export the first cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the summer of 2008, despite Russia's Energy Ministry postponing approval of the project's $20 billion (11.5 billion pound) costs, double initial estimates.
“I'm hoping we can meet the target but there's always a risk for further delay,” said Ian Craig, the chief executive of Sakhalin Energy consortium, which runs the world's largest LNG project. He was speaking to a small group of reporters.
He did not say what aspects of the project could cause further delays. A spokesman said that the previous six-month delay was due to environmental issues and difficulty in getting the necessary infrastructure materials
The comment may unnerve investors and the project's LNG customers. It follows a shock in July when Shell said it had delayed the first LNG shipment from the project from the initial target of end-2007 because the Russian authorities had repeatedly postponed approval of annual capital expenditure plans.
It also said project costs would double to $20 billion.
The most recent hiccup came on Friday when Russia's Energy Ministry said it had postponed approval of the new cost estimate because it needed more time to study it. The work is expected to be completed by June.
A lack of approval usually creates operational uncertainties and slows the implementation of the project.
The ministry said that it was still concerned that the doubling of costs would cut the profitable share of Russian production.
Shell has always denied this, saying costs had risen because of higher steel and other commodities prices, but high oil prices would allow higher profits earlier than planned.
Shell holds 55 percent of Sakhalin-2, which is set to produce up to 9.6 million tonnes of LNG a year.
It is in talks with Russia's gas monopoly Gazprom OAO (GAZP.MM: Quote, Profile, Research) to finalise an asset swap agreement, in which Gazprom may take up to 25 percent of the project. Shell in return may take part of Gazprom's Zapolyarnoye field.
Japan's Mitsui & Co. (8031.T: Quote, Profile, Research) and Mitsubishi Corp. (8058.T: Quote, Profile, Research) hold the remaining shares in Sakhalin-2, with 25 percent and 20 percent respectively. read more

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Reuters: Shell faces protests, delays at Irish gas project

Reuters: Shell faces protests, delays at Irish gas project
By Tom Bergin
ROSSPORT (Reuters) – A small horse trailer acts as the unassuming headquarters for a campaign that has delayed a billion-dollar gas project by at least four years and threatened oil giant Royal Dutch Shell's reputation.
The trailer, covered with posters attacking Shell's environmental record, is parked by a road near the perimeter fence of a planned terminal for processing gas from the Corrib field, 70 km (43.5 miles) off the Mayo coast in western Ireland.
A handful of people sit inside, sipping tea, ready to block the facilities' gates to ensure the plant and a high pressure pipeline are not completed. They fear the pipeline will run dangerously close to their homes.
“There's only one way they can push it through and that's by force,” said Vincent McGrath, a retired teacher who was jailed with four others for 94 days last year for obstructing work on the pipeline.
A few miles down a road lined with more “Shell Out” and “Shell Hell” posters lies the village of Rossport.
On a barn at the village entrance, there is a message pleading for “justice” for the “Rossport 5”, as McGrath and the four other prisoners came to be known across Ireland.
On another building, there is a mural of Ken Saro-Wiwa, the activist and critic of Shell's operations in Nigeria, who was hanged by the then military government in 1995.
The imprisonment of the Rossport men triggered protests across Ireland, drew calls for higher taxes on oil companies and brought protesters to Rossport from around the world.
Work on the project halted and Shell eventually asked the courts to release the five. Shell and its partners — Norwegian state oil firm Statoil and Texas-based Marathon Oil Corp — hope to restart work in the coming months and begin production in 2007 but analysts think this optimistic.
REPUTATION AT RISK
The Corrib field is small to medium in size and the reported 100 million euros ($120 million) cost overrun is small compared to a $10 billion overrun on Shell's biggest gas project, at Sakhalin Island off Russia's east coast.
However, like Sakhalin, where Shell is accused of putting endangered whales at risk, and the Bonga oil project in Nigeria, which was late and over budget, Corrib is chipping away at Shell's reputation as a company which can get projects done without major financial or environmental setbacks.
With falling production and the worst record at adding new reserves among peers, Shell cannot afford to give governments reasons to find against it when awarding new operating licenses.
Residents' worries focus on the pipeline which will carry unprocessed gas across 9 km (5.6 miles) of unstable bogland and run as little as 70 meters (230 feet) from their homes.
They want Shell to process the gas offshore and bring it onshore at lower pressure, and further away from their homes.
“We're not anti-gas, we're anti the way it's done,” Mary Corduff, whose husband Willie was jailed with McGrath, said.
The pipe's planned operating pressure is 120-150 bar, while transmission pipelines in Ireland usually run at a maximum of around 85 bar and must be 72 meters (236 feet) from residences, a spokeswoman for state-owned gas distributor Bord Gais said.
Shell says offshore processing is uneconomical and no safer, and a strengthened pipeline compensates for the higher pressure.
SAFETY REVIEWS
An independent safety review commissioned by the Irish government, which backs the project, from consultants Advantica, approved the pipeline.
Objectors are unconvinced. A review commissioned by the government last year from British Pipeline Agency (BPA) also found the pipeline to be safe but was set aside after it emerged BPA was half-owned by Shell.
Even specialists can underestimate the risks from pipeline failure due to the complexity of modeling the release process of gas, Haroun Mahgerefteh, professor of chemical engineering at University College London, said.
“Not many people have the capability of doing it so what they tend to do is to make simplifying assumptions which imply consequences that are much less severe than they would be in practice,” Mahgerefteh told Reuters.
A spokeswoman for the Irish Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources said officials were confident Advantica's calculations were reliable.
Shell said many locals support the project and noted that most landowners agreed to allow the pipe cross their land.
Only one of around a dozen people Reuters interviewed at the village voiced support, although elsewhere, notably in urban areas, many people are in favor. Most villagers complained they had not been properly consulted or informed about the pipeline.
“We signed, but they didn't tell us what it was about,” said one elderly woman, who declined to give her name.
Enda Kenny, leader of the main opposition Fine Gael party and in whose constituency Rossport lies, says the project will help secure energy supply but adds Shell handled it badly.
“They were not as open and the community was not as involved as it should have been,” Kenny said in a telephone interview.
Echoing a complaint often made by communities near hydrocarbon resources, many locals feel they will not benefit.
The gas will be pumped by unmanned subsea wells. The processing plant will only require 40 to 50 staff and most of the development work will be done by foreign contractors and workers from outside the immediate area.
None of the gas is expected to go to Rossport. Bord Gais said it has no plans to extend the gas distribution network to the village, so the smell of turf fires will likely continue to swirl around Rossport for some time to come. read more

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