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Posts on ‘March 1st, 2006’

The Moscow Times: Energy Projects Attracting Foreign Banks to Sakhalin

Thursday, March 2, 2006. Issue 3363. Page 7.
By Ikuko Kao
Reuters
YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK — In the capital of Sakhalin Island, where European cars have always been a rare sight, at least five Mercedes-Benzes are now cruising the streets, according to Japanese banker Masahiro Tsushima.
The number of cars in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk has soared in recent months, thanks to an oil and gas bonanza, Tsushima said.
His was the first foreign bank to set up shop there, but now he worries that the booming economy will attract bigger competitors.
“Especially, I have started noticing new, expensive cars,” Tsushima said in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, about a 90-minute flight north of Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island.
Tsushima is the general manager of the local branch of Michinoku Bank, which handles retail accounts, car loans, mortgages and lending to small businesses.
Foreign investment is pouring into Sakhalin, home of one of the world's most ambitious energy developments. International oil companies, including Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil, are spending billions of dollars to tap the island's vast reserves.

Shell's Sakhalin-2 project has been pumping crude oil since 1999 and plans to increase output next year. It is also on track to start commercial production of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, as early as in mid-2008.

ExxonMobil's Sakhalin-1 oil and gas field started pumping oil last October. It has not started building key gas facilities.
Average income in Sakhalin rose to about 13,800 rubles ($490) a month in 2004 from 11,000 rubles in the previous year, according to Sakhalin region data.
Michinoku Bank, ranked No. 88 by size in Japan, is based in northern Aomori prefecture, where the economy depends on apple farming and an aging fishing industry.
In 1999, the bank was looking to expand into a nearby overseas market. In 2002, Michinoku became the first foreign bank to operate in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, home to about 170,000 people.
Total deposits of Michinoku Bank's three branches in Russia increased to 2.9 billion yen ($25 million) in 2005 from 1.1 billion yen in 2002.
But Tsushima worries that the lure of oil and gas is attracting bigger rivals.
Dutch-based ABN Amro has had an office in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk for several years, and industry sources said it plans to expand to handle more of Shell's accounts there.
“It has many different clients,” Carolien Pors, a spokeswoman for ABN Amro in Amsterdam, said of the bank's Sakhalin branch.
“I cannot comment on client relationships, but it is true that we will expand business, if possible, to serve our clients better.”
ABN Amro recently moved to a new office closer to Michinoku Bank's after hiring new officers.
Last summer, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi — now merged into Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, the world's biggest bank — said it would set up an office in Moscow.
Exxon's Sakhalin-1 project may attract other businesses when it starts expanding construction, Japanese officers of Mitsui and Mitsubishi said. 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.

ShellNews.net: DOMAIN NAME BATTLE FOR ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC . com: CHAPTER 4: THE PRESS COVERAGE

News reports about the domain battle between an 88 year old war veteran and the mighty Royal Dutch Shell goliath attacted press coverage on an international basis. The following are links to a small selection of the relevant news stories: –

CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO READ THE WALL STREET JOURNAL STORY

http://shell2004.com/week22/shellnews2june05.htm

CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE IN THE TIMES:

 http://shell2004.com/week25/timeshostiledomain.htm

CLICK HERE FOR NEW YORK TIMES/REUTERS ARTICLE:

 http://shell2004.com/week25/newyorktimes25june2005.htm 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.

ShellNews.net: DOMAIN NAME BATTLE FOR ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC . com: CHAPTER 3

CHAPTER 3
The Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com domain name decision by the World Intellectual Property Organisation was delayed after the expert panel decided that it was an exceptional case. The eventual decision, in August 2005, is published below. Basically Shell lost the case on a unanimous verdict.
WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Shell International Petroleum Company Limited v. Alfred Donovan
Case No. D2005 0538
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Shell International Petroleum Company Limited, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by David Crawford, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The Respondent is Alfred Donovan, New York, New York, United States of America, who is not separately represented.
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The disputed domain names , , (“the Disputed Domain Names”) are all registered with Tucows.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 18, 2005. On May 19, 2005, the Center transmitted by email to Tucows a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Names. On May 19, 2005, Tucows transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details for the administrative, billing, and technical contact. The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy”), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Rules”), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Supplemental Rules”).
In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2(a) and 4(a), the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced May 25, 2005. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was June 14, 2005. The Response was filed with the Center on June 14, 2005.
The Center appointed Daniel J. Gervais, Michael D. Cover and Diane Cabell as panelists in this matter on July 14, 2005. The Panel finds that it was properly constituted. Each member of the Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with the Rules, paragraph 7.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant was until January 1, 2005, the principal company designated within the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of companies (hereafter “the Group”) to hold the Group’s trademark and domain name assets. For the time being, the Complainant remains the owner of the domain names. The Complainant is a global group of energy and petrochemicals companies, operating in more than 145 countries and employing approximately 119,000 people. The principal holding companies within the Group as at today are N.V. Koninklijke Nederlandsche Petroleum Maatschappij (a Dutch company incorporated in 1890, holder of a 60% interest in the Group) and The “Shell” Transport and Trading Company plc (a UK company incorporated in 1897, holder of the remaining 40% interest). Since 1907, when these two companies decided to merge their business interests, the resulting group of companies has been known as the “Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies”. On October 28, 2004, it was publicly announced that the boards of these two companies had agreed to propose to their shareholders the unification of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies under a single parent company, to be called Royal Dutch Shell plc.
Currently the Complainant and affiliated entities are the owner of the “SHELL” trademark in nearly 190 countries of the world, amounting to more than 3,300 registrations. The Complainant is also the owner of the European Community Trademark “ROYAL DUTCH” Number 001305101, registered on September 10, 1999. The “SHELL” trademark has been used since at least 1904 in many countries of the world for a wide variety of petroleum and other products, and as a consequence has become a well known trademark.
“Tell Shell” is a facility set up in November 1998 to promote feedback from customers, shareholders or any other interested parties on topics and issues relating to Shell, and to enable the Complainant to respond to public concerns and criticism in an open and transparent way. Most communications take place by e mail.
The Respondent’s website contain criticisms of the Complainant’s activities, notably by providing links to stories reported in the press the Respondent states that he “is not anti Shell but is very much opposed, as a Shell shareholder, to any Shell senior management actions which are contrary to Shell’s own much proclaimed ethical code”. Both parties agree that the site does not attempt to pass itself off as official website of the Complainant and generally uses names that can be readily distinguished from the domain name owned and used by the Complainant.
Currently, the Respondent’s main website is located at “www.shell2004.com”. The disputed domain names all redirect to the Respondent’s “www.shell2004.com” website, as do “www.shellnews.net” and “www.shellscandal.com” (also owned by the Respondent). The Complainant has been aware of the site since the beginning. The Complainant has taken the view that the Respondent is entitled to express his opinions and to use the Internet as a medium for doing so. The domain names used by the Respondent and mentioned above (other than the disputed domain names) include elements additional to the name of the company, sufficient to avoid giving the impression that they were domain names owned by the Complainant, and the Complainant has not challenged their use.
The Respondent has not engaged in any trade on the Internet using the mark “SHELL” or any other name or trademark. The Respondent co founded two Shell related pressure groups. These were publicized in United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland with advertisements/announcements in newspapers and magazines and internationally in Time Magazine.
5. Parties’ Contentions
A. Complainant
The domain names and registered by the Respondent are essentially identical to the company name “Royal Dutch Shell plc” and the collective name “Royal Dutch/Shell Group”.
The Complainant has not registered the mark “ROYALDUTCHSHELL”. The reason for this is self evidently because the function of a trademark is to distinguish the goods or services of one undertaking from the goods or services of others. The name “Royal Dutch Shell” has always been used as a collective name for a related group of companies, the Group’s principal trademark being the simple name “Shell” and the associated emblem. Registration of “Royal Dutch Shell” as a trademark would therefore be of questionable validity unless and until there is an intention to use such term as a mark to identify products or services. It is nonetheless a very significant name in the commercial world. “Royal Dutch/Shell” is a name which was originally coined by the two parent companies on the merging of their business interests in 1907, and which has through almost a century of world wide usage become known exclusively as the name of that group of companies.
The name “Royal Dutch Shell” first appeared as the name of a single company when a dormant English company within the Complainant was re named “Royal Dutch Shell plc” on October 27, 2004, in order to secure the name for possible future use by the new parent company, subject to the necessary shareholder approval. The Complainant referred the Panel to the WIPO report entitled “The Recognition of Rights and the Use of Names in the Internet Domain Name System”, Chapter 7, paragraph 298, which points out that a “trade name may also be registered and separately protected as a trademark”.
The Complainant submits that “Tell Shell” has become well known as a mechanism for communicating with the Complainant, and as a source of information, both positive and negative, about the operations of same.
The Respondent is not, and has never been, commonly known by the name “Royaldutchshell” or any similar name, nor is he an employee or director of any company having this name. Although there is no extant litigation between Shell and the Respondent or with anyone associated with him (there have been several instances of litigation in the recent past), the Complainant believes that the Respondent acquired the disputed domain names as a mean of increasing his capability to disparage Shell at some time in the future.
The disputed domain names are precisely the names of (a) the intended new principal company of the Group, (b) the name of the Complainant itself and (c) the name of the Group’s own website discussion forum. The timing of the Respondent’s registration of the domain name , on October 29, 2004 (the day immediately following the re structuring announcement), suggests that the registration was made as a direct reaction to that announcement with the intention of pre empting the Complainant from owning the name. For these reasons the Respondent has no legitimate right or interest in the disputed domain names. He also appears not to be using them for any bona fide offering of goods or services. An unsuspecting Internet user looking for information about the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies or about Royal Dutch Shell plc in particular might be tempted to look for or in the expectation that these domain names would direct him to the appropriate website. In fact, they direct him to the Respondent’s site where he is presented with much adverse publicity and negative personal opinion. As such, the Respondent, with the intent not for any particular commercial gain, but mainly to further his campaign of adverse publicity against the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies, is using the disputed names to cause embarrassment to the Complainant and prevent them from using the names themselves.
This domain name also re directs to the Respondent’s site “www.shellnews.net”. The name itself is very descriptive and gives the clear impression that it will enable the user to “tell Shell” something. In fact, it does not put the user in touch with Shell at all, but exposes him to the Respondent’s criticism site. The Complainant therefore contends that the Respondent can have no legitimate right or interest in the domain name which, because it directs users to an anti Shell site, is deliberately misleading.
The Complainant contends that the facts set out in the preceding paragraphs raise a strong presumption that the disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith. They were registered, and are being used, for the purpose of attempting to attract Internet users to the Respondent’s website, by creating a likelihood of confusion with a company name, a collective name and the name of a website forum owned by the Group. The Respondent has also been known to refer to himself in terms such as “Alfred Donovan of , a.k.a. shellnews.net”. By referring to himself in this way he is attempting to mislead visitors to his website into thinking that he has some connection with the Complainant or at least that he has some authority to speak on behalf of the Group.
Specifically, in terms of the Policy, paragraph 4(b)(ii) provides that it shall be evidence that a domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith if the Respondent has “registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that [the Respondent has] engaged in a pattern of such conduct”. Previously decided UDRP cases such as Revlon Consumer Products Corporation v. Domain Manager, PageUp Communications, WIPO Case No. D2003 0602 and The Conde Nast Publications Limited v. Alison Coplen t/a Superior Interiors, WIPO Case No. D2004 0761, have held that a “pattern” may be evidenced by any repetition of such conduct, even as few as two instances. The Complainant contends that by registering the three disputed names, the Respondent has engaged in such a pattern of conduct, aimed at preventing the Complainant and the Complainant’s Group from reflecting their marks in corresponding domain names.
B. Respondent
The Respondent is not trying to prevent the Complainants from getting their own views out to the public.
The domain names are all registered and based in the United States of America, and because the Complaint was served on the Respondent in the United States of America, the Respondent asserts that the Panel should follow US law. There are now many cases decided in the courts of the United States upholding the use of domain names, in the form , for websites about a trademark holder or trademark holder’s products, for example: Bosley v. Kremer, 403 F.3d 672 (9th Cir. 2005); Nissan Motor Co. v. Nissan Computer Corp., 378 F.3d 1002 (9th Cir. 2004); TMI v. Maxwell, 368 F.3d 433 (5th Cir. 2004); Taubman v. WebFeats, 319 F.3d 770 (6th Cir. 2003); Lucas Nursery and Landscaping v. Grosse, 359 F3d 806 (CA6 2004); Ficker v. Tuohy, 305 FSupp2d 569, 572 (DMd 2004); Crown Pontiac v. Ballock, 287 FSupp2d 1256 (NDAla 2003); Northland Ins. Co. v. Blaylock, 115 FSupp2d 1108 (DMinn 2000); Mayflower Transit v. Prince, 314 FSupp2d 362, 369 371 (DNJ 2004); Savannah College of Art and Design, Inc. v. Houeix, F.Supp.2d , 2004 WL 3330354 (S.D.Ohio 2004).
Similarly, many UDRP decisions have upheld the use or registration of domain names that were identical to a trademark, by persons other than the owner of the trademark, where the purpose was to mount a website about the owner of the name.
The Complainant does not have trademark rights in respect of the name Royal Dutch Shell plc. No goods or services were offered under that name. The Complainant has not claimed any trademark registration in respect of “TellShell”.
As the Complainant concedes, the Respondent’s websites have never attempted to pass themselves off as official Shell websites. The Respondent contends that it is unfair for the Complainant to claim that any visitor to the unofficial “www.tellshell.org” site has ever been misled into believing it is the Complainant’s site.
While it is true that the vast majority on the Respondent’s site are negative towards the Complainant, they are not made by the Respondent but by journalists (news headlines).
None of the disputed domain names were registered or acquired for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registrations to the Complainant, as the alleged owner of any trademark or service mark claimed to be similar, or to a competitor of the Complainant, for any consideration. The domain names were not registered in order to prevent the Complainant from reflecting any mark in a corresponding domain name and the Respondent has not engaged in a pattern of such conduct. The Complainant and the Respondent are not competitors and the domain names were not registered by the Respondent primarily to disrupt the Complainant’s business. None of the disputed domain names were registered by the Respondent in an attempt to attract for commercial gain, Internet users to the Respondent’s website or other on line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with any mark registered by the Complainant as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the Respondent’s website or location or of a product or service on the Respondent’s website or location. The Respondent has never traded or conducted business on the Internet via any website nor ever sold advertising on any website. The benefit to the Respondent of his website is that it provides him with a low cost public platform to focus attention on the positive and negative aspects of Royal Dutch Shell and in so doing, engage in his right to freedom of expression.
6. Discussion and Findings
The Panel must balance the Respondent’s “fair use” right to express opinions and provide information about the Complainant against the possible confusion of Internet users who reach the Respondent’s website (via any of his domain names) thinking they are accessing a site operated by or on behalf of the Complainant, an impression then dispelled by the disclaimer visible at the top of the first page of the site, which includes a link to the Complainant’s site.
In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, in order to succeed in this proceeding and obtain the transfer of the domain name, the Complainant must prove that each of the three following elements is satisfied:
1. The domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights (see below, section 7.A); and
2. The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name (see below, section 7.B); and
3. The domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith (see below, section 7.C).
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy clearly states that the burden of proving that all these elements are present lies with the Complainant.
Pursuant to paragraph 15(a) of the Rules, the Panel shall decide the Complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable. Moreover, in accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, if a party, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, does not comply with any provision of, or requirement under, the Rules or any request from the Panel, the Panel shall draw such inferences therefrom, as it considers appropriate.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
This question raises two issues: (1) does the Complainant have rights in a trademark or service mark; and (2) is the domain name identical or confusingly similar to such trademark or service mark.
The Complainant has rights in both trademarks SHELL and ROYAL DUTCH. The fact that the latter is not registered in the United States of America does not prevent the Panel from considering it for the purposes of this administrative proceeding. However, the Panel does not consider that the Complainant has established its rights in the mark ROYALDUTCHSHELL. That is a trade name. While it is undeniable that a trade name can also be a trademark, no evidence was produced to show that ROYALDUTCHSHELL is registered or used in such a way as to give rise to common law rights. The same may be said of “TELLSHELL”. In that case, there may be common law rights but the Panel does not feel justified to come to that conclusion on the strength of the evidence adduced by the Complainant.
The Panel is aware of the fact that many national laws also protect trade names. However, the Policy refers to trademarks. See CBS Broadcasting Inc., f/k/a CBS Inc v. Nabil Z. Aghloul, WIPO Case No. D2004 0988; G. Bellentani 1821 S.p.A. v. Stanley Filoramo, WIPO Case No. D2003 0783; University of Konstanz v. uni konstanz.com, WIPO Case No. D2001 0744; Sealite Pty Limited v. Carmanah Technologies, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2003 0277 (“It is well settled that the Policy does not protect trade names or company names when this is the extent of their use.”) Ahmanson Land Company v. Vince Curtis, WIPO Case No. D2000 0859; Sintef v. Sintef.com, WIPO Case No. D2001 0507; Manchester Airport PLC and Club Club Limited, WIPO Case No. D2000 0638; Music United.com AG v. J. Nauta, WIPO Case No. D2000 1019; SGS Société Générale de Surveillance S.A. v. Inspectorate, WIPO Case No. D2000 0025. Contra see Canon U.S.A. Inc., Astro Business Solutions, Inc. and Canon Information Systems, Inc. v. Richard Sims, WIPO Case No. D2000 0819.
The Panel finds the domain names and confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered marks. The use of two or more trademarks belonging to the same entity in a domain name, especially in the case of a merger, creates a likelihood of confusion. See Pharmacia & Upjohn AB v. Monsantopharmacia.com Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000 0446; and Westfield Corporation, Inc and Westfield Limited v. Graeme Michael Hobbs (Dynamic Marketing Consultants), WIPO Case No. D2000 0227.
As to the domain name , because the Complainant has not proven rights in TELLSHELL, the questions is whether the domain name is confusingly similar to the mark SHELL. The mark SHELL is particularly well known (in spite of the fact that it is also a common word in the English language). Combined with the verb “tell”, which implies that one can “speak to” the Complainant as it were, the Panel finds that a likelihood of confusion exists. This is heightened by the fact that the domain name may be reflected in email addresses.
In the end, “what matters is not the content of the website but the impression left by the disputed domain name in the eye of the public”. See Sanofi Synthelabo v. Nicki On, WIPO Case No. D2003 0871; and Aventis SA, Aventis Pharma SA v. Nicki On, WIPO Case No. D2003 0899. The risk of confusion is much greater than in the so called “sucks” cases. See, e.g., The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc, National Westminster Bank plc A/K/A NatWest Bank v. Personal and Pedro Lopez, WIPO Case D2003 0166.
The Panel thus finds for the Complainant on the first part of the test.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
According to paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, a Respondent may establish its rights or legitimate interests in the domain name, among other circumstances, by showing any of the following elements:
“(i) before any notice to you [Respondent] of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) you [Respondent] (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the domain name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) you [Respondent] are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.”
There are no elements showing that the Respondent is or was commonly known by the domain name. The Respondent is not making or preparing to make a bona fide offering of goods or services. The only option available to the Respondent is thus subparagraph (iii) above.
The use of a domain name to criticize a company is prima facie fair use. The Respondent is entitled to use the Internet to use his free speech rights and express his opinion in this way, subject to other laws of course (copyright, libel, etc.). However, by reflecting the exact trade names of the Complainant and using the exact name of a facility specifically designed to send messages to or post messages about the Complainant, the Complainant argues that Respondent’s intent is to tarnish the mark. The distinction between constructive criticism and tarnishment can be a difficult one to draw. In this case, there is no evidence that Respondent’s actions are for “commercial gain” or that they are intended to tarnish the Complainant’s mark as required by paragraph 4(c)(iii) of the Policy. The Respondent does own some shares of stock, but the impact of his activities on the value of such shares is presumed by the Panel to be remote. The Panel thus finds that the Respondent has a legitimate interest in the domain names.
A final point on the question of legitimate interest is in order. The Respondent urged the Panel to apply US law. The many cases cited by the Respondent might well exonerate him from liability under the Lanham Act and the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA), especially if his site is considered bona fide noncommercial use, but that is not for this Panel to determine. The Panel also considered the US doctrine of “initial interest confusion”. Without going into full discussion, the doctrine appears to be inapplicable in this case because of the non commercial context .
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy sets out four circumstances which, without limitation, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith, namely:
(i) circumstances indicating that Respondent has registered or acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the Respondent’s documented out of pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) Respondent has registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) Respondent has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the domain name, Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to Respondent’s website or other on line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of Respondent’s website or location or of a product.
There is no evidence to support a claim under subparagraphs (i) or (iii), nor has any direct commercial gain been established, as required by (iv). The Complainant’s case thus rests on subparagraph (ii). Arguably, the Respondent is preventing the Complainant from reflecting its trade name and the name of the “tellshell” facility in a corresponding domain name, but then only in respect of the “.com” TLD. There are several other TLDs available to the Complainant. More importantly, based on the record in front of this Panel, those trade names are not protected as marks. In addition, the evidence does not show that the Respondent’s intent and purpose was to prevent the Complainant from using his marks, but rather to draw attention to his criticism of the Complainant’s activities.
The Panel thus finds for the Respondent on the third part of the test.
7. Decision
For all the foregoing reasons, the Complaint is denied.
_______________________________
Daniel J. Gervais
Presiding Panelist
______________________________ ______________________________
Michael D. Cover Diane Cabell
Panelist Panelist
Dated: August 8, 2005 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.

ShellNews.net: DOMAIN NAME BATTLE FOR ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC . com: CHAPTER 2

DEFENCE FILED BY ALFRED DONOVAN (DRAFTED BY JOHN DONOVAN)
Before the:
WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION
ARBITRATION AND MEDIATION CENTER
SHELL INTERNATIONAL PETROLEUM COMPANY LIMITED
Shell Centre, London, SE1 7NA
(Complainant) Case No: D2005-0538
-v-
Disputed Domain Name[s]:
Alfred Donovan
847a Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017, United States of America
(Respondent)
www.royaldutchshellplc.com
www.royaldutchshellgroup.com
www.tellshell.org
________________________________
RESPONSE
(Rules, para. 5(b))
I. Introduction
[1.] On 25 May 2005 the Respondent received a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding from the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the Center) by email informing the Respondent that an administrative proceeding had been commenced by the Complainant in accordance with the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the Policy), approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on October 24, 1999, the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the Rules), approved by ICANN on October 24, 1999, and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the Supplemental Rules). The Center set 14 June 2005 as the last day for the submission of a Response by the Respondent.
II. Respondent’s Contact Details
(Rules, para. 5(b)(ii) and (iii))
[2.] The Respondent’s contact details are:
Name: Alfred Ernest Donovan
Address: 847a Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017 USA
Telephone: 07977 XXXXXX
Fax: 001 212 573 8362
E-mail: [email protected]
[3.] The Respondent’s authorized representative in this administrative proceeding is:
I am the Respondent, Alfred Donovan. I have no authorized representative. As the Complainant is aware, I am 88 years old living on a fixed income including a war disability pension. I have a small long term shareholding in Shell Transport and Trading Company plc. I have no legal training and no expertise in the field of intellectual property law. I will complete the rest of this submission to the best of my ability referring to myself in the third person as the Respondent. I apologize in advance for any repetition or responses given in the wrong sections. I do however wish to acknowledge the extremely kind unofficial pointers to applicable case law etc from Mr XXXX XXXX of the Public Citizen Litigation Group based in Washington, D.C.
[4.] The Respondent’s preferred method of communications directed to the Respondent in this administrative proceeding is:
Electronic-only material
Method: e-mail
Address: [email protected]
Contact: Alfred Donovan
Material including hardcopy
Method: post/courier
Address: 847a Second Avenue, New York NY 10017 USA
Fax: 001 212 573 8362
Contact: Alfred Donovan
III. Response to Statements and Allegations Made in Complaint
(Policy, paras. 4(a), (b), (c); Rules, para. 5)
[5.] The Respondent hereby responds to the statements and allegations in the Complaint and respectfully requests the Administrative Panel to deny the remedies requested by the Complainant.
A. Whether the domain names are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(Policy, para. 4(a)(i))
(1). www.royaldutchshellplc.com and www.royaldutchshellgroup.com
To clear up any possible confusion arising from the Complaint, the Respondent would make it clear that he owns and operates a single web site which uses various Shell related domain name aliases, including those in dispute: all directed at the one site. ALL of the Respondents domain names for his web site are an accurate reflection of the topics and content published on it.
On Sunday 12 June 2005 the Respondent conducted a “Google” search of the Internet entering the domain name “www.royaldutchshellplc.com”. This of course generated just one result – the Respondents URL. A search entering “”royaldutchshellplc” again generated one result – the Respondents URL. The Respondent carried out a third search, this time entering the proposed company name for the unified parent companies: Royal Dutch Shell PLC. This generated 93,700 results. The Respondent checked the first 500 results and found NONE with the Respondents URL: www.royaldutchshellplc.com. The Respondent gave up at that point. The Respondent repeated the Google test, this time for “Royal Dutch Shell Group”. 651,000 results were generated. There was not one instance of the URL: www.royaldutchshellgroup in the first 500 results. The same happened when searching “Royal Dutch/Shell Group” (225,000 results).
The Respondent is simply trying to express his opinions and call the public's attention to the fact that his web site is focused on Royal Dutch Shell. No other web site contains as many news articles or independent commentary about Shell. Google News notified the Respondent on 7 June 2005 that it is going to accept the Respondents original articles about Shell. In other words it has accepted the Respondents web site as a legitimate source of original news stories about Shell. The relevant email correspondence is enclosed as ANNEX 1. The Respondents website has consistently right from its inception, always posted all major news stories about Shell, irrespective of whether they are positive or negative: as it says on the site – “the good, the bad and the ugly”. It is not the Respondents fault that there have been so many negative news stories about the reserves scandal over the last 18 months.
The Respondent is aware that the Shell Group has over 100,000 employees and would not suggest for one minute that taken as a whole, they are anything other than hard working decent people, with a few bad apples, as per any other similar size business. The Respondent is not anti-Shell but is very much opposed, as a Shell shareholder, to any Shell senior management actions which are contrary to Shell’s own much proclaimed ethical code – its Statement of General Business Principles pledging honest, integrity and openness in all of Shell’s dealings. If Shell had abided by these worthy principles, the Respondent would never have had grounds to successfully bring a series of High Court Actions against Shell UK Limited, nor would the reserves scandal have occurred. The Respondent has publicly heaped praise on a Shell chairman, Sir John Jennings, when he demonstrated his total commitment to Shell’s ethical code. Unfortunately there has not been much to praise in more recent years.
The Respondent is not trying to prevent the Complainants from getting their own views out to the public. This is confirmed by the fact that the Respondent has a disclaimer of affiliation and hyperlink to the official web site at the top of his home page, AND by the above evidence about how his web site does not come up when searching the relevant company/group names on Google, as well as the fact that the Complainants web site does come up prominently, in return to a Google search for their name.
The Respondents domain names, including the .com top-level domains, are all registered and based in the United States, and because the complaint was served on the Respondent in the United States, the Respondent respectfully assumes that the panel will follow United States law.
The Respondent respectfully submits that the main reason why the Complaint should be dismissed is that the Respondents web site is focused on Shell. The Respondent understands that there are now many cases decided in the courts of the United States upholding the use of domain names, in the form www.trademark.com, for web sites about a trademark holder or trademark holder's products.
The decisions uphold the type of domain name use applicable to the Respondent in respect of his royaldutch domain names and his tellshell domain name. For example: Bosley v. Kremer, 403 F.3d 672 (9th Cir. 2005); Nissan Motor Co. v. Nissan Computer Corp., 378 F.3d 1002 (9th Cir. 2004); TMI v. Maxwell, 368 F.3d 433 (5th Cir. 2004); Taubman v. WebFeats, 319 F.3d 770 (6th Cir. 2003); Lucas Nursery and Landscaping v. Grosse, 359 F3d 806 (CA6 2004); Ficker v. Tuohy, 305 FSupp2d 569, 572 (DMd 2004); Crown Pontiac v. Ballock, 287 FSupp2d 1256 (NDAla 2003); Northland Ins. Co. v. Blaylock, 115 FSupp2d 1108 (DMinn 2000); Mayflower Transit v. Prince, 314 FSupp2d 362, 369-371 (DNJ 2004); Savannah College of Art and Design, Inc. v. Houeix, — F.Supp.2d —-, 2004 WL 3330354 (S.D.Ohio 2004).
Similarly, many UDRP decisions have upheld the use or registration of domain names that were identical to a trademark, by persons other than the owner of the trademark, where the purpose was to mount a web site about the owner of the name. The Respondent provides the following further citations: –
A critic of the law firm “Legal and General” retained the domain name “legal-and-general.com” for a site complaining about the firm, http://arbiter.wipo.int/domains/decisions/html/2002/d2002-1019.html;
Critics of an ashram whose trademark for an institution teaching yoga techniques was “yogaville” were allowed to keep several names similar to the mark for a site disparaging the teaching styles, Integral Yoga Institute v. Domain Admin., http://www.arbforum.com/domains/decisions/125228.htm
(12/13/02);
A dissatisfied customer of Bosley Medical Institute was allowed to retain the domain name bosleymedical.com to establish a web site criticizing BMI's sales and medical practices, Bosley Medical Institute v. Kremer, D2000-1647 (WIPO February 28, 2001), http://arbiter.wipo.int/domains/decisions/html/2000/d2000-1647.html;
A former employee of the Bridgestone-Firestone tire company was allowed to keep the name bridgestone-firestone.net to present his side of a dispute over pension payments, Bridgestone Firestone, Inc. v. Myers, D2000-0190 (WIPO July 6, 2000), http://arbiter.wipo.int/domains/ decisions/html/2000/d2000- 0190.html;
A member of a building society was permitted to register the name britanniabuildingsociety.org for a web site that criticized the practices of the building society. Britannia Building Society v.
Britannia Fraud Prevention, D2001-0505 (WIPO July 6, 2001) http://arbiter.wipo.int/domains/decisions/html/2001/d2001-0505.html.
See also Pensacola Christian College Inc v. Gage (12/12/2001),
http://www.arbforum.com/ domains/decisions/101314.htm;
Dorset Police and Geery Coulter,
http://www.eresolution.com/services/dnd/decisions/0942.htm; Mayo
Foundation for Education and Research v. Briese, http://www.
arbforum.com/domains/decisions/96765.htm (2001).
RMO Inc v. Burbidge, http://www.arbforum.com/ domains/
decisions/96949.htm (2001) (“The use of domain names for non-commercial
purposes is a recognized method of proving rights and legitimate
interests on the part of such user even when the use may cause some
disadvantage or harm to other parties.
Kendall v. Mayer, D2000-0868 (WIPO Oct. 26, 2000), TMP Worldwide, Inc.
v. Potter, D2000-0536 (WIPO Aug. 5, 2000). See also Lockheed Martin
Corp. v. Etheridge, D2000-0906 (WIPO Sept. 24, 2000).”).
Falwell v. Cohn (06/03/2002),
http://arbiter.wipo.int/domains/decisions/html/2002/ d2002-0184.html
As the panel stated in Bridgestone-Firestone, “The Respondent's use of
the Domain Name to designate a web site for criticism and commentary
about the Complainants constitutes legitimate noncommercial use and fair
use within the meaning of the Policy. The 'fair use doctrine applies in
cyberspace as it does in the real world.'”
In a number of other cases, domain names selected for the purpose of praising the name owner, so-called “fan sites,” were also upheld under the UDRP. For example, in Springsteen v. Burgar, Case No. D2000-1532 (WIPO Arbitration Panel 1/25/01), http://arbiter.wipo.int/domains/ decisions/ html/2000/d2000-1532.html, the panel refused to take the name brucespringsteen.com away from a fan and transfer it to the well-known musician: “Users fully expect domain names incorporating the names of well known figures in any walk of life to exist independently of any connection with the figure themselves, but having been placed there by admirers or critics as the case may be.”
Similarly, the arbitrator in UEFA v. Hallam, http://arbiter.wipo.int/domains/decisions/
html/2001/d2001-0717.html (2001), upheld the right of a soccer fan to register the name uefa2004.com for the purpose of creating a soccer fan discussion web site devoted to the soccer championship scheduled for 2004 by UEFA (Europe's official soccer federation). Accord Beziktas Jimnastik Kulubu Dernegi v. Avcioglu, Case No. D2003-0035 (12/30/2002)
(comprehensive analysis of decisions allows non-commercial use of domain name in form “trademark.com”); Newport News v. VCV Internet, AF-0238 (eResolution July 18, 2000), http://www.eresolution.com/ services/dnd/decisions/0238.htm (upholding use of domain name
newportnews for directory site devoted to city of Newport News);
Pocatello Idaho Auditorium District v. CES Marketing Group,
http://www.arbforum.com/domains/decisions/103186.htm (2002) (same ruling for Pocatello).
Trademark: With regard to the “SHELL” trademark, the Respondent has never engaged in any trade on the Internet using the mark “SHELL” or any other name or trademark. The Respondent has on many occasions over the last eight years used the word “shell” as part of Internet domain names e.g. www.shell-shareholder.org; www.shellnews.net; www.shellscandal.com and www.shell2004.com. The Respondent has co-founded two Shell related pressure groups, both of which had the name Shell in their titles: “The Shell Shareholders Organization” and its forerunner, The Shell Corporate Conscience Pressure Group”. These were publicized in the UK with advertisements/announcements in newspapers and magazines and internationally in Time Magazine. For the record, the Respondent has never sought or received any financial contributions to the above pressure groups. They were funded entirely by the Respondent and his son, John Donovan. The Complainant has never objected to the Respondents use of the word “Shell” in respect of the pressure groups nor the above domain names cited in this paragraph (and have not done so in its Complaint). Other people have also obtained and used domain names related to Shell e.g. www.shellpluspoints.co.uk; www.screwedbyshell.com and www.shellcrisis.com. The Complainant has not stated any objection to the use of the word “shell” in those currently operational Internet web sites or (as far as the Respondent is aware) ever brought proceedings against them. The Complainant concedes that it has no trademark in the names of the proposed single parent company, “ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC” or in respect of “Royal Dutch/ Shell Group”.
The Complainant has brought proceedings via the WIPO in respect of three domain names: www.royaldutchshellplc.com; www.royaldutchshellgroup.com and www.tellshell.org. The latter two domain names are both up for renewal. They have been in operation from the time that they were first registered and until these proceedings, the Complainant had raised no objection to their use by the Respondent.
The Complainants undisclosed interest may be in preventing the Respondent’s continued use of the domain name www.royaldutchshellplc.com. The other domain name complaints may have been brought to bolster arguments in respect of that domain name. The Complainant has not revealed whether its intent is to obtain the www.royaldutchshellplc.com domain name for what it describes as “defensive purposes” (see lines 10, 11 and 12 on page 11 of its Complaint) in relation to its domain name www.tell-shell.com.
On page 8 of its Complaint, the Complainant has provided an account of how it attempted without success to obtain the registration of the domain names “royaldutchshellplc” and “royaldutchshellgroup”. It states in line 11 that: “In preparation for the announcement concerning the unification of the two parent companies, the Complainant embarked on a process of registering the domain names.” It says in the last line of the paragraph: “By this time the Respondent had already registered the disputed domain names. This statement is untrue.
The first media news of the proposed unification broke on 28 October 2004. That date can be deduced from the information in the first paragraph of page 13 of the Complaint. The Respondent confirms that this is the correct date. If the Complainant, as it claims on page 8, had attempted to register the disputed domain names on or before 28 October 2004, they would have been successful. The Respondent did not obtain registration of the relevant domain name “www.royaldutchshellplc.com” until 29 October 2004. Consequently the statement made by the Claimant in this regard is incorrect.
As is correctly stated in the first complete paragraph of page 9 of its Complaint, the Complainant secured the name of ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC as a company name “in order to secure the name for possible future use… subject to shareholder approval”. According to the Complaint, that happened on 27 October 2004. Many newspapers carried reports about the proposed unification on 28 & 29 October 2004. None reported that Shell had already secured the new proposed corporate name, ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC. The reports uniformly spoke about Shell’s plans in the future sense.
On 29 October 2004, the Respondent obtained registration of the domain name www.shellscandal.com and while engaged in the laborious process of doing so, decided to register a second name. On the previous occasion that the Respondent registered Shell related domain names it was also for two names; in that case www.royaldutchshellgroup.plc and www.tellshell.org.
The Respondent searches the Internet and news media for Shell news stories every day. Many of the reports are posted on the Respondents web site. However, the Respondent did not know that the Complainants plans for a new corporate vehicle called ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC meant that they intended to obtain the Internet domain name www.royaldutchshellplc.com.
The Groups’ main web site and portal to other Shell web sites is www.shell.com, the shortest possible applicable domain name and the brand name by which the Group is universally known. The Group has for many years described itself as the Royal Dutch/Shell Group but since the advent of the Internet many years ago never registered the domain name www.royaldutchshellgroup.com. It has only expressed an interest/claim to the domain name after the Respondent obtained registration and waited almost a year to do so. For these reasons it does not follow that at the time when the Respondent obtained registration of www.royaldutchshellplc.com the Respondent knew that the Complainant would automatically wish to acquire the domain name for defensive or other purposes. He sought and obtained registration in good faith and has never profited in any way shape or form from the domain name or attempted to do so.
It was plain from the articles that Shell was putting forward a PLAN for unification and that its implementation was subject to shareholder approval. Some reports mentioned the proposed new name. However there was no mention that a company under the name of ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC had already been registered in the UK.
The Respondent did not become aware of the existence of a UK company called ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC until a search was undertaken on the web site of Companies House on 1 November 2004 three days AFTER the Respondent had registered the domain name. The search revealed that a company called ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC came into existence on 27 October 2004 (See ANNEX 2)
The Complainant is therefore apparently arguing that it should have rights to a domain name, “www.royaldutchshellplc.com”, even though there was no existing company trading under that name but only a plan to use the company name at some future date, subject to shareholder and legal approval. The merged company has a number of legal hurdles to jump before it can commence trading and such approvals cannot be taken for granted.
There can be no challenge to any trade or service mark rights held by the Complainant in respect of the name ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC because there is no existing registration of that mark.
According to the Complaint, the nearest registered mark to the domain names www.royaldutchshellplc.com and www.royaldutchshellgroup.com is ROYAL DUTCH. This is a mark only registered within the European Communities.
It follows that there is no such registration in the USA, the registered address of the Respondent, or in Canada where the Respondents web site using that domain name/alias is hosted. The nearest registered mark ROYAL DUTCH cited by the Complainant is not identical or even nearly identical to the domain name www.royaldutchshellplc.com or www.royaldutchshellgroup.com.
Furthermore the Respondent does not engage in any trade using the names ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC or ROYAL DUTCH, or ROYAL DUTCH/SHELL GROUP, or indeed in any other trade name whatsoever.
The Complainant concedes that “the Complainant and SBI have not registered any identical trade mark (i.e, “ROYALDUTCHSHELL” (penultimate paragraph – page 8 of the Complaint).
The Complainant has not stated if it has ever attempted to register the name “ROYALDUTCHSHELL” as a trademark. It has only stated that the trade mark would be of “questionable validity”. The Complainant demands transfer of the domain names www.royaldutchshellplc.com or www.royaldutchshellgroup.com even though it has never registered the names as trade marks or sought Internet domain names until AFTER the Respondent. As previously indicated, the Respondent operates a web site focusing on the Royal Dutch Shell Group. The Respondent obtained and has used the domain names for several months and has acquired a reputation therein.
On lines 10, 11 and 12 on page 11 of its Complaint, the Complainant admits that it has owned the domain name www.tell-shell.com for “defensive purposes” i.e. it has no need or intention of ever using that domain name, but wants to deny any other party from obtaining registration. There is no legal provision for a company to enjoy automatic blanket rights to every possible domain name variation related to its business, trademarks or company name. How many other Shell related domain names does Shell hold for “defensive” purposes i.e. to stifle freedom of expression about its activities. Is its interest in www.royaldutchshellplc.com for “defensive” purposes? If the Complainant wanted the domain name www.royaldutchshellgroup.com for legitimate actual use, as opposed to “defense purposes”, it could have obtained the domain name registration several years ago or at any time since then.
The Complainant could have obtained the domain name www.royaldutchshellplc.com during the period when only the Complainant knew of its plans for the new corporate name for a unified Royal Dutch Shell company. It failed to do so even despite incurring professional adviser fees of reportedly $115 million to set up the new proposed company.
2. www.tellshell.org
The Complainant has not claimed any trademark registration in respect of “TellShell”.
As the Complainant concedes in the first sentence of the last paragraph on page 12 of its Complaint: “The Respondent’s web sites have never attempted to pass themselves off as official Shell web sites…” Consequently that issue does not arise in relation to www.tellshell.org either.
ANNEX 3 contains the only page of the Respondents unofficial “www.tellshell.org” webpage. The heading which contains a link to the official TellShell site is unambiguous and self-explanatory. The webpage has displayed the current copy since the time of its inception. The rest of the published content is also self-explanatory.
The Respondent contends that it is unfair for the Complainant to claim that any visitor to the unofficial tellshell.org site has ever been misled into believing it is the Claimants site. That is plainly not the case.
On the one occasion that the Respondent can recall on 29 November 2004 (cited by the Complainant) the Respondent posted a contribution on the official “TELLSHELL” site using the heading “Alfred Donovan of royaldutchshellplc.com aka shellnews.net”. By this time the Respondent was well known to all regular visitors to the official site (a small group) and it was very clear from the posting made by the Respondent that he was not pretending to represent the Complainant.
As can be seen by reading the information in ANNEX 3, the “TellShell” webmaster reacted in a positive way to the constructive criticism received in regards to censorship issues and as a consequence, the unofficial TellShell.org forum has remained dormant since September 2004.
The Complainant has cited examples of favorable comments made about the official “TellShell” forum. As already indicated there are a small number of regular contributors including “Richard” and “Tippi” who, as can be judged by their contributions to the forum, are intelligent and articulate individuals with considerable insight in to the Shell Group. Neither individual is personally known to the Respondent. ANNEX 4 contains postings made by these and other individuals who posted contributions on the official “TellShell” forum in January 2005. There is a telling comment in a posting from “Richard” (who claims that he was “very close to Shell for many years”) addressed to “Tippi” on 20 January 2005. “Richard” said: “I fear that others haven’t joined in this debate as the forum is buried ever deeper in the corporate web site – even Alfred Donovan seems to have lost interest in it. “Richard” blames the remoteness of the TellShell forum within shell.com for a decline in participation.
The Group has placed further restrictions on the “TellShell” section by requiring all contributors to register before they can make comments. One consequence of this restriction is to stop Internet search engines from gathering and publicizing such comments. With all due respect, this undermines the Claimants supposed favorable disposition to freedom of expression on the Internet.
The Respondent has conducted a “Google” search on the “tellshell” name. Although the Respondents site does feature almost at the top of the results, the fact remains that the tellshell/shell.com URL is higher in the results. This confirms that the Respondents unofficial “tellshell” feature is not interfering with the Complainants access to the public.
B. Whether the Respondent has rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain names;
(Policy, para. 4(a)(ii))
The Respondent has since legitimately gained a global reputation under the disputed domain names as a free, independent, and informative source of news and information about the activities of the Royal Dutch Shell Group. The Respondents web site has been accessible via the domain names which have all been displayed on the Respondents site from the time of each registration. This is a legitimate, non-commercial and fair use of the domain names, without intent for commercial gain. The trademark issues are questionable because the Complainant has no trademarks in the disputed domain names. There is no company currently trading in the name of ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC (and no trademark in that name).
The Complainant has for some reason commented on the past litigation involving Shell UK Limited and the Respondent and his son, John Donovan. The Respondent questions whether this subject is salient to the current proceedings and apart from commenting that the account given by the Complainant is inaccurate, has nothing further to say on the matter.
Shell has alleged in its Complaint that the Respondents web site contains negative comments about Shell. That is true. However, the vast majority are not made by the Respondent but by journalists. The news headlines featured in green on the home page are self-explanatory. Since Shell management has been involved in one of the biggest corporate scandals in history – the oil reserves debacle – it is unsurprising that Shell has received a deluge of negative publicity. Undoubtedly most of my comments have been critical, but true. That surely is the important point.
C. Whether the domain names have been registered and are being used in bad faith.
(Policy, para. 4(a)(iii))
None of the disputed domain names were registered or acquired for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registrations to the Complainant, as the alleged owner of any trademark or service mark claimed to be similar, or to a competitor of the Complainant, for any consideration.
The domain names were not registered in order to prevent the Complainant from reflecting any mark in a corresponding domain name and, in connection therewith, the Respondent has not engaged in a pattern of such conduct;
The Complainant and the Respondent are not competitors and the domain names were not registered by the Respondent primarily to disrupt the Complainant’s business.
None of the disputed domain names were registered by the Respondent in an attempt to attract for commercial gain, Internet users to the Respondent’s web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with any mark registered by the Complainant as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the Respondent’s web site or location or of a product or service on the Respondent’s web site or location. The respondent has never traded or conducted business on the Internet via ANY web site nor ever sold advertising on any web site. The benefit to the Respondent of his web site is that it provides him with a low cost public platform to focus attention on the positive and negative aspects of Royal Dutch Shell and in so doing, engage in his right to freedom of expression.
The Respondent has put a lot of time and effort into his web site. The Respondent has never profited in any way from his efforts other than the satisfaction, as a Shell shareholder, of having a public platform to comment on the activities of Shell. It is his earnest hope that his comments will have a beneficial effect in restoring the former reputation of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group to the days when we could all be sure of Shell.
IV. Administrative Panel
(Rules, paras. 5(b)(iv) and (b)(v) and para. 6; Supplemental Rules, para. 7)
[6.] The Respondent proposes the following three panelists: –
Diane Cabell at Harvard’s Berkman Center.
David Sorkin at John Marshall Law School.
M Scott Donahey of Tomlinson Zisco LLP
V. Other Legal Proceedings
(Rules, para. 5(b)(vi))
There are no current legal proceedings between the Complainant and the Respondent. However, eight companies within the Royal Dutch Shell Group have obtained a Malaysian High Court Injunction in respect of webpage’s on the Respondents web site. The Injunction is against Dr John Huong, a Malaysian former Shell geologist of almost 30 years standing. His “whistleblower” disclosures were posted by the Respondent on his website. The Injunction is totally at odds with the claims by the Complainant about the Groups benevolent attitude to the Respondent in respect of his postings on his web site. With all due respect, the “Group” seems to be facing in two directions at once.
VI. Communications
(Rules, paras. 2(b), 5(b)(vii); Supplemental Rules, para. 3)
[7.] A copy of this Response has been transmitted to the Complainant on 14 June 2005 by email and by registered first class post.
[8.] This Response is submitted to the Center in electronic form (except to the extent not available for annexes), and in four (4) sets together with the original, by first class post.
VII. Payment
(Rules, para. 5(c); Supplemental Rules, Annex D)
The Complainant has undertaken to pay all costs of these administrative proceedings
VIII. Certification
(Rules, para. 5(b)(viii), Supplemental Rules, para. 12)
[9.] The Respondent agrees that, except in respect of deliberate wrongdoing, an Administrative Panel, the World Intellectual Property Organization and the Center shall not be liable for any act or omission in connection with the administrative proceeding.
[10.] The Respondent certifies that the information contained in this Response is to the best of the Respondent’s knowledge complete and accurate, that this Response is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass, and that the assertions in this Response are warranted under the Rules and under applicable law, as it now exists or as it may be extended by a good-faith and reasonable argument.
Respectfully submitted,
___________________
[Name/Signature]
Date: ______________ 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.

ShellNews.net: DOMAIN NAME BATTLE FOR ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC . com: CHAPTER ONE:

Since it appears that Shell has decided to abandon its ambition to seize Shell related domain names owned by me, Alfred Donovan, I have decided to publish details of the proceedings which Shell International Petroleum Company Limited brought against me last May (2005) via The World Intellectual Property Organisation. For some reason Shell was upset that I beat them to the top level domain name for their new $223 BILLION company: ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC. Out of the three best top level domain names relating to Shell – Shell.com, RoyalDutchShellPlc.com and RoyalDutchShellGroup.com – I own two and Shell owns one. That seems a perfectly reasonable state of affairs. Is it my fault that Shell management are a bunch of incompetents?
THE COMPLAINT FILED BY SHELL
COMPLAINT TRANSMITTAL COVERSHEET
Attached is a Complaint that has been filed against you with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Arbitration and Mediation Center (the Center) pursuant to the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the Policy) approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on October 24, 1999, the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the Rules), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the Supplemental Rules).
The Policy is incorporated by reference into your Registration Agreement with the Registrar(s) of your domain name(s), in accordance with which you are required to submit to a mandatory administrative proceeding in the event that a third party (a Complainant) submits a complaint to a dispute resolution service provider, such as the Center, concerning a domain name that you have registered. You will find the name and contact details of the Complainant, as well as the domain name(s) that is/are the subject of the Complaint in the document that accompanies this Coversheet.
You have no duty to act at this time. Once the Center has checked the Complaint to determine that it satisfies the formal requirements of the Policy, the Rules and the Supplemental Rules, it will forward an official copy of the Complaint to you. You will then have 20 calendar days within which to submit a Response to the Complaint in accordance with the Rules and Supplemental Rules to the Center and the Complainant. You may represent yourself or seek the assistance of legal counsel to represent you in the administrative proceeding.
• The Policy can be found at http://arbiter.wipo.int/domains/rules/
• The Rules can be found at http://arbiter.wipo.int/domains/rules/
• The Supplemental Rules, as well as other information concerning the resolution of domain name disputes can be found at http://arbiter.wipo.int/domains/rules/
• A model Response can be found at http://arbiter.wipo.int/domains/respondent/index.html
Alternatively, you may contact the Center to obtain any of the above documents. The Center can be contacted in Geneva, Switzerland by telephone at +41 22 338 8247, by fax at +41 22 740 3700 or by e-mail at [email protected]
You are kindly requested to contact the Center to provide the contact details to which you would like (a) the official version of the Complaint and (b) other communications in the administrative proceeding to be sent.
A copy of this Complaint has also been sent to the Registrar(s) with which the domain name(s) that is/are the subject of the Complaint is/are registered.
By submitting this Complaint to the Center the Complainant hereby agrees to abide and be bound by the provisions of the Policy, Rules and Supplemental Rules.
Before the:
WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION
ARBITRATION AND MEDIATION CENTER
SHELL INTERNATIONAL PETROLEUM COMPANY LIMITED
Shell Centre
London
SE1 7NA
England
(Complainant)
-v-
Disputed Domain Names:
ALFRED DONOVAN
(Respondent)
www.royaldutchshellplc.com
www.royaldutchshellgroup.com
www.tellshell.org
________________________________
COMPLAINT
(Rules, para. 3(b))
I. Introduction
[1.] This Complaint is hereby submitted for decision in accordance with the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the Policy), approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on October 24, 1999, the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the Rules), approved by ICANN on October 24, 1999 and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the Supplemental Rules).
II. The Parties
A. The Complainant
(Rules, para. 3(b)(ii) and (iii))
[2.] The Complainant in this administrative proceeding is SHELL INTERNATIONAL PETROLEUM COMPANY LIMITED an English company having its registered office at Shell Centre, London, SE1 7NA, England.
[3.] The Complainant’s contact details are:
Address: Shell Centre, London, SE1 7NA, England
Telephone: (+44) (0)20 7934 5916
Fax: (+44) (0)20 7934 6627
E-mail: [email protected]
[4.] The Complainant’s authorized representative in this administrative proceeding is:
Name: Shell International Limited (IPL/3)
Address: Shell Centre, London, SE1 7NA, England
Telephone: (+44) (0)20 7934 5910
Fax: (+44) (0)20 7934 6627
E-mail: [email protected]
[5.] The Complainant’s preferred method of communications directed to the Complainant in this administrative proceeding is:
Electronic-only material
Method: e-mail
Address: [email protected]
Contact: David Crawford
Material including hardcopy
Method: Post / courier
Address: Intellectual Property Services, Shell Centre, London, SE1 7NA
Fax: (+44) (0)20 7934 6627
Contact: David Crawford
B. The Respondent
(Rules, para. 3(b)(v))
[6.] According to a WHOIS enquiry carried out on 17 May 2005, the Respondent in this administrative proceeding is Alfred Donovan. The Respondent gives his e-mail address as [email protected] or [email protected] and his postal address as 847a Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017, United States of America.
Copies of the printouts of the database search conducted on 17 May 2005 are provided as Annex 1.
[7.] All information known to the Complainant regarding how to contact the Respondent is as set out in Paragraph [6] above.
III. The Domain Names and Registrar
(Rules, para. 3(b)(vi) and (vii))
[8.] This dispute concerns the domain names identified below:
www.royaldutchshellplc.com
www.royaldutchshellgroup.com
www.tellshell.org
[9.] The registrar with which the domain names are registered is:
Tucows.inc
IV. Jurisdictional Basis for the Administrative Proceeding
(Rules, paras. 3(a), 3(b)(xv)
[10.] This dispute is properly within the scope of the Policy and the Administrative Panel has jurisdiction to decide the dispute. The registration agreement, pursuant to which the domain name that is the subject of this Complaint is registered, incorporates the Policy. A true and correct copy of the domain name dispute policy that applies to the domain name in question is provided as Annex 4 to this Complaint.
V. Factual and Legal Grounds
(Policy, paras. 4(a), (b), (c); Rules, para. 3)
[11.] This Complaint is based on the following grounds:
A. The domain names are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(Policy, para. 4(a)(i), Rules, paras. 3(b)(viii), (b)(ix)(1))
(1) www.royaldutchshellplc.com and www.royaldutchshellgroup.com
The Complainant was until 1 January 2005 the principal company designated within the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of companies (hereafter “the Group”) to hold the Group’s trade mark and domain name assets. Following internal re-structuring most of the trade marks formerly held by the Complainant have been assigned to Shell Brands International AG, a Swiss company, (hereafter “SBI”) and the trade mark assignments are in the process of being recorded at each national trade mark office, but for the time being, the Complainant remains the owner of the domain names and is authorised to bring these proceeding on behalf of the Group.
The Group is a global group of energy and petrochemicals companies, operating in more than 145 countries and employing approximately 119,000 people. The principal holding companies within the Group as at today are N.V. Koninklijke Nederlandsche Petroleum Maatschappij (a Dutch company incorporated in 1890, holder of a 60% interest in the Group) and The “Shell” Transport and Trading Company plc (a UK company incorporated in 1897, holder of the remaining 40% interest). “Royal Dutch” is the English translation of the principal distinctive elements of the company name “N.V. Koninklijke Nederlandsche Petroleum Maatschappij” and is the abbreviated name by which this company is generally known. Since 1907, when these two companies decided to merge their business interests, the resulting group of companies has been universally known as the “Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies”. On 28 October 2004 it was publicly announced that the boards of these two companies had unanimously agreed to propose to their shareholders the unification of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies under a single parent company, to be called Royal Dutch Shell plc.
The disputed names www.royaldutchshellplc.com and www.royaldutchshellgroup.com registered by the Respondent are, to all intents and purposes, identical to the company name “Royal Dutch Shell plc” and the collective name “Royal Dutch/Shell Group”.
Currently SBI is the owner of the “SHELL” trade mark in nearly 190 countries of the world, amounting to more than 3,300 registrations. Details of a small number of these registrations are set out in Annex 2 by way of illustration, and copy registration or renewal certificates of a small but indicative sample of these will be attached to the hard copies of this Complaint. In addition to these, SBI owns more than 570 registrations for the word “SHELL” combined with a “shell” emblem, and more than 3,000 registrations in which the word “SHELL” is combined with another product mark, such as “SHELL HELIX”, a motor oil product. These statistics exclude the more than 3,500 registrations of the “Shell” emblem in its present-day and historical forms, which also represent one of the most recognised corporate logos in the world, associated in the minds of the public with the name “Shell”.
SBI is also the owner of the European Community Trade Mark “ROYAL DUTCH” Number 001305101, registered on 10 September 1999 and valid for all countries of the European Community. A copy of this registration certificate is also attached to the hard copy of this Complaint.
The “SHELL” trade mark has been used since at least 1904 in many countries of the world for a wide variety of petroleum and other products, and as a consequence it has become a very well-known trade mark.
The Complainant or its affiliates are the owners of the “shell” domain name both at the “.com” and “.info” levels and at more than 240 country-code levels, as shown in the list at Annex 3.
An Internet search for the combined words “Royal Dutch Shell” using the Google search engine on 4 February 2005 returned approximately 366,000 hits, the vast majority of them dating from well before the publicity concerning the possible unification of the companies. A search combining the terms “Royal Dutch Shell” and “single board” returned, as of 4 February 2005, just over 350 hits (see Annex 5), reflecting the degree of public interest in the Group’s re-structuring and the proposed creation of the new company.
In preparation for the announcement concerning the unification of the two parent companies, the Complainant embarked on a process of registering the domain names “royaldutchshell”, “royaldutch-shell” and “royal-dutch-shell” in all major countries of the world. A list of these registrations and pending requests for registration is attached at Annex 4. It subsequently also sought to register the combinations “royaldutchshellplc” and “royaldutchshellgroup” in a number of country- and top-level domains – those registrations are included in Annex 4. By this time the Respondent had already registered the disputed domain names.
The Complainant contends that the disputed names are names which rightfully belong to the Group. Whilst the Complainant and SBI have not registered any identical trade mark (i.e., “ROYALDUTCHSHELL”) the reason for this is self-evidently because the function of a trade mark is to distinguish the goods or services of one undertaking from the goods or services of others. The name “Royal Dutch Shell” has always been used as a collective name for a related group of companies, the Group’s principal trade mark being the simple name “Shell” and the associated emblem. Registration of “Royal Dutch Shell” as a trade mark would therefore be of questionable validity unless and until there is an intention to use such term as a mark to identify products or services.
It is nonetheless a very significant name in the commercial world. “Royal Dutch/Shell” is a name which was originally coined by the two parent companies on the merging of their business interests in 1907, and which has through almost a century of world-wide usage become known exclusively as the name of that group of companies.
The name “Royal Dutch Shell” first appeared as the name of a single company when a dormant English company within the Group was re-named “Royal Dutch Shell plc” on 27 October 2004 in order to secure the name for possible future use by the new parent company, subject to the necessary shareholder approval.
The WIPO report entitled “THE RECOGNITION OF RIGHTS AND THE USE OF NAMES IN THE INTERNET DOMAIN NAME SYSTEM”, Chapter 7, considered the protection of trade names per se in the domain name system. In particular, paragraph 298 stated:
“A trade name is the designation adopted by a commercial enterprise to describe itself and to distinguish it from other businesses and enterprises. Trade names are also referred to variously as company, corporate, business or firm names, although each of these identifiers may sometimes attract slightly different legal or regulatory conditions. Common examples of familiar trade names are Ericsson, General Motors, Holiday Inn, Lego, Microsoft, Nestlé, Philips, Procter & Gamble and Sony. A trade name may also be registered and separately protected as a trademark, as most of the foregoing examples are.”
In relation to the final sentence, the Complainant would respectfully point out that the names cited in this extract are also the brand names of products, which renders them entirely appropriate for registration as trade marks.
(2) www.tellshell.org
“Tell Shell” is a facility set up in November 1998 to promote feedback from customers, shareholders or any other interested parties on topics and issues relating to Shell, and to enable the Group to respond to public concerns and criticism in an open and transparent way. Communication takes place either by e-mail (the majority), by posting comments on the “Tell Shell” Forum (accessible on the Group’s main website www.shell.com), or in writing – some of which are generated by reply-postcards issued as part of the Group’s Annual Reports to its shareholders. E-mail and written correspondence may relate to any subject of interest to the correspondent, and are handled differently depending on whether the correspondent is simply requesting information, such as job vacancies or availability of Shell products, or whether the correspondence is a criticism or suggestion that may impact on the Group as a whole. Correspondence in the latter category totalled 862 in the twelve months to November 1999 , 1063 to November 2000, and 780 to November 2001.
The “Tell Shell” Forum is structured into specific discussion areas, which have included the following in the recent past:
• Energy and technology, now and in the future
• The environment – issues and commitments
• Society and multinationals
• How much freedom should we trade for our security?
• How can we make transport systems more sustainable?
• How can we meet the world’s energy challenge?
The following are examples of comments from the Press relating to the Tell Shell Forum:
Financial Times, 23 May 2003: “Yet is this not what “stakeholder dialogue” should be about? Is the internet not the ideal place for an open debate on issues of trust?”
Journal of Business Ethics, May 2003: “Internet access is as much a device for gathering information about stakeholders as it is a two-way relationship channel. Shell has pioneered in this regard, inviting open commentary and actually processing it through its internal systems into a dialogue device.”
Journal of Corporate Citizenship, March 2003: “When tested, the website tool for feedback in the Tell Shell campaign was effective and responsive … The strong emphasis … on PR is not merely corporate ‘greenwash’. Rather, being ‘seen to be doing the right thing’ and ‘doing the right thing’ together form a mature and effective system via which to fully respond to social and environmental pressures. Shell’s Tell Shell campaign is exemplary in this respect.”
Financial Times, 6 November, 2002: “[Shell’s] Tell Shell Forum is a brave but highly successful way of attracting criticism and by publishing it, defusing it.”
Financial Times, 25 January, 2002: “Shell monitors the contributions and steps in with its own on occasion – a clever way of being transparent while getting its own views across.”
The Express, 15 June, 2000: “Echo [Research Group] finds the oil company’s “Tell Shell” site is one of the few genuine corporate forums.”
The Complainant submits that this demonstrates that the name “Tell Shell” has become well-known as a mechanism for communicating with Shell, and as a source of information, both positive and negative, about the operations of the Group. As mentioned above, in its website format it is accessed via www.shell.com, or directly at www.shell.com/tellshell, but the Complainant has also owned the domain name www.tell-shell.com for defensive purposes since 2002.
B. The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain names;
(Policy, para. 4(a)(ii), Rules, para. 3(b)(ix)(2))
(1) www.royaldutchshellplc.com and www.royaldutchshellgroup.com
The Complainant contends that the Respondent is not, and has never been, commonly known by the name “ROYALDUTCHSHELL” or any similar name, nor is he an employee or director of any company having this name.
The Respondent and his son, John Donovan, have been known to the Group for some years. The two men ran a business which specialised in the creation of marketing promotions. In the 1990s, three law suits were brought against Shell UK Limited (an affiliate of the Complainant) by Mr John Donovan or companies with which he was associated, claiming wrongful use of intellectual property belonging to the plaintiffs by Shell UK Limited. Those cases were settled. Mr. Donovan or his company sued Shell UK Limited for a fourth time claiming that the “Smart” promotion then being run by them (involving the use of smart card technology for the collection of customer loyalty points) had in fact been invented by Mr. Donovan and that Shell UK Limited had stolen the idea from him. Despite the fact that the evidence showed that the claim was without foundation, the case was settled after three weeks of trial. No payment was made by Shell in relation to the claim itself, although for reasons which are not relevant to this Complaint, a contribution was made to the legal expenses of John Donovan.
The trial judge, Mr Justice Laddie, before making the order giving effect to the settlement, summed up the nature of the Respondent’s campaign in support of his claim at that time, as follows:
“the attacks on [a Shell employee – the main Shell witness in the case] were, at the very least, recklessly made .. they are completely without foundation .. serious allegations of dishonesty have been made against him and publicised as widely as possible .. web sites containing criticism of [the employee] in the strongest terms have been set up by Mr Donovan ..”
Accordingly, although there is no extant litigation between Shell and the Respondent or with anyone associated with him, the Complainant believes that the Respondent acquired the disputed names as a means of increasing his capability to disparage Shell at some time in the future.
The Respondent’s websites have never attempted to pass themselves off as official Shell websites, and generally have used names that can be readily distinguished from the www.shell.com name owned and used by the Group. Currently, the Respondent’s main website appears to be located at www.shell2004.com.
The disputed names www.royaldutchshellplc.com, www.royaldutchshellgroup.com and www.tellshell.org all redirect to the Respondent’s www.shell2004.com website, as do www.shellnews.net and www.shellscandal.com (both also owned by the Respondent).
The content of that site consists largely of media reports about the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies, and the Respondent’s comments thereon, predominantly of a negative nature. 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.
The domain names used by the Respondent and mentioned above (other than the disputed names) include elements additional to the name of the company, sufficient to avoid giving the impression that they were domain names owned by Shell, and Shell has not felt justified in challenging their use.
However, the disputed names which are the subject of these proceedings are precisely the names of (a) the intended new principal company of the Group, (b) the name of the Group itself and (c) the name of the Group’s own website discussion forum. The timing of the Respondent’s registration of the name www.royaldutchshellplc.com, on 29 October 2004 (the day immediately following the re-structuring announcement), suggests that the registration was made as a direct reaction to that announcement with the intention of pre-empting the Group from owning the name.
For these reasons the Complainant contends that the Respondent has no legitimate right or interest in the disputed domain names. He also appears not to be using them for any bona fide offering of goods or services. An unsuspecting Internet user looking for information about the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies or about Royal Dutch Shell plc in particular might be tempted to look for www.royaldutchshellgroup.com or www.royaldutchshellplc.com in the expectation that these names would direct him to the appropriate website. In fact, they direct him to the Respondent’s site where he is presented with much adverse publicity and negative personal opinion. As such, the Respondent, with the intent not for any particular commercial gain, but mainly to further his campaign of adverse publicity against the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies, is using the disputed names to cause embarrassment to the Group and prevent them from using the names themselves.
(2) www.tellshell.org
This name also re-directs to the Respondent’s site www.shellnews.net. The name itself is very descriptive and gives the clear impression that it will enable the user to “tell Shell” something. In fact, it does not put the user in touch with Shell at all, but exposes him to the Respondent’s criticism site. The Complainant therefore contends that the Respondent can have no legitimate right or interest in the domain name which, because it directs users to an anti-Shell site, is deliberately misleading.
C. The domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith.
(Policy, paras. 4(a)(iii), 4(b); Rules, para. 3(b)(ix)(3))
The Complainant contends that, in a general sense, the facts set out in the preceding Paragraph B raise a strong presumption that the disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith. They were registered, and are being used, for the purpose of attempting to attract Internet users to the Respondent’s web site, by creating a likelihood of confusion with a company name, a collective name and the name of a website forum owned by the Group. The Respondent has also been known to refer to himself in terms such as “Alfred Donovan of royaldutchshellplc.com , a.k.a. shellnews.net” (an example of such usage is reproduced at Annex 6, taken from a posting he made in the “Tell Shell” forum on 29 November 2004). By referring to himself in this way he is attempting to mislead visitors to his website into thinking that he has some connection with the Group or at least that he has some authority to speak on behalf of the Group.
Specifically, in terms of the Policy, Paragraph 4(b)(ii) provides that it shall be evidence that a domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith if the Respondent has “registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that [the Respondent has] engaged in a pattern of such conduct”. Previously-decided WIPO Cases such as Nos. D2003-0602 and D2004-0761 have held that a “pattern” may be evidenced by any repetition of such conduct, even as few as two instances. The Complainant contends that by registering the three disputed names, the Respondent has engaged in such a pattern of conduct, aimed at preventing the Complainant and the Complainant’s Group from reflecting their marks in corresponding domain names.
VI. Remedies Requested
(Rules, para. 3(b)(x))
[12.] In accordance with Paragraph 4(i) of the Policy, for the reasons described in Section V above, the Complainant requests the Administrative Panel appointed in this administrative proceeding issue a decision that the names www.royaldutchshellplc.com, www.royaldutchshellgroup.com and www.tellshell.org be transferred to the Complainant.
VII. Administrative Panel
(Rules, para. 3(b)(iv))
[13.] The Complainant elects to have the dispute decided by a three-member Administrative Panel, and nominates the three following panelists as its preferred choices: Antony Gold, David H. Tatham and Frank R. Schoneveld.
VIII. Mutual Jurisdiction
(Rules, para. 3(b)(xiii))
[14.] In accordance with Paragraph 3(b)(xiii) of the Rules, the Complainant will submit, with respect to any challenges that may be made by the Respondent to a decision by the Administrative Panel to transfer or cancel the domain name that is the subject of this Complaint, to the jurisdiction of the courts at the location of the principal office of the concerned Registrar.
IX. Other Legal Proceedings
(Rules, para. 3(b)(xi))
[15.] No other legal proceedings have been instigated in connection with these disputed domain names.
X. Communications
(Rules, paras. 2(b), 3(b)(xii); Supplemental Rules, paras. 3, 4)
[16.] A copy of this Complaint, together with the cover sheet as prescribed by the Supplemental Rules, has been sent or transmitted to the Respondent on 18 May 2005 by e-mail at the e-mail address quoted in paragraph [6] above.
[17.] A copy of this Complaint, has been sent or transmitted to the concerned registrar on 18 May 2005 by e-mail and confirmation hard copy by mail.
[18.] This Complaint is submitted to the Center in electronic form (except to the extent not available for annexes), and in four (4) sets together with the original.
XI. Payment
(Rules, para. 19; Supplemental Rules, Annex D)
[19.] As required by the Rules and Supplemental Rules, payment in the amount of USD 4,000 has been made by credit card.
XII. Certification
(Rules, para. 3(b)(xiv))
[20.] The Complainant agrees that its claims and remedies concerning the registration of the domain name, the dispute, or the dispute’s resolution shall be solely against the domain name holder and waives all such claims and remedies against (a) the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center and Panelists, except in the case of deliberate wrongdoing, (b) the concerned registrar, (c) the registry administrator, (d) the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, as well as their directors, officers, employees, and agents.
[21.] The Complainant certifies that the information contained in this Complaint is to the best of the Complainant’s knowledge complete and accurate, that this Complaint is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass, and that the assertions in this Complaint are warranted under the Rules and under applicable law, as it now exists or as it may be extended by a good-faith and reasonable argument.
Respectfully submitted,
___________________
Robert J. Carter
Duly Authorised Attorney
Date: 18 May 2005
ANNEX 1
WHOIS information for royaldutchshellplc.com
provided by TRUEWHOIS on 17 May 2005
Whois lookup performed by:
A service of Ignus, Incorporated. Whois Results For:
royaldutchshellplc.com
Query Date: May 17, 2005
________________________________________
Registrant:
Alfred Donovan
847a Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017
US
Domain name: ROYALDUTCHSHELLPLC.COM
Administrative Contact:
Donovan, Alfred [email protected]
847a Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017
US
+441206XXXXX
Technical Contact:
OpenSRS Technical Contact, NIC [email protected]
816-10 Bay St.
Toronto, ON M5J2R8
CA
+1.4169577400 Fax: +1.4169577401
Registration Service Provider:
SoftCom Technology Consulting Inc., [email protected]
+1 (416) 957-7400
+1 (416) 957-7405 (fax)
http://myhosting.com
Please visit http://myhosting.com for getting support about domain
login/passwords, DNS/Nameserver changes, renewals and general
questions.
Registrar of Record: TUCOWS, INC.
Record last updated on 29-Oct-2004.
Record expires on 29-Oct-2005.
Record created on 29-Oct-2004.
Domain servers in listed order:
NS3.SOFTCOMCA.COM 168.144.1.33
NS4.SOFTCOMCA.COM 168.144.68.1
Domain status: ACTIVE
The Data in the Tucows Registrar WHOIS database is provided to you by Tucows
for information purposes only, and may be used to assist you in obtaining
information about or related to a domain name's registration record.
Tucows makes this information available “as is,” and does not guarantee its
accuracy.
By submitting a WHOIS query, you agree that you will use this data only for
lawful purposes and that, under no circumstances will you use this data to:
a) allow, enable, or otherwise support the transmission by e-mail,
telephone, or facsimile of mass, unsolicited, commercial advertising or
solicitations to entities other than the data recipient's own existing
customers; or (b) enable high volume, automated, electronic processes that
send queries or data to the systems of any Registry Operator or
ICANN-Accredited registrar, except as reasonably necessary to register
domain names or modify existing registrations.
The compilation, repackaging, dissemination or other use of this Data is
expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Tucows.
Tucows reserves the right to terminate your access to the Tucows WHOIS
database in its sole discretion, including without limitation, for excessive
querying of the WHOIS database or for failure to otherwise abide by this
policy.
Tucows reserves the right to modify these terms at any time.
By submitting this query, you agree to abide by these terms.
NOTE: THE WHOIS DATABASE IS A CONTACT DATABASE ONLY. LACK OF A DOMAIN
RECORD DOES NOT SIGNIFY DOMAIN AVAILABILITY.
Close This Window
________________________________________
Copyright © 2000,2001 Ignus, Inc. TRUEWHOIS is a trademark of Ignus, Inc.
The information returned by TRUEWHOIS is supplied “as-is” by independent
third parties and TRUEWHOIS makes no warranty about its accuracy or usability.
All whois information is copyrighted and used with permission.
WHOIS information for royaldutchshellgroup.com
provided by TRUEWHOIS on 17 May 2005
Whois lookup performed by:
A service of Ignus, Incorporated. Whois Results For:
royaldutchshellgroup.com
Query Date: May 17, 2005
________________________________________
Registrant:
Alfred Donovan
847a Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017
US
Domain name: ROYALDUTCHSHELLGROUP.COM
Administrative Contact:
Donovan, Alfred [email protected]
847a Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017
US
+441206501781
Technical Contact:
OpenSRS Technical Contact, NIC [email protected]
816-10 Bay St.
Toronto, ON M5J2R8
CA
+1.4169577400 Fax: +1.4169577401
Registration Service Provider:
SoftCom Technology Consulting Inc., [email protected]
+1 (416) 957-7400
+1 (416) 957-7405 (fax)
http://myhosting.com
Please visit http://myhosting.com for getting support about domain
login/passwords, DNS/Nameserver changes, renewals and general
questions.
Registrar of Record: TUCOWS, INC.
Record last updated on 24-Jul-2004.
Record expires on 24-Jul-2005.
Record created on 24-Jul-2004.
Domain servers in listed order:
NS.SOFTCOMCA.COM 168.144.1.7
NS2.SOFTCOMCA.COM 168.144.1.8
Domain status: ACTIVE
The Data in the Tucows Registrar WHOIS database is provided to you by Tucows
for information purposes only, and may be used to assist you in obtaining
information about or related to a domain name's registration record.
Tucows makes this information available “as is,” and does not guarantee its
accuracy.
By submitting a WHOIS query, you agree that you will use this data only for
lawful purposes and that, under no circumstances will you use this data to:
a) allow, enable, or otherwise support the transmission by e-mail,
telephone, or facsimile of mass, unsolicited, commercial advertising or
solicitations to entities other than the data recipient's own existing
customers; or (b) enable high volume, automated, electronic processes that
send queries or data to the systems of any Registry Operator or
ICANN-Accredited registrar, except as reasonably necessary to register
domain names or modify existing registrations.
The compilation, repackaging, dissemination or other use of this Data is
expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Tucows.
Tucows reserves the right to terminate your access to the Tucows WHOIS
database in its sole discretion, including without limitation, for excessive
querying of the WHOIS database or for failure to otherwise abide by this
policy.
Tucows reserves the right to modify these terms at any time.
By submitting this query, you agree to abide by these terms.
NOTE: THE WHOIS DATABASE IS A CONTACT DATABASE ONLY. LACK OF A DOMAIN
RECORD DOES NOT SIGNIFY DOMAIN AVAILABILITY.
Close This Window
________________________________________
Copyright © 2000,2001 Ignus, Inc. TRUEWHOIS is a trademark of Ignus, Inc.
The information returned by TRUEWHOIS is supplied “as-is” by independent
third parties and TRUEWHOIS makes no warranty about its accuracy or usability.
All whois information is copyrighted and used with permission.
WHOIS information for tellshell.org
provided by TRUEWHOIS on 17 May 2005
Whois lookup performed by:
A service of Ignus, Incorporated. Whois Results For:
tellshell.org
Query Date: May 17, 2005
________________________________________
NOTICE: Access to .ORG WHOIS information is provided to assist persons in
determining the contents of a domain name registration record in the PIR
registry database. The data in this record is provided by Public Interest Registry
for informational purposes only, and PIR does not guarantee its
accuracy. This service is intended only for query-based access. You agree
that you will use this data only for lawful purposes and that, under no
circumstances will you use this data to: (a) allow, enable, or otherwise
support the transmission by e-mail, telephone, or facsimile of mass
unsolicited, commercial advertising or solicitations to entities other than
the data recipient's own existing customers; or (b) enable high volume,
automated, electronic processes that send queries or data to the systems of
Registry Operator or any ICANN-Accredited Registrar, except as reasonably
necessary to register domain names or modify existing registrations. All
rights reserved. PIR reserves the right to modify these terms at any
time. By submitting this query, you agree to abide by this policy.
Domain ID:D104705097-LROR
Domain Name:TELLSHELL.ORG
Created On:30-Jul-2004 19:07:15 UTC
Last Updated On:29-Sep-2004 03:47:16 UTC
Expiration Date:30-Jul-2005 19:07:15 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:Tucows Inc. (R11-LROR)
Status:OK
Registrant ID:tuNueMJ0VMfaBof0
Registrant Name:Alfred Donovan
Registrant Organization:Alfred Donovan
Registrant Street1:847a Second Avenue
Registrant Street2:
Registrant Street3:
Registrant City:New York
Registrant State/Province:NY
Registrant Postal Code:10017
Registrant Country:US
Registrant Phone:+44.1206501781
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX:
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Registrant Email:[email protected]
Admin ID:tuNueMJ0VMfaBof0
Admin Name:Alfred Donovan
Admin Organization:Alfred Donovan
Admin Street1:847a Second Avenue
Admin Street2:
Admin Street3:
Admin City:New York
Admin State/Province:NY
Admin Postal Code:10017
Admin Country:US
Admin Phone:+44.1206501781
Admin Phone Ext.:
Admin FAX:
Admin FAX Ext.:
Admin Email:[email protected]
Tech ID:tuvKFjq1iqvbZA98
Tech Name:NIC OpenSRS Technical Contact
Tech Organization:SoftCom Technology Consulting Inc.
Tech Street1:816-10 Bay St.
Tech Street2:
Tech Street3:
Tech City:Toronto
Tech State/Province:ON
Tech Postal Code:M5J2R8
Tech Country:CA
Tech Phone:+1.4169577400
Tech Phone Ext.:
Tech FAX:+1.4169577401
Tech FAX Ext.:
Tech Email:[email protected]
Name Server:NS.SOFTCOMCA.COM
Name Server:NS2.SOFTCOMCA.COM
Close This Window
________________________________________
Copyright © 2000,2001 Ignus, Inc. TRUEWHOIS is a trademark of Ignus, Inc.
The information returned by TRUEWHOIS is supplied “as-is” by independent
third parties and TRUEWHOIS makes no warranty about its accuracy or usability.
All whois information is copyrighted and used with permission.
ANNEX 2
Examples of Trade Mark Registrations of the name “SHELL”
(Please note that this list of registrations in respect of oil products (fuels, lubricants, etc.), is only a small sample of the total of over 3,300 registrations of “SHELL” owned by the Complainant around the world and covering a broad range of products and services)
Country Reg. Number Reg. Date
Albania 9812 3-Feb-2003
Andorra 6314 20-Mar-1997
Angola 2112 8-Oct-1992
Anguilla 2735 3-Jun-1996
Antigua 1261 25-Jan-1961
Argentina 1734864 15-Mar-1979
Armenia 849 20-Nov-1995
Australia A218441 30-Nov-1967
Australia A223078 9-Oct-1968
Australia * 9267 19-May-1910
Australia D154323 10-Jun-1959
Austria 35320 9-Oct-1956
Austria 9050 21-Jul-1925
Azerbaijan 970614 10-Apr-1997
Bahrain 27327 5-Apr-2000
Bahama Islands * 3211 10-Feb-1960
Bangladesh 9768 19-Apr-1951
Barbados 81/3317 5-Mar-1971
Barbados 81/5341 5-Sep-1961
Belarus 2032 17-Dec-1993
Benin UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Benin UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Benelux * 51467 11-Aug-1971
Benelux 730670 28-Feb-2003
Bermuda 4087 27-Mar-1957
Bhutan BT/M/97/00370 11-Sep-1997
British Virgin Is. 961 6-May-1982
Bolivia 63474-A 27-May-1954
Bosnia-Herzegovina BAZR983286 28-Dec-1998
Botswana 109C 12-Oct-1974
Brazil 811391990 30-Apr-1985
Brazil 2020556 12-Mar-1977
Brazil 720159270 15-Dec-1981
Brunei 429 28-Jan-1958
British Solomon Is. 1286 25-Jan-1982
Burkina Faso UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Burkina Faso UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Bulgaria 2782 31-Mar-1959
Cambodia KH814 14-Jul-1992
Cameroun Republic UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Cameroun Republic UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Cayman Islands 816157 10-Jun-1992
Central African Rep. UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Central African Rep. UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Chile 586148 19-Aug-1970
Chile * 595679 11-Jul-1950
Chile 429214 15-Jun-1984
China * 33828 1-Feb-1960
China 37487 8-Feb-1961
China 904466 28-Nov-1996
Colombia 110718 25-Apr-1985
Congo Republic UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Congo Republic UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Congo Dem. Rep. 5258/95 7-Dec-1995
Costa Rica 39538 27-Aug-1969
Costa Rica 95140 13-Mar-1996
Cote d'Ivoire UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Cote d'Ivoire UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Croatia Z960648 25-Jun-1996
Community Trade Mark (EU) * 1118801 25-Mar-1999
Cuba 112708-A 5-Mar-1982
Cyprus 5888 15-May-1958
Czech Republic 153617 1-Oct-1958
Denmark VR 1953 00541 2-May-1953
Djibouti 133/03/RADM 15-Apr-1993
Dominican Republic * 22365 3-Dec-1973
Equatorial Guinea UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Estonia 8240 22-Feb-1994
Ethiopia 2599 18-Oct-1995
Fiji Islands 7199 4-May-1971
Finland 65762 20-Dec-1976
Finland 12174 8-Dec-1930
France 1556124 3-Mar-1978
France * 1484877 26-Sep-1968
Gabon Republic UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Gabon Republic UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Gambia 1688 8-Oct-1951
Gaza District 2725 30-Mar-1995
Georgia 4997 7-Apr-1997
Germany * 980703 4-Feb-1978
Ghana 19277 30-Jan-1974
Ghana 8694 10-Jul-1958
Grenada Oct-98 22-Jan-1961
Greece * 26964 24-Oct-1957
Guatemala 32497 12-Jul-1977
Guinea-Bissau UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Guernsey 816157 25-Jan-1968
Guinea Republic UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Guyana 11345A 11-Feb-1981
Haiti 84/133 13-Jan-1962
Hong Kong 122/1952 3-Sep-1951
Hong Kong 13031/2003 26-Mar-2001
Honduras Republic 26722 15-Nov-1979
Honduras Republic 18921 17-Feb-1972
Hungary 120900 13-Jan-1959
Iceland 204/1958 2-Dec-1958
India 158036 24-Mar-1953
Indonesia 390000 19-Jul-1966
Iran * 13975 31-Mar-1955
Ireland 48996 21-Feb-1949
Italy 615546 22-Jan-1952
Jamaica 9586 17-Apr-1963
Jersey 3976 11-Jan-1977
Jordan 11545 30-Dec-1970
Kazakhstan 4657 21-Oct-1993
Kenya 14245 13-Aug-1966
St. Kitts Nevis T4353 16-Aug-1995
Korea North 8043 17-Feb-1992
Korea South 37045 8-May-1974
Korea South 150224 9-Jan-1988
Korea South 154060 10-May-1988
Kuwait 24822 29-Apr-1993
Kyrghyz Republic 1992 3-May-1972
Laos 1133 1-Oct-1992
Latvia M14397 30-Dec-1992
Lebanon 93826 23-Aug-1958
Lesotho LSM/94/00497 12-Oct-1974
Lithuania 11197 14-Jul-1993
Macao N/002206 8-Jul-1997
Madagascar Republic 351 13-Nov-1995
Mali Republic UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Malawi 1460/1959 23-Jun-1959
Mauritania UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Mauritania UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Malaysia M/22890 9-Jun-1953
Macedonia 2731 25-Jun-1976
Mexico 173215 1-Jun-1971
Mexico * 174561 29-Jun-1972
Mexico 174559 29-Jun-1972
Mexico 174835 29-Jun-1972
Mexico 174554 29-Jun-1972
Mongolia 2394 20-Jan-1998
Moldova 3274 5-Apr-1994
Monaco R95.16159 25-Mar-1970
Monaco 18624/R9718522 31-Jul-1957
Morocco 58527 2-Mar-1956
Montserrat 1083/816157 4-Feb-1982
Mozambique 1740/99 28-Sep-1999
Namibia 2660/52/4 25-Jul-1980
Namibia 81/1028 18-Sep-1981
Neth. Antilles 4675 4-Oct-1952
Nepal 9088/049 8-Apr-1993
Nicaragua 18310 5-Oct-1968
Nigeria * 6860 29-Aug-1951
Nigeria 56588 12-Feb-1998
Niger Republic UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Niger Republic UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Norway 41548 24-May-1952
New Zealand * 17724 28-Jan-1921
New Zealand 61248 7-Jan-1958
Pakistan * 15699 19-Apr-1951
Panama 15472 19-Nov-1971
Papua New Guinea A5052R 16-Sep-1975
Paraguay 171973 12-Oct-1994
Peru 69893 20-Aug-1987
Philippine Islands 4-2002-00984 4-Feb-2002
Poland * 65653 29-Aug-1989
Portugal 129662 21-Oct-1966
Portugal 129661 21-Oct-1966
Portugal 172109 26-Nov-1931
Portugal 172108 26-Nov-1931
Romania 4R649 6-Oct-1958
Russia * 45735 6-Jun-1972
El Salvador 227/105 17-Sep-1984
Western Samoa 941 7-Jan-1965
San Marino SMM20010144 29-Aug-2001
Saudi Arabia 41/90 12-Nov-1970
Senegal Republic UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Senegal Republic UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Serbia & Montenegro 21581 25-Jun-1976
Seychelles 1366(D) 4-Jan-1985
Sierra Leone 3534 17-Dec-1951
Singapore T71/51033B 2-Feb-1971
Sri Lanka 56518 16-Nov-1988
Slovak Republic 153617 1-Oct-1958
Slovenia 7280378 2-Jun-1972
St. Lucia 16/1977 28-Feb-1977
South Africa * 948/18/3 12-Oct-1974
South Africa 72/2327 26-Apr-1972
Spain 304071/2 18-Jan-1957
Spain 304072 13-Mar-1957
Spain 304076 18-Jan-1957
Spain 304074 3-Mar-1960
Spain * 674340 24-Apr-1972
Sudan 14084 21-Feb-1973
Suriname 7466 4-Dec-1971
Swaziland 15/1929 26-Jul-1978
Swaziland 14/1929 26-Jul-1978
Swaziland 13/1929 26-Jul-1978
Swaziland Dec-29 26-Jul-1978
Sweden 74594 4-Sep-1953
Switzerland 397260 15-May-1952
Syria 19102 14-Jul-1958
Tajikistan TJ1373 26-Dec-1994
Tanganyika 10340 8-Jul-1966
Tchad Republic UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Tchad Republic UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Turks and Caicos Is. 11170 4-Aug-1995
Thailand Kor169738 23-Mar-1932
Togo Republic UAM50182/0183 14-Apr-1964
Togo Republic UAM44492 27-Apr-2001
Tonga 201 1-Feb-2000
Tonga 1112 25-Jan-1982
Trinidad 2086 21-Mar-1963
Turkmenistan 590 6-Jun-1972
Tuvulu TUV/948 25-Jan-1961
Uganda 9627 23-Aug-1966
United Kingdom 479803 13-Apr-1927
United Kingdom 582889 19-Jan-1938
United Kingdom * 816157 25-Jan-1961
United Kingdom 754702 12-Jun-1956
United Kingdom 780163 25-Jul-1958
Ukraine 4424 6-Jun-1972
Uruguay 353522 27-May-1974
Uzbekistan 1037 23-Jul-1993
Vanuatu 416 25-Jan-1982
Venezuela 31094F 27-Aug-1956
Venezuela 31087F 24-Aug-1956
Vietnam 1901 25-Jun-1990
St. Vincent 7/1982 25-Jan-1982
West Bank 3411 6-May-1995
Yemen Republic 217(A) 25-Aug-1947
Zambia 1460/1959 23-Jun-1959
Zanzibar 158/94 19-Nov-1992
Zimbabwe * 1460/1959 23-Jun-1959
* copy of Registration/Renewal Certificate or other evidence supplied in separate Exhibit
ANNEX 3
“shell.xxx” Domain Names owned by the Complainant
shell.ac
shell.af
shell.ad
shell.com.ai
shell.net.ai
shell.off.ai
shell.org.ai
shell.ag
shell.co.ag
shell.com.ag
shell.net.ag
shell.com.ar
shell.am
shell.as
shell.com.au
shell.at
shell.co.at
shell.or.at
shell.az
shell.com.az
shell.bs
shell.com.bs
shell.com.bd
shell.bb
shell.by
shell.be
shell.bo
shell.com.bo
shell.ba
shell.com.ba
shell.co.bw
shell.com.br
shell.bf
shell.bg
shell.bi
shell.com.kh
shell.cm
shell.ca
shell.td
shell.cl
shell.cn
shell.com.cn
shell.co.ck
shell.com.co
shell.cg
shell.cd
shell.co.cr
shell.ci
shell.hr
shell.cu
shell.cx
shell.com.cy
shell.cz
shell.dk
shell.dj
shell.com.dm
shell.dm
shell.net.dm
shell.org.dm
shell.com.do
shell.net.do
shell.org.do
shell.web.do
shell.com.ec
shell.ec
shell.com.eg
shell.ee
shell.fo
shell.com.fj
shell.fi
shell.fr
shell.tm.fr
shell.gf
shell.gm
shell.de
shell.com.gh
shell.com.gi
shell.gi
shell.com.gd
shell.gd
shell.net.gd
shell.org.gd
shell.com.gr
shell.gr
shell.gl
shell.com.gu
shell.com.gt
shell.net.gt
shell.org.gt
shell.co.gg
shell.gg
shell.net.gg
shell.org.gg
shell.gy
shell.ht
shell.hm
shell.sh
shell.com.hk
shell.hk
shell.com.hn
shell.co.hu
shell.hu
shell.is
shell.co.id
shell.io
shell.co.ir
shell.ir
shell.ie
shell.it
shell.com.jm
shell.co.jp
shell.jp
shell.co.je
shell.je
shell.net.je
shell.org.je
shell.com.jo
shell.com.kz
shell.kz
shell.co.ke
shell.ki
shell.com.kn
shell.kn
shell.net.kn
shell.org.kn
shell.co.kr
shell.kg
shell.com.lv
shell.lv
shell.net.lv
shell.org.lv
shell.co.ls
shell.li
shell.lt
shell.com.ly
shell.ly
shell.net.ly
shell.org.ly
shell.com.lc
shell.lu
shell.mw
shell.co.im
shell.com.my
shell.com.mt
shell.co.mu
shell.com.mu
shell.mu
shell.net.mu
shell.org.mu
shell.com.mx
shell.mn
shell.md
shell.co.ma
shell.ma
shell.ms
shell.com.na
shell.nr
shell.an
shell.nl
shell.nc
shell.com.ni
shell.nushell.mp
shell.com.nf
shell.nf
shell.no
shell.co.nz
shell.org.nz
shell.co.om
shell.com.om
shell.biz.pk
shell.com.pk
shell.edu.pk
shell.net.pk
shell.org.pk
shell.web.pk
shell.ps
shell.com.pa
shell.com.pg
shell.com.py
shell.com.pe
shell.org.pe
shell.com.ph
shell.net.ph
shell.org.ph
shell.ph
shell.co.pn
shell.pn
shell.com.pl
shell.pl
shell.com.pt
shell.pt
shell.com.pr
shell.net.pr
shell.org.pr
shell.com.qa
shell.re
shell.arts.ro
shell.com.ro
shell.firm.ro
shell.org.ro
shell.ro
shell.store.ro
shell.com.ru
shell.net.ru
shell.org.ru
shell.pp.ru
shell.rw
shell.com.sv
shell.sm
shell.st
shell.com.sa
shell.sn
shell.com.sc
shell.net.sc
shell.sc
shell.gs
shell.com.sg
shell.sg
shell.lk
shell.sk
shell.co.za
shell.com.es
shell.es
shell.sr
shell.sz
shell.se
shell.ch
shell.com.tw
shell.com.tj
shell.web.tj
shell.co.th
shell.in.th
shell.com.tp
shell.tp
shell.co.tt
shell.tt
shell.my.tj
shell.com.tr
shell.tv
shell.ae
shell.co.ug
shell.ug
shell.co.uk
shell.org.uk
shell.com.ua
shell.ua
shell.com.uy
shell.us
shell.co.uz
shell.com.uz
shell.uz
shell.co.ve
shell.com.ve
shell.com.vn
shell.com.vc
shell.vc
shell.co.vi
shell.aero
shell.biz
shell.com
shell.info
shell.name
shell.co.yu
shell.co.zw
ANNEX 4 – PART A
“royal dutch shell” Domain Names owned by the Complainant
(already registered) (as at May 2005)
ANNEX 4 – PART A
“royal dutch shell” Domain Names owned by the Complainant
(already registered) (as at May 2005) – continued
ANNEX 4 – PART A
“royal dutch shell” Domain Names owned by the Complainant
(already registered) (as at May 2005) – continued
ANNEX 4 – PART A
“royal dutch shell” Domain Names owned by the Complainant
(already registered) (as at May 2005) – continued
ANNEX 4 – PART B
“royal dutch shell” Domain Names applied for by the Complainant
(awaiting registration) (as at May 2005)
ANNEX 4 – PART B
“royal dutch shell” Domain Names applied for by the Complainant
(awaiting registration) (as at May 2005) – continued
ANNEX 5
Results of a “Google” search combining the terms
“royal dutch shell” and “single board”
February 2005
ANNEX 6
Item posted by the Respondent on the Complainant’s website
on 29 November 2004
The full text of this posting (made on the “Tell Shell” page of the www.shell.com public website) is as follows:
Alfred Donovan of RoyalDutchShellplc.com (AKA ShellNews.net)
LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR RE SHELL'S BUSINESS PRINCIPLES 29 Nov 2004 21:28
THE ENTIRE LETTER TO PRIME MINSTER BLAIR CAN BE ACCESSED ON THE HOME PAGE OF THE WORLDS MOST COMPREHENSIVE SOURCE OF SHELL NEWS & INFORMATION – www.ShellNews.net
EXTRACTS (WHICH MAY BE OF INTEREST TO TIPPI T WALSH WHO HAS COINCIDENTLY RAISED THE SUBJECT OF SHELL'S STATEMENT OF GENERAL BUSINESS PRINCIPLES):
Dear Prime Minister
A company that I co-founded sent a fax to you on 6th May 1997 (copy enclosed) concerning the Codes of Practice/Citizens Charters promoted by many organisations and businesses. We warned that our enquiries with Leading Counsel and other parties had revealed that they were unregulated and not subject to any law. This situation also applies to Social Corporate Responsibility Reports.
As a result, management of multinationals such as Shell can cloak themselves in fine words and stirring promises designed to generate confidence, trust and investment. In this connection, when we wrote to you, we quoted from a speech given by Shell Chairman Mark Moody-Stuart when he referred to Shell’s core principles – “of honesty, integrity and respect for people” with an almost religious fervour. He vowed: “We do not bend these Principles. They are non-contestable and non-negotiable.”
This is the same man who is a defendant in multi-billion dollar class action law suits alleging fraud in respect of Shell’s energy reserves scandal and gross human rights abuses in Nigeria including association with the hanging of the renowned Ogoni peace activist and Nobel Laureate, Ken Saro-Wiwa and his equally innocent colleagues.
A speech given by a Shell executive, Mr Adrian Loader, on 23 February 2004 entitled “Putting principles into practice” is highly apposite to the subject of this letter. At the start of his speech at a business seminar in Singapore focusing on “Developing Corporate Social Responsibility”, Mr Loader quoted at length from a code of practice which his audience naturally thought was Shell’s SGBP’s. The language was indeed forthright and very similar in many respects to that used by Shell management as per the stirring examples already indicated. Mr Loader then sprung a surprise on his audience. He said that every word was taken directly from the Enron Corporation Code of Ethics.
Mr Loader claimed that he had not intended “to poke fun at the high minded aspirations of another energy company, but to remind us that high minded aspirations are just that – high minded aspirations – unless they have the benefit of a corporate culture that is fully committed to putting its aspirations into practice”. It is an unfortunate irony that within literally a matter of days after his speech, the then Group Chairman of Shell, Sir Philip Watts, was forced to resign in disgrace and that following the subsequent release of internal incriminating emails concerning the reserves cover-up at the highest level of his management, Shell’s reputation is now on a par with the likes of Enron and WorldCom in terms of global odium and notoriety.
Shell circulated to its shareholders earlier this year “The Shell Report 2003”. A section on page 25 is devoted to Shell's reputation. Alongside the hype about survey results carried out in 2003, is an endorsement of Shell's ethical policies by “Transparency International” -which promotes business ethics and, as its name implies, “transparency”. The organisation's endorsement was within the stated context of the so-called “Panels of external experts”, who “gave their independent views of how well Shell has performed.” All very impressive! What was not disclosed is that George Moody-Stuart, an Executive Committee member of the organisation (and its former Chairman) is the brother of Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, a current director of Shell Transport. Shell shareholders might have been less impressed by the so-called “independent” ethics endorsement if they had known about that undeclared connection: so much for transparency.
I pointed out the questionable basis of this “independent” endorsement to the Head of Corporate Governance at The Association of British Insurers (I also sent a copy of the email to Shell directors). To my surprise Shell Legal Director/General Counsel, Richard Wiseman, mistakenly sent me a copy of his subsequent related internal email to his senior colleagues, Jeroen van der Veer, Chairman of the Committee of Group Managing Directors of the Royal Dutch Shell Group (now Chief Executive of Royal Dutch/Shell) and his Vice Chairman, Group Managing Director, Malcolm Brinded.
Mr Wiseman's email, dated 24 June 2004 stated: “I am getting PX to send out our usual response to the association of British Insurers. I will also let Mark Moody-Stuart know that Donovan is now accusing Mark's brother of being in on the act.” Although the tone was disparaging it is revealing and flattering to know that (a) my comments reverberate and clearly generate concern right at the very top of Shell and (b) Shell management has a defence strategy in place ready to react instantly to my humble initiatives. I suspect that you will be hearing from them shortly.
The scandal was recently described in the BBC TV Money Programme as the biggest investor fraud in history. The following words and phrases were used in relation to the Shell reserves scandal during the course of the programme: –
“deceit”; “false pretences”; “falsely exaggerating”; “misled the world”; “basically they had been told a lie”; “embellished on the numbers”; “exaggerated the numbers”; “basically we lied to you”; “cover it up”; “doctoring the books”; “inventing numbers”; “certifying the reserve which he knows doesn’t exist”; “reserves replacement and production growth were inflated”; “I am becoming sick and tired of lying about the extent of our reserves”; “cover-up”; “actually destroyed documents”; “the scandal blew up and the company’s reputation carefully nurtured over a century was destroyed”; “Shell has lied intentionally and deceived the public”; “now they know that Shell lied to them and cost them money”; “a fraud perpetrated over a long period of time”; “a fraud perpetrated by the very heads of the company”.
Please note that there was none of the usual caveats which normally precede written statements which would otherwise be labelled as libellous: e.g. “allegedly”. The above descriptions were applied without any such qualification. They were put on record as matters of FACT.
Shell’s SGBP’s played an important role in the scandal as did the Shell Managements propensity to cover-up and deceive – the exact unconscionable failings which we had drawn to your attention. This is not a matter of conjecture or hurling unfounded allegations. Lord Oxburgh, the new Chairman of Shell Transport And Trading Co plc has “apologised unreservedly” for the “inappropriate departure” from Shell’s “Business Principles” in relation to the reserves scandal.
He has touchingly described the lies of Shell management (when, for example it inflated Shell’s future reserves by a $100 billion) as being “economical with the information”. In addition to the apologies and admittances from its management, we also have the incontrovertible evidence of the infamous internal emails at the highest levels of Shell which leave no room for doubt that those involved knew that they were engaged in a cover-up. “Dynamite” was the term used in one email.
You did however take our concerns seriously about the flaw in Codes of Practice which we drew to your personal attention. Following the reply from your Correspondence Secretary we subsequently received a letter from The Office of Fair Trading responding on your behalf. They seemed to share our concerns to a significant extent. The writer, Mary O’Driscoll, hoped that it might be possible to bring about an improvement in standards on a voluntary basis but ended by stating that if necessary “we will have to consider more formal regulatory measures, such as statutory backing for codes”. However, as far as I am aware, nothing has changed in regards to the lack of any legal or regulatory control. Such Codes of practice remain a Confidence Tricksters Charter.
This brings me back appropriately to Shell’s reserves scandal. Shell has, as indicated, paid US$150 million in fines to the SEC and the FSA after restating its reserves on four occasions. It has subsequently warned that a further restatement is in prospect.
1. During the Class Period Shell management: (a) Issued false reports; (b) Overstated its reserves replacement ratio; (c) Concealed adverse facts concerning the Companies operations; (d) Artificially inflated the market price of Royal Dutch and Shell Transport securities; (e) Singly and in concert, the Group Defendants engaged in a common plan, scheme, and unlawful course of conduct… that operated as a fraud and deceit..; (f) Overstated future cash flows by over $100 BILLION.
2. The fraud resulted in impairment of the Shell Group’s credit ratings.
3. Shell has not disputed the conclusion that their top management not only knew of the overstated reserves but played for time…
4. Defendants Watt’s, Moody-Stuart, van den Bergh, van der Veer, Skinner, Brinded, Boynton, Miller, van de Vijver and Roels, authorised or signed the filing of Form 20-F to the US Securities & Exchange Commission knowing that the reports were materially false or recklessly disregarded their truth or falsity. To quote from the Amended Complaint: “Each Defendant named in this Count has engaged in some or all of the unlawful acts, transactions and activities alleged herein, including the preparation and/or distribution of false and misleading proxy materials…”
5. During the tenure of defendant, Mark Moody-Stuart, the Shell Group created five “Value Creation Teams”, one of which was tasked with “creating the maximum value from Shell’s hydrocarbon reserves.”
6. There were financial incentives for Shell executives to overstate reserves. Notably, reference was made to the core Shell business principle of “transparency” by Defendant Watts in the following exchange with Bloomberg’s Mr Guy Collins on 8 February 2002: –
COLLINS: I want to ask you about Enron and any parallels there. Do you have any off balance sheet liabilities? Do you have trigger mechanisms in place that make you vulnerable to changes in the share price or credit ratings?
WATTS: Shell is very different from Enron. We were criticized for that some time ago and I’m glad we have a absolutely rock-solid way we do business. And, if you read our annual report, you read our footnotes and all the details, everything is in there. It’s all completely transparent, as far as Shell is concerned.
The reality was very far removed from the pious pledges of transparency and integrity: On 9 November 2003 Royal Dutch Shell Group Managing Director/Boss of Exploration & Production, van de Vijver, sent the following infamous email to the Group Chairman, Sir Philip Watts complaining that he was: –
“becoming sick and tired about lying about the extent of our reserves issues and the downward revisions that need to be done because of far too aggressive/optimistic bookings.”
EXPLOITATION OF THE OGONI PEOPLE: I was stationed in Palestine in the 1930’s. I regret to say that the Arabs were treated with distain and generally viewed as being second class citizens in their own Countries. How things have changed. The Arabs were sitting on top of the worlds largest oil reserves. Quite correctly, citizens in the oil rich Arab nations have benefited from their own natural resources and are now among the wealthiest people in the world. They have considerable power, influence and respect.
It is impossible to reconcile that situation with what has happened in Nigeria where the population has been oppressed and exploited by Shell and successive Nigerian regimes and Ogoniland has been subjected to long term ecological degradation. While the Ogoni people sit on top of oil fields, but remain abysmally poor, Sir Philip Watts sits on an $18 million (US dollar) pension pot. It is simply obscene and indefensible. After yet another document meant for consumption solely by Shell management was leaked to the press in mid June, Shell was forced to admit that its actions in Nigeria fed “a vicious cycle of violence and corruption”.
SUMMING UP: What this all boils down to is that Shell’s SGBP’s has been used as the ethical foundation of the Royal Dutch Shell Group. That important platform has been widely promoted and exploited. Because such codes are free of scrutiny and regulation Shell management has been able to cloak their actions in fine but worthless words. To put it bluntly they have been able to hoodwink the public, suppliers, investors (including pensioners), employees and other parties with impunity based on SGBP’s pledges.
With the greatest respect, that loophole should now be closed.
I hope you will feel it appropriate for the government to eradicate this dream device for those wishing to deceive. It would undoubtedly be in the best interest of the public and other interested parties including investors and pension holders.
Yours sincerely
Alfred Donovan
Documents referred to in the letter can be accessed on ShellNews.net – links at foot of web-posted letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair. 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.

ShellNews.net: Good News from the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility:

Email from Miles Litvinoff, Co-ordinator, Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility
Dear colleagues
I hope Zack – and you – will forgive me for piggybacking on his email.
ECCR signed the PIRG Arctic Refuge shareholder resolution and, as some of you know, also prepared our own, focusing on Shell's social, ethical and environmental impacts in Ireland, Nigeria and Russia (Sakhalin). I'm pleased to say we gathered over 130 signatory shareholders accounting for close to 700,000 shares and delivered to Shell yesterday. We are awaiting confirmation from Shell that they accept our motion as valid.
Assuming Shell accepts, ECCR will be seeking shareholder support to ensure a good vote at the AGM. Progress will be reported on ECCR's website – www.eccr.org.uk. If you would like to be kept informed by email, please let me know.
Regards
Miles
Miles Litvinoff, Co-ordinator, Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility
PO Box 500, Oxford OX1 1ZL, UK
[email protected]
The resolution wording and supporting statement are printed below and are also available on ECCR's website at www.eccr.org.uk or from Miles Litvinoff ([email protected], +44 (0)20 8965 9682) or from ECCR, PO Box 500, Oxford OX1 1ZL, UK. Shell resolution.
Ordinary Resolution
At this the first Annual General Meeting of Royal Dutch Shell, the shareholders request that, in the interests of the good reputation of the Company, and the avoidance of costly delay to, or interruption of, production, and for the present and future peace, safety, environment and prosperity of local communities directly affected by the Company's operations:
1. the Directors undertake, in all the Company’s international operations, to collaborate with local stakeholder communities in order to reach, before project works begin, a mutually acceptable Memorandum of Understanding based on an independently conducted and transparent Social and Environment Impact Assessment;
2. the Directors undertake on the acquisition of companies (or assets and operations of other companies) to exercise due diligence in respect of risk, by subjecting social and environmental reports relating to business operations and activities to qualified independent assessment, and to revise the Company’s plans or adopt alternative methods of extraction and refinement in the light of such assessments;
3. the Directors institute rigorous policies in risk assessment and community consultation particularly when proposing to use unproven techniques such as untested gas production and processing on peat and in proximity to occupied dwellings, or when operating in ice-infested waters;
4. the Directors ensure, through proper oversight by the Board’s Social Responsibility Committee, that all policies, procedures and standards on environmental and social issues are rigorously enforced at all stages of project planning and operation;
5. the Directors report to the shareholders by the 2007 AGM how the Company has implemented these measures.
Supporting statement
The Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR) proposes this resolution because of significant concerns relating to the loss of production, environmental costs and reputational risk faced by our Company.
ECCR has actively engaged with Shell since 1994, initially in relation to issues in the Niger Delta. Seeing no change, in1997, along with the Pensions and Investments Research Consultants (PIRC), we sponsored a resolution on environment, human rights and local communities. In 2001 an ECCR delegation visited Nigeria to check on progress and we have continued to raise questions with the Company.
Our involvement with the Corrib gas field development, off County Mayo, Ireland, began in 2002 when we were contacted by concerned residents. We provided an international observer to the Irish National Planning Board hearings in that year, which rejected the Company’s application. We raised questions with the Company then and subsequently. However, the day after the 2005 Shell AGM five local Mayo residents were imprisoned for denying the Company access to their land, leading to national public demonstrations against Shell.
The issues faced by the Company largely stem from:
· failing to carry out effective and complete environmental and social impact assessments of new developments or modifications to existing facilities, in contravention of its own guidelines;
· failing to develop and abide by memoranda of understanding with local communities.
Experience in the three different areas outlined below indicates the importance of supporting this resolution.
(1) Corrib, Ireland
The first application for developing the Corrib Gas project was made by Enterprise Energy Ireland in 2000. This involved a sub-sea tieback to a gas processing plant 9 km inland. The consequences of this highly unusual development concept included the need to run a production pipeline though a populated area and through unstable Atlantic bog terrain.
When Shell took over Enterprise Oil in 2002 it adopted, without change, this production concept. This was despite significant local opposition, which centred on the routing of the high-pressure production pipeline 70 metres from people’s homes. Residents instead proposed that the gas be processed offshore before being piped past their homes. Shell, despite its claims of engagement with local communities, has consistently rejected this demand, usually on cost grounds.
The cost of an offshore platform is approx. 300 million Euros. The value of the Corrib Gas field is at least 8 billion Euros. The gas was meant to be ashore in the summer of 2003, but Shell’s conflicts with local residents have put paid to any immediate prospect of this happening. The return on Shell's investments will be delayed until a mutually acceptable Memorandum of Understanding is reached. The only way that the field can be developed is with local consent.
(2) Niger Delta
Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Nigeria has achieved a bad reputation in the Niger Delta based on its history of poor stakeholder engagement, lack of transparency, and environmental and human rights abuse.

SPDC understands the critical necessity of effective project management if it is to sustain its Gbarain-Ubie Integrated Oil and Gas Project (IOGP) operations and profit-making in the long term. However, its current actions are in direct opposition to its own business interests in the region. SPDC’s practice thus far in the preparatory stages of the IOGP is a serious threat to the success of the project. SPDC's failure to apply its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) guidelines because of poor stakeholder engagement is a major problem. The Company considers that local communities are unable to participate in, or understand, an EIA due to lack of education.
However, the IOGP presents an opportunity to resolve past issues and lay the foundation for sustainable mutual benefits to SPDC and the 92 communities in the project area. As the highest investment ever to be made in the region, it could represent a new era of positive stakeholder engagement, community development and standards-based operations. With such improved relationships, the Company is more likely to gain community support for this and other activities, as well as the favour of shareholders and NGOs.
SPDC needs to engage effectively with the stakeholders – especially the impacted communities – so as to ensure that the process delivers environmental, social and financial benefits.
(3) Sakhalin, Russia
Shell's Sakhalin II project threatens the future of a Russian island the size of England, and the communities and species which rely on the natural resources there. Shell's activities have already resulted in the 100 remaining critically endangered Western Gray Whales being exposed to excessive noise levels. The whales' only feeding habitat will be threatened by the risk of oil spills in sea-ice conditions, which Shell have no recognised technique for cleaning up.
Local communities meanwhile are seeing the fishing industry which supports one third of the island's economy destroyed. Dredging activity in Aniva Bay has resulted in reduced fish catches and lost business for local fishing companies. Inland, Shell's inability to apply environmental measures to river crossings has seen salmon spawning areas ruined.
The root of these problems can be traced back to Shell's original environmental and social impact assessments. Shell made its decisions on project design before gaining essential information on biodiversity and local people. The ineffective project management has compounded problems and seen costs double to US$20 billion. As a result, the project is far from meeting international expectations or standards.
January 2006 read more

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U.S. PIRG: Arctic Refuge shareholder resolution

March 1, 2006
To: Shell shareholders & campaign partners
From: Zack Brown, U.S. PIRG
RE: Arctic Refuge shareholder resolution
I have returned to Washington DC from London and am very disappointed to tell you that we will not meet the requirements for filing a shareholder resolution with Royal Dutch Shell this spring.
Though filing with the company was a big goal for us this year, the 2006 Shell corporate campaign was never dependent on filing a resolution. We will still be releasing our Shell report in mid-April, delivering a letter to Shell signed by more than 25 elected officials from countries in which Shell operates, working with the media, and speaking at the Shell AGM.
While we continue to work on our 2006 Shell corporate campaign, we are also laying the foundation for filing at the 2007 Shell Annual General Meeting and hope that we can count on your support. Thank you again for all your help.
Zack Brown
Arctic Wilderness Associate
U.S. Public Interest Research Group
218 D Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
202-546-9707 – 202-546-2461 fax
[email protected] – www.uspirg.org read more

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THE NEW YORK TIMES: Divers Work the Gulf Floor to Undo What Hurricanes Did

By JAD MOUAWAD
Published: March 1, 2006
ABOARD M.S.V. BOTNICA, in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana, Feb. 22 — Gliding gracefully half a mile below sea level, two robotic submarines are part of an unusual repair job intended to restore much-needed oil resources to the nation's strained energy network. After two months spent digging and cutting and shuffling heavy equipment by remote control, their job should be done by early March.
But the huge task of fixing the country's most important energy hub is far from over. Six months after Hurricane Katrina battered the gulf with 175-mile-an-hour winds and waves higher than eight-story buildings, more than a quarter of the region's oil output is still shut down.
The shortages, amounting to 6 percent of the country's domestic production, have worsened a global picture of razor-thin margins of supply, playing a central part in keeping oil prices around $60 a barrel.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed or damaged 167 offshore platforms and 183 pipelines, shut down production for weeks and pushed prices to their highest levels since the fall of the shah of Iran led to the oil shock of the early 1980's. Nineteen movable well-drilling rigs snapped from their moorings and drifted, some as far as 60 miles.
By contrast, Hurricane Ivan, rated as one of the most severe storms in the gulf when it struck in 2004, destroyed just 7 platforms in shallow waters and damaged another 24 structures and 102 pipelines.
“The storms cut a huge swath over the landscape,” said Allen J. Verret, the president of the Offshore Operators Committee, an industry group. “We were still recovering from Hurricane Ivan when the terrible sisters came.”
Now, he said, “we are all concerned by how long it takes to bring it all back up again.”
Few will openly say so, but oil companies are racing against the clock. In less than four months, the next hurricane season kicks off.
Last year's severe storms forced the United States and its allies to release strategic stocks of petroleum held for emergencies like wars or embargoes. More than 20,000 miles of underwater pipelines and 3,000 offshore platforms were in the path of either storm.
Today in the gulf's offshore region, 362,000 barrels of oil a day, out of a total of 1.5 million barrels, remain shut off, along with 15 percent of the region's natural gas production, or 1.5 billion cubic feet a day.
Restoring production has proved exceptionally arduous because of the storms' impact on communities in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Oil companies had to deal with workers who had lost their homes, contractors who had lost their equipment and widespread destruction to the region's basic infrastructure.
“All the components of the production system have to be in place” before output can be restored, said Melody Meyer, who heads Chevron's production unit in the Gulf of Mexico.
Shell, the top oil producer in the gulf, estimated the cost at $250 million to $300 million. The company said that three-quarters of its total capacity of 450,000 barrels a day had been returned to production. But one of its biggest structures, Mars, which produced about 140,000 barrels of oil a day before Hurricane Katrina, is not expected to restart until the second half of 2006.
The platform was badly damaged when a drilling rig tumbled over in the storm, shattering equipment, living quarters and the intricate network of electronics and pipes that girdle all platforms. Also, the pair of pipelines that take Mars's oil and natural gas to shore were badly damaged.
With no realistic option of towing the platform back to a shipyard, repairs had to be done at sea. Nearly 500 workers have been living in a floating hotel flanking the platform, linked by a pontoon while they complete the tedious job of refitting and rewiring the structure.
Other major producers, like BP and Chevron, have similarly suffered. Chevron, which lost a major platform during Hurricane Rita, said that its output was back at two-thirds of its prestorm capacity of 300,000 barrels a day. The company indicated that as much as 20,000 barrels of oil a day would probably never be restored. Over all, it put its bill from the storms at $1.4 billion, a figure that includes the estimated lost production.
“We're scrambling for resources, like everybody else,” said John R. Sherwood, the chief executive of Anglo-Suisse Offshore Partners, a small oil producer that lost 5 of its 30 shallow-water platforms. “There's a tremendous strain in the service sector, which was stretched anyway because of the high energy prices and has been magnified by the two storms.”
The industry was already facing a shortage of ships and qualified crews, marine technicians and offshore experts before the hurricanes. Divers to inspect the platforms are especially in demand. Special teams had to be brought from Canada.
The work is especially slow when it comes to finding and fixing pipelines in the gulf's shallows, where the water is so opaque that divers have to blindly feel the ground with their hands until they find a missing bit of pipeline.
“It's definitely been nonstop around the clock,” said Craig Reynolds, managing director of Specialty Diving in Hammond, La. For the first time, he has had to place customers on a waiting list of one to two weeks.
The Gulf Coast is by far the most sensitive region for the nation's energy supplies. Refineries in Texas and Louisiana account for nearly half the country's domestic capacity and most of them were affected by the storms.
Today, as much as one million barrels a day of capacity, or 6 percent of the nation's total refining capacity, remains shut down. Most of that should be back by the end of March, according to the Energy Department.
The recent wave of hurricanes has exposed the country's reliance on the region's fragile infrastructure and raised uncomfortable questions about its reliability as America's most critical domestic energy source.
“We haven't done anything to reduce our vulnerability,” said Ted M. Falgout, the director of Port Fourchon, the largest servicing hub for the offshore industry, about 80 miles south of New Orleans. “I hate to think of the next hurricane season.”
The port is a beehive of active cranes, docks and wharfs, with helicopters zooming above, a constant stream of trucks coming in and ships heading out to sea. Everything needed to run an offshore platform, from tissue paper to heavy electric generators, is loaded there.
It took port officials three days to clear the waterway after Hurricane Katrina, Mr. Falgout said. While other ports on the coastline were devastated, Port Fourchon managed to resume operations within days.
In the weeks after the storm, some oil companies used small tankers and barges to take oil to shore, or redirected flows through undamaged pipelines. Even as they repair the damage, most companies continue to explore the depths of the gulf for new reserves.
“They have every incentive to get things restarted,” said Chris C. Oynes, the head of the Gulf of Mexico regional office of the Minerals Management Service of the Interior Department.
At sea about 45 minutes by helicopter from Port Fourchon, the 318-foot-long Botnica — which normally does duty as an icebreaker — is about the last thing you would expect to find in the semitropical gulf waters. While Shell mustered an armada of 24 ships to inspect its equipment in the gulf, it needed a special type of ship, able to stay precisely above a particular spot for weeks on end, while minisubmarines replaced two 85-foot-long sections of pipelines linking Mars to the coast.
“No other vessel was available for the job,” said Mike Coyne, a senior Shell engineer, who oversees the company's 1,500 miles of pipelines in the gulf.
The pipelines, about 100 miles southeast of New Orleans, were crushed when a drilling rig broke free from its moorings during Katrina, dragging along a 12-ton anchor that plowed the sea floor.
Shell's engineers had to come up with novel procedures for a job performed beyond diver depth, and rig new tools so they could be powered by the hydraulic system on the minisubs. The work used remotely operated underwater vehicles for the first time in that kind of repair, and involved dozens of engineers onshore, a step-by-step manual thicker than a New York phone book, and minisubs nicknamed Mil-28 and Mag-77.
“It sounds simple but it's actually quite complicated when you have to do it at 3,000 feet below the sea,” said Frank Glaviano, the head of production for North and South America at Royal Dutch Shell. “It's never been done before.”
On the control deck, the ship's captain seemed torn about his soon-to-end assignment.
“They would really need us right now in Finland,” said Leif Kampe, the captain of the Botnica, which usually slices though 30-foot-thick ice at this time of the year. “But there's more money to be made here.”
And it's warmer. “It's nice,” he added, “being here with the Southern guys.” read more

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Reuters: Couche-Tard buys 40 U.S. stores from Shell

TORONTO (Reuters) – Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (ATDsvb.TO: Quote) (ATDmva.TO: Quote) said on Tuesday it has agreed to buy 40 convenience stores in the U.S. Midwest from Shell Oil Products US (RDSa.L: Quote).
The Laval, Quebec-based convenience store operator did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, but said the acquisition will boost its annual sales by $160 million.
The 40 stores, which are in the Indianapolis area, are operated under the Shell banner and also sell motor fuel.
Couche-Tard operates more than 4,900 convenience stores in Canada and the United States, 3,000 of which sell motor fuel.
($1=$1.14 Canadian) read more

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Houston Chronicle: Militants demand guarantee

Bloomberg News
Nigerian militants who have been holding nine foreign oil workers for the past 11 days want a guarantee there will be no military reprisal against them before they release the hostages, Delta state Gov. James Ibori said Tuesday.
“We have words from them that they will not attack any installation and they will not do anything unless they are provoked,” said Ibori, who is leading government efforts to gain the hostages' release.
The same group kidnapped four hostages in January, releasing them 19 days later. Ibori said February's attacks were a direct result of the Nigerian military breaking its pledge to not attack in return for the release of the men kidnapped in January.
The current hostages, employees of Willbros Group, were taken from a boat under contract to Shell near its Forcados export terminal. Among those kidnapped are three U.S. citizens, one from Great Britain, two from Egypt, two from Thailand and one from the Philippines, Willbros said in a Feb. 18 statement. Willbros operations are run out of Houston. One of the hostages is a Texan, Macon Hawkins of Kosciusko. read more

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TIMES OF OMAN: Shell Helix co-sponsored biosphere expedition concludes

MUSCAT — The Shell Helix co-sponsored Biosphere Expeditions team founded by renowned biologist, Dr Matthias Hammer, concluded its survey of the Arabian leopard among the remote mountains and gorges of Musandam.
The expedition is especially significant, since the Arabian leopard is the last surviving species of Big Cats on the Arabian Peninsula and is a severely endangered species. Historical records and oral traditions of the region also show that Musandam has been an important habitat for the leopard and its primary prey species.
“The Biosphere Expeditions project offered us the perfect opportunity to be part of an endeavour that promoted sustainable tourism, environment conservation and enhancing awareness about the Sultanate’s unique natural wealth — all of which are issues that are extremely important to us,” said Irshad Lawati, managing director of Shell Oman.
The expedition to Musandam included ordinary individuals and scientific personnel who came to Oman as a part of the efforts of the Office of the Adviser for Conservation of the Environment (Diwan of Royal Court) to conserve biodiversity in the Sultanate. The expedition was also supported by the Ministry of Regional Municipalities, Environment and Water Resources, and the Ministry of Tourism.
Setting out on January 15 on an extensive survey of the narrow wadis and rocky valleys framed by spectacular limestone cliffs of Musandam, the team had subsequently moved deeper into the mountains. It is now established that Musandam potentially still offers a suitable habitat to accommodate Arabian leopard. However, a combination of new roads, development and severe drought over the past decade has severely threatened the habitat.
The team primarily looked for evidence of leopard presence at hotspots like waterholes, and talking to local inhabitants about possible sightings. Covering a fairly large part of Musandam in spite of daytime temperatures climbing to the high 40s and plunging to 0oC at night, the team has identified definite signs of three species of fox and caracal activity in the area. Sign of a large predator was finally discovered late in the expedition. Although analysis of samples is still to be undertaken, the team is confident that the signs point to an Arabian leopard.
“The project also has substantial implications for Oman’s wildlife conservation efforts, and for the country’s aspirations as an international destination for sustainable forms of tourism,” said Hadi Musalam Al Hikmani, of the Office of the Adviser for Conservation of the Environment, and a key member of the expedition team.
“The local people of Musandam showed great warmth and interest in the project. Future attempts to develop wildlife and eco-tourism in this area must continue to involve the local people.
Again in this area, the expedition concludes that there is real reason for optimism for the future,” said Dominic Hall, Expedition Leader. “Musandam offers real possibilities in the future as a destination for eco-tourism; it offers dramatic scenery, and with careful management, could also support good wildlife populations,” he concluded. read more

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Gulf Times: Nigerian unrest to last all year, hurting Shell

’Published: Wednesday, 1 March, 2006, 09:20 AM Doha Time
LONDON: Violence directed against Nigeria’s oil industry will last throughout 2006 because presidential elections are due next year, hurting Royal Dutch Shell Plc and other foreign oil companies, Citigroup Inc analysts said.
Shell’s Nigerian joint venture has halted 455,000bpd of production since February 19 following the kidnapping of Shell contract workers and attacks by militants on an export terminal and an oil pipeline in the Niger River delta.
“We expect these disruptions to be a continuous feature of 2006 oil markets,’’ Citigroup analysts including James Neale and Jonathan Wright said in a note to clients yesterday. “Shell is the most leveraged and may need to consider asset swaps to dilute its exposure – both financially and politically.’’
Shell, Europe’s second-largest oil company, is the biggest foreign producer in the country. Nigeria represents Shell’s major growth region until the turn of the decade, when it will account for 17% of the group’s production, up from 11% now.
Militant attacks on pipelines and platforms are “part of doing business’’ in Nigeria for foreign oil companies and curbed as much as a third of Nigeria’s oil output in 2003 ahead of presidential elections, the report said. “As in 2003, it looks clear that the run-up to the 2007 election will see an exacerbation of the situation as local groups seek to eke out some political and financial capital from the central government,’’ Citigroup said.
Shell’s Nigerian venture, the Shell Petroleum Development Co has no estimate yet on when production will resume from the western Niger delta or the EA offshore field, both of which were closed by the attacks. EA exports remain cancelled for now and the security situation is preventing repair teams from reaching the damaged pipeline, Shell spokeswoman Sarah Smallhorn in London said yesterday.
The venture pumps about half of Nigeria’s output and is owned 55% by state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corp, 30% by Shell, 10% by France’s Total SA and 5% by Italy’s Eni SpA.
Shell’s net production from Nigeria is on track to reach 650,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day by 2010, up from 414,000 barrels daily in 2004, Citigroup estimated. State-run oil companies including China’s CNOOC Ltd and Brazil’s Petroleo Brasileiro SA have entered Nigerian deepwater oil projects in competition with publicly-traded international oil companies.
“These opportunities could provide asset-swap currency should Shell wish to diversify its portfolio risk,’’ Citigroup said.
Shell chief executive officer Jeroen van der Veer has said the company has no plans to quit Nigeria. Amid violence last week, Shell announced an agreement with partners including Chevron Corp to develop the Olokola liquefied natural gas project in Nigeria.
“We worked for decades in Nigeria, and we have all the time new challenges, and we have overcome all the time the challenges,’’ Van der Veer said in a January 26 interview in Davos, Switzerland.
Militants will continue the violence until their demands are met, said Jomo Gbomo, a spokesman for the militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, in an e-mailed statement last week. It had previously called on Shell to pay the Ijaw people $1.5bn as compensation for environmental damage and the loss of life caused by company operations.
The group has said it targeted Shell because government military helicopters used the company’s Osubi airstrip near the southeastern city of Warri to attack villages earlier this month in the Gbaramatu area of Delta state. The militant group has also released photographs of nine foreign oil workers they kidnapped on February 18 from a Willbros Group Inc boat near Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Forcados export platform.
Nigeria produced 2.36mn bpd last month, making it the sixth-biggest producer in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries. – Bloomberg read more

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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Justices Dismiss Price-Fixing Suit By Gas Stations

By MARK H. ANDERSON
March 1, 2006; Page A12
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously decided that two large oil companies can set uniform prices in a joint refining agreement without violating federal antitrust laws.
The decision, which deals with a 1998 joint gasoline-refining venture between Shell Oil Co. and Texaco Inc., is a blow to a class of gas-station owners that sued the companies, alleging the venture illegally fixed prices on wholesale gasoline. The decision overturned a ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
“The pricing policy challenged here amounts to little more than a price setting by a single entity,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote. The 8-0 opinion didn't include Justice Samuel Alito, who joined the Supreme Court last week. An opposite ruling by the high court would have had major antitrust-law implications.
The Texaco-Shell deal combined their refining and marketing operations after the companies cleared the plans with the Federal Trade Commission and other U.S. regulators. Later, a group of gas-station operators sued the companies for price fixing. A federal trial judge initially threw out the suit, but it was revived by the Ninth Circuit. Texaco is a unit of Chevron Corp., of San Ramon, Calif. Shell is a unit of Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell PLC.
Texaco Inc. v. Dagher et al.
The justices also unanimously shut the door on the ability of abortion clinics to use federal racketeering and extortion laws to sue antiabortion protesters.
The 8-0 ruling was the second decision issued by the Supreme Court on the case, which began as a class action filed by the National Organization for Women against antiabortion groups that tried to restrict access to abortion clinics.
The Supreme Court's decision turned on its interpretation of a federal extortion law known as the Hobbs Act, which the justices said is limited to physical violence that occurs during robbery or extortion. The Supreme Court decision reverses the Seventh Circuit in Chicago.
The original suit was filed 20 years ago by several abortion clinics and NOW, which sued the antiabortion groups Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Action League.
Scheidler v. NOW
Write to Mark H. Anderson at [email protected] read more

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Daily Telegraph: Database: Energy

Energy
• Royal Dutch Shell and its partners in a $20bn Russian natural-gas venture will face environmentalists over ecological consequences in a series of public hearings.
• Nigerian militants who have been holding nine foreign oil workers for the past 11 days want a guarantee there will be no military reprisal before they release the hostages.
• UK power generators need to invest in new technology for burning coal for it to play a role in the country’s future energy supply, said Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for the Department of Trade and Industry. read more

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Financial Post – Canada: Shell Canada resumes partial production at Muskeg River

Shell Canada Ltd. has partially restored bitumen production at the Muskeg River mine oil-sands facility and begun repairs to re-establish full production. On Friday a major tear was discovered in the conveyor belt that transports ore from the crushers in the mine to the bitumen extraction plant. Shell said yesterday that both the mine and Scotford Upgrader are producing at about one-third of design rate. It expects a full shutdown of the mine in late March to install the new belt. The shutdown is expected to last two weeks. The mine and upgrader together make up the Athabasca Oil Sands Project. Shell's partners in the project are Western Oil Sands Inc. and Chevron Canada Ltd. read more

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Asia Pulse: SINOPEC RULES OUT POSSIBILITY OF BP BUYING 25% STAKE

Mar 01, 2006
BEIJING, March 1 Asia Pulse – NYSE-listed Sinopec denied Tuesday that the company was holding talks with BP on the latter's move to buy a 25 per cent stake of the Chinese refiner with US$14 billion.
No such talks are going on, said a senior-official insider of the company.
“Remember that Sinopec is a strategically significant state-owned enterprise. It is unlikely that the government will allow such a large enterprise to be controlled by foreign capital in the near future”, the insider says.
BP, Europe's biggest oil company, used to have a stake in Sinopec. It bought the stake in October 2000 during Sinopec's initial share sale for US$385 million. In February 2004, BP earned US$357 million by selling its entire stake in Sinopec.
BP sold its Sinopec holding possibly out of expectations that the Chinese government would liberate the Chinese product oil market by yearend 2006. But reality taught it that its penetration into China should go with monopolist Chinese oil majors. For this reason, BP had done a great of PR work to lobby the Chinese government to re-enter Sinopec. The insider says the two sides did have talks on this subject but no progress was made.
But the two sides are cooperating well in other respects. BP and Sinopec are partners in operating a US$2.7 billion ethylene plant in Shanghai. The companies have an acetic acid venture in China's eastern city of Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province, and in May 2004 agreed to form a US$250 million venture to distribute and sell gasoline and diesel in China's eastern province of Zhejiang, targeting 500 retail stations within three years.
But their cooperation may stop there. BP's successful approach to neighboring Russia seems unlikely to work in China, at least in the near future.
But if BP succeeds, what will other oil giants such as Shell and Exxon Mobil do? After all, China is a market with huge consumer potential.
(XIC) read more

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The Guardian: One-person boycotts don't work

United Kingdom; Mar 01, 2006
I've been boycotting Esso and BP service stations on the basis of their environmental records. However, BP has been advertising its research into less environmentally harmful fuels. Should I believe them and remove them from my boycotting list? Also, while all oil companies are bad, are there others that are so bad I should add them to my list?
* Although many of us automatically think of boycotts when we don't like something a company does, they are not always the best way to influence a company's behaviour. There are two essentials for effectively boycotting a company. First, you must write to them to tell them why you are boycotting them (most people don't do this), and second, you need thousands of people to join you. In terms of Esso there is an organised international boycott, as Esso has played a leading role in denying climate change. There is no organised boycott of BP, so one person boycotting the company won't make any difference.
There is no oil company with a good record on the environment, despite what BP might claim, so if you boycott BP for this reason you might as well boycott them all. Other companies also have bad records. The Burma Campaign UK is campaigning against Total Oil as it is in a business partnership with the military dictatorship in Burma.
Chevron is facing a court case relating to allegations of human rights abuses in Nigeria, and of course Shell has also been under attack for its operations in Nigeria. The list goes on and on.
Mark Farmaner, campaigns manager, Burma Campaign UK, London N1 read more

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Reuters: Sakhalin energy project warms to icy challenge

By Ikuko Kao
YUZHNO SAKHALINSK, Russia, March 1 (Reuters) – Earthquakes, rare whales and bitter cold have presented Royal Dutch Shell with high hurdles for its giant Russian Sakhalin energy project. Yet the company can count itself lucky.
Even with further project delays and cost increases possible, it is making steady progress on Sakhalin 2, one of only two developments underway in a region officials say holds more crude oil and natural gas than Europe's North Sea.
A jetty stretching into the icy waters off Russia's far east coast looks forlorn but is a footstep of progress made by Shell , as it tries to challenge nature to ship liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries enamoured with the clean fuel.
By summer 2008, LNG will start flowing from the jetty on tankers heading around the Pacific, relieving energy markets stretched by surging gas demand for residential and industrial use from Asian and U.S. consumers.
The Anglo-Dutch oil major and its partners, Japan's Mitsui & Co. and Mitsubishi Corp. , missed an initial November 2007 target for the first LNG shipment from Sakhalin 2 by six months because of ecological obstacles and repeated postponements by Russian authorities over expenditure.
Project costs have doubled to $20 billion.
And there may still be a risk of further delays, though the world's largest LNG project is progressing at the quickest pace out of nine energy projects in Sakhalin.
“The project is just over 60 percent complete at the moment,” Sakhalin Energy's chief executive Ian Craig said.
Shell plans to start year-round crude oil production in 2007, Craig said. Its oil production is now suspended for about six months in the year because of drift ice shutting ports.
Sakhalin 2 consists of gigantic offshore platforms, oil and gas pipelines with a total length of 800 kilometres (497 miles), as well as terminals with two LNG trains that chill natural gas to a liquid form for transport.
FROZEN BEAUTY
Sakhalin, an island about the size of Scotland, has a population of around 530,000 and holds an estimated 45 billion barrels equivalent of recoverable oil and gas reserves.
But the biggest challenge is the island's harsh if beautiful natural environment.
In addition to frigid weather that sees temperatures plunge to minus 30 degrees Celsius on winter nights, the land has numerous seismic faults as part of the Pacific's rim of fire.
Pipeline crossing points at active faults at the southern part were still under design, engineer Samar Slim told Reuters.
He has to use the costly technique of horizontal drilling to avoid damaging rivers where salmon come to lay eggs in summer.
“It is a lot more expensive than normal methods (to build pipelines). In my understanding, 10 times more,” Slim said.
The dark waters of the Sea of Okhotsk provide a rich marine environment, harbouring feeding grounds for the endangered Western Gray Whale that environmentalists fear have been disrupted by the project.
Shell says it is working to safeguard the species, with Sakhalin Energy spending about $7 million on whale research from 1997 to 2005 and agreeing last year to reroute offshore pipelines.
Humans are also an endangered species on Sakhalin.
Construction workers at Sakhalin 2's Prigorodnoye terminal in the south, where the two giant LNG trains reside, are bundled up in padded clothes like skiers to protect their bodies from heavy snow, only their frost-crusted eyes visible from outside.
The workers have to warm up machinery parts in tents — not to mention themselves — before putting them into action, a practice hardly necessary in warmer energy producers such as Saudi Arabia, and one adding to the project's time and cost.
“Usually, it takes about 36 months to complete construction works of this kind of facility. But here in Sakhalin, the first train takes 51 months,” said Frank Fletcher, project manager at the plant.
The jetty, chilled by wind from Aniva Bay and still not connected to land like England's fire-wrecked old Brighton pier, is still waiting for spring and the return of more workers, whose numbers rise from 6,000 in winter to 8,000 in summer.
Up to 5,000 construction workers live in a camp just next to the plant. The main office's walls are full of cautious advice: “Drugs don't relax you. It kills you… Alcohol doesn't build friendship, it destroys it… Safe sex, or no sex.”
STILL AHEAD
Shell has sold about 75 percent of its planned 9.6 million tonnes a year of LNG from Sakhalin 2 on long-term supply contracts to Japan, South Korea and the U.S. West Coast.
But Sakhalin 2 is only developing about 10 percent of the area's resources and Shell is not the only one eyeing the riches.
Russia's gas monopoly Gazprom is negotiating with Shell to take 25 percent of Sakhalin 2.
There are eight other new energy projects, including Sakhalin 1 led by U.S. oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp .
Sakhalin 1 started commercial crude oil production in October, but Exxon has not begun to build gas facilities since it first needs a buyer; unlike Shell it plans to transfer gas from Sakhalin 1 to a single customer, possibly China, via a pipeline.
Exxon had hoped to develop Sakhalin 3, under a previous deal scrapped by the government. The field is expected to be auctioned later this year.
“The rest of the projects just have numbers,” an industry official said. read more

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THE NEW YORK TIMES: The End of Oil

By ROBERT SEMPLE
Published: March 1, 2006
Robert Semple is the associate editor of the Times's editorial board.
In This Talking Points
I. Peak Oil
II. Hubbertians vs. Cornucopians
III. Consequences
IV. The Mysterious Saudis
V. What Now?
When President Bush declared in his 2006 State of the Union address that America must cure its “addiction to oil,” he framed his case largely in terms of national security — the need to liberate the country from of its dependence on volatile and in some cases hostile nations for much of its energy. He failed to mention two other good reasons to sober up. Both are at least as pressing as national security.
One is global warming. This is not an issue Mr. Bush cares much about. Yet there is no longer any doubt among mainstream scientists that the earth is warming up, that increasing atmospheric temperatures have already damaged fragile ecosystems and that our only real defense against even graver consequences is to burn less fossil fuel — which means, among other things, using less oil.
The second reason is just as unsettling, and is only starting to get the attention it deserves. The Age of Oil — 100-plus years of astonishing economic growth made possible by cheap, abundant oil — could be ending without our really being aware of it. Oil is a finite commodity. At some point even the vast reservoirs of Saudi Arabia will run dry. But before that happens there will come a day when oil production “peaks,” when demand overtakes supply (and never looks back), resulting in large and possibly catastrophic price increases that could make today's $60-a-barrel oil look like chump change. Unless, of course, we begin to develop substitutes for oil. Or begin to live more abstemiously. Or both. The concept of peak oil has not been widely written about. But people are talking about it now. It deserves a careful look — largely because it is almost certainly correct.
I. Peak Oil
In oil-patch lingo, “peak oil” refers to the point at which a given oil reservoir reaches peak production, after which it yields steadily declining amounts, no matter how many new wells are drilled. As Robert L. Hirsch, an expert on energy issues told Congress last December, the life span of individual oil fields is measured in decades. Peak production typically occurs 10 years or so after discovery, or when the reservoir is about half full. An oil field may have large estimated reserves. But a well-managed field that has reached its peak (as most American fields have) has also reached a point of no return, no matter how much new technology is applied. And what's happening in individual fields will be reflected on a global scale, because world production is by definition the sum of its individual parts.
When will oil peak? At least one maverick geologist says it already has. Others say 10 years from now. A few actually say never. The latest official projections from the Energy Information Administration put the peak at 2037, or 2047 — depending, of course, on how much of the stuff is out there and how fast we intend to use it up. But even that relatively late date does not give us much time to adjust to a world without cheap, abundant oil.
II. Hubbertians vs. Cornucopians
Let's start with the true pessimists, proudly known as Hubbertians after the legendary Shell Oil Company geophysicist, M. King Hubbert. In the 1950's, Mr. Hubbert collected a wealth of historical data on oil discoveries and production, developed some complex mathematical formulas, and produced a bell-shaped curve showing that the rate at which oil could be extracted from wells in the United States would peak around 1970 and then begin to decline. Though perhaps not the most popular guy at Shell headquarters, he turned out to be right. U.S. oil extraction peaked at about 9 million barrels a day in 1970, and is now below 6 million a day. His basic methodology has been used ever since. Various economists and geologists have applied the Hubbert technique to the world oil supply. Among the more readable and entertaining of Mr. Hubbert's disciples is another Shell alumnus, Kenneth S. Deffeyes, who is now a professor emeritus at Princeton. Mr. Deffeyes holds that nature's original oil bequest amounted to about two trillion barrels, of which nearly half has already been consumed. Armed with Mr. Hubbert's bell curve, and incorporating all sorts of up-to-date data, Mr. Deffeyes concludes with playful certainty that the apocalypse is not only upon us but has in fact occurred. “I nominate Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, 2005, as World Oil Peak Day,” he says at the outset of his latest Hubbert-related book, “Beyond Oil: The View From Hubbert's Peak.” “There is a reason for selecting Thanksgiving. We can pause and give thanks for the years from 1901 to 2005 when abundant oil and natural gas fueled enormous changes in our society. At the same time, we have to face up to reality: World oil production is going to decline, at first slowly, and then more rapidly.”
Other prognosticators — Mr. Deffeyes dismisses them as “cornucopians” — paint a much cheerier picture. The most authoritative of these is not one person but 40 — the number of geologists and physicists the U.S. Geological Survey assigned to carry out the most comprehensive study ever conducted of the oil resources outside the United States. The study was done between 1995 and 2000. When combined with the results of an earlier survey of U.S. resources, it suggested that earth's original oil endowment was 3 trillion barrels, not 2 trillion as supposed by Mr. Hubbert and his followers. It also suggested that the remaining inventory was more than twice Mr. Hubbert's — 2. 3 trillion barrels, consisting (in very round figures) of 900 trillion in proven reserves, 700 trillion in “reserve growth” (additional barrels that can be retrieved through advanced technology) and 700 trillion in “undiscovered” reserves, meaning oil the USGS experts think we can find given what we know about geological formations. These figures, admittedly speculative, are undeniably more upbeat than anything the Hubbertians have to offer (Mr. Deffeyes, for instance, puts the “undiscovered reserves” figure at 100 million barrels, max). And, of course, these rosier official calculations yield a much later oil peak — 2037, assuming a steady annual increase of 2 percent in worldwide demand, and maybe later, if another mammoth oilfield kicks in somewhere on earth. No reason yet to abandon the family S.U.V.
. Consequences
Or is there? Think about it: the year 2037 is a mere half-generation away. Despite their differences, neither Mr. Hubbert's disciples nor the optimists showed the least interest in doing a straight-line calculation to figure out when earth will yield its last drop of oil (a calculation easily done, by the way — dividing USGS's 2.3 trillion by today's average annual consumption of 30-plus billion gives us about 80 years until the fat lady sings) . But that's not the important date. The important date is the point at which demand zips past supply. In the past several years, the gap between demand and supply, once considerable, has steadily narrowed, and today is almost in balance. Oil at $60 a barrel oil may be one manifestation. Another is the worried looks on the faces of people who fret about national security. In early 2005, for instance, the National Commission on Energy Policy and another group called Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE) convened a bunch of Washington heavyweights at a symposium called, alarmingly, Oil ShockWave, and asked them to imagine what it would take to drive oil prices into the stratosphere and send shockwaves reverberating through America and the rest of the western world. It wouldn't take much — a terrorist attack on Alaska's Port of Valdez would reduce global oil supply by 900,000 barrels a day; unrest in Nigeria, 600,000 barrels; an attack on Saudi Arabia processing facilities at Haradh, 250,000. Throw in an unseasonable cold snap across the Northern Hemisphere, boosting demand by 800,000 barrels, and before long you're staring at a net shortfall of 3 billion barrels, or about 4 per cent of normal daily supply. This, in turn, is enough to drive oil prices from about $60 to $161 a barrel. The cost of fuel at the pump — indeed, the cost of most petrochemical-based products — rises dramatically. The U.S. economy slides into recession. Millions are thrown out of work. More broadly, the quintessentially American lifestyle — two-car suburban families commuting endlessly to office, school and mall — suddenly becomes unsustainable. But what the peak oil experts are saying is that we don't need terrorists to make this happen. Essentially the same scenario is unfolding now, right before our eyes, without benefit of bombings or cold snaps, simply through the normal laws of supply and demand.
The 2005 International Energy Outlook from the government's Energy Information Administration is instructive on this point. Over the next two decades, global oil consumption is expected increase by more than half, from about 84 million barrels per day now to nearly 119 million barrels by 2025. U.S. consumption alone is expected to jump from 20 million to 30 millions barrels a day, one fourth the world's total. But the thirstiest consumers of all will be the emerging giants of Asia, particularly China, which is expected to quadruple the number of cars on its roads in the next 20 years and whose oil needs are expected to grow by a minimum of 3.5 per cent every year, well above the worldwide norm. Can supply keep pace? Put differently: Can Saudi Arabia bail us out?
IV. The Mysterious Saudis
Conservative projections and simple arithmetic tell us that the world will need at least 35 million more barrels a day in 2025 than it needs now. The Energy Information Administration is cautiously optimistic that those barrels can be found. It foresees steady production increases in the old Soviet Union, Africa and the Caribbean. It hopes that Iraq's oil industry will survive the war and return to its old self. It does not even mention the possibility of blackmail by Iran. And it sees no reason why Saudi Arabia — the elephant in the oil patch, the country whose 260-plus billion barrels in proven reserves is one-quarter of the world's total, twice Iran's and ten times the U.S.'s — shouldn't be able to keep the oil flowing our way. Forecasters at the E.I.A. and elsewhere assume that the Saudis will be able to make a contribution commensurate with the overall 50 percent rise in production the world will need to produce those extra 35 million barrels, jacking up output from 10.5 million barrels a day now to 12.5 in 2009 to 15 million after that. But there are some people who seriously doubt whether Saudi Arabia can turn on the spigot as it's always done before. Matthew Simmons is one of them. Indeed, Mr. Simmons is not sure that Saudi Arabia can do much of anything. Mr. Simmons is a Texas businessman and oil expert who runs a consulting firm in Texas, making good money advising energy companies. Like Mr. Deffeyes, he is seen as a maverick. His other trademark is pessimism — a pessimism nourished, he told Peter Maass of the New York Times Sunday Magazine, by months of poking around in obscure data about Saudi oil fields that left him with deep doubts about Saudi Arabia's ability to deliver the oil the world will ultimately need. His studies of Saudi Arabia's huge Ghawar field, which has produced an astonishing 55 billion barrels in the last half-century, left him particularly wide-eyed. “Twilight at Ghawar is fast approaching, ” he says in a new book, “Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy.” “Saudi Arabia clearly seems to be nearing or at its peak output.” Or as he told Mr. Maass: “The odds of the Saudis sustaining [even] 12.5 million barrels a day is very low. The odds of them getting to 15 million for 50 years — there's a better chance of me having Bill Gates's net worth.” Publicly, Saudi officials and many American experts scoff at Mr. Simmons the way official Washington scoffs at Mr. Deffeyes. Other industry consultants, including the much-admired author Daniel Yergin, believe that Mr. Simmons and Mr. Deffeyes and “peakists” in general are being much too gloomy. ” This is not the first time the world has run out of oil,” Mr. Yergin wrote last year. “It's more like the fifth. Cycles of shortage and surplus characterize the entire history of the oil industry.” Privately, however, a few well-placed Saudis share Simmons's doubts, and for one obvious reason: Hitting the Energy Information Administration's targets will require the Saudis to extract increasing amounts of oil from fields that may already be past their prime.
V. What Now?
There are many economists who believe that a nasty oil-price shock might not be such a bad thing, just as a big fat increase in gas taxes might not be such a bad thing. Sharply higher price increases might force us to conserve in ways we never have before, and lead also to a public outcry for fuel-efficient cars that neither Detroit nor the Japanese have been willing to build on a large scale. Higher prices for conventional oil could also make other sources of energy more attractive, including unconventional forms of oil. These include the heavy oil lodged in the Canadian tar sands, where there are thought to be many billions of barrels and where companies like Exxon are poking around. There are also the billions of barrels of unconventional oil trapped in shale formations out West. In the 1970's, during Jimmy Carter's synthetic fuels craze, a lot of people lost their shirts on shale oil, which needs to be heated and basically boiled out of the rock. Getting at tar and shale oil require heavy, energy-intensive mining operations. And despite the serious bets being placed on the tar sands, unconventional oil won't be available in large enough quantities to make a real difference until well down the road. The same can be said of the hydrogen energy President Bush has been touting ever since he came to office; the National Academy of Sciences says we won't see affordable hydrogen-powered cars in meaningful numbers for 30 years, if that. This does not mean that we shouldn't keep trying — future generations will not forgive us if we don't. What it does mean is that we need to look quickly for near and medium-term solutions that can help us cushion the shock when we hit the peak, assuming we haven't hit it already. There is no shortage of ideas about what to do to reduce the demand for oil. In the last two years, there have been three major reports remarkable for their clarity and for their convergence on near-term strategies — from the Energy Future Coalition, consisting of officials from the Clinton and first Bush administrations; from the Rocky Mountain Institute in Aspen, which concerns itself with energy efficiency; and from the above-mentioned National Commission on Energy Policy, a collection of experts from academia, business and labor. All three groups call for much stronger fuel economy standards, beginning very soon. All three call for major tax subsidies and loan guarantees to help the carmakers develop and market these more efficient cars on a massive scale without going bankrupt. And all three call for an aggressive program to develop gasoline substitutes from starch and sugars, known loosely as cellulosic fuels. These strategies would not only help reduce oil dependency but, in the bargain, greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 40 percent of which come from vehicles. They would not threaten economic growth, especially if Washington stood ready to ease Detroit's transition from the S.U.V.'s and light trucks they depend on for their profits (such as they are) to a new generation of cars and trucks. And they are not pie-in-the sky. Off-the-shelf technology can boost our average fuel economy from 26 to 45 miles an hour in a decade. Brazil already has its cars running on cellulosic fuels. What these groups are talking about — and what distinguishes them from the administration's rather more passive approach — is not more research but getting good ideas into commercial production in a hurry. This is going to take serious investment. It will also take real leadership, which may be the biggest missing ingredient of all.
A couple of years ago, David Goodstein, vice provost of the California Institute of Technology, published a slim, intelligent, and spry little book called “Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil.” A Hubbertian at heart, he nevertheless thinks we have time to avoid the worst, but only if we stop deluding ourselves. He also knows, though, that human nature does not easily leap to a challenge that seems always to be receding, and for that reason he does not think that we will really act until the wave crashes down upon us. “Our present national and international leadership is reluctant even to acknowledge that there is a problem,” he writes. “The crisis will occur, and it will be painful. The best we can realistically hope for is that when it happens, it will serve as a wakeup call, and will not so badly undermine our strength that we are unable to take the giant steps that are needed.”
Lela Moore contributed research for this article. read more

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LLoyds List: Talisman

Mar 01, 2006
LLOYD'S List has been asked to point out with reference to the article 'Talisman buys Shell stake in Auk and Fulmar platforms' (Tuesday, February 21, 2006) that though its UK subsidiary has entered into exclusive negotiations for these assets, Talisman Energy has not yet acquired these interests and that any agreement will be subject to co-venturer and UK government approval.

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Financial Times: Call for clearer human rights standards in business

By Alison Maitland in London
Published: March 1 2006 02:00 | Last updated: March 1 2006 02:00
The furore over US internet companies' compliance with censorship laws in China is a good example of why the corporate world must have clearer human rights standards, says John Ruggie, the UN secretary-general's special representative on human rights and business.
In an interview to coincide with this week's publication of his interim report on corporate human rights responsibilities, Professor Ruggie said Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Cisco had been “caught flat-footed” over censorship because they had not thought about the standards that should govern their operations in China.
“It's going to be difficult, but we do need clearer standards and better tools,” said Prof Ruggie of Harvard University, whose final report will be submitted to the United Nations next year.
In his interim report, Prof Ruggie says existing voluntary initiatives contain weaknesses because they tend not to cover determined laggards – the companies that cause the biggest problems – and leave many areas of human rights poorly protected or uncovered.
However, he also risks angering human rights activists by denouncing the “exaggerated legal claims and conceptual ambiguities” of what are called the UN norms on human rights and business. The draft rules, put forward by a UN sub-commission in 2003, led to bitter wrangling between business groups that opposed them and activists who supported them.
“What the norms have done is to take existing state-based human rights instruments and simply assert that many of their provisions now are binding on corporations as well,” he writes. “But that assertion itself has little authoritative basis in international law.”
Prof Ruggie, appointed by UN secretary-general Kofi Annan last year to end the stalemate over the norms, said the question of whether rules should be voluntary or obligatory could be answered only when appropriate standards had been agreed.
While there could be common standards for procedures such as corporate disclosure of human rights policies and practices, he suggested “substantive standards” would vary between sectors. “A set of guiding principles [for the extractive industry] isn't likely to have direct applicability in the IT sector,” he said.
In his report, he says the oil, gas and mining sector “utterly dominates” 65 alleged cases of corporate human rights abuses recently reported by activists. The food and drinks industry comes “a distant second”, followed by clothing and footwear.
Sir Geoffrey Chandler, the former Shell director and ex- chair of Amnesty International UK business group, welcomed the report, saying: “Never have companies faced greater need to persuade the public that they are motivated by principle as well as profit.” read more

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Financial Times: JUDGES SAY JOINT VENTURES CAN SET PRICES

By Patti Waldmeir in Washington
Published: March 1 2006 02:00 | Last updated: March 1 2006 02:00
The US Supreme Court yesterday reaffirmed the right of joint ventures to set prices without violating US price-fixing laws, overturning a ruling vigorously criticised by US businesses and the Bush administration.
The case was one of several being watched by US businesses, in a court term heavy with business cases. “As a single entity, a joint venture, like any other firm, must have the discretion to determine the prices of products that it sells,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for a unanimous court.
The ruling threw out a lawsuit that accused Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron of using a pair of joint ventures to increase the price of petrol to service station owners. A federal appeals court in San Francisco had let the lawsuit go forward. Many businesses had lobbied the Supreme Court to shield joint ventures from price-fixing claims. read more

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