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Stuff (New Zealand): Royal Dutch/Shell looking for third Russia project

14 March 2006
MOSCOW: Oil major Royal Dutch/Shell wants to expand its Russian operations and add a third big project, despite a huge cost overrun at its Sakhalin Energy venture, the firm's Russia chairman Chris Finlayson said.
“I'm looking for a substantive increase in the size of the business, both in Sakhalin and in west Siberia and potentially a third platform,” Finlayson said in an interview.
“I think it will be a platform which is based on remote areas, strong technology input, probably Arctic, but a range of different options.” Shell is still smarting from ballooning costs at Sakhalin, a huge liquefied natural gas project off Russia's Pacific coast.
It doubled the Sakhalin cost estimate from $US10 billion ($NZ15.67 billion) to $US20 billion last July, dismaying shareholders and angering the Russian government, which says it will now have to wait much longer before it sees any share of the profit.
Shell has sent “truckloads” of documents to the Russian agency investigating the cost overrun, which Finlayson said was caused by booming prices for inputs such as steel, the strength of the rouble and the project's complexity.
Another extra will be $US300 million to re-route pipelines to avoid harming rare grey whales, a decision taken last year.
But Finlayson said revised calculations carried out by top Russian experts showed Sakhalin remained a very good deal for Russia even at a conservative oil price, and he expected the cost negotiations to end during the third quarter of the year.
The cost hike also jeopardised Shell's plan to swap 25 per cent of Sakhalin – out of its total 55 per cent holding – for a half share of the massive deep deposits of Zapolyarnoye gas field, owned by Russian gas giant Gazprom.
Finlayson did not put a figure on Zapo's gas and condensate reserves, which Shell wants to market in Europe, but indicated there was more in its deposits than Shell has in Sakhalin.
“We are not going to be doing deals which reduce our reserves,” he said.
With the value of Sakhalin Energy slashed by the cost overrun, Shell and Gazprom will spend months haggling over the two sides of the swap. Finlayson said the firms' confidential memorandum of understanding included a way of adjusting the value of the swap in case there was a difference in value.
One adjustment will be for Shell's minority partners in Sakhalin Energy, Japan's Mitsui and Mitsubishi, to give up some of their equity in the project, in which they hold 25 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.
“I think it's an excellent illustration of the strong alignment of the current shareholders in wanting to have Gazprom in this project,” said Finlayson.
It is not clear what the Japanese firms will get in return.
Despite the cost overrun and a delayed first delivery date, Sakhalin Energy has sold virtually all its production capacity and is looking to expand. Its infrastructure would allow four LNG production trains instead of the current two.
“Whilst clearly the company must focus on delivering the first two trains of this massive project, you don't sit and wait until that's completely finished before you start thinking about more than that,” Finlayson said.
Aside from Sakhalin, Shell is also looking for oil production opportunities, possibly expanding its west Siberian oil production joint venture, Salym Petroleum Development.
“We certainly have an aspiration to grow that position in west Siberia. Our preferred route is. . . new field development rather than the purchase of mature assets. So we're on the look-out for more.” Salym, which is set to be producing around 165,000 barrels of oil per day by the end of the decade, is jointly owned by London-listed Sibir Energy, but Finlayson said Shell had no plans to buy out its joint venture partner.
Much of Russia's oil production growth in the last 15 years has come from using technology to eke more out of existing fields, but Finlayson said that trend would soon have to end.
“There are lots of undeveloped resources in Russia and the time is rapidly coming when attention will have to be paid to changing that exploration acreage into new development.
“That's where we're focusing at the moment,” he said.
Shell was looking at the “whole periphery”, including new areas of west Siberia, the undeveloped but remote fields of east Siberia and the Arctic, where changes in the sea ice were making the coast much more accessible and a likely home for another LNG terminal in the future, he said.
“We are keen on growing new positions over the short to medium term and starting to develop a third major platform in Russia. There are a number of things being looked at,” he said.
“We are strong in LNG and LNG would be a good place, but we also have to see what else is possible.” 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: Royal Dutch Shell Response to Dr John Huong in Defamation lawsuit: Shell claims it has a good reputation?

The docoment below is the legal response by a group of EIGHT Royal Dutch Shell companies to the Defence filed by Dr John Huong, the famed Shell whistleblower and former Shell employee/geologist for almost 30 years. Shell's reply has been filed with the High Court of Malaya and consequently is in the public domain.
As can be seen, Shell lawyers are continuing to make an international laughing stock out of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. Shell is fighting a losing battle against the power of the Internet as a low cost tool for promoting freedom of expression. It gives the weak and oppressed a powerful global platform against the rich and powerful of this world, including greedy, evil and dishonest multinationals e.g. the scandal ridden Royal Dutch Shell Group whose reputation is actually on a par with ENRON.
The articles which were the subject of the original Shell lawsuit in June 2004 have had vastly more attention focused on them because Shell foolishly decided to sue. Furthermore, the articles and extracts from them are now on countless websites in several countries, even including Shell's own global website and on an award winning website associated with freedom of expression on the Internet, actually located within the Malaysian jurisdiction.
Next week, ShellNews.net will publish a response to this document which will deal with the points made by Shell. Dr Huong will have no involvement in what we have to say. We will pull no punches.
IN THE HIGH COURT OF MALAYA AT KUALA LUMPUR
(CIVIL DIVISION) SUIT NO. S2-23-41-2004
BETWEEN
1. SARAWAK SHELL BHD (719784V)
2. SHELL MALAYSIA TRADING SENDIRIAN BERHAD (6078-M)
3. SHELL REFINING COMPANY (FEDERATION OF MALAYA) BHD (3926-U)
4. SHELL TIMURSDN BHD (113304-H)
5. SHELL EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION MALAYSIA B.V. (993963-V)
6. SHELL OIL AND GAS (MALAYSIA) LLC (993830-X)
7. SHELL SAB AH SELATAN SDN BHD (228504-T)
8. SABAH SHELL PETROLEUM COMPANY LTD (993229-W) PLAINTIFFS
AND
HUONG YIU TUONG DEFENDANT

REPLY
The Plaintiffs file this Reply without prejudice to their rights to apply to strike out the Defence or parts of it on the grounds that they are scandalous, frivolous, vexatious or otherwise an abuse of the process of the court or under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
1. Except for what is expressly admitted, the Plaintiffs join issue with the Defendant on his Defence.
2. The Plaintiffs make no admission on the matters raised in paragraph 6 of the Defence.
3. Paragraphs 10, 12 and 14 of the Defence are denied.
4. As regards paragraph 15 of the Defence, the Plaintiffs aver and will contend as follows:
4.1. The Defendant was dismissed from his employment with the 1″ Plaintiffs for misconduct after a domestic Inquiry. Paragraph 11 of the Statement of Claim is repeated.
4.2. The decision of the Domestic Inquiry has not been set aside and/or varied and remains in full force.
4.3. Regardless of the outcome of the Defendant's application before the Industrial Court in matter no. 8/4-1377/04, such outcome will not constitute a justification of the defamatory statements made by the Defendant of the Plaintiffs and referred to in the Statement of Claim.
Except for the above, paragraph 15 of the Defence is denied.
5. As regards paragraph 16 of the Defence, the Plaintiffs aver and will contend as follows without prejudice to their rights to apply to strike out the entire paragraph and/or parts of it on the grounds that they are scandalous, frivolous, vexatious or otherwise an abuse of the process of the court or under the inherent jurisdiction of the court:
5.1. The allegations of misconduct and impropriety made in paragraphs 16.1 to 16.14 are denied.
5.2. The allegations made in paragraphs 16,1 to 16.14, even if true, which is denied, do not constitute justification, as alleged or at all, of the defamatory imputations alleged in paragraph 14 of the Statement of Claim.
Except for the above, paragraph 16 of the Defence is denied.
6. As regards paragraph 18 of the Defence, the Plaintiffs aver and will contend as follows:
6.1. Paragraph 18.1 is denied. The Plaintiffs aver and will contend that the Defendant published his email/letter of 14.5.04 was published to the world at large in the ‘Whistleblower No 2' website and/or the www.shell2004.com website.
6.2. Paragraph 18.2 is denied. Paragraph 6.1 of this Reply is repeated.
6.3. Paragraph 18.3 is denied. Paragraph 6.1 of this Reply is repeated.
6.4. Paragraph 18.4 is denied.
6.5. Paragraph 18.5 is denied.
Except for the above, paragraph 18 of the Defence is denied.
7. As regards paragraph 21 of the Defence, the Plaintiffs aver and will contend as follows;
7.1. Paragraph 21.1 is denied.
7.2. Paragraph 21.2 is not admitted.
7.3. The physical location of the computer server, which is not admitted, is irrelevant to the jurisdiction of the High Court of Malaya. Paragraph 21.3 is therefore denied.
7.4. The Plaintiffs aver and will contend that the publication on the 'Whistleblower No 2’ website and/or the www.sheII2004.com website was by the Defendant.
7.5. Further or in the alternative, the publication on the 'Whistleblower No2’ website and/or the www.shell2004.com website constituted republication by the Defendant through third parties, whether Alfred Ernest Donovan and/or John Alfred Donovan or otherwise, with his authority and/or knowledge and/or intention that it would be republished.
7.6. Paragraphs 21.3 to 21.9 are therefore denied.
Except for the above, paragraph 21 of the Defence is denied.
8. Paragraph 22 of the Defence is denied.
9. As regards paragraph 23 of the Defence, the Plaintiffs aver and will contend as follows without prejudice to their rights to apply to strike out the entire paragraph and/or parts of it on the grounds that they are scandalous, frivolous, vexatious or otherwise an abuse of the process of the court or under the inherent jurisdiction of the court:
9.1. Paragraph 23.1 is denied. The Plaintiffs repeat paragraph 5 of this Reply.
9.2. Paragraphs 23.2 to 23.28 are not allegations against the Plaintiffs and as such, are totally irrelevant as a defence to the Plaintiffs' claim. In any event the Plaintiffs deny that the allegations made in them, which are denied, are capable of constituting the defence of justification as alleged or at all.
Except for the above, paragraph 23 of the Defence is denied.
10. As regards paragraph 24 of the Defence, the Plaintiffs aver and will contend as follows:
10.1. The plaintiffs in this action are the Plaintiffs, not the 'Shell Group'. The allegations made against the 'Shell Group' in paragraph 24 of the Defence, which are denied, cannot therefore constitute fair comment in relation to the allegations complained of in the Statement of Claim as alleged or at all.
10.2. The allegations made by the Defendant as complained of are statements of fact, not comment. The defence of fair comment is therefore inapplicable.
Except for the above, paragraph 24 of the Defence is denied.
11. Insofar as the Defendant relies on the defence of fair comment the Plaintiffs aver and will contend that even if the Defendant is otherwise entitled to rely on it, which is denied, that right is vitiated by express malice:
PARTICULARS OF EXPRESS MALICE
Subject to the Plaintiffs' rights to discovery and interrogatories, and without prejudice to the Plaintiffs' rights to rely on answers given in cross-examination, the best particulars that the Plaintiffs can render at present are as follows:
11.1. The denial in paragraph 4 of the Defence that the Plaintiffs have a good reputation and are of good standing.
11.2. The irrelevant allegations in the Defence which are scandalous, frivolous, vexatious or otherwise an abuse of the process of the court or under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
11.3.. The denial in paragraphs 25 and 27 of the Defence that the Plaintiffs have suffered loss and damage by reason of the defamatory publications by the Defendant.
11.4. The continued publication of matters defamatory of the Plaintiffs notwithstanding the injunction obtained by the Plaintiffs against the Defendant on 23.6.04 in respect of substantially similar defamatory allegations which remains in force.
11.5. The plea of justification in paragraphs 15 and 23 of the Defence.
11.6. The refusal of the Defendant, even now, to retract and/or apologise or in other any way make amends for his defamatory publications and/ or to confirm that he will not publish them again.
11.7. The fact that the Defendant only commenced publishing statements defamatory of the Plaintiffs after he was dismissed by the 1st Plaintiffs.
11.8. The publication and/or the procurement of publication of the Defendant's Defence at the www.shell2004.com website which included, inter alia, the following commentary which is further defamatory of the Plaintiffs:
“Dr Huong, a former Shell geologist of almost 30 years standing was the FIRST SHELL employee to blow the whistle on the Shell reserves fraud (and other important issues relating to the discredited senior management of Royal Dutch Shell). As a result Shell appears determined to silence him at all costs. Hence the unprecedented highly distasteful spectacle of EIGHT giant Shell companies collectively bringing a defamation action against one human being – an unemployed Malaysian who has no prospect whatsoever of finding alternative employment in his profession while the litigation cloud hangs over the heads of himself and his family.
Dr Huong has now filed a Defence which contains a staggering array of allegations, facts and evidence directed against Royal Dutch Shell Group. It represents an unprecedented indictment of Shell by a former Shell insider.
Dr Huong made the mistake of believing in Shell's STATEMENT OF GENERAL BUSINESS PRINCIPLES and in particular the pledges of “honesty, integrity, respect for people” in all of Shell's dealings and Shell's philosophy in the new ways of working, including the promotion of trust, openness, teamwork, professionalism and pride in what Shell does. He did not realise that the pledges were purely hype and spin meant for use in global PR campaigns such as “Profits and Principles' le. for the consumption of gullible consumers and stakeholders.
We now know as a result of the reserves fraud that the slogan should have been “Profits and NO Principles”.
[Our emphasis]
11.9. The Defendant's publication and/or the procurement of publication of the following letter to Jyoti Munsiff at the 'Tell Shell' website http://www.tellshell.net/blog/ShellNewsNet/_archives/2006/2/2/1740207.html on the following terms;
“Congratulations on your appointment as Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer for Royal Dutch Shell Plc.
As you know I am being sued by eight companies of the Royal Dutch Shell Group for alleged defamation. The relevant Shell companies have obtained a restraining order which prevents me for speaking the TRUTH in line with the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights. My rights to freedom of expression have in fact been restrained for over 18 months. I had thought that Shell supported this UN Declaration, but it seems that this assumption must be incorrect. I would welcome your clarification on has point as I am sure that my analysis must be at fault?
I am also perplexed by the fact that Shell apparently allows Mr. Alfred Donovan to publish negative commentary about Shell on his website unhindered while I have been sued for articles posted by him on his website under my name? Mr. Donovan has also published an extract from a legal submission purportedly made by Shell International to the World Intellectual Property Organisation in which Shell stated that it supports the right of Mr. Alfred Donovan to criticise Shell on his website. I have also read the November 2005 email to Alfred Donovan from Shell International General Counsel Mr. Richard Wiseman in which Mr Wiseman confirms how tolerant Shell is of Mr. Donovan's postings on his website. I trust that you can appreciate why I am so puzzled at the apparent disparity in treatment. I am sure there must be a logical explanation?
It therefore seems appropriate to ask you in your new capacity whether the relevant postings by Mr. Donovan i.e. the claimed extract from Shell's submission to the WIPO and the November 2005 email from Mr. Wiseman are genuine? Surely they must be false??? Why would Shell encourage Mr. Donovan to indulge in his rights to freedom of expression while simultaneously adopting a totally different approach towards me? Something really must be seriously amiss. The answers to my questions are important if – as I assume must be the case – you genuinely want to encourage whistleblowers to speak out if they become aware of misdeeds which are in contravention of the Shell Statement of General Business Principles (SGBP).
It is surely essential in this regard that an even-handed approach is adopted in such matters so that would be whistleblowers and parties with genuine grievances are not deterred by the prospect that they could be ostracized, victimized, sacked and/or sued if they do come forward. In regards to this paragraph I am speaking of course in general terms, not about my case, as that would be inappropriate under the current ongoing litigation.
This letter also seeks confirmation from you for me to make significant inputs for improving ethics and compliance at Shell. I sincerely believe that for obvious reasons I have a unique perspective on the question of Shell employees engaging professionally in whistle blowing when faced with ethical, moral and/or legal dilemmas.

I also believe that it is fair to make readers of this communication aware that apart from the High Court Restraining Order I am also constrained in my comments by a threat of imprisonment.

I am sure that the eight Royal Dutch Shell companies who collectively decided to sue me believe that their action is an appropriate and proportionate response to the alleged defamatory comments by one former Malaysian employee of 29 years.
Thank you
Sincerely,
Dr. John Huong
Note: This letter will also be copied to Mr. Alfred Donovan because his name was also mentioned”.

[Our emphasis]
11.10. The Defendant's publication and/or the procurement of publication of an 'affidavit' in his name on the Tell Shell website http://www.tellshell.net/blog/_archives/2006/2/7/1749132.html on the following terms.
I believe that Shell management treated me this way in the expectation that I would either resign or adopt a servile attitude, including turning a blind eye to management violations of the Shell Statement of General Business Principles. I believe that this was the fundamental reason why Shell management was hostile towards me. I was even told by two well engineers that their team leader had instructed that I was “not to walk along his corridor”. Such unprofessional childish nonsense was totally out of order because my operational geological work required me to discuss matters face-to-face with his engineers. It was also humiliating in the extreme that the Team Leader conveyed his instructions via individuals I had to work with. That was insulting to me and highly embarrassing for staff involved.
Such shabby and inhumane treatment was inflicted on me after I had consistently promoted and protected Shell's best interests during my work. My adherence to the ethical codes enshrined in the Statement of General Business Principles; the Health, Safety and Environmental policy guidelines: and the Human Resource Policy and Procedures Manual were not appreciated. Instead I was abused and crucified by Shell's management and its officials.
I believe such actions were in violation of all ethical norms and constituted serious breaches of my Human Rights under the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights – rights which Shell purports to support.

The current defamation law suit against me by EIGHT Royal Dutch Shell companies also constitutes a breach of my rights to freedom of expression and freedom of conscience accorded to me and fellow human beings under the aforementioned United Nations Declaration.

The fact that it was deemed necessary for EIGHT Shell companies to collectively sue one unemployed Malaysian seems to be a classic case of overkill. It would have already been an uneven struggle even if only one such company had directed its wrath (and retribution) against me.
There are also lawsuits in progress in Malaysia against Shell which have been brought by its former employees. One High Court case involves a group of 399 former Shell employees known as “Team A”. Their action relates to deductions made by Shell to their Employee Providence Fund. A Judge has already ruled that the deductions were “unlawful”. Shell has appealed that decision apparently in an attempt to exploit a legal loophole relating to time limits. This appears to be a ploy by Shell to evade its moral responsibilities to its former employees. News reports related to this distressing case are published on the Donovan website.
Current employees and employees who had resigned after 1997 were persuaded by the company to opt for a Defined Contributory Scheme (DCS). The relevant employees wrongly thought that Shell management was acting in their best interests. It turned out however to be a detrimental move for the relevant employees and a financially beneficial manoeuvre for Shell. Eventually the company paid an ex-gratia payment plus adjustments for the DCS holders in early 2004 provided they were willing to sign off a letter of undertaking not to pursue legal action against the company in future.
In a related question and answer leaflet, published by Shell employees such as me, who have been dismissed, would not be entitled to receive any such ex-gratia payments, nor the adjustment paid to other employees. Therefore, the representation by Sarawak Shell Berhad to me of the alleged benefits in the Defined Contributory Scheme and my subsequent dismissal under the most extraordinary circumstances has caused me to be prejudiced and to suffer financial loss and financial insecurity.
I too have been severely penalised by what I consider to be completely improper decisions made in respect of Shell employee pension funds. The Malaysian people are by nature (in my humble assessment) fairly docile, dedicated and basically decent human beings. The fact that several hundred hard-working and loyal Shell employees felt compelled to institute legal proceedings against their former employer speaks absolute volumes. I am truly appalled by the Royal Dutch Shell Croups' unscrupulous heartless treatment of the sick, elderly and dying, as reported by the Malaysian news media. I believe that such conduct is indeed evil and in line with Shell's management actions in other Countries e.g. Nigeria, Africa, South America, Nicaragua, Caribbean, USA, Canada, Russia, Vietnam, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, County Mayo in Ireland, etc”'

[Our emphasis]
The Plaintiffs will rely in particular on the fact that the Defendant had not obtained leave of Court in this action to file any 'affidavit’ nor was there any pending proceedings in this action that warranted the preparation of an 'affidavit’ on the above terms or at all as further evidence of malice.
11.11. The Defendant's publication and/or the procurement of publication of the following letter to Human Rights Watch at the 'Tell Shell' website confirming the truth of the contents the 'affidavit' referred to in paragraph 11.9 of this Reply on the following terms:
“This email is in connection with the communication which I believe you have received earlier today from Mr. Alfred Donovan from Shellnews.net.
I want to put on record 0K facts that I have not authorized publication of the Draft Affidavit and/or the Communication sent to Human Rights Watch.
The publication is entirely a matter for the Donovans.
I had not sanctioned the Draft Affidavit published on the Donovan website.
Having said that, I do not take issue with anything stated in the Draft Affidavit, bearing in mind that I am under threat of imprisonment and it would not be prudent for me to comment further on this matter other than to state in general terms that I support freedom of expression.
Sincerely,
Dr. John Huong
Copied:
Mr. Alfred Donovan
END OF DR HUONG LETTER TO HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH COMMENT ADDED BY ALFRED DONOVAN
I note that Dr Huong has not taken issue with the accuracy of the content of his draft Affidavit. This is unsurprising since he was the author (but not the publisher).”

{Our emphasis]
The Plaintiffs rely on the allegations referred to above in paragraphs 11.7 to 11.10 of this Reply as evidence of express malice without prejudice to their rights to commence separate proceedings in respect of each of them for libel.
The Plaintiffs aver and will contend that in the circumstances, the Defendant published the defamatory statements complained of maliciously, knowing that they were false or recklessly not caring whether they were true or false out of spite or ill-will towards the Plaintiffs thereby vitiating the defence of fair comment.
12. The Plaintiffs repeat the particulars of 11 of this Reply as further particulars in support of their claim for aggravated damages.
MESSRS T H LIEW & PARTNERS SOLICITORS FOR THE PLAINTIFFS
Dated this 22nd day of February, 2006.
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.

Reuters: Shell hopes to get $7 bln loans for Sakhalin-2

Monday 13 March 2006, 4:53am EST
MOSCOW, March 13 (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell said on Monday it expected international financial organisations to disburse up to $7 billion in loans to help it finance its huge $20-billion oil and gas project off Russia's Sakhalin island.
The banks involved in talks are the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Japan's JBIC, U.S. Eximbank and United Kingdom Export Credit Guarantee Department, Shell's exploration and production chief Malcolm Brinded told a conference in Moscow. “(Those four) are expected together to provide one third of finance at $6-$7 billion … It would be the largest international financing in any sector,” he 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.

Angola Press: No negotiations taking place for hostages` release – Militants

Lagos, Nigeria, 03/13 – Nigerian militants holding three foreign oil workers said on Sunday there had been no negotiations for the release of the abducted workers, despite government`s claims that discussions of their release was underway. “The hostages are going nowhere. There have been no meetings so far between the government and our appointed intermediary,” militants of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) told PANA in an e-mail Sunday. “The Nigerian government is not interested in a lasting solution to the Niger Delta problem, preferring instead to pay out bribes in exchange for a suspension of our campaign against the oil industry,” MEND said. The militants added: “We have rejected several such offers of bribery channelled through a few individuals known to us, preferring rather a negotiated solution to the control of the resources of the Niger Delta by its indigene.” They said, however, that the hostages would not be harmed “for as long as the Nigerian government understands that they endanger the lives of these hostages in carrying out attacks such as the last blunder by the Nigerian military in Okerenkoko a few days back.” Shortly after the abduction, the Nigerian government set up a panel, headed by Delta state governor James Ibori, to negotiate for the hostages` release. MEND, which is campaigning for more control of the oil-producing region`s resources, kidnapped nine foreign oil workers on 18 February but released six of them in early March, holding on to two from the US and one from Britain. The militants have said the abducted workers would only be released if the government agrees to release two leaders of the dominant Ijaw ethnic group and Shell pays US$1.5 billion in compensation for environmental pollution. But in an indication they were willing to negotiate, the militants last week announced the appointment of former oil-rich Bayelsa state spokesman, Oronto Douglas, as their official negotiator. There has been no public response from the government to the appointment. MEND`s campaign, which started late last year, has led to a 20 percent slash in Nigeria`s daily oil production of 2.5 million barrels and forced Shell, Nigeria`s largest oil production company, to evacuate hundreds of staff members from the affected areas.
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.

RIA Novosti – Moscow Russia: Sakhalin energy project link to bird deaths rejected

13/ 03/ 2006
YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, March 13 (RIA Novosti, Pyotr Tsyrendorzhiev) – Recent mass bird deaths on the Russian-Japanese maritime border have not been linked to any suspected industrial accidents on the Russian Far East island of Sakhalin, a local official said Monday.
“An influx of dead birds from the Sakhalin coast to the northern coast of Hokkaido [a Japanese island] must be completely ruled out,” the official said, referring to the regional bureau of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Japanese experts suggested earlier that the dead birds had been brought by ice floes from the Okhotsk Sea. However, Russian experts said such a scenario would only have been possible if northern winds had dominated this winter, a rare phenomenon that was not recorded this year.
The official cited the bureau's leading researcher, Vasily Khramushin, as saying that environmental monitoring conducted this winter had not shown any traces of an industrial accident on the Sakhalin shelf, a production area for major oil projects in the Okhotsk Sea. “On the other hand, researchers have found traces of toxins that passed from the Amur River even into Aniva Bay, on the southern coast of Sakhalin Island,” he said.
About 100 tons of chemicals, including potentially lethal benzene, were released into China's Songhua River, a tributary of the Amur, by a major explosion at a chemical plant in northeast China on November 13, 2005.
“The only possible scenario is that the contamination originated near the western coast of Hokkaido, and the dead birds were brought to the area between Hokkaido and Kunashir [a Russian island bordering Hokkaido on the south] by the Soya [Warm] Current,” the official 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.

Daily Independent (Nigeria): Why We Sent Relief Materials To Ogoni Community, By Shell

By Odudu Okpongete
Senior Correspondent
Port Harcourt
Royal Dutch oil giant, Shell, says the food items and the N5 million cash donated early this month to K-Dere, an Ogoni community, were relief materials in respect of an oil spill that occurred in the area. The company made the clarification following allegations by the National Youth Council of Ogoni People (NYCOP) that the items were donated to undermine resistance and sway local resolve ahead of negotiations to enable resumption of oil exploration in the area.
Describing the NYCOP statement as untrue, Shell said the relief materials were sent through the Rivers State Ministry of Environment to the affected community, following an earlier agreement reached between the company and the ministry.
“The company handed over relief materials to the Rivers State Ministry of Environment for onward delivery to K-Dere community in respect of an oil spill, which occurred when unknown persons tampered with a wellhead in the area.
“Officials of the Ministry had brokered discussions between Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and the community at which it was agreed that SPDC should supply the relief materials to the affected people,” the company said last week, adding that the materials were given purely on humanitarian grounds.
The firm said it was wrong for elements in Ogoni to turn round and accuse it of bringing Greek gifts to the community after the matter was reported to the House of Assembly that the company refused to donate relief materials. 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.
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