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March 17th, 2006: Freedom of Expression and Human Rights in Malaysia

By Alfred Donovan
17 March 2006

Issues regarding freedom of expression in Malaysia have become relevant to the case of Shell whistleblower Dr John Huong and the draconian defamation action brought against him by EIGHT Royal Dutch Shell Group companies. The situation has reached boiling point and we will shortly publish an article revealing the latest news.

The article below give some idea of the current internal climate in Malaysia regarding freedom of expression.

24 February 2006

NST show-cause letter: Eroding press freedom? read more

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

The Scotsman: Shell oil platform to stay shut-in for 3 wks-source

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil production is expected to remain shut in for three weeks at a North Sea oil platform evacuated on Thursday due to a fire, an industry source said on Friday.
Oil workers late Thursday returned to the Tern Alpha platform, operated by Royal Dutch Shell , and began work to resume production of 25,200 barrels per day of crude.
“It will take three weeks to resume production,” the source, familiar with the situation, told Reuters.
A Shell spokeswoman said production would remain shut-in for the time being due to scheduled maintenance work. She declined to say how long the shutdown would last.
About 130 workers on the platform, 265 miles (425 km) off northeast Scotland, were evacuated on Thursday after a fire in a generator.
This article:
Last updated: 17-Mar-06 17:06 GMT read more

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Irish Examiner: Man loses bid to take Corrib terminal challenge to Supreme Court

By Vivion Kilfeather
A MAN has lost a bid to have either the Supreme Court or the European Court of Justice decide legal issues arising from his unsuccessful bid to bring a legal challenge to the granting of planning permission for a gas terminal in connection with the Corrib gas field.
Ms Justice Fidelma Macken yesterday decided there were no points of law of exceptional public importance requiring determination in the public interest arising from her July 2005 decision refusing to permit Martin Harrington bring a judicial review challenge to An Bord Pleanála’s granting of permission to Shell for the gas terminal.
She refused an application by Mr Harrington to have a number of matters referred for determination by either the Supreme Court or European Court of Justice.
Mr Harrington, of Geesala, Ballina, Co Mayo, lives 20 miles from the proposed terminal.
In her July 2005 judgment, Ms Justice Macken found Mr Harrington had not established any substantial grounds for the bringing of judicial review proceedings and she refused leave to bring proceedings against An Bord Pleanála and the State, with Shell E and P Ltd and Mayo Co Council named as notice parties.
Mr Harrington had argued the Board had failed, prior to granting permission, to ensure it had all the information it was required to have in accordance with a 1996 EC Directive relating to the control of major accident hazards involving dangerous substances.
However, the judge found this claim did not constitute “substantial grounds” justifying the granting of leave to bring the action.
In her decision yesterday, Ms Justice Macken said some of the arguments advanced indicated an incorrect interpretation of aspects of her judgment last year.
These included Mr Harrington not showing any substantial grounds to support his claim that her judgment of 2005 included definitive rulings on aspects of the 1996 Directive.
In those circumstances, no issues arose which required a referral to the European Court of Justice. read more

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.


Is nothing sacred? One of the more radical ideas to tickle investors' fancy lately is the notion that the big Western oil firms should break themselves up. In an industry where scale brings benefits, the notion smacks of sacrilege. In fact, it makes good sense.
Simply put, the oil majors are too big. Most combine upstream and downstream operations that have little good reason to belong together — except for history. Exxon Mobil's $370 billion market capitalization makes it the largest firm in the U.S. BP accounts for almost 10% of the FTSE 100 alone. Few oil executives believe that there are any real industrial and financial benefits from keeping their high-growth exploration activities together with their lower-growth refining and marketing businesses. But none has yet openly suggested they should be broken up. It is time that they did.
This is more than financial gimmickry or broking whimsy — although in BP's case house broker Cazenove reckons such a breakup would remove a conglomerate discount worth $50 billion. Greater specialization would sharpen management focus, spur efficiency and boost transparency. Would Royal Dutch Shell have had that reserves' problem if its exploration unit had been separate? Maybe not. And splitting-up did wonders for the old British Gas. Since BG demerged from Lattice, shares in the oil and gas firm have almost quadrupled. Meanwhile Lattice, having merged with National Grid, has seen its share price rise by a quarter.
There might be qualms about sacrificing national champions on the altar of shareholder value. But even after such a split, BP's E&P division would still be worth some $200 billion — hardly a minnow. And how useful is national-champion status anyway? When it comes to accessing reserves in foreign countries, such as Russia or Libya, this knife can cut two ways; it depends on diplomatic relations at the time.
Furthermore, oil-services firms like Schlumberger, with its studied national neutrality, offer oil-producing countries much the same technology and project-management skills that majors boast is their unique selling point. Yet Schlumberger's share price has outperformed BP's by almost 60% since oil prices took off three years ago. By shrinking, the majors could grow again.
–Hugo Dixon, Camilla Palladino and John Paul Rathbone read more

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

The Times: Oil platform evacuated after fire

An electrical fire prompted the evacuation of a North Sea oil platform yesterday, with RAF and coastguard helicopters taking 128 workers off the Tern Alpha platform, 105 miles off Shetland.
The fire, which broke out in a gas generator on the Shell facility shortly before 1am, was extinguished by 5am. Shell said that everybody had been accounted for, nobody had been injured and that the incident would have no effect on Britain’s energy supply.

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

Irish Times: EPA aware of concerns on water quality in Mayo lake

Lorna Siggins, Western Correspondent
Mar 17, 2006
The Environmental Protection Agency says it is “aware” of concerns about water quality in north Mayo's Carrowmore lake as a result of run-off from the Shell Corrib gas terminal site.
The agency is “keeping a close eye” on the situation, according to its deputy director-general, Padraic Larkin.
However, monitoring was the responsibility of the local authority, which was satisfied with testing results to date, Dr Larkin said at an EPA function yesterday at NUI Galway.
Mayo county secretary John Condon reiterated yesterday that quality of water in the lake – which serves north Mayo – met testing limits, although he said it would be incorrect to say that the local authority was “happy” with aluminium levels.
Since last July, Shell has been instructed to treat a “large body of water” which built up when it was transferring peat from Bellanaboy to Bord na Mona land at Srahmore.
The water has contained relatively high levels of suspended solids and aluminium, according to the local authority, and arose when the company hit the “dobe” or under-layer of peat during initial peat transfer.
All work at the Bellanaboy site has been suspended since last year as the company awaits the outcome of a safety review of the Corrib gas onshore pipeline. However, it agreed to install a treatment system, run by a British company, Axonics, to prevent any contaminated run- off into the local river and lake.
John Monaghan of the Shell to Sea campaign, who is one of two accredited representatives permitted to visit the site, said that aluminium levels were being breached regularly, according to the local authority's information.
Water was being passed into the drainage system without testing, he claimed, which had been raised repeatedly with the company and the local authority – most recently this week.
When Shell was unable to provide answers to the campaign's concerns on Wednesday, some “very frustrated” local protesters entered the terminal site without accreditation, Mr Monaghan said. “We escorted the group off the site ourselves for health and safety reasons and they were there for all of 10 minutes,” he said.
The main sub-contractor, Roadbridge, closed the site early on Wednesday as a result, but Roadbridge and Axonics water-testing personnel were back on site yesterday. read more

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

AFX UK (Focus): Royal Dutch Shell to retain LPG marketing and distribution business

Mar 17, 2006
LONDON (AFX) – Royal Dutch Shell PLC said it will retain its global Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) marketing and distribution business within its downstream portfolio.
Following an unsolicited offer for the business from an interested buyer, the group decided to review its options last year.
In December, Repsol YPF SA said it presented a binding offer for the business, confirming a report in La Gaceta de los Negocios. The paper said the offer was valued at 2.5 bln eur.
Shell said it sold some parts of the LPG business, including Portugal, parts of the Caribbean, Brazil, Paraguay and Italy, for about 350 mln usd.
The decision to retain the business has no impact on the divestment plan as the group achieved its target of 12-15 bln usd by end 2005, it said.
[email protected] read more

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Daily Telegraph: Royal Dutch Shell to keep LPG business

By Caroline Muspratt (Filed: 17/03/2006)
Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has decided to keep its liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) business following a strategic review.
The company said in September 2004 that it would review its options after receiving an unsolicited offer from an interested buyer for its LPG business.
Some parts of the LPG business have already been sold, including Portugal, parts of the caribbean, Brazil, Paraguay and Italy for around $350m, as part of the group’s downstream portfolio rationalisation. It said the remainder will stay within its downstream portfolio.
Ron Blakely, executive vice president of finance for Shell downstream, said: “We made clear all along in this process that our LPG business is robust, and meets our portfolio criteria. We would only sell if the values and terms of the sale would offer greater value than we would assign to these assets ourselves.”
He added: “LPG generates a competitive return on capital employed, and will continue to be run as part of our downstream portfolio in our markets of choice. It will be very much business as usual going forward.”
Royal Dutch Shell’s A shares rose 6 to £17.83 in early trading. read more

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

Reuters: Shell to keep global LPG unit after review

Fri Mar 17, 2006 7:25 AM GMT
LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell said on Friday that it had decided to keep its global LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) marketing and distribution business following a strategic review.
Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research) said in September 2004 that after obtaining an unsolicited offer from an interested buyer for the LPG business, it would review its options.
Some parts of Shell's LPG business have meanwhile been sold, including in Portugal, parts of the Caribbean, Brazil, Paraguay and Italy, for around $350 million (200 million pounds).
The remainder will remain within Shell's global downstream portfolio, Shell said. read more

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.
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