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Posts on ‘March 18th, 2006’

Petroleum News: Shell CEO: B.C. offshore can be developed

Shell Canada Chief Executive Officer Clive Mather gave one of the industry’s most upbeat assessments in recent years of the prospects for offshore oil and gas development in British Columbia.
He said there is no reason why the offshore can’t be exploited in a way that balances social, environmental and economic concerns.
However, he conceded to the Vancouver Board of Trade that despite tests indicating the “presence” of hydrocarbons, there is no proof of commercial accumulations of oil or gas.
What the tests did establish was the industry’s “ability to work safely and in an environmentally responsible manner” in the region, Mather said.
Shell calls for sustainable development
He argued that lifting moratoriums and allowing exploration and possibly development of the offshore can be done by applying the principles of sustainable development — that is balancing the social, environmental and economic.
Even if the federal and provincial bans are lifted that is no guarantee of early action, although it will “kick start the regulatory process” that includes tackling First Nations concerns which require claims settlements or cooperative agreements, he said.
In addition, ecosystem protection measures must be implemented to ensure areas of environmental significance are protected, Mather said.
Shell Canada, which drilled 14 unsuccessful wells in the 1960s, has expressed hope that technological advances since then can both provide an accurate reading on the region’s potential and reduce dangers to the environment. Petro-Canada and Chevron Canada are the other significant leaseholders.
—Gary Park 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 serves contempt proceedings against Shell whistleblower Dr Huong: Imprisonment or Fine (updated)

By Alfred Donovan
Lawyers acting for a group of EIGHT Royal Dutch Shell companies have served contempt proceedings against Shell whistleblower Dr John Huong. The objective of the new (Notice to Show Cause) proceedings is to have Dr Huong committed to prison or fined in respect of publications made by me on my websites – Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com (AKA TellShell.net) and Royal Dutch Shell Group .com (AKA ShellNews.net).
The legal papers were served on Dr Huong on Wednesday 17 March as he left the Industrial High Court in Kuching, Malaysia, where he is suing Shell for wrongful dismissal.
For reasons which I will explain, Shell’s ambush was an underhand and cowardly action (probably also designed to intimidate him in regards to his own litigation against Shell).
Royal Dutch Shell has been aware since July 2004 that the case against Dr Huong is built on a platform of fundamentally flawed evidence contained in Shell's STATEMENT OF CLAIM and the associated AFFIDAVIT by Shell’s Kuala Lumpur based solicitors, T H Liew & Partners.
Firstly, Shell cited an internet website which never existed – “Whistleblower No.2”. Although this was brought to their attention within days after the proceedings were issued, Shell has continued to maintain this fiction ever since, thereby deceiving the courts. Nor has there ever been a corresponding domain name. I appreciate Shell has acquired a reputation for conjuring tricks (making oil reserves vanish) but Shell will not be able to prove the existence of a website under that name. It is a complete delusion.
Secondly, Shell repeatedly claimed that Dr Huong had made “postings” on the cited website. This was a physical impossibility since the website on which the articles were published does not have the technical facility to allow any third party postings. Again Shell was immediately advised that the allegation was unfounded, but chose to ignore the truth.
Thirdly, the articles in question were in fact co-authored and published by me (with the help of my son John) on my website. If there is any defamation (which I deny) then my son and I are the people that Shell should be suing, not Dr Huong. We are responsible for the alleged defamatory commentary actually cited in Shell’s STATEMENT OF CLAIM and associated AFFIDAVIT.
At that point in the proceedings in June 2004 what may have been a series of blunders about the true facts turned into a fabrication because Shell lawyers have continued to maintain the false basis of claim. In other words what started out as mistakes (if we take a charitable view) became falsehoods which since July 2004 have been used to deceive the courts. Shell has now instituted contempt proceedings against Dr Huong despite knowing that the entire case is founded on flawed/false evidence.
Why has Shell persisted in maintaining this deceit despite knowing the truth? I can only speculate that the reason for the long deception is because Shell wanted to maintain the charade that the website on which the articles were published is not connected with my son and me. This strategy was presumably meant to keep us and our evidence and experiences with Shell out of the picture. Shell has been determined for over a decade that it will not be “goaded” into bringing a libel action against us. Shell UK Media Relations even issued a *press statement about this on March 17, 1995. Shell does seem to have gone to extreme lengths by using trumped up evidence against a surrogate Defendant rather than being prepared to face us directly in court in a Shell McLibel type action.
Bearing in mind the flawed evidence originally presented to the court and the subsequent failure by Shell to correct the blunders, the Interim Injunction and Restraining Order against Dr Huong are invalid and worthless. It is only now that Shell is trying to slyly change its pleadings rather than doing so in an open straightforward fashion.
Another factor could be that Shell prefers to sue Dr Huong under the repressive human rights climate in Malaysia in which freedom of expression is suppressed, rather than sue in the UK or the USA.
As many observers may have concluded, Dr Huong – who is being terrorised by Shell, is unfortunately a pawn in a long drawn out war between other protagonists that commenced more than a decade before he first contacted us.
As already indicated, the legal papers were served on Dr Huong as he left the Industrial High Court in Kuching, where he was suing Shell for wrongful dismissal.
Mr Hee Len Hi, General Manager of Shell Technology Services at the time that Dr Huong was dismissed on false charges, gave evidence on Wednesday and Thursday and was subjected to a rigorous and productive cross-examination. Shell senior management has probably realised by now that Dr Huong was a victim of unfair treatment by local management. The wrongful dismissal case resumes in September.
Dr Huong has 10 days in which to respond to the “Show Cause” Notice served by Shell alleging contempt of court in relation to the defamation action.
The contempt proceedings are apparently based on the publication on my websites of the following items: –
Dr Huong’s DEFENCE document
Dr Huong’s email to Jyoti Munsiff
Dr Huong’s draft Affidavit
Dr Huong’s email to Human Rights Watch
A further article will follow probably on Monday.
This article has also been published today on the award winning Malaysian website promoting freedom of expression on the internet: Screenshots: http://www.jeffooi.com/2006/02/wither_malaysian_journalism.php
*THE PRESS STATEMENT
On 17th March 1995, Shell UK circulated to the media a press statement headed: “DON MARKETING LIMITED –V- SHELL UK LIMITED. Its ferocious content shows just how livid Shell UK was about our legal claims and our campaigning activity.
This is what it said: –
During the past few months Mr John Donovan, the Managing Director of Don Marketing Limited, and his father, Mr Alfred Donovan, have conducted a publicity campaign connected with legal actions which Don Marketing has initiated against Shell U.K. Limited. Shell believes the courts are the proper forum for a commercial dispute of this kind, and wishes to see matters resolved there. However, due to the growing number of untrue and often offensive allegations being made about Shell in the campaign, the company feels it is appropriate to comment more fully.
Shell U.K. Limited is defending legal actions which allege that Shell UK wrongfully used two forecourt promotions – ‘Nintendo’ and ‘Now Showing’ – developed by Don Marketing without its consent. The allegation is untrue. Don Marketing has no case and the legal actions are being strenuously defended. Shell is always anxious to resolve disputes amicably where possible but in this case sees no alternative but to allow the litigation to take its course.
Mr Donovan appears to have little faith in his company’s claims. Since initiating legal proceedings he and his father have adopted the unusual course of mounting a publicity campaign to ventilate allegations against Shell and members of its staff. Mr Donovan’s father has recently founded what he calls a ‘Shell Corporate Conscience Pressure Group’ to promote this campaign.
Mr Donovan and his father have written to the directors of Shell UK and its parent companies stating that they plan to outline the allegations against Shell and its staff to the company’s shareholders, the President of the Board of Trade, a number of publications and to ‘Internet’ users. They have also claimed that they intend to write to media and shareholders calling for the resignation of senior Shell managers, allege that they plan to write a book, have sent publicity material to several Shell locations in the UK and have attempted to assemble negative views of Shell from some retailers. Shell believes these actions are an attempt to sully Shell’s reputation with sensationalist allegations, in the hope that the company may be coerced into settling false claims.
Don Marketing and the so called pressure group have repeatedly attempted to goad Shell into issuing proceedings against them for what they are doing. Shell has to date declined to do so. Shell believes that the invitation to take legal action has been made merely to generate publicity and to substantiate Mr Donovan’s false assertion that Shell is a large company oppressing a small trader. Shell believes that any libel proceedings it brought would be likely to succeed. However, it doubts that Don Marketing and the so called pressure group would have the funds to pay Shell’s costs and the compensation it would be awarded.
Shell would be in breach of its obligations to shareholders if it initiated legal actions, failed to defend itself, or participated in actions in which it would lose money even if successful. Shell will therefore be applying to the court for Security for Costs in the existing legal actions brought by Don Marketing, in order to ensure that Don Marketing can pay Shell’s legal expenses in the event – which Shell believes likely – that Don Marketing’s claims will fail in court.
Shell UK Media Relations, March 17, 1995


Shell subsequently settled the “bogus” claims for £200,000 ($350,000 USD approx) plus legal costs. We also received an unsolicited letter of apology from Dr Chris Fay, the then Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Shell UK.
We sued Shell for libel in respect of the above press statement. We withdrew the defamation action in return for a financial package worth £125,000 ($218.000 USD approx) negotiated directly with with Dr Fay in meetings we held with him at Shell Mex House in London.
read more

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

THE TIMES: Shell scraps LPG auction after bidding falls short

By Peter Klinger
ROYAL DUTCH SHELL has scrapped the €2.5 billion (£1.7 billion) sale of its global liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) unit after an 18-month auction failed to generate a satisfactory price.
Shell said yesterday that it would retain the LPG division instead in a move that would provide “better value” for the Anglo-Dutch group’s shareholders.
It denied that the decision represented a “change of strategy”, but analysts expressed disappointment at the Anglo-Dutch group’s failure to stick to its plan and sell it. Shell’s shares eased 14p to £18.36, although the decision to retain the LPG unit is not expected to materially change the financial outlook for the group.
One City analyst described the decision to scrap the LPG auction as “clumsy”. Another said that the process had “never really got off the ground”.
Initially the auction had generated interest from industry players such as Repsol, Total and the Dutch conglomerate SHV, alongside a number of private equity firms. BC Partners and a Bain-PAI Partners consortium were among the shortlisted bidders.
However, a triple setback late last year, which culminated in Shell issuing a negative trading outlook for the LPG unit’s key French operation, unsettled potential buyers. Bidders had been spooked already by the sudden departure of Mike Treanor, head of the LPG division, and news that authorities in Britain and Poland had launched investigations into claims of anti-competitive pricing. As a result, final bids for the LPG unit are thought to have been pitched around €1.5 billion, a level that analysts believe was substantially below Shell’s own valuations.
The LPG unit makes about €200 million a year in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.
Ron Blakely, Shell downstream executive finance vice-president, said yesterday that the decision to scrap the auction would have no bearing on the group’s previously flagged plan to sell up to £8.5 billion of peripheral businesses, which had been achieved already. Shell needed to divest the assets to fund an aggressive growth campaign.
Mr Blakely 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.”
Shell’s LPG unit is based in in London and sells 2.9 million tonnes of LPG to customers in about 40 countries. Shell has a 2 per cent share of the global LPG market.
LPG is a mixture of butane and propane that is commonly used for cooking, heating and transportation purposes. It is a byproduct of oil production and is separated during the refining process.
Meanwhile, Shell is restoring production at its Tern Alpha platform in the North Sea after the facility was rocked by a fire in the gas processing area on Thursday. The platform can produce 25,200 barrels of oil a day, but it is expected to take three weeks to return to full output capacity. read more

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

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Shell to Retain LPG Assets

By BENOIT FAUCON
LONDON — Royal Dutch Shell PLC said Friday it had decided to retain its liquefied-petroleum-gas assets, which it had put up for sale in September 2004.
“Having fully tested the market, we have concluded that there is better value for Shell shareholders in retaining these profitable businesses,” said Ron Blakely, executive vice president of finance for Shell's downstream, or refining and marketing, unit.
“This is a financial decision, and not a change in strategy,” he added.
The decision not to divest the global LPG unit more than a year after saying it was for sale looks “clumsy,” said NCB analyst Peter Hutton. But Mr. Hutton added it's also a good sign, as it shows the Anglo-Dutch company wasn't ready to sell the asset at any price to fund possible acquisitions.
A Shell spokesman said that even without the sale, the company achieved its 2004-2006 divestment target of $12 billion to $15 billion in 2005, one year ahead of schedule.
The company decided to look into a sale of the LPG unit, which produces and markets propane and butane for consumer and industrial applications, following an unsolicited approach announced in September 2004.
People familiar with the sale said Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, part of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., had together offered between $2 billion and $2.5 billion at the time. KKR and Goldman Sachs have never commented on the offer.
However, potential buyers such as Repsol YPF SA and French private equity firm PAI Partners proposed $2 billion for the business at the end of December 2005, other people involved in the process later said. Repsol has confirmed it made a bid but hasn't specified the amount. PAI hasn't commented on the matter.
Shell also has never commented on the names of potential buyers.
Shell said in January it was ready to divest the unit in parts, reversing a previous decision to sell the unit in one block.
However, since Shell announced it could divest the business, the company said it has sold country units — including Portugal, parts of the Caribbean, Brazil, Paraguay and Italy — for around $350 million.
LPG products are particularly popular for domestic central heating and cooking, especially where gas mains aren't available.
Write to Benoit Faucon at [email protected] read more

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

Financial Times: Oil groups shun Iran over fears of embargo

By Thomas Catan and Roula Khalaf in London
Published: March 17 2006 21:36 | Last updated: March 17 2006 21:36
International oil companies are putting multibillion-dollar projects in Iran on hold, concerned about the diplomatic standoff over the country’s nuclear programme.
Talks by several European companies on oil and gas projects have largely ground to a standstill amid fears that the nuclear dispute, now before the UN Security Council, could lead to fresh sanctions against Iran.
US companies are already barred from investing in Iran. But fears of fresh sanctions now threaten Iran’s access to vital oil and gas technology from non-US sources.
BG, the UK-based gas company, held preliminary talks last year with Iran over participation in a liquefied natural gas project, but has since abandoned the effort. South Africa’s Sasol, which was talking to Iran about building a gas-to-liquids plant, has also dropped its plans.
European companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, the Anglo-Dutch energy group, and Total of France, are still ostensibly in discussions with Iran over large LNG investments. But the companies are unlikely to commit the huge sums needed as long as the political tension continues.
An official from a company that has decided to put its plans on hold said: “Obviously, regarding political considerations, geopolitical concerns, it hasn’t been taken forward because you can’t make a firm commercial decision on things.”
Iran badly needs foreign technology and expertise to maintain oil production and develop its natural gas reserves, the second-largest in the world. The country has ambitious plans to build four LNG projects with partners including Total, Shell, Repsol of Spain and perhaps Gaz de France.
However, the two main liquefaction technologies are from US companies, forcing Iran to rely on European alternatives.
US and European diplomats say they envisage gradual diplomatic pressure on Iran to force it to suspend all its uranium enrichment activities, and consider any talk of UN-backed sanctions to be some way off.
But building international consensus at the UN for any punitive measures against Iran will be extremely difficult. US officials are apparently hoping that if no agreement is reached at the UN, the European Union would impose its own sanctions, such as restrictions on investments. But this option too will face resistance from some European governments.
Jack Straw, the British foreign secretary, speaking on Monday at London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies, said political uncertainty was affecting business confidence in Iran, as foreign investors “are already beginning to think twice about Iran or look elsewhere”.
“Now, if the Iranian regime chooses not to heed the concerns of the international community, it will damage the interests of the Iranian people,” he said.
A British official said separately: “We’re in regular contact with oil companies. They realise that curbs on investments could be one of the issues considered at a later stage and they take it into account.”
Iran has repeatedly said escalation of the nuclear dispute would produce a “lose-lose situation” and damage Western interests as much as Tehran’s. 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.

Screenshots (Malaysia): Wither Malaysian journalism?

By Alfred Donovan
POSTED HERE IN THE INTEREST OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION ON THE INTERNET

EXTRACTS FROM AN EMAIL SENT TO JOHN CHADWICK, COUNTRY CHAIRMAN, SHELL MALAYSIA 13 February 2006

Dear Mr Chadwick

I will now turn to the extraordinary case of another former long-serving employee of Shell in Malaysia – Dr John Huong, an employee of 29 years standing.

As you are also well aware EIGHT Royal Dutch Shell companies ganged together in June 2004 to sue Dr Huong for libel in respect of articles published under his name on my website – ShellNews.net (AKA RoyalDutchShellPlc.com). Shell obtained a High Court Injunction and a Restraining Order against him and subsequently threatened him with imprisonment. 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 Telegraph: Who's spinning the Web?

By Alfred Donovan
The ground-breaking “TellShell” discussion forum launched some eight years ago by Royal Dutch Shell Group was suspended early in November 2005.
Since then visitors to the forum have been confronted with the following message: –
“Thank you for visiting our site. We're currently redesigning our forum and plan to be back on-line with regular, business focused discussions in the future. We'd like to thank you for all the comments, views and opinions you have shared with us over the years and look forward to being back again shortly. All of the previous debates have been archived and are available to view from this page.”
“TellShell” truly was an innovation being the first blog of its kind. It provided a means for Shell to generate direct feedback from stakeholders and the public and engage in dialogue with them on the forum. To people who do not understand the background it must be puzzling that “TellShell” has been suspended, apparently indefinitely, at a time when blogs are the rage all around the globe, being introduced on countless websites every day.
The suspension was no surprise to me. On 26th October 2005, Mondaq published my article entitled: “The Slow Death of the ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC “Tell Shell” The article: http://www.mondaq.com/i_article.asp_Q_articleid_E_35696
Commonsense suggests that if the suspension of the forum was not a panic move prompted by the growing criticism mentioned above, Shell would have had the new version ready to roll out, instead of interrupting the forum for an undisclosed period of time.
It appears that no-one at Shell management now wants to hear the feedback from “Tell Shell”, particularly at a time when Shell has been plagued by scandal, including the alleged reserves fraud and associated class action lawsuits.
Posted by Alfred Donovan on March 9, 2006 8:49 AM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?view=BLOGDETAIL&grid=P30&blog=webnews&xml=/news/2006/03/08/bltcuk08.xml 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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