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ShellNews.net: MALICE IN BLUNDERLAND: IMPRISONMENT OF DR HUONG BY ROYAL DUTCH SHELL?

Shell whistleblower Dr John Huong has sent an email to me with a copy of the “Notice to Show Cause” contempt proceedings served on him last Wednesday on behalf of EIGHT Royal Dutch Shell multinational companies. His email made it plain that the relevant legal documentation must not be published.
The malicious and ill-founded contempt proceedings are in respect of an unfounded defamation law suit which EIGHT Royal Dutch Shell companies brought against Dr Huong in June 2004 in connection with alleged postings on my website. No such postings by Dr Huong have ever occurred.
The contempt ambush was sprung on Dr Huong last Wednesday during his separate wrongful dismissal Industrial High Court action against Shell which was in progress in the city of Kuching, Sarawak.
A covering letter dated 9 March 2006 from Royal Dutch Shell solicitors T H Liew, which accompanied the “Notice to Show Cause”, states: “Our client considers your conduct in your respect of your persistent internet postings, to be clearly in breach and in blatant disregard of the injunction order made against you by the Kuala Lumpur High Court in this action.”
All of the internet postings quoted in the “Notice to Show Cause” document are in respect of recent publications on my website which relate to Dr Huong. In fact the entire defamation case is in respect of postings made on my website, allegedly by Dr Huong.
The allegation made against Dr Huong of “your persistent internet postings” demonstrates that Shell management and its lawyers are living in fantasyland. FACT: Dr Huong has never published a single word on any website owned by me. The allegation is malicious and another blunder on the part of Shell management.
The website identified in the “Notice to Show Cause” document as being the website on which Dr Huong allegedly made his postings in 2004 (on which the Defamation lawsuit is founded) is “Shell Whistleblower No. 2”. FACT: This is more outrageous fantasy. No such website or domain name has ever existed. This is another howling blunder or a deliberate deceit on the court. As Shell and its sleazy lawyers have known since July 2004, all of the postings in question were made by me (with the help of my son John) on my website.
Dr Huong has naturally under the circumstances asked us to provide Affidavits, which is why he had to supply the legal documentation served on him. Dr Huong has made the point that any publication by me of the documentation could alone be the act which results in him being committed to prison for contempt of court. Consequently, I will have to give careful consideration to all aspects of this extremely serious matter.
Clearly Dr Huong is acting under immense duress. The situation is analogous to receiving a communication from someone who is under the control and threat of a ruthless and evil third party. In such circumstances, where the victim is deprived of the basic human right of freedom of expression and is under threat of imminent incarceration in a Malaysian jail, the stipulations as to non-publication and confidentiality have to be considered in that light. Another factor is that neither my websites nor my family or I are subject to the jurisdiction of the High Court of Malaya.
It should be clear from anyone visiting our websites over the years that unlike Shell management we have a track record of genuine transparency. We know from conversations with Dr Huong since May 2004 that he is a man of the highest integrity and shares many of our values, including our respect for freedom of expression. Everything he says at the moment is said under coercion. Consequently my feeling is that we may well decide to opt for publication.
As we are in possession of the documentation, that decision is now ours alone unless Shell perhaps wishes to take legal action against the people actually responsible for publication of the information to which Shell management has taken offence, rather than terrorising an unemployed Malaysian surrogate who is completely innocent of the relevant charges.
The Royal Dutch Shell Group is free to bring proceedings against me in an appropriate legal jurisdiction. I will be 89 next month. Perhaps Jeroen van der Veer or Shell General Counsel Richard Wiseman can arrange accommodation for me in time for my birthday? Shell seems intent on jailing all conscience driven adversaries these days e.g. “The Rossport Five”.
I realise that this is no joking matter for Dr Huong, so I hope he will forgive my momentary levity knowing that it is directed at his tormentors, not him.
RELATED ARTICLE: ShellNews.net: Royal Dutch Shell serves contempt proceedings against Shell whistleblower Dr Huong: Imprisonment or Fine (updated)
http://www.tellshell.net/blog/_archives/2006/3/18/1826913.html
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.

Sakhalin the platform for growth at Shell

Sakhalin the platform for growth at Shell

Mar 20 2006 By Tom Miles, Birmingham Post

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.

“I think it will be a platform which is based on remote areas, strong technology input, probably Arctic, but a range of different options.” read more

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

THE NEW YORK TIMES: Enron Prosecutors Have Another Key Witness, From Jail

A SHELL INSIDER HAS KINDLY BROUGHT THIS ARTICLE TO OUR ATTENTION AND PROVIDED THE FOLLOWING COMMENT: “This must make worrying reading for Watts et al.”
By ALEXEI BARRIONUEVO
Published: March 20, 2006
The government heads this week into the home stretch of its case against two former Enron chief executives. Prosecutors will be looking to end on a flourish with the testimony of Ben F. Glisan Jr., the only former top executive who has already been sentenced in the Enron debacle.
Mr. Glisan, the former treasurer, is the last major witness for the government before the case shifts to the defense and to what promises to be memorable testimony by the defendants, Jeffrey K. Skilling and Kenneth L. Lay.
Mr. Glisan worked closely with Andrew S. Fastow, the former chief financial officer, on developing special-purpose entities, like the Raptors group, that both men have said in plea deals were used to inflate earnings and hide debt. The government is also expected to use Mr. Glisan to try to connect the dots for jurors hearing a complex case.
For seven weeks and through 14 witnesses, jurors have listened to prosecutors build a case on largely disparate pieces of indirect circumstantial evidence that Mr. Lay and Mr. Skilling, the top executives of what was once the seventh-largest company in the world by revenue, conspired to mislead and defraud investors.
Legal experts have generally praised the government's case, which has shied away from complex explanations of accounting and focused on the actions and words of Mr. Skilling and Mr. Lay in the three years before Enron collapsed in December 2001.
But legal experts continue to debate two crucial issues: whether the government has presented enough evidence that Mr. Lay knowingly lied about the true state of Enron's businesses and, more broadly, whether there was an extensive conspiracy within Enron to defraud and mislead employees and investors, as the government contends.
Those issues underscore the importance of decisions that the judge, Simeon T. Lake III of Federal District Court, will make in the coming weeks about how to structure the jury instruction. If the judge grants a “deliberate ignorance” instruction, as expected by many legal specialists because of case precedent, it could ease the way for jurors to find Mr. Lay guilty — even if the government cannot prove he knew that fraud was occurring on his watch.
“These instructions are making it very difficult if not impossible for defendants to prevail in these types of cases,” said Joel Androphy, a lawyer in Houston specializing in white-collar crime.
Mr. Lay's lead lawyer, Michael Ramsey, agreed that prosecutors were more likely than not to seek the “deliberate ignorance” instruction for his client. “There is nothing direct to say about Ken Lay,” Mr. Ramsey said. “It has all got to be by insinuation and innuendo.”
But legal experts said the cumulative impact of such testimony could be taking a toll on Mr. Lay. Last week provided some of the most emotional testimony against Mr. Lay to date. Johnnie Nelson, a 46-year-old pipeline operator in New Mexico, blamed Mr. Lay for steep losses in his retirement savings account, saying a man he formerly admired had let him down.
At week's end, Sherron S. Watkins, a former Enron vice president and now an author and lecturer, said she had become concerned about potential accounting problems and had taken the concerns directly to Mr. Lay after Mr. Skilling abruptly resigned.
Ms. Watkins criticized Mr. Lay's handling of an inquiry into her accusations and raised the specter that Mr. Lay might have authorized lawyers to look into firing her, which did not happen in the end.
Jurors seemed riveted by her testimony, which was peppered with her negative opinions of Mr. Lay and Mr. Skilling. Judge Lake helped prosecutors by not reining in her answers.
Prosecutors have also presented evidence that Mr. Skilling participated in fraudulent acts. David W. Delainey, the former chief executive of the Enron Energy Services retail division, testified about one meeting in March 2001 in which Mr. Skilling assented to a plan to shift some $250 million in troubled retail contracts to the wholesale energy division.
Mr. Delainey contended that the meeting participants knew the move was being done to deceive investors about the retail unit, which he called a “basket case.”
Mr. Fastow, while admitting his own criminality, testified that Mr. Skilling approved “bear hug” side deals guaranteeing that one partnership, LJM, would not suffer losses for doing deals with Enron that could help it manipulate its earnings. And Mr. Fastow, in somewhat shaky testimony, nevertheless said the side deals had been memorialized in a document called the Global Galactic agreement, aspects of which, he said, Richard A. Causey, the chief accounting officer, had discussed with Mr. Skilling.
Kevin P. Hannon, the former chief operating officer of Enron's troubled broadband unit, offered surprising testimony that Mr. Skilling uttered “They're on to us” in a May 2001 meeting at which senior executives discussed a research report suggesting Enron's stock was overvalued.
Despite the evidence presented so far, some legal experts said they believed the case could crumble once Mr. Skilling and Mr. Lay took the stand.
“There is still no explosive evidence,” said Robert Mintz, a former federal prosecutor who is now a defense lawyer at McCarter & English in Newark. “Jurors will be expecting prosecutors to dissect their testimony with a scalpel.”
Before the defense takes over, Mr. Glisan's appearance for the prosecution offers one more chance for high drama. Mr. Glisan, 40, has already served more than half of a five-year sentence for conspiring to falsify financial results and make Enron appear more successful than it actually was. He was the chief architect of the Raptor vehicles, whose insolvency in the fall of 2001, prosecutors contend, played a role in the ultimate collapse of Enron.
Mr. Glisan is serving time at a low-security prison in Beaumont, Tex., about 100 miles east of Houston, according to Bureau of Prison records. He is sure to draw stares if he enters the courtroom in prison garb, as he did two years ago when he testified in another Enron case involving the sham sale of interests in Nigerian barges.
Affable and sharp, Mr. Glisan was credited with being a crucial government witness in the barge case, which resulted in five defendants being found guilty. Unlike other government witnesses, Mr. Glisan has less to gain from shading his testimony to fit the government's theory of the case because he is already serving his sentence, legal experts say.
Away from the courtroom, lawyers for both sides began hashing out the all-important jury instruction they will eventually submit to the court.
“I am not terribly optimistic after yesterday that we can get a charge together by agreement,” he said Saturday. “The judge will have to get into it and make some rulings.”
The “deliberate ignorance,” or “conscious avoidance,” charge made it fairly easy for jurors to find Bernard J. Ebbers, the former chief executive of WorldCom, guilty last year of conspiracy and fraud charges.
In a motion seeking a new trial, lawyers for Mr. Ebbers, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison, argue that jurors were told they could find him guilty based on “conscious avoidance” even without evidence that Mr. Ebbers “deliberately avoided learning any fact at issue.”
The judge in that case justified the charge on the grounds that the circumstances were “overwhelmingly suspicious” and that Mr. Ebbers had failed to question those suspicious circumstances.
Mr. Ebbers also struggled to win a “missing witness” charge, which defense lawyers in the Enron case are likely to seek as well. In the Ebbers case the judge denied defense motions to grant immunity to some witnesses or to allow use of previous statements to impeach the government's cooperating witnesses.
Absent that, Mr. Ebbers's lawyers sought to instruct jurors that certain witnesses were “missing” because they were under government control, had indicated they would exercise their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and were not given immunity by the court to testify for the defense.
Lawyers for Mr. Skilling and Mr. Lay are facing the same challenges in responding to testimony by government cooperators testifying under plea agreements. Most of the government cooperators, including Michael J. Kopper, a close confidant of Mr. Fastow; and David B. Duncan, the former Andersen partner who had approved much of Enron's questionable accounting, have told defense lawyers they would invoke Fifth Amendment rights.
Others important Enron figures who have not been charged, like the former Enron president Greg Whalley, also have indicated they would invoke the Fifth if called.
That would make it tough for the defense to disprove Mr. Delainey's accusations about what was said at the March 2001 meeting in Mr. Skilling's office. All but one participant in the meeting — a former Enron accountant, Wesley H. Colwell — is likely to be unavailable for the defense.
Mr. Colwell testified earlier in the trial for the government but was not asked about his role in the effort to shift losses out of the retail unit.
Another participant in the meeting that day, Mr. Causey, is not likely to be called by the government except as a rebuttal witness, if at all, prosecutors have 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.

TMCnet.com: Sakhalin the platform for growth at Shell

(The Birmingham Post Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)
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.
“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 $10 billion (pounds 5.7 billion) to $20 billion (pounds 11.5 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 Mr 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 $300 million (pounds 173 million) to re-route pipelines to avoid harming rare grey whales, a decision taken last year.
But Mr 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.
Mr 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.
Mr 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 Mr 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.
Mr Finlayson said: “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.”
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 lookout 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 Mr 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 Mr 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. 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.

StockHouse (Canada): Pipeline blast hits oil supplies in Nigeria

Source: Reuters
PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria, (Reuters) – Unidentified attackers blew up an oil pipeline in Nigeria's southern delta, further hitting oil supplies from the leading OPEC nation, authorities said on Saturday.
The blast on the Tebidaba-Brass pipeline near Brass Terminal, both operated by Italian oil company Agip, was the latest in a series of attacks on oil installations in the eighth biggest oil-exporting country, which had already reduced supplies by almost a quarter.
Agip, a unit of ENI, confirmed an “act of sabotage” on the pipeline and said an unspecified quantity of production had been lost. One oil industry source said production of 67,000 barrels per day (bpd) had been cut.
In a statement issued by ENI headquarters in Italy, the company said: “The situation is under control and operations have commenced to define the extent of the pipeline damage and contain any associated pollution.”
Militants demanding greater autonomy for Nigeria's poor oil heartland have carried out several attacks and kidnapped oil workers in the past three months.
A police spokesman in the region said no one was kidnapped or killed in the latest attack. Militants are holding three foreign oil workers hostage.
Royal Dutch Shell has cut its output by 455,000 bpd and other companies have shut another 100,000 bpd since Feb. 18. The latest explosion brought the total impact of the attacks to 622,000 bpd, 26 percent of Nigeria's 2.4 million bpd capacity. read more

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Philippine Daily Inquirer: Random act of kindness saved Pinoy in Nigeria

Volt Contreras
IT WAS WHAT ANY PRUDENT person in a strange and restive land would have done.
And Anthony Santos, a 36-year-old Filipino worker then stationed in Nigeria's oil-rich Delta State, did accordingly when a group of weary fishermen stopped by his company barge one day.
The group asked Anthony if he could spare some food-and soon enough he was handing over slices of bread from the vessel's stock.
It was a random act of kindness in just another encounter with the impoverished locals in Anthony's two years of working in the Niger Delta. He had actually forgotten all about it.
Until a black-masked man wielding a machine gun reminded him last month.
On Feb. 18, a militant group opposing oil activities in the Niger Delta abducted Anthony and eight other foreigners employed by the US oil service firm Willbros, holding them hostage in a jungle hideaway for almost two weeks.
The other captives were three Americans, two Britons, two Thais and an Egyptian.
A subplot unfolded beneath the international crisis, showing how the Filipino knack for making friends and generating goodwill served Anthony well during this chilling episode in his life as an overseas worker.
One of the kidnappers, it turned out, was also one of the famished fishermen whom Anthony had helped.
The man recognized Anthony among the captives, and assured the Filipino that “nobody among the other kidnappers could touch him,” according to accounts gathered by the Inquirer from the Department of Foreign Affairs and from Anthony's wife Helen.
He regarded Anthony as someone he should “protect” in case his comrades decided to make good their threat to torture or kill any of the hostages.
The Philippine Embassy in Abuja spoke with Anthony shortly after he was released by his abductors on March 1.
The embassy reported: “Anthony revealed that a small gesture of his in the past helped sustain him in the difficult and tense moments [of his] captivity.
“It was discovered that he had given food to some fisher folk who passed by their barge months before, and it just so happened that one of the beneficiaries of his act of charity [was] one of the kidnappers.”
The embassy said one kidnapper “safeguarded Anthony the whole time and spared him from any injury.”
It said the young man told Anthony that the other kidnappers might have to kill him first before they got to the Filipino.
Anthony thus felt “restless on the days when his friend was not around,” the embassy said.
How it happened
The kidnappers were mainly youths in their 20s belonging to the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).
Per the embassy report, Anthony and his coworkers were kidnapped “in retaliation” for the Nigerian military's bombardment of tribal communities suspected of illegal bunkering operations.
At the time of the kidnapping, the Willbros crew was conducting pipe-laying operations around a Shell oil terminal in Warri City.
The heavily armed MEND militants forced their way into the Willbros barge at about 8 a.m. of Feb. 18. Anthony, who had worked the night shift, was awakened by gunshots.
He and his coworkers were ordered to board a speedboat. About an hour later they found themselves in a forested area near a swamp, where they were held in a “camp” that was powered by an electric generator and had a television set.
Trauma
Anthony, a father of two, returned to Manila on March 4, or three days after he and five of the other hostages were freed.
The Inquirer reached the family home in Olongapo City but Helen Santos took the call, saying her husband was still too “traumatized” to talk about his ordeal.
She said he had been seeing a psychiatrist since his homecoming.
Nevertheless, Helen agreed to share what Anthony had so far told her.
Contrary to earlier reports that the hostages were not physically harmed, Anthony was actually “hit hard on the right ear” during the abduction.
He is also being treated for that injury, which left him hard of hearing during his days in captivity.
Anthony had forgotten about giving food to a group of fishermen until one of the kidnappers barked at him: “I recognize you!”
Helen confirmed the embassy report about the “friendly” militant offering to be killed first before the others could lay a hand on her husband.
The kidnapper-who appeared to be the group leader-made sure that his brothers in arms knew the little history he shared with the Filipino hostage.
Torment
This somehow helped Anthony cope with the psychological torment that he and the others were forced to endure.
For example, the kidnappers often cleaned their guns or fired a few test rounds in front of the hostages, playfully pointing the firearms in the latter's direction.
The kidnappers also spoke loudly in broken English about the plan to blindfold the hostages, hang them from a tree, and shoot them.
“But after a few minutes, they would say they would not really do it,” Helen said.
The hostages were fed-usually eggs or noodles-twice a day. They were given new clothes on their third day in the camp.
On the day Anthony was released, his “friend” was not in the camp. Thus, no goodbyes were said.
Anthony got his name but would not disclose it for security reasons, Helen said.
Well-liked
“Filipinos, I heard, are actually well-liked by the local people in those parts,” Helen said. “Perhaps my husband, who can pass for a Mexican, was only dragged into this because he was mistaken for a member of another foreign nationality.”
She said her own father, younger brother and a brother-in-law were still working with Anthony's firm in Nigeria.
Anthony himself told airport reporters that he was willing to go back to work in the West African nation despite what had happened, to be able to continue supporting his family.
Before working overseas for the last 12 years, Anthony was a crew member of a doughnut shop in Dau, Pampanga. The shop closed in the wake of the Mt. Pinatubo eruptions.
He also previously worked for construction firms in Dubai in the Middle East, and in Louisiana in the United States.
Wherever his next stint will be, Anthony has more than a survivor's tale to tell and a battered ear to show from his days in Nigeria.
“He said so himself: It seems like any thing good you have done, no matter how small, finds a way to give you something in return,” Helen 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.

BBC Monitoring Service: Nigerian Delta militants suspend talks following attacks

Text of report by Chido Okafor: “Hostages: Militants Halt Release” published by Nigerian newspaper The Guardian website on 19 March
Chances of early release of the remaining three hostages held by militants in Delta State got slimmer at the weekend following reported attacks on the youths negotiating freedom for the captives.
The alleged attacks on the Ijaw youth leaders was said to have been carefully coordinated in the morning yesterday by unknown persons “dressed in full military gear.”
President Obasanjo's media assistant, Mrs Remi Oyo, however, told The Guardian, last night that the Federal Government was not aware of the said attacks.
She said she was not aware of any military action against the youth.
“The federal government is not directly involved in the negotiations with the youths,” she said, adding that no report of military clash with militants had been lodged with the presidency.
It was learnt that one of the American hostages was billed for release today, to mark the exit of the former task force commander for the Niger Delta, Brig. Gen. Elias Zamani.
Zamani's withdrawal from the area was one of the pre-conditions for the release of the nine hostages seized about three weeks ago by militants operating on the platform of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).
Six of the hostages were eventually released, leaving two Americans and a Briton, whom the militants vowed not to free until their demands were met.
The redeployment of Zamani was seen as a window of opportunity for a fruitful negotiation of freedom for the captives, who have reportedly been separated by the militants “for strategic reasons.”
But weekend's reported attacks on the youth negotiators may have worsened a bad situation that had drawn sympathy from across the globe, and which the Federal Government had re-pledged yesterday to resolve within the ambit of negotiation.
Indeed, spokesman of the Ijaw Youths Leadership Forum, Kingsley Kuku told The Guardian yesterday, that the early morning selected attacks on the Ijaw youths' negotiating team by a secret killer squad had nullified the release plans.
Narrating the incidents, Kuku said some heavily armed men dressed in full military gear stormed the Warri home of George Timinimi, one of the negotiators, in three vehicles, and tried to kill him but he scaled the fence and fled into the bush, sustaining minor injuries in the process.
He disclosed that some other Ijaw youth leaders experienced similar attacks by the group dressed in military gear, stressing that this had scared off the negotiators and dimmed future prospect of negotiation with the captors, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta.
“It appears we have been targeted for elimination and based on this, all the Ijaw youths leaders, who were negotiating have suspended further negotiation,” Kuku said.
The 19 Ijaw youth leaders had met last week in Effurun with government officials led by the Secretary to the Delta State Government (SSG), Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan and the Commissioner for Ethnic Relations and Conflict Resolution, Mr Ovuozorie Macaulay. The meeting was to find a way out of the hostage stand off.
At the end of the parley, the youths had issued a fresh nine-point demand to the Federal Government, thus lengthening the list of such demands.
They noted the “marginalisation and exclusion of the Ijaw people and the refusal of the Nigerian State to seriously address the demands of the Ijaw people in over fifty years of peaceful agitation.”
The Ijaw youth leaders said the continued militarisation of the Niger Delta was escalating tension in the region, remarking that “the Ijaw people continue to be locked out of the oil economy while suffering the effects of oil exploitation on their lands and waters.”
However, they demanded the unconditional release of the Niger Delta pro-democracy and self-determination activist, Alhaji Mujaheed Dokubo-Asari and his lawyer, Uche Okwukwu.
They also requested the release of leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazurike and founder and leader of Oodua Peoples Organization (OPC), Dr Frederick Fasehun and Mr Gani Adams respectively.
Dokubo-Asari, Uwazurike, Fasehun and Adams are standing trial in court for alleged treason offences bordering on running illegal organizations, gun-running and crimes against the State.
Other demands by the Ijaw youths are:
DSP Alamieyeseigha (impeached governor of Bayelsa State) be given free, fair and expeditious trial so that his travails would not be seen as a demonstration of the singling out and persecution of an Ijaw leader amongst corrupt political office holders in Nigeria. (He is standing trial for alleged money laundering.)
The Federal Government enters into genuine dialogue with Ijaw people to address issues of economic, political and social exclusion.
Shell complies with the Federal High Court order to pay 1.5bn [] to Ijaws of Bayelsa State.
The 18 per cent derivation recommended by the Senator Ibrahim Mantu National Assembly Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution “is vexatious, and nothing short of 25 per cent to be graduated to 50 per cent as demanded by the South-South people at the National Political Reform Conference remains the minimum point of departure on this issue.”
The International Community be called upon to prevail on the Federal Government to negotiate with the Ijaw in the interest of the security of the nation.
The Ijaw youth leaders, however, called for the release of the remaining three hostages.
Source: The Guardian website, Lagos, in English 19 Mar 06 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: FSA ability to pin blame for insider trading under question

By Barney Jopson and Tony Tassell
Published: March 20 2006 02:00 | Last updated: March 20 2006 02:00
The Financial Services Authority will find it difficult to attribute blame for market abuse to City staff even after uncovering apparently widespread insider trading, say lawyers.
The City regulator reported last Friday that 29 per cent of takeover bids in 2004 were preceded by likely insider trading on the stock market and signalled a re-invigorated drive to crack down on market abuse.
Lawyers praised the FSA for producing a new measure of “market cleanliness”, which will be updated periodically and is the first of its kind from a regulator.
But in spite of one recent success for the regulator's enforcement arm, they were sceptical of its longer-term ability to establish deterrents by nailing high-profile market participants.
The regulator has pledged to bear down on abuse by secretive hedge funds, investment banks and their employees, as opposed to corporate wrongdoers, and to dish out bigger fines.
It took a big scalp this month when it fined GLG, a hedge fund, and Philippe Jabre, its former star trader, £750,000 apiece for market abuse and violating market conduct over a convertible bond issue.
The fines, set by the FSA's independent Regulatory Decisions Committee, were lower than the regulator had wanted. GLG and Mr Jabre have the right to appeal.
In 2004-05, most FSA market abuse cases were against smaller fry, involving five-figure fines for a finance director, a company secretary, a head of communications and an auditor among others.
“It tends to be easier to pin the blame on company people because the audit trail is easier to get hold of,” said Ian Mason, a partner at law firm Barlow Lyde & Gilbert and a former FSA head of wholesale enforcement.
“Institutional cases are difficult to prove because you need expert evidence on technical matters and it's hard to find witnesses who will put their heads above the parapet,” he said.
Another complication is that participants swim in streams of new data daily, making it hard to identify who had access to non-public information, when and whether they acted on it.
Insider traders buy or sell shares to profit from price-sensitive information about a company that has not been made public. Takeover activity is one of the main drivers of share price movements.
Hector Sants, the FSA's managing director in charge of wholesale and institutional markets, has said the growing volume of hedge fund trading has caused a structural change in the market and increased the risk of market abuse.
Acknowledging that the FSA's first small-scale enforcement cases in 2004 did not appear to have deterred insider trading, he said: “This suggests that visible enforcement action may be the key tool in our work to reduce market abuse.”
According to the FSA's cleanliness indicator, suspected insider dealing had become more prevalent since the regulator assumed new powers, up from 21 per cent of takeover bid cases in 2000 to 29 per cent in 2004.
Martyn Hopper, a partner at Herbert Smith, said: “I suspect the FSA is trying to dispel any concerns that it will lay off the enforcement process following setbacks last year.” Mr Hopper represented Sir Philip Watts, the former chairman of Royal Dutch Shell, who faced a market abuse case that the FSA eventually dropped last year.
But Mr Sants, who has long said that regulation is about more than just enforcement, emphasised the importance of the indicator. “Our future success . . .should be measured not by gut feel or fines levied but by using a robust analytical tool that will stand the test of time,” he said.
Market participants said many abnormal share price movements before takeover announcements were attributable to legitimate analysis and supposition.
David Blundell, chairman of the UK Shareholders' Association, said: “I don't think that insider dealing will ever go away however much the FSA bangs on about it.” read more

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AFX Europe (Focus): Royal Dutch Shell to set up accounting centre in Poland – report

WARSAW (AFX) – Royal Dutch Shell is to open an accounting centre in Krakow, which will create at least 800 jobs, the daily Rzeczpospolita reported yesterday.
The paper said the authorities in Krakow's special economic zone will approve the project next week.
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Economic Times (India): Shell gets show cause for Hazira terminal’s 'non-performance'

TUSHAR PRABHUNE
TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ MONDAY, MARCH 20, 2006
AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) has slapped a show-cause notice on Shell Hazira, the developer of the Rs 3,000-crore, 2.5 mmpta LNG terminal at Hazira, asking why “necessary legal action” cannot be initiated against the company for not complying with the conditions put down in the concession agreement under the GMB Act.
GMB, which is the regulatory body for all minor ports in the state, has cited “non-performance” of the LNG terminal besides the “delay” in construction of non-LNG cargo facilities, as agreed to by the company in the concession agreement. These facilities in the phase II development include a container terminal as well as solid cargo port that is mandatory under the 30-year concession agreement.
Shell Hazira, part of the Royal Dutch Shell group, is the biggest private investor in Gujarat’s port sector. ET had reported on February 24 that trouble was brewing between GMB and Shell Hazira over the delay in phase II construction and that the regulator was preparing to seek clarifications.
“As against the assured cargo guaranty of 17 LNG vessels, Shell Hazira has managed to bring only three, since commissioning the terminal in April last year. This underperformance means a loss in revenue to the state government,” a source familiar with the development told ET.
The company had supplied 1.8 lakh tonnes of LNG from the three shipments to the state-owned oil exploration and production company Gujarat State Petroleum Corp. The 2.5 mmpta LNG terminal at Hazira has been operating at a very low capacity as the high prices of gas has deterred buyers.
Top officials of the maritime board, however, are not willing to talk about the issue. “We do not want to comment anything on this,” GMB’s vice-chairman and chief executive officer HK Dash told ET.
But sources said that GMB is livid as Shell is “neither identifying the partner for container terminal and solid cargo port nor informing the regulatory body about the progress.” As per the concession agreement, Shell has to begin the work for non-LNG facilities within 14 months of commissioning the LNG terminal, sources added.
GMB feels that the delay and “non-responsive” posture of Shell is despite the fact that the state government had “fully co-operated” with the company by sorting out issues like conservator of ports, permissions regarding landing and shipping and others.
Also, the issue of Rs 5 crore “outstanding” dues that GMB has been demanding from the company for dredging and reclaiming some land within the GMB port limits, has been kept at bay, while giving the permissions. The same issue had jeopardised Shell Hazira’s plans to bring its first LNG shipment last year, following which the company had sought chief minister’s intervention.
Shell is looking at a 49% equity partnership in the container terminal for which it was talking to Maersk, Dubai Ports International and Port of Singapore Authority (PSA). The total investment in bulk cargo and container terminal is estimated to be Rs 3,000 crore. read more

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