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Financial Times: Former Shell boss launches EEP to tap into reserves

van der veer

(Walter van de Vijver right, with his then colleague Jeroen van der Veer in happier times. Both signed Form 20F returns to the SEC containing false information.)


By Ian Bickerton in Amsterdam
Published: September 13 2006 03:00 | Last updated: September 13 2006 03:00

Walter van de Vijver, the former head of Royal Dutch Shell’s exploration and production division who was forced to resign amid an accounting scandal in early 2004, has founded a company to exploit unrealised oil and gas reserves.

Eastern Energy Partners, based in the UK, aims “to extract more oil and gas reserves from neglected, mature fields”, thereby “increasing oil and gas production and reserves for public and national oil companies”, according to EEP’s website.

It described its strategy as “distinctive and lower risk” and said it had entered a strategic alliance with Schlumberger, an international oil service company.

“The alliance will offer EEP dedicated support to identify, process, evaluate and execute field development and production enhancement projects,” according to the website.

EEP is backed by €1bn (£677m) in funds from Dutch industrialists and Arab investors, according to a report by Fem Business, a Dutch weekly magazine. However, Mr van de Vijver told NRC, the Dutch evening newspaper, that the magazine’s claims were untrue.

Mr van de Vijver was travelling and could not be reached. No colleague was able to comment on the company’s affairs.

Mr van de Vijver has always maintained his innocence over the Shell affair and has been cleared by US and UK securities regulators investigating the affair. His company’s website prominently flags the fact that it is “authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority”, the UK markets regulator.

Royal Dutch Shell was forced to reclassify nearly one-quarter of proved oil and gas reserves, a key indicator of future revenues, after breaching US Securities and Exchange Commission rules. Sir Philips Watts, its chairman, and Judy Boynton, chief financial officer, also resigned as the scandal unravelled.

The affair triggered investor pressure that eventually led Shell to unwind its cumbersome corporate governance structure and merge its Dutch and UK holding companies in late 2004.

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